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Prone to sudden bursts of encouragement. They/them. Queer, autistic author of bit.ly/GaslightingMillennials

How a long-lost childhood friend taught me to love again

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

My first wedding happened in my parents’ basement in 1996.

I was eight years old, and the groom was my best friend Alex.

We thought that marriage meant promising to be best friends forever.

Three years earlier, my mother answered a knock at the door to find a neighbor holding her son by the hand.

She introduced him as Alex, “AKA the spawn of Satan,” then asked if I could come out and play.

We were inseparable from that moment.

Alex and I were friends in a boundless childlike way, unburdened by differences in gender or family or interests. We…


I put my goals on hold because the thinner me deserved them more

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I’m moving next month, and I’m decluttering so I don’t have to move things I never use or don’t need. I found a notebook that I recognized as being one that I’ve used for goal-related notes in the past so I took a break to look through it.

The first entry is dated September 2016. It is a single list.

The next is February 2017, and this one had several pages of brainstorms, notes, priorities, and affirmations. …


Millennials and Gen Z are on the same side

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You’ve probably heard the news. Millennials’ skinny jeans and side parts and love of the cry-laugh emoji are out.

Not only out, they’re old.

If you have a side part and skinny jeans, you probably also have a grandchild, memories of ’90s Taco Bell interiors, and maybe a 401(k).

So say the Gen Z teens on TikTok, provoking a rash of memes and tweets from their millennial counterparts responding “This means war!” and back-and-forth mockery of styles, hobbies, and whatever else we can get our hands on.

Pump the brakes.

I think, first of all, we all need to acknowledge…


How to stop beating yourself up for missing a deadline

Photo by Ann H from Pexels.

Goals should be SMART, right? Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

But a lot of us fail to pay attention to the achievable and relevant parts of the planning process. We stick to specific and time-bound, and if life goes sideways or we get smacked with a global pandemic or an illness or family issues or a job loss, we think we failed at our goal just because we didn’t finish it in the time allotted.

Goals need room to breathe and adjust.

When a goal is no longer relevant or achievable in the way you first planned, going back…


Is your anger trying to keep you safe?

A single orange flame dances in the center of the photo with a black background. Photo by Paul Bulai on Unsplash

We typically view anger as a negative emotion that we want to get rid of as fast as possible. Anger can feel like losing control, or like we’re letting someone get the better of us and keep us in a negative emotion.

And those are real aspects of anger.

But anger can also cover up feelings of fear, betrayal, pain, grief, and other complex emotions that we won’t fully process if we don’t let the anger pass through.

In my course, participants classify themselves as a character type common to games, like a Druid, Wizard, or — most applicable to…


When striving for better habits can trigger self harm

Photo by N I F T Y A R T ✍🏻 on Unsplash

My mother put me on my first diet when I was twelve.

I still remember the way she traced a circle in the palm of her hand to show our babysitter how big three ounces of meat was, to monitor our serving sizes. I also remember choking down raw broccoli and bell peppers — two foods I cannot eat raw without feeling ill, twenty years later.

I became a vegetarian in 2002 when I was in eighth grade, for the animals. Around age 17, I became vegan entirely, but added eggs and dairy back into my diet quickly because it…


Your possibilities are endless, but it pays to focus

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

Do you ever panic that you need to achieve all your dreams right now, or you’ll run out of motivation — or time?

I spend a lot of time reminding myself that going slow and being deliberate is part of the process. I have to remind myself that my ideas are good and worth pursuing, even if I don’t pursue all of them now.

For me, trying to do a little of everything is a recipe for zero things getting finished.

It’s why I try to focus on one thing (or two) at a time, and I make note of…


Separating the feedback from the feeling

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Criticism is hard to hear, because no one wants to hear that they’re doing something wrong. But criticism can be a gift, if you know what to look for.

We often hear about “constructive criticism,” which is meant to help us improve (that’s why it’s constructive). But even well-meaning criticism can feel bad, because it makes us believe negative things about ourselves.

How to Break the Criticism Cycle

Criticism makes us feel bad because we believe that if we were doing things right, there wouldn’t be anything to criticize. Therefore, criticism means we did poorly, and we believe it’s a sign of our failure.

Criticism does…


What to do when your partner stops loving you

Photo of author by Jen Hearn as part of the Cleveland Badass portrait project/provided by author

My ex-partner wooed me with poems and promises of us reaching our dreams together — our dreams of weight loss and being that enviable gym couple.

The poem was about how I looked in my dating app profile picture, bedecked in race medals from 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons.

He loved that photo. He loved that person.

And I loved being loved.

We met a couple of weeks after I left my ex-husband. I told him I was getting divorced, and he assumed I wouldn’t follow through.

It was a safe relationship to explore for both of us to get…


Why we need social distancing

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

We all know someone who is struggling with social distancing. Someone who is going from store to store, sort of understanding the risk but unable to help themselves and just sit down.

It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, it’s even understandable. Staying at home when you want to is one thing, but being made to do it makes you feel stressed and, well, isolated.

But let’s be totally clear: it’s dangerous.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing, or physical distancing, is the practice of maintaining a physical distance to prevent the spread of contagious disease. …

Caitlin Fisher

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