FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Your Five-Step Guide to Telling Me Everything

Hello, pinecones and wasp nests! It’s Friday, which means it’s time for our weekly Friday Open Thread, in which we celebrate our weeks together, share stories and photos, and sometimes even reply to one another in the comments! We have a Friday Open Thread every week, which is great because sometimes I am struck with an inconsolable sense of loneliness. Plus, y’all get cuter and cuter every time, just like a baby goat or something. You know?


It’s been a long time since I had the chance to host our weekly web-based lovefest, and I’ve missed y’all like crazy. In between now and then was, of course, A-Camp, in which we all came to Mt. Feelings to find ourselves and potentially also a new partner. For me, the trip had a secondary purpose: in my six-hour flight to LAX, I was determined to complete The Desire Mapa self-help book I bought at Barnes & Noble in person a couple weeks back in a moment of what most call “weakness” and I call “crying in public.”

The Desire Map is about finding your “core desired feelings” and living for those instead of arbitrary markers of success and happiness like housing that pleases your parents and making your boss happy at work while your soul rots away inside of your body. Sounds good, right? It was. I cried on the plane, although I do that every time I fly on a plane, and then I showed up at 7,000 feet with a new sense of clarity. The best part? I didn’t even finish the god damn thing. Just imagine how enlightened I’ll be in a few more weeks once I’ve had the time to do it after this A-Camp Plague and all of my godforsaken emotions pouring out of my heart on the way to and from work every day to my own demise! I can’t hardly wait.

That's what she said, AMIRITE!

That’s what she said, AMIRITE!

The thing about self-help books is that we, as humans, are so bizarre that we need actual books by other humans who occasionally hold degrees in appropriate fields from accredited schools and universities to understand and improve ourselves. Barnes & Noble called the section “Self-Help and Advice,” but the back of The Desire Map tells all: “Self-Improvement,” right there on the bar code. But it seems so crazy to me that saddled next to this book are volumes on What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast and how to start your own morning routine, Being a Manager for Dummies and other chronicles to help us not piss off our coworkers, and even The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which always struck me as a strange choice in medium for people with no motivation. As much as I love envisioning a future where I cancel out moments of calm by repeating “I want to feel harmony” over and over again like an actual crazy person probably while rocking back and forth repeatedly, there’s a lot to be said for the self-help and self-improvement books that have yet to exist — as well as the weird shit that already does.

Imagine a world where self-help books actually covered the full spectrum of our dumb needs and fears. How fucking CRAZY would that be! Just One More Cigarette: Remedies for A Self-Made Sore Throat. Snooze or Lose: Succeeding In Your Sleep. Every Girl’s Guide to Coping with Workplace Stress and Relationships Without Turning Into an Antifeminist Bitch. Your Handy Dandy Guide to Illegal Drugs: When to Take Them, and How. One More Cup of Coffee Before I Go: Your Guide to Caffeine Addiction. Paying Your Bills in Two Steps or Less! How I Learned to Stop Procrastinating and Walk the Dog. 

For now, I’m sticking with The Desire Map. But in the meantime, I might take up a career as a self-help guru and amass a cult-like following of millions of people looking to turn their entire lives around in 200 pages. If I’m anything like Danielle LaPorte, they’ll even subscribe to my daily emails, which, word to Danielle LaPorte, change my life on a daily basis.

Especially the #TruthBombs.


As much as I love a good workbook and a mug of hot cocoa (shout out to @B), when I’m not sitting around tonight seeking out clarity in my once totally uncomplicated life I’m gonna be doing the only thing I love more – hanging out with you. Which brings us to the good part!

What self-help books are you reading, or have read, that particularly moved you? Have you ever read a self-help book and then discovered you were truly superior to most other human beings who had never examined the concepts of inner harmony at that level before? Maybe you don’t read self-help books because you have your shit figured out. If not, what else are you reading? Is it any different from what you weirdos were reading two weeks ago? If you’re not into books, that’s okay – I wanna know what you ate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, how cute your girlfriend and/or pet is, and when your date is showing up tonight to take your hot ass out for a drink. Share your stories of success and shame below, and if you post a photo of a fuzzy critter that you call your own I will top you with a photo of my fuzzy critter named Eli, who is the ultimate and the light, amen. Tell me anything! Show me everything! Bare your soul and then come back for more. And if you reply to someone else in the comments tonight, I may even eat some hummus in your honor.

Get it going, folks. I can’t help you if you won’t help yourselves.

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2. Copy the code and paste it directly into your comment.

3. Go forth and jam.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. I got this book from my mom where I can write in where I want to be in five years. I started filling it out after graduation but stopped when I got my now-dream job. I should pick it up again soon…

    Otherwise I’m reading articles and magazines about running since I’m training for a half-marathon in September and I’m completely terrified.

  2. I can’t stay focused on a self help book long enough to get all the way through it… perhaps there is a one page self help “book” for that?

    I can say that I am living out my desires having relatively recently come out trans, and what’s been helping me is writing about it ^_^

    Unique perspectives! Yay!
    #YesAllWomen Through the Eyes of a Transsexual

      • Thank you for reading!

        I’ve found new joy in sharing because of affirmation like this, so I’ll probably keep doing it ^_^

    • Well, actually… there is!
      Delivered From Distraction, by Edward Hallowell and John Ratey.
      Even if you have ADD/ADHD (like me), you might sit still long enough to devour this entire book (as I did).

  3. Thanks for the post! The War of Art is essential. If you’re a creative person, this book will change your life. It truly is a kick in the ass and helped me get out of my own way. Read that shit!!!

  4. I’ve had some awesome stuff happen lately and for once don’t feel like I need a reserved yet benevolent guidebook for life. I graduated college, have my first job interview since getting my degree, and just turned 23 and can thus use this gif!

  5. I have been reading The Myths of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky. It’s fascinating and talks about all of these cultural myths surrounding happiness like “I’ll be happy when I…” Fill in the blank. And most of them are wrong. Plus science!

    In the meantime, I am trying to get the emotional energy up to go to a bake sale benefiting the LGBT youth organization I volunteer for. I know I should go, but it is raining and I want to sit in a coffee shop and stare out the window sadly thinking about all the cute girls I haven’t met…knowing all the while there will be actual cute queer potentially available girls at the bake sale getting wet in the rain. Yet somehow that thought makes me feel exhausted…I am pretty sure that means I am not ready to date.

    • Here’s some advice from a person whose life motto is
      The Path of Least Resistance (or why work harder if you don’t have to?)

      Your eyes. You can stare at a cute girl(s) with your eyes whilst helping out in the rain at the bake sale. Don’t be invested in either the bake sale, really, or the girls. Your lack of investment will be alluring and mysterious and may attract you some attention, potentially good or otherwise. It is a risk you may want to take. I’d do it. I’ve never had ANY trouble at all multitasking (and I can’t multitask) checking out the cute girl while working. I can do this. You got this.

  6. Can I have a self-help book about how to enjoy life without money?
    I got a big chunk of money taken of my account, leaving it negative and had to go to my parents for food money… not fun.
    And then to top it off my bike got towed and I had to pay a fine.

    Someone cheer me up!

    • Ugh, I hear you with asking your parents for money. I was told that my gma is about to die (a long time coming, she’s been sick for too long and it needs to happen soon for her own good) so I need to buy funeral clothes. According to my mother this is necessary because none of my current clothes fit me. When I told her new clothes weren’t in my budget, she gave me money and a lecture on being responsible. Roar.

    • ugh i’m sorry mariana. i hate having things towed SO MUCH, it is my least favorite. i hope things look up soon!

    • Hi Mariana! Good luck with the brokeness – I definitely know what that’s like.

      I don’t know if you have a budgeting situation figured out, but I just started using a software program called You Need A Budget a few months ago and I really love it. (Subtle name, eh?) It’s pretty easy to use; I just plugged in all my financial info, set up my own budget categories, predicted how much I can spend in each category in each month, and go from there. It’s really flexible and easy to make adjustments as I go along, like if I notice that I’ve got $10 left in the transportation category and want to shift it over to food or whatever. I have the app on my phone as well so that I can, for instance, just look and see how much money is available in the household-items category rather than spending 5 minutes deliberating nervously about whether I can afford a roll of paper towels. (Speaking hypothetically, of course.)

      I have never used any other kind of budgeting software or app, so I can’t say how this one compares. But I *can* say that I’ve never felt so in-control of my financial situation as I feel right now, and it’s pretty awesome and empowering. Even though I don’t have much money, at least I know exactly what’s happening with it!

      If you happen to be a student, you can get a license to use the program for free for as long as you can provide proof of student status. For everybody else, I think there’s a month-long free trial period and then a one-time fee of $60 to purchase a license to use the program forever.

      Good luck, and I hope you can find some fun distracting things to do this weeked in spite of brokeness.

  7. Story of success: my lab passed its inspection on the first try for the first time in years. I convinced my bosses to treat us all to a happy hour for doing so.

    Story of shame: dropped my phone in a public toilet at the Indy 500. Even rice wouldn’t bring it back. This is the third phone of mine that’s come to such an end. I’m due for an upgrade on June 1st though, so I just have to hold on a little longer.

    I just finished Orange is the New Black…VERY different from the show. Much nicer to the other women. Also there’s a serious lack of sexytimes in the book, which is good in that I can pass it on to my mother to read without feeling awkward. Now I’m going to start on The Golem and the Jinni.

    As far as self-help books go, back in the day when I was not the happy person I am now, the people running the IOP program I did suggested that I work through the “You Can Heal Your Life” companion book. Depression is a bitch, CBT helps, this book complemented the CBT I did in the program. I still have the book as well as the notebook where I wrote all my responses and whatnot, as writing in a book just seems wrong. Also figured that by doing it that way if I wanted to work through it again, I could do so without interference from my old stuff. I’d recommend it, though it is kind of cheesy at times.

    I had an Urban Chestnut Schnickelfritz with my lunch. Shh. It was rull good. Then I came back to work and was sleepy, so I decided to go to the coffee shop, where lo and behold, a collaborator was in line. I started talking to him, and he bought my drink. Yahtzee!

    I’m avoiding reading about runoff transcription and RNA polymerases in phages right now, I’m sort of in over my head at the moment with my current work project, so I’m doing the mature thing and avoiding the problem!

    • for some reason i at first assumed an Urban Chestnut Schnickelfritz was an unfamiliar type of sandwich and got SO EXCITED to find out what it was

      • Hmm…I’m going to take that as a challenge, and try to make the best sandwich to go with that beer.

        It’s a good beer from a local (St. Louis) microbrewery.

  8. Both my gf and dog are super cute. SUPER. Today I continued my re-marathon (twice in 2 weeks so far) of Rookie Blue seasons 1-4 and got a haircut. Gail Peck is my spirit animal, and I’m convinced Chris Diaz is a lesbian. I’m pretty doped up on over the counter flu remedies so it could just be that…

    • Should state that I haven’t read anything since I handed my MA work in last week hence the Rookie Blue marathon. If anyone fancies some queer theory which I found super interesting and wrote about alot try “The Queer Art of Failure” by J. Halberstam. Made me feel better about being an underachiever…thats sort of self helpy…

  9. I’m an avid reader but have never read a self help book. (The nearest thing I read to any kind of self help thing is, which has been enormously helpful in figuring out how to person.) This week I’ve read a few Kindle books about lesbians, having decided that I wanted to read more stories that were a) set in contemporary Britain, b) about already-out adult queer ladies, and c) fluffy. It’s been nice.

    • What are those books? I’d be interested in reading them. I’ve been given a lesbian literature 101 list by my boss and her friend, and I’m looking to add more.

    • Tell me more about the fluff please! I’ve been reading a bunch of memoirs lately which makes for pretty dry reading for the most part; I could definitely do with an infusion of happy adult lesbians in my reading. Any recommendations? Bring on the vapid fluff ;)

    • I’d also love to hear the Lesbian books you are reading. I too need some ideas :)

    • OK, by popular demand I shall tell you all about the fluff! So far, the most enjoyable British fluff for me has been London Calling by Clare Lydon. I liked That Certain Something by Clare Ashton too. Have also read a couple of Kiki Archer’s recent offerings and found them a tad silly but still quite enjoyable because this week I wanted fluffy rather than serious. We’re not talking great literature here, but they were entertaining and all the titles I’ve mentioned were available for under £4 each in the Kindle Store.

      If anyone else has recommendations for fluffy queer books, please add them here! I’m on the lookout for more stuff to add to my list and we all need some vapid fluff sometimes :)

  10. I recently read A Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing which is not actually a guide, but a fiction book by Melissa Banks and was so quality.

  11. How I Learned to Stop Procrastinating and Walk the Dog. – I feel like I could write that one. Actually, learning to walk the dog helped me with my other procrastination issues.

    I didn’t get a promotion this week that I had been highly recommended to apply to by my manager- who was one of the people doing the interview, so that was a sad moment. It’s hard to dwell on that though because it is gorgeous outside and I took 3 different walks outside today while at work.

    • Damn, Brittany-I feel your pain. I had a very similar situation happen at my job this week. People should just really get how awesome we are, you know?

  12. Does The Artist’s Way count as a self help book? That book brought me back to sanity during my angsty teenage years. This evening I am making supper with my awesome roommate and we are probably going to get drunk and overindulge in junk food as we’re attempting to cut out all sugar and processed food (and alcohol!) from our diet for the next month starting Monday. Send help!

    • I did that for lent. Even though I am not religious…it was a nice 40 day challenge and honestly after 10 days totally bearable. Good luck. I’m still sort of on it but not as restrictively…i.e. I avoid processed food daily but have the odd chocolate bar on the weekend/PMS. No grain though. Feel loads better for it :) more energy better skin etc.

      • I’m hoping it helps me feel less tired. I’m not looking forward to the sugar withdrawal though…

        • The first 3 days sucked and after 10 I was perky and totally fine and much less lethargic. :)

        • My family is all gluten free (I swear everyone in this city is) and we have very little processed food. It totally helps with more energy and my sister does it because her skin has been flawless since she started doing it. I’m insanely addicted to sugar, but when I go through periods of not eating it I feel so much better. I hope it helps you!

  13. the best form of motivation for me when im in a rut is basically run around to my friends and family and go HALPPPPPPPPP, dramatically pose on a couch, and wait for sage advice.

    Seriously though, the best motivation can be found in the people around you and the reflection of yourself in them…or a book at b&n that I won’t buy bc its too expensive while sipping two starbucks lattes that I could have spent on said book.

    • “Seriously though, the best motivation can be found in the people around you and the reflection of yourself in them.” That’s some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. It reminds me of that quote about how we’re so much better when we’re loved you know? I don’t know this helped me a lot, I wasn’t really expecting like life changing advice in the open thread so thank you!

  14. I got my haircut! My shaggy mess is now freshly buzzedish.

    Also, I played two matches of badminton. This new haircut carried me to what was basically a win: I only lost by eight points.

    The best part of everything was finishing a book with pirates AND a librarian, a dream come true.

    NOW I’M PACKING FOR SUMMER. Going to camp in VT/Iceland and getting ready to hike a ton/work in a woodshop.

    This is me thinking about all the things that are good in life when very little felt good this week and I ruined everything ever.

    • Pirates AND a librarian? That sounds fantastic!

      Cheer up, buttercup! Hope summer brings better feelings.

    • Camping in VT is basically my life sometimes. Whereabouts are you going, if you don’t mind me asking?

      • I’m going around Rutland/Pittsford to an all girls camp for two months that I’ve been going to for years. While I’m there we do lots of trips on the LT/AT all over VT.

        • That sounds pretty awesome! I live about an hour north of Rutland, in Vergennes (technically through Vergennes but nonetheless), though I rarely ever go south from here. I think I took ACTR and connected down there once. But if you’re ever around the area and/or need suggestions for places to go, I’ve got tons of local knowledge between me and my friends and coworkers!

        • I live like, right nearby from where you’re talking about but why have I never heard of such a camp?! Hope you have a good time. The weather here is finally getting better.

    • We kind of hide off in the forest so maybe that’s why you’ve never heard of it? The roads are named after our camp and our brother camp. I’m glad the weather is getting better! Last year there was a period of time where it rained a ton and the LT was literally just a river, the hiking was madness.

      • Yeah, we just had a torrent last week and downtown Rutland WAS a river. People were posting pics on FB with the water about half way up their tires in traffic!

        • Wow, it sounds just like here in Boulder! In September we had the 100 year flood and the streets were well and truly rivers, some were completely gone. The road was literally turned into a three ft deep canyon on the road next to mine. People in the mountains had to be airlifted out. Yesterday we had a crazy rain and the Boulder creek is flowing down the paths and the streets had an insane amount of water.

        • Hello fellow fellow Vermonter!

          Happy to report only sporadic rain up in my parts. But as the adage goes, “If you don’t like the weather in VT, wait 15 minutes.” Also, the 5 mile road coming in to where I work/live has one part that is always in danger of flooding. And being right on the lake means our lakefront operations sometimes have issues too. Gets crazy with all the events we do down here.

    • I love your definition of winning at badminton. This is how I play sports, too. When I ran my first (and only, so far) half-marathon, my goal was to finish in less than an hour after my super-fit runner friend, who was also running the same race. And I did it! Only 53 minutes behind, for the win!

  15. I have never read a self help book because that is every book to me. Reading makes me feel good so when rough times come I read every book I can find.

    • i know exactly what you mean, but i still think “notes to myself” was the best accidental self-help book of all time. i think it’d be qualified as one, though. except no workbook. just excerpts from some dude’s journal about taking it one day at a time. nothing was the same.

      • Hmm that sounds like something I’d be down for. I need books for the summer so I’ll have to add it.

  16. I’ve only ever read one self-help book that actually could change my life… And the prospect was so terrifying that I quit reading it as soon as I realized.

    • this sounds like the sort of thing i would do and in fact is maybe what i am doing right now seeing as once i reached the ‘core desired feelings’ section i was like NAHHH I’M JUST NOT IN THE RIGHT MOOD and never picked it up again. but this weekend! i promise!

    • Yes! This has happened to me with almost every self help book I’ve read. I start out all gung ho and then I hit a part where I’m either forced to deal with the crux of the matter or not and down the books goes, for a while anyway.

  17. This self help epidemic is effecting a sizable amount of you. Fight back, I say. You are not a quitter.
    Rehab is for quitters.

    Take a load off and put something in your mouth, something drinkable or chewable, like nutritious food or the nails on your hand, ponder about it and then do nothing. If nothing else you may find yourself relaxing.
    This is all great advice.

    Break up this sort of duty with greater and less pressing freedoms such as work, school schedules, middling health concerns, and relationships, large life decisions and precarious financial pressures. Above all, be committed to being nonchalant and casual about your daily timetable and your five year plans. Rome didn’t get built in a day, so no hurry. Good things take time. Improvement is for whingers. Acceptance and self love, lots of self love, is where its at.

    – Just a few ideas.

  18. Everything I am reading at the moment is related to my very long to-do list that needs to be completed before next Friday. So, nothing fun and everything stressful. However I DID get to hang out with five kittens last Sunday. Proof is below.

    I wanted to adopt this lil baby so bad, but I am in no place to be responsible for a living creature. (Barely surviving adulthood myself!) Anyway, I am in the home stretch of my first year in my grad program. I just need to keep my chin up and somehow simultaneously keep my nose to the grindstone.

  19. Are those Chicken Soup for the Soul books self-help? I read a bunch of them when I was in middle school. There was one called Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul and there was a story about a cat that made me cry once.

    • I’ve never read any of those Chicken Soup for the Soul books, so I can’t say anything about them. I can say that my ex-girlfriend got Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul from her grandmother and we both laughed about that because she is not a very romantic person at all.

    • There is a box in my basement that holds every Chicken Soup for the Soul book you can possibly imagine.

    • DUDE I LOVED CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL. (sorry, I just tend to call everyone dude.) But I don’t know honestly what kind of life I’d be living if I didn’t read some Chicken Soup. They’re still actually relevant to today and I think it’s a good way of showing people hope and love. And also reality.

  20. I’ve never really read a self help book; I feel like it’s probably a good idea. Anyone know a good one that’s aimed (at least in part) at depression sufferers?

    This weekend, I hope to be watching some of the friendly soccer matches leading up to the world cup (from the comfort of my couch) and also attending cooking demos/eating all the food by some great chefs at the food and wine fest of my city. It’s gonna be good.

    • oh my god i think TRUCKEROO might be happening here where all the food trucks gather and shower me in love / food. what city are you in?

      • love / food should be a thing; it’s definitely a thing in my life.

        I’m in the beautiful city of Cape Town :) Where really all our food related events are just artfully disguised opportunities to drink a lot of wine / wine related events.

        We however have NO TRUCKEROO; food trucks have kind of just started becoming a thing here. Is it awesome? It sounds pretty awesome.

        • I WANTED to go to the Bacon fest lastnight AND the GFAWS but I’m sick in bed instead. Yay me.

    • CBT and the “You Can Heal Your Life” companion book helped me with depression. Super cheesy at parts, but did end up helping a bit.

  21. I read Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown a couple months ago and watched a bunch of videos of her on youtube, which really helped me feel better about myself and stop destroying myself with perfectionism. She talks a lot about how to deal with shame, and I really appreciated that she doesn’t make it seem easy. I don’t trust self-help books that claim to have magical solutions that will make life easier.

    Story time! This happened while I was giving a violin lesson yesterday:

    10 year old student: Can I fix your hair?
    Me: Ummm… ok?
    student: *plays with my (short) hair* “Now you look like a boy! I can’t make you look like a girl… How do I make you look like a girl?”
    Me: Why does it matter? I don’t mind.
    Student: But what if a girl comes up to you like *giggles and flips her hair*?
    Me: *smiles* What makes you think I would mind? I mean, I would if she did that because she thought I was a boy… Now play this again.

    She is very fixated on my being a “tomboy.” I’m trying to show her that the heteronormative gender binary is dumb while also hopefully getting her to play in tune. Her playing is improving; no idea if the other part is working.

    • whisper in every child’s ear “it’s all bullshit and someone made it up to torture you inside.” always worked for me when i was in childcare.

      JK. but seriously.

    • Three cheers for this story! And the tip about the books that help with perfectionism!

      There’s a teen in my life that has been totally brainwashed by the gender binary and is struggling with issues of sexuality and identity all at the same time. I’m finding it very difficult to have certain conversations.

  22. There is probably a self-help book out there for graduated and un/underemployed no-longer-students going through a quarter life crisis at the lack of jobs &etc out there. That is the book I would read when I’m not rereading and editing my cover letter for the masses of online applications that probably will result in nothing.

    However, connections got me two separate discussions (drinks and a phone call) with people in the industry so maybe these women will think I’m hilarious, totally employable, and “I definitely have my shit and life together” and hire me out of solidarity and I can stop literally living off ice cream from work.

    • i believe the correct self-help book for your quandry is actually called “netflix.” have you heard of it? it’s an anthology. works every time.

  23. i have no opinions on self help books. but here’s the thing: we’ve been off the mountain for 4 days and I still miss everyone like crazy and can we just go back to camp please please please i really miss everyone so much okay. also once for christmas my gay aunt gave me a self help book by a black woman airforce pilot and i never picked it up because it was a self help book even though she’s probs pretty cool.

  24. I just stocked up on Amy’s burritos and booze so I won’t have to leave my house for at least three days. That’s all I really have to share.

  25. This week, I channeled my inner inqueerior designer and turned my bed room into a full living space.

    Turned a bed into a couch
    Couch bed with a ton of throw pillows on it

    Set up a low key entertainment center (plus fridge because BEER)Messy computer wiring and oh hey a fridge!

    The queerest room entry ever
    Glorious rainbow flag protecting my room from outsiders

    And the queerest room divider ever
    Rainbow sheer curtains protecting my sleepspace

    If you try real hard you can see my sleepy-sexy-time-area beyond the curtain. Or at least it would be if I had someone to sexy time with.

    Rural queer life is the struggle y’all.

      • Thanks! I thought if I threw my leather jacket on and played the music of a lesbian songbird as loud as my speakers go, the girl of my dreams might just magically appear. No such luck. Perhaps the bar is a little more realistic. And so I queerly go where many have gone before.

    • Boomboxes playing the music of lesbian songbirds and “inqueerior designers” are my two favorite things today; if I were to come up with something like “inqueerior designer” I would probably high five myself multiple times.

      • Ngl, I definitely had a “Damn, that’s good” moment with inqueerior designer. Puns are basically my life. But lesbian songbird is totally stolen from the Gorburger episode with Tegan and Sara (in which he calls them “lesbian twin Canadian songbirds”).

  26. “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron absolutely changed my life. Really super good stuff when @ a breakup. Otherwise also really super good.

  27. I finished my first year of uni yesterday and today I had a great meeting with my personal tutor who is the best in the entire world, plus I met up with an old school friend and it turns out he and another school friend are both possibly bi! I felt so alone in my queerness for 6 whole years of secondary school and junior college so the number of queers from my old school is giving me hope :D
    On the other hand, a bunch of job-related shit is going down in the next few days: I’m starting a part-time work placement (2-3 flexible-ish days per week) tomorrow, but a job I’m applying for is having assessments and trainings which partially clash with what are supposed to be my 2nd and 3rd days on the work placement, so if I reschedule stuff when I’ve just started the placement I feel like I won’t be off to a good start, but I have to if I want a shot at getting the other (actual-salary-paying, as opposed to travel-expenses-paying) job :( That (and possibly also the fact that my period has just started) is making me stressed and upset enough that I’m crying at gifs of dogs on Tumblr tonight, and dumping my problems in an AS comment (instead of telling someone IRL, because there is no one I know IRL who I can talk to about this)

    • well, guess what. you can talk to me about it.

      first of all, CONGRATS! second of all, good choice on the dog pics. also, if i were you, i’d call the placement folks and explain that i have a conflict but would really love some flexibility. if not, ask if you can take unpaid leave – something responsible?

  28. Not really self help bit I’ve been reading through online forums for ex-cultists and I have realized the immediate need to gtfo of my mother’s house. I’ve been making lists of possible escape plans.

  29. i spent a full 48 hours listening to taylor swift and crying during “last kiss” because i miss camp but don’t worry, everyone, i’ve moved on to best coast and tove lo so now everything is gonna be TOTALLY FINE

    • So today on Autostraddle, not once, not twice, but THRICE, I gave a thumbs-up to a comment and as I did so the votes went up by three instead of one. There are two possible explanations and I love them both:
      – I am super-synced with my queer compatriots across the universe today
      – I have unlocked the Next Level of Autostraddle and now get a triple vote.

      • Oh wow I awkwardly posted my comment as a comment on someone else’s comment do I get leveled down for this?

  30. Creating magic by lee cockerell. I think he was a former vp at Disney and it’s all about leadership but the Disney way :-)

    This week I’m still nursing my broken heart from my unrequited crush moving away.

    But on the plus side I’m drinking hot choc and re watching doll house :-)

  31. I think someone should write a self-help book about how to survive the first week after A-Camp. It would have help me this week. After camp in October it was difficult to re-adjust, but nothing compared to this time. I felt like I broke down at least daily trying to survive post-Camp life and it being the end of my quarter at school. So if anyone has any great inspiring helpful ideas on how to cope after A-Camp I think you should start writing that book!

  32. I started watching Lip Service. I am 3 episodes in, and really digging it.

    On a side note I found out today, there is queer/lesbian group consisting of trophy wives and rich polyamorous women in the SoCal area. It includes typical drama you find at any party or event where one sees their ex in the social group they both are part of. It sounds like it could be an interesting show for Bravo, but I don’t their demographic would be into it.

  33. My girlfriend of eight months and I decided to end our relationship. It was amicable. We just wanted different things in life and we both realized continuing to see each other wasn’t going to get either one of us closer to our individual goals. So while it was sad, it was a lot better than letting the relationship go past its expiration and end with more bitterness and resentment. Strangely, I feel relieved and hopeful about the future.

    • i’m sorry! i’m in the amicable-break-up boat right now, too. mine was a little (lot) less mutual, though, so i’ve been struggling to reconcile my feelings with the sound logic and caring intentions involved in the break-up. so far, my feelings are pretty disinterested in hearing reason (and a lot interested in crying a ridiculous amount), but i’m hoping they’ll come around soon.

      ANYWAY. glad you’re feeling all relieved and hopeful! :)

      • Thanks, cb. I have good friends to talk to about it and they’ve been awesome and understanding. I was even thinking of going out tonight but decided to just chill instead. Then I saw my ex and her straight BFF post a selfie on fb having drinks at a bar, and I felt like shit. I thought, “this is her way of saying ‘fuck you, ex, I’m out and having fun while you’re forever alone online” and I almost felt like I had to throw on some fierce clothes, go to a club and take a counter selfie. But then I figured that it probably wasn’t meant to be an “FU” to me (her friend loves taking selfies)and I need to calm down. I’ll go out when I’m ready to do so.

        Yeah, it’s hard to deal with those less-than-mutual amicable breakups. No matter which role you have in it, you have feelings. Feelings of wondering why they are doing this to you, why this is supposed to be better for you in the long run (even if your mind is saying that it is), and feeling that you aren’t good enough. The flip side is when you don’t want to hurt the other person because you do care for them, but you realize it’s time to end things. It sucks. Big hugs to you.

        • thanks! you definitely hit the nail on the head as far as the dynamic at play. i admitted to a friend earlier today that i’m feeling angry and bitter – not at my ex, exactly, but at the unfairness of the situation and life not working how we wanted, and it was really liberating. i wish we could just fast-forward to being able to be great friends again.

          glad you’ve got good friends helping you through it. that helps loads. not to wish a bad time on your ex, but pics can be pretty deceiving. i went out last night to try to distract myself, and i regretted it immediately. if anyone had wanted to, though, i’m sure i coulda taken a perky enough picture. it’s good you could talk yourself down from that initial unhappy reaction. :)

          • It’s good you’re able to separate the bitterness about the situation from your ex.It’s more complex and harder in some ways than being bitter at a person, but you recognize it was the situation rather than the person and you can learn from that. And over time, your feelings will come around to what your thoughts are saying and you can be your awesome self.

            One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to realize that other people are not thinking about me nonstop. They have their own shit to worry about and things to do, and their actions don’t revolve around me. Reminding myself that people just like to take selfies to commemorate a good time helped keep me from doing something stupid out of spite, like a selfie war. Instead, what I will do is remind myself that there were compelling reasons for us to break up, that I’ll be fine, and in a couple weeks, my city will hold its Pride Festival and I’m going to be part of a group in a march. I’ll have a purpose for being there and get to meet some cool queers for friendship, solidarity and fun. Then I’m going to an anime convention and I’ll hang out with good friends, cosplay my favorite character on a panel, and be in lots of pictures. IF this is a selfie war (lol), she might fire the first shot, but I’ll come back with an impressive volley.

        • thanks for the mini pep talk. :) this made me smile: “over time, your feelings will come around to what your thoughts are saying and you can be your awesome self.”

          i feel ya on the importance of remembering that everyone else has their own lives to worry about! it’s definitely a thing i have to remind myself of sometimes. the world is a much nicer place when you don’t let yourself sit around fixating on yourself all the time, though.

          hope your upcoming events are super fun! they definitely sound like a good time and should make for some quality selfies, haha.

  34. it’s Friday, but it’s not MY Friday, cause (intern) zookeeping is like that.

    it’s Friday and I’m wishing that my girlfriend was NOT away until Wednesday because I would really like to be having some bonding time *cough* my face between her legs *cough* with her.

    it’s Friday and I’m on autostraddle so that I can sink into a safe and queer space(thank God, kittens, and all the powers that be) and get out of the sad sea of heteronormativity (that’s a word now) that I’ve been swimming in, sadly, all day long. And my mother’s presence is a bit grating because she only supports my activity and identity if it looks heteronomal. And because she is watching FOX news on this Friday evening.

    it’s Friday and I’m praying that my mom will go get pizza soon because my house is out of edible food and my stomach acid is eating me.

    it’s Friday and I’m happy to feel home at autostraddle because sad little suicidal me was very sad and depressed all day, but this makes me feel better :)

    happy Friday!

    • I’m so sorry about the Fox News-watching mother. I partially dread my annual trip up North to see my family because mine has it on Fox all day, every day.

      • I commiserate with you (((hug)))

        she’s super excited about the “how to argue with a liberal” portion they will be doing tonight……. uuuughhh….

        *please don’t mention gay marriage, FOX, just leave me alone*

        I don’t get why we can’t have a movie. no nice things for me.

        • If you have netflix and headphones, watch some super gay movies or comedies to keep the Fox poo at bay. (((hugs back)))

  35. i need a self-help book that tells me how to deal with all the feelings i’ve experienced in the past ten or so days– & still am experiencing.

  36. i am going to a queer beyonce themed party tonight for pride, and im attempting to be less anxious about it

  37. I’ve been reading/trying to read “will I ever be good enough? Healing the daughters of narcissistic mothers”. It’s actually extremely good and helpful but after a bit things just got way too real for my comfort zone, so I’m taking a (four month!) break.

    My week was all ups and downs. At first it was great, I felt serene and in a really happy place. Then I opened myself up a bit and put myself out there to someone I’m kind of crushing on, and this is the first person I’ve been crushing on since I was in high school (seriously!). We were texting and starting to make plans to go to the opera and everything was wonderful…and then she dropped the boyfriend bomb into our wonderfully queer duo time. So now I’m stuck having to be polite and nice with some guy I don’t know and don’t want to know, and on top of that having to find another plus one and I don’t have a clue who that would be. Anyone else had to deal with this?

    So I was fine for a while, then super duper, unbelievably happy and then disappointed. But I’m so glad to be sitting in bed right now, all nice and cozy this friday night, with all you wonderful people!

    • i totally did the exact same thing with that book! i still havent finished it.
      sorry about your crush though, that sucks. i would probably take my best friend as emotional support and to ensure that i have a great time anyway!

      • I would love to, and this probably sounds very strange but I don’t have a BF. :(
        I’m kind of new to the area and don’t know anyone and also coming out of a very isolated downer phase of not having anything to do with the world.

      • I know! It’s funny but since I first met her the word boyfriend just never entered my consciousness. It never occurred to me that that was a possibility. I want to live in a wonderful fairy land populated by queer women only!!!

        • Don’t we all!! If you have any friends, male or female, who dig opera, ask them to go with you. Just enjoy the opera and know that I envy you for seeing one. It’s been years since I’ve been.

    • I’ve read “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” It took me a while, too. Lots of feels in there. Also “When You and Your Mother Can’t Be Friends” by Victoria Secunda. Sigh.

  38. So today on Autostraddle, not once, not twice, but THRICE, I gave a thumbs-up to a comment and as I did so the votes went up by three instead of one. There are two possible explanations and I love them both:
    – I am super-synced with my queer compatriots across the universe today
    – I have unlocked the Next Level of Autostraddle and now get a triple vote.

  39. I’m just feeling incredibly sad and #FOREVERALONE this evening. I came out to my parents and younger brother yesterday, and felt incredible, free. But today it’s really hitting me how sad I’ve made my mom and I can’t help but feel badly. Then I feel bad for also not feeling bad, if that makes sense. I also feel incredibly inspired by and loved by all of the new friends I now have, whom I met at A-Camp. But I wish they were right here with me and not so spread across the country/ world! I wish I never had to leave A-Camp. I’m having the hardest time back in the real world. So now I’m going to cry some more and watch Imagine Me & You or But I’m a Cheerleader. Possibly both movies one after another, if I get real crazy…

  40. Is there a self-help book for You Just Spilled a Big Dollop of Bleach on Your Parents’ Deck and Swiftly Pulled The Doormat Over It and are Now Planning to Creep Out of the House in the Small Hours to Desperately Splash Some Stain On It?

  41. Do Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work count as self-help? Because I finished the latter earlier this week and it convinced me to make a safe place for myself ( and also write more since I’ve only got a day left in the program and everything feels like it’s kind of falling apart, and I’m not sure if it’s falling in a way that everything can be built into something better.

    (I also count memoirs as self-help so Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi helped me a lot the past two years, especially in the choice to get help because I didn’t want to be “sick” anymore, and recently Ariel Gore’s “The End of Eve” is speaking church to me in a way where it’s so simple but it must’ve carved a place in my heart because I can’t stop thinking about it.)

    (Also one of my therapists recommended “Far From The Tree” by Andrew Solomon, it’s a book on identity and it’s thick as shit and I’m only on page 16 so far but it’s really good and helping me already)

    And I had a really good week even though I made some of it bad. My dad and I had a really good talk about sexuality and religion and all that good stuff and I didn’t feel icky afterwards like I usually do, I actually felt pretty hopeful and calm all around. My friends are back home (one has been in France for a year and I finally got to see her!)and I’ve left my house a record ten days in a row and like interacted with people and made appointments and did what I set out to do mostly and have been told that I’ve helped people I worry about and care for, and told the truth more often than not so it’s good. I did SI and that’s not so great, but it’s okay and it’s not as bad as it used to be. I got the new Ms. Marvel comic (cause AS recommended it), got lots of hugs and love from people I care very much for, walked in the rain for a few hours, started possible planning for college, got books, wrote, and was reminded just how gay I am and how crushes pretty much never go away. So good week overall I think.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!

  42. i’m not really a self-help book reader; i get annoyed with anything too cheesy, and i’ve convinced myself that all of them are like that, and who needs help anyway! because clearly. plus i prefer to learn all things through fiction.

    i did have a phase of being pretty into the blogs Unfuck Your Habitat and Adulting, but that’s been a while. or, does reading Oh Joy Sex Toy count as self-help? pretty sure it should.

    also! unrelated: if anyone feels like some real time chatting, there are currently real live actual people in and you should join us!

  43. I’m finally home from a long day’s work and I’m so glad I can now take my bra off and relax.

    Lately though, I’m struggling finding a way to come out to my little sister. It’s funny kinda. She has so many gay friends, but when I say the word “lesbian” she makes this face. You know the one. I don’t want her to look at me in that way. I almost came out to her when we attended LBC Pride together a few weeks back and I even mentioned to her that I saw someone who I never thought I’d see again while we were having drinks in a lesbian bar (my way of hinting) but nope. I just can’t get those damn words out. :\ – there’s prolly a self help book for this. Haha. Ah.

    • if you find that self help book, pass it on to me when you finish! feel your pain–i need to come out to my little sisters, too.

  44. Yeah, I actually thought watching But I’m a Cheerleader would be the self-help that I needed this evening, but I’m up to the sex scene and it’s only making me cry more!

    Ugh. Post-A-Camp is hard.

  45. I actually don’t have a show and tell Metal Earth thingy today because 1) I LOST TRACK OF WHAT DAY IT IS BECAUSE MT FEELINGS. I swear, you get stuck in some queer space time continuum up there!! REAL time doesn’t resume until you’re a couple thousand feet down 2) I worked today and yesterday and I was sick because I’m pretty sure my body didn’t have alcohol to keep it’s immune system up to date 3) I DONT HAVE METAL EARTH KITS =(

    I miss everyone on the mountain and I miss giving out fist bumps to people. Also the stories people tell me!! I’m also a little sad because I lost my Swiss Army knife in eagle on THE LAST NIGHT because it helped me make friends i.e “Who has a bottle opener?” BOOM. I think it got scared of being in my pocket because we all started jumping and going BANANAS over the music ♫♪♫♪

    • Vinzzz I just wanna say you are a beautiful human being and I wish you were my BFF IRL! Your weekly dose of awesomely positive attitude does me wonders!

    • I MISS YOUUUUU ugh it did feel like some sort of time warp-y thing, didn’t it?? Like it feels like it was way too short, but also when i look at my calendar, i’m like, “That all happened a week ago??” haha

      -fist bump-

  46. My life is kind of excellent at the moment. Yesterday I finished a huge work project which means the next six months will be much less busy and stressful. I’m going to celebrate by dyeing my underarm hair purple. And tonight I’m attending the opening night of a kink photography exhibition with my partners.

  47. Is there a self help book for how not to always feel not queer enough?

    Basically my life. Yes I’m in a totally blah mood :(

    • Yes, one that gives advice to get other queer women to make eye contact with you. Not necessarily smoldering, “let’s get it on” looks, but just simply, “I see you, fellow queer lady.” Because sometimes, even with my short hair, bow tie and oxfords, I feel invisible to other queer women.

  48. Well I’m going to make sure I’m in New Zealand next feb for The Big Gay Out. this inspired me:

  49. I have a second interview for my dream job (running an afterschool program for low-income children) on Monday and I’m insanely excited. I’m almost afraid to think of how much it would change everything.

    Also, here’s a picture of my cat nieces (the phrase for pets that belong to your siblings but you love them like they are yours). This was taken after the orange one came back from a few days missing- now she is pregnant and I get to adopt the first kitten!

  50. I graduated this week and I’m going to try making spinach and feta pastries, and I just got the new Lumberjanes!

    On the not so awesome side of things Storme DeLarverie passed away and nobody’s talking about it and it’s making me sad.

  51. I’ve decided to stop lurking to say that I finally came out to my best friend! But the thing is I totally wasn’t planning to except…. She came out first! Apparently we’re both super gay and have just been to scared to say anything. It feels so great to finally tell someone. :)

    • Yay!!!!! That’s so awesome for both of you! Not only you don’t have to worry about coming out any more, but you now have a gay best friend who will actually understand things you’re going through. I think you just won the coming out lottery. Congratulations. And yes I’m a little jealous because I felt like the only lesbian in the world for about a year after coming out and it sucked, but I’m mostly really happy for you that you don’t have to go through that!

  52. Listening to the podcast Rachel and Miles X-plain the X-Men is helping me be happy, if that counts!

  53. So last year I had been caught up in a mess of some sort of first semi-relationship I ever had, with a lot of feelings and ruin. And I graduated college and felt free and scared and wondering what would come next. So that Summer I would go to the library and check out self help books and come home and read in my hammock and I’d calm down and realize that my life was pretty fantastic in so many ways.

    Some people scoff at the self-help genre, but maybe it’s mostly because we’re taught to maintain a facade of emotional strength.. like animals in the wild that act as physically robust as they can– it’s a survival mechanism that ensures no one can see our weaknesses, that we won’t get taken advantage of, that there are parts of ourselves to be ashamed of and hid. Which like, it’s probably not the most effective way to heal & grow.

    even Xena has a sensitive side

    Point being: That summer I read some neat things, I read things that made me think. And I remember in one of those many moments when I was alone, I had this revelation: that there are people I have yet to meet, and things I need to do, and it’s all just waiting for me.
    So I signed up for A-Camp 4.0. And my intuition was right, because I’ve found a lot so far. Yay for A-camp, yay for new friends, yay for feelings, yay for good life stuff

  54. Autostraddle Friday is usually my Saturday, and then I had work yesterday. I am way late to this party and scribbling down self-help titles. I love a good self-help book. There’s a lot of crap out there, but I trust y’all straddlers to have good taste.

    My two favorites are Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way (which I have started several times but never finished, but I am going to complete it this summer or so help me), Dear Sugar/Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things (which I read after a terrible break-up/exile from a cultish friendship), and Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project (which is sort of hokey and often annoying because she seems completely unaware of her class privilege sometimes, but still worth reading).

    Lucky me, the bookstore with the biggest English-language selection in the country just got even bigger and they’re having a sale this weekend. Guess where I’m going this afternoon?

  55. I moved into a summer sublet on Friday (I’m subletting from a friend from grad school), and in his/my bookshelf in the bedroom, there are 3 of the greatest self-help books for people like me: “Finishing the Hat”, “Look I Made a Hat”, and “The Seven Basic Plots”. JACKPOT!

  56. I’ve been working with meditation practices lately, and two wonderful books I’ve read are “Everyday Zen: Love and Work” by Charlottle Joko Beck, and “The Places That Scare You: A guide to fearlessness in difficult times” by Pema Chödrön.

  57. my long distance partner is arriving tomorrow (first visit since december of last year!) and i just started preparing an elaborate pasta situation in my slow cooker. so obviously the correct thing for me to eat is whole grain crackers and two different kinds of salsa. i am excited but also feel way behind on my to do list and i really hope this trip doesn’t completely fuck me over academically.

    • not doing a lot in terms of self-help other than the fact that i attended a vinyasa yoga class for the first time last weekend. i’m more familiar with hatha and not the most flexible human, so it was a challenge. i did enjoy it though. i need to get a bit more serious about yoga.

  58. I REALLY like self-help books and I’m glad someone else does too! “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff” is pretty good. Best to read when you need it rather than all in one sitting. “Find Out Who’s Normal And Who’s Not” sucks! Very disappointing and a waste of time and money.

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