Sleep deprivation is hurting kids in more ways than you think.

Imagine you’re in your school math class after remaining up late doing homework, and the teacher calls on you to explain something complicated on the members of the security council.

Ah, there’s that palm sweat everyone who’s been through this is painfully familiar with.

As if woken abruptly from a dream — which, let’s face it, might’ve been the case — you look up sheepishly at the teacher, then around at everyone else gazing back at you. You squint desperately at the equation on the board, but it might as well be in some language you don’t know. Maybe you try to answer it and make no sense or simply sink in your seat and tell, “I don’t know.” Either style, aside from feeling like a zombie, you’re also likely left feeling pretty embarrassed.

No sleep plus math class equals this moment. Photo via iStock.

It might voice funny in hindsight, but these effects of sleep deprivation are insured all too often in schools all over the world.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 31% of kids aged 6 to 11 in America get eight hours of sleep or less on a weeknight . The recommended sum for their demographic is at least 9 hours. And the stats merely get more troubling as kids get older. According to a recent study at San Diego State, 40% of teens actually get seven hours of sleep a night or less, and that percentage has risen dramatically in the last 10 years.

Obviously, regular sleep deprivation can negatively affect the body and mind of an adult, but it can be detrimental to a young person.

Photo via iStock.

That goes double for a young person from a low-income household. Just ask Reut Gruber, associate professor of psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Apart from being an expert in the genetics of sleep, she’s a is part of the World Sleep Society and focuses on how sleep deprivation impacts children’s day-to-day lives.

Just like adults, children’s ability to get through the working day is compromised when they don’t get enough sleep, but in order to understand why that happens, we have to look at how the brain works.

“There are several parts of the brain that are dependent on sleep to finish their business, ” Gruber explains. “One part of the brain that’s key is the prefrontal cortex. It’s kind of like the engine, the machine that underlies executive function.”

Everything we do throughout our day — planning, dismissing distractions, making decisions, setting aims, etc. — rely on the prefrontal cortex working efficiently. Unfortunately that’s also one of the areas of the brain that’s most sensitive to sleep deprivation.

The prefrontal cortex and the occipital intra-parietal sulcus. Photo via iStock.

When the prefrontal cortex is compromised by a lack of sleep, all the functions it supervises are affected. This includes our ability to regulate mood and emotions.

You know how moody you get when you’re running on less sleep? Imagine that feeling as a kid exacerbated by school assignments, educators, and your classmates pushing your buttons.

Now imagine you return home after a day of feeling sleep deprived to a cramped house where there’s no structure and four kids sleeping in one room. Perhaps you live in a neighborhood where every few hours you’re awoken by what might be gunshots outside. According to Gruber, these scenarios are all too common.

Can you insure a vicious cycle developing?

While research on the relationship between socioeconomic status and sleep deprivation is restriction, there have been studies that have found a correlation between children from lower-income households and more disrupted sleep . It attains sense when you consider the scenario above — if life at home is stressed by a lack of fund, food, or security, it’s not surprising sleep patterns would be interrupted.

Photo via iStock.

And when sleep deprivation is the norm for children, they get used to functioning at lower levels, which in turn may affect their academic success and ability to regulate their emotions.

Obviously, violating an unhealthy sleep pattern is easier said than done, especially for disadvantaged children, but, according to Gruber, it is possible.

It all starts with creating a comfortable space for sleep. Attaining sure children have a clean, soft place to sleep — like a bed with clean sheets and warm blankets can really help.

Also cozy pajamas can make a huge change, which is why Westin Hotels& Resorts isturning their discarded bed linen into pajamas for children in need. It’s not a perfect fix by any means, but it’s a good start.

Next mothers should prioritize the amount of sleep their children need to function properly during the day. This is different for everyone, but children on the whole require more sleep than adults( even if they don’t think they do ).

Once you’ve got a clear sense of sum, you have to keep it consistent. This consistency includes all the routines leading up to bedtime. After all, sleep, by definition is a rhythm.

Photo via iStock.

Gruber says a good way to do this is set a hard stop for kids in terms of evening run/ play/ social media period. Once their sleep time comes around, encourage them to set it all away, literally and metaphorically. It might be hard at first, but the benefits will pay off tenfold.

“Make a commitment to making a change[ to your child’s sleep routine ], ” Gruber says. “Once you do it, you feel so good, you don’t want to go back.”

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This powerful essay illustrates what it’s like to live with an ‘invisible’ mental illness.

“Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

While this quote is true for anyone you may come in contact with, it may be especially true for those of us with “high-functioning” mental illness.

You come in linked with people in this category every day, even if you don’t know it . In fact, you might be one of these people yourself.

Despite a handful of mental health diagnoses, I have a steady chore, am working part-time on a master’s degree, have a social life, and in general seem to be a functioning adult. I am glad to be moving through life, and I refuse to let my ailments define me or even restriction me. However, struggling with these demons while also being an over-achiever can be isolating and frustrating.

Being “high-functioning” does not induce disorders or combats any less overwhelming.

Sometimes it feels like I’m swimming in the ocean, caught in a riptide and getting pulled in over my head all while fighting with every ounce of strength to reach the surface for a breath of air. It is a constant struggle to keep my combats from drowning me or pulling me under.

Many people understandably do get pulled under to the point of not getting out of bed or going to work or run. But others’ highly active survival instincts keep them struggling to reach the surface area of the water so they can breathe. Their current is just as strong, and the threat and pain of these fights is just as real. Their instinct is just different — to opposed as hard as they can and not ever stop.

It may seem like this makes high-functioning people’s struggles “easier, ” “less severe, ” or “less real.”

In reality, my instinct is fair to tread water and maintain appearances while many other people’s is to not fight the ocean quite so hard. Neither response is wrong — people simply fight their battles differently.

Of course, mental illness and trauma are awful and isolating no matter what. Being “high-functioning, ” though, can feel extremely isolating and confusing in a different way . Most of the time, the person or persons I love are not aware of how much I am fighting. They insure me achieving, they assure me living, and they figure I am OK. I have an active sense of humor and tend to minimize my fighting. People presume I’m managing just fine.

Even those closest to me are sometimes confused by the juxtaposition of my mental illness and my functional life.

Unless I specifically tell my family and friends that I am absolutely not OK in explicit terms, it is all too easy to assume that everything is fine. I realise about nine months ago that my own parents, whom I am very close to, had no idea how severe my PTSD was or how anxious and depressed I felt.

A couple of hours a week, I go to bed having to actively combat supposes like everyone would be better off without me and that I should just attain myself disappear. These believes aren’t rational, and they aren’t visible to anyone( other than my therapist who always seems to know ).

When I get up in the morning, I put on a brave face and tackle the day while my brain and body call at me that it would be better, safer, and easier if I just stayed in bed the working day. Every moment of every day, I fight the current that is trying to pull me under and fight the desire to just stop. I want to give in. I want to let the pain and depression wash over me. More than anything I want peace and rest for a little while because fighting this and putting on my brave face is exhausting. I still fight, though, because that is the only way I can find to manage life.

Being “high-functioning” is a gift at times, and it allows me to be a productive adult.

It goes at a cost, too, as fighting to remain functioning drainages me. In all likelihood, someone in your circle, someone you know and love, is fighting this same combat. Smiles and laugh and “I’m doing well! ” answers can lie about the pain and exhaustion that may be completely invisible to others.

So remember, as much as you can, be kind always with everyone. Sometimes your gentleness might just be the lifeline somebody must get through the day.

If you need subsistence right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800 -2 73 -8 255 or text “START” to 741 -7 41.

This story originally appeared on The Mighty and is reprinted here with permission. If you or someone you know requires assistance, visit The Mighty’s suicide prevention resources page .

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Mariah Carey hid her mental illness for 17 years. Now she’s owning it.

For years, international pop icon Mariah Carey was living with a condition that greatly affected their own lives — but she maintained it a secret and even rejected therapy.

In a new interview, Carey revealed that she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder back in 2001 after a mental breakdown. However, fear of being publicly outed resulted her to keep the diagnosis a secret, and reject treatment, until recently.

“I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear person would expose me, ” she said. “It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I attempted and received therapy, I set positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.”

Seeing tales of other celebrities discussing mental illness helped her come forward.

A number of other public figure have come forward in recent years with their own stories of living with mental illness. The positive response to those stories helped Carey seek therapy and speak publicly about her own experiences.

“She’s hoping she can have the same sort of positive impact with other people, ” People publication editor-in-chief Jess Cagle said.

“I’m merely in a really good place right now, where I’m comfy discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder, ” Carey told. “I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone.”

Carey’s public behaviour has been scrutinized and even taunted for years.

Carey has gone through a number of highly scrutinized public incidents throughout her career. Most recently, she was attacked online relentlessly following a 2016 New Year’s Eve performance rife with technical difficulties( and what was perceived as an odd reaction to them ).

Now that she’s sharing her story, those incidents are placed in a different lighting, whether or not they were directly tied to her bipolar disorder. And they also can help to serve as an educational moment about how we can all react more sensitively to public figure during “embarrassing” or “awkward” moments.

Carey revealed that she’s been going to therapy and taking medications that have helped bringing her symptoms under control.

“It can be incredibly isolating, ” Carey said of living in secret with her condition. “It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”

Every time a public figure like Carey opens up about mental health, it reduces stigma and increases adoption.

No one is required to share private details of their life that they are able to want to keep private. And not everyone’s experience is the same. But when beloved figures like Carey — or famously “strong” celebs like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — come forward to share their vulnerabilities, it induces it a little easier for the next person to do the same.

Mariah Carey depicted a tremendous amount of bravery by coming forward to tell her own narrative, and she’s also doing a service to anyone out there navigating their own personal mental health journeys.

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Trolls called this fat activist a ‘landwhale.’ Now it’s the title of her memoir.

A few months ago, on a clear December day in Paris, France, Jes Baker was standing before a crowd as the city’s guest of honor, wearing a shimmering gold dress and a beaming smile.

“La grossophobie, c’est … bullshit, ” she told them.

As a fat activist and prominent body image author, she doesn’t mince words, even in front of an audience that included the deputy mayor of Paris: Fatphobia is bullshit.

All photos via Jes Baker/ The Militant Baker, used in conjunction with permission.

She was speaking in the ornate salons of Hotel de Ville as part of a meeting of government officials, researchers, activists, and guessed leaders from around the world. They had gathered to discuss discrimination against fat people.

The Parisian government, which hosted the event, also unveiled its manifesto challenging anti-fat bias and making a commitment to eradicating it. It was a monumental moment for the city, which had yet to include “size” in its anti-discrimination laws.

But it was also a deeply personal moment for Jes . She could never have imagined that her journey to make peace with her body would someday result her to Paris, where she would assert the dignity of fat people around the world. And she would do it all while wearing a murderer dress and heels.

Almost six years earlier, though, Jes wasn’t quite that confident. In fact, she says, that’s when she hit her “emotional rock bottom.”

At the time, Jes was 26. She was working as a full-time baker, living with a partner who, she tells, “would rather watch television while eating chicken nuggets” than be present and engaged with the world or with her. With a demanding chore and a lack of intimate connect, Jes occupied her period with lifestyle blogs, including her own about vintage kitchenware.

Surfing the internet one night, Jes found the blog The Nearsighted Owl, written by a woman named Rachele. “I instantaneously connected with[ Rachele’s] love of thrifting, cats, and purple beehives, ” Jes says. But it wasn’t the cats or vintage charm of Rachele’s blog that captivated Jes the most — it was seeing a fat girl life and loving unapologetically.

While The Nearsighted Owl is no longer online, Rachele’s fearless voice led Jes to an important realization. “[ I thought] maybe I don’t have to hate myself for the rest of my life, ” Jes recalls. “If she can love herself, maybe I can too? ”

Up until that phase, this deceptively simple but powerful notion had never traversed her mind.

Inspired, Jes delved into the world of fat acceptance and body positivity, reading everything she possibly could, especially perspectives that were different from her own.

And along the way, those writers devoted her something she’d never had before: permission.

“[ I detected] permission to feel worthy . Of what exactly, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure, ” Jes recollects. “But I knew I deserved better than I had been treating myself.”

She continues, “I started to explore what I could do when I was relieved of some of the disgrace I had weighing me down my entire life.”

She stopped blogging about the history of aluminum evaluate spoonfuls and did something much more vulnerable: She started used to describe her road to recovery.

Her blog, The Militant Baker, became about everything from way photography — where she wore short attires and swimsuits that she never would’ve dared to before — to political posts taking diet culture and fatphobia to task.

With a mix of vulnerability, humor, posture, and unfiltered integrity, Jes’s blog exploded in popularity, with media platforms like BBC, CNN, Time magazine, People magazine, and countless others featuring her work. But popularity was never the goals and objectives.

“For me, it’s always about the power of liberation, ” she explains. “Freedom from any restrictions that others may push towards you. This includes freedom from subscribing to self-loathing and diet culture[ and those who] have their own notions about what that[ freeing] should look like for you.”

Jes says freeing is a journey — one that begins with dedicating ourselves permission to live life.

“Liberation is freedom from all outside expectations, even our own, ” she tells. “Liberation is slowly learning how to become the best version of our whole selves.”

Becoming our very best selves can be an intimidating objective, though. That’s why she has a few suggestions on where to start.

Diversifying who you follow on platforms like Instagram is one simple way to begin. “If we want our media feeds to represent real life( and ultimately show us that our body isn’t strange, weird, or nasty ), we need to go out and actively find diverse images for ourselves, ” she writes.

Jes also advocates for gentleness. As she points out, the journey toward self-acceptance is difficult. “This is not the ‘easy way out’ in the slightest, ” she explains. “But only because it’s not the easy way out doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.”

Jes admits that sometimes she thinks dieting would be easier in a world that celebrates thin bodies. But if she’s going to battle, she’d instead work toward living their own lives on her own terms and not stimulate her happiness dependent on something like size.

But it’s not about loving her body all the time, either. Rather than doing a full 180 and forcing herself to feel one particular way, Jes found that not preoccupying about her body at all — and procuring a neutral, self-compassionate place — was most helpful in her journey.

“We used to want the three easiest ways to lose weight. When we reject that, we then start looking for the three easiest ways to love our bodies. It’s totally natural, ” Jes tells. “[ But] asking someone to achieve body love are to be able to become another unattainable prerequisite, much like the desire to change our body into what is deemed desirable.”

“The real freedom lies in the gray area, ” she adds, “which is also the most difficult to sit in comfortably.”

Jes unpacks all of this( and more) in her upcoming memoir “Landwhale.” The title, which was once an insult utilized against her by online trolls, is now a source of pride.

Jes’s journey shows that a simple idea — “I am enough” — can completely transform lives.

It’s a powerful message that can touch people across communities, oceans, and even languages.

Jes was reminded of this power after a panel at that conference in Paris, when a man eagerly approached her to show off his new volume. “I looked down and find an entire section dedicated to the Abercrombie and Fitch campaign I had done years ago, ” Jes tells. “I spoke little French and he didn’t speak ANY English, but there was this moment of gratitude for and between both of us — it was humbling.”

It’s a message that Jes now hopes will come from new voices, too.

“[ I want] to amplify marginalized voices the hell is far more important than my own through this platform, ” she says. She hopes that those coming up behind her will be a greater reflection of the diversity she sees in this movement.

She knows the road ahead won’t be easy, but the right to live your life on your own terms is what ultimately attains it worth it. It’s this kind of freedom that Jes maintains fighting for — not just for herself, but for every one of us.

“Trust yourself that you’re doing the best you can and that it’s enough, ” she tells me . “And if you ever require a cheerleader in your corner be borne in mind this, I’m here for you.”

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I’m fat. I’m choosing to stay fat. Here’s why.

I’m fat.

The kind of fat I am depends on what side of fat you’re looking at me from. If you’re a thin person, I likely seem very fat. If you’re a very fat person, I might seem median to you. To me, I am fat.

A post shared by Joni Edelman (@ joniedelman ) on Mar 5, 2018 at 10:48 am PST

I’ve been all different sizes. I’ve been bigger than I am now. I’ve been smaller than I was in high school. I’ve been everything in between. Right now I am fat; I don’t love it. Because I know what it’s like to be smaller, I know that it feelings better than I do now. But right now, I’m also happy — not with my body but with my life.

If you’re a thin person who has always been thin( or you’re a formerly fat person who worked your ass off to be thin ), you’re probably thinking something like “if you’re more comfy smaller, why not work hard to be smaller? ” If you’re a fat person, you might be thinking “me, too” or, alternatively, “there are ways to feel good without being smaller.”

You’re both right. Also, I already know both of those things.

I’ve opted different routes to wellness with my body. I have worked to lose weight in a safe and healthy route and been fulfilled and proud of that. I’ve also feed cake with reckless abandon and not cared about the upward movement of the scale needle. I have been preoccupied with weight loss. I’ve lived with and recovered from an eating disorder. I’ve been miserably fat. I’ve been miserably thin. I’ve been average — neither fat nor thin nor miserable.

What I am now is the product of a lot of years of self-loathing, a few years of self-loving, and 43 years of being a human being. What I am now is OK.

For most of my life, I have believed that I only needed to accomplish X to be fulfilled.

X might be being thin or having money; it might entail being married or divorced, living in a home or traveling abroad. I have accomplished many of the X’s, and I have been proud of those accomplishments. But ultimately, they have never attained me happier in my life. I believe now that you are about as happy as you make up your mind to be.

I think it’s true: There is a threshold past which you simply can’t get happier. If you have food and garment and your other basic needs satisfied, the rest of the stuff isn’t paramount to your happiness; it’s merely accoutrement.

I thought that being thin was the answer to my happiness, but it wasn’t. It was the answer to some things — more attention, a wider range of attire options, fewer sideways glances from my grandmother over the gravy boat — but there were many things being thin couldn’t do. Inducing me happy are members of them.

I know from experience that my weight is nearly irrelevant to my happiness. So I am choosing to stay fat.

I could change my body, but I don’t wishes to right now. The reasons I am selecting not to make any changes are both simple and complicated. I have plantar fasciitis, and I don’t feel like walk-to. Walking is an easy way to feel better in your body, but my foot hurts, therefore strolling hurts. Yoga does not hurt, so I’m doing that. Strolling might result in weight change, but I’m not really thinking about that right now. Instead, I’m focused on mending my foot.

Overall, though, my health is excellent. There are no pressing physiological issues. My blood pressure is great; my cholesterol is penalty. I have no compelling health risks motivating me to change my body.

My mental health is stable. I’m focused on my root health. I’m working on healing my body from the inside, using a combination of spiritual, mental, and physical changes. I am not working on changing my physical body because ultimately my physical body, while important, is smaller than all of the other things I’m working on.

My body doesn’t prevent me from doing the things I want to do.

I can ride my motorcycle, do yoga, chase my children, and run up and down a mountain and along the beach. So any endeavor at weight loss, right now anyway, would be rooted in esthetics, and the expectation for me to be aesthetically pleasing is one that I won’t surrender to because being beautiful isn’t that important to me.

A post shared by Joni Edelman (@ joniedelman ) on Mar 28, 2018 at 12:13 pm PDT

We’ve been taught to value fairly above all of the other things we can be and are: smart, funny, generous, compassionate, kind, caring. But I am not young, and I am not a fool. I know two things: Beauty is fleeting, and the kind of people who care if I’m beautiful are not the person or persons I care to be around.

For all the work females( largely) do to achieve and sustain our beauty, our bodies will remain in flux. The thing you try to induce beautiful now will sag next year. I cannot avoid the varicose veins, the wrinkles, the stretch marks. I will not waste my hour trying. And if my partner one day told him that he thought I wasn’t beautiful and was no longer interested in me, I would have to tell my partner to get screwed. I don’t want to be with someone who values beauty above my intellect or my kindness.

A post shared by Joni Edelman (@ joniedelman ) on Mar 31, 2018 at 6:40 pm PDT

Someone emailed me recently and said she’d read something I wrote a few years ago about being fat.

She wanted to know if I was still “fat and happy.” She wanted to know how to let go of the need to feel thin but also find elation. She wanted to know how I determined peace in my body. I don’t email everyone back, but I emailed her back because I had something to say I believed she would find valuable and that I needed to hear, too. The answer isn’t that I discovered peace in my body — it’s that I detected peace in my life. Once I situated that peace, I realized that the commotion I felt around my body wasn’t stronger than the pleasure I found in everything else.

This story originally appeared on Ravishly and is reprinted here with permission. More from Ravishly 😛 TAGEND

We Need To Stop Policing Body Positivity

Can You Love Your Body And Try To Lose Weight ?

Being Thin Didn’t Make Me Happy, But Being “Fat” Does

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson body-slams mental health stigma in a new interview.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the epitome of a Hollywood tough guy, but in a new interview, he talks about a painful time in his life.

Speaking with Express, Johnson opened up about his mother’s and his fights with depression. Months after being evicted from their apartment, the then-1 5-year-old Johnson saved his mama from a suicide attempt.

“She got out of the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and strolled into oncoming traffic, ” he told Express. “I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road.”

Johnson and his mother, Ata Johnson, in 2016. Photo by Aaron Davidson/ Getty Images for HBO.

Some time afterwards, his own football career in shambles, Johnson felt the painful pulling of depression himself. “I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere. I was screaming constantly, ” he said, explaining how he and his mother’s experiences helped inspire a sense of empathy for others. “We both mended, but we’ve always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain. We have to help them through it and remind them they are not alone.”

Johnson previously addressed his depression in a 2015 segment for “Oprah’s Master Class.”

That video included some great tips about helping yourself and helping others get through tough times in life. Most importantly, it’s a call to remember that you are not alone.

“I’ve found that with depression, one of the most important things you could realise is that you’re not alone, ” he says in the video. “You’re not the first to go through it, you’re not going to be the last to go through it. And oftentimes — it happens — you feel like you’re alone. And you feel like it’s merely you. And you’re in your bubble. And I wish I’d had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and say, ‘Hey, it’s going to be OK . … It’ll be OK.'”

There’s a lot of stigma surrounding depression, anxiety, and mental illness. That’s why it’s so important for people to speak up and bust myths.

A lot of people( wrongly) opinion depression as a sign of weakness, which stimulates it that much more important for people like Johnson, people who have a reputation for their strength, to use their platforms to help change how people view depression. In March, Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love wrote a powerful essay about mental illness, accomplishing simply that. The reason this is so important is that stigma maintains people from get the help they need.

There’s no disgrace in living with depression. Have a problem with that? Take it up with The Rock.

Photo by Aaron Davidson/ Getty Images for HBO.

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He was just taking pictures and ended up with an Oscar-winning film on mental illness.

When 70 -year-old filmmaker Frank Stiefel first met artist Mindy Alpert, he didn’t know they’d end up making a pioneering movie about mental illness — let alone that he’d win an Oscar for it.

He genuinely just wanted to know more about how she worked. “My wife told me there was this woman at her art studio who was attaining incredible things but never talked to anyone, ” he says. That female was Mindy Alpert.

He introduced himself to Alpert and eventually asked if he could document her latest project, a giant papier-mache head.

As Alpert slowly began to open up, Stiefel realized she was living with intense nervousnes and depression — which she channels into her artwork. The giant head she was sculpting was that of her therapist.

The film’s eye-catching title, “Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405, ” comes from a line in the movie, when Alpert explains how much she loves being stuck in Los Angeles traffic because watching the faces of others in their vehicles soothes her nervousnes. It’s one of the most powerful moments in a deep affecting film.

And when the documentary earned an Oscar, Stiefel’s emotional adoption speech charmed many people on social media because of the sweet route he credited his wife B.J. Dockweiler for his success( the tuxedo he wore was the same suit he wore to their bridal 40 years ago) — and for his heartfelt comments about Alpert.

“I “ve always known”, but I always knew the only reason people would care about it is because we all care about you, ” Stiefel said of Alpert.

The two is still at touch almost daily.

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These gorgeous portraits of badass, body-positive burlesque dancers are a must-see.

Trend after tendency goes and goes, but one thing that seems to remain timelessly classic is burlesque’s retro glamour.

No matter the event, if you want to turn heads without adorning yourself in recent trends, retro glam is it. And who else does it with more va-va-VOOM and straight-up sex appeal than burlesque artists?

While retro glam may be the classic dress code, many curvy burlesque performers are building the art new and exciting. Take “nerdlesque, ” for example, in which the performers celebrate their love of various types of fandoms like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. Others are use the stage to make a political statement and queering the craft by centering LGBTQ identities.

Burlesque is one of the few art kinds where the public espouses curves rather than fightings against them.

While fatphobia and racism still exist in the burlesque community, brilliant art is being created from a variety of marginalized groups in a way that’s easy to consume, even for the less enlightened.

Burlesque is more than just gorgeous outfits and fun music. Burlesque allows the artists to toy with sensuality, sexuality, humor, raw feeling, politics, and pop culture all in one. Need another reason to love it? Here are 17. Check out these unbelievable curvy and plus-size burlesque artists that you need to know.

1. Magnoliah Black

A post shared by Irene McCalphin (@ magnoliahblack )~ ATAGEND on Jan 23, 2017 at 9:46 am PST

Jill-of-all-trades Magnoliah Black is the fag performance star that the world doesn’t is well aware urgently requires. The Southern-born, Bay Area-based artist sings and dances as well as being a devastatingly brilliant novelist, potent healer, and much needed black and fat activist.

2. Harlow Holiday

Photo by Sweetheart Pinup, used in conjunction with permission.

Harlow Holiday, an indigenous performance artist based in Syracuse, brings her own gorgeous brand of glamour to the stage.

3. Noella DeVille

A post shared by Noella DeVille (@ noella_deville )~ ATAGEND on Feb 6, 2018 at 3:28 pm PST

Ohio-based burlesque musician Noella DeVille knows how to entertain! From glamour to nerd, DeVille delves into pop culture references and creates a gorgeously exciting and entertaining show for all.

4 and 5. Keena ButtahLove and Sepia Jewel

Photo by Vixen Photography, used in conjunction with permission.

San Diego’s premiere plus sizing Burlesque queen ButtahLove hosts a must-see revue. In this photo, the luminescent burlesque stars Keena ButtahLove and Sepia Jewel( co-hosts of the podcast Showgirl Sunday Dinner) glisten together. Do not miss their unbelievable podcast!

6. Rosie Bourgeoisie

A post shared by Rosie Bourgeoisie/ Genderfck (@ rosie.bourgeoisie )~ ATAGEND on Mar 12, 2018 at 11:35 am PDT

Burlesque artist Rosie Bourgeoisie sweeps Quebecois stages in Montreal in a flurry of style and faggot sensuality. For a combination of modern faggot satisfies glorious retro kitsch, it’s hard to beat Bourgeoisie.

7. Ms. Briq House

A post shared by Ms.Briq House (@ ms.briqhouse )~ ATAGEND on Nov 3, 2017 at 8: 03 pm PDT

Ms. Briq House creates POC-centered and unapologetically black entertainment in the Pacific Northwest. Check out the all-POC burlesque revue: The Sunday Night Shuga Shaq.

8. Mila Macabre

A post shared by Mila Macabre (@ milamacabre )~ ATAGEND on Sep 27, 2017 at 1:58 pm PDT

Saskatoon artist Mila Macabre brings gorgeously bold colourings and sparkles to life on stage. Off-stage, the Romani dancer brings glamour into the lives of clients as a permanent makeup artist.

9. Moonbow Brite

A post shared by Moonbow Brite (@ moonbowbrite )~ ATAGEND on Oct 9, 2017 at 1:46 pm PDT

SoCal performer Moonbow Brite is a ray of color in a dark night. Severely — she’s awesome. Her dayglo energy radiates from stage and beyond as Moonbow dances for her audiences.

10. Rosie Reigns

A post shared by Rosie Reigns (@ rosiereigns )~ ATAGEND on Jan 8, 2017 at 8: 10 pm PST

The self-proclaimed “Lioness of the South Bay, ” Rosie Reigns generates playfully sexy vignettes flavored with retro glamour and her great sense of humor — like this homage to Hilda!

11. Saffron St. James

A post shared by Saffron St. James (@ neologisms )~ ATAGEND on Apr 22, 2017 at 2:49 pm PDT

Ottawa’s “Hoursglass and A Half.” A novelist, photographer, and musician, Canadian-based St. James produces the “Cabaret LIVE! ” show.

12. Mone’t Ha-Sidi

A post shared by Mone’t Ha-Sidi (@ nizzneyland )~ ATAGEND on Aug 18, 2017 at 12:48 pm PDT

Mone’t Ha-Sidi owns the room with her energetic( and astonishing) Mr. T performance. Based in Sacramento, this hairstylist by day, stripper by night can be found also supporting local artists with Black Artists Matter and Jezebelle’s Army.

13. Kitty Devereaux

A post shared by Kitty Devereaux (@ kitty_devereaux )~ ATAGEND on Dec 8, 2017 at 8: 24 pm PST

Philly-based Kitty Devereaux is changing burlesque. As the mama bear and co-producer of Sister Bear Burlesque, Devereaux is helping queer the idea of burlesque one stage at a time.

14. Catty Wompass

A post shared by Jules Wood (@ misscattywompass )~ ATAGEND on Apr 24, 2017 at 2:33 pm PDT

Iowa City’s Catty Wompass is a poet and academic in the world-renowned Iowa Writer’s Workshop by day and fag burlesque artist with a love of retro kitsch and camp by night. Don’t miss her Mrs. Potatohead routine or her heartachingly beautiful verse.

15. Dottie Lux

A post shared by DottieLux (@ dottielux )~ ATAGEND on Dec 1, 2017 at 9:56 am PST

San Francisco’s Dottie Lux has taken many forms, but the most important is that of a lesbian burlesque faerie godmother hostessing many events throughout the Bay Area. As part of a collective of 18 queer activists, Lux has helped save San Francisco’s iconic lesbian bar STUD, inducing it a safe place for faggot folks of all identities.

16. Mx. Pucks A’Plenty

A post shared by Mx. Pucks A’Plenty (@ pucksaplenty )~ ATAGEND on Dec 27, 2017 at 8: 43 pm PST

Seattle-based queer burlesque performer Mx. Pucks A’Plenty toys with gender as they light up the room from on stage.

17. Miss Meow

A post shared by Yael Perez-Miss Meow Burlesque (@ yaelkitten )~ ATAGEND on Feb 10, 2018 at 7:45 am PST

Montreal’s Miss Meow is the cat’s pajamas. This Canadian cutie commands the stage with a beautiful retro looking that is not to be missed.

This article by Laurel Dickman originally appeared on Ravishly and has been republished with permission.

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She’s an expert at spotting fake news. This is what she wants you to know.

“Fake news” is more than only the phrase the president uses to brush aside narratives he doesn’t like. It’s a real thing, and something we should all be on the lookout for .

An image of Parkland student Emma Gonzalez tearing up a transcript of the U.S. Constitution ran viral over the weekend, sending some corners of social media into a frenzy.

There was one problem, however: It was wholly fake.

The actual photo came from a Teen Vogue video shoot featuring her and some of the other Parkland students. In the real clip, Gonzalez is considered tearing up a paper shooting target.

The fact-check was swift, but a lot of damage was done, as the altered image continued making the rounds.

It’s easy to be deceived by online hoaxes — so we spoke with someone whose chore it is to spot them every day.

Managing editor Brooke Binkowski wrestlings with the importance of truth and figuring out how to stop the spread of hoaxes every day for the highly trusted fact-checking website Snopes.

Brooke Binkowski. Photo courtesy of Brooke Binkowski, illustration by Tatiana Cardenas/ Upworthy.

The site, launched in 1994, began as a collection of fact-checks on some of the internet’s early urban legends. Wanted to find out whether or not that tale about the murderer with a hooking for a hand was true? Snopes had you encompassed. Needed to know whether your favorite brand of bubble gum is filled with spider eggs? The answer was just one click away.

In more recent years, the site has taken on more serious topics, online hoaxes, and “fake news.” Did Donald Trump wade into the water of a inundated Texas city to save two cats from drowning after Hurricane Harvey?( No .) Did Barack Obama congratulate Vladimir Putin on his 2012 electoral victory?( Yes .)

Snopes is often cited alongside and PolitiFact as some of the best, most accurate, and bias-free fact-checking websites in the world, even earning it a partnership with Facebook.

Binkowski spoke with Upworthy about how to deal with increasingly sophisticated hoaxes we all encounter online( and gave us a few behind-the-scenes secrets about how the people at Snopes do what they do best ).

The following interview has been gently edited and condensed in the interests of clarity .

Why does the truth matter, and what damage is there in sharing fake stories ?

The truth matters because without being able to agree on the most basic facts, there is no democracy. Democracy depends on an informed, trained populace in order to survive. To actively suppress curiosity or obscure facts is to actively suppress democratic norms.

When you share fake or misinforming tales, first of all, don’t beat yourself up about it if you were trying not to ! We all fall for it. Some of it is extremely persuading .

I strongly believe that the onus should not be on the individual to sift through all the garbage to discovery good, vetted news on top of every other thing they have going on in their life, as I hear many indicate — that’s why journalism exists. I guess people are overall extremely smart and crave info, but without vetted and transparent info, they fall for conspiracy speculate.

That’s what propaganda and disinformation seize on. If you repeat that pattern across a country, it dramatically erodes these democratic norms. Plus, have you ever tried to talk to a really entrenched conspiracy theoretician?

So I would be as mindful as you can about the causes of tales and try your best not to share disinformation — and if you do, I would try to be upfront about it and delete it so that it does not spread.

Right now is a crucial time to be mindful, even though I just said the onus shouldn’t be on the individual. It shouldn’t , but we simply don’t have enough running journalists to go around right now, because our industry has been allowed to breakdown in the name of executive profit.

Illustration by Tatiana Cardenas/ Upworthy.

Can you walk us through how Snopes fact-checks a narrative ?

We don’t have any one specific route that we fact-check a tale — there’s no real formula for doing so. A plenty of what we do is so disappointing when I describe it to people, because it’s not magic. It’s “just” journalism.

I try to give my writers period and space to do the research that they need to do, although sometimes it’s a little difficult when we have “conspiracizing” from all sides. So sometimes, one of us will have to head to the library to pull books or go over to the local university to look through newspapers on campus.

A lot of the time we do old-fashioned reporting. Our faculty is completed the United States and they know their stuff, so I’ll take advantage of that and send them out on the field sometimes. We also, of course, know the recur fake-news and irony delinquents, so that attains it easy, because we can save a lot of hour only by noting that they have an all-purpose disclaimer buried somewhere on their site. Sometimes we do photo or video forensics and FOIA petitions( not that we get a lot of those answered, hahaha ).

We try to be as thorough and as transparent with our run as possible, which is why we have a source listing at the bottom of each page and maybe describe our methodology in a bit more detail than we should — but that’s how we all roll.

Which is also why, on a side note, I find the conspiracy hypothesis about us a bit puzzling. We’re really easy to track down online, we list all our sources, and we try to be as open as humanly possible without also being boring about our methodology.

And yet people still think we’re part of a grand conspiracy. I’m still waiting for my check from George Soros/ the Lizard People/ the Clinton Foundation, though. It’s been, like, 20 years!

…OK, if you’re a conspiracy theorist reading that last sentence, that’s a gag. I already got my checks.

No , no, I’m sorry. I only can’t stop myself.

Photo via Teen Vogue, illustration by Tatiana Cardenas/ Upworthy.

What can regular, everyday people do to avoid hoaxes and “fake news? ”

My best tip that I can possible devote readers is this: Disinformation and propaganda classically take hold by employing emotional appeals. That is why what Cambridge Analytica did should be viewed through that lens.

One of the more sinister things that I have read that they did, in my opinion( among other things I’m assured that no one yet knows ), was track people who were highly susceptible to authoritarianism, then flood them with violent imagery that was invisible to everyone else on social media, so that they were always in a state of fear and emotional arousal and highly susceptible to an authoritarian message.

That’s the type of person propaganda historically targets anyway — those who feel out of step with society and have strong tendencies toward authoritarianism — but now, groups like Cambridge Analytica are doing it faster and more surgically.

If you’re reading, viewing, or listening to a story that’s inundating you with high feeling, negative or positive — whether it’s fear, rage, schadenfreude, amusement at how gullible everybody else is — check your sources. You are being played. Do a quick search for the narrative, see if it has been debunked at minimum, and/ or look for other sources and perspectives.

One of the most noxious things about disinformation and propaganda is that both weave some truth into their lies, which stimulates the lies much, much stronger.

Something I like to say about political leanings is that the right assumes it has the moral upper hand and the left presumes it has the intellectual upper hand — both are tremendous flaws that are easy to exploit.

Don’t let yourself be exploited. Be on guard. Don’t assume other people are sheep and don’t assume other people are morally bankrupt. Propaganda wants you to assume the worst about your fellow denizens; the people who push it out want the basic textile of society destroyed.

It wants you detesting your devotees, your neighbors, your family members, the guy at the store, the lady at the coffee shop. Propagandists want you distrusting each other, bickering, and unable to agree on the most basic facts — because then they can exploit those crackings further and consolidate power in the process.

Don’t let yourself be taken in.

The basic take-aways for the average person? Get your news from trusted sources, confirm it with a second source, check your own confirmation biases, and get very well known reverse image search tools.

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Procrastinator? Me too. These 5 tips really helped me get to work.

Let’s get this out of the route: I’m a procrastinator. It’s likely you are too.

There’s nothing I enjoy more than write — OK, sleeping is a close second — but when I open a new Word document to type out a story, I instantly begin to think about things that I would much instead be doing right now . You know, like washing every dish in the house or seeing just how many YouTube videos I can watch in an hour.

Don’t worry, we’re not alone:

If you need more evidence that so many of us( 20% of people worldwide are “true procrastinators”) are putting off the things we could be doing until tomorrow — “a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation, and achievement is stored” — you need to check out this video that’s running viral.

It’s a lecturing by prof and procrastination researcher Timothy Pychyl. The video was originally shot in 2012, but you won’t be surprised to learn that not much has changed for all us procrastinators out there.

Check it out if you’re looking to understand and change some of your procrastination behaviours.

Now back to the important stuff:

As you practise not putting things off, you build up your belief in yourself. And that belief translates to a change in your habits and identity. The catch, though, is that you can’t go too fast, and you can’t put off the small steps until tomorrow or next week or the first of the month.

You’ve got to start taking care of what you’ve been putting off now. Stop and think what you can accomplish in a few minutes. Just start. Don’t think about it.

5. The most important step? Something called “implementation intention.”

You know what’s on your to-do list because it’s keeping you up at night. You promise yourself you’ll get it done first thing tomorrow, but another day has come and gone, and you’re still stuck in the same place. That’s not because you’re lazy but because, as Pychyl says, procrastination is “the gap between aim and action.”

Let’s make that even simpler: The problem isn’t that you don’t know what to do, it’s that you don’t know how to do it . The items on your listing — even ones like “clean the house” or “get back to people” — are big and vague enough that you don’t know where to get started.

In the video, Pychyl says that when he asks a grad student what they’re working on and they say “my thesis, ” he knows that they’re not get any work done. Wasn’t the same true for you when you said “I’ll do my homework” rather than saying “I’ll do the problems I have for math followed by the paper I’ve got for English”?

Implementation intention, based on the work of researcher and New York University professor Peter Gollwitzer, is the idea is that you breaking objectives down into the following formula: “In situation X, I will do behavior Y to attain subgoal Z.” You give yourself concrete plans that don’t simply include an intention but a clear plan for your action.

That turns “I’ll definitely clean the whole house on Sunday” to “On Sunday morning, I’ll do my dishes and mop the floor so that my kitchen is clean.”

It’s actually as simple as that( and research shows that it runs ).

And if you find that you don’t feel like it? Well, Pychyl knows that you won’t. But learning to regulate your emotions is an important part of learning not to procrastinate.

“When I ask my children about feeding the fish, dogs, or horses( or any other chore, including homework ), and they say, ‘I don’t feel like, I don’t wishes to, ‘ my typical reaction is, ‘I didn’t ask you how you felt or what you want to do. I asked you about that action, ‘” Pychyl writes in a blog post.

In short, be considered that “‘I don’t feel like it’ is not a reason, it’s an excuse.”

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