Across the US and in many wealthy countries including Canada and New Zealand, real estate prices have skyrocketed during the pandemic. And while high prices have prohibited many from buying a home, those who’ve sold during this period have often raked in double or triple what they paid, even if they’d owned for just five to 10 years.
But while many walk away with heaps of cash, profiting off a system that leaves some rich and others struggling or houseless, one landlord decided to buck the trend.
Landlord sends check as a ‘share’ after home sale
In a Facebook post, Chris Robarge wrote that his old landlord contacted him out of the blue to get his new address. He was confused as to why the landlord from a place he stayed at after his divorce would send him something, until he opened the letter.
In it, there was a check for $2,500 and a note that explained what the money was for.
“I recently sold the house and the rent you paid each month contributed to paying off the mortgage,” the letter said. “I firmly believe the capitalist tradition of retaining money after the sale of a property is exploitative and antithetical to society. I wanted to return to you the portion of the rent you paid.”
The note further explained how the kind landlord calculated his expenses and reached the sum for each tenant.
“While the mortgage principal, especially in the first years of a mortgage, is a small fraction of those overall expenses, I wanted to return to you the portion of the rent you paid,” the landlord wrote.
It was a great house and I’m glad that I was able to share it with you.
Paying it forward
The gesture left Robarge in shock.
“I have been sitting with this for more than a day and I am still completely beyond an actual way to describe what this act means to me,” he wrote on Facebook.
Since receiving the letter, he decided he’s not going to keep the money, but instead will pass it on to various organizations including Black and Pink Massachusetts, Worcester Free Fridge, OurStory Edutainment and to people in the street who need it.
“All that I can say is that there are people who talk about their values and there are people who actually live them, and the reason I wanted to share this is that I want to encourage us all to actually live our values. Do it off the clock, do it when no one is watching, do it always.”
If you can’t do what my former landlord did, let this inspire you to give whatever you can spare to someone or someplace that needs it.
Do something different
The commodification of housing is a train that’s long left the station and seemingly impossible to stop or even slow down. Sure, rising prices allow many to save for retirement, but others are left without a house to call their own.
However, this homeowner decided to say to hell with all that and offer some support to renters. Yes, what he gave isn’t much, but it was a meaningful gesture and seems to have started a pay it forward chain that will keep going and going. Hopefully, other landlords will take note.
Over the span of a few short years, Meghan Markle has cemented her status as one of the most powerful women in the world.
However, this precipitous rise hasn’t been without its fair share of blood, toil, tears, and sweat. At every turn, Meghan has had to endure the stigma of being the outsider, someone who has to meet, if not exceed, the impossible expectations of those imposed on a Duchess, or as a matter of fact, any esteemed member of the English Royal Family. What complicated the transition was her inherent “otherness” and how the press singled it out repeatedly to trigger the masses and sway opinion. The media coverage became so vicious, obsessive, and predatory that it eventually played a part in driving Harry and Meghan from the monarchy for good.
A lot of naysayers argue Kate Middleton went through the same process of scrutiny and judgment, and everyone in the family has to bear the slander at some point or the other. How else are they going to justify their grand existences? However, Meghan’s arrival and subsequent assimilation into the family have been unlike any other newcomer. Moreover, you can’t deny there isn’t a stark distinction between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.
It’s high time we unpack their relationship and examine how the media’s treatment impacted their journeys through and outside the monarchy:
Kate also started out receiving intense criticism from the press
It’s hard to say when the rivalry commenced or whether it even existed before the press decided to run with the narrative. The media has been pitting the two Duchesses against each other for as long as one can remember, and they don’t intend to slow down anytime soon.
Meghan pointed out in the famous Oprah interview that “making Kate cry was the beginning of a real character assassination” on the media’s part. The story stemmed from a report alleging Meghan Markle, during the preparation of her wedding ceremony, had an argument with Kate Middleton regarding flower girl dresses that apparently led to the latter in tears. Meghan debunked the report in the interview and confirmed it had been the opposite — Kate had made her cry — and said Kate had apologized for her behavior and sent her flowers as a gesture.
The flower girl debacle was just the tip of the iceberg. Over the years, the English tabloids have been working to the bone to compare and contrast the two women and dissect their individual styles and choices. Meghan was initially hailed as a beacon of progressiveness for the age-old institution, a figure who would carve a new path for the family and bring them up to modern-day sensibilities. Weirdly enough, Kate Middleton, before her long-awaited engagement to Prince William, had been characterized as boring, bland, and ‘Waity Katie,’ a desperate young commoner just waiting to hit the big time and become a future princess, no matter how long it took.
As Meghan became an official Duchess, the tides turned, and the media launched an aggressive, organized campaign against her. She became the villain in every single situation, her each move scrutinized to death, her each appearance put under the microscope. Her estranged family from her dad’s side only worsened the disparagement — they leveraged their moment in the sun to make money and spew lies about their own half-sister and daughter.
Yet, it pales in comparison to how Meghan has been covered in recent years
An insightful article from Buzzfeedpaints a grim picture of how the Duchesses have been respectively portrayed in the media over the past few years and the “double standard” that seems to echo through.
For example, Kate is “tenderly” cradling her baby bump, but when Meghan does the same, the article changes course and asks, “Why can’t Meghan Markle keep her hands off her bump? Experts tackle the question that has got the nation talking: Is it pride, vanity, acting – or a new age bonding technique?” In another blatant case of prejudice, William is praised for gifting his wife an avocado to alleviate her morning sickness, but Meghan’s avocado is, all of a sudden, linked to “human rights abuse and drought.” It’s clear there is a rather significant bias in the media; what’s worse is that a lot of the public has fallen prey to the agenda, just as it was intended.
So why is there a bias at all? Well, there could be a number of factors, none of which have or will ever be verified. Meghan’s biracial ethnicity, background as an actress, divorceé status, and nationality have been identified as potential sources of her controversial image. Her race, in particular, has been cited as the number-one driving force of the double standard. Additionally, it could be Meghan’s advocacy that may have caused some disgruntlement among the institution, especially when the masses are so accustomed to the royals staying apolitical and ‘safe.’
On the contrary, Kate has been delivering everything that’s asked of her since becoming a Duchess. She’s elegant, gentle, dedicated to her role as wife and mother, and doesn’t try to challenge the status quo. She follows protocol to the tee, doesn’t complain about any of its pains, and displays endless devotion and reverence to the crown; she fulfills her obligation just as a royal family member should. The qualities that were once ridiculed by the press — being a Plain Jane, having no charisma, being dependent on William — are now being celebrated.
It’s no coincidence this tide turned with the introduction of Meghan into the English public consciousness. When you want to vilify someone, you have to measure them against someone deemed more quintessentially soft, maternal, and subservient, who’s willing to play nice and adhere to tradition in the most frustrating of circumstances. Kate being upheld as the exemplary, beloved future Queen to the country is a direct result of Meghan’s ostracization from the circle. Had Meghan been white and English and someone more digestible and compliant in the public’s eye, Kate could still be facing the brunt of the vitriol.
It is important to rise above the tension
If there’s a moral to the story, it’s that women will always be pitted against each other to serve existing power structures. There’s a lot to be gained in manufacturing outrage among the English masses and breeding division concerning the royal family. The monarchy has always been a contentious issue, so when you add a Black American to the mix, the polarization becomes more and more prominent. The ordeal with Harry, Meghan, and the royal family is ongoing, so time will tell whether there is any improvement or development in how Meghan is being depicted in the press.
Of course, it feels nearly impossible to relate to their tension, but everyone is familiar with feeling like an outcast at times and not knowing how you can stand up for yourself without challenging someone openly. How do you establish your status without threatening someone else’s? As much as people try to sow discord, you have to rise above the hostility and look at the bigger picture. Is the animosity worth your time, does a rivalry empower you in any way, and wouldn’t it be much better if you were able to co-exist peacefully and not exhaust your energy on a futile feud?
To many of Levi Miles’ friends at the University of Wisconsin, it was an open secret that he was gay. However, he never told the world.
In a piece he penned in the Huff Post, Miles says that the positive response following him officially coming out on Facebook was heartwarming.
However, visiting home, Miles was very concerned with his father’s reaction. While his mother had known Miles’ secret for two years, he wrote that “coming out to my father terrified me beyond all other things,” fearing that he’d disown him.
One day his father left the house, and Miles’s mother told him “Your father saw your Facebook status when I left my Facebook up. The cat’s out of the bag.”
When Miles asked her for his reaction, the response was heartbreaking.
“She said that he wasn’t too happy about it, mostly disappointed and kind of hurt, from what I gathered,” wrote Miles.
“He’d even had the gall to say that if I weren’t in theatrE, I wouldn’t have ended up gay, because it wouldn’t have seemed so normal.”
– Levi Miles
“My dad has never been open-minded on the topic of homosexuality, and I know that he was praying that I wouldn’t be gay.”
Things left unsaid
When his dad returned, neither brought up the topic.
Miles admitted that “I didn’t want to talk about my sexuality with my father any more than he wanted to talk about it with me, which was good.”
With the tense weekend over, Miles hugged his parents goodbye as he hopped on the train back to Milwaukee.
A few hours later, his mother texted him.
“Your dad has funny ways of showing he loves you. Look in your backpack.”
– Levi Mile’s mother
Inside, between two notebooks, was a picture of a young Miles and his father, smiling.
On the back was a note that wrote “I will always love you, no matter what.”
As hurtful and ignorant his ‘disappointment’ was to Levi, credit to his father for reflecting and realizing that Levi is his son and ultimately deciding to love him for who he is. While he didn’t do it with some moving speech, he expressed it in his own way —just like his Levi expresses who he is.
Above all, hat’s off to young Levi for sharing this story, and reminding us all that even the seemingly coldest and closed hearts and minds can thaw with love.
The woman went on that the date was indeed filled with red flags. One bad sign was “not seeing eye to eye” on the situation when rapper Da Baby expressed homophobic views to a live audience. Another was the date’s admiration for Kevin Samuels, who has been called a “pseudo-love guru” who “exploits the vulnerability of Black women.”
“Ok, I’ll share more..while trying to remain as vague as possible. But we did not see eye to eye on the Da Baby situation and he’s a Kevin Samuels fan. I had to look him up and was immediately taken aback lmao,” she wrote.
Ok, I’ll share more..while trying to remain as vague as possible. But we did not see eye to eye on the Da Baby situation 😂 and he’s a Kevin Samuels fan. I had to look him up and was immediately taken aback lmao
The Twitter user added that despite seeing the red flags herself, she appreciated the note from the stranger and it gave her a good laugh.
She also addressed questions in the comments asking whether there’d be a second date — the answer was no.
“There were a few other GLARING red flags that I won’t mention, but don’t worry, I would have recognized them with or without the note. But the note was greatly appreciated and added some laughs to my night. There won’t be a second date,” she wrote.
There were a few other GLARING red flags that I won’t mention, but don’t worry, I would have recognized them with or without the note. But the note was greatly appreciated and added some laughs to my night. There won’t be a second date 😂
When we’re meeting someone for the first time, especially on a date, it can be tough to glean who they truly are. Sometimes, we miss telltale signs that show the person might not be as great as they seem.
Figuring these red flags out early on can save us a lot of anguish down the line, but it’s not always easy to recognize them. That’s why if we see red flags anywhere, whether it’s a stranger or a friend, it’s a kind thing to gently let them know. We all have to look out for each other in this complex world.
“Before this he would make dinner on his days off, take care of ALL of sons needs and do basic cleaning so that I could have a breather,” she wrote. “Now he doesn’t make dinner at all, falls asleep on the couch by 7 so I have son duty 24/7 and hasn’t lifted a finger to clean in weeks. So on my 3 days off a week, I end up having to deep clean my entire house because I dont have time to do anything on my work days aside from the bare minimum.”
“It’s a struggle.”
She tried to ask for help
The mom said she recently asked for some help and he said ‘yes,’ but not for long.
“He happily obliged for all of 30 minutes before taking off to go help a buddy with his car and didn’t do jack squat after returning home because he ‘was tired.’”
The mom said she told him she needed a break, but he didn’t understand her true needs.
“His way of comforting me was by hugging me and saying ‘You’re doing such a good job.’ Didn’t offer to help or anything.”
A solo vacation to teach him a lesson
So, the woman devised a plan.
She asked her mom to take her son for four days while she took a solo trip to the cottage 58 miles away.
Her husband wasn’t impressed.
“My husband started texting me last night asking where I was. I told him the cabin. He asked where our son was so I told him. He then started going off about how this is selfish of me and that if he had realized I wasnt merely stressed out that he would have helped out more.”
The husband said that he is stressed and tired as well and could have used the vacation too. He also claimed that she communicated her needs poorly.
“But the thing is, I straight out told him I needed a break. I asked him for help. He disregarded it all. But now I’m curious if I’m an AH.”
No, she’s not the AH
In the comments, Redditors overwhelmingly supported the mom.
“Does husband not have eyes? Can he not see what needs to be cleaned, tidied or cooked? Does he not know his child’s needs? If he didn’t before maybe his “four day vacation” without a child to care for or a wife to clean up after him opened his eyes,” wrote ToTwoTooToo.
BroadElderberry supported the mom and shared their own experience: “My SO can be the same way. I’ll say ‘my back hurts from shoveling snow’ and he’ll want to go walk around the mall for hours. I’ll say ‘I’m overwhelmed from doing so much around the house’ and he’ll give me the same ‘you’re doing great.’ And then when I finally have a break down, it’s ‘I didn’t know it was so bad, you didn’t tell me!’ No. We tell you. We just don’t make a broadway production out of it, so you use that to pretend that it’s ‘not so bad.’”
Support is great. Actually helping is better.
Despite American women working just as much as men in their careers, studies show that they still take on more of the household chores. And that isn’t fair.
Child rearing, living together and being in a relationship is takes more than one persondoing the work. And while verbal support is nice, actual physical help is even better.
Hopefully, this woman’s husband has since adjusted his behavior.
One runner shocked sports purists when he sacrificed sweet victory for sportsmanship, sending a powerful message about what matters most.
In it to win it
Seasoned marathoner Rob Lopez entered the famed 10-kilometer TD Bank Beach to Beacon race in Maine in peak form and with his eye on the prize.
However, from the starter’s gate, he knew that there was one person he’d have to beat: young up-and-comer Jesse Orach.
“Jesse had a very good spring track year at UMaine. He was the favorite, and I was maybe his best competition,”
The stakes couldn’t have been higher: Whoever finished ahead of the other would win the prized men’s Maine-resident division of the race and a cool $1,000.
With a cushy lead and approaching the finish, it looked like Orach would cruise to victory. Lopez thought so too.
“The first mile, I stuck with him,” Gomez says. “Then he pulled away. As a runner, I’ve done enough of these to know that it wasn’t going to be my day.”
Until it was.
That’s because just strides from the finish line, disaster struck Orach.
“But I was so focused on getting to the finish line I stumbled forward for maybe another 10 feet and fell down again,” he recalled.
Then the unforgettable happened.
He sacrificed victory
“It kind of seemed like it was over for me,” said Orach, “Then, I felt someone pick me up.”
Incredibly, that someone was none other than Lopez.
Turning the final corner, he spotted a collapsed Orach, picked him up and propelled him across the finish line to first place. With that, he passed up both the win and the prize money.
A winner for the right reasons
Explaining to the Press Herald, Lopez said that in that moment, camaraderie overtook competition.
“It wasn’t a calculated decision,” he said. “It wasn’t because I’m some sort of hero or some sort of special person, because I’m not. As runners, we understand, we pick each other up and help each other.”
Orach, like everyone else, was awestruck.
“I’m speechless with what he did. Him and I were kind of vying for that number one Mainer spot, and for him to give that up for me is pretty remarkable.”
– Jesse Orach
Word of Lopez’s gesture blew up Facebook, with almost 600 shares and 6,000 likes/loves along with hundreds of gushing comments.
“Now, that is sportsmanship at its finest. Thank you kind sir for being so loving for your fellow runner,” wrote one.
Added another: “Ok I’m in tears. Thank you Robert for showing all of us what true athletes, humans are capable of!”
Elevating others is what it’s really about
It almost seemed like Lopez was reading the script to the wrong movie. Most would have thought that this film would end with Lopez victorious, celebrating slow motion with the glory and money.
Instead, Lopez did what real heroes do: Elevating others and sharing the spotlight. That’s a role we can all strive for.
When a man using a wheelchair fell on the subway tracks of Union Square Station in New York City, Good Samaritans sprung into action.
One man literally jumped.
Jumping to aid
A bystander-turned-hero immediately launched himself off of the platform and onto the tracks to help the fallen man. He first attempted to pick up the man right away, but then moved the wheelchair back onto the platform. Finally, he reached back for the man and lifted him by the torso as others on the platform pulled the hero to safety. Moments later, the train arrived.
The rescued man was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment for his injuries. They are not believed to be life threatening.
Witnessing the amazing
The video of the man being pulled to safety was recorded by CBS New York reporter Lauren Mennen. She witnessed the event at around 1:15 pm on August 4.
Mennen says, “One man jumped right into action. He didn’t think twice whether he was going to go on those tracks.”
“I was like, people need this. There’s heroes in action and I was like I’m going to wave my hand at the train and it will all be good. I hope people just take positivity away from all this.”
– Lauren Mennen
People acted together to save another human life. The concept of “we are stronger together” is one that the world definitely needs right now. In a time where isolation has become a consistency, we can often feel further and further away from others. This act of heroism reminds us of the humanity that does in fact exist, and that we are in fact not alone.
Call to action
When you receive a call to action, answer! Spring into action when you are in a position to help someone in need. While crisis situations will often be guided by instinct, sometimes you need a little self-encouragement to get involved in the affairs of others. When someone so clearly is in a position where they need assistance, be that help if you have the capability.
Life will surprise you, often. The nature of reality is such that when society comes together, you can expect the unexpected. There are everyday heroes everywhere. Be the hero where and when you can and answer the call to do the extraordinary.
Was being part of One Direction as phenomenal and glorious as it seemed?
Even the most skeptical of audiences can confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that the group is one of the most influential musical acts of all time. Not only did they singlehandedly revive the boyband model that had gone stagnant since the nineties, but they essentially laid the groundwork for how modern fandom operates.
The admiration among the public was unparalleled. 1D commanded colossal, crazed audiences everywhere they went, complete with hordes of preteen girls screaming, crying, and fawning over their every move. Its members — Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik — and their seamless dynamic inspired so many inappropriate fantasies, ‘shipping’ wars, and neurotic discourse that it transformed the nature of celebrity for good.
Though the group is technically on hiatus, it’s universally accepted that they’re not likely to get back together anytime soon. The silver lining is that this does grant each member ample time and space to reflect on their experience with a fresh perspective. As it turns out, being in One Direction wasn’t a walk in the park.
Liam Payne said the group’s success was “dumb luck” and that he was “pissed” most of the time
Liam Payne discussed One Direction’s near-cosmic success in a revealing interview with Men’s Health Australia. He’d only been sixteen when he, along with the four others, were handpicked to form a band in the music competition series The X Factor. Though they finished third in the competition, they managed to impress judge Simon Cowell enough to land a deal with his record label Syco Records. The rest, as they say, is history.
The 27-year-old firmly rejects the notion that it was ‘meant to be’ for the boyband, that they possessed an extraordinary natural ability that would have found a way to break through no matter what. It’s tempting to attribute their stardom to some God-given talent that allowed them to flourish in such a striking way, but Liam claims that it was all “just dumb luck.” Like many other triumphs, you need a little bit of skill, a little bit of hard work, but an enormous amount of fortune in your favor. “There were so many scenarios that had to fall into line for that to happen,” said Liam, adding that it was a “perfect storm” that led to the group’s swift ascendency — something that will never be quite so similarly be replicated.
It’s almost like putting the Disney costume on before you step up on stage and underneath the Disney costume I was pissed quite a lot of the time because there was no other way to get your head around what was going on.
It must feel wonderful to accumulate so much wealth, acclaim, and adoration in just your teenage years, but if you’re not careful, it can quickly veer off into a curse. Liam turned to alcohol to keep up with the pressures of growing up in the public eye and having the innermost particulars of his life turn into fodder for the press. As 1D became more and more well-known, Liam started discerning the darker, more malicious side of celebrity and how it shatters the individual’s well-being, end to end.
It was a “toxic” experience that left him feeling “numb” for a long time
There’s a price to pay when you’ve signed over your innocence to the predatory claws of fame. Granted, they’d been too young to comprehensively contemplate the toll it would take on their health, both physical and mental. You miss out on the mundane, yet immensely valuable, routines of an ordinary school kid; instead, you have to push yourself to unimaginable lengths to produce more output, to provide more entertainment, to please everyone in the crowd.
Liam stated that the problem is as intensive in the music industry as anywhere else; if you’re forced to exert yourself day in, day out without addressing underlying issues, you’re going to run out of fuel in no time. “When you’re doing hundreds and hundreds of [concerts] and it’s the same 22 songs at the same time every single day,” it doesn’t matter whether you’re happy or not. “You’ve got to go out there,” said Liam.
In addition, your entire life is mapped out by forces outside your purview. From the group’s genesis to its evolution, every aspect of the One Direction project was precisely orchestrated and micromanaged by corporate entities seeking to reap profits. Liam acknowledged that he’d had absolutely no control over his day-to-day. “No, never,” he said. He just followed instructions, nodded his head, and danced. He added that he still struggles with being more decisive. “I really struggle to say no because I don’t like to let people down. It’s in my nature.”
We had an absolute blast, but there were certain parts of it where it just got a little bit toxic.
The struggles of holding onto your identity amidst the chaos and the public fixation “nearly killed him,” and there were times when he wanted to act on his urges, he told The Guardian.
When the group decided to go on an indefinite hiatus in the mid-2010s, Liam could finally take a breath and envision life on his own terms. It was like the “the pressure cooker had been let off” and that the group could firmly focus on their art and friendship in the final months.
Only, post-separation, he realized he didn’t really know anything about himself or the kind of direction he wanted to take in his career or otherwise. He found himself dawdling through old patterns and resistant to change. “It was a bit of a numb feeling,” he said. Thankfully, fatherhood knocked on the door at just the right time, and Liam was able to promptly reframe his priorities and zero in on the big picture.
Despite the aches associated with One Direction, Liam maintains that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and was generally fun. It’s nearly impossible to keep everything in check when you’re a worldwide spectacle like One Direction, but, for the most part, he doesn’t regret it too much.
Maintain realistic expectations
The contrast between One Direction’s outward brilliance and the internal tumult is a lesson in setting healthy expectations for yourself and those closest to you. You can’t accurately predict every development that’s to occur in your life, but you can tell yourself that it’s never as simple as it seems and that obstacles of all types could present themselves before you.
You have to venture into every undertaking, knowing that you’ll be pushed to the limit. As long as you understand your limit and what you’re willing to do to achieve ‘success,’ you’ll save yourself a good deal of trauma and pain. Appearances don’t matter; what matters is you and your ability to tend to your wellbeing in the face of adversity.
With a baby on the way and miles from home or hospital, one remarkable mom took matters into her own hands.
When 35-year-old opera singer Emily Geller Hardman was attending a wedding in Lancaster Pennsylvania with husband Travis Hardman, she was packing more than just a dress.
Emily was 37 weeks pregnant with their second child, but that didn’t stop her from enjoying a great night full of dancing without a hitch.
Everything was going smoothly until that night at the hotel when Hardman’s water suddenly broke. Amazingly unphased, she went back to sleep to rest up for a trip to the hospital with Travis.
It turns out the baby had other plans.
That’s because just a few hours and many intense contractions later, she was in back of the couple’s car as Travis raced to the nearest hospital. Talking with PEOPLE, he remembers the chaos clearly.
“She was like, ‘pull over,’ and I said, ‘I can’t pull over here. It’s a deathtrap.”
– Travis Hardman
Finally, Travis found a spot for them to safely pull over and Hardman to get out and stretch. She was barely hanging on.
“I remember my legs were shaking,” she says. “I was thinking, ‘I’m bearing down too early. I’m pushing too early.’ I had no control over my body at that point.”
That’s when her motherly instinct kicked in.
“But, I willed myself back into the car at that point because I just thought, ‘Well, we have to make it to the hospital.’ “
Back in the car, Harden tells GMA that she summoned all of her preparation and research on breathing and prenatal exercises to trust her body.
“This baby was coming out of me one way or another,” she said.
“I either needed to, for lack of a better word, get on board with what was happening and just allow my body to do what it was doing or I could fight it tooth and nail, which didn’t seem like it was going to be helpful.”
– Emily Geller Hardman
And then, they were two.
“I was just feeling a lot of pressure,” recounted Hardman. “So instinctually, I just put my hands down and then I felt the head and immediately after that, she flew out in the next contraction. I caught her and brought her up to my chest and I said, ‘There’s the baby.’ “
In one fell swoop, out came a beautiful and healthy Rosemary Claire. An ambulance arrived 10 minutes later to transport them to the hospital for some much-need R & R.
Preparation creates courage
Amazingly, Hardman downplays any stress from the wild birth. Instead, she credits being an opera singer and especially the work she put in to being ready for the moment.
“You have to perform at a high level under stress, so you’re used to those types of situations and having to focus on what you’re doing and not how you’re doing.”
– Emily Geller Hardman
Much of that comes from her belief that childbirth is a process a mother should own.
“I think I’m really lucky in a lot of ways, but I do view birthing babies as a natural process, and that for the most part, it doesn’t need a lot of intervention,” she says.
Hardman’s wild story shows that however a woman chooses to give birth — and whatever unexpected bumps happen along the way — it’s a process to own and savour.
If your name is Posh, you’re likely expected to uphold rigorous standards whenever you go for the rest of your life. Victoria Beckham has yet to let us down.
During her effervescent breakout with the Spice Girls, she developed a reputation as a poised, high-achieving woman of immense class, attitude, and sophistication. Only, it’s been north of twenty-five years, and she keeps raising the bar. From an outsider’s perspective, she’s blessed with everything: an adorable family of four, a scintillating fashion empire, a gorgeous husband, and a musical legacy that’ll remain unmatched.
Yet, underneath the success and the self-assuredness lies a world of vulnerabilities and insecurities. While penning a letter to her younger self in Vogue, Posh Spice didn’t hold back on shedding light on the complexities of her image and how she still struggles with embracing self-love.
You might say it’s easy for someone like Victoria to seamlessly accept herself, but her admission — and subsequent regret — of plastic surgery indicates that nothing is as simple as it seems.
Victoria regrets getting a boob job and not “embracing her imperfections”
Victoria hadn’t always been the absolute picture of English opulence, genteelness, and old-school glamor. She’d once been young and callow, unsure of her place in the world and how she’d go on to attack the opportunities that laid in her way. The Vogue letter addressed to her 18-year-old self describes young Vic as “not the prettiest, or the thinnest, or the best at dancing at the Laine Theatre Arts college.”
She’d expressed a thorough interest in dance at an early age, and so her parents arranged for her to be sent to a performing arts boarding school in Surrey. Unfortunately, she realized at her über-competitive school that she wasn’t as skillful or remarkable as she’d been led to believe. The environment was cutthroat, the peer group was industrious and ambitious, and Victoria found herself faintly dwelling in the middle of the pack. She begged to return home, explaining that she wasn’t “good enough” to keep abreast, but her dad urged her to keep her head high and continue working hard. “Dad got on the phone: “Stay there, prove everyone wrong.”
And I should probably say, don’t mess with your boobs. All those years I denied it – stupid. A sign of insecurity. Just celebrate what you’ve got.
She felt inferior in every which way — the “bad acne,” being “too plump”. Her fellow classmates relentlessly bullied her by throwing soggy tissues and old Coke cans at her for not sporting the most fashionable gear. Yet, these agonizing experiences only helped Victoria grow a thick skin and endure the scrutiny that would befall her life in just a few short years.
Adult Victoria advises her younger self to “embrace your perfections” and not spend every waking minute obsessing over her appearance. The complexion will “sort itself out,” the perm will disappear, and your weight will stop fluctuating and become stable. There’s no reason to adhere to the latest diet fad, whether it’s eating “Super Noodles” or drinking green juice. 18-year-old Victoria should instead let her skin breathe and wear less make-up; be more confident in her natural beauty and her ability to shine regardless of how she manages to look on a specific day.
That’s when Victoria acknowledges the veracity of a story she’d spent years denying — that she’d had plastic surgery.
It’s taken her a long time to feel okay and be “comfortable in her own skin”
Like anyone else, Victoria hasn’t had the most straightforward journey with building inner strength, especially when it comes to earthly vanity concerns.
However, what’s dissimilar about her situation is that she’s essentially perceived as the pinnacle of poshness and perfection. The audience actively positions her as the impeccable ideal to which they can aspire. As a result, she has to deal with the additional pressure of establishing the norm, setting the trend, and blazing a trail for others seeking to follow in her footsteps.
Victoria has no qualms about imparting style advice — for example, “wear sunglasses a lot”; they “turn a nothing-outfit into something quite pulled together and cool” — but she doesn’t want to precipitate a whirlwind of anxiety, self-loathing, or timidness among young women. She knows all too well what it’s like to face an upheaval of apprehensive, self-hating emotions and think yourself lacking here, there, and everywhere.
I see my imperfections and flaws and I smile: it’s who I am and I’m not going to try to change that. It’s taken me a long, long time to recognise that by 45 years old, actually I’m all right.
What’s not entirely known to the public is how the “Posh Spice” nickname was a device for promotion and didn’t accurately describe Victoria’s own stance on fashion or etiquette. The name originated from her reserved nature, her choice of designer outfits, and her affinity for “high-heeled footwear.” It’s unfortunate that those characteristics are attributed to only the wealthy and the upper-class because, in the twenty-five years since the Spice Girl phenomenon, everyone has gained the ability to adopt them. “I was young and shy, and being Posh helped me find my style and confidence, and my voice,” she told ET.
If assuming a more dignified, “posh” identity empowers you to stand tall with pride and conviction, so be it. However, it’s not necessarily going to resolve your issues with self-esteem and wariness. It took Victoria a long time before coming to grips with her innate face, body, and exterior. She still doesn’t think of herself as beautiful; she promptly tells Harper’s Bazaar,“No, absolutely not. But I make the best of what I have.”
Plastic surgery or other permanent cosmetic procedures aren’t a long-term resolution for your troubles; they are but a temporary balm. That’s not to say that these practices shouldn’t be considered at all, especially amidst medical considerations, but that there’s more to life than living up to these exacting beauty standards. Victoria realized over the years that her family and work come before her vanity and fashion, that she’s far more content to be prioritizing the attention to other areas.
Self-acceptance is an uphill battle, but it’ll come
The biggest takeaway from her evolution over the last twenty-five years is that you can’t afford to pick at the silliest of things. It’s a natural, undeniable tendency to some extent, but as you mature and come across beautiful, oftentimes contrasting discoveries about yourself, it’s best just to let the worries slide and start to accept yourself as you are. “When you get older, you learn how to be comfortable in your own skin,” said the former Spice Girl.