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What a therapist wants you to know about repairing America after this election.

She compares the election to a dysfunctional family system. It’s a perfect metaphor.

I'm a therapist. I'm also an adult survivor of a childhood trapped with a sociopathic, narcissistic, abusive, misogynistic white male bully of a father who disowned me at age 11.

He was a big source of trauma for me growing up until pretty recently.

And for 25 years, I didn't talk about this — no one in my family really did. No one really had the language, power, or modeling to really even know it wasn't OK, to stand up to him, to shine a light on how incredibly abusive and dysfunctional it was for him to do, say, and act in the ways he did. At many points during my childhood, I looked around and thought,, "Am I the crazy one for thinking this isn't right but no one else is saying anything?!"


Then I grew up. And I literally left my family system.

I found therapy. I cultivated new and reparative and healthy relationships where I learned what functional actually looked like. I learned that while certain kinds of relationships can wound and traumatize, other kinds of relationships can heal. In my bones, I believe it's always possible to heal and overcome until the day we take our last breath — because I did.

I want to share this with you today in case you're feeling scared, shocked, and even a little traumatized.

I wanted to share this because if you're like me, following this election, you're probably looking around and thinking "How could something this crazy have happened?"

As a therapist, I want you to know that your feelings and your responses are totally normal and natural. They are appropriate responses to witnessing that something not OK happened. In fact, I think it's a really good thing that so many of us are aghast and shocked.

It's not OK that a man whose platform has been built and driven on fear, misogyny, xenophobia, racism, sexism, and downright aggressive and abusive behavior is winning the title of the highest office in the land.

And it's scarier still to see so many people support him and his way of being in the world. It's scary because we know it's not healthy. We know there's something better and healthier out there.

Folks, if you're feeling angry, scared, and sad, that makes sense. In a way, we're all together now in a dysfunctional family system that we didn't really want to be a part of anyway.

But I will say this: Hope isn't lost, and we can see it.

We can see that it’s not lost because there are so many of us saying, "No, this isn't OK to act this way. I don't agree with this things you are saying and doing."

Image via iStock.

And, now, we are not disempowered young children who, in a painful family system, truly have no power. We have each other (amiright, Pantsuit Nation?).

Much like in the healing of a dysfunctional and abusive family system, our work now isn't to get angry and attack and blame and shame the other members of our dysfunctional family system (as tempting as that is).

Our work now is hard, but important. It is to keep saying, "No, this isn't OK."

It is to model something different — what it is and means to be in a healthy, functional relationship.

Our work, together, is to be kind, accepting, self-responsible, compassionate, curious, respectful, honest individuals of integrity. To keep speaking up and showing up and insisting on something healthier at all levels of our lives until abusive, dysfunctional behavior — whether on the playground blacktop or on the presidential stage — is no longer implicitly condoned and explicitly championed but is instead seen clearly for what it is and rejected universally.

The more we do this, the more we can hopefully shine a light for those who still think that it's OK for Trump (or for anyone else) to be a bully, to be abusive, to not be accountable for their behavior, the greater collective healing opportunity we as a nation have to make sure elections like this one never happen again.

When they go low, we go high.

Let's use this as an opportunity to go higher still. Let's commit to doing the deep, systemic, and critical educational and emotional work that the results of this country's election have proven we so desperately need coast to coast.

Let's start with healing the abusive and dysfunctional parts in ourselves, in our own minds and hearts. That is something we can do today. Let's do it in our families, in our workplaces, in our immediate communities. Let's do it nationally, reaching over the blue and red divides, striving toward something better in our humanity.

Changing a dysfunctional and abusive family system takes time, but it is possible.

So this week, please take very good care of yourself. Comfort yourself in any way you can and take hope in the fact that we have each other to lean on, we're not alone in this, and that today, tomorrow, and all the days after will be the start of many opportunities for profound healing and transformational work.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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