Artist beautifully illustrates the transformative power of turning toward fear

Fear is a finicky beast.

When my oldest daughter was in the deepest throes of a clinical phobia, her fear overtook everything. She practically became a hermit at 16, afraid to go anywhere. Thankfully, we found an excellent therapist who taught her how to tame her fear, to gently manage it, to approach it in such a way that allowed it to dissipate instead of continuing to dominate her every thought.


People who struggle with anxiety or fear, whether it stems from trauma or wonky brain wiring, understand how overwhelming it can be. Fear and anxiety can feel incapacitating at times, making you want to run far away or curl into the tiniest ball and disappear. But neither of those things actually helps. In fact, the first thing my daughter's therapist told her is that avoidance always make anxiety worse.

Instead, she taught my daughter to approach that fearful voice in her head. After all, that voice was hers, and it desperately wanted to be heard and understood. Ignoring it, avoiding it, trying to distract it way simply made it yell louder. "Maybe you're right," she would say to that voice, even though it terrified her to do so. "Maybe you're right, and maybe you're wrong. Let's just wait and see what happens"—that became her mantra to her own brain, and as counterintuitive as it seemed, it worked.

I could explain the science of the amygdala—the fight-or-flight center of the brain that acts on instinct—and why the "Maybe you're right" approach helped retrain it not to overreact. But an artist has created a visual series that describes it in different terms that may resonate more with people who have experienced embracing fear.

Cécile Carre posted her series of paintings about fear on Facebook and they've been shared more than 12,000 times. As with any art, interpretations will naturally vary, but judging from the comments, people dealing with anxiety, fear, or unhealed trauma may find some truth in it.

The first image shows a girl curled in a fetal position with her back to a big, scary monster bearing down on her, with a word painted beneath it.

"Everyday..."

As the girl turns and faces the monster, it immediately looks less scary. Still big, still towering over her, but not terrifying.

"...Trying..."

As the girl walks toward the monster, she starts looking bigger. The monster transforms into a mirror image of herself, the terror of it literally melting away.

"...to watch..."

And then it becomes a child looking for comfort rushing into her arms. Even its color begins to blend with her own.

"...and embrace..."

And then a baby, purely in need of nurturing, wrapped lovingly in her arms.

"...my fear..."

And then...nothing. Just a simple, calm little diamond where the girl was.

"...until it disappears completely..."

The work of turning toward what you fear is not simple or easy, and it may take therapy, medication, or other methods to treat mental illness effectively. But this series of paintings shows what many experience when they stop avoiding and start approaching the roaring voice that tells them to be afraid. Though it's thoroughly terrifying to make that initial turn—I saw it in my own daughter, and it took a lot of effort—seeing the beast shrink down and eventually disappear is an incredible gift.

Thank you, Cécile Carre, for illustrating that so beautifully. You can order her prints here.

via Seresto

A disturbing joint report by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that tens of thousands of pets have been harmed by Seresto flea and tick collars. Seresto was developed by Bayer and is now sold by Elanco.

Since Seresto flea collars were introduced in 2012, the EPA has received incident reports of at least 1,698 pet deaths linked to the product. Through June 2020, the EPA has received over 75,000 incident reports relating to the collars with over 1,000 involving human harm.

The EPA has known the collars are harming humans and their pets but failed to tell the public about the dangers.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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Kara Coley, a bartender at Sipps in Gulfport, Mississippi, got an unusual phone call on the job last week.

Photo courtesy of Kara Coley.

"Good evening," Coley answered. "Thank you for calling Sipps!"

A woman on the other end of the line asked, "Is this a gay bar?"

Sipps welcomes everyone, Coley explained to her, but indeed attracts a mostly LGBTQ crowd.



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Over my own 20+ years of motherhood, I've written a lot about breastfeeding. My mom was a lactation consultant, I breastfed all three of my children through toddlerhood, and I've engaged in many lengthy debates about breastfeeding in public.

But in all that time, I've never seen a video that encapsulates the reality of the early days of breastfeeding like the Frida Mom ad that aired on NBC during the Golden Globes. And I've never seen a more perfect depiction of the full, raw reality of it than the uncensored version that bares too much full breast to be aired on network television.

The 30-second for-TV version is great and can be seen in this clip from ET Canada. The commentary that accompanies it is refreshing as well. We do need to normalize breastfeeding. We do need to see breasts in a context other than a sexualized one that caters to the male gaze. We do need to let new moms know they are not the only ones feeling the way they feel.


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