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Why would someone cross the border illegally? Hear one man's harrowing story.

When your first day in America means hiding from Border Patrol.

José Miguel Cáceres is a 20-year-old who left Guatemala earlier this year to seek asylum in the U.S.

Here's the story of his first 24 hours at the border, in his own words.


First we arrived there, Camargo. That's the Mexican border with the United States. We were there in a house for four days.

It was a normal house. There were children and their mom and her husband there. Like a normal family. There were six of us, only men. Three of us who were there were from Guatemala, one Nicaraguan and two Salvadorans. I'm 20 years old. The others were 20, 22, 25, all the way up to 40.

We were eating well and able to wash ourselves and everything during those four days. We had everything we needed. On the fourth day, they decided to get us to cross the river.

We left the house in Camargo at five in the afternoon. They picked us up in a white truck and it was only a five-minute ride to the river. We sat in the back and we were covered. We had to be covered because if the army had seen us, they might have killed us or handed us over to immigration.

Once we got to the riverbank, we got out and started to walk. That's when the famous immigration helicopter showed up, the one from the United States.

The helicopter went around in a circle and then lowered a little when it saw us. From there, we dove down on the ground where there were some hills, and we stayed down there a little while. There were lots of plants and thorns.

Illustrations by Kitty Curran/Upworthy

The people from immigration weren't able to see us. The helicopter rose back up, and then from there, it did another circle. That was when we got up and started to run. We ran toward the riverbank so that they wouldn't see where we were. I imagine that maybe they let us go because it's Mexican territory and they weren't able to come down and arrest us. And it was just six people.

When we were watching the helicopter, we were all nervous, all tense. A few of the guys I was with had already been in the U.S. They knew what would happen, how we would suffer if we were caught before we crossed. It's better that they catch you here in the United States than catch you in Mexico. Because throughout Mexico there's a lot of corruption and the police work together with the drug traffickers.

I was coming to the United States because the gangs were extorting me in my neighborhood in Guatemala.

A group of people wanted me to give them money. I was working at McDonald's and they would show up there and ask for money. They would also call my cell phone and home. There were times when they actually came to my neighborhood.

I paid them 3,000 quetzales once, which is about $400. I was a target because I was working and because my family lived in the United States. When they asked me to pay again, I refused. Then they threatened me. They told me they wanted money and if I didn't give it, they were going to kill me. So I spoke with my parents and they immediately sent to bring me here. This was the best option.

I was thinking a lot about my family, my friends, and my girlfriend and her family in Guatemala during the trip. I knew that wherever I was, they were always there with me and supporting me.

So we started running again after the helicopter left. We ran and then we found ourselves another little piece of a hill. Then from there, our guide explained what we were going to do. And he told us that we were going to walk for 15 minutes, to the right.

“OK, 15 minutes," we told ourselves. But 15 minutes became an hour and a half. We walked a good bit, maybe five miles along the river.

We had two guides. They were Mexican, normal people, young, just like us. There was one who had gotten caught maybe a month before. He had a visa or residency here in the United States. But when they caught him bringing people over, they took it away.

When we reached the point where we would cross the river to the United States, we started to inflate the raft.

We were going to inflate it with a pump they brought, but they lost a piece and they had to go back to look for it. We tried to blow it up ourselves, but it was too big. So better to go back and look for the missing piece.

We stayed there, hidden in the brush until one of them came back with the piece and they started to inflate it. "It's good," they told us.

There was just one raft for everyone, for eight people. We needed a raft because the river is very deep and the current is very strong. And the river has whirlpools inside it. That's why many people aren't able to cross. Because they try to swim, but it's too strong.

At that moment, what we were most afraid of was that someone might fall off the raft and into the river. I can't swim, but they gave us life vests.

On one hand, I felt calm because I was using a raft. But on the other hand, I was nervous because an immigration boat could come at any time. And they could arrest us or something.

The raft seemed safe, but it's not.

If the raft hits a wire or maybe a pointy tree branch, even just once, then it can break. Yes, it can break. Then it would send everyone down into the river. We would sink.

We climbed into the raft. There was a person who was rowing and he started to row. It took maybe five minutes to cross and we arrived on the other side. When we finished crossing, it was already dark.

On the other side of the river, the American side, there were woods.

There were plants, trees, and roots all over. We started to climb up a little hill and then they told us to wait a moment.

We waited for five minutes or so and then they gave us instructions for what to do. They told us, "Look, we're going to walk for 15 minutes, that's it. And then someone will show up who will get us in a pickup. The pickup will be there already, waiting. Just a little further."

The walk wasn't hard because there was a dirt road. I think it was for agricultural workers. There are a lot of agricultural companies there, all sorts of companies. Pickup trucks go by there.

When we started to walk, it was around 9 p.m., so there wasn't any light. The sun was down.

Everyone was silent. The one person who said anything was the guide.

He told us what we had to do. He told us first that he wanted us to stay quiet, that we should walk in a line, and that the last one in the back was going to look to make sure no one was coming from behind. If the last person sees someone coming, then warn him.

He said that if we got in a row and went quickly that everything was going to be OK. And that we were going to be with our families soon. They were almost like professionals. I think they cross two groups each day, one in the morning and the other one in the afternoon. They weren't with us for the whole trip. They just cross people over, that's it.

We walked the 15 minutes. Then a guide told us there was a light, and we threw ourselves down in the woods out of fear.

We were worried that someone would be able to see us and was going to arrest us or something like that. There were more thorns on the ground, but when you're in this situation, you don't remember that there are thorns on the ground. We just threw ourselves down.

But then the light passed and they told us, "No, no. It's gone." We continued walking and we arrived at the place where the pickup was supposed to be. But the pickup still hadn't arrived and the guides were worried. They were afraid, too, because if immigration came, the agents would go for them, too.

After all we had gone through, there was a moment of tension because the pickup wasn't where it should have been. So the guides started to call and call and call. We thought about going back.

We were there for 10 minutes, not a long time. But in 10 minutes, you can think about a lot of things. Then suddenly the pickup arrived. "You need to go to the pickup," he said, "but you should go running." The truck was a red GMC and it already had the doors open for us.

We went running to the pickup and since it was night, no one saw us.

We all got in. From there, the driver turned around and we went to a city called Rio Grande.

The last time I had eaten was in the afternoon, but I wasn't hungry. When this is happening, you don't remember if you're hungry or thirsty. All you want is to get out of the situation.

Luckily, we weren't wet. We only got our feet wet, since when we put the raft in the water, we had to climb up. And it was March, so the weather was good. It was a nice day, not too cold, not too hot. I remember the day, it was March 9.

I wore a black sweatshirt, with jeans, a T-shirt, and sneakers. That's it, they wouldn't let you carry more clothes. I wore them for the whole trip, 10 days.

When we arrived in Rio Grande, we were in a house for about 15 minutes.

It was a nice house and there was a family there. They were good people and they asked us if we wanted something to drink, a soda or a beer. They gave us crackers, something small. They asked if we wanted water, purified water.

The house was pretty big. It had more than one level and maybe five or six rooms, with three trucks parked outside. There was a man, his wife, and a little girl. The man was very nice. They spoke English and they barely spoke Spanish. But two of the guys I was with spoke a little English.

And from there, another young man arrived in a truck and told us, "OK, we're going to McAllen." And then he got us from the house and we got in the truck, a Honda CRV.

We traveled to McAllen and he told us that no matter what — even if the police stop us — we should say we don't know him, that we were just hitchhiking.

There were a lot of police on the highway. We passed 10 patrol cars at one point. We thought they were going to stop us, but they had stopped another person. They had just found a shipment of marijuana and we saw the packages. That's probably what made it so easy for us to pass by at that moment.

The driver was relaxed, though. He was from the United States, but he spoke Spanish. He was 29 or 30 and was wearing boots and a big hat.

It was about 20 minutes from where we were to McAllen. He was playing music and everything. He played Spanish rock music. Maná.

From there, they took us to an auto mechanic shop, where there they told us that two of us would go to an apartment with one guy and the other four would go with another guy. So this is where the group separated.

I went with my friend, the other Guatemalan. They were worried that immigration might check on one of the apartments. This way, if they found one group, they wouldn't get all six of us.

They took us to the apartment, my friend and me.

The apartment wasn't so big. It just had two rooms. One was where the person who was coordinating everything lived. The boss of the operation. In the other room, that was for three of us: me, the other Guatemalan, and a Honduran.

When we arrived at the apartment, it was like 11 p.m. The the Honduran gave us clothes to change into because we were dirty. He told us that the next day we could go to the laundromat.

The room had a television with cable, but no decorations. Just a mattress for him, a mattress for us, a television, and nothing else. That was the room. Oh, and a microwave.

He asked if we were hungry. "Yes, of course," we told him. Then he went to get us food from a restaurant.

We had tacos with beans, a different type than in Mexico. But at that point, anything would have been good. We were really hungry. We stuffed ourselves.

He came and he pulled out a mattress that he had there. He pulled it out and said, "You can sleep here." Then he gave us two sheets. We ate and talked awhile about the experience we had just had. We spoke about the helicopter and all that, about the walking, because we walked a lot. And we thanked God for getting us across uneventfully.

The Honduran guy had already been here six months. He had been living in the apartment, waiting for the right moment to try to pass through the Border Patrol checkpoint on the way to Houston. They were waiting for a rainy day because immigration doesn't go out much when it rains.

After an hour, at maybe 12 a.m., we said, “OK, we're going to sleep because it's time to rest. We've had a rough day."

The Honduran had his own bed and we had a mattress for the two of us. I laid down on the mattress and gave thanks to God for getting us across safely.

I was thankful because there are many people who don't cross the river.

Many people get left behind in the desert. And there are many people who are caught crossing the river. We were lucky to have gotten this far. And we had already gotten through the hardest part.

And from there, we went to sleep. We slept until 9 a.m. the next day and then had breakfast. After a little while, he told us, "Let's go to the shop." The mechanic's shop was only a few blocks away. They didn't want us to stay there alone in the room with nothing to do.

So we walked to the shop to get a change of scenery.

In the shop, we found ways to pass the time. We got to check on some cars and take a few things apart. I don't normally work on cars, but I was watching. There were three mechanics, so we could go with any of those three. If we had any questions about cars, we could ask them. It helped us pass the time more quickly.

A selfie José Miguel took of himself during his time in McAllen. Photo by José Miguel Cáceres, used with permission.

The boss of the operation — who was supposed to help get us to Houston — he was the head of the shop. He had other people who were going to take us to Houston. The shop was big, but he didn't have his own house, just the apartment. He was American, but his mother and father were Honduran and he was born here.

We stayed there until 4 p.m., more or less. When we walked home, the neighborhood was calm. There wasn't traffic and there weren't any people walking around. The street was nice and quiet and there weren't any problems.

Editor's note

I spoke with José Miguel in July at his family's apartment in Arlington, Virginia, where he told me about his first day in the U.S., as well as what came afterward.

He spent five days at the safe house in McAllen while smugglers waited for the right moment to circumvent a Border Patrol checkpoint on the road to Houston. The attempt failed, however, and he was apprehended with 10 other migrants.

He was detained by federal immigration authorities for nearly four months, with most of the time spent at a detention center in Louisiana, far from his family. He was released on bond in mid-July and currently hopes to receive asylum in the U.S.

This is just one story. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, from Oct. 1, 2014, to July 31, 2015, Border Patrol agents made 270,818 apprehensions on the Southwest border — numbers that are lower than last year, but still significant. Many of these people were fleeing violence, poverty, and persecution. Others hoped to reunite with relatives on the other side.

Share this story and help more people understand the reality at the border.

*This text has been edited for narrative flow, grammar, and clarity.

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

Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.






Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.


Parker lives with depression. And, she says, staying on top of her mental health is absolutely crucial.

"The bottom line is that mental health is health," she says over email. "My depression stops me from being productive at my job the same way a broken hand would slow me down since I wouldn't be able to type very well."

work emails, depression, office emails, community

Madalyn Parker was honest with her colleagues about her situation.

Photo courtesy Madalyn Parker.

She sent an email to her colleagues, telling them the honest reason why she was taking the time off.

"Hopefully," she wrote to them, "I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."

Soon after the message was sent, the CEO of Parker's company wrote back:

"Hey Madalyn,

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

Moved by her CEO's response, Parker posted the email exchange to Twitter.

The tweet, published on June 30, 2017, has since gone viral, amassing 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

"It's nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings pass around the internet for once," Parker says of the response to her tweet. "I've been absolutely blown away by the magnitude though. I didn't expect so much attention!"

Even more impressive than the tweet's reach, however, were the heartfelt responses it got.

"Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am," wrote one person, who opened up about living with panic attacks. "That is bloody incredible," chimed in another. "What a fantastic CEO you have."

Some users, however, questioned why there needs to be a difference between vacation time and sick days; after all, one asked, aren't vacations intended to improve our mental well-being?

That ignores an important distinction, Parker said — both in how we perceive sick days and vacation days and in how that time away from work is actually being spent.

"I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer and that was sick leave," she wrote back. "I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn't use it and it's a separate concept."

Many users were astounded that a CEO would be that understanding of an employee's mental health needs.

They were even more surprised that the CEO thanked her for sharing her personal experience with caring for her mental health.

After all, there's still a great amount of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which keeps many of us from speaking up to our colleagues when we need help or need a break to focus on ourselves. We fear being seen as "weak" or less committed to our work. We might even fear losing our job.

Ben Congleton, the CEO of Parker's company, Olark, even joined the conversation himself.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote about the need for more business leaders to prioritize paid sick leave, fight to curb the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace, and see their employees as people first.

"It's 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance," Congleton wrote. "When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."


This article originally appeared on 07.11.17

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.

Joy

17 Gen X memes for the generation caught in the middle

Gen X is so forgotten that it's become something of a meme. Here are 17 memes that will resonate with just about anyone born between 1965 and 1980.

SOURCE: TWITTER

"Generation X" got its name in the early '90s from an article turned book by Canadian writer Douglas Coupland. And ever since, they've been fighting or embracing labels like "slacker" and "cynic." That is, until Millennials came of age and all that "you kids today" energy from older generations started to get heaped on them. Slowly, Gen X found they were no longer being called slackers... they weren't even being mentioned at all. And that suits them just fine.

Here are 17 memes that will resonate with just about anyone born between 1965 and 1980.

Gen X basically invented "Whatever."

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER



Until recently, Generation X has been sitting back and watching as Millennials and Boomers eat each other with an amused, non-confrontational attitude. But recently, Millennials and Gen Z became aware of their presence, and dubbed them "The Karen generation."

They seem to be embracing the Karen thing.

SOURCE: TWITTER

While I"m pretty sure the "Karen" thing is not complimentary — as BuzzFeed puts it, it's meant to communicate someone who is "the middle-aged white mom who is always asking for the manager and wondering why kids are so obsessed with their identities," lots of people landed on a different Karen to represent the generation: the martini-guzzling, wise-cracking Karen Walker.

Get it right!

SOURCE: TWITTER

Well [expletive] me gently with a chainsaw, she's right. The 1980s cult classic starring Winona Ryder and Shannen Doherty really is the Mean Girls of the '80s and a much better term than Karen

The disdain is mutual...

SOURCE: TWITTER

Most of my Gen X friends have Gen Z kids and they are intergenerationally very chill with each other. However, Gen X is the generation most likely to have Boomer parents and younger millennial kids, and this meme seems to be resonating a bunch with Xers of a certain age.

A lot of Xers are enjoying the "OK boomer" squabble.

SOURCE: TWITTER

The media tends to ignore Generation X as a whole — as a few tweets coming up demonstrate — and this pleases Gen X just fine. After all, they're used to it. They were latchkey kids whose parents both worked long hours, so they're used to being somewhat neglected.

A whole mood.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Gen X: "Look, don't pull us into this. You'll make me spill my beer."

Gen X: Get used to it.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Perhaps Gen X's blasé attitude to the generation wars has something to do with being called "Slackers" for a full decade.

Pass the popcorn.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Aside from this whole "Karen generation" blip, Gen X continues to be largely overlooked, and that fact — as well as their silent delight in it — is possibly one of the most Generation X things to happen to the class of 1965 to 1980.

Pay no attention to the man behind the venetian blinds.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Back in the '90s, Gen X bore the same kind of criticism Boomers tend to heap on Millennials and Gen Z now. It's not necessarily that they want to watch a cage match. It's just they're so relieved it's someone else being called slackers and downers for a change.

See?

SOURCE: TWITTER

Although this chart doesn't list the generation names, the approximate age ranges are all there... except for a big gap between the ages of 34 and 54 where apparently no humans were born? Poor Gen X (and some elder Millennials) apparently don't have political beliefs worth examining.

Don't you forget about me...

SOURCE: TWITTER

If Millennials are the "burnout generation," I guess Gen X is truly the invisible generation. I'm starting to feel inspired to write a science fiction novel where everyone born from 1966 to 1980 inhabits a totally different dimension.

There are perks to being invisible...

SOURCE: TWITTER

Being overlooked can be an advantage when you just want to sit in the corner and be immature. Gen X spent all of the 90s being told they were immature slackers, and in their 40s, a lot of them are really leaning into that description, because what does it matter?

"No one cares what we think anyway..."

via GIPHY

This GIF of Janeane Garofolo mocking her classmates at the high school reunion is basically a whole Gen X mood and definitely captures how a lot of this generation caught in the middle feels about the "OK boomer" wars.

Party on.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Before Brené Brown was telling us all how to dare greatly, Gen X got their inspirational advice from a different kind of TED and his pal Bill, who taught us all how important it is to learn from history and be excellent to each other.

Too late and yet too early.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Romance — or getting lucky — was never easy for Generation X. They were the generation most impacted by the AIDS epidemic when it comes to anxiety about casual sex. Whereas Boomers had the free love of the late '60s, Gen X was about safe sex, which usually meant less sex. And even when having safe casual sex, singles in the '90s had to meet people the old-fashioned way or, if they did meet online, they felt shame over it. Now online dating is the norm.

When Gen X replaces the Boomers.

SOURCE: TWITTER

This is probably an optimistic view — because the truth is there are "Boomers" in every generation, and many of them tend to find their way into powerful positions. Let's call this a best case scenario, though.

The Nihilism Generation

SOURCE: TWITTER

There is no generation more over it than Gen X. They are ready for the apocalypse, but don't expect them to, like, help or anything!


This article originally appeared on 3.18.20

@a.millennialmama/TikTok

Luckily, this story has a happy ending.


Even for those who love the thrill of making vacation itineraries…it’s work. And obviously when the planning has to be done for an entire family, there’s even more effort needed to be put in. Imagine going through all the rigamarole of booking flights, hotels, rental cars, restaurant reservations, entertainment venues, last minute store runs for toiletries…without getting so much as a “thank you.”

Odds are you’d be a little miffed, even if planning is your thing.

This was the scenario that a mom Alexis Scott found herself in after planning a summer vacation for her husband and two teen children. Thankfully, the now-viral TikTok post venting her frustrations inspired several folks to give her some much deserved support.

In the video, Scott began, “I'm on a family vacation right now with my two teenagers and my husband. We flew in late last night. We think we got in at like 12:15 a.m. and headed to get a rental car and then got to our Airbnb. And I am frustrated.”

Scott had tried and tried to get any input from her family about what they might want to do, and each time got the same reply: “‘Whatever you want, mom. I don't care. Okay. I don't care.’”

“Great. Glad I'm planning this vacation for everybody to not care,” Scott lamented.

Still, she did the planning—cause someone had to do it. But as soon as the vacation started, all her decisions were met with complaints. From being called “cheap” for getting too small of an SUV rental car to being told “Mom is never going to be in charge of booking the Airbnb again. She can't even this, that and the other,’” after the family found out their AirBnb was three stories with quite a few stairs.

@a.millennialmama Gratitude goes a long way - especially on family vacation! #momsoftiktok #millennialmom #millennial #familyvacation #familyvacay #sos ♬ original sound - a.millennialmama

“Then this morning, we wake up and it's an urban setting. We live in a very quiet suburban setting and my husband's saying how he barely slept and this and that. And I'm just like, enough!” she said.

All of this happened within the first 24 hours of the trip. It’s easy to see why Scott needed to vent.

Her video concluded with:

I have been the only one to put in all the effort in planning this trip. And I know there's videos on mental load, but this is prime time example of me. I'm shouldering the mental load for my entire family and everybody has something to say about it. So, yeah, I'm frustrated. Please pray for me that we can all turn our attitudes around and have a great day.”

Down in the comments, viewers could totally empathize with Scott for feeling burnt out and disappointed.

“Oh gosh the mental load of planning every detail and then knowing is something goes wrong or isn't’ perfect it’s all on you. Been there,” one person shared.

Another added, “I tell my husband that I haven’t been on vacation since I was a child and he’s alway confused bc to him, ‘we’ go on vacation every year. Only other moms would understand what I mean.”

Many suggested that she do something for herself instead.

“Just Irish goodbye one morning, go to brunch alone, hit the spa or a pool and come home after dinner,” one person wrote.

“Go and do whatever you want to do!! Spa day sounds perfect and take yourself out for fabulous meals!!” echoed another.

On a positive note: this story does have a happy ending. In a follow-up video, Scott shared how she showed her family the TikTok video she made, and it did turn things around.

@a.millennialmama Replying to @thisisntaboutme 🍉🍉🍉 absolutelt no apology video… but they listened to my feelings and we have had a good day so far ❤️🙏🏼 #momsoftiktok #grateful #teenagers #millennial #millennialmom #vacation #travel ♬ original sound - a.millennialmama


“We have actually had a really, really great day today,” she said. “Everyone has had positive attitudes. I've heard a lot of thank yous and my kids have been buying their little side purchases with their own money and not even asking me to pay for it... but they have been really self-sufficient in that space.”

All in all, Scott recognizes that her family is “human,” and a big part of being human is apologizing when a mistake is made and moving forward.

“We love each other. This was a learning experience.”

By the way, Scott's entire TikTok is dedicated to relatable mom content. You can follow along here.

Science

She tattooed half her face and you'd never know it. Her skills are just that good.

This incredible medical tattoo technology is giving renewed hope to burn victims.

All images via the CBS/YouTube

Basma Hameed runs a tattoo shop, of sorts...


Meet Samira Omar.

The 17-year-old was the victim of a horrific bullying incident.



A group of girls threw boiling water on her, leaving her badly burned and covered in scars and discoloration.

tattoo shop, hate crime, artistry

17-year-old Samira Omar

All images by CBC News/YouTube

She thought the physical scars would be with her forever — until she met Basma Hameed. Basma Hameed runs a tattoo shop, of sorts — but her tattoo artistry doesn't look like you'd expect. Basma is a paramedical tattoo specialist. Instead of tattooing vibrant, colorful designs, she uses special pigments that match the skin in order to conceal scars.

It looks like this:

human condition, diversity, equality

Basma looking at Samira’s facial scarring.

assets.rebelmouse.io

disabilities, health, reproductive rights,

Basma talking over the procedure.

assets.rebelmouse.io

body image, scarring, community

Visible scars and discoloration of the skin.

assets.rebelmouse.io

humanity, culture, treatment

Tattooing the visible scarring on her hand

assets.rebelmouse.io

With Basma's help, patients like Samira can see a dramatic decrease in their scar visibility and discoloration after a few treatments. She even offers free procedures for patients who are unable to afford treatment. That's because Basma knows firsthand just how life-changing her work can be for those coping with painful scars left behind.

Check out the video below to find out more about Basma's practice, including how she became her very first patient.

This article originally appeared on 01.12.15


Dads are ridiculous. But perhaps, in the world today, there is no dad quite so ridiculous as Rob Lopez:


Photo via Rob Lopez/YouTube.


On a morning not too long ago, Lopez apparently had the following thought: "I'm going to dress up as Darth Vader and wake up my 2-year-old."

Photo via Rob Lopez/YouTube.



Clearly, the correct follow-up thought is, "No. That's silly. Why would I ever wake up a 2-year-old. Like, on purpose."

But not for Rob Lopez. Oh, no.

After suiting up...

GIFs via Rob Lopez/YouTube, unless otherwise noted.

...and receiving the mission critical sign-off from his wife.

He grabbed his lightsaber and gave it a go. The results ... pretty much speak for themselves (fast-forward to 1:05 for the main event).

There are a couple of things about Lopez's son's reaction that we should talk about.

(First, this child is objectively the hardest core human on the face of planet Earth right now.)

He grabs the lightsaber he keeps next to his bed (just in case) and it's game on, Dark Lord of the Sith. Game. On.

Think about how you would feel, as an adult person, in complete control of your faculties, with a firm grasp on the difference between fiction and reality, being aggressively prodded awake by a six-foot-tall man in a full-body Darth Vader mech-suit complete with voice modulator and terrifyingly heavy breathing.

Think about how loud you would scream and the volume of pee you would pee into your pants.

Meanwhile, this toddler — who is probably no more than three feet tall, groggy and vulnerable, with no cognitive ability to discern this is not the real Darth Vader — didn't even think twice about taking him on.

GIF from "Return of the Jedi."

Perhaps the most impressive part? At a mere 2 years of age, he's already learned, perhaps, the single greatest lesson of "Star Wars."

You don't defeat the dark side with mad lightsaber skills (although they are fun to show off).

You defeat it with compassion.

...which, in this kid's case, involves casually grabbing a book and asking Darth Vader to read him a story.

Empathy for Siths — with an assist from curiosity and literacy: That's a lesson we could all use.


This article originally appeared on 05.06.16