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Joy

New documentary celebrates the beautiful kinship between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

The friendship between these two "mischievous" spiritual icons is enough to bring hope and joy to any heart.

Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, joy
Mission: JOY

The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu formed a close bond of friendship around shared joy and compassion.

When Archbishop Desmond Tutu passed away, I wrote a bit about the unique friendship he shared with the Dalai Lama. Though they came from very different worlds—different nationalities, different faiths, different backgrounds—they shared a kinship based on compassion and joy.

And when I saw them together in "Mission: JOY"—a documentary on five days the two leaders spent together—I saw how beautiful that kinship truly was.

"Mission: JOY" is as much a reminder of what connects us as human beings as it is a celebration of these two iconic spiritual leaders. I laughed at how they teased one another like schoolboys. (It's also just impossible not to laugh along with Desmond Tutu's infectious laughter.) I teared up as they described how they responded to their own sufferings and showed so much care for one another. I smiled each time one of them lovingly reached out to take the other's hand as they shared stories, wisdom and jokes together.


But mostly, I walked away with a sense of calm hope for what is possible. If a Christian theologian from South Africa and a Buddhist monk from Tibet can form a strong bond of friendship like this with one another, then anyone can. This is a film the whole world needs to see. I think it's safe to say that every person would take something valuable away from it.

MISSION: JOY • Official Trailer • Documentary About the Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu's Friendshipwww.youtube.com

Filmmaker Peggy Callahan shared some of the extraordinary experience of making "Mission: JOY" with Upworthy. Our Q&A with her provides some personal insight into the film and what it felt like to spend five days with two of the most influential spiritual leaders of our time.

How and why did you get involved in making this film?

"It was Thanksgiving Day almost seven years ago when I got a call from my 'brother from another mother,' Doug Abrams. He said, 'Do you want to come to Dharamsala and film a conversation between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu?'

"Of course, there is only one answer to a once-in-a-lifetime invitation like that. And that is how I got to spend five days with two of the people on the planet that I admired most.

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu shared deeply about how they managed to create joy for themselves, even during their darkest days. Doug and the two holy men used the transcripts from that days-long conversation to co-author 'The Book of Joy,' which became an international bestseller. And the footage from that conversation was the basis for our film, 'Mission: JOY - Finding Happiness in Troubled Times.'

"It seems to me that documentaries—and most meaningful things in life—require an unreasonable love. The kind of love that propels you. Compels you. Sustains and inspires you to get off the ground and keep going. It’s been a seven-year journey to create this film with a great team of artists. But I suspect the film recreated us all in some way. Unreasonable. Beautiful."

Why was it important to you personally that you create this film?

"I grew up in South Carolina at a time when racism was even thicker than the humidity. My mom is from Canada and didn’t buy into it one bit. You can imagine the salty words she’d whisper in my ear about systemic racism, as if systemic and racism were four-letter words.

"I remember parents of my white friends not allowing their kids to play at my house because my African American friends were there. The prejudice was so stark and so ugly that it never made sense on a primal level, leaving me out of step with the world I walked in. I think there is value in feeling like an outsider who sees the world differently. It’s easier to question. Examine. Appreciate or not. It’s perfect for a journalist or storyteller. Fighting injustice can be a great motivator in your career, and tricky in your personal life.

"Archbishop Tutu and His Holiness, along with people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mary Robinson were beacons for me because not only did they get up and do something about injustice, their actions were effective at changing power relationships. Their actions made a measurable difference in the daily lives of people who most of the world had forgotten.

"Also, many years ago Archbishop Tutu joined the International Advisory Board of an anti-slavery organization I co-founded called Voices4Freedom, so we had that personal connection as well. It’s the honor of a lifetime to help share Arch’s and His Holiness’s messages with the world, especially now when so many are hurting so much."

What words would you use to describe the relationship between these two global icons?

"These two are FUN, as is obvious within just the first few minutes of the film. They joke and tease each other with abandon. Having lunch with them in the Dalai Lama’s compound was an absolute riot. It had the feeling of getting together with your long-time friends where you knew going in that your stomach was going to hurt from laughing so hard.

"And they are congruent within themselves. There are lots of impressive, powerful leaders in the world that garner respect. Admiration, even. But few of those are so beloved. Why?

"I think it’s because with these two, what is real for them on the inside is what we see on the outside. They lived/live out their values in ways big and small every day, in every interaction, with everyone they encounter. What you see is what is actually real within them. It’s utterly compelling. As evidenced by the fact that, even though they are/were leaders of their respective faith traditions, people from ALL faith traditions and no faith tradition are inspired by them."

Filmmaker Peggy Callahan talking with the Dalai Lama during filming.

Mission: JOY

What were some things that surprised you as you were making this film?

"Can you believe that we had not one technical glitch during the filming in Dharamsala? We had the team members from four countries and needed to truck in equipment from Delhi, which is 12 hours away. If any equipment broke we had no way to get replacements in fast enough. But not one thing went wrong. Which is all the proof I need that holy men were in the house.

"Another surprise was that despite the complications of COVID, we were able to complete the film on time and within budget. Hollywood has technical terms for such occurrences: A miracle. Once in a blue moon. When pigs fly. You get the picture. That’s a huge tribute to the phenomenal team that came together to make this film, including four Academy Award winners."

Why do you think this story is important right now?

"Wouldn’t it be wonderful if no one was hurting and a film like this wasn’t needed? And everyone on the planet already knew about the latest neuroscience and psychology research-based actions to help ourselves feel better? That, incidentally, look astonishingly like what spiritual traditions have been telling us for millennia?

"Even before the pandemic, there was a dramatic uptick in anxiety and depression, especially among young people. Now, one in four people report they are experiencing anxiety and depression. We see this even in our own families and circles of friends, right? People are hurting.

"That’s why we took the messages of the film one step further and operationalized what the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu shared. We partnered with researchers at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good In Action, UC San Francisco, Harvard and a consortium of other universities to create The BIG JOY Project. Anyone can sign up for free, and spend seven minutes a day for seven days trying out a different micro action that science shows boosts moods. At the end of seven days, you’ll get a cool BIG JOY Report that will show you which micro-act of joy works best for you!

"Already people from 108 countries have participated and have completed 38,572 micro-acts of joy! The BIG JOY Project is now the largest ever citizen-science project on joy. You’ve got to see the map of these people from all over the world. It’s a tidal wave of joy! We get excited about each and every additional dot on the map that appears, because we know that means that one more person is getting the quick start owner’s manual of how to be human and create more joy for themselves!"

If there were one lesson you hope people will take from this film, what would it be?

"Arch and His Holiness wanted everyone to know that, no matter their circumstances and no matter how broken they may feel, they are worthy of joy, and they are capable of creating it for themselves. If after seeing the film, people walk away with only that message, we have done our job.

"Archbishop Tutu and His Holiness joined forces one last time before the Archbishop passed away for a final shared mission: to help us create more joy for ourselves. They saw joy as that critical. To me, joy is the ultimate ‘clean fuel’ that powers everything we want to do in life. These great teachers put their hard-earned wisdom about the how-to of joy into movie form, as their final gift to each of us. It is yours to enjoy."

The Dalai Lama's team has organized a global watch event for the film via Facebook on June 2. You can learn more about the film and how to host a screening at missionjoy.org

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Family

I told a kid a riddle my dad told me when I was 7. His answer proves how far we've come.

This classic riddle takes on new meaning as our world changes for the better.




When I was 7, my dad told me a riddle.

"A man and his son are driving in their car when they are hit by a tractor-trailer.

Photo via iStock.

(We were driving at the time, so of course this was the riddle he decided to tell.)

The father dies instantly.

The son is badly injured. Paramedics rush him to the hospital.

Photo via iStock.

As he is being wheeled into the operating room, the surgeon takes one look the boy and says:

'I can't operate on him. He's my son.'

How is that possible?!"

Without missing a beat, I answered:


"The doctor is his mom!"

Photo via iStock.

My dad first heard the riddle when he was a child in the '60s.

Back then, most women didn't work outside of the home.

Few of those who did had college degrees, much less professional degrees.

Female doctors were few and far between.

Back then, it was a hard riddle. A very hard riddle.

By 1993, when I first heard it, the notion that women could be highly skilled, highly trained professionals wasn't so absurd.

To me, it was normal.

I knew women who were lawyers. Bankers. Politicians. My own doctor was a woman.

To be sure, women still faced challenges and discrimination in the workplace. And even 20 years later, they still do.

But at its core, the riddle is about how a family can work. And that had changed. Long-overdue progress had rendered the big, sexist assumption that underpinned the whole thing moot.

A very hard riddle was suddenly not a riddle at all.

I never forgot it.

Now, I'm 30 — almost as old as my dad was he first told me that riddle.

My dad at 30 (left) and me at 30. Photos by Eric March/Upworthy and Mary March, used with permission.

I don't have kids, but I mentor a child through a volunteer program.

Once a week, we get together and hang out for an hour. We play ping pong, do science experiments, and write songs. Neither of us like to go outside.

It's a good match.

One day, we decided to try to stump each other with riddles.

He rattled off about five or six.

I could only remember one: The one about the man, his son, and the surgeon.

Photo via iStock.

I thought it would be silly to tell it.

I was sure that, if it was easy in 1993, it would be even easier in 2014. Kind of ridiculous, even.

But a part of me was curious.

It had been 21 years — almost as long as it had been between when my dad first heard the riddle and when he shared it with me.

Maybe it wouldn't be so easy.

Maybe I was missing something obvious, making my own flawed assumptions about how a family could work.

Maybe the world had changed in ways that would be second nature to a 13-year-old but not to me.

So I began:

"A man and his son are driving in their car, when they are hit by a tractor-trailer. The father dies instantly. The son is badly injured and is rushed to the hospital by paramedics. As he is being wheeled into the operating room, the surgeon takes one look at the boy and says:

'I can't operate on him. He's my son.'

How is that possible?!"

Without missing a beat, he answered: "it's his other dad"

Photo via iStock.

Times change. Progress isn't perfect. But no matter what shape a family takes, at the end of the day, #LoveWins.


This article was written by Eric March and originally appeared on 06.21.16

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Celia Robbins/X (used with permission)

Celia Robbins regretted not buying a puffin sweater in Iceland three years ago.

We all know that social media has its pitfalls. In fact, the U.S. surgeon general even wants to put a warning label on social media apps to alert us to the health danger it poses, especially to young people.

However, social media has also connected people around the world in a way that humanity has never seen before. That can be both good and bad, but when it's good, it can delight and inspire people around the globe.

That's where an Icelandic puffin sweater comes in.


Celia Robbins shared a post on X explaining that her 14-year-old daughter had asked her if she ever has any regrets.

"While I know she was asking this question on a philosophical level, my mind immediately went to this puffin sweater I saw in Iceland," she wrote. "It's been 3 years since I saw it in a shop there, & I still regret not buying it."

Three years may seem like a long time to be pining for a sweater, but non-buyer's remorse is a real thing, especially when you can't just hop online and order something. Robbins really loves puffins, but the sweater was too expensive for her buy at the time, and when she went back to Iceland in 2022, she couldn't find it again.

Fortunately—but unexpectedly—a random stranger who lives 4,000 miles away had the exact opposite regret about exactly the same sweater.

David Wiskus, who is the CEO of Nebula and lives in New York, shared that his regret was that he bought that puffin sweater for his wife two years ago on a trip to Iceland.

"She has worn it zero times," he wrote. "I'm in NYC. Cover shipping and it's yours."

Robbins was incredulous, but Wiskus was serious. "I would never joke about a puffin sweater," he wrote.

The people of X became invested in the puffin sweater exchange. What are the chances, after all?

But sure enough, 10 days after Robbins posted the photo of the sweater she wished she'd bought, it arrived at her home in Berlin, Germany. Wiskus even covered the shipping and expedited it, despite Robbins offering to pay for it.

And wouldn't you know, it fits her perfectly.

Robbins told TODAY.com she almost started crying when she received the package.

“I don’t know how else to explain it, but it’s like a tiny little moment where the universe cared about me," she said. “I’m living in a new country. We’ve only been in Berlin for like 11 months, and sometimes life is really hard. I don’t speak German. I thankfully have a job where I get to speak English, but this was just the universe being like, ‘Hey, I care about you and what you want.’”

Wiskus told TODAY.com that he was on a work trip to Amsterdam when he happened to come across Robbins' tweet and immediately recognized the sweater. It still had the tags on it in his wife's closet.

“I was sincere. I would happily get rid of that sweater,” he said. “I didn’t realize so many people on the internet would be that excited about it.”

“I can’t stress enough, I really thought this was just, like, doing a funny bit with a random stranger on (X) and it’s just turned into this other thing," he added. "But the sincerity of it is what I find so charming.”

How does his wife feel about him giving away her sweater? She's okay with it, he said, but she did tell him, “you’re going to have to take me to Iceland so I can get another sweater.”

People have loved the story on Upworthy's Instagram page, celebrating the internet being utilized for something so wholesome and magical:

"This is ABSOLUTELY what the internet is for. Nothing more. Nothing less."

"This is what I had hoped the internet and social media would partly be, connecting people around the world in really zany but loving ways. Keeping hope alive."

"Stories like these keep me coming back to the internet 😍👏🐧"

"This is the best damn use of the internet—more like this story!"

Who knew it a puffin sweater would bring people together to gush over the positive side of social media.

Joy

Strangers rally to cry for help for 22-year-old mother given just four months to live

In 24 hours, people flooded the family with donations to hopefully buy Rachael Burns some time with her 1-year-old daughter, Raeya.

Rachael Burns was given a dire prognosis as her daughter turned one.




Being given just a few months to live is a daunting prognosis for anyone, but when you're a 22-year-old mother with a 1-year-old daughter, it's particularly tragic. Your adult life has just begun. You are the world to your young child. Your partner is suddenly looking at losing you and becoming a single parent, all in one fell swoop.

Rachael Burns of Belfast, Northern Ireland, is facing that exact reality. Eight months ago, she began experiencing headaches, dizzy spells and irritation in her eyes, according to Belfast Live. At first, doctors chalked it up to dehydrated eyes and she considered them migraines, but after an emergency trip to the hospital in early June 2024, Burns was diagnosed with diffuse midline glioma brain tumour—brain cancer with a rare, aggressive mutation that is spreading down her spine.


Because of its size and where it's located, doctors said there is no way to even attempt an operation on it. Consultants told her that anyone who came in with her symptoms and that diagnosis generally had 9 to 12 months to live.

"I’ve shown symptoms for the last eight," Burns told Belfast Live. “I was told to assume that that was the case and try to make the most of the next four months.

“I left that appointment with no real hope and I didn’t know how to tell my mum and the rest of the family, I didn’t want them to get upset. It felt like everything had just been taken away from me at that point."

Facing such a dire prediction, Burns began writing years' worth of birthday cards for her daughter, Raeya, who just had her first birthday. The only option appeared to be six weeks of radiotherapy, which would do little to help.

But research into experimental therapies unveiled a ray of hope to buy more time with her family.

"We've identified a potentially life-extending treatment in Germany, under the name of ONC201," the family shared on GoFundMe, "but it comes at a significant cost. Should Rachael qualify, we need funds to pay for travel costs, accommodation and the drugs themselves.

"We refuse to let financial worries hinder Rachael's fight for her life or deprive her and her daughter of precious time together. Our goal is to ensure their comfort should the worst come to pass. No one should go from celebrating their child's first birthday to facing a terminal illness so swiftly."

Not only did the local community of West Belfast turn out for this young family but people around the world did as well. In less than 24 hours, they'd raised £30,000 (approximately $38,000 U.S.).

mom and dad holding baby in front of a birthday cake

Donate to Support a young mother battling terminal cancer, organized by Rachael Burns.

www.gofundme.com

“I’m just totally overwhelmed by the response that we have got so far,” Rachael said. “Belfast is such a small place but you never think that people from all over would show as much kindness as they have done for me and my family. It is a scary time to be going through all of this but this has given me more hope that I can spend some more time with my family.”

Burns told The Irish News that the treatment she's seeking in Germany has extended the life of people with her diagnosis by as much as 22 months. That may not sound like much time, but in the life of a small child, it's hugely significant.

“My Raeya will always know just how much her mummy fought with everything in her power for even a quick glimpse of watching her grow into the beautiful, strong and kind girl I know she will be in this world," Burns said. “Situations are what you make of them and I refuse to just be another statistic.”

While the future is uncertain for the Burns family, the money that's been raised gives her the best chance for a miracle. Any funds that don't go to Rachael's treatment will go into a bank account for young Raeya "to support her in life for if the time comes when she loses her mother."

Find the GoFundMe here.

TikTokker Mackenzie Waddell shares a heartfelt story about her daughter.

A mother on TikTok shared a heartfelt moment when her 9-year-old daughter opened up about her self-image concerns, wondering about her appearance as she grows up. The story was a wonderful example of a mother delicately dealing with an issue that far too many young women face. It was also a difficult moment because the conversation brought up the mother's body issues as well.

The conversation happened while the two were clothes shopping at Target. “My 9-year-old’s saying she's fat, and this is because she has to wear adult sizes versus kids 'cause she's really tall, just like me,” Mackenzie Waddell told her 222,000 followers.


“She kept calling herself ‘fat’ and that she had too big of a butt and that the other kids her age don't have to wear adult clothes,” Waddell continued. “I reminded her that I, too, had to wear adult clothes when I was her age 'cause I was really tall just like she is.”

@missmommymack

Im so devastated that she feels that way about herself. 💔

The discussion led to a question that was hard for the mother to hear.

“... she asked me if she was gonna look like me when she grew up. And I asked her, ‘Do you mean big like me? When you grow up?’ And she said, ‘Yes. I'm not trying to be mean mom, but I want to look like Aunt Sarah, not you,’” she recalled.

Her daughter’s remarks hit her right in the heart, but she responded with perfect composure. "I kept a brave face and said, 'As long as you are happy and healthy, and you love yourself, that's all that matters. No matter what size you are,” Waddell said.

The mother was sure not to take it personally, but it still cut close to the bone. “And was I hurt? Yeah, I was. But she didn't mean to hurt me. It just really sucked. Yeah,” she concluded.

The post went viral, receiving over 1.7 million views and over 2,000 comments. The most popular commenter thought that Waddell should tell her daughter to avoid commenting on people’s weight.

"You should tell her she hurt your feelings. She needs to know. You did a great job supporting her in how she feels. She has to learn that skill also," Char8201 wrote.

However, many women responded with nothing but love for how Waddell handled such a challenging situation. "You responded beautifully, momma. She’s still learning and these are the moments where we provide that guidance, even when it hurts," Mavv13 wrote. "Oh mama. Thank god she feels comfortable to talk to you openly," tirrelltribe added.

After the tremendous response to her video, Waddell responded with another post, educating people about how one’s weight doesn’t necessarily mean they eat unhealthy. “A lot of people like to assume that plus-size people don’t know how to eat healthy or are unhealthy. When, in fact, we’re not,” Waddle said.

She added that her daughter lives a healthy lifestyle but avoids having conversations about weight with her because “That’s what traumatized me.”

@missmommymack

Replying to @user3838812846970 she will always be perfect, no matter what.

This article originally appeared on 9.28.23

@jfisher62/TikTok

"I had to unlearn it because it never was okay."


There is certainly no shortage of stories from women highlighting the glaring disparity between society’s expected responsibilities of husbands vs. wives. Some are a bit more lighthearted, poking fun at the absurdity. Others reflect utter frustration and had-it-up-to-here-edness with partners not doing their share of the work.

However, self-proclaimed “Clueless Husband” J Fisher’s honest, thoughtful retrospection on the subject shows that it’s not just female partners noticing that things need to change.

In a now-viral TikTok video, Fisher describes how he used to consider himself the “main character” of his relationship.


What exactly did that look like? Early on in his marriage, it looked something like this:

“Say we'd be going on a trip. My partner at that point in time would be doing the laundry, vacuuming the house, making sure the dishes were done. I would think, I would literally think like, ‘Well, yeah, we don't have to do that. That's you wanting to do that. It's not what I want to do,’” he explained in the clip.
@jfisher62 What NOT to do as a husband #fyp #husbandsoftiktok #wivesoftiktok #fairplay #parenting #feminism #dismantlethepatriarchy #relationship #marriage #support #partnering ♬ original sound - J Fisher

Fisher later shared how his wife would then get everything ready for said trip, while he would simply pack for himself. This continued even after they had kids. It became worse, actually.

“My partner would do all the work to get all of them ready to make sure they were bathed, snacks packed, and I would get myself ready.”

Looking back, Fisher can plainly see how this behavior was “not okay.” But how did he think this was acceptable in the first place? After some reflection, he realized that it was simply the standard being modeled to him from an early age.

“I saw my own father do this quite a bit where he would take care of his own needs. So, I know I didn't learn it from nowhere," he said. "But I also had to unlearn it because it never was okay. I thought that my role was to do all these things outside of the home and that the home was women's domain. I saw that modeled and even taught as the way it should be, but, oh my gosh, is that not partnership? And that sucks.”

After coming to this revelation, Fisher’s opinion is that if you approve of this division of labor, that you “shouldn’t be in a relationship.”

Hard to argue with that.

Hoping that he can further illustrate a better partnering mindset in a way that “may help it click for some guys,” Fisher has all kinds of insightful TikToks focused on taking accountability and expanding emotional intelligence. In them, he often names therapy, setting boundaries, finding community and accessing personal joy (rather than relying on a partner to fulfill all emotional needs) as major tools for creating a more equal relationship.

@jfisher62 Good intention ≠ Truly loving 💔😔 “I’m Sorry” doesn’t begin to do it justice. #fyp #foryoupage #marriage #longtermrelationship #partner #husbandsoftiktok #wivesoftiktok #accountability #healingjourney #grief#stagesofgrief #dabda #acceptance ♬ original sound - J Fisher

And perhaps the best part—there doesn’t seem to be so much shame around the subject. Fisher acknowledges his own goodwill while still admitting to displaying less-than-healthy behavior. It’s hard not to feel like if maybe this kind of honest, yet compassionate reexamination of gender stereotypes were more commonplace, we’d all collectively be a lot farther ahead.


This article originally appeared on 5.4.23