What a year! In 2015, I took a 10-week ballet class; bought a Costco board and learned to surf; completed enough shoulder rehab that I could finally learn to whitewater kayak; went spearfishing and abalone diving (but, sadly, not crab fishing -- damn you, toxic algae bloom!); rode my bike around Lake Tahoe (it was basically a couch-to-116k); and attended my Phillips Exeter 10-year reunion.
I also wrote about 100 blog posts on The Happy Talent!
That's a lot of writing. In fact, it's basically a novel. (Right?) And now, on the first day of 2016, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite and most popular posts of the last year.
1. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Gif All Women Need to See IMMEDIATELY.
"I'm always amazed by what women will do because they're afraid of being rude," Matt Lauer declares in the first episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. This is a blog post about how we need to redefine "rude" to mean what it really does. You're not "rude" for telling some dude you don't want to go on a date with him (or, in this case, go see his baby rabbits in his white van with him) after you've already said no eight times. He is rude for asking eight times. Besides, anyway, wouldn't you rather risk maybe hurting someone's feelings... than risk getting assaulted, murdered, or locked in a bunker for eight years? Read more >
2. AP Classes Make You Look Complacent, Not Curious.
The 2014-2015 school year was a rough one in Palo Alto, CA, where four promising high school students ended their lives. Obviously, suicide is a complicated issue -- but anyone who claims that these deaths had nothing to do with academic pressure is delusional. Here in Palo Alto, and across the country, students are driving themselves to exhaustion, depression, and social isolation, trying to take the most APs and get the best SAT/ACT scores. But here's the thing about APs and SATs: they alone will never make you stand out on your college application. In 2015, and moving into 2016, colleges are looking for students who have done something the other applicants haven't. If you go to a school with limitless resources, like Palo Alto or Gunn High School, and the most interesting thing on your application is that you took the same AP classes as every gifted student in the whole country... you probably won't be sending you a "fat envelope." Here's what college admissions officers are looking for in 2016. Read more >
3. These Specific Behaviors Will Make You More Charismatic, Starting RIGHT NOW.
So THIS post... is actually from 2014. But it continued to be one of my most popular posts ever into 2015. Why? Because charisma is important. It is important for your professional goals. It is important for your personal relationships. It's important for dating success. And... it's important for your own thought processes (because it turns out, many of the behaviors that make you more magnetic to others, also improve your own mindfulness, gratitude and cognition). It's not completely clear to researchers why some people automatically learn social skills, while others (including Steve Jobs) need to be explicitly taught... but it is clear that charisma skills can change your life. Add this to your 2016 reading list. Read more >
4. Everyday Feminism is a Joke, and No One Should Ever Read It.
When Everyday Feminism blocked me from commenting on their social media after I politely asked them to provide evidence (rather than the one piece of anecdotal evidence presented in an article they posted) that "medical fat shaming" was a pervasive problem in America, I wrote a post, encouraging online publishers not to silence discourse. Because of the ease with which we can block all opinions (and facts) that disagree with us, the world is changing -- and not for the better. I wrote this because discourse matters and censorship is bad. But I never expected that Everyday Feminism would become a big source of unique visitors to The Happy Talent. (It turns out, I'm far from the only person they blocked, just for disagreeing with them.) Censorship became more and more common in 2015... and I hope this trend changes in 2016. Read more >
5.Scientists Have Invented a Way to End Malaria, Saving Millions of African Lives. But Will the Western World Allow it?
2015 was a year that was, sadly, full of pseudoscience. Most people who rail against GMOs and vaccines have no grasp of basic biology. "Eat local" and "go organic" are rich white people movements that lack global perspective. (Organic is great, if you can afford it. But it's not going to sustain the earth's population.) But, awesomely, 2015 was also full of real scientific discoveries -- including two mentioned in this post, which would use CRISPR, a hot new gene editing technology, and "gene drives," or artificial selfish genes, to eliminate malaria and save millions of lives. But will the Western world allow it? Read more >
6. Why I Dressed as Microaggressions for Halloween.
After spending the last several years wondering if my Halloween costume might maybe accidentally offend someone (Is it okay to be Allen Iverson, even though he's black? Is it okay to be Bethany Hamilton, even though she's disabled? Am I going to end up being doxed, shunned and/or fired for this?), I decided that enough is enough. Inspired by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt's Atlantic post, The Coddling of the American Mind (if you haven't, go read it now -- and if you want to know more, check out Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate), my date and I decided to make a statement with our costumes this year. He dressed as a trigger warning, and I covered myself with small labels that contained "microaggressions" that have been banned from college campuses, such as, "I believe that anyone can succeed!" "Where are you from?" and, "America is a melting pot." Because we believe that free speech and open discourse is an important part of both education and life. Read more >
Statistically, this was not one of my top posts of 2015. However, it is one that was personally meaningful to me -- and, I suspect, any woman who lives in a world full of ridiculous hashtags like #blessed and #luckygirl. It breaks my heart that women feel so much pressure to attribute their successes to luck. What about hard work? What about your talents, persistence and abilities? And... would it really be the end of the world if women were "allowed" to think they were beautiful? Am I really a vain, arrogant bitch because I consider myself to be objectively attractive? In 2015, a college student named Felicia Czochanski exploded the internet by writing People Judge Me Because I'm Pretty. No one was mad about her actual, you know -- ideas. They were just determined to prove that she was "dilusional" and vain for daring to think that she is pretty. Because men (and many women!) get their stupid little panties all up in a bunch when women have self-confidence. This needs to change in 2016. Read more >
So what's next for The Happy Talent?
Well, in the name of practicing what I preach, I have offered pretty much everyone who has ever disagreed with a post I wrote the chance to write a counterpoint. So far, almost all have accepted (though one told me that I needed to write the counterpoint and apology myself)... but none have followed-up with a post. However, I do hope to publish some different perspectives in the next year, whether or not I completely agree with them. It is important to explore and engage with the other side.
So. If I write something you disagree with... don't unfollow me! Don't unfriend me. Just leave a comment (unlike Everyday Feminism, I will not delete it unless you are spamming or bullying) or tell me you want to write a follow-up post. I'm looking forward to growing as a civil, open-minded adult.
And obviously, I'd also like to grow my social media following -- so feel free to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. (Who knows -- I might even have a Youtube channel soon for all the originalzzzzz I wrote in 2015. But my music is probably not as good as my writing.)
Happy New Year! And don't forget to check out my latest post, New Year's Ever Sucks. Here's Why You Should Celebrate New MONTH'S Eve, Instead.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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