Celebrating genitalia never felt so superficial.

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There’s definitely a difference between judging an event that you’re not a part of, versus actually being present at that event.

I feel that’s important to say, because I have attended my fair share of gender reveal parties, and while I was there, I took part in the festivities and enjoyed the feelings that communal sharing and connection—ahem—engender (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

That being said, it’s been awhile since I have attended one of these little genital-celebration parties, and having some space away from the glittery, exploding blue and pink balloons and…

It was a long road to recovery—here’s my story.

Photo of , 9 years old.

Picture this.

A precocious, keen, sensitive child. She loves to ask questions, talk, dream, and imagine. Spending most of her time outdoors, this child can be found conversing with “fairies” in the garden, making mud pies, and climbing trees. Deeply thoughtful, this little one learns to read at three (never to be outdone by her older siblings), begins writing short books by five, and is intrinsically aware that the “unseen world” is vibrantly alive with spirits, energies, and colors beyond ordinary perception.

Few things were missed by young Amanda.

I was raised in an environment designed to nurture…

Here are four signs that a focus on health has become unhealthy.

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Nobody begins an obsession with the knowledge that they’re going to become obsessed. In fact, obsessions often sneak up on us—and contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t require having a “Type A personality” or an “obsessive personality” to become unhealthfully attached to something.

An obsession is characterized by any interest that dominates our lives to an unhealthy extent—where one “thing” begins to permeate everything that we do and think, and because it usually originates so gradually, we don’t even realize it’s happening.

When Health Becomes an Obsession

It seems ironic and perhaps even humorous that health could become an obsession, and yet, it can.


Here’s how to tell where you land—and what to do next.

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When I first discovered , my world shifted.

I knew so many people who fit the clinical criteria almost perfectly—most of them in my own family—and many who didn’t fit “perfectly,” yet exhibited narcissistic qualities in their daily behavior (myself included).

I went on to study Psychology in college while simultaneously exploring additional resources (academic, anecdotal, and literary) to develop a comprehensive understanding of narcissism in modern society.

Something I realized over the course of my learning is that narcissistic behavior doesn’t necessarily imply a clinical diagnosis…

A spirited rant about parenthood, parental approval, and my personal observations.

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When I was a kid, I knew exactly what living the dream meant—I could feel it in my bones.

It’s not something I could have written down on paper, mind you, but it was a state of being that I can describe to you now: a full tummy, a world ripe with possibility, the excitement of upcoming holidays and events, a loving family, and the approval of my parents…

Oops, did I say that out loud?

It has come to my attention in adulthood that the “approval of my parents” has served as a stumbling…

They cause pain with nearly every word they speak, but have you ever wondered what they’re thinking?

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It’s tricky to get inside the mind of a narcissist

Narcissists are catastrophically self-unaware—hard to believe, I know.

Anyone who has ever lived with a narcissist knows all-too-well the amount of violence and hostility they seem to effortlessly sow in their immediate environment, and it’s done with such regularity that it is difficult to imagine these behaviors are occurring unconsciously.

And yet, clarity is one of the missing ingredients in a narcissist’s mental toolkit, a fact that contributes to their lack of self-awareness and their inability to empathize with others. …

Here are five ways to end the addiction now and save your self-esteem.

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Imaginary Wrinkles

One time—high on magic mushrooms—I found that by turning my foot in the light at different angles, my skin would shift from appearing baby-smooth to looking like the leathery, wrinkled skin of a person 70 years my senior.

Since that experience, I’ve never forgotten the power of perception. Of course, my perception was altered (some might say “enhanced”) by an illicit psychedelic substance, but the lesson was still the same: reality is a fickle thing, completely subject to one’s “angle of perception.”

Years later, I found that…

They can be your five reasons, too.

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1. I don’t censor.

Censorship means judgment, and judgment implies that you are analyzing your work to ensure that it is suitable for readership/publication. While you may intend to have your work read or published, censorship during the process of writing will prevent you from writing anything.

It’s impossible for me to write and judge my writing simultaneously. When I’m censoring myself, I immediately notice—I’ll spend precious minutes on one sentence, working and reworking it before I move on to repeat the same miserable process—and then eventually scrap the whole paragraph.

You can’t make your work “good”…

Here’s my experience after three years of regular consumption.

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I’m wary of “,” a phenomenon in which one product, one practice, or one “secret” is promised to be the answer to everyone’s woes.

I remember the ketone craze in the early 2000's, in which alternative supplement companies began bottling and selling what they claimed were ketones, but after chemical analysis by a few suspicious consumers was later discovered to be—wait for it—mineral water. The promise was that the little tiny dropper bottles, along with a diet of only 500 calories a day, would cause rapid and lasting weight loss.

Back then, I pored over online message boards reading…

That depends on you.

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The rudimentary human mind often strives for absolutes.

In order to feel safe—in order to feel as if it has a grip on the reality of any given situation—the human mind is wont to categorizing situations in an all-or-nothing, black-or-white fashion (examples include sweeping generalizations or blanket moral judgments).

Nuance is often considered a luxury of the mind that is not trapped in fight-or-flight mode, struggling for survival. It’s the safe, comfortable philosopher, largely devoid of imminent danger (and therefore free of fear) who is able to contemplate the “gray” of a situation. …

Amanda Dollinger

The highest purpose of words is that they be used to connect one another.

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