Remember when you were a child and it felt like everyone — parents, teachers, adults in general — tried to speak for you?

It was probably really frustrating. When I was growing up, I felt like my parents thought they knew everything about how I felt. Yes, Mom. I actually did want to go to summer camp. (C'mon, s'mores!)


Tell it, Fresh Prince.

Now that you're older, you probably don't get that from your parents anymore. I hope.

But you may experience this kind of treatment elsewhere, particularly when it comes to race and gender.

Things can get complicated when people try to speak on behalf of others.

Listen to Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley explain a bit more artfully the frustration of people who don't understand saying that they know your pain.

This sort of stuff happens every day and the consequences can be dire for the people who want to have their voices heard.

Especially if you have an identity that is often underrepresented in everyday life.

Think about it: Our mostly male government has moved more legislation regulating uteruses than ever before. People of color continue to be largely ignored in mainstream media, even when it's to discuss topics concerning them. Sounds ridiculous, right?

When people try to speak for others, those sharing their pain don't just lose their voice. They can lose a lot more.


GIFs from "Lost Voices"

By telling people you know their pain when you don't, you may end up taking away what little opportunity they have to speak their truth.

GIF from "Lost Voices"

So instead of speaking for someone, consider sitting back and listening.

Everyone likes when they feel they're being understood. Sometimes that's as simple as saying, "I don't know how that feels, but it sounds like it sucks. And I'm sorry. How can I help?"

Next time someone shares their story of pain, try to think of other ways to show that you are sorry they feel that way. Don't say you know how they feel, unless you do.

Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less
Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash (left), Kimberly Zapata (right)

Picking a psychiatrist is a precarious situation, one I know all too well. I have bipolar disorder, depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. I have been in and out of therapy for nearly 20 years. And while I have left doctors for a wide variety of reasons—I've moved, I felt better and "been better," I've given up on pharmacology and stopped taking meds—I've only had to fire one.

The reason? She was judgemental and disrespectful. In her office, I wasn't seen, heard or understood.

To help you understand the gravity of the situation, I should give you some context. In the spring of 2017, I was doing well and feeling good, at least for the most part. My family was healthy. I was happy, and life was more or less normal, so I stopped seeing my psychiatrist. I decided I didn't need my meds.

But by the summer, my mood was shifting. I was cycling (which occurs when bipolar patients vacillate between periods of mania and depression) and when I suffered a miscarriage that fall, I plunged into a deep depressive episode—one I knew I couldn't pull myself out of.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tania / Twitter

Therapy animals have become a controversial issue of recent, even though they've helped over 500,000 people overcome psychological and physical issues that have made it difficult to perform everyday tasks.

It's because countless people have tried to pass off their pets as service animals, making it hard for legitimate, trained animals to gain acceptance in public.

So when people hear about emotional support llamas, they're met with understandable cynicism. However, studies show they are great at helping children with autism spectrum disorder, and they are routinely used to cheer up people residents in retirement homes.

Keep Reading Show less