On The Power of Vulnerability and Brené Brown

Today I have been re-watching a couple of talks that I came across with a few months ago. Now, let me first say that I am not very fond of ‘inspiring’ videos. And this can be a really bad thing, because when a friend comes with one of them saying ‘Omg, have you seen this video? It is super inspiring!’ I really think ‘Oh god…’ and fear my incoming poker face after watching the video.

Inspiration, or rather, what triggers inspiration, is a very personal thing. Then again here I am doing the same to you; my personal ‘Omg, have you seen this video? It is super inspiring!’.

But do not worry, I will not be able to see your poker faces! So there is that.

The second thing is…I am total fanboy.
If something or someone truly inspires me, I just…can’t even. I just need more!

It is not as freely as it sounds, though — I promise.

But this was the case of Brené Brown‘s The Power of Vulnerability.

brene-brown-vulnerability

I first watched the animated version of her talk a few months ago, which only covered a small part of it, touching on empathy vs sympathy. Later I found the entire talk.

It might have been the moment (although I cannot recall being in a specific, relevant place in my life at that point, or going through something specific), the place, or simply the pure greatness of it — but it really struck me.

And it was only yesterday when I realised how much it has affected me — in a positive way, I would like to think.
Due to my volunteering work, and my studies on communication, I have always tried to put empathy, assertiveness, and other emotional intelligence skills into practice. However, since I watched Brené Brown‘s talk, I have tried to put a bigger emphasis on vulnerability (a big WIP, though!).

And could give several example, but I think I will rather post the videos here and let you watch them; and decide whether they tell you something. They might not, and that is okay too.

I simply felt the urge of going ‘Omg, omg…have you seen these super inspiring talks!?’
So here here is my fanboy post and here are the videos!

 

Video

Steve Grand & Eli Lieb’s ‘Look Away’ is Every Break-up Song You’ll Ever Need

Today was a very special day for those who follow Steve Grand and Eli Lieb’s music: his joint single ‘Look Away’ was out, including the video!

They have been announcing the release for a while on social media, so there was quite a lot of expectation!

And it was everything you one could have expected.

And more, much more.

Simple and raw, the song puts across every feeling that comes with a break-up. That moment when we are still trying to realise what is going. When we try to hold to the memories of everything we have just lost, unable to just let it go — even thought we know that everything ended a long ago.

The harmonies of both voices is just great, and the blend seamlessly, specially in higher notes.

The video is as simple and raw as the song. And it is a great choice! Anything else would have come as a bit cheesy.

Unfortunately, the launch comes with some personal bad news for one of the singers:

 

While this is most unfortunate news (and here I truly don’t want to come across as ‘cold-hearted’ or ‘insensitive’) I am glad that Eli was able to channel and weave all those emotions into the song.

So, what are you waiting for? You can get the song just for 1$ here:

http://stevegrand.bandcamp.com/track/look-away

And here is the YouTube video, which I have been replaying historically for the last hour while sobbing all over the place:

An Aries ENFJ, in a Nutshell

This situation just came to my mind, and I believe that it pretty much explains at least part of my personality as an Aries ENFJ.

While not a blog post in itself, I just felt like sharing it with you all!

If I were good at drawing I would have probably made a comic…but I am not!

[The Aries spends hours making unsolicited drawing]

*shows drawing to person*

Oh my…did you do that? It is quite good!
Reeeally? *explains drawing while the other person listens carefully and interested*
*stares, expectant*
Definitely! I can see how you did this here, and that there…and this here is amazing too!

[dies of happiness and runs to make another drawing]

Yes, it is the constant need of other people’s approval, to the point that we sacrifice ourselves and put time and effort to please them. Don’t get me wrong, we love doing it, but it is mainly because we find it rewarding.

Being carefully listened to, and getting feedback, is also a big deal for us.

The alternative, with a negative reaction, has a ‘Fuck you! You are the worst person ever’ as response, while looking at the drawing and wondering what is wrong with it and how can we improve it.

So! If you ever come across with an Aries ENFJ: Show that you care, in a very sincere way. And you will win and eternal, loyal, friend!

Body Shaming, Internet and Wentworth Miller

Yesterday I found myself scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed (like most of us humans do every 3 minutes) when I came across with a post featuring two pictures of Wentworth Miller.

The post, by Facebook page The LAD Bible, showed a pictured of a shirtless and tattooed Wentworth, next to a picture where he had some more weight. The message said:

‘When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald’s monopoly….’

My first reaction was to comment on my friend’s sharing. But then I decided to have a look at the comments on the original post and….shocker! It was utterly disappointing.

It was like reliving High School all over again.

On the other hand, I could not stop thinking about how different would those reactions have been if, instead of two pictures of Wentworth, the would have posted two pictures of…let’s say…Taylor Swift.

Not sure about you, but I can see that making it to the main page of every blogging webpage!

Needless to say, when one engages in this type of behavior, someone’s bound to get hurt. A few hours ago Wentworth Miller addressed the issue:

This was soon followed by a public apology by The LAD Bible:

Now, while I appreciate the fact that they apologised…I can’t help but think that, had Wentworth not addressed the issue publicly, the meme would still be around there. And, in fact, it probably is!

Looking at the apology note, it also seems like the publication of that ‘meme’ is only undesirable because Wentworth had health issues at the time of the second picture. And this is when it get really plain wrong.

Body-shaming is not okay. Whether there is a health issue behind it or not.

Body-shaming is an awful and cruel way to make ourselves feel better by pushing other people down and criticising them.

It shows a complete misperception of ourselves, and creates a completely irreal sense of entitlement over other people’s bodies and/or looks.

And this is specially true to the LGBTQ+ context.

I have already addressed this topic in previous articles like Real (Gay) Men (Don’t) Have Curves and Men’s Standards Of Beauty Around The World; and this seems to be an issue that will keep growing and growing.

And yes, I  am aware that internet can be cruel…we make jokes and memes all the time. But we should know where to draw the line, and when to stand up and say ‘Wait a second. This is not okay’.

Because if it we make it okay to shame a person for being just the way he/she/e is (specially if that person is going through a rough patch), then we haven’t learnt anything, have we?

I would love to continue this articles with more thought on the subject…but it would only overcomplicate something that is very simple.

Just…do the right thing 🙂

On Colton Haynes, Celebrities Coming Out and Pushing Things Too Far

First of all… Happy New Year 2016!
We have finally reached the time of perpetual hangovers, tons of leftovers and gym comebacks! (Yay for that!)

Amidst all the festive publications I came across with a few headlines with the shocking news ‘Colton Haynes *may* just have come out!’

My sudden reaction: May? What do you mean ‘may’?

As I scrolled through the different articles, all seemed to point out to this post of Colton Hayne’s Tumblr account:

While I can understand the human curiosity, and I have talked before about why celebrities coming out may be something noteworthy, the whole discourse on Colton Haynes seems utterly wrong to me.

It almost looks as if we believed to have some kind of right over celebrities’ personal lives: the right to know.

Do not get me wrong, I am not trying to yield the ‘morally superior’ card here. But I do think that this kind of behavior does a disservice to us as a collective (whether you consider yourself part of it or no).

The articles on Colton Haynes (quotation marks) ‘coming out’ (/quotation marks), are riddle with expressions like ‘his gay past’.

I am no celebrity (and I doubt I will ever be!) but I would personally dislike having to give an official statement and/or explanation about every aspecto of my personal life. Sometimes I almost feel that I have to do that now…and I absolutely refuse to play that game.

colton-haynes-gay

One of the biggest problems is that this makes Colton looked like another closeted celebrity ashamed of his sexuality; when his post was probably intended to simply tackle that concept.

It also shows, through expressions like ‘gay past’ a very narrow view of sexuality as something linear and perpetual rather than the spectrum that it actually is. Which, coming from a collective that promotes tolerance and inclusivity…seems a bit of a double standard.

Finally, it is an awful form of bullying. And while we are pretty much used to that in gossip news and magazines (like I mentioned above, human social nature) that does not mean that we have to keep encouraging it.

One of those New Year’s resolutions could be to empathise a bit more with that whole lot of people over whose lives we believe that have some kind of entitlement.

 

pic: ‘Teen wolf – Panel’ by Thibault

TV Stuff I’m Watching (and men, ofc)

I am super excited with the last episode of one of the TV series that I am following, so I though I would share my list with you, just in case you feel like watching something, but don’t know what.

Quantico

A group of trainees from very different background join the FBI Academy in Quantico. The series begins with one of those trainees being framed after an explosion in Grand Central Terminal. Each episodes features both the current timeline after the incident and the time when they were training at Quantico. Portrays hotties like Jake McLaughlin, Graham Rogers and Josh Hopkins!

Limitless

Based on the film with the same name which starred Bradley Cooper (who also appears in the series), pretty much follows the same pattern (i.e. spin-off). Brian Finch is a guy in his late 20’s who doesn’t know where he life is heading until he take NZT, a drug that enhances his abilities allowing to use 100% of his brain potential. He soon joins the FBI to help them with cases while they keep an eye on him. The main character is played by Jake McDorman (yummy!), and he does a great job! The funny attitude of Brian makes the series quite different from the film.

Blood & Oil

I have to be honest with this one, I’m only watching it because of Chace Crawford (yes, he’s worth watching a TV series to me!). It revolves around a young couple who move to North Dakota where the oil business is booming! After a few hard setbacks, they get their lucky moment but, at the same time, they submerge in the schemes of one of the biggest Oil dealers of the area. Like I said… Chace Crawford!!

Other series you may want to check out

  • Scorpion, is not too bad…but I’m not as excite with it as I was in the first season.
  • Minority report, nice but slow…

The Classics…

These ones I won’t even describe because I assume you know them pretty well…

  • Doctor Who (Dowweeedooooo)
  • Downton Abbey (No new episodes until Christmas special, though :()

If you have any series you would recommend me watching…please let me know in the comments below, I would really appreciate it!

Bullying, Hate Culture and Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I was browsing my Facebook newsfeeds today when I came across with a publication that made me jump from my seat (fine, I was actually laying on bed…lazy Saturday…but I did jump a bit!).

The above-mentioned publication focused on an alternative to passing anti-bullying laws:

First of all… Yes, unfortunately, we will probably always face bullying in some way or another. Even though, it would probably stop being labeled as bullying if the cases dropped dramatically and it became an isolated event.

And yes, we should always encourage people to stand up for themselves; even thought I doubt that’s something we teach (unless we’re of the mean kind) and rather something people learn, eventually.

However, advocating that we should stop passing anti-bullying laws in favour of ‘kids standing up to their bullies’ is an altogether different matter. And I strongly believe that that’s not the way to go.

‘An eye for an eye will make us all blind’

The fact that someone would choose to stop pre-emptive measures for violent/reactive ones, makes me wonder what we’re doing wrong as society.

Just take the same philosophy to any other aspect of our lives:

  • Domestic violence: ‘Oh, I’m sorry, no domestic violence specific regulations but…hey, here’s a voucher for self-defence classes’ 
  • LBTQIA+: ‘Oh, I’m sorry you got beating for holding hands on the street with your same-sex partner, we can give you some classes to teach you how to stand up against them next time!’

And this goes beyond individual forms of discrimination and violence.

Because, guns. Yes, guns.

‘Should we regulate and remove guns altogether? No! Let’s give people guns to defend themselves from the other guns!’

In this same note, it didn’t come as a surprise when I visited Steve Reichert’s Facebook wall (which took me a while, I was busy whining) and saw all the pro-guns posts. ‘It’s our right!’, ‘We need to defend ourselves’…and all that jazz.

 

Bullying isn’t something that occurs naturally. Bullying is something that kids learn from adults. And how sick is to encourage them to battle the violent vices that they’ve learn from us with more violence?

And this is vital.

We probably won’t be able to vanish bullying altogether. But if we want to see it wane, we, as adults, have to assume our responsibility as the origin of it and, indeed, develop measure to eradicate it.

And this is done: individually (educating our children and relatives at home…even our friends!) and as society (passing the necessary laws).

Unfortunately, it seems that there will always be someone who thinks that the best way to go, is to perpetuate a growing hate culture.

And this, dear friends, this is why we can’t have nice things.

Dating Tip: Fake Pics

So…sharing a tip today!
Being an internet savvy person has been very useful in different aspects of my life: from being able to create my own websites, to findings nice deals online… (as well as ‘wasting’ endless hours doing both — and watching cat videos).

Eventually one develops an ‘eye’ for some things. For example, I can quickly tell whether a website is scam or not, simply by looking at the address or the excerpt in the Google Search Results.

I guess this works in the same way for let’s say…designers: most of them can tell if a pictures has been photoshopped or not.

It has also helped me develop the ability to recognize fake pictures.

This may seem really paranoid, but those of you who meet people online would know what I mean. People really go to a great extent when it comes to faking a profile (and a whole life with it).

fake-profiles-picture-how-to

Like I said, this  ability comes naturally. I simply can tell. Whether it’s because the appearance of the person doesn’t match his attitude…or because of the quality of the picture…I simply can tell.

However, there’s a very useful tip that I wanted to share with you guys.

The tip

Google recently implemented a new search featured, which allows us to search ‘by picture’. And it’s surprisingly accurate.

What it does, is take the information of the shape, content, colors, etc…of the picture and look for the same picture somewhere else on the internet.

There are two ways of doing this:

  1. Go to google.com; click on the top right section ‘Images’, click on the camera icon in the Search field (next the the mic icon), and it will open a small window with two tabs. You can either paste the URL of the image (if it’s posted somewhere) or upload the picture from your computer.
  2. If you have Chrome, you can simply right-click on a picture in the browser and choose the menu option ‘Search image on Google.’

This two action will end up showing you different places where that picture has been used before.

Now, it doesn’t always work. But it does, 99% of the time (at least for me!)

An example

Let’s look at this hot guy. Nice huh?

IMG_07122015

First of all, the size of the picture is simply very small. Most of mobiles today give you ridiculous sizes like 1200 px. This picture is 400 × 533…and I doubt someone would go through the trouble of resizing a selfie…

If you have Chrome, right click on the pic and choose to search on Google.

If not, follow the first step.

The result?

fake-profile-pics-3

As you can see, sometime it shows even similar pictures pretty accurately, like the second one!

If you’re lucky, you may find the original poster/source of the picture. But most of the times, the image has been posted so many times that it’s virtually impossible.

So, there you go. It takes 30 seconds, and it might save you a lot of unwanted drama.
Try not to get upset about it, simply move on and forget it!

Hope it helps!

‘How does it make you feel?’ A response by Aydian Dowling

Many of you may already know Aydian Dowling, who was recently featured in the news for his successful participation on Men’s Health Cover competition. While he only got to the semifinals, the support of the public was mind-blowing. (In fact, if the contest had been only based on public votes, he’d have most certainly won).

Since then, I’ve been following him on the social networks and found him to be a very inspiring person (and, let’s be honest…those Instagram shirtless pics and those eyes…are very inspiring too! Heh!).

aydian-dowling-hater-response

Today I came across with the following post on his Instagram, a message he has received from someone (allegedly a lesbian woman — but who knows!).

And I loved Aydian’s answer.

I love it for it’s raw honesty. I love it, because it’s fierce — and humble. And I love it because I think that many people can relate to that threefold tandem. 

Fear. Sadness. Empowerment. 

 

You can follow him on twitter (@AydianDowling) and instagram!

Manners Between Gay Men 2.o

One of the aspects of interaction between gay men that both bothers and fascinates me, is the one related to the manners — specially when we are talking about ‘online’ interaction.

When I talk about ‘manners’, I am not talking about snobbery or being a ‘proper gentleman’. I am simply talking about what ‘yo momma taught ya’. You know, ‘you’ve got a dick, but ya ain’t got to act like one.’

I think I can assume everyone reading this has probably come across with that kind of situation: just pure and gratuitous rudeness.

Yesterday I saw in one of the profiles ‘act here like you would in real life’, and the big problem is…most of the people don’t.
In most cases, people treat people like…well…like something less than a person.

The part that fascinates me, is where this seems to be something particularly present in man – man interaction. I have seen female friends using the same applications and, while the may get the same amount of cock pics and sexual proposals, the attitude and level of respect is altogether different.

Should a woman feel offended and manifest it, the man would suddenly go all apologetic.

Let’s stop here. NO, I am not saying that you should start treating other men as women… But the fact that there is a ‘way to treat other men’ and a ‘way to treat women’ is a huge problem in its own.

SONY DSC

Truth is, most of the people who act in such a rude way with other gay men in applications like Grindr, wouldn’t do so in their daily lives with other men.

It looks like, because it’s ‘dating’ (slash ‘sex’, slash ‘whatever’) it is okay to be a dick. And the rest should just deal with it.

My field of education has been on communication-related degrees, and I volunteer in organisations that deal with discriminated social minorities (and topics like religion). Maybe, because of that, I am overly careful with what I say and how I phrase it — always trying to avoid, patronising or discriminatory comments.

Sometimes rudeness goes beyond that, and people are simply mean. Yep, there are mean people everywhere…but, for fuck shake, you do not really have to be mean in a ‘dating app!’

Why is it that we cannot, as this guy pointed in his profile, act like we would do ‘in real life?’

What is it that makes us behave like assholes?

Does it make us feel better? Do we get something out of the feeling of blatantly and rejecting someone and mocking that person?

Do we believe that other gay men are less worthy of the respect that we would profess towards a woman, or towards our male colleagues at work?

And, mainly, how do we change that? If we do at all.

 

 

image: Life’s a bitch by Diogo A. Figueira