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It’s 7 pm on a Sunday night and I’m already drunk. Fingerprints clouding the glass surface of the wine glass I’m gripping so affectionately. Box of wine not out of hand’s reach. This buzz was something I’ve been craving all day, and no matter how much I drink my glass doesn’t seem to be getting any less full. My soft skin flushed from the tinge of cabernet making its way through my bloodstream, caressing each and every dark corner of my insides. Kissing me in places I forgot existed until I felt your mouth on them.

I drink too much sometimes, and tonight my phone isn’t lighting up with your name so I’m drinking just a little bit more.

I already regret writing this.

I’m thinking about you and all the things I’d give to be laying in your bed once more. To be getting high off your smell. To be picking your brain and hanging onto your every word. Talking about what happens after death. Listening to the stories behind each of your tattoos. I’m not a selfish person, but when it came to listening to you I wanted to hear everything you had to say. I wanted as much as I could get. I could have listened to you talk for hours.

I’m thinking about how your green eyes would look so deeply into my brown ones, making me blush and giggle and bury my face in your chest. I’m thinking about your smooth fingertips on my skin igniting a fire. Each one burning brighter than the last. Each one burning just a little bit longer.

That’s how it was when an Aries and a Leo came together. Flames would immediately ignite and burn in rage and anyone not smart enough to shield themselves from the heat would be left burned. This scene was home to me, my skin just barely healed from the last fire it came into contact with.

See, the smoke from the flames was so familiar to me. Its smell relentlessly clinging onto my hair and skin. Just like the smoke from your cigarette. American Spirits. Light blue.

A cigarette. That was how it all began with us anyway.

I was just a little bit too drunk, though that’s nothing unfamiliar with me. All bloodshot eyes and slurred words. And you were there. All green eyes and smile. At the right place at the right time. Or maybe it was never the right time for us. That’s something I’m still trying to figure out. Maybe in another dimension, it would have been right for us. Maybe if there wasn’t a her. Or maybe this thing was never supposed to make it past empty promises and heavy breathing in the dark.

You handed me a cigarette, we exchanged numbers, and before I could even fully make it through my front door you were telling me to stick around. Asking me to take my chances with you because you “weren’t like anyone else.”

And just like that you found your way into my orbit and flipped my world upside down.

And you were right. You weren’t like anyone else. You had me turning into a puddle within hours. Getting butterflies every time I saw your name light up on my phone.

And I gave into you. I did things I promised myself I wouldn’t do. We spent our first night together watching a movie in your bed. And I had every intention of things ending there. With my head on your shoulder and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind playing on your tv. But then you started kissing me and kisses turned into touches and for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to say no. You climbed on top of me and I still couldn’t say no. I couldn’t stop you. I didn’t want to stop you.

My hair was balled up in your fist and your lips were on my neck. Then my collarbones. Then down there. Then it was just skin on skin and heavy breathing and I wasn’t sure how things had gotten to that point so quickly but something about it felt so damn right and I couldn’t stop you. I didn’t want to stop you.

And I loved every second of it.

And each night was the same. Putting on a movie which would turn out to be nothing more than background noise trying so desperately to be heard over our conversations. Our words pouring out faster than the wine you kept pouring into our glasses.

I learned things about you, and you me. Our thoughts collided so beautifully and escaped through the crack in your blinds into the darkness of the night. All warm breath fogging up the cold air. Making their way up to the stars and painting the night sky in all our hopes and dreams. The night sky that was all too familiar with the two of us, since nothing we had ever seemed to survive in the light of the day.

Eventually, we’d throw Mac on shuffle and end the night in each other’s arms. Hours upon hours of heavy breathing and sweat-slicked skin. Your face looked so good between my thighs. Your taste so salty on my tongue.

Your body became my home.

And there were flickers of doubt that had danced across my mind. I had seen this scene a hundred times and knew it was too good to be true. I knew it was cheap. But you told me exactly what I wanted to hear and promised me you wouldn’t be going anywhere.

And there I was, too much naivety in my bones to hear the dishonesty in your voice.

See, if I knew that things were going to end up the way they did I would have asked for just one more cigarette in your car. I would have let it burn long and slow. Fighting the urge to take another drag just so that I’d have an excuse to stay there in your passenger seat for just a little bit longer. My scarf blanketing our legs as the 30-degree temperature air seeped in through your windows we kept cracked so we could exhale the smoke from our lungs.

If I knew that things were going to end up the way they did I wouldn’t have asked you about your ex. I wouldn’t have introduced the thought of her so easily into your mind. I would have played it cool, trying to ignore the fact that I knew you still talked to her on a regular basis. That the stars she put into your sky hadn’t quite burned out just yet.

If I knew things were going to end up the way they did I would have ordered just one more beer at the bar that night. Would have insisted on playing just one more game at Dave and Buster’s. Would have asked to lay in your arms for just five more minutes that morning you dropped me off before going to get your tattoo. That was the last time I saw you. The last time I’d spend the night in your arms.

And what hurts the most is that I keep writing about you and me like there was an us, but in reality, there never was. There was just a month of me falling for you and you using my body to keep you warm through the night. To keep your mind off of your ex. A month of us staying up until 3 am countless nights with your laughter filling my ears. Taking pictures of the tattoo we both happened to have in the same spot, a tribute to the man whose voice spent every night with us. His albums playing on repeat in the background.

It was only a month, but I could spend the rest of my life reliving that month over and over until I could recount each and every detail down to a T, and need nothing else to be happy.

Because now you’re gone. And now I’m back to smoking cigarettes out my bedroom window alone at 3 am instead of sharing them with you in your car or behind that bar I met you in. I’m back to drowning out my sadness with music and thoughts of you. Eyes blurry with tears, drunk, and in full self-destruct mode. Now Mac is singing me to sleep, playing on shuffle, and I’m alone in my bed. And this time it isn’t background noise. This time it’s just me and him. This time I’m touching myself in the dark instead of fucking you for hours on end.

And even amongst all of the aching, all of the sadness, all of the pain that lies weaved throughout my bones, I still think of you, more than you deserve, more than I should, more than I’ll even admit here.

The truth is, I’m always thinking of you. You haven’t left my mind since the night I met you.

When it’s late and my hand is hanging out my window, cigarette lit, curtains closed around me to stop the smoke from settling into every last corner of my room, I’m thinking of you. When my bottle is empty and I’m too drunk to even remember my own name, I’m thinking of you. When you’re with her, locked in her embrace, lips on her skin, in her bed, I’m thinking of you.

My skin is tinted red and warm to the touch, but it’s not because your fingers were digging into it. It’s not because your body heat is raising my body temperature. It’s not because we’re outside behind that bar and your arms are around me because I’m shivering uncontrollably. It’s because right now I’m pretty sure there’s more alcohol in my veins than blood and I haven’t been able to breathe normally since you told me you were going back to her.

And yeah, I’m well aware that these feelings are most likely one-sided. And yeah, I know I’m probably romanticizing this entire situation more than it deserves. But something about you filled me with colors I never even knew existed. Something about you reminded me of those feelings that I didn’t want to explore again, and once you indulge in something you’ve been starving yourself of for so long you fall right into that marathon of trying to push those feelings out again.

I’m failing miserably.

But, if I’m being honest, the fact that the shirt I kept of yours no longer smells like you isn’t what hurts the most. The fact that I spent my night alone, getting drunk off wine, chain-smoking, and seeing snaps of you with her less than 24 hours after blowing things off with me isn’t what hurts the most. The fact that you walked away faster than I could even catch my breath isn’t what hurts the most.

What hurts the most is that the entire time we were together, she was on your mind. When I was in your bed you were imagining it was her. When your lips were on my skin you were thinking of her. When you were telling me that your mom liked me and wanted you to keep me around, you probably already knew that you’d be going back to her.

What hurts the most is that you didn’t give this a chance. You didn’t give us a chance.

You didn’t give me a chance.

You used me as a way to kill a few hours in the dark and the second you had the opportunity you went running right back to her. You didn’t even wait long enough for my scent to fully leave your skin. I bet you still tasted me in your mouth when you were climbing back into bed with her.

And as much as I don’t want to admit this, all I’ll say is that if you ever decided you wanted to come back into my life I don’t think I’d think twice about letting you back in. Every look in my direction, every touch of your fingertips on my skin, every promise and plan that fell out between your lips made me want to give you my heart. And though I wish this wasn’t the case, last time I checked it looked like some pieces were missing.

Some of them probably got left behind in your bed.

The truth is though, I’d let you fuck me over a thousand more times as long as it meant I’d have you back in my life in some form.

You’re someone I wouldn’t mind writing novels about.

You’re someone I could get lost in for the rest of my life, with no intentions of looking for an exit.

And maybe one day you’ll realize that the stars in the sky haven’t been shining as bright as they did when I was in your life and you’ll come searching for a bit of my moonlight to brighten up your sky. Maybe one day you’ll realize that you no longer remember my smell and the feeling tugs at your heart at least just a little bit. Maybe one day you’ll absentmindedly take two cigarettes out of your pack instead of one, thinking for just a brief second that I’m there to smoke one with you. And when you realize I’m not there, and when you realize you’re the one who pushed me away, maybe you’ll pick up your phone, call me, and tell me you made a mistake.

And, as much as I hate to admit it when that moment does come, I’ll be here. TC mark

Source: https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-perry/2018/12/i-wish-there-wasnt-a-reason-to-be-sitting-here-writing-this-about-you/

When you love someone, you might want to express your love for them through words. Maybe you want to use other words that are different from a simple “I love you.” Maybe you are not yet ready to say I love you and want to say things that can still express how you feel for […]

The post 250 Things to Say to Someone You Love appeared first on Luvze.

1. Be heard.

There’s a voracious firecracker living in all of us, but for some, the idea of being heard rather than just seen comes easier than it does for others. Make 2019 your year of voiceful power. Don’t hold your tongue. Say what’s on your mind, and for the first time, don’t apologize for it.

2. Give yourself some major props–you made it this far.

Take one moment each morning to give yourself encouragement. Say something about yourself that you wish someone would say to you. Let your heart know that you’re on its side.

3. Realize that giving up doesn’t always mean giving in.

I’m as stubborn as they come, and one thing I never do is give up, even when it would be far healthier to do so. In 2019, make the promise to yourself that you will know when your heart’s had enough, and tell yourself that you won’t keep pushing just for the sake of doing it. Realize that giving something up doesn’t mean you’ve given in.

4. Slow down.

Life often feels like a race, and we’re so caught up with finishing first that we forgot to stop and look around for a while. It’s time to recognize that it’s not about what place you finish in, it’s about what you take away from it.

5. Find your oasis.

Find whatever it is that gives you peace. For me, it’s a planner, an open computer, and a lit candle. That’s what brings me peace on these cold nights. In 2019, make finding your oasis your priority.

6. Let go of people who aren’t holding on to you.

Holding on to people who aren’t holding onto you is a waste of energy that you deserve to use elsewhere. Take a step back, hold on to the relationships that nourish you, and cut the ones that aren’t.

7. Stop allowing people to walk over you.

It’s hard to stand up for yourself, but you need to make 2019 a year where you put yourself first. Your feelings should always come before anyone or anything else.

8. Remind yourself how big the world is.

When the bad things start to cave in, I agree, it can be suffocating, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last couple months, it’s that the world is way too big to be so tied up in one little part of it. There is so much out there for you to explore. The world doesn’t have to end here.

9. Wake up with the sun.

I’ve always been an early riser, partly because it simply comes with my work. I have to be up by 6:30 every morning, but now that I’ve done it for so long, I’ve learned to enjoy it. The quiet, wee hours of the morning are when I connect with myself spiritually, and I wouldn’t trade that for any snooze button.

10. Watch more documentaries.

Be more mindful with what you take in. Watch more of what stimulates and educates your brain, rather than the mindless drama that simply takes up your time.

11. Become involved with issues that are important to you.

If they matter to you, make them matter to someone else.

12. Play records more often.

I’ve always been a music lover, but vinyl is an old taste that is simply divine. It transports you to a different place and time, and for me, that’s the perfect escape.

13. Stop holding on to anger.

The only person anger holds back is you. Don’t give it that kind of power.

14. Be warm, be welcoming.

Make 2019 the year where you feel like home to someone else. Be so welcoming and so loving that you attract all that love back. Trust me, it’s so worth it.

15. Read more.

Try to read 30 minutes every morning and every night. While you’re at it, journal every morning and evening, too.

16. Give yourself room to grow.

Stop telling yourself that there’s some magical finish line that you have to get to. There’s no ending. You have your whole life to keep growing and learning. It doesn’t stop here.

17. Appreciate the little things.

The fact that you had enough time to make tea this morning. The breakfast you ate. The slow commute to work. The song on the radio. Appreciate the things that you often don’t even think about.

18. Learn as much as possible.

Never stop growing and never stop learning. Fill your mind with all the knowledge you can, and continue to filter it out into the world. Give someone else that gift of knowledge.

19. Laugh as often as you breathe.

It really is the best medicine. TC mark

Source: https://thoughtcatalog.com/hannah-irelan/2018/12/19-resolutions-the-empowered-you-needs-in-2019/

Before stepping into the New Year, remind yourself to forgive the mistakes and let go of any regrets from the past year and allow yourself to start fresh on January 1st. If you needed a few more ideas of how to better yourself in 2019, have a look at the following list and don’t be afraid to welcome change into your life:

1. Adjust your expectations and think from a realistic point of view. Being creative and imaginative is not wrong, but sometimes you need to suck it up and grow up just a little in order to live your life the way you want to.

2. Believe in yourself and whatever it is you are talented in. Be your own advocate and don’t stop pursuing the things you are truly passionate about.

3. Invest more time and money in taking care of yourself. Exercise and eat right because as long as you are healthy and strong, you are capable of conquering all obstacles.

4. Adopt a more positive attitude. Leave the house with a smile on your face each morning and watch how the world around you will suddenly turn brighter and seem easier to navigate through.

5. Appreciate the true beauty of endings. Let go of the fear you feel when a relationship or an era runs its course. An ending is a sign of growing and moving forward in life.

6. Learn how to live on a budget. Change the ways you spend your money and look for ways to start saving for the really important stuff like life-changing vacations or much-needed kits for your hobby.

7. Be more present and grateful for what you already have. Try to worry less about the future or the past and live in the now. Appreciate your surroundings and the people by your side.

8. Challenge yourself by going fully sober. Whether it’s a week, a month, or more, a period without alcohol or any other kinds of drugs will help you understand to see that you never needed them anyway.

9. Expand your cooking skills. It’s easy to make excuses but whenever you find some time, try a new recipe or two. Try meal-prepping for work or school.

10. Stop comparing your life to everybody else’s. You are not here to prove anything to anyone. You are here to have a good time and to go at your own speed.

11. Be more engaged with what is happening in the world. It’s not a good idea to be oblivious to what is happening around you. Stay informed and educate yourself.

12. Learn the basics of a new language or brush up on an old one. Some say that the more languages a person knows, the more cultures their mind can explore and the more lives they can live.

13. Organize your work space and of course your life. Keep a calendar and write down activities, events, lists, and other things you wish to remember. Stop being late everywhere you go.

14. Stick to your word and keep your promises. Be someone other people can depend on and stop running away from having to interact with your peers.

15. Embrace each challenge and don’t be afraid of failing. It really doesn’t matter how many times you fall; what matters is how many times you are willing to get back up.

16. Speak up for yourself. Defend your choices and stand by your decisions. Life is a constant lesson and everybody is learning as they go.

17. Be willing to laugh at yourself when things don’t go as planned. Remember that it’s OK to laugh at the madness and the messiness life sometimes brings.

18. Make time for the people who matter most. Be there when they ask you to and don’t take their love for granted.

19. Just breathe. Focus on letting things be and try not to get too worked up. TC mark

Source: https://thoughtcatalog.com/ioana-scholler/2018/12/19-ways-to-make-2019-your-best-year-ever/

This year, I finally let you go.

If someone had told me that a year ago, I would have been thoroughly convinced that our time wasn’t up yet. I would have been deluded about how toxic you were to me and believed all that you did were for my own good. I would have argued and fought with anyone that tried to tell me that I deserved better.

Because I simply didn’t believe so. It’s funny yet scary how my mind worked. How stubbornly I can cling onto illusion and started thinking it was real. How I can completely be in denial mode of what was happening.

Maybe it was my past history of how no relationship had worked for me. Maybe it was because of my insecurities that deep down; I was a very wrecked and unhappy person. Maybe I was attracted to your darkness and chaos seeing as I was accustomed to it. Maybe it was easier to tolerant whatever out of line behavior of yours than to face the hard truth that this wasn’t working out. Maybe it was less scary to be in a relationship than to get used to being single again.

Maybe it was all of that or other unknown reason because I found myself sticking around trying to revive a dying relationship. I tried to be the ideal person in your mind and straying away from the core that made me myself. I harbored desperate hope that one day, you would change and loved me.

I kept trying until one day, you crossed the line and something in me snapped. I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t turn a blind eye to how toxic you were and how my sanity was slipping away. I couldn’t go on a day without dreaming of breaking free from you and walking away.

Thinking back, I was in awe by the amount of effort I put in to try and prolong our separation.

I have loved you to the best of my ability, to the depth of my heart, and I swore until my last breath. And I have lost you each time you broke my trust and disregarded my worth. I have lost you each time you gave me glimpses of what I thought was the real you only to be thrust back to reality the next day when you became even more aloof. I have lost you each time I was deathly afraid of losing you perhaps because you were never mine to lose.

Letting you go is one of the hardest thing I’ve done. It’s not just releasing my hold on you or removing you from my life. It’s the idea that what we could have that was killing me. The hopes and dreams of the future. The memories of what we used to have. The brutal truth that we’re better off without each other.

This year, I have finally decided to let you go. I know that this is the best thing I can do for myself. I know that next year at this time, I would be glad I did. By then, I would be truly over you. TC mark

Source: https://thoughtcatalog.com/liane-white/2018/12/this-year-i-finally-let-you-go/

1. Sympathy.

It’s not your fault that you fell for someone who listened to you and actually cared. That doesn’t happen often in this self-obsessed, busy world. You found a kindred spirit who gave you something your heart not only craved but intrinsically needed. You opened up because you felt safe, you trusted that person, and you became emotionally vulnerable with them. It nourished your soul and thus you mistook it for love. Don’t feel silly. It’s an easy mistake to make.

2. Avoidance.

You thought that the person you fell for was on the same page when really they were just avoiding the topic at hand hoping that it would somehow go away. It isn’t your fault that they have emotional issues. You don’t have a responsibility to fix that person – but you do owe it to yourself to recognize the warning signs in the future. You deserve better and you shouldn’t let yourself fall for someone who doesn’t have the courage to tell you the truth.

3. Friendliness.

Interactions between humans are often confusing. One person thinks they are putting a certain vibe out there, but the other person might receive that information quite differently. It’s all about perception, so don’t feel bad that you mistook someone’s friendliness for love. It’s easy to do. If that person had been very honest and clear with you, you wouldn’t be confused. Next time you’re better off asking what you need to know – no matter how scary that might be.

4. Flattery.

It’s natural to develop an attraction to someone who compliments you and appears to think highly of you. Everyone likes to feel good about themselves. Perhaps this person laid it on so thick that you assumed there was something more there. Don’t blame yourself – that speaks either to a lack of awareness on their part or plain old carelessness in handling the feelings of others.

5. Indecision.

You can’t control someone else’s emotions or read their mind. This is the scary and risky problem with falling in love. If the two of you aren’t communicating, it’s quite easy to mistake many other things for affection. You might, for instance, think that someone is committed to you when in fact they are confused and still in the midst of trying to decide what they want. If they don’t communicate that to you, there’s no way that you know what’s going on. Don’t beat yourself up for thinking they wanted more than they did.

6. Dependence.

This is so commonly mistaken for real love that it’s almost laughable. You develop an attachment to someone, and whether it’s mutual or one-sided, it’s not a healthy, true expression of feeling. It’s additionally confusing because all relationships do tend to carry a bit of interdependence with them. That’s why you have to give yourself a break if you end up thinking you love someone – or that they love you – when in reality you’re only dependent on each other to a fault.

7. Banter.

You think you’re flirting and falling for each other. They think you’re just having a good time. It’s annoying but it happens quite a bit. It’s tough to tell if you’re on the same page with someone when you don’t know that person very well. What they may assume is simple, harmless conversation could look like the beginnings of something real to you. It’s complicated, and you can’t get upset at yourself for confusing the issue.

8. Narcissism.

Unfortunately, it’s rampant and narcissists are very good at manipulating other people, sometimes without even realizing it. It’s okay that you mistake the games of a self-absorbed sociopath for something more – how would you ever know better? It’s incredibly difficult to tell what’s going on under the surface. All you can do is save yourself before it’s too late.

9. Apathy.

Yes, it’s really messed up, but sometimes people literally hang out with you because they have nothing better going on. They figure, well, this person is into me and I’m bored, so why not? It’s incredibly insensitive and selfish. Do you deserve better? Of course, you do. It’s not your fault that they intentionally misled you for their own gain. It’s already hurtful, so don’t add to the pain by giving yourself additional grief.

10. Dishonesty.

This is related to apathy but it’s even crueler because it’s active deceit that the person knows is bound to hurt you. They probably hope you won’t find out, but that’s an unreasonable expectation. Whatever they’re lying to you about, it’s messed up, and it’s nothing you can control. You have to do your best to let it go while knowing you couldn’t have prevented it.

11. Manipulation.

You thought that someone genuinely cared about you, but in fact, they were using you. It’s incredibly common, and again, you shouldn’t beat yourself up for having optimism. You’re out there attempting to make a real human connection. That’s a beautiful, brave undertaking. Sometimes you really can’t tell that a person is manipulative – after all, it’s their mission to get you to trust them.

12. Hope.

Dear, sweet, human, don’t give up hope. No matter how many times you take a gamble and your dreams of love vanish into the haze, keep on believing. There is nothing more beautiful than someone who keeps on trying after being let down time and again. Fight the good fight and know that it’s no crime to hope that something is love, even when it’s not. TC mark

Source: https://thoughtcatalog.com/amy-horton/2018/12/12-things-its-okay-that-you-mistook-for-love/

1. Practice gratitude. Somehow, we’ve cultivated habits of practicing judgment, jealousy or self-pity. Imagine if you spent that time telling yourself one thing you’re grateful for instead. It can be something big or small; something obvious or maybe a hidden silver lining. Spend literally a few moments in the morning or evenings doing this simple action. Set an alarm, make it your bedtime tradition, get in the habit. Soon, your gratitude will come to you naturally and you’ll start to feel how full your life really is.

2. Journal. They say there’s power in writing things down. Spend more time jotting down what’s floating in your mind; get it out of your head and into the universe.

2. Listen to your intuition. If I learned anything this year, it’s that my intuition is more powerful than I give it credit. And I bet yours is, too. Don’t underestimate the feeling you get in your gut when you sense something is or is not right. You most likely already know the answer.

4. Embrace your solitude. Get cozy with your alone time. Do things you like by yourself. Become comfortable with your own presence.

5. Indulge in a passion project. Reflect on something you’ve always wanted to do — playing guitar, jewelry making, becoming a fitness instructor, photography, knitting, anything! Pick one thing and commit to doing it this year. Now listen up: this is not me telling you to become an expert at something and stress yourself out. This is me telling you to feel joy in doing, to remind yourself what it’s like to be hungry to learn, and to prove to yourself that you can do it.

6. Follow through on your promises and commitments. When I say this, I mean your promises to others AND to yourself. Become so reliable that people know when you say you’ll do something, it’s a done deal.

7. Forgive yourself. Now, in the same vein, don’t be too hard on yourself. You will make mistakes this year — it’s bound to happen. But when you do, forgive yourself. You’re only human, and it’s okay to mess up.

8. Set an intention every day. An intention can be something simple — a word or phrase. Like, practicing patience or acceptance, or listening to others around you a little more closely. In setting these small but mighty goals, you will begin to live with more purpose and direction and feel empowered in knowing you choose what you bring into your day.

9. Tell people why you love them. The next time you tell someone you love them, give them three reasons why. Watch them glow.

10. Give yourself love, too. You know when you’re looking at your best friend and you start thinking all of these amazing things about them? How often do you look at yourself and do the same? What if we showered ourselves with the same love and compliments that we give to others? Start nurturing yourself with kindness and praise. Appreciate the body that’s carried you every day of your life. Learn to give yourself love.

11. Meditate. Get comfortable with silence. This can seem difficult and so uncomfortable, especially because silence seems to make our thoughts louder. But the more you practice, the less your inner thoughts will grip your attention; the more self-awareness you’ll gain; and the closer you’ll feel to the quiet parts that exist within you.

12. Give back. We can all benefit a bit from giving back. And it doesn’t have to be money. Your time can be the most valuable gift, especially if you get to connect with the people that you’re helping.

13. Let yourself feel what you’re feeling. You do not need to be happy all the time. Again, for the people in the back, you do NOT need to be happy all the time. Emotions are real. Feel them. And don’t be ashamed to do so.

14. Use healthy coping mechanisms. It is 100% okay to not be happy all the time; however, it is equally necessary to understand whatever you are feeling and find healthy ways to process it. And, it’s important to realize that this will look different for everyone. Some people may crave a workout, others may need a night in with a good friend, others may need time alone journaling their thoughts. Find your tools and use them.

15. Learn to say “no”. We often say yes to things we don’t even really want to do. Learn to claim back your voice and your time and say “no” when you want to.

16. Lean on your friends when you need them. I know you don’t want to overburden the people around you with the things you’re going through, but they want to be there for you. Let them be.

17. Celebrate your successes. Did you try something new for the first time today? Take one step closer to achieving a goal? Not cry for the first time over that guy that broke your heart? AMAZING. All of these things, while may not seem it to you, are huge. And they should not go unnoticed as successes. Sure, you might not feel like you’ve made all the progress you’ve wanted, but (get ready for it) this. is. progress. Self-high five. Impromptu dance party. Be proud. And recognize these small, but mighty accomplishments more often.

18. Trade Texting for a Phone Call. Because there’s something special in hearing a loved one’s voice — in knowing their exact reaction the moment you share something with them.

19. Ask yourself: “What if it all works out?” Instead of believing that life is out to get you and everything is always falling apart (although I get it can feel that way sometimes), start asking yourself: What if it all works out? How differently would you approach your life if you knew that it was guaranteed for you to get everything you want — feel happiness, find love, land your dream job, whatever your goal is. Because the more you start believing it will all work out, the more you’ll start setting the tracks for it to actually happen. TC mark

Source: https://thoughtcatalog.com/grace-dibenedetto/2018/12/19-things-to-do-more-of-in-2019/

1. To let go of the toxic people/habits in my life

It’s hard to admit when a situation, habit, or even person has become a toxic presence in your life, but I promise to acknowledge them and then cut those ties from my life- because there is no reason to make this life any harder than it needs to be.

2. To not waste time on “almosts”

Because there is always possibility to be found if you know how to look at things a certain way, yet I know I’ve wasted too much time waiting on an almost to become a reality- and this year I need my time open for the things and people who are truly planning on sticking around.

3. To chase my dreams and goals to the fullest extent

Because I’ve spent so long making excuses on why I can’t achieve these things when the truth is I know I haven’t tried as hard as I could have- and that changes now.

4. To push myself to be better than last year

Because there are so many things I look back on and feel I could’ve handled better, or pursued harder. I can’t change my past, but I can let it affect my future- I can let it shape me into a better version of myself.

5. To give myself grace/forgiveness when I make mistakes

Because I am human, and despite my best efforts I will say and do things I desperately wish I could take back. Yet rather than berate and tear myself down, I will extend forgiveness to myself when I need to, because I would do the same for someone else I cared for.

6. To not carry everything from 2018 into 2019

Because there are some memories and lessons that will benefit me next year, and years to come, to remember- but there are also a lot of things that deserve to stay in the past, where they belong. I won’t drag everything from last year into the new one, simply because there’s no reason to.

7. To tell people I care for them, without worrying it will make me seem like too much

Because this life is too short to pretend I don’t have feelings, that I don’t care, or that I’m emotionally unavailable- and I promise to do myself a favor and tell people I love that I love them (romantic or otherwise) whenever I have the opportunity- because I refuse to look back and regret not letting someone know how much I cared for them simply because I was worried I would be “too much.”

8. To care for myself the way I do for others

Because I spend so much time pouring myself into other people, and while this is a great thing, I tend to feel bad whenever I start taking care of myself- almost as if I’m being selfish by doing so. Yet that is not the case, and this year I plan finally give some of the time and care that I consistently pour out on others back to myself.

9. To take risks/opportunities presented to me

Because it’s easy to list all the reason why I shouldn’t do something- and most of them will most likely be based out of some kind of fear that I’ll fail. Yet I’ll never get any closer to where I want to go if I stay in my comfort zone, and this year I’ll take more chances and honestly believe in my ability to do it- and I know I’ll have others supporting me along the way.

10. To believe in myself, the way everyone else around me continues to do

Because despite how often my loved ones may tell me how talented, incredible, or wonderful I am, I have a hard time believing it myself. Yet this year, I will try to see myself the way my friends and family see me- because they just might be right after all.

11. To be present in the moment rather than always stressing about the future or living in the past

Because it’s so easy to stay hung up on things that happened years ago or to constantly worry about what needs to be done now to help the future go as planned- and to miss out on so many things happening in the present. It’s time I pause and really take in what’s happening around me because it will be gone all too soon.

12. To ask for help when I need it

Because asking for help doesn’t mean I’m weak or a burden- it means that sometimes life is overwhelming me and I need to a shoulder to lean on. It’s okay to reach out to my loved ones, because I know they care for me and want to help me- and I need to stop acting otherwise.

13. To admit when I’m wrong

Because regardless of how many excuses or reasons I have for saying/doing the thing I did, it doesn’t make me any less wrong, nor does it remove the hurt that I may have caused in the process. Yet rather than stubbornly refusing to admit my mistakes, I need to take ownership of them- for my own sake as well as for those around me.

14. To listen to my gut instinct without feeling foolish

Because sometimes, that instinct or voice inside your head honestly knows what it’s talking about- and it’s okay to listen to it, especially if the situation could be dangerous.

15. To stop telling myself I’m not good enough

Because it’s easy to make comparisons and hold up my accomplishments beside others and claim that I’m not good enough- and that’s simply not true. I may not be the same as others around me, but I don’t have to be- and I need to remind myself that I’m still good enough regardless of how different my path may look alongside another person’s.

16. To say “no” without having to justify it

Because in life we are constantly told to say yes and to keep the peace by going along with things we never wanted to, and when we do finally say no, we feel as though we owe some kind of explanation- but I don’t. I don’t have to justify my reasoning with someone else- my “no” should be enough, and this year, it will be,

17. To stay true to my boundaries

Because I set them for a reason, and despite any person who might believe they are an exception, I’ll stay true to boundaries I’ve set in place- I know when I need to protect myself and caring for myself is just as vital as caring for anyone else.

18. To guard my heart without closing it off completely

Because it is easy to close myself off from love and all its possibility, never allowing anyone to come close because of how often I’ve been hurt before. It would also be just as easy to go the opposite end- recklessly falling in and out of love with no discernment whatsoever. Yet this year, I will take my time with love, not chasing after it full force with no restraint, but allowing my walls to come down piece by piece- because it’s okay to remember the lessons I learned before and to take them to heart, without completely cutting myself off to someone else.

19. To remember that I’m human- in all its messy glory

Because sometimes I tend to think I have to be perfect or have everything figured out, and the truth is I don’t. Life isn’t picture perfect, it’s chaotic and messy, and so am I- and it’s perfectly okay to accept that and learn to make the most of it.

And this year, that’s exactly what I promise to do.

Source: https://thoughtcatalog.com/lacey-ramburger/2018/12/19-things-i-promise-to-do-for-myself-in-2019/

I don’t know how to be anything
other than intense.
All in.
Too much.
Too involved.
I don’t know how to be an almost
or anything in between.
But there’s a price you pay
when you can’t settle for the middle
because when you’re so fixated on
a certain kind of love
you become so good at letting go,
kissing people goodbye,
holding someone’s hand
only to unclasp your fingers,
getting so dangerously close
only to create a safer distance,
catching yourself before you fall
because you’re not so sure
if they will catch you.
And you don’t know how to half-love someone
or have bits and pieces of their heart,
You only know how to love with all your heart
and want the same in return.
So I got used to it all,
you know —
moving on,
being on my own,
searching for answers,
walking my journey alone
because as much as I want to
hold someone’s hand
as I climb the mountain
and as much as I want to
share the view with someone,
I don’t know how to balance myself
if I’m not the only one.
I don’t know how to open the door
if I have one foot out.
So it doesn’t get to me anymore
when people call me too dreamy,
too romantic,
too idealistic,
or too much
because there’s a price you pay
when you don’t know how to settle,
you spend a lot of time waiting,
you spend a lot of time alone,
you don’t always have a hand to hold,
you don’t always have someone to call
but for some reason, you wait it out,
because you have faith that one of those days
your too muchness will be just enough
for the right person. TC mark

Source: https://thoughtcatalog.com/rania-naim/2018/12/maybe-i-am-too-much-but-i-just-cant-be-anything-else/

Twenty-eighteen is the year I decided to get back into reading things I didn’t have to read, and I’ve never been more glad — I got to spend the year delving into a lot of fun, thoughtful books I’d never read before (and a few I just wanted to experience all over again). What better way to end the year than rank them from best to worst?

Just as I did in my last reading list in June, I divided this list into four parts: the Great (the books I loved and probably won’t be able to forget), the Good (the books I really enjoyed but probably aren’t on my favorites list), the Okay (the books that were just fine, really), and the Bad (the books I would never, ever, ever read again). Let me know some of your best and worst books of 2018 in the comments!


1. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman


I actually first read this book in 2017, but I loved it so much I read it again this year. It follows 17-year-old Elio, the son of a professor, who finds himself drawn to their family’s houseguest for the summer, a grad student named Oliver. From the moment Oliver comes into his life, Elio can’t seem to stop thinking about him, quickly slipping into a haze of desire over a man he doesn’t think he can have. I wouldn’t call this book your average love story. It’s about a young man exploring his sexuality, both with a woman and a man, while grappling with the expectations instilled in him by a heteronormative culture. His obsession with Oliver may become tiresome to some, but to those of you who are like me, it feels painfully relatable. But what really puts the book at the top of my list is how author André Aciman manages to capture the feeling of first love, desire, and desperation through words. This book shattered my heart into a million pieces and still made me want more. And that, in my opinion, is the sign of a great book.

2. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller


I’m not sure why I waited so long to read this — the moment I heard it was about, I knew I’d love it. Trust me, I wasn’t disappointed. The story follows Patroclus, a young awkward prince during Greece’s age of heroes, and Achilles, the legendary warrior or the Trojan War, from the early years of their friendship, through their deepening relationship, right to their tragic end. Miller transforms this well-known myth into a heartbreaking epic that somehow feels less like a retelling and more like a creation of her own.

3. The Princess Bride by William Goldman


I grew up reciting lines from the 1987 film by heart, but for some reason I never got around to picking this book up until Goldman’s death in November. What a fool I’d been — it turns out the book is somehow more witty and engrossing than the beloved movie. (But don’t worry — you’ll see plenty of the movie in it, too.) This satire is full of vapid caricatures that will leave your belly aching from laughter one moment and your heart swelling from their beauty the next. If you like fencing, torture, treachery, revenge, good men, bad men, passion, miracles, and true love, this may be the book for you.

4. Circe by Madeline Miller


Something about the island goddess Circe, which you may remember from The Odyssey as the witch who turned Odysseus’s men into pigs, has always intrigued me. This retelling of her story will only make you love her more. What’s so fun about this book is that you’ll recognize so many of the tales it tells. Miller weaves together classic Greek mythology into a story that feels fresh and new, and yet, as if they were old friends, I still found myself excited to see Hermes and Odysseus and the Minotaur. But my favorite character of all, of course, was Circe herself. Miller crafted her character with a loving hand, breathing a new life into the witch that you couldn’t help but feel for. She is strong but vulnerable, principled yet flawed. She evolves drastically throughout the book, and yet the transformation feels seamless. She is exactly the kind of character to champion the modern woman: someone who is a fighter, who learned to stand on her own two feet, who has been the victim of an unjust world and found herself a worthy heroine all the same.

5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


The Bell Jar is obviously dated — it was published in 1967 — but so many of the topics Plath covers feel timely. Heroine Esther Greenwood laments how differently society treats men and women, especially concerning the double standards in sex and relationships, and how infuriating it can be when all you want is to be held to the same standards. It also explores the psyche of a person struggling with depression and suicide ideation and how prevalent the thoughts can be, even if everything is seemingly going well on the outside. (This theme seems especially timely after the suicide of the wildly successful Kate Spade.) It helps that Plath’s prose is so poetic you’ll find yourself feeling more for Esther than you expected, despite not always being the most likeable character. In the era of #MeToo and mental health awareness, this book is a must-read.

6. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak


Zusak has been my favorite writer since high school, so when I heard he was coming out with his first book in over a decade, a pre-ordered it immediately. And I wasn’t disappointed — this book definitely has the Zusak touch. The story follows five brothers who help raise each other after their mother dies and their father mysteriously disappears, and how one brother specifically fights to put their world back together.

7. On Writing by Stephen King


I have a confession to make: I’d never actually read a Stephen King book before this one. But everyone said this was a must-read for writers, and I finally see where they’re coming from. This memoir-slash-writing-guide gives us an insight to how Stephen King began his career as a kid writing short stories for his mother for a quarter apiece and later became one of the most commercially successful authors of all time, but it also offers writers the helpful tools they need to take the first steps into the world as novelists.

8. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


I first read this when I was thirteen years old, but I honestly couldn’t remember too much about it besides the premise, so I thought I’d give the book another go. I’m so glad I decided to reread it, because I think there are a lot of nuances to Ray Bradbury’s prose that I overlooked when I was a teenager. I found the characters more relatable and the plot more speculative than fantastical, though I’m not sure if that’s because of my age or because of the time I live in. In fact, one key thing had changed in real life since the first time I read it: the prevalence of smartphones and our obsession with staying connected. The danger presented within the pages felt more realistic. If you haven’t picked up the book before, or if you haven’t in a long time, I urge you to give it a try. It touches upon the danger of a society distracted by the circus that is the entertainment sector, of a world where facts and information lose their power. This book is more important now than ever.

9. The Idiot by Elif Batuman


If you’ve ever found yourself stumbling through a new chapter of your life, this may be the book for you. Selin leaves for her first year of college at Harvard and realizes she has no idea how to maneuver this new life, full of classes, new friendships, and a first love that is as heartbreaking as it is fulfilling. Perhaps that’s why she decides to jump on a plane during summer break to travel the world, hoping she’ll find the answers to life in a new language, but instead realizes that she has more questions than she ever had before. Author Elif Batuman writes about the woes and wonders of being 18, an adult but still just a kid, as if she remembers her own experiences vividly. And it reminds me so much of my own confusing life as a college freshman that Selin and The Idiot will always have a special place in my heart.

10. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman


Eleanor Oliphant struggles with social conventions and has trouble realizing that while she sees the rest of the world as strange, they see her the same way. She forgoes social interactions for her strict schedule of work, frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with her mother, but everything changes when she meets Raymond, the IT guy at her office, and Sammy, an elderly man the two save one unexpected afternoon when he collapses on the sidewalk. It isn’t until Eleanor begins letting people into her life that she begins to understand what she’s been missing, leading her to finally step out of her comfort zone and into the real world.

11. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh


It’s the year 2000 and the young, thin, pretty protagonist decides she needs a break from life. No, not some free time, but an actual non-conscious period of time so she won’t have to think of anything at all. She experiments with a narcotic hibernation, thanks to her quack psychiatrist who hands out pills like they’re candy. This book is bizarre, raw, and darkly funny — and I loved every minute of it.

12. Sorority by Genevieve Sly Crane


When Margot dies, she leaves her sorority sisters’ lives in disarray, and some never truly recover. Of course, even aside from Margot’s death, each sister has something they’re struggling with — depression, eating disorders, family pressure, pregnancy. Though you’ll only see slivers of their lives, you won’t help but to feel empathy toward them, or, at the very least, intrigue. This book isn’t a thriller but a character study that delves into the lives of each sister, some who are cruel, others who are misunderstood, and all who are deeply relatable. Genevieve Sly Crane gives readers an inside look into what goes on in the exclusivity of a sorority house and the bonds it builds — and sometimes breaks.

13. Severance by Ling Ma


What happens when the apocalypse hits, but you hardly even notice at all? This is how it goes for 20-something Candace Chen, a workaholic who’s so head-deep in her own routine that she barely even takes a moment to realize that the world around her — or, more specifically, New York — has been invaded by a mysterious disease that leaves most of its inhabitants zombie-like and rotting alive. This satire is an eye-opening look at American culture and the jaded nature of burnt out Millennials.

14. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz


Aristotle and Dante are both loners when they meet. They would still be loners afterwards, too, if Dante didn’t decide that the two were going to be best friends. Together, the pair learn truths about themselves and who they want to be, as well as who they are to one another, and as a reader, you’ll feel privileged to be along for the ride. This book is beyond sweet, and the characters are crafted with so much love that you’ll ache for them the whole time. There’s something about the unlikely friendship between angsty, brooding Aristotle and soft, thoughtful Dante that melts my cold, cynical heart. This is a coming of age story. It’s also a love story. If you want a book that’s quiet, thoughtful, and so incredibly lovely, this might be the one for you.


15. The Pisces by Melissa Broder


Lucy moves to Venice Beach to housesit for her sister of the summer after she inadvertently breaks up with her longterm boyfriend and her life falls apart. For the most part, it should be easy — she just has to take care of her sister’s dog, Dominic, and attend weekly group therapy sessions. But Lucy soon finds herself going on a series of dates with men she doesn’t particularly care for, all the while searching for something that can make her feel whole. That is, until she meets Theo, a mysterious swimmer who always seems to find her sitting on the rocks at night. And who, she soon finds out, might actually be a mythological creature. Lucy is selfish and at times insufferable, and while it can be a bit to handle at times, I have to give it to Melissa Broder for creating a character that isn’t usually included in literary narratives — but who you almost definitely have met in real life. While there are plenty of moments where this book made me cringe or feel queasy (it’s pretty graphic at times, and I am weak), I can’t help but look back at the story as a whole and think it was brilliant.

16. Calypso by David Sedaris


I’d actually never read a David Sedaris book before this one. I’ve read some of his writings on the Internet and thoroughly enjoyed them, and I was delighted to find I felt the same way about this short memoir. Sedaris is laugh-out-loud funny and manages to take an in-depth look at growing old and mortality without actually getting depressing. Do you know how big of a feat that is? Instead of dreading my own existence, I found myself relieved that Sedaris could approach the same heavy topics that plagued me with a sense of humor that almost made them feel weightless. Sometimes you just need to laugh about serious topics and not feel bad about laughing, and Sedaris lets you do this in the comfort of your own home.

17. The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon


Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet in the early months of university and quickly fall in love. Phoebe secretly blames herself for her mother’s death and Will’s still reeling from his fallout with organized religion, but the two seem to just work. All of that changes, though, when Phoebe finds herself drawn into a secretive extremist cult, run by a charismatic leader who seems to open something up inside of her. When several bombs go off in the name of the cult and Phoebe disappears, Will sets out to find her, all the while trying to understand how the woman he loved could have gotten so wrapped up in such a terrible thing.

18. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


Simon Spier is a normal kid with one huge-ass secret: he’s gay, and he hasn’t told anyone. Not even his parents, not even his closest friends. But he’s been corresponding through email with the mysterious Blue, another gay teen from his school who he found online, and he thinks he might be falling for him, but there are a few problems: Blue won’t disclose his true identity, and Simon maybe-sort-of-definitely is getting blackmailed by a classmate who threatens to out both him and Blue in the process. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is like a ‘90s teen rom com in novel form. Of course, it covers a lot of ground most ‘90s teen rom coms didn’t — like coming out and the stigma surrounding homosexuality — and, you know, isn’t set in the ‘90s. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the funny, nerdy Simon and his confidante Blue. This book is funny, thoughtful, and incredibly heartwarming — and is 100 percent the most feel-good book I’ve read in years.

19. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng


In Shaker Heights, a progressive suburb of Cleveland, the residents praise diversity — at least, if it’s the right kind. Mia Warren is certainly not that. The nomadic artist is eclectic and unlike most of the other inhabitants at Shaker Heights, but she manages to fly under the radar — that is, until her daughter, Pearl, finds herself tangled in the Richardson family. Elena Richardson finds herself drawn to the enigmatic artist, but when Mia disregards the status quo and finds herself on the opposing side of a community issue, Elena is dead set on unearthing Mia’s secrets, the ones she’s hiding from everyone in Shaker Heights — including her daughter. This book was definitely an enjoyable read, with a twist at the end I didn’t see coming at all. By the time you get to the satisfying end, you’ll be glad you gave the book a chance.

20. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple


When Bernadette Fox disappears just days before her family creation, her 15-year-old daughter Bee is left to piece together the story of what went wrong. Told primarily through emails, newspaper clippings, and other documents, Bee begins to understand who her mother truly is outside of just being her parents. This is a touching story about family and societal pressures, and I found myself so engrossed in the mystery that I read the book in nearly a day. There’s a reason this book was so popular when it was first published — it’s highly enjoyable, told in a way that’ll make it hard to put down.

21. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


When a British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France, it’s the beginning of the end for its inhabitants — a pilot and a secret agent, who just so happen to be best friends. The secret agent, “Verity,” gets taken by the Gestapo and is given two choices: either reveal her mission or face her own death. As Verity writes down her confessions, she manages to weave the story of her past into it, giving us the full story of when she met the pilot, how they became friends, and their last moments together before the crash.

22. Big Fish by Daniel Wallace


Big Fish tells the story of Edward Bloom, a larger-than-life man as he lays dying on his deathbed. But it’s not the way he lived that made his life so extraordinary — on the contrary, it’s the stories he told along the way. Hilarious and gut-wrenching, these tales help Edward’s son finally put together a portrait of who is father truly is, even if that’s just a really big fish.

23. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill


This book is the portrait of a marriage, as told by the unnamed wife. Through its poignant, poetic prose, it tells a story about falling in love, intimacy, trust, faith, doubt, heartbreak, and every feeling in between. But in the end, it’s not the plot that keeps you hooked — it’s the writing. Rarely will you pick up a novel as beautiful and heart-rendering is this.

24. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli


The sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda focuses on Simon’s best friend Leah, who has a pretty big secret, too: she’s bisexual, and she hasn’t told anyone but her Mom. Not even her gay best friend. It only gets worse when she finds herself falling for one of her best friend’s prom dates instead of her own. Even worse because her crush is a girl and definitely doesn’t know that Leah is bisexual. Right? Leah maneuvers her crush while also maneuvering the last of her senior year of high school, fighting her romantic feelings all the while fighting the dread that comes as another life chapter comes to an end. This book reminded me of what it felt like to say goodbye to high school and prepare for adulthood, as well as the excitement — and anxiety — of first love. Not only is it great to get bi exposure in a young adult book, it’s also great for fans of Simon who want to spend just a little more time with their favorite characters in Shady Creek.

25. One Day In December by Josie Silver


If you’re into rom coms or, at the very least, Love Actually, you’ll love One Day In December, the story of a man and woman who can’t stop thinking of each other after a missed connection at a bus stop and the ten years that unfold after that one fated day. Is love at first sight real? Is there such thing as The One? This story may not have any definitive answers to these questions, but it does remind us that timing is just as important as love, even when there’s no such thing as the perfect time for something.

26. Sadie by Courtney Summers


Not long after a young girl is found dead in her small town, her older sister goes missing — but not before unintentionally leaving a trail of clues behind her. Enter Wes McCray, a radio personality who becomes obsessed with these sisters’ story and decides to crack the case on his Serial-like podcast. The chapters alternate between Wes’s podcast transcripts and teenage Sadie’s journey of revenge, weaving their stories together to paint a picture of the horrors girls face in the world — and the world’s strange fascination with the girls who fall victim to them.

27. The Power by Naomi Alderman


When young women all over the globe wake up one day with the strange ability to hurt — and even kill — people right at their fingertips, the world finds itself flipped upside-down. For the first time in history, men seem more afraid of women than women are of them. But as women all around the world learn just what they can do with their new power, societies begin to see the dark downside of what happens when, instead of achieving equality, the power structure is suddenly skewed in the opposite direction. This book would do well with fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and should definitely find its way onto any feminist’s reading list.

28. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison


Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove lives in Lorain, Ohio in a time when being a black girl is considered to some to be a curse, including Pecola herself. She prays for her eyes to turn blue so she can be as beautiful and beloved as her blue-eyed, blond-haired classmates, but instead she finds her life changing in many real — and very painful — ways. This book is incredibly hard to read (not because of the way it’s written, but because of its subject matter), but it’s powerful. No wonder it’s become a beloved American classic.

29. Florida by Lauren Groff


Lauren Groff’s anthology of short stories is stunning. Each story is crafted beautifully; Groff is an expert at molding language in the palms of her hand. The characters are different genders, different ages, living in different decades, and yet one thing is always the same: the state of Florida always plays a role, not only as a theme, but almost as a character itself. Groff writes of the horrors of the world and the harsh realities we often try not to face, often in the dangerous backdrop of the Floridian wilderness. Some of these stories will definitely stick with me long after I put the book down (Yport is one of them), while others I know I’ll revisit later without the memory of reading them at all.


30. The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion


Joan Didion explores grief on an intensely personal level in this memoir. Written soon after her husband suddenly died and her daughter battled with an unexpected illness that threatened to take her life, it’s no surprise that Didion felt it was necessary to destruct her own sense of loss and confusion about how the rug can be pulled out from under you so quickly. In fact, much of the book reflects on the earlier, happier days, when Didion’s marriage was thriving and her daughter was just a little girl. However, while I enjoyed this book and deeply sympathized with Didion (I can’t even imagine what that would be like), I think I didn’t fully appreciate it because Didion’s mindset while overcome with grief was so different than my own. Instead of the intense emotion I thought I’d feel, Didion approached the situation in a methodical way, writing her thoughts down succinctly. There’s no doubt Didion is a great writer or that this book will inevitably change some people’s lives. I just don’t think that person is me.

31. Sex Object by Jessica Valenti


This darkly funny memoir isn’t just about Jessica Valenti’s life, but of the sexism she’s fallen victim to since childhood. These painful, uncomfortable, and oftentimes funny memories are may belong to Valenti, but many feel like they belong to all of us — their so relatable that nearly any woman can put themselves into her shoes. If you’re looking for a good feminist read, make sure you don’t overlook this one.

32. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han


This book was hard for me to rank, because honestly, I loved it. I breezed through it within a few days and felt like I’d become best friends with protagonist Lara Jean by the time I was done. It starts exactly where To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before leaves off, with Lara Jean unsure about what comes next with heartthrob Peter Kavinsky now that their relationship contract is officially void. But while the feelings between the two are undoubtedly real, there are also a lot of very real problems the two must face that they never imagined while in their fake relationship, including conniving exes and a resurfacing past love interest. It may not be a literary masterpiece, but it’s sure to fill the rom com void in your heart.

33. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han


The final book in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy was perhaps my least favorite of the three, but that doesn’t mean I still didn’t love it. Things are finally starting to settle for Lara Jean (i.e. no more relationship drama) right when her life starts to become uprooted again — this time due to college, which is looming in the distance. Lara Jean wants to make the most of her senior year with Peter Kavinsky, but it’s grows harder and harder for her to stay focused on the present when the future is starting to look more and more hazy. It’s a nice, cozy ending to a nice, cozy YA series.

34. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon


Natasha meets Daniel on the worst day of her life: the day her family is getting deported back to Jamaica. Daniel meets Natasha on the most important day of his life: the day he has his interview for Yale. Natasha is deadest on changing her fate, while Daniel is sure their meeting is fate. But that’s another big difference between the two: Natasha is a realist, and Daniel is a dreamer. Throughout the course of one long, chaotic day, the two find themselves slipping into a romance that was doomed from the start. This book is definitely great if you want a quick, cute read. Is it life-changing? I wouldn’t go that far, but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the day Natasha’s and Daniel’s lives changed forever.

35. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay


This anthology of short stories centers on women who are “difficult”: those who cannot bring themselves to love, those who have been abused, those who are not appreciated by their loved ones, those who see themselves as wasted space. Each story focuses on a different woman and a different story, though by the end, they had all melded into one character in my mind. The problem is that while Gay is an amazing writer, her stories were so similar that I felt like I was reading the same one over and over again, each revealing little more insight than the one before it. It didn’t bother me that many of these stories were bleak and depressing, but it did bother me that they were often bleak and depressing in the same ways. As a result, most were unmemorable. But if you don’t plan to read the full book in one sitting, it still might be worth picking up. Read apart from one another, I think these stories have the potential to pack a punch.

36. Vox by Christina Dalcher

The premise here is beyond intriguing — after all, Vox is set in a near future where the women of America are silenced completely, thanks to a religious extremist in the government and a new government decree that restricts women from speaking more than 100 words a day. Dr. Jean McClellan is still in denial, but that doesn’t stop her from doing what she can to fight against a government that despises her very existence — all the while needing her for one final experiment. The book is a great conversation starter, especially for book clubs, but unfortunately, Vox doesn’t live up to its hype. Not only is Dalcher unable to make the plot believable, but the conclusion comes so quickly that you’ll end up feeling cheated.

37. Ghosted by Rosie Walsh


Ghosted had an interesting premise — Sarah and Eddie meet and fall in love nearly instantly, but after their whirlwind week together, Eddie falls off the face of the earth. Could it be? Has Sarah been… ghosted? But Sarah’s sure that Eddie wouldn’t just disappear on her and is positive that something must have happened to Eddie, even if she can’t put her finger on what. This is a fun, fast-paced mystery with one whopper of a plot twist (seriously, I did not see that coming), but when I put the book down at the end, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. It’s one of those stories that just ends too perfectly, to the point where you can’t help but feel that the whole thing was nothing but fan service.

38. The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLain Weir


I wanted to love this book. So many other people seemed to. After all, it covered such an interesting topic: specifically, the life of a Essie Hicks, a teenage girl who grew up on an immensely popular reality TV show a la The Duggars. Essie’s uber religious family isn’t as perfect as it appears on TV — once the cameras turn off, it’s back to plotting what will bring in the highest ratings. So when it’s revealed that the unwed Essie is pregnant, there are only a few options her mother is willing to entertain: do they sneak her out of the country for an abortion, pass the child off as her mother’s, or throw together a blockbuster wedding and say the child was born prematurely? But even with all the things the plot had going for it, the book itself fell short for me — the characters never felt fully fleshed out, the multiple viewpoints were difficult to discern from one another, and the plot twists seemed predictable. I think this is the perfect book for someone out there — just not me.


39. Diary Of An Oxygen Thief by Anonymous


This book is the (supposedly) firsthand account of an Irish advertising executive who receives pleasure by emotionally abusing women. “Hurt people hurt people,” the book reads, but as the narrator begins to attend AA and sobers up, he begins reflecting on how he treated his past relationships. While he claims to regret the way he treated women in the past, the way he describes it somehow says otherwise. It doesn’t help that he’s incredibly arrogant, often self-congratulatory despite his own self-loathing, and the way he often digresses from the prose to mention that he’d be surprised if the book even got published grows incredibly boring by the third time. In the end, when you learn he’s writing the book almost as an act of revenge from being wronged by someone who takes the same pleasure hurting men as he did women, the whole entire thing just feels tainted. Is the author a great writer? Sure. I just wish he would have written a different story.

40. A Lite Too Bright by Samuel Miller


I picked up this book without knowing much about it, but it sounded like a fun read. After all, it revolves around the grandson of an acclaimed writer and his journey to piece together the clues his grandfather left behind after his death, which includes a cross-country train ride. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember much more about it, despite finishing it in September. I was, to say the least, unimpressed.

41. How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran


This book is part-memoir, part-manifesto for women hoping to understand feminism. Author Caitlin Moran delved into her quirky, sometimes-humiliating adolescence with a sense of wit and self-deprecation I could definitely appreciate. Unfortunately, this is probably the only part of the book I truly liked. Instead of feeling empowered by Moran’s feminist revelations, I found myself rolling my eyes. This may have fared better in the hands of someone exploring the idea of feminism for the first time, but even then it seems ignorant. Moran suffers greatly from the dreaded White Feminism, often describing womanhood from the narrow lens of her own experiences without acknowledging the fact that others don’t come from the same privileges and backgrounds. In the hands of a non-white, non-heteronormative person, this book would feel deeply unrelatable. Even in mine, it seemed deeply flawed. It definitely didn’t help that she often TYPED LIKE THIS! If you’re a fan of Moran, this piece of work may be worth it for her narrative alone. Otherwise, you may want to just leave it on the shelf.

42. A Sucky Love Story: Overcoming Unhappily Ever After by Brittani Louise Taylor


I feel terrible rating this book so low, if I’m being honest. After all, this YouTuber’s memoir chronicles her abusive relationship with a man who is, to put it frankly, a straight-up psychopath. I can’t imagine going through what Brittani did, and I really hope this book will ensure that some women will never have to. But at the end of the day, this book was not well-written. There were too many irrelevant sidenotes, too many boring rants, too much exposition that didn’t matter. I think Brittani’s story is worth telling — what actually happened was insane — but it also needed a lot more editing before I’d consider it presentable. Brittani said herself in the book that she isn’t really a writer — the editor probably should have taken that more seriously. TC mark

Source: https://thoughtcatalog.com/callie-byrnes/2018/12/every-book-i-read-in-2018-ranked/

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