I’m totally kidding about nice people being evil. I love friendly people I can talk to easily, and it’s kind of rude when you’ve just met someone and they aren’t relatively nice to you. My warning applies when it comes to close friends and people you’ve known for many years who are still strictly nice all of the time, always smiling and always acting like things are just fine until they turn around and stab you in the back with a giant butcher’s knife and that grin becomes a little more menacing. I digress… This post is about changing the definition of what actions make someone a kind and good person, and what actions are so heinous that the person who committed such abhorrent tomfoolery should be considered an asshole, a jackass, or a dick etc…
Now, I’ve always had a few opposing views about what an “asshole” really is. I like to surround myself with people that many would consider assholes. Is it because I hate myself? Au contraire, I love myself very much, it’s just that I value honesty among friends and if I’m going to go off and do some convoluted thing I need someone to stop me and say “Hey, you’re being an idiot, are you sure you want to do this?”. If I go off into another room I need to trust that they won’t say “hey isn’t she an idiot?” to everyone but me. I like to be the first one to know that I’m being an idiot and I want friends who keep it real. I like real friends who are loyal, actually give a shit about me, and are completely honest. Who doesn’t? This seems like a give-in, but we’ve all had that two faced friend who’s sweet to you one day and the next is betraying secrets or using information you’ve given them, like you’ve just handed them ammunition for their gun so that they can shoot you, step over your body, and then get ahead. Not all cases are so extreme, but they’re are many milder forms of being this kind of asshole.
It’s the nice ones you have to watch out for.
I’m not saying that nice friends can’t be loyal, honest, and trustworthy, but I have found that the ones who really fear confrontation, or don’t care enough to make the effort of talking to you about a problem they have, are the ones who lie to your face. I had this one friend who was pro at this, and I let her off the hook many times because I liked her anyway, and she had major daddy issues that led to an overly competitive nature and resentment towards me. So I let it slide, which was ultimately a mistake. How did this end? With her lying so egregiously behind my back that I couldn’t look her in the face anymore. She damaged so many worthwhile (and not worthwhile) relationships that I wondered how I didn’t see it coming. Nowadays, if I saw her around I would probably just frantically splash holy water at her while simultaneously flipping the bird and watching her sizzle, or I would just politely greet her and be on my way. She turned out to be so insidious that I now have a fear of nice, two faced, assholes.
I think the witch from “Into The Woods” said it best:
You’re not good, you’re not bad, you’re just nice
I’m not good, I’m not nice, I’m just right!
This illustrates my problem with nice people. Being nice without being honest is a selfish act that is verging on a form of betrayal when it comes to close friends. It’s an easy way to protect yourself from the negative side effects of telling the truth. Remember what Dumbledore said? “Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Many people don’t like hearing about the truth, and the backlash of this can be unpleasant or down right hostile. If it’s someone you actually care about though, like your friend, not telling the truth would be a coward’s act because:
1. You’re not taking the opportunity to help this person by giving them your honest perspective instead of just shooting butterflies up their ass.
2. It means in some sense you’re afraid of your friend or afraid of hurting their feelings. I understand this, I don’t like hurting feelings either, so bring up the issue with tact and grace. Or at least try.
What do you think your friend would like more? You consulting them about their questionable behavior now? Or them regretting that tattoo of their gf/bf initials after they’ve broken up? Immediate action for me please, I’d rather not be branded for life, and many stupid decisions are more serious than that. We need our friends to give us a good view of ourselves at time, because we can all get lost in our own perspectives.
Now that we’ve gone through the realm of platonic friendships, let’s move onto another topic of discussion widely bemoaned and debated. Why do girls always go for “bad boys” or “assholes”?
I can just see it now. The trademark nice boy, sweet, quiet, obliging, gentle, but boring, is sitting on the first step on his front porch, his head in his hands. He sadly looks up at the road as cars pass wondering why Suzy dumped him for Tommy, that asshole who talks too loud, makes crude jokes, and has gotten with every girl in town. It’s so cliché it hurts. Or we could go back to Barney from HIMYM (How I Met Your Mother). His heart broken by his hippy lover because she left him for a business man who makes bank. Barney then suits up, gets a corporate job, and becomes a trademark “asshole,” getting babes and shirking commitments.
Look. No self respecting girl wants an actual asshole who’s going to treat her badly, and if she does, perhaps some self evaluation about why she’s attracted to these kinds of boys is needed. We do however, want men and not piddling puddles of low self esteem hiding behind the cover of “I’m a nice guy”. I’ve been hit on by so many of these “nice guys” and dated enough of them to know that they’re not actually all that nice (granted there are always exceptions). The nice guys who are unsuccessful with woman, and life (unsuccessful meaning they are unhappy), are often too selfish and self conscious to really care for anther human and need a lot of soul seeking to figure out what’s missing in their life, because no girl can fill the void.
Guys and girls who are considered “assholes” however, are often considered this because they don’t run with the herd. They do what they want, and say what they think and because of this they are resented. Maybe sometimes they could be more gentle with people’s fragile egos, but I still value honesty above this. I’m now dating someone who could be construed as an asshole by others because he is very straightforward. He is also very thoughtful, puts himself in others shoes, is quick to compliment, be friendly, and quick to help people with their homework or problems. He is honest and genuinely concerned for others, but people still consider him to be kind of a jerk for telling them exactly what he thinks when asked (and sometimes without being asked). It always seems that people consider someone an “asshole” whenever they break the mold of other peoples perceptions of them and do something unexpected to better themselves. We’ve gotta let all the assholes of the world spread their wings and fly, especially if we care about them.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while so it’s great to finally articulate. Maybe I’m just jaded, but I think this subject is worth some good old fashioned introspection and thought.
Disclaimer: I’m a fan of being kind to strangers, kind when the opportunity arises, and a ray of sunshine to everyone I meet, and if you were to ask anyone who knew me they’re be like, Melanie? Oh she’s so nice! I’d just prefer to be honest ray of sunshine looking out for the well being of others instead of selfishly guarding that tricky little label of being “nice”.
I know, I know, I know.
You’ve heard it all before, and those lame self help books are just not your style. You’re sick of people shoving positive thinking, meditation, and kale down your throat and you’ve just had enough of all the talking about having a fuller and healthier life without any real progress. You want action and results.
But what if the misconceptions about “motivational speakers” such as Tony Robbins (I’m calling him Tiny from now on) are incorrect? What if he’s actually an expert in bringing about peak performance in professionals and Joe Shmo alike, who’s making a huge impact in the lives of millions of people every day, and can actually help you with tools and tricks of his trade? For your own benefit, put away the negative self help bias and learn some of these tools that are easily applicable to real life if given them the proper attention. In this case, the tricks are about a subject that is dear to most of our hearts… Or maybe it isn’t.
MONEY… and saving the world… With that money.
This is only kind of an exaggeration.
Money: Master the Game is a monster book to read. It is 600 pages long. 600 PAGES?!??! Are you kidding me? On this point, I think Tiny could have benefitted from a really discerning editor, but if you’ve read it you will be much better off than if you haven’t, and probably thousands of dollars richer 30 years from now because of a beautiful thing called compounding that you can learn about in the book, or like, on the internet.
In the book you will learn things such as:
- The power of saving even a tiny portion of your paycheck over time.
- Financial myths such as the shocking fact that 96% of mutual funds don’t beat the market while simultaneously taking about 3% in fees, which amounts hundreds of thousands of your dollars. Better stick with Vanguard, provider of low fees and low cost index funds that consistently beat the marketplace.
- A low cost fiduciary service call Stronghold.
- Why you shouldn’t buy coffee every day. I’m pretty sure that’s a key point in every financial book ever written, ever. This one was especially applicable to me as a college student who loves Starbucks and isn’t proud.
- The All Seasons Portfolio: arguably the most important asset of the book, created by Ray Dalio. It succeeds in all financial climates and only lost about 3% at it’s lowest point in performance in 100 years..or something like that.
- How to create a strong income for future you with annuities, in a situation where you literally can’t lose money but can only gain a nice big future paycheck.
- How to balance securities and growth/risk in your portfolio.
- Interviews with 12 of the most important financial gurus in the world.
- http://www.swipeout.com. Check it out its awesome. I’m doing this now. Plus, I like even numbers.
The part of the book that really struck me was how Tiny pulled strings during its creation. First of all, if you buy the book your feeding something like, 50 families because all of the revenue is going to a fund called Feeding America, which is already going to be feeding at least 50 million families in 2015 because of Tiny. He opened the fiduciary services of Stronghold to the middle class and those less fortunate, coaxed the almost impervious All Weather approach out of Ray Dalio who only serves clients with millions of dollars at his own fund, and helped start http://www.swipeout.com, which programs your debit card so that whenever you use your debit it rounds the sale up to a dollar donates the difference to those in need.
The last chapters are also simply inspirational. Overly wordy, but optimistic and eye opening about the way the world is changing for the better. It’s obvious that we are entering a cyber age and that the technological advances are gaining speed EXPONENTIALLY. There’s some real sci-fi shit in this book if you make it to the end.
I wasn’t paid to tout the wonders of Tiny’s Money: Master the Game, I just think the financial freedom you can gain is well worth the 600 pages and that everyone should get the chance to benefit from this.
What a great read. This really opened my mind to some of the subtler ways the patriarchy takes shape.
This week everyone’s been talking about an article in the Economist explaining how men’s use of language undermines their authority. According to the author, a senior manager at Microsoft, men have a bad habit of punctuating everything they say with sentence adverbs like ‘actually’, ‘obviously’, ‘seriously’ and ‘frankly’. This verbal tic makes them sound like pompous bullshitters, so that people switch off and stop listening to what they’re saying. If they want to be successful, this is something men need to address.
OK, people haven’t been talking about that article—mainly because I made it up. No one writes articles telling men how they’re damaging their career prospects by using the wrong words. With women, on the other hand, it’s a regular occurrence. This post was inspired by a case in point: a piece published last month in Business Insider, in which a former Google executive named Ellen Petry Leanse…
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Mom: “God damnit I dropped my keys!”
Dad: “Michelle, do you really have to swear so much?”
Mom: “Yeah, well, whatever *grumble grumble*”
After this little spat I tactlessly pointed out the irony of Dad telling my mother not to swear (I get my bad habit from her) when just last week I’d shown her a rap song featuring Jay Z and Kanye and she’d scrunched her face up and declared indignantly “I just don’t understand why they have to swear so much!”
On this particular outing we’re all in a car coming back from the Sunday brunch I often spend with my parents , where I always seem to bring up pressing political issues (a little attempt at swaying my very conservative parents away from the more repressive of traditional values) when Dad started bemoaning our doomed generation.
Dad: “Everyone is so vulgar and the world is turned upside down! When I was a kid if anyone said any foul words in front of a woman they would get smacked upside the head.”
Me: ” Do you mean like saying, ‘do you talk to your mother with that mouth’? But I swear all the time, Dad.” (I really do, I have been told I have the mouth of a sailor, it’s kind of a problem at this point in terms of professionalism)
Dad: “That’s something that my dad used to say. Anyway, in today’s society women aren’t being respected by men, which is why they’re vulnerable and abused. And men didn’t used to behave around woman the way they do now. Women are being taken advantage of in those night clubs and bars, and constantly disrespected.”
Me: What I wish I’d said- “I don’t like when women are disrespected either, but we can take care of ourselves and are real people who don’t need to be put on a sort of ethereal pedestal. We like to swear too, and simply enjoy friendships with the guys we hang out with instead of being portrayed these magical unicorn creatures with delicate ears who can’t stand the though of a dick joke, that people seem to expect us to be. I’m not saying that we can’t be prim and proper if that fits our personality and who we strive to be, you do you, but these kind of societal expectations are a form of oppression that gets very old and perpetuates societal standards of how a girl should act. Plus, girls don’t hang around up in da club for the purpose of staying pure, or whatever.”
What I actually said- “Maybe those girls are happy with their lives?”
He is my dad after all.
Dad: “It used to be that little kids could play around town, run up and down the street, but now there are bad people everywhere. It all started with a funny little bathroom joke and someone rebelling against “the man” in the 60s. Now vulgar topics are being paraded around and every show has sex in it. Game of Thrones for Instance; you’d be crazy to let anyone under fourteen to watch that.”
Me: “It really depends on what you consider vulgar. And though you say we’re going backwards, look how far we’ve come with gay marriage having been legalized and our country demanding equal rights for men and women. Racism and sexism are still huge problems but we’ve taken enormous steps.”
This whole conversation reminds me of an argument from the comedian Whitney Cummings in the podcast The Tim Ferriss Show. Tim asked her about her what blue comedy is, and she basically said that she was sort of offended by the term. What it means is comedy that’s a little rough around the edges, or “dirty”, but she instead asks the question of why is sex still considered dirty and taboo. Almost everything in our lives revolves around sex in some way shape or form. We’re in a society that is obsessed with the topic of sex and yet, we still consider the act to be “vulgar”. I’m not saying kids under 14 need to be told about the topic… I remember when I was that age I probably would’ve found the nearest garbage can and ralphed if the subject of sex was brought up, or covered my years yelling “LALALALALA”. But why is the stigma still so real? Why would I think to cover my ears going “LALALA” if not for a subconscious societal bias that makes it seem wrong, somehow. Why are we such a guilt ridden society? Especially when we place the responsibility on girls to abstain from sex and feel shame, or less than someone else because we have actual desires? Like healthy human beings.
Dad: *looks a bit miffed* “I know times have changed, but I’m not here to argue with someone about what they do or don’t think is vulgar.”
I love my parents, I really do.
They are some of the finest individuals I know. Take my father for instance. Jeff is the real life version of old Mr. Bennet from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. You can rarely find him without a book in his hand, and anything he says is either loaded with the wisdom of a thousand books and hours of contemplation.
My mother is another wonderful human with a kind heart with a surprising fountain of worldly wisdom and lack of pretensions. She tells it like it is, is easy to laugh, and is a skilled counselor for any break up or tough time in life. I love how she literally doesn’t give a flying fuck what anyone thinks.
So needless to say, my parents are great, but they’re also of a much different than ideology than I, which is to be expected from 50 and 60 year old people born into Catholic families.
I am what I would describe as a Beyoncé feminist.
Someone who isn’t apologetic for being a strong and feminine woman, who celebrates her femaleness, and wears lipgloss and pretty skirts as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie would say, and who also happens to love and appreciate men instead of shunning them for any masculinity they may or may not posses. Men are often despised in feminist culture, but we as a society need to connect with what feminism really is: the belief in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. It’s about owning one’s sexuality while keeping in mind that you can be who you want, do what you want, who you want, and have dreams that don’t add up to a wedding ring and kids, provided that that’s the life you want. No shame for homemakers or women who value their kids over their career. Woman can make their own choices about what gives them joy, and as women we have enough needless and unwarranted guilt and shame piled on our shoulders. Just make sure that you’re doing what you’re doing not out of pretense, but out of passion, because our society will push you to do the former based on its own expectations of what you should be doing. Or you can have it all. Ladies, don’t settle.
This passage from the song ***Flawless by Beyonce Knowles sums my up my thoughts on the matter fairly well.
We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls
“You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man”
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes
We should all be feminists. I recommend watching Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s full speech on Ted Talks, it’s eye opening, and the podcast with Tim Ferris and Whitney Cummings (the latter because its just fun to listen to).
Hello, my name is Melanie, and I’m a survivor of the Ketogenic Diet anti carb craze. Completely kidding, but I did learn a really important lesson when I did the ketogenic diet for four weeks this summer. Well, actually many lessons.
Lesson 1: Keto-flu is a real two week necessary hell that you need to go through before you make any progress, and that that hell will eventually end (pending you drink water, keep your sodium, magnesium, and potassium count up and eat like 85% of your macros as fat).
Lesson 2: I learned that the Ketogenic diet is not always the fountain of health, energy, and youth that people purport it to be.
Granted, after reading The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Volek and Phinney I do realize that this way of life is sustainable and ideal for many, especially those with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, and a host of other issues, but after experiencing the diet for myself I also realize that it is not always ideal for those who are involved in high intensity athletics, like me, for example. I do CrossFit (what I like to call CrossFat among friends) three times a week, and it’s been murdering my body and soul. Even more than usual, which is saying something.
After doing some digging I came up with a blog post from one of my favorite bloggers, Robb Wolf, where he discusses this issue in great detail. The basic jist is that aerobic activity isn’t inhibited by the ketogenic diet because you’re not doing work that requires glycolytic energy, but when you’re doing high intensity work like CrossFit or Brazilian jiu-jitsu there is just no way that ketones and beta-oxidation of fats can replace good old fashioned carbs and glycogen in the muscles. He also describes a case of a professional Crossfit Games competitor who decided to try the ketogenic diet for three months but felt depressed and lethargic (much like I felt for the four weeks on the diet) and who’s PRs had suffered horribly form the diet change. Everything turned back around after she tailored her diet away from the ketogenic approach. The ketogenic diet might also be the reason for hormonal imbalance, which is a whole other topic that I’ll post a link for, but won’t go into for fear that I’ve already butchered enough bio for today.
That said, I saw quicker progress and fat loss than I ever had with any diet, which I can also attest to the fact that on the ketogenic diet you can’t mess up unless you want another two weeks of the miserable adaptation period. I’m experimenting with becoming as lean as possible while also having balanced hormones and nice muscle tone, which would be ensured by a fat metabolism. Muscles won’t be broken down through gluconeogenesis (when your body breaks down muscle proteins into carbs for energy) if your body doesn’t rely on carbs as energy. As a model/actress there’s great pressure to be slim, but I want to see if I can manage this life without sacrificing my health as so many of us seem to do. I always think of what my mother mentioned to me one day about how some models eat cotton balls just to feel full. I think that sort of thing is avoidable and this is my attempt at having my cake and eating it too, which is ironic to say the least….
I’ve switched over to a mixed paleo-esque diet of 25% carbs, 55% fat, and 20% protein, which has been great so far! I’m already feeling less like I’m swimming and my own personal mental fog swamp and more like the energetic human I’m accustomed to being 🙂
Here are some very interesting articles on the subject:
Have you ever stayed up until two in the morning, sprawled out on your couch and pondering whether or not to keep watching How I Met Your Mother until you can’t take the tease anymore? You then make the incredibly sacrificial decision to finish the entire series because you really need to know how the fuck Ted met their mother and have heard about how the ending of the show is the worst thing in the world, worse than satan and cheese-in-a-can, combined, and don’t care how shitty you feel the next day? Well I have. That’s me right now, and actually I’m loving it. I am in the middle of a transition in my life. Mainly the awkward summer after your first year of college where most people get a job and never talk to their high school friends again, or is that just me, ixnay the job. Anyway, lately I’ve been thinking about how many strange things I get involved in, and how it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea to write it all down in a possibly lucrative format, assuming people are interested in what I have to say. I have a pretty strange life, but I’m not complaining, and I’d like to share it with y’all. Now, if you dare, join me in the journey through my monkey mind, ranging from topics such as the song I wrote and recorded for a local independent film company I work with and the music video we’ll be taping soon, to the keto-genic diet that I recently ditched in favor of a more carb friendly approach, and some more philosophical pursuits such as my attempt at transcendental meditation and my ponderings of the day, usually based on the book I’m currently reading. Maybe I’ll even mention some of the things that I’m actually majoring in in college, like architecture and theatre. Who knows. It’s gonna be a fun ride folks. P.S. -The feature photo is a piece of artwork done by Eric Fortune called Day of Dissonance. He is a very skilled artist who’s work will pop up on my blog at unexpected moments. There’s no particular reason for the photo to be featured other than it’s obvious badassery.