Darling Letters: Disappointment Is A Comma, Not a Period

A woman's hands as she writes inside a magazine, one page with a large comma and the other with writing

We are bringing “Darling Letters” from your inbox to the blog! We love the art of letter writing and believe it helps build authentic community. Our editors and contributors have thoughtfully written encouraging letters to cut through the busyness and speak straight to your heart.

After a long day of frantically refreshing my inbox, I finally got a response, but it was not the one I was hoping for.


The small, Arial text seemed as though it spoke in all caps. It felt as if the short message punctuated a dream of acceptance into the program and the subsequent joy that I anticipated. 

It felt as if the short message punctuated a dream of acceptance into the program and the subsequent joy that I anticipated. 

The immediate disappointment that followed this email seemed like confirmation that dreaming and hoping for something that was not immediately within reach was not viable nor worth it. In an ongoing season replete with dissolved dreams, this seemed like another reason to see the present moment as one of isolation disconnected from the future.

However, to dream is to realize that what you see is not all there is and is not all there will be. In doing this, we take stock of the state of things around us while also allowing ourselves to long for something better. When disappointment comes, we can try to suppress our dreams as “outlandish” or “unattainable,” or instead, we can discern a healthy discontent for the present moment while still creating new aspirations for the future.

May we see interruptions to our dreams as commas, not periods. Dream on (even when it’s hard).

To dream is to realize that what you see is not all there is and is not all there will be. 

Sam Miller, the Darling family

Is there any disappointment in your life that is causing you to feel disillusioned? How can we continue to dream in the midst of disappointment?

Image via Tony Li

How to Analyze, Tear Down and Rationalize the False Narratives We Believe

A black and white photo of a woman standing near the ocean with her hair blowing in the wind

Every word and sentence that people say about themselves tells an enduring and more consistent story of how they perceive and experience life. For example, if someone refers to others as “stupid” and then utters painful stories where they expose ideas of their own worthlessness, it begins to shape a narrative of the way that person suffers.

This person may see things in a depressed light. He or she may believe that life only deals a poor hand of cards, that nothing good could be dealt and that life is meaningless. However, such statements begin to shape a pattern of one’s reality, whether the person is aware of it or not. 

A key to transformation begins with perception. Perception uses the faculties of the senses to come into awareness of something and construct a lived reality. To varying degrees, we perceive every moment to help us understand and function within the world we live in. We typically perceive things without being conscious of how sensory information is interpreted and organized through our nervous systems. Instead, we go about experiencing life, sensing and feeling our way through.

We perceive every moment to help us understand and function within the world we live in.

Perception helps form the realities we experience. One experience after another begins to build the narrative of our lives just like a story with a beginning, middle and end. Words tell a story of what one perceives. Oftentimes, people are unaware that how they speak about experiences helps organize the mental framework of their personal narrative.

If I were to tell a story about how everything went wrong, then it could be a stand-alone story of bad luck. If I told similar stories every day, then that could become an enduring tale of personal defeat and disappointment, expressed in my daily life.

How do we become conscious of the narratives that we may be writing? Long-term psychotherapeutic work suggests that when we become more conscious of false narratives, we ultimately transform them.

When we become more conscious of false narratives, ultimately we transform them. 

Here are some points to consider for self-reflection:

Reflect on what you call in. 

Perception teaches us that, while we may not be conscious of it every moment, it can help us reflect on how to attract the best possible experience and create the highest quality outcome. This may mean sensing that good things will happen as opposed to the worst.

This could mean intentionally reflecting on and drawing in positive emotions, thoughts, images and energy to help serve the day and fortify a more resilient life narrative for the long-term. This is a daily and even a moment-to-moment reflection.

Listen to the pattern.

Each person has a pattern of internal communication based on word choice and tone, which frames the narrative of one’s life. The way to identify your patterns is to listen to yourself without judgment. 

For one day, listen to the words you use to describe yourself, others and the world around you. How would you describe your language and tone? For example, perhaps you notice that your language is quite defeatist or maybe your tone represents a positive narrative of faith and perseverance.

Do this exercise over multiple days and see if there is a pattern you see emerging. Try to be open to what is and refrain from self-critique.  

Listen to yourself without judgment. 

Reframe the pattern by taking responsibility.

People can attempt to revise the pattern by taking responsibility for their portion of healing. For this exercise, focus on a particular event that recently occurred that was charged for whatever reason. 

How would you describe what happened in two sentences? Take a step back and consider that there may be multiple sides to the story. While you may feel connected to your side of the story, see if you can hold onto it less nd observe things from another perspective. The other perspective may not always feel good to think about.  

Now imagine that you are an author attempting to write the story in a balanced way to present a perspective for greater healing. Would you see the experience in the same way, an alternative way, a mishmash of both or something else?

You are the author of your narrative.

False narratives rely on experiences happening to you without you happening to them. People may perceive things happening to them without their intended participation. In many cases, but certainly not all, you may have a role to play, which could be quite empowering.  

Through the everyday choices you make, you are the author of your life. This is an invitation to step into that experience. You have the right, the ability and the wisdom to take any experience and “write it” in a way that empowers you.

You have the right, the ability and the wisdom to take any experience and “write it” in a way that empowers you.

If you did not get the job you wanted, change the narrative to not a “job lost” but “a future opportunity gained.” If a relationship ends, then rewrite the narrative from “a bitter ending” to “two consenting individuals doing their best with disattaching.” Your version will be better because it is yours, and it will be authentic to you.

Take a moment. Call in a false narrative, perceive it in the light of day as opposed to the shadow of the night. Reframe the words and tone. Write it in your own way. Sign your name under it and make it the new signature of your life: one of truth, empowerment and wisdom.

Have you ever made assumptions about other people or written a false narrative in your head? What power have you found in reframing your thoughts?

Image via Navarro Aydemir, Darling Issue No. 17

20 Summer Hobbies You Can Start Today

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Source: Lucas Ottone | Stocksy

I don’t want to jinx it and scare away warm Chicago temps but summer is almost upon us which means that it’s the perfect time to finally adopt that summer hobby you’ve always wanted to try. 

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about adulthood, it’s that finding a hobby is more difficult than meets the eye. It can take a bit of trial and a whole lot of error to find what exactly lights your fire, but once you do, life just gets so much better. Whether you’re in it to fill a void, get away from your tech screens, work your creative muscles, or experience new ventures, we’ve got you covered. These 20 summer hobbies are here to help you have your most fulfilling season yet:


1. Take up photography

Remember that one time when you bought that one DSLR camera and swore you’d use it, then refrained from bringing it anywhere because it’s just too chunky for casual use? Fair enough, but hear us out: Summer is the perfect time to pick photography back up and to learn how to use your fancy camera beyond “auto” mode. Whether you’re documenting your favorite summer sights or learning how to get the perfect golden hour pics, there is no better time to learn the groundwork of photography than when you can comfortably be in natural, outside light without freezing your ass off.

DSLR or not, learning the basics of photography can make any pictures (yes, even the ones you take with your iPhone) exponentially better. Watching YouTube videos to learn about photography basics (aperture, exposure, shutter speed, and ISO),  tips/tricks, and mistakes to avoid can help you understand the camera you already have or inspire you to invest in one. Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll has great reviews on Amazon and is another great place to start.


DSLR Camera Bundle

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Instant Film Camera

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iPhone Tripod

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Henry Carroll

Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs

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2. Develop your green thumb

Maybe you’re already a trusty plant mom or maybe you’re like me who can’t get within 10 feet of a plant without it passing away. Regardless of your previous skill level, gardening can be a nice, rewarding hobby to take up in the summertime. Starting a garden can be an intimidating task but thankfully, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get your green thumb on. Whether you prefer to read about how to plan, sow, plant, and maintain your garden or watch a YouTube series on how to get started, there are plenty of ways to learn and to get going and growing.


The Complete Gardener’s Guide

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Tammy Wylie

Container Gardening For Beginners

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Gardening Kit

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Indoor Garden

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Planters’ Choice

Indoor Herb Garden

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3. Take a hike

Grab your hiking boots, ladies, we’re trailblazing this summer. If you’ve been hiking before, you know that it’s one of the best ways to reconnect with yourself and the world around you. Hit up a local trail in your area or road trip to a place with great heights and terrain—the world is truly your playground! Get lost in thought, get those endorphins pumping, soak up some vitamin D, and let the good times roll. If you’re a beginner, invest in some good hiking gear, stay hydrated, bring a good SPF, and check out these hiking tips to ensure that you have a safe and fun experience.


Hiking Daypack

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Hydration Daypack

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Backpacking Boots

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4. Make your own jewelry

Arts and crafts have always been at the tip-top of popular summer hobbies but have you tried making your own jewelry yet? Capture your own design aesthetic in wearable pieces that you can make from the comfort of your own home. Make them for yourself, gift them to a friend, sell them on Etsy… the possibilities are endless. There are some awesome kits, books, and Youtube videos (essential techniques, supplies to purchase, and of course, hacks) that will make getting started a whole lot easier.

Cecilia Leibovitz

Bead Jewelry Making for Beginners

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Jewelry Making Kit

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5. Repurpose old fabrics

Here at TEG, we’re all about spring cleaning, bingeing our closets when they’re busting at the seams, and donating or selling pieces that either don’t fit, aren’t our style, or remind us of darker days. But one thing we haven’t quite explored? Upcycling our fabrics into cool new pieces that you just can’t buy on any online shop or any storefront.

Grab your scissors and your sewing kits (sewing machines, if you’re fancy) and prepare to transform your dusty old pieces into something fresh, trendy, and wearable. If you’re not into sewing (yet), start with these 11 no-sew upcycle clothing projects and then move on to some more advanced techniques when you’re ready to completely transform an item you’d otherwise get rid of. Whether you want to flip thrifted pieces, try out a new trend, or completely transform your wardrobe, upcycling your old clothes is a fun way to enter a creative flow, express yourself, and be a bit kinder to the environment. That’s what we like to call a win-win situation and we’re here for it.


Mini Sewing Kit

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Yula Designs

Embroidery Starter Kit

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Fabric Cutting Mat

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Fabric Shears

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6. Explore new places in your town

If there’s one thing that we took for granted pre-pandemic, it was appreciating the beauty, the nooks, and the crannies of our own hometowns. As small businesses, farmers’ markets, and attractions begin to reopen with masking and social distancing restrictions, it’s once again becoming safe to rediscover the beauty of your own city. Challenge yourself to visit one to two new places a week to safely broaden your horizons and to appreciate all that your city has to offer.



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7. Hit the tennis court

Channel your inner Serena Williams because tennis is a phenomenal way to get outside, get your heart rate up, and get your sweat on. Do I personally know one thing about tennis other than the mandatory grunt that comes with serving? No. But do I enjoy the satisfying “plunk” that occasionally occurs when a tennis ball bounces perfectly off of the center of my racket? You bet. If you want to get official, you can hit up some YouTube tutorials like this one so that you can get a match going with a friend.


Tennis Balls

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Tennis Racket

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Portable Tennis Net

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8. Read in the sunshine

Name a better feeling than curling up with a book while basking in the sunlight. We’ll wait. The slow moments of summer serve as the perfect opportunity to finally tackle that ever-growing “to-read list.” And whether you’re looking for books that keep you on the edge of your seat, give you a sense of wanderlust, give you all of the Bridgerton vibes, or inspire you to be better, we’ve got some page-turning recommendations for you. 


9. Dabble in mixology

If whipping up classic, daring, or snazzy cocktails has been a feat on your to-try list, we’re declaring that this summer is the one that you make it happen. Try taking a virtual mixology class from the comfort of your backyard, check out a cocktail recipe book (that doubles as a coffee table book, of course), invest in some cocktail accessories, and toast to trying new things.

Sother Teague

I’m Just Here for the Drinks

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Tim Federle

Tequila Mockingbird

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Mixology & Craft

Mixology Bartending Kit

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10. Practice journaling

Journaling is a great way to get in touch with your inner-self, explore new ideas, and express what is weighing on your heart. Whether you view journaling as a way to record a stream of thoughts or as an outlet to discover your purpose (like with these awesome journaling prompts), getting started can be a therapeutic addition to your “me time” that you can take just about anywhere (early, sunny morning on the Chicago lakefront, anyone?).


Bullet Journal

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Bonnie Myotai Treace

52-Week Guided Journal

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Intelligent Change

The Five Minute Journal

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Colorful Journaling Pens

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Fine Point Gel Pens

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11. Hit a hole in one

OK, maybe a hole in one is a little ambitious for those of us who may have never hit the links before but golfing is a summer hobby that you can stick with for (pretty much) ever. There are so many components to golf that you can spend time mastering (putting, chipping, driving, driving the golf cart while looking cute in golf attire, etc.). While investing in a set of clubs can be a bit expensive, a good set can last you forever and can be a great social activity to partake in once the world opens back up. 


Women’s Complete Golf Set

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Golf Shoe

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12. Switch up your form of transportation

Yesterday, I saw this video of a gal effortlessly gliding on and off of a longboard, barefoot, and looking cool as hell. It seemed so liberating and the vibes were absolutely immaculate. I briefly thought to myself, “I want to do that!” before coming back to reality and remembering my super average athletic abilities and impressive lack of balance. Though I’ll likely never zippity-do-da on a longboard like the aforementioned graceful woman, there’s something about biking, rollerblading, and scootering that reminds me of summer nights in my hometown as a kid and leaves me nostalgic AF. And who knows, maybe you’ll spot me gliding on a longboard down Michigan Avenue one of these days.


Cycling Helmet

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Beginner Longboard

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Public Bikes

European-Style City Bike

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Inline Skates

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13. Update old furniture (or start from scratch):

There’s a big learning curve when it comes to tackling anything handy—especially if you’re like me—but after watching stunning home improvement projects on TikTok for a few hours, I suddenly feel like I am Joanna Gaines herself and start looking at my old furniture thinking, “oh, I for sure can sand and stain that!” Entering the world of home improvement is no joke but the payoff is wildly great. Not only will you feel a sense of “holy shit, I did that” accomplishment, but it can also result in some really great pieces that save you a ton of money in the long run. 


Home Tool Kit

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Matte Black Spray Paint

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Orbit Sander

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Retique It

Furniture Paint

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14. Brew some beer

Nothing screams “it’s summer” quite like cracking a cold beer but, as with all things, food and drink tend to taste better when you put time into making it yourself. I’ll admit, until our Editor in Chief mentioned that her husband dabbled in beer making last summer, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of brewing my own. I am picturing myself in a garage, singing the wrong words to country music, brewing some beer, and enjoying the fruits of my labor and I declare—this could the most unexpected summer hobby yet.

Northern Brewer

Beer Making Kit

4 flavors available

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John J. Palmer

How To Brew

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Joshua M. Bernstein

The Complete Beer Course

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Jonny Garrett and Brad Evans

Beer School: A Crash Course in Craft Beer

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15. Foster an animal

If you’ve fostered an animal before, you know that fostering is one of the most rewarding and mutually beneficial relationships in the game. Not only may it result in cuddles, kisses, and overall cuteness overload, but it’ll help prepare the animal for future adoption and free up room in the shelter, allowing the shelter to take new animals in. It’s a great way to experience puppy or kitty love without long-term commitment and is a great way to help out a furry friend in need (and your community). Reach out to shelters in your area to find fostering opportunities near you and thank me later!



6 Beach Outfits to Wear This Summer

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

No matter who you are or where you live, odds are, the beach will be at least a small part of your summer days. Whether you live close to one or are just going on a trip, you’ll need more than just a bathing suit to wear to the beach—you’ll need full beach outfits.

Sure, it’s easy to throw on a go-to bathing suit, but the real challenge is what you wear with it. Styling a bathing suit is no easy feat, but from breezy, linen shorts to terrycloth pieces á la Juicy Couture, there are dozens of outfits to wear with your bathing suit for a day on the water. We’ve all thrown on a T-shirt, jean shorts, and flip flops before, but this year, we’re taking it a step further.

Toss your SPF, a bottle of water, and a towel into your beach bag, and get ready to be the best-dressed one at the beach this summer. 


 sunglasses / bikini top / bikini bottoms / tote / cover-up / flip flops 



sunglasses / bathing suit / bag / cover-up / sandals 



sunglasses / bathing suit / bag / shorts / sandals



 hat / bikini top / bikini bottoms / beach bag / terry shorts / sandals 



 necklace / bikini top / bikini bottoms / cooler bag / shorts / sandals



hat / necklace / bikini top / bikini bottoms / sandals



A Lesson From the French on How to Rest Well During Summertime

A view of the Eiffel Tower from behind a tree

It’s difficult to put into words what summertime means in France. An analogy that seems fitting is to compare summer in France to a finely aged wine. The French work hard all year to harvest the fruit of their labor, but when it comes to summer vacation, they know that, like an aged bottle of red, the secret to excellence is allowing time, rest and stillness to do the work. So let’s learn the French way to do summer—by taking time to relish in the abundance and harvest of the year through true rest. 

As a lover of California sunshine, living abroad in France for four years gave me a new understanding of summer as I faced my first dark, cold and damp winter in Paris. The short days and crowded metros made me crave space and light. Springtime in Paris was an emotional rollercoaster as weather was unpredictable and thunderstorms would interrupt pique-niques and plans.

The French do not live to work. They work to live. Even embedded within the language, the verb “être” (to be) is often used more than “faire” (to do). Daily life in the summer is centered on being not merely doing. Summers are not just for kids on break from school, but the entire society celebrates and savors all that summer has to offer. 

The French do not live to work. They work to live.

Summer Solstice, June 21, is welcomed with a national music festival called La Fête de La Musique. The festival originated in the 1980’s when the Minister of Culture desired to bring people and music to the streets. 

By allowing amateurs and professionals to play without permits, cost or noise restrictions at the festival, all genres of music are made accessible to the public. On the longest day of the year, everyone celebrates life with a 24-hour nationwide party. In Paris, all you need to do is walk for a few blocks and you will stumble on elderly couples dancing in the streets, punk-rock youth blasting their protests, classical quartets lining cafés and children, always at the front line of any crowd, soaking in the sounds and experience of music. 

This annual festival is just a debut of all France has to offer for the summer months. All year long you hear the French dream and discuss plans for “les vacances.” Embedded in French culture is the value of time for rest more than the grind of work and capitalism. 

Embedded in French culture is the value of time for rest more than the grind of work and capitalism. 

The government by law requires full-time workers to take at least five weeks vacation, on top of public holidays throughout the year. By August, most shops are closed for the month with handwritten notes from owners explaining “on est en vacances.” We are on vacation and will reopen in September. 

The French summer is unlike any other. Located in the heart of Europe, the geography of France allows for easy access to travel and weekend trips to new cultures and countries. All you have to do is hop on a south-bound train and you will be at the seaside in a matter of hours. 

The longer days, full feasts of delicious seasonal food, time spent with family and a nation-wide pause on work allow for a restoration of the soul of humanity. This summer, may we also learn to pause and let time and rest do its work in usmaking us like a fine wine full of flavor and life.

How good are you about prioritizing rest? Why is this so important?

Image via Coco Tran, Darling Issue No. 19

Independence Day and the Ongoing Road to Freedom

Fireworks exploding dimly
Colors splashing silently
Against the midnight blue sky
I stay inside heart broken and awry

I want to celebrate you today—I do
Even if you haven’t always loved me too
Celebration for liberation I cannot feel
For I need space within myself to heal

Land of the free, home of the brave
Oh land of my heart, the blood you gave
To tear away and become your own
The victory won to now stand alone

I love my country: yes, I do
I am proud to have come from you
With your imperfections I am wrestling
With all that is not yet free I am reckoning

I wrestle so I can find truth’s acceptance
Then we can move forward in repentance
Both celebrate the birth of our nation in 1776
And commit to work on what still must be fixed

May we continue to push for the promises
Of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
For all humankind created equal and free
From colonies to one nation we overcame tyranny

Until all experience the same liberation others do
It is growth and change we must pursue
As we wish each other a happy fourth of July
May we commit to help every American be able to fly

To honor all who have fought for our nation, we persevere:
For respect for each other, we fight
For unity with one another, we fight
For liberty and justice for all, we fight

This time, I’ll step outside to look up at the sky
A sparkler in hand to enjoy the festivities I’ll try
To sing a new anthem: I am proud to be an American
This is my country to shape and to liberate is my inheritance

What injustice have you seen in your corner of the world? How can you be an advocate for people or groups of people who are disenfranchised or overlooked?

Image via Raisa Zwart Photography

Darling Letters: How to Keep Your Heart Tender

A woman in a navy blue suit crouched on the floor

We are bringing “Darling Letters” from your inbox to the blog! We love the art of letter writing and believe it helps build authentic community. Our editors and contributors have thoughtfully written encouraging letters to cut through the busyness and speak straight to your heart.

My bleary eyes check the clock, confirming it’s already tomorrow. 1:17 a.m. I grab my journal and scribble “I’m too raw and exposed. Just teetering on an edge.” 

I breathe in and out the prayerful pleas on my heart to steady myself back into my body. Now, it’s 6:12 a.m. I’m awake again as my 4-year-old daughter clumsily tries to sneak under my covers. Her big, sleepy eyes beg for a snuggle, and she’s wrapped up in my arms just like that. Down the hall my eldest runs his fingers across the keys of our hand-me-down piano, and music fills the house and my heart too, which is strung out from yesterday’s heartache. Right now, however, it’s so full from the sweet glory of a new day that tears hit my cheeks.

Right now, however, [my heart is] so full from the sweet glory of a new day that tears hit my cheeks.

The kids are antsy for breakfast, but I quickly journal, “My mind reels and wanders. My heart swells and breaks. I need the both/and. I don’t want to dull myself from feeling tender to all that remains good.”

The tender parts of us are a glimmer of our humanity. We remain tender by holding the tension of our “ands”joy and grief, hard and sacred. I want to be soft enough to behold and brim the beauty of it all while remaining unflinchingly curious and empathetic to wade into the deep of what is broken and painful. Hard-fought, deep joy doesn’t deny or look away from sorrow. Even in heartache, we can hold space for hope to return. 

Even in heartache, we can hold space for hope to return. 

Author and activist Parker Palmer taught me the etymology of the word humus, which is the decayed vegetable matter that nurtures the roots of plants. It comes from the same root word for humility. Our most humble momentsface down in the dirt, tender and rawmay create the richest soil for deep rooting and meaning. If we harden ourselves, we’ll miss it. Stay tender for truth, healing, beauty and justice to grow wild here.

With a tender heart,
Jessica Mayfield, the Darling family

What negative connotation does “a tender heart” carry in society? How do you perceive “tenderness” and “vulnerability”? How can keeping your heart soft and tender be used to your advantage?

Image via Taylor Roades, Art via Ash (Opperman) Wilson

In the Know: Your Weekly News Breakdown in 5 Minutes or Less

Missed a major news story? Saw a headline that you wanted to read but didn’t have time? No worries, we’ve got you covered!

Our contributing news and politics editor puts together the week’s most important news information in quick summaries so you can get a high-level idea of what’s gone down in the world. You probably won’t see your latest celebrity gossip here, but you will see the latest on politics and news events. From racial justice info to COVID-19 updates, this roundup will help you catch up on everything that happened during the week. 


In this article

Protests in Cuba Shed Light on Political Corruption

Virgin Galactic Owner Takes First Commercial Trip to Space

Uptick in COVID-19 Cases Linked to Delta Variant and Low Vaccination Rates

24+ Arrested in Connection to Last Week’s Assassination of Haitian President

Debate Over Critical Race Theory in Schools Intensifies

Taliban Forces Grow as U.S. Troops Leave Afghanistan

Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to be the Next Billionaire in Space

Britney Spears Receives Major Win in Conservatorship Case


Protests in Cuba Shed Light on Political Corruption

On Sunday, thousands of Cubans took to the streets in various cities across the country to protest the Communist regime and its failure to provide for Cuban citizens. A current shortage of jobs, food, medicine, and hygiene products exacerbated deep struggles Cubans already face and forced them to the streets in protest, the largest in the country since 1994. One person died during the protests, and there are reports of multiple missing people at the hands of Cuban police. The Cuban and Cuban American communities in U.S. states like Florida and Texas also protested domestically, raising awareness about the mistreatment and neglect orchestrated by the Cuban government. As a result of the protests, Cuba’s president Miguel Diàz-Canel temporarily lifted restrictions on food, medicine, and other goods coming into the country.



Virgin Galactic Owner Takes First Commercial Trip to Space

The “billionaire space race”––as some have called it––kicked off early this week with Virgin Galactic owner and entrepreneur Richard Branson taking the first private, commercial trip into space. The test flight was 90 minutes in total and, to some, was a publicity stunt that showcased the approaching reality of private citizens entering space. The mission was suborbital, meaning that the spacecraft did not make a full orbital revolution around the planet. Branson and the five other crew members accompanying him did experience weightlessness for four minutes, though. The mission ended with a smooth landing back on Earth and a concert celebration for guests in attendance, amongst whom was Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. In 2022, Virgin Galactic will begin taking private citizens on commercial trips to space for $250,000 per ticket.

READ MORE on Space.com


Uptick in COVID-19 Cases Linked to Delta Variant and Low Vaccination Rates

After months of decline, many U.S. states have reported increases in positive COVID-19 cases over the past week. Officials attribute the spike to various causes––summer travel, Fourth of July weekend, loosening COVID-19 restrictions across the country, growing prevalence of the Delta variant, and low vaccination rates. Generally, vaccination rates have plateaued as older Americans jumped on vaccines early while younger populations are slow to get vaxxed. More than half of all Americans have received at least one vaccination dose, but for those taking the Moderna or Pfizer shots, one dose is only half the protection. The Delta variant that was first identified in India months ago has now spread to more than 100 countries and is the dominant strain in the U.S. The World Health Organization advises that even vaccinated people should keep wearing masks due to the prevalence and strength of the Delta variant. In another attempt to encourage vaccination, President Biden invited 18-year-old actress and singer Olivia Rodrigo to the White House this week to promote vaccines for young people.

READ MORE from Associated Press


24+ Arrested in Connection to Last Week’s Assassination of Haitian President

Officials have been on the hunt for numerous Colombian, Haitian, and American people who are allegedly connected to the brutal July 7th assassination of Haitian president Jovenele Moïse. One of the suspects arrested is a former informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), but the agency has denied any involvement in the attack. President Moïse’s assassination has left the future of the Haitian government in question. The Haitian government requested that the U.S. send troops for temporary assistance, but the U.S. has instead agreed to send senior officials from the FBI and Homeland Security to aid in the assassination investigation.



Debate Over Critical Race Theory in Schools Intensifies

Reckoning racism in America continues with the recent debate about whether or not to add critical race theory (CRT) to public school curriculums around the country. Despite being a current hot topic, critical race theory is a 40-year-old concept which alleges that race is a social construct. It also puts forth the idea that racism is more than individual bias and is embedded throughout U.S. legal systems and policies. Hotly contested, those opposing CRT assert that it is divisive and paints America as an inherently racist country. Those supporting CRT claim that the teaching simply follows the evolution of enslavement, racism, and inequality in America. A poll released earlier this week suggests that those in opposition to CRT have incorrect misconceptions about the theory and that they might actually support it more than they think. So far, Florida, Arkansas, Idaho, and Oklahoma have banned CRT in public schools.

READ MORE on Yahoo! News


Taliban Forces Grow as U.S. Troops Leave Afghanistan

As President Biden’s August 31 deadline to have all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan approaches, there is growing international concern about the Taliban’s control over the country. Late last week, Taliban officials announced that they have taken control of 85 percent of Afghanistan’s territory, and this week, video footage was released of Taliban forces violently killing 22 Afghan commandos as they tried surrendering to the Taliban fighters. Despite the concern over safety in Afghanistan—including that of former President George W. Bush, who launched the war in Afghanistan to combat the Taliban and al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks in 2001—President Biden is standing by U.S. troop withdrawal. He claims that the U.S.’s 20-year occupation has provided Afghanistan with the supplies and strategies needed to defend themselves against the Taliban.

READ MORE on Reuters


Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to be the Next Billionaire in Space

On July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the “billionaire space race” continues with Amazon chairman and former CEO Jeff Bezos taking a pre-planned mission to space. Bezos’s aerospace company, Blue Origin, will launch him, his brother Mark, aerospace trailblazer Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen past Earth’s atmosphere at 8 a.m. CT. Unlike competitor Richard Branson, Bezos will go past the Kármán line, an internationally recognized point 62 miles past Earth’s surface where Earth’s atmosphere supposedly ends. Branson’s mission only went 53 miles past Earth’s surface, which is recognized by NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as entering space, but it is not as clear cut for international aerospace agencies. Liftoff will take place in West Texas but will not be open for public viewing. The mission will be streamed live on BlueOrigin.com.

READ MORE on Fox Business


Britney Spears Receives Major Win in Conservatorship Case

This week’s developments in the ongoing conservatorship case of pop icon Britney Spears were both heartbreaking and beneficial. The songstress attended a hearing via phone on Wednesday, explaining through tears that her father has been abusing her during the conservatorship. She claimed that he tries to convince her that she is mentally unstable when she is not. Spears also revealed that she plans to press charges against her father for conservator abuse. Spears’s longtime conservatorship attorney, Samuel Ingham III, resigned last week, leaving her legal representation in limbo. Technically under the conservatorship, Spears’s guardians—her father James Spears or co-conservator Jodi Montgonery—would be the only ones allowed to hire her next attorney. Wednesday’s testimony, a statement from Spears’s mother Lynne last week, and Spears’s testimony from previous hearings likely influenced the judge to grant Spears the authority to hire her own attorney instead. Since the entire conservatorship is the issue at hand, restricting Spears’s ability to choose her own attorney was yet another example of how little autonomy she has over her life. Now that the judge has ruled in favor of her selecting new counsel, Spears and her attorney will have to prove mental stability and capacity for self care in order for the conservatorship to end.




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Darling Letters: How to Take Up Space

A woman with her hands in her hair as she screams

We are bringing “Darling Letters” from your inbox to the blog! We love the art of letter writing and believe it helps build authentic community. Our editors and contributors have thoughtfully written encouraging letters to cut through the busyness and speak straight to your heart.

I can’t remember the exact moment I realized something wasn’t right—that the “same old, same old” wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Up until that point in my life, I felt confined. So I took a hard look at myself in the mirror and started the work of asking myself why.

What I discovered was that no one was confining me but me. In a subconscious attempt to protect myself from the disapproval of others, I put my voice and my opinions in a box of limitations. In this metaphorical box, who I was wouldn’t rock the boat and I couldn’t step on any toes.

What I discovered was that no one was confining me but me.

It took me years of self-discovery and growing pains to realize that I was living for the approval and applause of others and that the fear of not receiving it caused me to play the role of a lesser version of myself. For a while, this worked for me.

Yet, as I’ve matured, I’ve grown out of the box of playing small for other people. Now, that box of limitations is not large enough for me to fit in and living inside it is no longer sustainable for the healthier, more whole version of myself that I am today.

So I got out. I’m stretching my arms. I’m using my voice. I’m learning to speak up for myself and say what I think and what I want. I’m learning to take up every bit of space I’ve been given, and it feels good.

I’m stretching my arms. I’m using my voice. I’m learning to speak up for myself.

Let’s step out of the tight spaces where we have confined and limited ourselves. Everything about you—your thoughts and your opinions—is valuable and worthy of being seen and heard. There is room for you to be the most true and authentic version of yourself.

Starla Gatson, the Darling family

Have you ever felt the need to play small for other people? In what practical way, can you start taking up space in your life?

Image via Koury Angelo, Darling Issue No. 11