He has been making me laugh a lot by calling me ‘Robocop’

He has been making me laugh a lot by calling me ‘Robocop’


He has been making me laugh a lot by calling me ‘Robocop’ for the last month. It hurts when I laugh heavily because this month I will be on my ninth month of my pregnancy and he has never let me stop laughing for a minute. This last month he has been mocking me by calling me ‘Robocop’ because I can’t move very fast with my eight-month pregnant belly. I walk slowly, turn slowly, sit slowly, and for him I become a Robocop. I have never seen a Robocop before and I don’t even understand it but he watched that movie and for my better understanding he sometimes acts like a Robocop in front of me. He looks so funny that I can’t allow myself to laugh standing up.
We have already decided our child’s name; if it will be a boy, we will call him ‘Sagor’ (Ocean) and if will be a girl, we will call her ‘Nodi’ (River). I am expecting a boy but my Hero is expecting a girl because he says, “after we will become older, you can’t laugh like this anymore so I will be able to see your smile on my daughter’s face.” He loves my smile; that’s why he tries to make me laugh all the time.

He is working so hard every day making a gold chain for our child. I feel so blessed that I found my love and found this man in my life. I never hesitate to give thanks to Allah for his kindness upon me. I wish to die beside him._ Shahin and Jhuma


Credit GMB Akash 

Knock it Off: Why Divorce Guilt is so Unnecessary.

Guilt—what an ugly word and a terrible feeling.

Guilt comes in all sorts of mutating forms before, during, and after divorce.

We may feel guilty because of a specific/concrete action we have done, or, more likely, divorce guilt permeates our lives like a mist running through our bodies. It’s a general, lingering feeling that comes from a variety of factors—things that have nothing to do with us but nevertheless continue to threaten our happiness.

It is normal for many of us to feel like we are to blame for everything leading up to the end of our marriage. Society certainly has not helped us break from that. Many of us were raised to say “sorry” for everything—whether or not it was our fault.

Culturally, we were taught that keeping the household and marriage successful without any mistakes was our responsibility, without much regard for the idea that it takes two people in a partnership to make a relationship work. And naturally, because there was a lot of pressure on us to be perfect and act a certain way, when the marriage unraveled, our reaction was to blame ourselves for it.

But I’m here to tell you to knock it  off.

If there’s only one thing I want you to remember in this post, it’s the following:

In order to overcome guilt, you must forgive yourself.

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. It’s a gift that we are usually generous in giving others—at home, at work, at Starbucks when the barista has screwed up our order for the third time this week—yet, for some reason, we don’t afford ourselves the same luxury. For some reason, we think our actions, especially divorce-related ones, are somehow reprehensible and we feel like the worst people in the world for letting everybody down.

But you know what? The only person you have let down is you—by not being kinder to yourself. You deserve to breathe, to dream big and plan for the future, to laugh again, and to not be judged.

Accepting responsibility for your own shortcomings and working on them to avoid mistakes in the future is one thing. But constantly blaming yourself for things in the past is neither helpful nor healthy, and it doesn’t change a single thing.

So why not put that energy you spend on feeling bad about the past into something awesome, like creating the good life you deserve and giving yourself the chance to start over?

Forgiving yourself is challenging right now because you are looking at the divorce with warped vision. Right now, you are looking at it with 20/20 hindsight, where you have the luxury of picking your past self to pieces. And that’s just not fair.

It’s time to change that way of thinking. Feeling guilty stops now.

I know what you’re thinking, because I went through that same personal hell during my divorce, too.

“But Martha…that’s easier said than done! I just feel so damn guilty all the time!”

And you know what? You’re going to until you let all that B.S. go and just be. Sure, you have made mistakes in the past. But who the hell hasn’t? Remember that it takes two to tango in a marriage. You must accept that you did everything within your power at the time to make the marriage work. And even if you, for some reason, have still convinced yourself that you didn’t, the past cannot be changed anyway.

So, how do you forgive yourself, exactly? I’m glad you asked.

How to move on from your guilt and forgive yourself: Reflections and Exercise.

When a wave of guilt hits you, please remember this:

Guilt is a gray, looming fortress—a mix of the Tower of London and Fort Knox, where you are trapped. But here’s the funny thing—all the doors are unlocked, there are no guards, and there’s no reason for you to stay there. So why not leave?

Guilt is your past holding you prisoner. It’s impossible to plan for the future if you keep holding yourself in the past.

The next time you are feeling guilty and are unsure of how to forgive yourself, ask yourself this one question:

“How will this guilt serve me in the future?”

Think long and hard about this question…oh, I see that you are drawing a blank on how to answer it. Gee, that might be because guilt does not serve us, so let it go. Then, do this next step.

Write down why you feel guilty. To get you started, I listed some of the thoughts running through my head when I was dealing with guilt:

I feel guilty because maybe I should have suggested we go to couples therapy sooner. I feel guilty because maybe I should have brought up the fact that we weren’t communicating anymore. Maybe if I had done that, things would have been different.

Sound familiar? Here’s what you need to understand about the words of guilt.

Guilt speaks the language of “maybe, should have, and would have.” These are not action words—they are passive words that your guilt is using to make you create some picture-perfect false reality that doesn’t exist. It’s time to kick that language and those thoughts to the curb.

The next time you find yourself with those thoughts running through your head, nip it in the bud with compassion for yourself and neutralize those words with forgiveness. Take a look at how to start countering them below, and then write your own counter-thoughts for the specific things that are making you feel guilty!

I feel guilty because maybe I should have suggested we go to couples therapy sooner.

The Forgiveness Mindset: We went to couples therapy when we thought we needed it, and did everything in our power at the time to fix it. You were brave to try it, and should not feel bad about any of that.

I feel guilty because maybe I should have brought up the fact that we weren’t communicating anymore.

The Forgiveness Mindset: It takes two people for a marriage to work and you were not responsible for both you and your husband. You did what you could with the strength you had at the time. Be proud of yourself for that.

Now it’s your turn! Write down the things that are making you feel guilty, then neutralize them with the compassion you deserve. Do this whenever the guilt sneaks up on you, and as long as you are mindful and consistent with this practice, you can keep the Guilt Monster at bay.


Editor: Catherine Monkman

10 Things We Do to Prevent Happiness.

There are 10 things we all do almost every day to sabotage our own happiness.

It is indeed the human way to get in our own way. Think about it: so much of what we do and don’t do keeps us from feeling content and satisfied. Having a happy heart and an open mind means we are winning at life.

When we can recognize the following ways we goal-tend our own happiness, we can begin to change our behaviors and habits so that we can win at life.

We procrastinate:

Many of us are all talk, no action. Especially when it comes to personal goals and what we really want out of life. What are your dreams and aspirations? Do you want to hike the Appalachian Trail or become the lead singer in a band? What is it that you’ve always wanted to try, do, see, explore?

We all have dreams and desires, but many of us take little or no action to get there. We procrastinate because we think we always have more time. The reality is, we have plenty of time, but boy does it fly by. We wake up one day, realize we are about to turn 50 and panic because we thought we had Way More Time to follow our dreams—but procrastinated and squandered it away instead. Happiness requires action, even if it’s difficult or if we are unsure.

“The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.” ~ Laozi 

We stay indoors:

We stay inside when it’s perfectly beautiful outside. We look out our windows at the sunshine, and yet, somehow have to come up with a reason to go outside. We should not need a reason to get outside. Staying inside blocks happiness because it keeps the light from hitting our face, the sun from warming our soul, and the crisp, cool air from entering our lungs. Inside is boring. Get outside as often as possible and watch how your mood changes.

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We let our junk and our chores pile up:

What’s up with the endless, needless junk? Why do we keep so much stuff? For what—so we can look at it? Having too much clutter in and around our homes clutters up our minds as well. When we purge the junk from every room in our house, we clear the path for happiness.

If an item doesn’t serve us in some way, we need to kick it to the curb. In the same regard, when we tick chores off our list, we can move on to brighter things. When we keep a tidy home, and chores are complete, we often feel the sense of serenity that cannot (and will not) come from anywhere else.

“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.” ~ Christina Scalise

We watch too much reality television:

We watch other people living their lives instead of living our own authentic lives. We are entertained by other people’s arguments, problems, and day to day activity. We watch people go out to eat, we watch them drink and smoke, we watch them get into fist fights and yell expletives. We watch them sit around the house and complain about problems that are not problems. We watch them do everything except go to work. We get wrapped up in these shows the same way we became wrapped up in the soap operas of the 70s.

When we lose ourselves in someone else’s version of reality, we do not confront our own reality. It’s a guilty pleasure like candy, food, drugs, and alcohol, but too much of that sh*t is bad for us.

“Watching too much television can triple our hunger for more possessions, while reducing our personal contentment by about 5 percent for every hour a day we watch.” ~ David Niven

We live in the future and in the past:

We pine nostalgically for the old days, or we keep thinking that tomorrow will be different. We often forget that the only living we need to do is in the present moment. Wishing we could change the past has never, in the history of humankind, changed the past. And while it’s good to think about the future in a positive way, the future has a funny way of unfolding based on the things we do in the present. Or, it’s completely unpredictable so there’s no sense getting caught up in what tomorrow will bring.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~ Gautama Buddha

Too much yes and not enough no:

All too often we are stretched to our limits—physically, mentally, at work, at home, and in many of our relationships. A lot of the time, this cannot be helped, but if we consciously recognize when we are being pulled out and spread thin, we can say no to what doesn’t serve our inner spirit. When we start serving our inner spirit, we make our own happiness a priority instead of pleasing other people in order to gain friendship or garner praise.

“When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself.” ~ Paulo Coelho

 Frivolous Spending:

Money comes in, money goes out. We know where it comes from, but where does it all go? Much of the time we buy an abundance of items we just do not need. We buy clothes, new phones, new dishes, and freakin’ beaded pillows from Home Goods, and then we stop at TJ Maxx, where we get the maxx for the minimum. And it’s a rush because it’s all fun stuff we don’t need.

Most of it is just stuff we buy because we like the way it looks. We think it will make us happy. We are lured in by gimmicks and marketing and pretty packaging. No one needs a roll up jewelry organizer. No one needs another pair of running pants. When we decide what we need over what we want, we decide that happiness doesn’t come from stuff. Stuff can be fun, but too much stuff blocks our pathway to happiness.

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” ~ Dave Ramsey

We Gossip:

Who doesn’t? It’s easy to poke fun at other people here and there. It’s especially easy to do it behind their backs. We roll our eyes and act like the other person’s behavior (or outfit, Facebook post, or hair color) doesn’t scare the sh*t out of us because we know that it’s so much like our own. “Did you see her in that dress?” Cue the eye roll. Cue the sigh and the nervous giggle. Meanwhile, we would love to wear that dress, if only we could feel as confident as she seems to feel.

It’s always important to remember that our own fears, insecurities and misgivings guide gossip. Before pointing out the flaws of others, we must indeed remember to practice kindness. To keep our hearts “pure,” exchange kindness for gossip (even if we think it’s harmless) when the opportunity presents itself.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

We Compare:

Our house is small and your house is big. We drive old cars, while yours are always new. She can run a 5K in under 25 minutes, while I can barely break 28. Someone will always have more, and someone will always run faster. Someone else’s kid will go to Harvard. That’s just the way it goes. Should we wallow in comparisons or should we concentrate on bettering ourselves and our circumstances? When we are happy with ourselves and we know that what we have is enough, we can rejoice when good things happen to other people.

“Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world, if you do so you are insulting yourself.” ~ Bill Gates

 We prioritize things that don’t matter:

We all get 24 hours a day (hopefully) to do the things that are most important to us. Many things we say we want to prioritize get pushed to the back of the list by other, less worthy things. For example, we say we want to exercise and eat healthier, but it is often easy to make excuses. We let our excuses overrule our intended priorities. Therefore, exercise and healthier eating are not priorities after all.

Other examples may include spending time with our kids, or paying off debt. We lose focus when we pay more attention to our cell phones, or we buy impulsively. Our cell phones and our accumulated stuff become the priorities instead of our kids or our finances.

When we reevaluate our daily habits we often see how excuses and detrimental behaviors contribute to keeping us from what is really important, hence keeping us from contentment and peace in our lives.

“There’s no sense talking about priorities. Priorities reveal themselves. We are all transparent against the face of the clock.” ~ Eric Zorn

When we consistently block our own happiness by engaging in these practices, we are essentially blocking our own lives. Human beings are meant to live earnestly and well. We are meant to find joy in the endless possibilities of each new day, and to savor the time we’ve been given.

We need to get up, get outside, get away from the television, keep our wallets in our pockets, keep harmful words from leaving our mouths, and prioritize what matters.


Author: Kimberly Valzania 

Apprentice Editor: Corinne Milentijevic / Editor: Catherine Monkman

How to Survive the Loss of Someone we Can’t Live Without.

Answer the phone or the door, then wish you hadn’t.

The news, even if you expected it, will stun you. You will feel as if you’ve left your own body behind too, and are hovering slightly above yourself, watching the scene unfold like some terrible TV movie.

Gag. Vomit. Shout No to the person who tells you.

Refuse to believe it.

Tell them this happens to other people, to other families.

Not you. Not yours.

Stumble, somehow through the raw first days. Shower. Press small pieces of bread to your lips. Sip water. Realize the desperate animal sounds you hear are coming from your own body. Wonder how it is that your lungs keep filling with air, over and over again. Be amazed at how the rest of the world keeps hurtling forward: humans rush to work, traffic lights roll from red to green to yellow, the earth continues to circle the hot shriek of the sun, ceaselessly, irreverently.

Sit through his memorial service. Thank the cottony cloud of shock that makes this all feel unreal. Cling to it. It will be worse when it, too, leaves you.

Listen as people fling their well-meaning words your way. They’re in a better place now. It was God’s will. Be strong. They are dribbling these words because they don’t know what else to say. Because it hurts too much to say the truth: this is so terrible. I don’t know how you will survive this. How could God allow this to happen?

Hear the words pound through your head over and over again: He is dead. Or: she is dead. These words are nudging you across the bridge from your old life, where your dear one was alive, to your new life, where they’re not. It is not a bridge you wanted to cross—you hate this bastard bridge. But you can’t turn back.

This is the bridge you are on.

Fall completely and utterly apart. Imagine the entire rest of your life, all the love and loss, the weddings and births, the sick days and vacations, and how damned bittersweet every single event of your life will be because she will not be there. Ask why me? over and over again, and wait for the answer that never comes.

Go for long, tentative walks. Refuse to step on wriggling worms or the small black bodies of ants. Because maybe there is someone back home waiting for them, some worm sister or ant husband, and you can’t bear the thought of sending more grief in the world, even invertebrate grief.

Be afraid to go to sleep. Not because of the nightmares. But because you might dream them alive again, and for just a sliver of a second, when you awake in the sweet smudge between sleep and consciousness, you will think their death was a mistake. And the news will come thundering down. Again.

Notice, despite yourself, small scraps of beauty: a star-patched sky. The singing face of a stranger at a stoplight. Moving water. Let the thought wash over you, for just a moment: you will be okay.

Scream at your dead loved one. For leaving you behind. For ruining everything. For causing this terrible pit of pain.

Apologize for your rage. Forgive her.

Forgive yourself. For being alive. For not saving him. Forgive yourself, over and over and over again.

Go to a grief group. Sit in a circle with other people who have lost someone they couldn’t live without. Discover there is a silent army stretching all across the earth made of people walking across the same bridge as you. Feel, for the first time in a long while, like you are understood. Like you are not alone.

Approach the anniversary of her death. Be wary. It looms like a portal, making you think, for a sick second, that you can bend back time, that you can stop it from happening. Meet the day anyway. Let loose a bouquet of balloons. Write her a letter. Go to the ocean. Order his favorite pizza. Go to sleep and awaken the next day, surprised that it still hurts this much, surprised you have survived a whole year without him.

Wish time away. Let it pour over you and do what nothing else can—soften the throb of the place your loved one occupied. Let it push you across that shitty bridge. Let it show you what is still here—your sharp mind, your sinewy heart, a future that is not the one you wanted, but the one that is, nonetheless, waiting for you.

Notice that you haven’t cried in a day, a week, two weeks. Feel grateful for the terrible strength of the human spirit, for the press on and on and on.

Live your sweet, hard, singular life. Build something strong and beautiful. Whisper, I miss you into the flesh of your pillow.

Stand back and stare at the bridge you’ve somehow crossed. You were there, and there, and there. You are mostly accustomed to it now, except on anniversaries and Tuesdays and cold days. Your loss has seasoned you, sharpened you, sweetened you. It has carved you into someone who is more wary but also more awake. More essential.

Realize that each of us is stumbling across our own bridge. That this world is not for the faint-hearted, and it might not be the one we’d choose, but it is the world we are in. Say I love you. Say I’m sorry. Say I survived.


Author: Lynn Shattuck