CONFIDENCE V. COCKINESS – THE STORY OF A FINE LINE

Everyone strives to be confident in life. The feeling where you are self-assured and nothing can get to you. How you dress, how you act, what you do, what you eat, how much you eat, how little you work out, what your hobbies are, who your friends are – everything. Is that person throwing the side-eye and definitely hard core judging you? You don’t care. You’re cool as a cucumber. Fly as a butterfly. Stinging like a bee. Swiping like a boss. It’s sexy. It’s healthy. It’s strong. It’s a good way to be successful … well, at least according to Hollywood.

Sometimes, though, very unfortunately, confidence crosses the line into an entirely different territory known as cockiness. Now, I understand how this is confusing to people. Both start with a ‘co’, both have 9 letters, both have 3 syllables, both have kind of similar letters, both inflate your ego to where you wake up and love seeing who’s staring back at you in the mirror, both kind of sound the if you say them quick enough for an extended period of time. 

As a blogger, I feel a need to educate the public on the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of cockiness to keep everyone in the happy, healthy, goal-attaining place that is confidence. Let’s start with the symptoms. How can you tell if someone has crossed the threshold into cockiness? Well, for starters, they’ll tell you all about it. How great they are, how beautiful they are, what they do for work, what they’ve got going for them, how everyone wants them, how the world simply doesn’t see their potential, etc. Then, they’ll walk away mid-convo because you aren’t worth their time anymore. Sound like someone you know? Is that someone you? Don’t worry, there are treatment options.

If you, or a loved one, or a random stranger who approached you, are experiencing the above symptoms, here are the (unofficial, and not scientifically, or medically, backed) treatment options. The most recommended one is to simply remove all sources of arrogance and conceitedness by deflating the ego. One can be creative here, but verbal cues that a cocky person is not who they think they are tend to be effective. However, you will need examples to back this up. ‘No, you don’t have a music deal about to come through because you have never once recorded anything.’ ‘I understand that everyone wants you, but somehow you blow up my phone every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights because you’re bored.’ ‘Oh, that makes sense, you were the greatest pole vaulter in school history. Except that the team cut you on the first day for not attending tryouts.’ Adjust to match your specific situation.

Another option is to encourage said person to help others. Volunteering, seeing the world in a new light, being helpful towards other human beings in a way that doesn’t involve talking about yourself, all can help soften a heart and open the eyes. Help someone to help yourself. If they are highly against doing some volunteer work or community service, Jesus is always a solid option as well.

If the above treatment options don’t work, you can pretend to get on their level and attempt to out-cocky them. A word of caution, though, once you reach that level for an extended period of time you could become confused on what’s happening to you and also turn into a meathead. Hopefully there are people who care about you and can bring you back to reality.

Finally, prevention. This sounds like something everyone should avoid so how can we prevent it in ourselves? Listen before speaking. Think before speaking. Try targeting what’s in your head at yourself and see if you receive it well, before speaking. Care about others. But, like, actually care. If someone is feeling some type of way, be there for them, listen to what they’re struggling with, and sympathize with that. All the while, not caring if it means you have to miss out on another party. Funny thing about preventing cockiness, is you’ll probably pick up that confidence along the way. You’ll trust yourself and the decisions you make. That is essentially the condensed Google definition so I don’t know what other evidence you need.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who is experiencing the devastating symptoms of cockiness, pass this along and they can reach out if they don’t agree. If you yourself are concerned about falling into the black hole, follow the prevention methods and you’ll be golden. Thanks for reading!


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COMMUNICATION IS ROCKET SCIENCE

When did talking to people get so hard? Has it always been this way? Or is this another thing millennials have ruined? Seems like it used to be easier – back before cell phones, and online dating, and airplanes, and the Internet, and indoor plumbing, and sliced bread … you get it. I have some theories on why, which I know you are oh so curious to hear, so ready or not, here they come!

  1. The Grass is Always Greener – I don’t believe this has changed at all since the dawn of humanity. Everything seems so darn peachy for everyone else so maybe it just feels like they were better communicators when in reality they sucked too
  2. Simpler Times – maybe they were better communicators because some of the obstacles that exist today were so not a thing. Looking at you King Boo
  3. Adapt and Survive – hard to have bad communication when the only way you can do it is face to face or via a letter that takes weeks to arrive. It’s easy to hide behind a screen. Hard to avoid tough questions when you’re staring someone in the eyes
  4. Can’t Make Something From Nothing – maybe they just didn’t talk to each other. Like ever. Was that a thing? Socializing?

Regardless, whatever happened along the way, we have become absolutely awful at communicating. With co-workers. With friends. With enemies. With significant others. With family. With our pets. With ourselves. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but despite all the technological advancements, we still can’t read someone’s mind. What?! I know, I know, it seems strange given that our cars drive themselves and our watches can call people. We also can’t put thoughts into someone else’s mind. No matter how bad you want them to say or do something, ultimately they control their own thoughts and actions. How can this be?! That would be weird if that happened. Pretty sure that would take dictatorship to a whole new level. 

Ok, all-knowing TRP. How can we fix this verbal crisis?’ First of all, I’m flattered that you think of me as all-knowing. But in other shocking news, I also tend to suck at communicating. Despite my attempts to find the perfect way to approach awkward, stressful, or frustrating situations, I have come to the realization that they’re all unique. Which is a bit annoying, if I’m honest. Honesty does seem to be the one constant that works well, though! Just be real with people. It’s not that hard – I promise. Do you like someone? Tell them. Are you frustrated with a coworker? Talk it out. Wish your mom would stop telling everyone your business? Let her know!

But don’t be rude about it. There are two ways to be honest. One that lets the other person know how you feel / where you stand in a way that is productive and initiates conversation by acknowledging your part in the situation. The other lets someone know how you feel / where you stand, but in an aggressive way that comes off as blame and puts them in a defensive mode.

As much as communication sucks, it’s always going to be a part of life. So you better figure out how to do it in a way that doesn’t make everyone hate you. And please, please, don’t be that person who hides behind a screen and thinks that makes it alright to troll everyone and their mothers. No one likes that person. Finally, don’t run away from your hard conversations. Embrace them. Will it work out for you? Who knows – maybe, maybe not, but it will make you a better person. Hopefully. Don’t quote me on that.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this and want to share it with them, that would seriously mean a lot to me. I’m so grateful to all the current readers and subscribers. If you want to get these in your inbox twice weekly don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR SUCCULENTS: IF I WANTED TO TAKE CARE OF SOMETHING, I WOULD GET A DOG

I have a confession to make…I have committed a terrible sin. Honestly, I’m embarrassed to tell you what happened, but I feel like we’re on that level now, you and me, so here goes nothing:

In an apartment, not too long ago, a tragic homicide happened. A human (let’s call them a restless professional) was living their best life, minding their own business, not giving a care in the world. Now this human had been gifted a succulent. Mind you, no one asked said human if they were prepared, or even if they wanted, to take on the burden of caring for another living thing. To commit to ensuring that this plant would be fed and loved. No, there was no asking just a bold statement followed by the heavy click of the ball and chain now trapping the free-spirited human into responsibility.

So now the human had an (unwanted) succulent. The human, tending to look for the best in any situation, thought: ‘Well, plants have lots of health benefits so maybe this will be good! Besides, worst case scenario, my roommate is growing a small, thriving, forest on our balcony so they can help me out.’ And so the human took the succulent and put it on the windowsill (because everyone knows that plants need sunlight. I mean, come on, the human isn’t that clueless!). There the succulent lived happily in the warm, direct sunlight for a day, then two, then three, then a week, then two weeks, then three weeks, etc.

One day (about a month later) the human came home from work to find that it was still light outside (apparently some people get home before dark every day, lucky duckies). Desperately wanting to enjoy the last rays of warm, direct, sunlight they went over to the window and basked in the Vitamin D. Feeling truly elated, and a bit invincible, the human glanced down at the windowsill and noticed a little pot with nothing inside it. Seemed strange that the roommate would pack a pot full of dirt and then put nothing in it…maybe they were finally losing their touch? Maybe it was the human’s turn to show the world that, although they still get nervous when having to actually TALK on the phone to make an appointment, and don’t buy groceries that either can’t be microwaved or aren’t immediately ready for consumption, in fact they were a responsible adult and their parents could stop worrying about having to clean out their basement for a make-shift bedroom.

Then reality hit. Like a ton of bricks strapped to the front of an 18-wheeler going 70MPH on the highway. That wasn’t the roommates pot! No, that was the succulent gifted to the human (who knows how long ago at this point). It was green and thriving when first handed over, but now it was so dead it looked like dirt. What does a responsible, caring, living their best life human do in this situation? Well the only thing that makes sense when seeing a dead plant of course – ran it to the sink and drowned it in water (because obviously it was thirsty or it wouldn’t have died).

Now, I would just like to point out that succulents, by nature, are supposed to need VERY little attention. Did I maybe neglect it for too long? Neglect is a strong word – I prefer the term forgot. I didn’t purposefully not water my succulent. In my mind, the succulent had been watered when it was given to me, therefore it would be a couple months before it was a thirsty hoe again. Turns out, I was thinking of a cactus. It also turns out that succulents and cacti are NOT one and the same (much to my disappointment).

There you have it! You’re supporting an (accidental) plant murderer. Well…actually, in a weird twist of fate, turns out my succulent is thirstier than I am because the drowning actually brought half of it back to life. I’m happy to report that the living half is doing great currently…and also that my roommate immediately took over its care.

Moral of the story is this, two things really:

  1. You can’t just be assuming that people are ready to take care of something. Chances are if they are only (barely) taking care of themselves it’s for a reason
  2. There needs to be better education around succulents – if I wanted to take care of something, I’d get a dog because they are 100,000,000 times more fun (but that’s for ANOTHER POST)
  3. (I lied, there are three morals – see you can’t be trusting me) Everyone and everyTHING gets thirsty at some point so please chill with the judgement

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who has mistakenly been entrusted with a succulent, or a fish, or another seemingly innocent living organism, please get them the help they need immediately. Thanks for reading!


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THAT QUESTION SEEMS VERY GOOGLE-ABLE

What makes you think I know the answer to your question? Does my face scream “walking encyclopedia of all the knowledge”? Because I’ve seen myself in the mirror and I’m giving off more of a “confused about what even APR is and why they can’t just say interest” vibe. I find it interesting that this is a massive problem in my life currently. Usually I’m dressed like the retired high school jock who isn’t able to quite move on from the glory days and yet somehow that tells people that I want to answer their questions…nay, I KNOW the answers to their questions.

Despite my best efforts to convince strangers that I’m not the source of all truth in the universe, I get questions like:

  • Which chemical elements have to combine to form magnesium phosphate? Mag and Pho obviously, it’s the newest dining craze
  • How many seconds are in 4.5 months? A lot
  • What is the secondary material in dry fit clothing? Fabric
  • How many miles long is South Beach? More than one
  • When was the DMV founded? At some point in the past
  • Are Oreos safe for a dog to eat? Probably not, but I’m not an expert here
  • Is it possible to eat a large pizza by yourself? Wait, I do know the answer to this one! Absolutely
  • How would I create a replica electrical circuit that turns on a light? Why would you want to do that?
  • If my car engine is screaming at me, what does that mean? Well, not anything good
  • Can you give me the exact number of people who attended the 1984 Super Bowl? Let me think…no
  • Did we leave the oven on? Unfortunately, no one knows the answer to this. We have a 50/50 chance
  • Who ate all the chocolate? I also know the answer to this … but if I tell you I’d have to kill you. Death by chocolate
  • How would one repair a shoe sole? Buy a new shoe

If only there was some technology that could help you out…just one, I’m not asking for a lot, but one thing that is so intelligent it’s slightly scary. Hold on, let me Google it and see what they have to say about it. Oh! My! Goodness! It’s Google itself those narcissistic little nerds! Not a Google fan you say? Their color scheme is a bit too primary for your tastes? Never fear, you can work with Watson, or Alexa, or Siri. Better yet, don’t just stick with one – call up several of these genius robots and see what their answers are.

In all my free time, I like to play a little game I call AI: Jealous or Nah? Here’s how it works: you put several machines right next to each other and take turns asking them different questions. OK Google, tell me when I’ll make enough money to retire? Alexa, will I wake up tomorrow craving oatmeal or eggs? Hey Siri, tell me a joke. Then ask the same three questions, but change the recipient. By the end of it you get a pretty decent joke and some fascinating queries into your future. My theory? They’re listening to you abandon them for the others so they feel an intense need to one-up the competition.

With so many options, I genuinely don’t get how the Internet is not everyone’s first place to try and find an answer. Not humans. Besides, you get an answer so much quicker that way. If you ask me, my baby peanut-sized brain will have to go Google it…or Alexa it, or Siri it, or Watson it. Go straight to the source, that way you can keep searching until you find an answer. Don’t get mad at me, I’m reading the top result for your sorry self – no way am I scrolling to page two of the results. I have better things to do, like Google ways to keep yourself entertained on a ship. Or how to propel down from a third story window (in case of a fire, duh). 

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who loves to ask questions, do everyone a favor and introduce them to Google. Give someone an answer and they’ll keep coming back, but teach someone to search and they will never speak to you again. Thanks for reading!


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LIFE LESSONS FROM CRIMINAL MINDS

Hollywood has never been accused of exaggerating, or lying, in their television series so it’s safe to assume that everything is 100% accurate with how the world works. Same as with things you read on the Internet. Totally factual. This is why I binge-watch (and am good at it, you can read more about how to do it like a pro in THIS POST). Purely for the knowledge and zero other reason. 

Some shows have been around since the dinosaurs. You know which ones I’m talking about. Anything in a double digit season, or on their fifth farewell season, or the ones where you think you’re watching a rerun, then realize that the description says it came out last week and you wonder if you invented time travel overnight successfully. I love playing the guessing game of whether or not this is really goodbye. You say this is the last time, and yet here you are…again…broadcasting all over my screens that you’re coming back for more. Then, when the end does come, your emotional bank is empty and you’re just left feeling confused, without direction for the evening ritual of mindlessness.

Criminal Minds is one of those shows. Unless you haven’t turned on a TV since 2005, you’ve seen Criminal Minds. Even if you didn’t realize you were watching Criminal Minds. It’s everywhere. I always forget that they’re still actively catching the world’s most disturbed individuals (because crime doesn’t stop). Well, that’s not entirely true. This is the year that it stops. Right? If the show is ending, have they caught EVERYONE? If not, then you better saddle back up cowboy and finish the job. How am I supposed to have any sense of safety in life sans my fictional saviors? It might be time to start preparing for the end of the world.

If they will no longer save me, then I’ll have to use all the lessons I’ve learned over the past 15 years to survive. Gaining this wealth of knowledge, though, and not sharing it seems selfish. And us millennials are known to be the most unselfish generation. Or maybe we are the most selfish? I can’t remember, I was thinking about myself when reading the article and I’ve forgotten.

Good Guys Always Win

Bad guys always get caught. Always. And if not in this episode, then at some point in the future with a breakthrough case that suspiciously links the missing pieces together. Exactly the same as in life. Never give up on being the good guy!

You Need a Jet if You’re in a Hurry

Do I need to elaborate on this? Jets are the best mode of transport. Faster than commercial airlines, trains, boats, cars, walking, etc. Just get a jet, it’s no big deal.

One Person Can Do it All

Call me Penelope Garcia and give me a task – I’ll get it done all by myself in the speed of light. Faster than a jet you could say. Faster than technically, physically, and humanly possible. Hard work and infinitely being on call will lead to results.

Time Off is a Myth

Oh, you put in for vacation? That’s cute, but we have this problem that you, and only you, can help with so come in ASAP. Drop everything – your book, your family, your marathon training, everything and get to the office. 

Everyone Has a Past

Even the crime fighters have secrets and regrets. Don’t hold on to this. Say what you need to say, take the high road, and stop letting it stress you out. Eventually it will impact other areas of your life (*cough* Gideon).

Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover

It’s always the pure, innocent seeming people that end up being guilty. We’re good at portraying ourselves how we want others to see us. Become a human lie detector and learn to trust your gut.

Lying Will Only Hurt You

Eventually you’ll get caught in the web you’ve spun yourself into, you little spider monkey. Lying is exhausting because you constantly need new ones to cover up existing ones. Do yourself a favor and tell the truth. Better yet, don’t kill people and then you won’t need to lie about it.

Know How to Google Search

A good Google search is the difference between being efficient and being frustrated. Need information quick (because someone’s life, or your lunch hour, depends on it)? Figure out how to get results instantly and become immediately valuable to your team.

I feel like I could more in depth, but, if I had to summarize all the years that we’ve spent together, that would be the gist of it. Of all long-running shows, I’m going to miss this one. The realness makes me feel alive and like I should maybe learn how to interrogate strangers, just in case. Good thing there’s endless reruns available everywhere cable is sold! Are you a hard-core BAU fanatic and feel like I’m off base, or that I missed one? Let’s chat about it. 

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you feel like you’re qualified to hunt down the weirdos out there to keep us safe, please let the directors know so we can end the madness that is the Criminal Minds finale. Thanks for reading!


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LIFE LESSONS FROM GAME OF THRONES

If you’ve never seen Game of Thrones, what’s wrong with you? Read this, learn your lessons, then park yourself in front of a television for the next week to catch up, binge-watching style, with the rest of humanity. For all the GOT faithful, I’m about to strike a nerve with a bunch of you, but I actually liked the way that it ended. How else would you have wrapped that up? Kill everyone? I guess then the lone dragon could summon dinosaur friends and kick off history. That would be a fun twist to our species! You could be a Targaryen, or a Stark, or a Lannister, or a Dothraki…probably wouldn’t be an Unsullied though. I’m guessing that part of the peace initiative would have included putting an end to torturing small children so they could be hard-core warriors.

For a few minutes there I was trying to figure out which house I descended from and then I remembered that I definitely made that up. Thank goodness for online quizzes. I’m a Greyjoy so that answers my questions. I always wanted to be a sailor, better put in my two-week notice at work tomorrow, then buy some ships and an isolated island. And probably a suit of armor because my people love to fight.

Anyways, watching the series helped me learn some valuable life lessons that I feel compelled to share…despite my people being on the more selfish side. Look at me breaking molds and forging my own path in life. My mom would be so proud.

Some Battles Are Not Worth Fighting

If the dead are coming, run! There’s no need to fight death. That’s a losing battle and the things you see will scar you forever. If you must stay, befriend a slightly psychotic girl who fears nothing, then find an amazing hiding place.

Maximize your Time Each Day

You can get anywhere in a day if you really want to, or if you are a television director and have lost touch with reality – across the castle, across town, across the ocean…doesn’t matter, it’s all the same.

Trust your Gut

Arya was with one man and decided she’d rather spend the rest of her life on a ship sailing to the end of the Earth. Gendry clearly did not keep her coming back for more.

Politics are Everywhere

There’s always going to be a small group of people making decisions in “your best interest”. Names are the only thing that really change – glad our long lost ancestors gave our government a solid template to copy.

If You Want to be in Charge, Get a Dragon

This seems self-explanatory. Find a dragon, train it (like a dog I’m assuming), and learn how to fly it. You’ll help save the environment by not using fuel so that will make people happy, but if they aren’t buying in you can threaten them with fire…from your dragon. Fear is a powerful motivator.

Being Cold is Mental

Like OG eskimos, a significant amount of characters lived in winter all year round…on purpose. I’m hoping that stone structures are surprisingly warm, despite their gray and freezing look. What if the whole story was just a delusion from a frost-bitten, almost frozen wildling?!

Act Confident

No one in the show seemed to be suspicious of a stranger dressed in black and wearing a hood. Confidence will get you far, even into a heavily guarded castle without anyone giving you a second thought.

Lead by Example

The head honchos of war frequently appear at the front of a battle sans helmet. Seems unsafe. I also find this interesting since all their henchmen do have helmets. Who is correct? Probably the henchmen, who tended to survive.

Everyone is Human

Battles never seem to start until after the staring contest is over. Is this because they are all hoping one side will surrender and they won’t have to spend hour after bloody hour fighting for their lives? Dunno. Seems like just getting the thing started will make it end quicker.

Treat Other People’s Things Like your Own

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of respect for other people’s property. Specifically castles. Is it possible to win a war without destroying every piece of infrastructure in a city? My gut says yes, but the show says no. If I’m going to take it, I want to be able to use it. Otherwise it’s just a pile of stone and bricks.

Everyone Can be an Influencer

Constant drinking is a sign of great wealth and power – alright, check, I’ve got that going for me at least. Look out world! 

Know When to Move On

In certain situations, it’s best to cut your losses and move on. Not calling out anyone specifically, but if a dragon is lighting up your city, it may be best not to watch from the tallest window in your castle. Just saying – a white flag works well too.

Materialism is Alive and Well

Metal chairs with zero padding are most desirable and you should stop at nothing to own one.

Always Apologize

Even when a building is collapsing, you have time to hug, make up, reconcile your lifelong differences, apologize, forgive, kiss, go through every detail of how you get here, make a baby, etc. Might I suggest getting out and saving yourself?

Small Talk is Underrated

Some people are not good at small talk. That’s ok – just throw some ridiculous statement onto the table and see how people react. Need a suggestion? The king of small talk, Tyrion Lannister, has you covered: ‘I once brought a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel’. I have so many questions.

Walls Only Divide People

Our ancestral tribes had a wall to keep the dead, and the wildlings, out of their country. How did the dead and the wildlings feel about this though? Well, they tore part of it down so I’m thinking not great. Side note: where did the wall come from? Did someone build it? Did nature put it there? How does it not melt when winter ends? It’s ginormous!

Know your Worth

Jon “The Virgin” Snow was supposedly an outcast and undesirable at the start of the show, yet had zero trouble picking up the only wildling who knew what makeup was and Westeros’ most eligible bachelorette like a pro. He knew he was worth it. 

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who hasn’t watched GOT, shame them. Then make them watch it. Otherwise, take the wisdom from the people of Westeros and go forth into the world. Thanks for reading!


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