one-size-fits-all

The Dos and Don’ts of Beginning a Novel:  An Illustrated Guide

I’ve had a lot of asks lately for how to begin a book (or how not to), so here’s a post on my general rules of thumb for story openers and first chapters!  

Please note, these are incredibly broad generalizations;  if you think an opener is right for you, and your beta readers like it, there’s a good chance it’s A-OK.  When it comes to writing, one size does not fit all.  (Also note that this is for serious writers who are interested in improving their craft and/or professional publication, so kindly refrain from the obligatory handful of comments saying “umm, screw this, write however you want!!”)

So without further ado, let’s jump into it!

Don’t: 

1.  Open with a dream. 

“Just when Mary Sue was sure she’d disappear down the gullet of the monstrous, winged pig, she woke up bathed in sweat in her own bedroom.”

What?  So that entire winged pig confrontation took place in a dream and amounts to nothing?  I feel so cheated! 

Okay, not too many people open their novels with monstrous swine, but you get the idea:  false openings of any kind tend to make the reader feel as though you’ve wasted their time, and don’t usually jump into more meaty action of the story quickly enough.  It makes your opening feel lethargic and can leave your audience yawning.

Speaking of… 

2.  Open with a character waking up.  

This feels familiar to most of us, but unless your character is waking up to a zombie attack or an alien invasion, it’s generally a pretty easy recipe to get your story to drag.

No one picks a book to hear how your character brushes their teeth in the morning or what they’d like to have for dinner.  As a general rule of thumb, we read to explore things we wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.  And cussing out the alarm clock is not one of them.  

Granted, there are exceptions if your writing is exceptionally engaging, but in most cases it just sets a slow pace that will bore you and your reader to death and probably cause you to lose interest in your book within the first ten pages.  

3.  Bombard with exposition.  

Literary characters aren’t DeviantArt OCs.  And the best way to convey a character is not, in my experience, to devote the first ten pages to describing their physical appearance, personality, and backstory.  Develop your characters, and make sure their fully fleshed out – my tips on how to do so here – but you don’t need to dump all that on the reader before they have any reason to care about them.  Let the reader get to know the character gradually, learn about them, and fall in love with them as they would a person:  a little bit at a time.   

This is iffy when world building is involved, but even then it works best when the delivery feels organic and in tune with the book’s overall tone.  Think the opening of the Hobbit or Good Omens.

4.  Take yourself too seriously.

Your opener (and your novel in general) doesn’t need to be intellectually pretentious, nor is intellectual pretense the hallmark of good literature.  Good literature is, generally speaking, engaging, well-written, and enjoyable.  That’s it.  

So don’t concern yourself with creating a poetic masterpiece of an opening line/first chapter.  Just make one that’s – you guessed it – engaging, well-written, and enjoyable. 

5.  Be unintentionally hilarious.

Utilizing humor in your opening line is awesome, but check yourself to make sure your readers aren’t laughing for all the wrong reasons (this is another reason why betas are important.)  

These examples of the worst opening lines in published literature will show you what I mean – and possibly serve as a pleasant confidence booster as well: 

“As the dark and mysterious stranger approached, Angela bit her lip anxiously, hoping with every nerve, cell, and fiber of her being that this would be the one man who would understand – who would take her away from all this – and who would not just squeeze her boob and make a loud honking noise, as all the others had.”

– Ali Kawashima

“She sipped her latte gracefully, unaware of the milk foam droplets building on her mustache, which was not the peachy-fine baby fuzz that Nordic girls might have, but a really dense, dark, hirsute lip-lining row of fur common to southern Mediterranean ladies nearing menopause, and winked at the obviously charmed Spaniard at the next table.”

– Jeanne Villa

“As I gardened, gazing towards the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug – innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons – and in feeling that warm slime, be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me.”

– Mary E. Patrick

“Before they met, his heart was a frozen block of ice, scarred by the skate blades of broken relationships, then she came along and like a beautiful Zamboni flooded his heart with warmth, scraped away the ugly slushy bits, and dumped them in the empty parking lot of his soul.”

– Howie McClennon

If these can get published, so can you.

Do:

1.  You know that one really interesting scene you’re itching to write?  Start with that.

Momentum is an important thing in storytelling.  If you set a fast, infectious beat, you and your reader will be itching to dance along with it.  

Similarly, slow, drowsy openers tend to lead to slow, drowsy stories that will put you both to sleep.

I see a lot of posts joking about “that awkward moment when you sit down to write but don’t know how to get to that one scene you actually wanted to write about.”  Write that scene!  If it’s at all possible, start off with it.  If not, there are still ways you can build your story around the scenes you actually want to write.

Keep in mind:  if you’re bored, your reader will almost certainly be bored as well.  So write what you want to write.  Write what makes you excited.  Don’t hold off until later, when it “really gets good.”  Odds are, the reader will not wait around that long, and you’re way more likely to become disillusioned with your story and quit.  If a scene is dragging, cut it out.  Burn bridges, find a way around.  Live, dammit. 

2.  Engage the reader.

There are several ways to go about this.  You can use wit and levity, you can present a question, and you can immerse the reader into the world you’ve created.  Just remember to do so with subtlety, and don’t try too hard;  believe me, it shows.  

Here are some of my personal favorite examples of engaging opening lines: 

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." 

– Douglas Adams, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

"It was the day my grandmother exploded.”

– Iain Banks, Crow Road.

“A white Pomeranian named Fluffy flew out of the a fifth-floor window in Panna, which was a grand-new building with the painter’s scaffolding still around it. Fluffy screamed.”

– Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games.

See what I’m saying?  They pull you in and do not let go.

3.  Introduce us to a main character (but do it right.)

“Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough and looked don’t-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife.”

– Neil Gaiman, American Gods.

This is one of my favorite literary openings of all time, because right off the bat we know almost everything we need to know about Shadow’s character (i.e. that he’s rugged, pragmatic, and loving.)   

Also note that it doesn’t tell us everything about Shadow:  it presents questions that make us want to read more.  How did Shadow get into prison?  When will he get out?  Will he reunite with his wife?  There’s also more details about Shadow slowly sprinkled in throughout the book, about his past, personality, and physical appearance.  This makes him feel more real and rounded as a character, and doesn’t pull the reader out of the story.

Obviously, I’m not saying you should rip off American Gods.  You don’t even need to include a hooker eating a guy with her cooch if you don’t want to.  

But this, and other successful openers, will give you just enough information about the main character to get the story started;  rarely any good comes from infodumping, and allowing your reader to get to know your character gradually will make them feel more real.   

4.  Learn from the greats.

My list of my favorite opening lines (and why I love them) is right here.

5.  Keep moving.  

The toughest part of being a writer is that it’s a rare and glorious occasion when you’re actually satisfied with something you write.  And to add another layer of complication, what you like best probably won’t be what your readers will like best. 

If you refuse to keep moving until you have the perfect first chapter, you will never write anything beyond your first chapter.  

Set a plan, and stick to it:  having a daily/weekly word or page goal can be extremely helpful, especially when you’re starting out.  Plotting is a lifesaver (some of my favorite posts on how to do so here, here, and here.)

Keep writing, keep moving, and rewrite later.  If you stay in one place for too long, you’ll never keep going. 

Best of luck, and happy writing.  <3

I think one of the things that white feminism / terf feminism misses completely about WOC is that there is a difference between being sexualized and being found attractive and how that affects women of color as a result.

White women in the media are both sexualized and viewed as ideal and conventionally attractive, white women tend to take a position that pushes back on all forms of the male gaze which includes both sexualization, and being viewed as conventionally attractive.

Which is fine because of their dominant position as the apple of men’s eye they’re never going to doubt themselves as the most attractive species (even when it’s unwanted and generally unfavorable, and comes with a strict set of rules and beauty standards, because even if a white girl feels ugly, internal racism is still going to make her value herself higher than brown girls) but generally when white women reject beauty standards, they have enough support that it doesn’t adversely affect their mental well-being.

Now onto WOC. The system is completely different, woc are considered play things and sexual objects in a way that is unparalleled by their white counterparts. White women don’t /want/ to feel beautiful woc never /got/ to. And that matters, in a world where beauty, especially for women, determines worth, when women of color were never considered beautiful in the first place, their self worth is nonexistent.

So when woc say things like “I want to feel beautiful” a lot of white women mistake that for “I want to look good for men” which can be true if you’re white (even though everyone should be allowed to feel attractive in whatever way they want)

But with women of color the meaning shifts to more like “I want to feel like I have value, I want to feel loved and respected and to be attractive. Eurocentric beauty standards have never fit me, and with those being all the media I ever consumed, they’ve cemented themselves in my brain, I deserve to be desirable in a non inherently sexual way.”

And white women literally can’t empathize with this, which is okay! But there has to be an understanding that feminism isn’t one size fits all in which white women are the proxy.

  • Trump administration: We're rolling back the protections for trans students because it should be left up to the states. This isn't a one-size-fits-all situation, the states have rights, they should be able to chose whether or not they offer protections to vulnerable children and teens. We're a state's rights party uwu.
  • Also the Trump administration: We're looking into enforcing the federals laws that deal with recreational marijuana because these stickin' states think that they have rights or something.

If you don’t have BPD read this

I’m so tired of the stigma associated with BPD. (Borderline personality disorder) it makes me angry when I see the judgment of it from people who don’t have it.


Borderlines are not all the same. This is not a one size fits all illness. Not everyone is going to have exactly the same symptoms. We are all different. So when people without it, “diagnose” and think you don’t have it because you’re not doing this symptom or that symptom is irritating. Unless you’re a doctor I don’t believe in your “diagnosis”.


Not all borderlines are monsters. Again, NOT all borderlines are monsters. Every time I hear how we are narcissistic (no sweetie that’s a separate disorder get your disorders straight), violent, manipulative, attention-seeking, abusive, dramatic, etc. the list can go on of judgments. We aren’t all monsters okay? A lot of us are actually kind, loving people. That’s part of why we have episodes. The end result is always us wanting to die. It’s never how we think you should die. We always take blame for everything. Even if a borderline doesn’t tell you that out loud it’s true.


BPD is not like bipolar disorder. Yes, it’s similar but it’s also very different. Bipolar is a chemical imbalance that you can balance out with medication. BPD is not. Bipolar mood swings are spaced apart typically by weeks or months or days borderlines have mood swings that severe within minutes. And it’s in the genetic makeup of our brain. You can only truly treat it with DBT therapy and even then it never truly goes away.


You don’t need to be admitted to a mental asylum if you have BPD. DO NOT say someone with BPD is crazy or psycho or anything like that. If the person with BPD says it about themselves that’s one thing. If you say that to a borderline you’re going to set them off. Also be aware that what a borderline says while they have a mental breakdown is not always true. When we have our episodes and are upset, we say a lot irrational things.


FINALLY, best for last. What is it like to have BPD? It feels like you’re drowning. All the time. You can’t even trust yourself because you’re constantly having this battle in your head between you and the disorder. You have literally no or very little control over your emotions. And that’s not just an opinion, a doctor will tell you that as well. It feels like you have a separate personality that is evil and bad and horrible and you have no control over it. Hence why it’s a PERSONALITY disorder. Or you feel like you have no personality and you can’t ever figure out who you want to be. So you’re constantly in a never ending search of who you are and it’s exhausting. Oh, and here’s a really important tip. Don’t slut shame a borderline. The high sex drive is literally part of the disorder and is classified as a symptom. Don’t be a judgmental prude about it. The borderline is already aware of it and feels bad enough about it.

End the stigma. Raise awareness, not the suicide rate.

[ May is BPD ( Borderline Personality Disorder ) awareness month & I wanted to drop this here, for my followers to see.

Why am I posting this, you might ask ? Yes. I HAVE BPD. I’ve had it for at least 10 years in various levels of severity. BPD isn’t the only personality disorder nor mental disorder I have either, & I am not scared to say it.

BPD awareness is close to my heart. I try to make sure I tell to every single person I plan to become a closer friends with that I have this disorder & ask them to try to understand me the best they can. Hell, I sometimes don’t even understand myself… Because of this ( these ) disorders I have always been more or less misunderstood & I have never really “fit the norm” how people should behave. I just… Didn’t understand how emotions work, like many other BPD sufferers. I didn’t know how to voice them out in other way than anger or over-reacting that stems from neglect I had to endure ever since I was a toddler — that is how I learned to survive in the middle of abuse. I am not saying this as an “understand me because I am a special snowflake”, no, everyone should TRY TO UNDERSTAND each other REGARDLESS.

How can you become better at understanding us ? By listening. By asking us questions & not second guess. Educate yourself on the subject if you have a friend, a family member or anyone close to you that suffers from BPD. Or educate yourself even if you don’t, the more knowledge the better.

Now to the stigmas. I am sick & tired of people stigmatizing ANYTHING & I want to debunk these from my personal perspective. Sometimes we do it without even realizing it, stigmatizing… Which we should try our best to break free from.

I am not selfish. I have too many things I need to deal with every day, I might not be the best person to put other people’s needs first as well as someone that isn’t dealing with extreme mood swings that can last from literally 15 SECONDS to couple of hours. I do care about you. I just sometimes don’t have the strength to carry both of our burdens.
I am not manipulative —- I just don’t know how to voice my strong emotions right without sounding hostile or pushy.
I am not an attention seeker. Once again, I just don’t know how to voice my emotions out early enough before I’ve bottled everything up, then everything just explodes because I become so overwhelmed & it seems like I am making the situation a horrible shit storm of drama.
I am not treatment resistant — I thought I was, but my medications are set & suit me. I attend therapy & have been for 1.5 years & it helps. I do not abuse alcohol, drugs or sex, I am actively combating self harm & suicidalness every single day. I will never be cured, but I will be better.
Only thing in this list I can agree with is BPD people being difficult because being difficult is SUBJECTIVE. We as humans don’t have an “one size fits all” base for our tolerance — all of us tolerate certain things to certain extents.

I am not a monster.

Unless you really know me & we have a mutual understanding between each other you have NO RIGHT to stigmatize me or say what kind of a person I am. So many people start to abuse me & tell how horrible person I am because I am behaving in a certain way because I just don’t know better. I don’t know how else to behave. & I know it’s wrong if I behave badly, I am not perfect. But you still have no right to verbally abuse me. Hell, you have no right to do that to ANYONE.

My disorders do not determine me. My disorders are not ME.

These stigmas just make everything worse, for everyone. These stigmas surrounding us make us BPD sufferers AFRAID to admit we have BPD. We are AFRAID to seek for help. We’re AFRAID to even talk about the subject in any way & we keep suffering, feeling alone in this hellhole of a world that might never understand us.

Don’t succumb to the stigma. Don’t be afraid of someone with BPD, some of us suffer in silence & struggle internally, some of us voice our emotions out in a very immature way, we’re not all the same. Imagine someone whose most outer layer of skin has been peeled completely off. You are red & raw, even a soft breeze of wind hurts. Even the smallest touch can make anyone SCREAM from pain. That is what BPD emotions are like. We know how we behave is not right, but we most of the time can’t help it. We learned these ways to behave from trauma — we had to do SOMETHING to survive & now we are stuck with a certain way of behavior, a survival method that might get triggered by even the smallest things. We feel like we are in serious danger & we need to defend ourselves at least somehow. We know how we have learned to survive doesn’t work anymore, some of us are in so much better place than we were before but we just can’t break free without professional help or dedicated self treatment, such as Mindfulness, yoga & meditation.

Not all of our bad behaviors are BPD based, but it’s very likely most of them are. You don’t need to understand us, just at least try to.

We are not perfect. You aren’t perfect either. We all make mistakes, some just more than others. Deep down inside we are just like you. We are human, we are flawed & we feel emotions. We are trying our best to be “normal” & not hurt anyone.

For other BPD sufferers — there is hope. Someone loves you. & you should love yourself, too.

This has been a PSA. Thank you for reading. Thank you for trying to understand. ]

6

Why build a tiny house instead of buying existing small house or trailer?

The biggest reason for me is creative empowerment.

There are so many things we aren’t in control over. But one of them, if you have some money put aside, is your shelter. There’s something incredibly validating about building my own shelter.

If you think about it, how many things do you create on a daily basis, vs consume? How much of your individualized potential is being expressed in your daily life, vs molded by others?

So many of us wake up in beds designed for the masses, wearing one size fits all PJs, grabbing our push-button coffee out the door on the way to our increasingly commoditized jobs in the car with the “best reviews”.

Best not become unemployed or you’ll lose access to your pharmaceutically manufactured pills. That would make the CEOs very angry.

I sleepwalked through 3 years of consumption before I finally realized I’m not even participating in my own life!

In my house, everything is exactly how I want. And if it’s not, I’ll have intimate knowledge how to change it.

Solar power, heated floors, loft speakers, enclosed shower, four-burner range… Hell a garden in my living room if I so desire. I can have it all in 150 sq ft. for about $30,000. And go anywhere with all that too. And no one can evict me or foreclose on it.

anonymous asked:

1) welcome back! You were missed! 2) Do you think certain MBTI types are prone to certain problematic behaviors and 3) if so which ones really bother you or you dislike?

Thanks. Yes, certain MBTI types show trends when it comes to problematic behaviors. My top one for each cognitive function:

High Te (ENTJ, ESTJ, INTJ, ISTJ): The Sledgehammer

Summary: Uses a one-size-fits-all solution for different sized problems.

Example:

  • Using brute force to power through situations that might require more patience, finesse, and reflection.
  • “This worked great for me, you’re dumb not to do the same.”
  • “Don’t pursue a career in art, you’re going to be poor. Go into business, law, or medicine.”

Impact: The problem with being a hammer is that you’ll start to see everything and everyone as a nail. It also makes people feel like their opinions and points of view are less valuable than yours. It also falsely presumes that the choice which yields the best output objectively (example: the job that yields the most money) is the best. It negates the reality that people have different indicators for success because there isn’t only one correct answer to every question.

Solution: Incorporate subjective variables into your objective logical frameworks.

High Ti (INTP, ISTP, ENTP, ESTP): The Hamster Wheel

Summary: Invalidates everything in a perpetual logic loop.

Example:

  • “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?” x1,000,000

Impact: You succeed at winning debates but fail at solving problems. Whether or not you can rationalize the validity of money doesn’t take away from the fact you still have bills to pay at the end of the day. Whether or not you can rationalize the value of grades and traditional education doesn’t take away from the fact you’ll be denied entry into many careers without the right qualifications. Whether or not you can rationalize that having children is a logical idea or not doesn’t take away from the fact that many people aspire to be parents. The validity of other people’s goals, dreams, concerns, and issues are not contingent on whether or not they can explain them to your satisfaction.

Solution: Create solutions, answers, and actions for every hole you poke in other people’s logic– not more problems.

High Fe (ENFJ, ESFJ, INFJ, ISFJ): The Guilt Trip

Summary: Guilt trip. verb. to make (someone) feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something.

Example: Self-explanatory.

Impact: This is manipulation. You’ll get on people’s nerves and make them miserable because you’ve forced them into situations they didn’t willingly want to enter or participate in of their own accord. Secondly, you haven’t provided solid concrete reasons and logic for why someone should do something, it’s an argument made without taking into consideration the other person’s comfort or needs. 

Solution: Explain clearly and transparently why you want someone to do something (yes, it’s really that simple).

High Fi (INFP, ISFP, ESFP, ISFP): The Cloudy Mirror

Summary: Judges people for things they don’t want to be judged for.

Example:

  • “I wish society wouldn’t judge me for not wanting to have children and not wanting to be a housewife.” [Proceeds to judge people who want to have children and want to be a housewife]
  • “Not everyone wants to be rich in life, we all have different definitions of success that should be respected.” [Doesn’t respect people who want to be rich in life, automatically think these people are greedy sell-outs]

Impact: This is hypocrisy. It also comes off as illogical and presumptuous when people’s intents and motivations are automatically filled in by you. Some people buy sports cars because they actually have a passion for driving– they’re not necessarily materialistic. Some people seek high-paying careers at the expense of personal passions because they have obligations and goals they’d like to reach– they’re not necessarily greedy. Some people like traditional gender roles in relationships because that’s their personal choice– they’re not necessarily oppressed and/or close-minded. 

Solution: Accept that “conformity” in behavior, goals, aspirations, appearance, etc. doesn’t equate to misery and/or lack of authenticity.

High Ne (ENTP, ENFP, INTP, INFP): The Whiplash*

Summary: Chronic quitting and the inability to commit due to impatience and lack of discipline.

  • *Whiplash: noun. a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.

Example:

  • “I’m going to do A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J … Z!” [Does none of it]
  • “Let’s do this. Let’s do that. Let’s go back to doing this. Let’s go back to doing that.”
  • “I want to have six-pack abs! I’m going to be SHREDDED.” [Exercises and eats well for one day then goes back to bad habits the next day]

Impact: People stop taking you seriously because you can’t execute on your promises, it dilutes the weight of your words and it corrodes respect (ex: “Yeah, uh-huh, sure you will, buddy.”). No one is immediately an expert at something the first try– seeds take time to grow and you’re no exception to this rule. Developing expertise and skills require time, commitment, and consistency. Results don’t happen overnight.

Solution: Underpromise and overdeliver– don’t overpromise and underdeliver.

High Ni (INTJ, INFJ, ENTJ, ENFJ): The Nutcracker

Summary: Hits people below the belt using knowledge those people shared against them.

Example:

  • Someone is insecure about their weight, you insult their weight.
  • Someone is insecure about their skin color, you make a comment about their skin color.
  • Someone tells you a secret, you expose it.

Impact: People won’t confide in you for fear you’ll use what they told you against them. This creates barriers to having close and meaningful friendships because people will view and treat you like a ticking time bomb they can’t let their guard down around. Understand that certain topics and comebacks are off-limits no matter how you feel about the person at the moment; certain words and actions have a lasting impact on your relationships. Memories fade but scars last.

Solution: The nuclear option should be your last resort, never your first.

High Se (ESTP, ESFP, ISTP, ISFP): The Blindfire*

Summary: Leaps before they look.

  • *Blindfire: noun. The term referring to the act of operating a firearm without looking at what one is shooting at.

Example:

Impact: Your lack of foresight and lack of planning will set you back even further from your goals because immediate rewards and instant gratification often only provide short-term benefits that rarely last. There’s a proverb that’s applicable here: “measure twice, cut once” which means that investing time and energy up front to do it correctly the first time will save a ton of time, money, energy, and grief later down the line.

Solution: Stop, drop, and roll think if the path you’re on actually leads to where you want to go.

High Si (ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, ESFJ): The Helicopter

Summary: Micromanaging, nitpicking people to death.

Example:

  • “Write the email but let me review and edit before you send it.”
  • “What are you doing right now? Where are you going? When are you coming back?”
  • “I noticed when you loaded the dishwasher you put the spoons and forks in before the pots and pans, you should put the pots and pans in before the spoons and forks.”

Impact: Half the internet is writing posts complaining about you, the other half is writing posts complaining about having to read all the posts complaining about you. Micromanagement saps people of confidence and motivation, it also increases the chance that the bad thing you’re trying to prevent will actually happen. Additionally, you’ll feel paranoid and anxious that something will go disastrously wrong if you’re gone which results in burnout because you’ll always need to be there to keep an eye on things. This is counterproductive for everyone involved.

Solution: Choose your battles wisely– focus on the “what” (the goal) and not the “how” (the method).

7 Things INFPs Should Stop Doing if They Want to be Successful

A lot of things determine how successful you’ll be: the career you choose to pursue; the company you keep; the things you love doing; whether you possess a burning desire to prove other people wrong. There’s no one-size-fits-all prescription. This is good, because we all define success in different ways.

For idealistic INFPs, success often means having the freedom to live a moral, beautiful, and virtuous life. Success in the conventional sense (power, prestige, money) doesn’t matter as much as pursuing your passions, expressing yourself creatively, and growing without restraint.

Unfortunately for INFPs, these idealist qualities can be difficult to manage in the real world. The career fields you are naturally suited for (the arts, counseling, education) aren’t always respected, and others may not understand the “higher goals” you seek to achieve. In work and in life, you are acutely aware that others are judging you against standards that clash with your value system, which cheapens the experience for you. Even if you are objectively successful, you might not feel it because success, for an INFP, feels like an all-or-nothing event. You are notoriously hard on yourself for not always living up to the standards you promote.

So how can INFPs feel successful and satisfied with their careers and lives? The answer lies in doing less, not more. Here are seven recommendations which could help you lead an authentically successful life, whatever your goals.

1: Stop living according to the expectations of other people

If you want to shape and live your own successful life, you will always end up disappointing someone. Parents, partners, bosses, colleagues, friends - at some point, they will all tell you to knuckle down, get a secure job, go for the promotion, or go for some other outcome that doesn’t feel right to you. Trying to meet other people’s expectations is a sure-fire way to get drained, disconnected, and lost in the crowd. INFPs experience success by focusing on their own ideals, not by becoming something they’re not.

It’s horrible to disappoint others, especially if you are wary of conflict. But remember, it is simply not in your nature to conform. You will always be much happier being true to yourself. Dare to stop living according to other people’s expectations and start living it your way instead.

2: Stop going wide (go deep)

Being successful in life has a lot to do with clarifying what really matters to you and giving those priorities the time they deserve. You have to focus, otherwise there’s a risk you will get distracted by multiple endeavors. INFPs in particular have a tendency towards the dilettante, always trying new things and getting restless easily.

While it’s great to leave the door open to new possibilities, it’s equally important to narrow the focus onto the one or two areas that you really care about. Successful people don’t experience specializing as a restriction, but as a permission to go into the depths of a goal. Whether you have a business idea, an interesting hobby, or a potential relationship that you’d like to nurture, if you are completely dedicated to it, you stand a better chance of being successful than if your attention is scattered over several playing fields.

3: Stop waiting for the perfect moment

Waiting around for the perfect timing to go after your goals is counterproductive and hostile to your success. That’s because holding out for a stars-aligning “perfect moment” is a type of procrastination; it’s a stall. As Neil Gaiman once said, “If you only write when you’re inspired you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist because you’re going to have to make your word count today and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not.” That piece of advice applies to anything. A bad job won’t get better just because you wait around for a new boss to take over. A bad relationship won’t turn into a great relationship just because you tolerate your partner’s inadequacies, giving the relationship more effort than it possibly deserves.

Procrastination is an untamed beast that rages wildly in INFPs, but the fact is, you’re going to have to work for your success. Why wait to start that journey? For tips and insights on dealing with procrastination, check out the Ted Talk from master procrastinator Tim Urban.

4: Stop believing in miracles

Believing in fate or miracles is really the desire to sweeten one of life’s bitterest lessons: that if we want something to happen, we’re going to wake up every day with purpose and make it happen. Success overnight is a myth. It involves a lot of hard work and effort.

Rare talent and extreme giftedness does not spare you from this unpalatable truth. Even Mozart went through years of rigorous, tedious practice before he became a master musician. If you want to be successful, you’re going to have to take the game of success seriously. You’ll have to go all-in at 100 percent.

5: Stop trying to control so much

Some things in your life you can control. Most of it, you can’t. That’s a difficult message for an idealist INFP to handle, since you feel compelled to make the world a better place. There’s a tendency to believe that you raise other people to your own high standards or control certain situations that simply cannot be influenced. And the frustrating thing is, you feel safe when you are in control and utterly exhausted when you are not. That sets you up for disappointment, because control does not really exist, except perhaps in the mind.

If, like many INFPs, you have a tendency to behave like a backseat driver, you probably need to work on balancing your high ideals with the realities of everyday life. You can certainly control your own independent destiny, but you can’t control people or the minutiae of situations for your own sense of safety and worth. Without resolving this conflict, you will never feel happy or successful, and you may become paralyzed and confused about what to do with your life.

6: Stop giving all your time to people who will not take you further

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. No matter how much you try to live life your own way, sooner or later, the people with whom you spend most of the time contribute to what you become.

For idealistic and value-driven INFPs, this presents a major problem. You tend to choose your friends carefully, looking for people whose values are very similar to your own. Like-minded people can certainly offer wise counsel and make you feel safe, but can you learn from people who share your views, opinions, and values? Will these people challenge your decisions or push you out of your comfort zone?

What you really need, is a connection with people with different perspectives whose ideas rub up against your own. These people can pressure-test your choices and nudge you off the path of least resistance towards a place where you where you can learn, grow and make a bigger difference.

7: Stop mistrusting your instinct

As an INFP, you instinctively know when something you’re doing feels wrong. You may not know why something is off in your life, but you definitely know that it is. This level of self-awareness is the reason why you learn so quickly, and why you are so open-minded and flexible in all aspects of your life. It’s also the reason why you feel so out of place when ploughing a path that wasn’t made for you.

The only thing that separates a successful INFP from a less-successful INFP, is that the first person figured out when she was flogging a dead horse and trusted her gut instincts enough to try something else - even if the change seemed unfamiliar and crazy. When INFPs take action, they know immediately if their instinct was right. Your intuition is a strength that can often lead to better consequences, so give it the respect it deserves.

Final Thoughts

If your life isn’t as successful as you’d like it to be right now, there’s always an alternative. You can always choose to do something else. For INFPs, that usually means living in congruence with your values. Of all the types, you have the strongest need to act authentically and will never be happy unless you are true to yourself.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that your options are discouraging - at certain points, we all face moving from one set of problems to a different set of problems, none of which are particularly exhilarating. But the fact remains, you have a choice. If you stop believing that you have a choice, you automatically become a victim and feel helpless. INFPs in particular have to be careful that their idealism does not turn against them. If it does, you will never achieve goals or make changes for fear that you will never find the “perfect” career, lifestyle, creative endeavor, or person.

Ultimately, success for INFPs depends on you finding ways to honor your deeply held values while managing the constraints of everyday life. Accepting that life is full of shortcomings and compromises is difficult when you hold such lofty ideals, but it will help you to feel more effective and fulfilled. You have plenty of success qualities - self-awareness, intuition, empathy, adaptability, curiosity, open-mindedness - how you choose to apply them, is up to you.

Abuse isn’t a one size fits all type of thing despite popular belief. Your personal experience with abuse doesn’t have to be a certain way for it to be valid. Abuse can be emotional, physical, mental..etc. Abusers can go through periods of time where they will have you believe that things will never get bad again. You don’t deserve abuse and your experience is valid. You are not alone.

anonymous asked:

I've read your posts on female armor, and it really helped me with designing armor for my female superhero, but I have a concern: would wearing a flat breastplate inhibit a well-endowed woman? It almost seems like it would make it hard for her to breathe, especially if she's bigger and taller than average (my character stands at 6' 2")

That… is an anime gag.

There are medical conditions which can cause this, but if there’s breathing issues then that’s a clothing issue and if the armor is causing you to be short of breath then… the armor is useless and not doing its job.

Corsets and any sort of binding that doesn’t allow the lungs/chest cavity/ribs/diaphragm to expand will cause shortness of breath in… either gender. It is historically more common in women because of, well, fashion. You didn’t need to be well-endowed to fall prey to the whale-bone corsets of the 18th century. (Which also led to miscarriages.)

The argument you’re referring to is one common among fanboys, primarily as a justification for boobplate and the fetishistic armor choices for female superheroes. For all it’s claims to realism, it has zero bearing on reality.

The weight of your boobs doesn’t make you short of breath or hamper your ability to breathe. It can, in some cases, be painful during high energy activities when they’re bouncing around but the solution is called a sports bra. (Besides, big boobs can disappear fast depending on the type of activity. You ever seen runners or professional female athletes in almost… well, anything? Muscle burns fat, and your chest muscles will start with your chest. No fat, they shrink.)

The Most Common Superpower joke is that women get to keep theirs and stay conventionally attractive when engaging in highly aerobic activity.

If we want to start with the issue in the presentation of female action heroes it begins here. (And that men, and some women, usually don’t understand how breasts work.) Or have this idea the issue has never been addressed because women don’t participate in sport activity anyway.

Breasts. Are. Just. There.

She’s a superhero. Her armor is custom designed. If whoever made her armor didn’t take into account the size of her chest or provide support then they are crappy at their job and armor design in general.

The issues we run into with armor is when it is either:

A) Not yours. Or..

B) One size fits all, but you’d still be able to function in it.

If you can’t move in the armor then that’s an issue that needs to be addressed at a design level but it’s not insurmountable. This is why armorers and tailors exist.

Besides, if the other option you’re considering is boob plate then that wouldn’t solve the issue. I guarantee boob plate is more uncomfortable, and will guide weapon points straight to your heart. This is an argument I’ve seen brought up a lot (by men) to justify the existence of boobplate or going without armor for “realism”. It is not only BS, it’s annoying. It ignores both reality (female combatants of history) and human ingenuity to prop up outdated sexism. It’s like they think female athletes never address the issues of their chest size. Well, I’m here to tell you: we already solved this one and it’s called a sports bra. In the real world, we get a bras that are designed to support the weight of our boobage during athletic activities.

Women can, however, STILL RUN without problems with a regular bra or even no support at all.

You, however, may want to address the underlying sexism nipping at your approach to this character. If you genuinely believe cramming big breasts into a tactical vest is going to cause breathing issues then you’ve got a lot of your own to work out. That is also the problem with sexism. The misinformation is so baked into every bit of common knowledge meant to justify a certain sexist approach then held up as realistic that most people never think about it.

Again, the kind of breathing issues we’re talking about come from corsets and not armor. A corset tightens your waist, and will result in issues because of the diaphram/stomach can’t expand. When performing aerobic exercise, you need your diaphragm (thus expanding your ribs) to breathe. The diaphragm allows more air to pass through your body, which means more oxygen in your blood being carried to your muscles. Without them, you’re stuck breathing entirely with your upper chest, and that will be a problem when engaging in athletic activity. If the expansion of the chest is also cut off, then… you’re really up a creek. This is what causes the fainting fits of the 18th century. Women wearing clothing that doesn’t allow them to draw enough oxygen into their bodies to keep their brains cognizant.

It’s also why you never want to bind your breasts with anything like Ace bandages because Ace bandages are designed to continually constrict around an injury and create pressure to halt the blood flow. They can tighten so much that they crack the breastbone or the ribcage, and that is what causes shortness of breath rather than the breasts themselves being bound.

You don’t get this problem if you bind with just cloth, but it’s also shit for support.

Breathing issues are a problem for men when they wear clothing styles that ensure their diaphragms can’t expand or just don’t breathe with their diaphragm when fighting.

If her armor causing shortness of breath then that’s not armor, it’s fetish gear. It may be great for a bondage session but it’s not meant to be worn combat. (And if what she’s wearing is causing shortness of breath anyway, then she just needs to stop wearing it. That’s still the fault of her clothing and not her breasts.)

Besides, a woman with large breasts would have issues finding bras that fit her anyway and would probably be specially ordering them. Most malls and sports stores have bras for A, B, C, and some D but not a lot. DD’s can have trouble finding comfortable breastwear, especially ones in the six foot range.

-Michi

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dear clothing manufacturers:

  • make sleeves go all the way to the wrist
  • stop putting shelf bras in everything
  • make jeans for short people with big butts
  • make shirts out of anything more substantial than gossamer
  • stop putting hanger straps on everything, they’re fn annoying and we’re disasters who don’t use them anyway
  • fake pockets???!!? FAKE POCKETS??!!?
  • put pockets on everything i am serious
  • charge less than half what you’re currently charging for shorts
  • end ‘one size fits all’ forever
  • size women’s clothing the way you size men’s clothing: with MEASUREMENTS
  • basically stop everything you’re doing and start over completely and don’t be rude dusty dongs this time
College Comparison and Application Checklists

Hi guys! As an obsessive spreadsheet maker, I am constantly using Excel for EVERYTHING, including when preparing to apply for college. I’ve just been told that, for once, the spreadsheets I made for comparing college options and organizing my application checklist are actually helpful, so I’m here to share them!

The first can be used for initially comparing and deciding which colleges you are interested in and the second can be used more as a checklist to see if everything has been submitted or completed.

To make things convenient, I’ve made them available in Google Sheets, from which you can copy to your own Google Drive or download as a Microsoft Excel file! They are also both editable so that you can add or remove categories and compare what’s important to you. Colleges are not one-size-fits-all, so feel free to edit the spreadsheets to cater to you. As a quick example, I’ve used Harvard to demonstrate what each category is for, but you can use it however you see fit. Since I personally have not looked into Harvard, the examples used are not the most thorough, but they should still provide a general idea.

**DISCLAIMER: I am still in high school and have not yet applied or gone to any colleges/universities. I am no expert on college admissions and do not know everything about finding and selecting the perfect college. Please keep this in mind. Any constructive feedback is welcome!

College Comparison Spreadsheet:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AVSidBtOpGOHafgkHVeKYSL0ceyaSZvx2VNzIG3uZTc/edit?usp=sharing

College Application Checklist:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ncT6dwddihoQOLsW17c6wZuXXqrp5F4hIqPWnop5M7M/edit?usp=sharing

To use, click on the link, go to “file”, then either click “make a copy” and save to your drive or click “download” and then whatever format you want. A guide to using each is below the cut. Happy college hunting and good luck!

Keep reading

Tarot Tip

Need to break up bad energy on your deck, and you’re on the go or low on supplies for a full cleansing? Give it three solid knocks from the top and then blow the negativity off like dust off of a book.

Note: Works for me, so I’m sharing it in case it works for others! Sometimes methods aren’t a one-size-fits-all, as a result please keep this in mind ❤️

allergic-addiction  asked:

Do you know anything about grief? If so, my character Vivian spent 6 months with a group of friends and fell in love with another character. The character he fell in love with head over heels for dies the night after they kiss. How would this grief affect active fighting ?

My grandmother on my mother’s side died when I was eleven, my father died when I was thirteen (the day after my birthday), my dog died a day before my college graduation, and my grandfather on my father’s side died from Alzheimer’s a few years ago. That’s not counting the friends and non-blood related family members who’ve died over the years.

So, yeah, I’ve got a little experience with grief, and grief counseling, and therapy, and… well, other people who’ve also lost friends and family.

I will say upfront that experience with grief can’t be faked when translating it into a fiction. You’ve either lost someone or you haven’t. You will never truly understand until you’ve experienced it yourself. And, if you haven’t, honestly, I hope you don’t join this unhappy club for a very long time.

Grief happens in stages, we consider them as five to be exact. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. There is no one size fits all here, or rules, no guidelines for the amount of time it takes because we work through it in our own time. You can and often do go through all five just to accept the physical truth someone you love has died, then all over again with the emotional fallout in the months even years afterward. It’s possible to go forward and back between the stages, and it isn’t a steady process. I’ve come to terms with a lot of the deaths in my life, but some took around a decade to reach the acceptance stage.

In initial the months after my father died, I waited to hear his car coming up the driveway at the time he usually arrived home from work (around 5:30). Anytime the doorknob turned, I’d feel a small bit of hope that it’d be him walking in. I still hope, sometimes, nearly twenty years later, that he’ll come through the door.

I tried to hold on to what he sounded like when I realized a month later I was forgetting. I managed a single word, the name of a friend’s father.

The problem with writing grief if you’ve never experienced it is this: you will over focus on the emotion and forget the detail.

Grief is not being able to remember where you live when you dial 911 for the ambulance. It’s the adrenaline leaving your hands shaking when you reach for the body, and the cold stiffness beneath your hands. The chalky white skin, and one eyelid half open. A frozen, milky, blue-white pupil pointed nowhere.  The faint, sour smell in the air. The way you shake it, and shake it, and shake it like that’ll bring the body back to life.

The way you still describe it as the body years later instead of referring to it as him and in second person instead of first.

Grief is never being able to watch Oliver and Company again.

This detail is part of why it’s so difficult to describe or write grief if you’ve never experienced the loss of a loved one first hand. You’ve also got to describe that loss through the eyes of your character, re-imagine it so the experience is not only tailored to their experiences but laser specific to those exact moments when they learned or came to the realization someone they loved died. One of the first things to understand about death in fiction is that it won’t do the work for you.

My father died a week before my first degree black belt test, and I’d just turned thirteen. I honestly can’t remember much about that week. It was Spring Break, so I didn’t have to go to school. My days were mostly filled with martial arts and emptiness. There were moments I’d remember, then grow sad or try to avoid it by focusing on what was coming ahead of me. People told me how brave I was, clapped when I came back to training a day later, but the truth is that doing that was easier than remembering what happened. I was in the shock stage all the way through the test. Numb to the world, I didn’t feel anything. Not pride, not happiness, not “oh good we’re done now”, nothing at all. It wasn’t bravery, so much as it just was. The world moved around me and the rest of it was gray.

In that moment, I became “the Girl Whose Father Died The Week Before Her Test” in the organization and everyone knew who I was for years afterwards.

However, the moment I really broke down was when I returned to class afterwards and began to cry when one of my classmates pushed a crossword onto my desk that read “Father”. I cried so hard, then I went out into the hallway and cried through the rest of the class that day.

That’s one experience, though. Like I said, there’s no one size fits all and every experience is unique. If you’ve got a character whose lost a lot of people over the years, then it does get easier.

However, if you’re writing a character who experiences death on the regular then their experience is going to be different. You could get someone who numbs themselves out to the world, defers the loss until later, and deals with it then. A person for whom “doing things” is them showing their grief. They could crumple up into a ball, give up and just cry. They could get angry to the point they want to kill the person who took their loved one and want to kill them. They could be compromised to the point of they are incapable performing their job, and need to be scrubbed from a mission for their safety and their teammates.

They could get triggered by the violence to the point where they lock up and can’t mentally face it anymore, where it becomes too much for them to handle. Sometimes, they break all the furniture in their apartment. Sometimes, they don’t clean out the other side of the closet for six years. They may get angry and lash out at those close to them who aren’t experiencing this death as keenly as they are. Or the might do it just because, without reason. They might close themselves off from everyone they know and love. Wall up out of fear of losing another person, find it difficult to build new connections. Become a different person.

Or, rarely, they could be completely fine. Or, seem like they’re fine on the surface. Others who are suffering will get pissed at them if they’re fine. When it seems like you’re fine, others will call you a monster. How dare they.

Grief is not guaranteed to get you killed in combat, but it can. It leads to stupid mistakes because you’re mentally compromised, even when you don’t realize it. We run from it sometimes. It’s so big, and heavy, and dark, crashing down all at once with no easy answers. No platitude satisfies. Numb, angry, stricken, despairing, you can move through these states so rapidly that it’s almost impossible to follow. Grief just is.

In a situation where you need to be able to focus or your life and those around you are at risk, then grief becomes detrimental. If you’re mentally compromised and refuse to recognize it then it will only put others at risk. Many people will insist they are “fine”. That it doesn’t affect them, that they can still work. It does though. It will. As a result, events can be disastrous in the fallout.

Even if they can fight, revenge isn’t satisfying. It’s empty. Grief-fueled rampages will only lead to more sadness and more emptiness and a re-experiencing of the loss all over again. Usually, it causes more tragedy.

How will your character react? I don’t know.

How does grief affect fighting, even years afterward? It can be really bad, my friend. Really goddamn bad.

You’ve got to find an equilibrium in your mind and acceptance, real acceptance too. You can’t just tell yourself you’ve accepted it, and that difference can be difficult to grasp.

Understand loss is not the cause of grief, and not death itself. We will grieve lost relationships and broken down friendships, when what we love disappears from our grasp. Don’t assume it’s in the death, look at the loss and how they feel about them being gone.

As a writer, your answer is they need to find a way to come to terms with this loss and that is a journey without an easily defined destination. I mean “come to terms” and not “get over”. Loss is with you forever, but whether we accept it or it continues to haunt us will be up to the person in question.

From me to you, here are some ways I dealt with my father’s death in my teenage years:

1) I went to counseling.

2) I read all the books of his on the shelf that I could scrounge from my parent’s bedroom, even when I didn’t like them. I still have a few of his fantasy hardbacks squirreled away.

3) I tried to play Star Wars: Tie Fighter.

4) I cried when I tried to tackle the Walkers in Rogue Squadron 2, because I’d always run to him and beg him to help me pass the level.

5) I’d go smell the shirts my mom left when she refused to clean out his side of the closet until they didn’t smell like him anymore. Then, I felt sad all over again.

6) I dedicated my open form during my second degree test to him, and picked a really sappy country song.

7) I read and re-read L.E. Modesitt Jr’s entire “Saga of Recluse” over and over again because Colors of Chaos was the first fantasy book my dad handed me to read.

8) I named my Sovereign Class ship in Star Trek Online after him.

I once sat with another student at college and we commiserated over our shared bond as members of the “Dead Parents Club”, telling stories about how our parents died and laughing about where we were now. To another student, who’d never experienced what we had, this seemed incredibly insensitive, they were confused, and they said so.

We said, “Dead Parents Club”. Then another student who’d recently lost their aunt asked if they could join us, and we expanded to members of the “Dead Relatives Club”.

It’s not all sadness and pain, misery and angst. In fact, if you go this route then it’s not really real. Much as it might seem like it on the surface, grief isn’t the same as literary angst. You need to show, not tell and that begins with actions. Start figuring out how this loss affects your character before you take a stab at how it’s affecting their ability to fight. Grief is about individuals, and there are no easy answers. Only actions, decisions, and struggle for good or ill.

-Michi

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