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My Favorite Thought Catalog Pieces From 2017 (So Far)

How To Get Out Of Bed by Kim Quindlen

One the things that is hardest for me to describe to people who don’t understand depression and anxiety is that sometimes it feels like literally doing anything is impossible. Once when I was incredibly depressed I didn’t put sheets back onto my bed for 4 days even though they were in the dryer, clean and ready to be reassembled. I felt very ~seen~ by this article. And while putting it under advice may seem sort of weird given how/why I relate to it, I think it’s important when you’re in one of those whirlpools where it feels like everything is impossible that even the tiniest things, like getting out of bed (even if you don’t have the energy to make it), is a win.

Excerpt: “Make it to the bathroom. Feel proud of yourself for getting this far. Brush your teeth. Wash your face with cold water. Feel a little more awake afterwards.”

11 Reasons Why Independent Women Often Feel They Aren’t Wired For Love by Brianna Wiest

I hate saying that I read something and thought, “me” but I read this and thought, “me.” I recently tried to explain to someone why I’m not interested in relationships and found myself struggling to get anything out other than an awkward, “Ummm, cuz.” This piece by Brianna put into words exactly what I was feeling without telling me how to “fix myself” which I 100% appreciated.

Excerpt: “It’s not always ‘safe’ to try to do things alone, it’s not always ‘safe’ to try to be in a relationship. Life shouldn’t be built around what’s safe, it should be built around what’s worth the risk.”

On Living Your Own Strange Life by Chrissy Stockton

I am filled with a lot of doubt and things like loneliness and uncertainty and a huge fear of not ever being enough. But there are days when I look around at my strange little apartment filled with flea market trinkets or watch my dog lounge next to me while I eat tacos from my favorite food truck alone, and I feel so peaceful. My life looks nothing like what I thought it would in my early twenties, but it’s still a pretty decent one. This essay Chrissy wrote perfectly encapsulates that exact notion.

Excerpt: “I am on an adventure that I chose and planned and paid for. I am going to do exactly what I feel like doing for all the days stretched out before me. There are brief moments when I breathe in and out and know that this is the way it is supposed to be.”

I Am Slowly Learning What It Means To Be Human by Bianca Sparacino

I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn (and am still learning) is that it’s okay to make mistakes and to stumble because that’s part of just being a human. I rule over myself with an iron fist and even when a mistake isn’t my fault, a part of me feels like it is. One of the things I admire most about Bianca is how much she encourages self-forgiveness and being easy on yourself. I maybe am not (aka: am absolutely not) quite there, but I’m trying.

Excerpt: “I am slowly learning what it means to be human. What it means to make mistakes and learn from them. What it means to be both happy and sad at the same time. I am slowly learning how to do the damn work. How to stop running from what is heavy and uncomfortable in my life. How to take the easy route less and less. How to grow myself, how to be a better person.”  

A Brief History Of Falling In Love With Strangers by Ari Eastman

The thing I love about Ari’s writing, other than the fact that it’s idk..great, is her ability to tell a story. Even if it’s just a 120 word poem or this little prosy narrative about her feelings for people she doesn’t really know, everything Ari writes takes you on a journey. I always feel like I’m getting a little window to her life, which is what truly excellent storytelling is all about.

Excerpt: “We meet up in Los Angeles. He holds my hand in the back of the Uber. We talk about poetry and music. I like him. I really like him. But what if it’s not enough? What if I only fall in love at a distance?”

Loving Two People At Once Shouldn’t Be Poetry (But Somehow, It Is) by Caitlin Conlon

I had to read this piece three or four times the first time I saw it to fully comprehend and absorb the scope of the world that Caitlin crafted. I don’t know what to say about it other than it’s incredibly captivating and so, so, so good.

Excerpt: “You’re sitting in between two boys and you love both of them. They look through you, the glass window in a burning room. It’s ironic that panic buttons cease to matter when everything’s already up in flames. Worrying is useless when you’ve let two things happen to you and neither of them care about burning buildings unless something that they care about is inside. So you burn.”

It’s Hard To Say My Depression Is Back, So I Just Don’t by Ari Eastman

One of my favorites things about the way Ari writes poetry is that it’s clearly written to be consumed by a reader. She doesn’t write from a place of trying to show you how smart she is or overwrite just to make herself sound deep or forcibly impressive. Ari writes the way she speaks, and she writes in a relatable, accessible way. Her poetry makes me feel like poetry is for me too, and that’s what a great writer does. They make you feel welcomed into their world and give you a sense of belonging with the words they put on the page (or screen).

Excerpt:
“meaning, people reach out and I want to hide,
meaning, I’m mad at the people who didn’t,
meaning, I get texts that say R U OK,
meaning, my brain is just wrong, okay,
meaning, what am I supposed to say?”

I Like That We Can’t Control The Weather by Heidi Priebe

Whenever I find myself in the middle of complicated situations or life transitions, I try (try being the operative word here) to remember how Heidi deals with things. I don’t know many people who are better at putting a positive spin on things than Heidi Priebe. She looks at change (something I deal with terribly) like new adventures, new challenges, new things to conquer. It’s an attitude I so so admire, and one that I am trying to emulate in my own life.

Excerpt: “We can solve so many problems these days but the most frantic city in the world can still be shut down by something as unpredictable as a snow storm.

I like the nasty weather because it reminds us of how human we all are.”

The Eleventh Of September In A Year I Can’t Remember by Chrissy Stockton

I think everyone needs to hit pause on their day sometimes and read writing like Chrissy Stockton’s. Chrissy is the kind of writer I aspire to be like, and this piece with little snapshots of her past Septembers is one I find really, really special.

Excerpt: “I don’t know it yet but I’ve just met someone over work email who will become like a brother. I am in an airport hotel room in Flushing, NY and I gchat my best friend details about my cancelled flight and tell her ‘I want you with me every second.’”

We’re Okay Now (I Think) by Katie Mather

Whether we admit it or not I think we all worry about ourselves and our habits more than social media or the face that we show to the masses would care to cop to. I really appreciated how candid Katie was talking about her relationship with drinking. It made me feel less weird about worrying about alcohol and myself and my relationship with what I consume and needing a minute to figure myself out. To repeat what I said earlier, felt very ~seen~ by this.

Excerpt: “Not Drinking is a weird statement these days that, for whatever reason, can’t properly be justified with “I just don’t want to.” Someone in my office once joked that sober is the new drunk; meaning it’s such a Cool Thing to do now—be sober.”

On Learning What It Truly Means To Surrender by Jillian Stacia

After being diagnosed with anxiety in my twenties I felt like I had to relearn a ton about myself. About why I react to things the way I do, about my sleeping patterns, about what I need when things are overwhelming, about what overwhelming ACTUALLY means. Jillian encapsulated what living with anxiety is like beautifully and vulnerably in this piece, and made me feel very understood by writing about her struggles with balancing her anxiety and the rest of her life.

Excerpt: “Isn’t anxiety the price you pay for success? Isn’t that what gets you there in the first place? The voice in your head that tells you that it’s not enough? That you need to keep going? That you are not there yet so don’t you dare quit?”

Talking To People In My Life Is Absolutely Exhausting Now, When Did That Happen? by Kim Quindlen

I think there’s weird, unspoken assumption that at some point in your twenties you’re just “done” and changing/evolving is really kept to a minimum. That bad things don’t appear out of nowhere and who you are will rarely, if ever, shift. And because of that unspoken idea we’re all very afraid to admit when things aren’t going well, when things aren’t the way they’re “supposed” to be. Maybe it’s because I know and love Kim and feel like I can talk to her about this kind of stuff, but this piece is so honest and talks about one of the things I think we all try to sweep under the rug so perfectly.

Excerpt: “Is this a rite of passage once you’ve left your early twenties? To feel exhausted from talking to almost every single person on this planet? To have always thought you were an extrovert, a Super Outgoing Person Who Loves To Have Fun – and then one day you wake up and small talk actually feels physically painful?”

A Story About Food by Chrissy Stockton

Even after what feels like a forever of exposing ourselves to the masses, I know that there are certain subjects I’m without question protective of when it comes to what I feel comfortable writing about. When Chrissy writes this way she’s amazing at coming from this place of vulnerability gently. It doesn’t come with a demand for attention, it’s not greedy, it’s not attention-seeking or self-absorbed. And she doesn’t have a tone of insisting that you do the same or feel the same way as she does. But by writing it exactly like that, in that gentle way, she’s encouraging me to do just that. Which is, yet again, why I look up to her so much.

Excerpt: “Being good to people feels very sturdy. Being good to myself feels like I am a baby. I feel guilty about needing it.”

I Am Just Trying To Be A Person by Kim Quindlen

This is one of the best things anyone’s written on Thought Catalog. Especially post-election and in an era where everything feels tumultuous and out of control and unpredictable and sad. In this essay Kim beautifully said how exhausting just existing is sometimes. Because at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to be humans. And being a human is really, really hard.

Excerpt: “I feel a lot of things. I don’t know anything. I am scared. Sometimes I am filled with joy. I am worried about the world. I am just trying to be a person.”

When You Give Up Your Dream For A ‘Life’ by Shado Evans

There’s this fear I have that happiness and comfort are not able to coexist. That in order to have stability, you’re going to have to give up some semblance of dreaming. And then, an off-shoot of that fear, is that if by some chance you’re lucky enough to find a dream that coincides with a stable, comfortable life, holding onto it will feel like a tightrope act. Shado’s essay was heartfelt and reflective, and perfectly summed up everything I fear about this so, so well.

Excerpt: “But time has no conscience. Time is not your ally. If you put your trust in the illusion that it will always be there for you, you will have to go to war with reality in the future.”

17 Days Of Watching You Fall Out Of Love With Me by Joms Zulueta Jimenez

When love ends oftentimes the signs aren’t dramatic. There isn’t this big show of “oh my feelings have changed, goodbye forever.” Usually, it’s quiet. It’s in missed texts and purposefully falling asleep on the couch alone. It’s in noticing that you want someone to cut their hair, when that used to be something you loved about them the most. And when you watch it happen? It’s pretty heartbreaking.

Excerpt: “Day 8. I cut my hair. I cut my hair with the hopes that it might save us. It sounded like bullshit, I know, but I ran out of reasons why you were aloof or why it seemed like you were half-hearted or why I felt uncomfortable with peace. I cut my hair. You said I looked better. That was a relief.”

Our Strip Mall Romance By Lina Abascal

This is the love story they should have told in La La Land. Sorry not sorry.

Excerpt: “I want to love you in tiny Thai restaurants in strip malls east of Hollywood and in line for taco trucks south of downtown. I want to wait until the second hour of traffic before I nervously make the move and hold your hand as we drive on the 10 at rush hour after work.”

A Love Story Told Through Venmo by Katie Mather

I don’t know if Katie meant for this to be touching, but I really thought it was. I don’t know if I’ll ever realistically be able to predict Katie’s intentions with writing or anything else, which is how she would prefer for things to be. But that’s one of the reasons I like her work so much. You see something that on one hand, you’d expect to be a little silly and light and instead you are again, reminded how falling out of love isn’t always some big tantrum and instead can be quiet, but still just as sad. I don’t know, I’m rambling. Just read it.

Excerpt: 

He paid you
April 4, 2017

Love me pls?”

20 Honest Signs Your Relationship Is Probably Over by Tommy Paley

Satire is tricky. It’s hard to do it well, it’s something a lot of writers never attempt, and it’s something I’m really glad we have writers like Tommy continuing to make popular. My favorite thing about Tommy’s writing is that when you read his pieces you usually start thinking you’re going to get one thing, and they he flips them to be something else entirely. It’s really, really entertaining and what quality humor writing should be.

Excerpt: “She covers the floor of the apartment with eggshells and then sighs loudly and rolls her eyes when you invariably walk on them.”

Forgive Me, For I Am But A Dainty Sad Girl by Katie Mather

Katie is the funniest person writing on Thought Catalog right now. Quote me.

Excerpt: “We should get coffee sometime. My favorite way to whisper secrets is over a cup of coffee. Especially while eating macaroons. Have you ever heard of Ladurée?”

I’m Pregnant (On Purpose!) But I’d Rather Talk About The Abortion I Had Three Years Ago by Mélanie Berliet

This is one of the most important things I think we’ve ever had published on our site, and I think it’s important because it shows how decisions like this 1) don’t have to be scary and 2) don’t have to be dramatic and 3) don’t have to completely alter the entire scope of your life. It’s as simple as making a choice that fits your life, and doesn’t have to drastically impact everything that comes afterwards. Of course, this is a personal choice and a personal situation and no two experiences will ever be alike, but this is one story and it’s a story that I’m so glad Mélanie decided to share.

Excerpt: “So it’s official. I am a woman who’s had an abortion—not because circumstances dictated that it was medically necessary, or because she didn’t love the man who impregnated her, or because she couldn’t afford to raise a kid, or because she’s decided to remain childless forever. I am a woman who’s had an abortion, and it doesn’t really matter why. It was my choice, and one that my boyfriend and I (we’re still very much together and happier than ever, if that even matters) proudly stand by.”

All The Men I Probably Won’t Have Sex With by Callie Byrnes

Being a woman is tiring and terrible and we need people to stand up more often the way Callie did here so that slowly but surely, more people get it. And even if they reject it and write it off as “just another woman complaining about compliments” that seed will have been planted. Maybe we’ll become harder to ignore.

Excerpt: “The Tinder guy who messaged me saying, “Thick thighs save lives.” I’m glad you have so much faith in me, but my CPR certificate has expired, so these thighs won’t be doing anything. Maybe next time.”

A Series Of First Impressions by Katie Mather

When I first read this piece I was immediately disappointed because I was not one of the first impressions. But then, I was just entirely enthralled by it. I love the way it’s presented as little vignettes, little snippets of a relationship you will probably never know the rest of. You literally only get a fraction of the story, and it’s really cool to me how captivating Katie made even that littlest piece.

Excerpt: “I am closing the bar tab and he comes up to me and says that he thinks he’s seen me at this bar before. It’s impossible because I’m visiting this city for the first time ever in my life, but I pretend otherwise.”

I’m Afraid Of Failing, I’m Afraid Of Success, And I’m Afraid Of My Good Luck by Ari Eastman

You’re not supposed to be afraid of success, you’re supposed to lean in. You’re not supposed to be afraid of failure, because you’ll be strong enough to be able to get past it. You’re not supposed to admit that sometimes you’re lucky, because that’s not taking control of your destiny. There are all of these things that we’re “supposed” to do and honestly? Sometimes I am paralyzed by the “supposed tos” in life. And Ari? Ari admitted it. I was/am really proud of Ari for writing this. I’m really proud she’s my friend.

Excerpt: “Because if you fail after getting so many chances, it’ll be sad. Right? It’ll be embarrassing. It’ll be a total waste.

Because if you succeed after getting so many chances that others didn’t, do you even deserve it? Do you understand the severity? That here you don’t believe in a higher power but clearly something keeps rewarding you?” TC mark

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