Give your writing the ✨shine it needs.

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Photo by Jay Zhang on Unsplash

Writing isn’t easy, and there are so many ways to approach it that *writing tips* has become an essay genre of its own. The overwhelming amount of information about available to teach people about writing tends to distract us from the work of actually doing it. Not only that, but everyone’s process differs, so simplistic mantras like “write every day” can only take you so far.

As a lifelong writer, I’ve picked up quite a few unconventional ways to get my ideas flowing, ones that work incredibly well for my brain and its…

Marilyn Manson should’ve been “cancelled” years ago.

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Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

During my darker times, one of my guilty pleasures is binge-watching YouTube commentary videos to distract myself from my own sad life. I can credit D’Angelo Wallace for helping me to find the genre with his incredible series on Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star. This vast array of social commentary available at my fingertips helps to distract me during my low times, even when the subject matter makes me want to vomit.

The best commentators typically include stories from the victims of sexual assault, grooming, and other creepy-but-typical behavior we see from celebrities big and small. As a storyteller myself…

Zeus reached down his fiery hand and almost touched me.

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Photo by Sean McAuliffe on Unsplash

The year was 2013.

I was a junior in college and had just moved into a townhouse with two of my best friends. The house itself was a steal — $800 a month for four bedrooms, one of which went unused, only a mile or so from campus. Sure, it was in a rough neighborhood littered with an array of deep, dark potholes that caused two of my tires to pop. Sure, our next door neighbors would go on to get accused of arson and murder a few years later…

When we do the damn thing, we’re reconnecting with the deepest parts of ourselves.

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Photo by Dennis Nejtek, Sam modeling

My older sister and I are five years apart in age, but we’ve always been quite close. I looked up to her immensely when I was a kid, mostly because she always had a “stick it to the man” attitude that I admired.

She took charge from a young age at deciding who she would be, becoming a pagan and getting tattoos and piercings at an age young enough to need parental signatures. She stood out from the crowd, and she made me want to do that too.

As we’ve both grown older, we’ve become our own people, molded by…

Body positivity helped me to accept myself.

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Photo by Dennis Nejtek, me modeling

“You’ll never be a model with that belly,” my dad said.

My stepmom and I were watching America’s Next Top Model, me perched on the uncomfortable computer chair while she lay supine on their oversized bed. Tyra Banks said something inane and she couldn’t help but chuckle.

At my father’s comment, something inside of me snapped. My stepmom was one of the most beautiful women I’d ever met — and she was not small in any sense of the word. …

Productivity isn’t just for the mentally healthy.

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Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Grocery stores tend to trigger me more than any other place. Something about the lighting, the endless rows of florescence crammed with annoyed people pushing shopping carts and endlessly getting in each other’s way, just makes me want to curl up in a fetal position on my bad days.

Yesterday, this particular trigger set off alarm bells in my brain. For the first time in almost a month, I was struck with intense anxiety to the point that it made my knees weak. Short, huffing breaths beat themselves from my chest — I sounded like a panting dog.

Despite that…

Here are a few things that have helped my mental health the most.

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Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Capitalism sucks. 2020 proved it more than any other year, as the rich became richer and us regular folks did not, burdened by the dual weights of joblessness and isolation. I am not a big advocate for spending money mindlessly or needlessly, but there are a few things that I purchased or was gifted in 2020 that helped me to get through the year with a bit more oomph.

Sometimes shopping is an escape from reality, and sometimes it can radically transform your reality. Here are a few things that have helped my mental health the most.

These 5 Purchases Transformed My Mental Health

We don’t judge the sky for its weather — why do we judge ourselves for our emotions?

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

The sunsets have been especially beautiful as of late.

Sprays of deep orange, plum purple, and crimson spread like wildfire across the walls of my bedroom as evening falls, and it’s the one moment of my day that I stop and just plain appreciate.

There’s something magical about sunsets and sunrises, especially if you happen to catch a good one.

On days you don’t happen to be present for celestial glory, it’s not like you suddenly decide that the sky is no longer beautiful. …

Lessons learned from a boring adult.

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Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

The first thing on my mind when I woke up this morning was cleaning.

The floor was covered in a haze of dust and salt from the recent snow, along with various bits of debris and garbage that my cat has turned into toys to pounce upon.

My mind did not want to be awake with the mess.

So I pushed off the covers, fed my cat, brewed some tea, and began cleaning.

Once I was done, the sun’s rays were beginning to march their way into my blurry eyes.

By the time I had settled at my desk with…

Sam Ripples

Essays about mental health, productivity, and living life in our own unique ways.

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