Why Tough Love is the Best Love

Why Tough Love is the Best Love

There is nothing like it.
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First, tough love instills independence. If you want something, it is up to you to work for it. Others may help you, but no one is obligated to lend you aid. You are responsible for yourself and your actions. You are also responsible for any consequences that may come as a result of your actions.

Second, tough love teaches you to take criticism. Criticism is not the end of the world. The only way to get better at anything is to have specific things to improve upon. Oftentimes, people's criticism highlights weaknesses that can be turned into strengths with hard work and dedication.

Third, tough love teaches you how to be okay with being told "no. When one door closes, another door often opens. Being refused help or an opportunity or anything else does not mean your journey is over; it means that it will turn in a new direction.

Fourth, tough love teaches you how to work hard. You can't expect to just get by on handouts and participation trophies in life. By not getting what you want all of the time, you develop a strong work ethic that can be applied to many situations in order to achieve your desired goal.

Finally, well-earned praise feels so good in a tough-love environment. There is nothing better than working so hard at something you want to badly, and finally getting approval, credit, recognition, etc. for what you have done because you know you really deserve it.

Cover Image Credit: auditions.com

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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The Shape Of The Monster: Depression

The second piece in a series about mental illness.

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views

The last thing I want to do is glorify mental illness, give it a platform, give it a name. But I need to talk about it, to work through it, to show that it's something many people experience.

It goes like this.

Hey! Sorry I haven't called you back. Everything has been so busy.

Every time I think about even picking up the phone and calling you, something heavy but familiar sets in my stomach like a weight.

You know how things get.

You know how easy it is to want to slip into absolute nothingness, right?

I've been trying to write, but my writer's block has been limiting me a lot.

Everything I write is so bad. The flow is off. It doesn't sound like me. It feels so crooked and wrong. I can't do anything right.

How are things? Has work been alright?

I hope you feel successful. I hope things are easier for you. I hope you are as happy as you seem.

I'm okay.

I don't want to be here. I don't want to be anywhere. I feel crooked and wrong like I just want to scream and cry and dissolve.

I've just been so tired!

I have been tired for at least a decade. Tired of never sleeping. Tired of never feeling anything more than either absolute devastation and absolute nothingness. Tired. Tired. Tired.

I hope I can see you soon.

I hope I can bring myself to get out of bed and out into the world. I hope I can force myself to shower, and get dressed, and be a contributor to society, to social obligations.

I miss you.

I miss you.

I love you.

I love you.

I promise to call as soon as things lighten up a bit.

As long as the chemical imbalance doesn't destroy me altogether, hopefully, I can feign vague interest for a short phone call.

Goodbye.

Goodbye for now, maybe goodbye forever, maybe I'll work up the courage to call you in another 2, 5, 7 weeks or so. My life is made of "maybes." Maybe one-day things will be better. Maybe one day I'll be happy. Maybe one day I won't be anything. Maybe.

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