The advice "fake it til you make it," though often said with at least a hint of sarcasm, does carry quite a bit of wisdom.
By simply putting one foot in front of the other, weathering the chaos of not knowing what's happening as you learn as fast as possible, we can find ourselves further than we expected.
Once we're there, reaping the fruits of all our "faking," we somehow begin to take on a new identity in people's eyes They assume we've always been in control and known what was going on. They defer to us for advice.
But that couldn't be further from the truth. So we keep on faking it.
Redditor espectro11 asked:
"What's your 'I don't know, I didn't think I'd get this far' moment?"
Many Redditors discussed their experiences navigating the intimidating environment of job applications, interviews, and offers.
Oh Right, Getting Paid
"I gave my resume to fancy private school (I'm a teacher, but new to the field) and I didn't expect a call back. But they called me today to ask my expected salary and I said 'I don't know what the average is. Let me Google it.' "
"Ya girl was not prepared."
"When I went for a walk-in interview looking like crap and they hired me on the spot. I get they were hiring for a new store, but they up and said 'if you want the job it's yours, when can you start?' "
"Deada** didn't think I'd make it that far."
Outside the Box
"Years ago I was applying to a bunch of copywriting jobs and feeling frustrated because I wasnt hearing back from any of the places I was applying to."
"It was especially frustrating because I was putting in all this time on cover letters and I felt like nobody was even reading them, so I said, 'Fu** it, I'm gonna write one that is more me.' I thought it was a dumb idea and never imagined that it would work, but somehow it did."
"I applied with this cover letter and the subject line "Copywriter: Will Work for Beer" to a job that I was very underqualified for. It managed to catch the eye of the headhunter for the ad agency and was enough to get me an interview. Shortly after that I was hired and ended up working there for a few years, but I remember thinking on my first day, 'I can't believe that actually worked.' "
Just Not the Right Fit
"An interview at Google. The 20 years younger than me was describing the peer review system."
"I responded with 'Jesus, that sounds awful.' "
"I did not get the job."
Others also shared experiences that centered on their working lives. But these stories weren't about being hired or interviewed.
These were accounts of long-developing success stories that they never would have predicted.
A Winding Road
"My entire legal career"
"I have four degrees and a 10 year career in commerical litigation. I just wrapped up a $200mil trusts lawsuit."
"I started at uni doing theatre and stand up comedy. I have no fu**ing idea where I turned to get here."
"Started at a very small company doing sales straight out of college. I went about messaging big corporate players (who obviously would never do business with us since our size) and was laughed at by my new colleagues for even trying."
"2 weeks later My boss was asking me what we (a team of 6) should say on the conference call with Toshiba Buyers."
Putting Fires Out
"Me at work. I feel like every issue that comes up has me unprepared. But I am always praised for my good work."
"So, I assume I have imposter syndrome and keep doing what I am doing."
So next time you find yourself ruling a possibility out completely, maybe take just a few seconds to imagine it actually occurred and prepare.
You just never know.
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*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
When a sudden tragedy strikes a school, an uncanny tone sweeps across the community.
The whispers of half-informed students fly down hallways and across cafeterias. Each is heard with a balance of eager interest and mournful respect.
Teachers act strangely. They hold secrets and quietly argue about how to deliver the tragic news. The chain of command is strained under the unique circumstances.
When a student dies, all decorum subsides.
Perhaps wondering what that environment feels like, Redditor ThatOneLazySushi asked:
"Teachers who had to tell their class a student passed away, what was it like?"
Many teachers talked about the times a student or students chose to take their own lives.
The moral of the story? There is simply no way to deliver that news without an injection of trauma.
"My step-dad is a private school principal who also taught 7-8th graders. Total class size was 21 or so. Over the weekend one of the 13yo died of apparent suicide. I have never seen him so pale and empty looking when he got home that day."
"You could tell he had been crying along with the students. In his 30 years he had never dealt with anything like that and he shut down for a good while. He never saw a counselor but set it up for the students. I wish he would."
A Faceless Note
"On the 2nd day that I was in my own doing student teaching, the school went into lockdown. As this was just over a year after 911, the class, a senior Government class, surmised that it had something to do with that. There has been 2 suicides of dropped-out students in the prior 2 weeks, but that did not come up."
"Then a note was slipped under the door stating that a senior, the girlfriend to one of the prior suicides, had killed herself that morning. The option was given to announce it or have someone come down from the office to do it."
"I guess they could see my concern, and the color draining from my face while reading it, as I was asked, 'Mr. D——, what's going on?' I told them, and it was heartbreaking. There was a lot of anger and a lot of tears. It has been nearly 20 years and it still haunts me."
"In hindsight, it was, to quote the Johnny Cash song A Boy Named Sue, a Get Tough Or Die moment. I've lost 5 current/former students since then, but none were as dark as the first one."
Probably the Best Response
"I used to teach English in China as an expat. The college I worked at had three suicides in a year, one of the students was in my department. Although I didn't teach the student directly, the tone of the students and my colleagues were extremely gloom."
"Although tragic, the topic of mental health had been on the forefront of school business after the third incident and a therapy office for students has been established in the administration building. I was very proud of my school for taking mental health seriously, and had a discussion with my students about the issue. I kept my office open for any students wanting to talk."
"AFAIK no other suicide/attempt was made for the remainder of my time there (~1 year afterward). Flowers were set up at the location."
"Worst day of my career. A student of mine shot himself the night before. The SRO told me that morning. The principal made an announcement over the intercom for all of my students to come to my room and instructed me to tell everyone about his passing while all the admin and district and school counselors watched."
"His best friend just got out of a mental hospital for cutting himself. He was sitting right next to me when I spoke to the class. I instructed one of the counselors to not let the best friend out of their sight for any reason. 30 minutes later, the counselor informs me the best friend has gone missing."
"I search the school and find him, razor in hand, and a bloody mess. I take the razor and hold him with one arm while calling his dad with the other. It was a long and terrible day."
Other teachers recalled times that a student suffered at the hands of community violence. These stories took place in areas where, unfortunately, despite the sadness it wasn't completely shocking.
A Constellation of Factors
"A student of ours was shot and killed. It happened just as quarantine had started so no students to tell. Just the teachers and staff."
"I had talked to the student no more than a week before everything shut down. We had threatened to call CPS on the mother because she had several children not going to school at all. We also suspected she was under the influence of drugs. He came in because of this threat and had told us his twin had been shot during a party and died. Most likely gang related for both of the shootings."
"It's difficult because these were 16-year-olds that should have had a better shot at life but the system failed them every step of the way."
Last to Hear
"Used to teach in inner-city Chicago. Never had a student die, but several of them got shot. The kids knew well before I did."
"I actually had one student missing for three days; I mentioned it out loud that it was odd they weren't in class for three days in a row, and one of my kids said, 'Oh, Joe got shot seven times. You didn't know?' "
"Pretty harrowing stuff. It's tough to sleep those days off, especially considering how casual the kids would be about it."
Feels So Random
"A classmate from first period in my Jr. year of high school. The teacher just walked in to class and explained that this chick was shot in a drive by at the park."
"I just remember being super uncomfortable and not knowing what to do. The chick that sat behind her in class just lost it. Just shocked looked on her face, and she just started bawling. I'm sure she went home after that."
"I took flowers to the place ware she died. I didn't know her that well at all really. But I thought to myself 'even if you may not feel it, it's always good to pay your respects.' So I did."
Finally, some people discussed the sudden medical tragedies that took place. Without any backstory, context, or logic to share, delivering this news felt sickening.
"I was a student in a 2nd grade class where this happened. One of my classmate's older brothers had collapsed in the cafeteria. We all saw it. Our teacher had to come in and tell us the little information she knew and I distinctly remember her crying and having to leave the room."
"Days later when the brother was taken off life support they brought in child psychologists to tell us about brain death and life support machines and the hard decision his parents had to make. As an adult I really appreciate the care the school took to make sure everything was explained in a child appropriate manner."
"There was no gossip or whispering because they told us everything that happened. Our teachers even brought us to the funeral, explaining that although it would be sad it was important to show our classmate our support. A horrible situation that was handled as well as it could be given how young we were."
Just Being Kids
"(Student) In middle school I had a friend and his brother die from an electrocution accident from a downed power line after a storm. It was 2 brothers one in 6th grade and one in 5th."
"Everyone was acting weird that day and no one really knew why. Kids were crying and walking out of class, it kind of threw off our whole school day. I remember one of our teacher telling us what happened and got really emotional."
"Apparently a kid who went to our school witnessed what happened too and she basically said don't ask him questions about the situation. It hit her close to home for some reason I don't know why, she couldn't even speak without crying. I knew my old classmate a little bit and we shared a class. He was a really nice kid. RIP to him & his brother."
A Horrifying Fluke
"My son was in the 3rd or 4th grade and one day he came home and said 'P didn't come to school today, her brother died.' It turned out the older brother and mom were playing around at home and she tapped him on the head with the heel of her shoe."
"He laid down to take a nap and died due to a clot or something like that. I can't even imagine."
Unfortunately, when a teacher takes the job they rarely imagine these days as part of the job description. But things like this do happen, and it's so important that kids have teachers when they do.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
For those who must encounter it, the "coming out" conversation has got to be so anxiety-provoking.
Whether someone is telling their parents, siblings, extended family, or close friends they're gay, it must feel so scary to share such a massive, yet often unaccepted, piece of their identity.
So it also must be wildly refreshing when the other person responds with humor and levity. All of a sudden, total acceptance and an inclusive tone are conveyed.
Redditor RedditorYT asked:
"Gay people of Reddit, what was the best reaction you received to coming out?"
Many people talked about the times they discovered their sexual orientation was already old news by the time they mustered up the courage to come out.
For these folks, it was comforting to know they'd already apparently been accepted for months or even years.
The *Second* Talk
"Told my mom I was bisexual. Her reaction: 'Honey, you told me you were dating a guy months ago.' "
"Completely forgot I did that."
"nervously: I'm gay"
"mom: girl, you came out of a closet with no door"
"Best story: Me to grandma: gramma, you should probably hear from me first before blabbermouth aunt says it for me... I'm gay. Gramma: Yeah, I figured, but I wanted you to tell me rather than ask... just like that interesting 'vase' you keep on your patio which I know obviously isn't a 'vase.' (It was a bong and I lied.) Gramma was the best... I miss you gramma.)"
Making Plans Early
"I don't remember a specific coming out moment with my family, but I remember talking to my brother and dad about liking girls when I was a teenager."
"And my brother asking if I remembered being like 9 years old and telling everyone I wanted to marry my friend Mia. That's when I realised my closet door had pretty much been wide open all along."
Others were surprised when the person they told took the news with a completely casual and accepting demeanor. These people instantly felt silly for being so worked up.
One Less Thing to Worry About
"Dad was just like 'welp at least you won't get pregnant' lmao" -- SkepticalSpiderboi
"Two of my daughters are gay. It's an absolute bonus knowing that teen pregnancy is one less thing for me to worry about! If they have kids, it will be because they really want and plan for it." -- Someonetobetoday
Affirmation Like No Other
"I nervously sent my sister a meme about being bisexual. Her response was 'same' Funniest waste of adrenaline ever, ngl."
"My friend laughed because he 'thought I was gonna confess something serious, like I'd murdered somebody, proceeding to essentially say that he doesn't care/it doesn't matter if I'm gay lol. This was the reaction of all my friends, basically. I'm lucky to have such good friends"
And some were comforted when the person they told was all set up with a killer one-liner. The humor shifted the mood from anxious to warm in an instant.
"Not gay, but trans here. Well, gay too, but it was when I was coming out as trans."
"I came out to my little bro towards the end of the year. His response was: 'Are you sure you're not taking the whole "new year, new me" thing a bit far?' "
"My dad's 'I also like women' has to be my favourite." -- FreyaAthena
"Your dad is offically your wingman lol" -- MachuPichu10
"Mad respect for your dad honestly" -- UwU_was_ist_das
A Sliver of Hope
"I've come out twice, which complicates things, and not in a 'normal' way"
I originally came out as gay and then again as bi, so yeah a bit strange. But my mum takes the cake with the classic 'Maybe I'll get some grandkids yet' "
During Pride Month, when we celebrate the identities of so many who've had to fight to be accepted, it's nice to hear some stories from those who were accepted--at least by one person--right away.
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It could happen when you're simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and forced to witness a devastating accident or injury. It could be the very real ramifications of health struggles and medical calamities.
Or it could be the result of very bad people willing to do very bad things.
Whatever the source, these encounters stick with you. It may be a certain image, maybe a sound, or the whole emotional feeling throughout the incident.
Redditor Dankmemes2347 asked:
"What was the most horrific thing you have ever seen?"
Many people discussed the gruesome accidents they've witness over the years. You just never know.
A Smooshed Head
"I was working at a chemical plant years ago and saw a guy take a corner too fast in a fork truck and flip it over. He wasn't wearing his seat belt and was thrown out far enough for the top of the cage to crush his head."
"I can still picture his blood running down a nearby drain."
Ride Like Lightning, Crash Like Thunder
"I saw a dude die after t-boning a minivan on his motorcycle. I didn't actually see the impact but I heard it, and ran to the scene and watched him take his last breaths while his buddy who must have been riding behind him, held him and screamed."
"People that saw it said he was in the wrong and must have been doing 80+ in a 45. The van was pulling into a shopping center and never saw him coming."
The Origins if Shoulder Straps
"Dad is a retired police officer. First one to arrive on scene at an amusement park where a guy stuck his head out of a roller coaster car and was decapitated. The ride only had an old across the lap seat belt."
"This was many years ago, before all the ultra-safe coaster cars of today where you can't even move in them."
A Lucky, Lucky Man
"Once EMS brought in a guy with a fence post running under his trachea diagonally into his his chest via his left collarbone area. Lot's of extremity fractures of course, broken ribs, pneumothorax, face all distorted, etc."
"But, they also brought in his right leg (below the knee) in an orange bucket, and his entire right arm, still inside the sleeve of his leather jacket in another bucket. His arm had literally been yanked off at the shoulder."
A Need for Change
"3 people died behind my house last year. I live next to a big road and the exit sogn is covered by a bush. People turn too late and hit the guardrail and flip off a mini hill."
"Never really seen it but i am afraid of intersections."
First On Scene
"When I was in college, the guy who lived two doors down from me in my dorm died from autoerotic asphyxiation. He was dead for three days before we found him. I was there for the discovery."
Other Redditors talked about slower burns. They recalled the tragic demises of loved ones that occurred over long, fraught periods of time.
"When I was 5 I watched my dad dive in to the swimming pool he built in our backyard and break his neck. He became a quadriplegic."
"Then I had to watch him slowly fade away and die over the next 20 years. I watched everyone of his friends abandon him, and his family members slowly start to resent him, and then openly talk about how they will be relieved when he's gone. Even his mother."
Things That Are Normal Where You Live But Crazy Anywhere Else | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
The Last Night
"Waking up after yet ANOTHER sleepless sight of giving my terminally ill wife her meds, to find her unresponsive and being there when she took her last breath."
"This probably isn't what you're looking for but mine would be my grandmother's decline with dementia. She used to dress really well, feisty, bit of a short temper but still family."
"Now I barely recognise her, she's lost a lot of weight, no longer washes or changes her clothes and seems so vacant. It's terrifying seeing her lose more and more of herself. It's such a cruel disease and a slow way to go."
A Body Run Amok
"I was with a friend when they died of end stage leukemia. The medical team did a horrible job of pain control and body fluid control."
"They were bleeding and secreting bloody foam from their lungs. We had to suction. It was awful."
A few people talked about the horrific scenes they've witnessed that had to do with animals.
A Gruesome Industry
"Lions that had been poached. The poachers had only taken their heads and paws. Also, watching their bodies burn and making sure there was nothing left because they had been poisoned."
"Couldn't risk ground or water contamination, or scavengers finding even a small piece of flesh."
A Horrible Chorus
"The most horrific was when a dairy barn near my parents' home caught fire one night and went up in flames."
"All those cows, horses, and sheep died - with their screaming in pain for all to hear. It was terrible . . ."
Mug to the Rescue
"Was standing in my balcony and enjoying a cup of coffee when I saw a six teenagers approaching a dog. Four of them grabbed the dog by each of her limbs and one dude supported her torso. The dog was obviously violently trying to break herself free."
"Then one dude took a pair of scissors from his pocket and I was confused, but then I almost froze after realising the dude wanted to cut the dog's nipples off."
"I panicked and just yelled and threw my coffee mug towards them. They got scared and ran away and the dog ran in the opposite direction."
"First time going to Toronto on my own. I think I was 19. Got off the Greyhound and went out on to the sidewalk to begin my independent voyage when a pigeon decided to land just as a city bus drove by and crushed it."
"I was feet away heard the crunch still haunts me."
Minor, But Lasting
"When I stepped on a frog when I was younger and thinking I could fix it and crying for over an hour. I buried it in my backyard. I may not Seem horrific but to a five year old it left an emotional impact."
"I already knew the concept of death because I had a lot of family die when I was younger so I knew I did something bad and didn't want it to die."
It's clear that many people are out here carrying an image or two that quickens the breath and drops the stomach every time it comes to mind.
Hopefully, with enough time these moments can be let go.
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When we're in the throes of a mental health crisis, or even just a very rough day, it's hard to zoom out. In that mental space, every negative thought is convincing, even alluring to cling to.
We grow so used to those defined grooves of anxiety and sadness that we forget there's another version of thinking, feeling, and interpreting all that happens within and around us.
So an outsider's perspective is huge.
Even the smallest piece of advice from a compassionate, intentional person can be enough to lurch us out of the funk--or at least get us started on the climb out.
Redditor sushi4vendetta asked:
"What is the best mental health advice you were ever given?"
Many shared the advice they've received that helped them remember the problems with the word "should." They realized that they needed to accept that, yes, they're not feeling so good.
But it doesn't last forever.
"Happiness isn't meant to be a constant state. The aim is contentment/comfortability, not constant unwavering happiness."
A Different Way of Looking Forward
"You don't have to be hopeful about tomorrow. Just curious about what's to come."
"Changed my outlook completely on life when it's going poorly."
Accept and Understand First
"allow yourself to feel how you're feeling."
"I get caught up in how I want to feel or how I think I should be feeling that I never really processed my emotions properly and dragged out grief etc longer than I needed to. I now remind myself that I shouldn't think I'm stupid or pathetic for still being upset about something."
Would Anyone Else Be So Mean?
"If your best friend came to you saying they were having trouble in the same circumstances you're dealing with, would you be as hard on them as you are on yourself?"
"Would you stay friends with someone who treated you the way you treat yourself? What would it be like if you treated yourself with the same kindness and consideration as you would your best friend. Why not actually do that?"
Some discussed the importance of taking care of themselves. Sometimes we get too used to destroying ourselves to avoid upsetting the apple cart.
Only You Can Stick Your Neck Out
"You have to advocate for yourself, nobody is going to do the work for you." -- Shad0wD0gg
"Friend of mine says that you gotta have Pom poms out for yourself all the time- and for the people you care about. I liked this a lot." -- Impossible_Fold5059
"Don't light yourself on fire to keep others warm." -- no1ofconsequencedied
"Tbh I needed to hear this" -- GodMomItsNotAPhase
"Exception: I would light myself on fire to save my daughter" -- Please_Log_In
Know Your Limits
"Set healthy boundaries and stick to them." -- tomographer
"thank you for saying this. Every time I used to set a boundary with my ex, he'd be like 'why are you giving me an ultimatum???' "
"A**hole, it's because I need to." -- FlurriesofFleuryFury
And others shared advice of a more pragmatic flavor.
Accepting the Context
"Me 'I don't want special tests or meds. I want to be on the same playing field as everyone else.' "
"Counselor 'you already are not on the same playing field' "
The Depression Zone
"I stopped watching the news because current world events just don't mix well with my anxiety. Like, at all. I'm sick of humanity's petty politics, and I'd rather tend to my own life." -- JoshuaSlowpoke777
Mental is Physical is Mental
"Simply to see a doctor about it when necessary."
"I was a competitive figure skater growing up and my coach was in the 2002 olympics and she said to me 'if you break your leg you go to the doctor right? So why would you not take care of your mind like any other part of your body' that sticks with me today"
Hopefully the next time you find yourself in a funk, one of these fires across your thoughts and it's at least enough to help you start to regroup.