"How do I make all of my dreams come true?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Dannielle & Kristin Say:
Allow yourself to fail, don’t put shit on the back burner, ask for help, & keep dreaming. Here’s what we mean:
(1) Allow yourself to fail, because it happens. No one just comes up with a dream and then flies into the sky on a giant dog muppet and gets everything they want. It takes a ton of hard work, a bunch of mistakes you’ve got to learn from, and a crap load of pulling-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps. But you can do it.
(2) Don’t put shit on the back burner. It’ll be so easy to take a shitty job that pays a little more, but doesn’t allow you the time to do what you love. SO EASY. Don’t do that. Work the shitty low-paying job that gives you a flexible schedule and supports you following your dreams. Money is not more important than your happiness. Dannielle’s dad always says, “If you like making money now, just wait until you’re making it doin’ what you love.”
(3) Ask for help. People want to help you, they just don’t know how. Ask your friends to help you with a project. Ask your family to help support your newest venture. Ask your co-workers to help loosen up your schedule so you can take the time you need. Ask your old professor how they got started. Ask for help. You can not do it alone.
(4) Don’t. Fucking. Stop. Dreaming. We don’t care how many goals you’ve achieved… don’t ever stop dreaming bigger. Dream the biggest shit you can possibly dream. You can do it. We promise you.
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"Life tips/words of wisdom for new college grads? *freaks out about the world and the future*"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
A few things I’ve learned in my 15,000 years on earth.
(1) Middle school does not prepare you for high school
(2) High school does not prepare you for college
(3) College does not prepare you for real life
(4) Nothing prepares you for anything, ever.
Knowing those things might help a little bit, or maybe they’ll add to your freak out WHO KNOWS. Also, I can nearly guarantee that your internal freak outs will continue to happen regardless of how helpful we are… so…
I think you should do what you want to do. Not what you think you’ll want to do in 5 years or 10 years or 25 years. What you want right now. Legitimately, actually, really, truly follow your heart. YOLO, you know? You LITERALLY OLO. I know it sounds cliche and stupid to scream ‘follow your heart’ over and over. But you won’t regret going after the things and people you love. Even if you fail, you didn’t fail. You tried, you fought for what you believed in, you did what was best for you. Now is a great time to travel, try out jobs you don’t know that you’re qualified for, flirt with baristas, eat doritos, and, in general, live life in a way that makes you genuinely happy. Fun tip: being happy now will help you understand what you need to be happy later.
Also, save money. Because something WILL happen that will blow up your shit and you will need at least a tiny savings to fall back on.
“You LITERALLY OLO.” – Dannielle Owens-Reid
Goddamn, you guys… when I read this question I got all goose-bumpy thinking about all of your heads out there in the world who are just about to leave the land of college forever and ever. IT’S SUCH A BIG DEAL AND MOMENT AND ALL THE OTHER TYPES OF THINGS. I AM SO PROUD OF ALL OF YOU. HOLY CRAP.
My words o’ wisdom are in three parts (some of which echo Dannielle):
1. Jesus H Christ, Please Save Money. I don’t have many regrets about my life, and in all honesty who can really say what ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ been… but I do know that I was very, very careless with my dollars. I waited tables for a long time out of college, and then got an incredibly well paying job at a hedge fund (LOLOL) and in both scenarios I barely saved a dime. I was like “WHEEEE GROWN UP LIFE IS SO GREAT LET’S BUY NICE WINE AND GO ON VACATIONS.” Sure, I had a ton of fun, and I am not telling you to not spend some money on wine and travel if you can… but make a promise to yourself to budget in a savings if it’s possible. Now, those of you who are in the position I was in when I wasn’t waiting tables / at a hedge fund are like HAHA funny joke I won’t even be able to pay for soup let alone save money. That brings me to my next point:
2. Have Patience. There were many years in my post-college life where I would look around me at people who were able to take their creative passions and make money doing what they loved. I knew I was smart and I knew I had good ideas, and I would get SO ANGRY because I wanted to focus on all of those energies and was stuck working jobs that weren’t fulfilling. I wanted to get to a place where I was established IMMEDIATELY, without putting in some of the work that was needed for me to get there. This is why I caution you to have patience. You have no idea how the jobs you have right out of college are going to impact your overall future. Many of the people I worked with through the years helped advise and support the very initial days of Everyone Is Gay. My hedge fund job allowed me to have the funds to get my MA in Gender Studies, which fueled the beginning of this whole organization. My frustration WITH MY JOB is what inspired me to go back to school in the first place. Patience. Patience. Patience.
3. Work Hard. I am going to let you in on a little secret from the other side of post-college life. Many (many) of your peers are not going to put in 100%, and when employers or colleagues or whomever come across a human (hopefully you) who are willing to put in 110%, you become irreplaceable, valuable, and necessary. It seems too easy, but I can promise you that, as someone who has worked alongside a bunch of humans over the past few decades, I consistently find that people are dumbfounded by my work ethic (which is simply, ‘do the work’) and then, because of that, continue to give me better and bigger opportunities. Reach out to organizations and volunteer your time where you can; get as much on the ground experience in the things that you love; work as hard as you can and be consistent. You’ll be amazed at where it gets you over time.
3 1/2. Maintain Balance. I can’t leave you with the note to work hard without underlining the importance of always, always finding time for yourself, for your brain, and for your balance. Find the things and the places that let you re-center, whether that be a spiritual practice, running outdoors, or reading the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, keep them as a constant in your life.
Holy crap, HAPPY (ALMOST) GRADUATION YOU GUYS!!!
<3<3 *screams* <3<3
"How do I get creative? I just really wanna DO something, but I’m usually pretty clueless. I always end up dreaming about love instead of making myself useful. I’m determined to stop ths behaviour, but I was wondering if you have any concrete tips how to get, like… new ideas!"
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Kai Davis as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
While I can’t tell you or teach you how to create new ideas, I can teach you to recognize them when they happen. I think that most people, including yourself, are under the impression that every kind of creative inspiration must be a gleaming beacon of profundity and wisdom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming about love. Love permeates through life in ways we cannot even fathom. There is value in exploring its vastness. Anything that makes us aware of ourselves, of others, the world around us, or even the spiritual word is useful and important art. There is no right or wrong way to be creative. Whatever ideas you find yourself thinking about, no matter what it is, can be interpreted as divine signals to explore those ideas through art.
You must also let go of “newness.” There is no new idea, especially when it comes to art because art is humanity and our collective consciousness allows us to sometimes think and feel with the same hearts and minds. Every idea you have or I have has been thought of and executed before in a million different ways. That alone should be inspiring, not discouraging. Because now you have the opportunity to make us see something familiar in a unique way. And if you find yourself thinking about the same thing over and over, writing the same poem, drawing the same picture, do not feel disheartened. There are some things that I’ve written about many many times, because some things are always relevant. And some things just need to be written or drawn or sung about a thousand times because this is how we have to cleanse. “New” is just a bright shiny word. We should never dwell on it too long.
If you want some concrete tips, I can tell you what I do to keep the juices flowing:
1. Stream of consciousness free writing. Sometimes you have thoughts in your head that are too stiff or quiet. I recommend writing everything and I do mean everything that comes to your mind for a few minutes each day. That means you don’t stop to think about what you’re writing, you don’t stop to process it and you definitely don’t erase, backspace, or scratch out anything. You’ll find thoughts and ideas you’ve been unconsciously ignoring. This exercise is like consciousness yoga.
2. Write down funny or interesting things you hear people say in conversation, in songs, on tv, on the radio, etc. We are often inspired in quick bursts and before we can turn that inspiration into art, it leaves are minds. Keeping a log of thought provoking things you hear day to day can be a great resource.
3. Just do it. Yeah I know, easier said than done. But honestly, sometimes creating is like ripping off a bandaid. You have to do it with confidence, quickness, and courage or the process is a lot more painful. Whenever I’m writing a collaboration poem with my friends sometimes we find ourselves writing notes and ideas for days for fear of not having a quality poem once we start. But then we always have to remind ourselves, that if we don’t just do it, we will have accomplished nothing.
I really hope this helps.
Click through to read more about Kai and our other Second Opinions panelists!
"A psychic told me that 2014 was going to be ‘the year where everything happens.’ First of all, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! Second of all, how do I do it?!"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
First of all, it means you’ve worked really hard to get to where you are and you’re about reap some mad benefits.
Second of all, DON’T STOP WORKING. I don’t mean literally working, day-to-day job bullshit. I mean, don’t stop doing they things that you love. I mean, the things that make you feel great. Don’t stop making an effort to see the people you love. Make MORE of an effort. Don’t stop doing the dumb shit that makes you laugh. Do MORE dumb shit that makes you laugh. Don’t stop being creative. Don’t stop helping the people around you. Don’t be afraid of love. Please don’t be afraid of love. You miss out on so much when you live in fear of such a wonderful thing. Don’t stop asking questions. Learning is so powerful and there are all these people around who know shit, and what’s more, they WANT to share that knowledge. Asking questions doesn’t make you dumb, it makes you interesting.
Kristin and I have worked our asses off the past four years and there is nothing anyone can do that would make us slow down. We get caught up, for sure. There are days when I feel like if I move they whole world around me will just crumble. Those days will happen, yea, but they’re tiny reminders that we are human and we can’t do it all.
Long story short: Life is what you make it. If you do everything in your power to make sure this year is the year WHERE EVERYTHING HAPPENS, you will not be let down.
As much as I believe in psychics, and as much as I am excited for your year to unfold, I am going to caution you against “waiting for all the things to happen.” Dannielle is correct: while many of us (including Dannielle, yourself, your psychic, and me) do believe in guiding forces that shape and inform our lives… those forces don’t just work alone while you eat Cheetos on the couch. If you want this year to be the year where everything happens, you make it so. No one else can do it for you. Not even witches or warlocks or psychics or god or Beyonce.
What does ‘the year where everything happens’ mean? I think it means that you have the potential to kick a lot of ass. I think it means that you have a force within yourself that will allow you to overcome obstacles and commit to things you believe in. I think it means your psychic may have taken the easy road out, because, spoiler alert: we all have that potential inside of us.
It’s pretty cool that we have markers in time that allow us to look back and reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and look forward with a sense of optimism and hope for what lies ahead — but it can also be scary to put huge pressures on ourselves to make oneparticular year THE BEST ONE EVER or THE YEAR IT ALL HAPPENS. Think about the things you’d like to accomplish this year and go after them, sure… but also think about the things you’d like to accomplish today, this month, and over the next ten years.
Allow yourself many ways of measuring your expectations and your achievements. Take things one experience at a time. Persevere. Believe. Breathe.
"Do you ladies have any advice about money management as a 20-something? I’m trying to save my money but I can’t because pizza :("
- Question submitted by Anonymous
It’s sooooo hard because pizza and coffee and sweaters. I KNOW.
When I first moved to Chicago I was working at a coffee shop and I was paid in cash. I kept that cash in three places; Rent Mug, Stuff Mug, My Wallet.
Rent Mug – I figured out how much I needed to save each week to make rent, and put that much in my mug every Friday when I got paid.
Stuff Mug – Figured out how much I needed for my other bills (classes, utilities, gym, phone, etc), split that number up and figure out what I need weekly.. deposit that in my checking acct – bc I put all my bills on auto-pay.
My Wallet – Whatever was left over was my spending cash. Groceries, gas, pizza, lols, etc.
Was this the best idea?? No. Not at all. I had no safety net, ended up using two credit cards (which, 6 years later, I’m still paying off), and was constantly hyperventilating because that is no way for a human to live… BUT I WAS YOUNG AND YOLO.
I don’t totally recommend doing what I did, but I do think it’s pretty realistic and a great way to never be late on rent or bills.
If I could go back in a time machine I would look 20s-something Kristin in the eye and say, “Hand me all of your credit cards.”
20s-something Kristin would be like ‘HELL NO 30s-SOMETHING KRISTIN, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT,” and would run to the nearest fancy restaurant and order 3 bottles of their finest wine before I tackled her to the ground (I’m more in shape now, so I could totally take her), grabbed all of her credit cards, and ran.
I agree with Dannielle’s general plan, whether it be keeping your cash in mugs (but also… mugs seems scary)(but also… who am I to judge) or in a bank (in which case you can do what I do and keep a google spreadsheet that allots what you can spend each week and where). The thing is, no matter what budget you set, you will spend more than you should if you have access to a credit card. Get. Rid. Of. Your. Credit. Cards.
So long as you have the means to do so, live on what you make.
Your 30-Something-Self will thank me.
In terms of savings, I would recommend opening an account where you can put money in, but where it isn’t easy to get money out. Talk to the people at whatever bank you have and see what the options are—there may be an IRA account where you can deposit but not withdraw for a fixed time, or something similar. You can also open up a savings account at a bank different from where you get your checking, and decline a debit card. If you have a job where you get a paycheck, set up direct-deposit to put a certain amount in that account each week. So long as it’s not easy to withdraw, you’ll probably have an easier time not spending it on pizza!