On Hiring an Assistant (or alternatively, yelling I NEEEEED YOUR HEEELLLLLP at the top of my lungs in my empty office)

If you read the title of this in Bugs Bunny’s voice from the 1996 animated cult classic and cultural monolith Space Jam then you did it right.

On occasion, I write a little something and give you an update on the future of Pass/Fail. In the spirit of transparency and to let you know that despite what some kind, gentle souls on the internet still think, I, in fact, don’t know what the hell I’m doing in running an online publication.

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Chelsea Francis
Through Being Cool

I have the curse of being easy going. As a kid I went along with my friends ideas. I’m a yes girl. Yes, I will allow you to use your mom’s makeup on my face! Girl, of course I will interview you pretending to be Celine Dion for your tape recorded bedroom talk show, you genius! My whole life I’ve generally allowed others to take the reins, because I like to be around people, ensconced in the community. As someone who can get thrown into most situations and come out fine on the other side, I’d never really questioned my inability to take the lead. I was the person who woke up every day and was straight up EXCITED to go to school.

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Michelle Ayoubi
Personal Style + Success in The Workplace

Growing up, first-day-of-school outfits were always meticulously planned days, if not weeks, in advance. Even though I may have been a nervous wreck on the inside, being able to present a confident image often helped to give me a sense of calm that, in turn, calmed my nerves. (Have I just created the Emotional Circle of Style?)

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Chelsea Francis
On Forgiveness

When I think about forgiveness, I think about all the people I will never receive an apology from. I have held a lot of anger towards many people for things I know I will never get an apology for. Sometimes a person just simply cannot apologize because of fear, denial, or are they are just simply oblivious, but another reality is sometimes we don’t express that we are hurt. Both things hurt a lot. Either way, I have held anger in my body and it has manifested itself in so many ways. I didn’t know that I needed to just let go. Letting go is not easy.

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Chelsea Francis
Driving Past Essex Intermediary School

How do children do it?

How do they enter a room, a building full of rooms filled with people they don’t know, and speak? And exist? In public?

They’re nervous, maybe even scared, and they do it anyway. Fear isn’t much of a deterrent for tiny people because they have us, the Adults, in their ears and in their corners, assuring them that it’s okay.

That they are okay. Fear is just a feeling and kids know that Adults are bigger than feelings.

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Chelsea Francis
Make an Effort

You know those people that are like, “We should grab coffee sometime!” and then they never follow up? I’m that person. In fact, I’m probably the reigning champion of never initiating plans. I could say that I’m busy, which is true, and I could say that I like my alone time, which is also true. Though, the reality is that I am conservative with my time and my energy. For an introvert like me, who loves her alone time, doesn’t mind being an observer in social situations, and most of the time won’t go out of her way to talk to people, it’s easy to get stuck inside my own bubble. But these are all the symptoms, and the cause is that I’m protecting myself and my energy. 

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Chelsea Francis
When it Rains it Pours

I almost took pride in what happened over the next few months. The show must go on, besides

being a phenomenal song by Queen, was also just the truth. I love my company and event and

I’m a solopreneur, I had to keep it going. And doing it single-handedly? Well, that’s almost

downright heroic! And while the big pieces didn’t fall through the cracks, lots of little things did.

Or things I wanted to do never saw the light of day. But the show went on and the event was a

success!

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Chelsea Francis
Why Are We So Afraid of Joy?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own relationship to joy and how disconnected from it I have felt. Anxiety? We’re pretty close pals. Disappointment? I’ve had a good ol’ dose of it these past few years. Fear? Frankly, it feels like a most constant companion these days.

But joy? It feels so elusive.

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Chelsea Francis
I'm a Dick. I'm Addicted to You.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our cell phones affect our everyday life. We rely on them so much. We use them to navigate us from point a to point b, we keep lists on them, we use them to connect to friends. We use them for everything. My personal relationship with my phone and that whole journey is tricky. I use it for work. Having a presence on Instagram is important both for this online space and for my photography business. Quite literally, my phone oftentimes makes me money. But there is the whole thing where I have stress-induced hallucinations on occasion from staring at it too long. 

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Chelsea Francis
My Love is Unconditional. My Love is Consensual.

I am moving away from my hometown in a few weeks, which naturally comes with this overwhelming feeling of needing to tie up loose ends. Questions like, “Should I text my ex and apologize to him about how badly I treated him?” or “Should I text my ex-best friend who ghosted me that I’m STILL mad at the way our friendship ended?” flood my mind. The answer is no. And yes. I should work on closure, but no, I shouldn’t open up old wounds to get that closure - especially through text message (nothing actually productive ever gets done over text message).

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Chelsea Francis
To myself as a third grader, who just needed to know that she was enough,

You are only nine years old and you are so unhappy. You are incredibly lonely and all you want to do is belong. You never quite feel successful, so you spend most of your time immersing yourself in books and in your writing. It works in your favor though, because you’re already reading at an 8th grade level and your teachers are so impressed with the words that you write down on college-ruled paper in your best handwriting.

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Chelsea Francis
All The Things I Know and All The Things I Don’t / Sweet Birthday Baby!

June 6th marked one full year of showing up here. One full year of trying to use whatever tools I could to show up and show you that you’re not alone and that you deserve success. It’s been a year of intimately trying to understand failure to the point of looking at it as a friend. I am so grateful for this space. I’m grateful for you. I’m grateful to the people, who are steadily increasing in number, who have started to recognize me in public not from my personal work or Instagram account, but from this corner. I’m grateful to every single person who has volunteered their time to write for our publication.

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Chelsea Francis
You Can Run a Marathon, But You Can't Outrun Your Fears

The funny thing about running is you find yourself both figuratively trying to run away from your problems while literally running away with your body. You find yourself on a 10 mile run on a Wednesday afternoon after a full day of work and in those moments of solitude you really have no choice but to face your thoughts head on. No matter how loud I attempted to blast Taylor Swift in my headphones, my mind still won. I had to acknowledge the fact that a boy that I really liked chose to step away from me. I had to accept that my parents had no clue what training looked like for me and would likely never really be proud of me for doing this race.

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Chelsea Francis
I'm a Recovering Perfectionist

For most of my life, the phrase “healthy medium” wasn’t in my vocabulary. After being exposed to cognitive-behavioral therapy I realized that my perfectionism is attributed to unhealthy thinking patterns that used to seem inherent to me. The most pertinent unhealthy, or unhelpful, thinking pattern that enables my “extreme” tendencies and my perfectionism is all-or-nothing thinking. All-or-nothing thinking is a cognitive distortion that shapes how we see the world; it oversimplifies the world in a negative way. In my case, my view of the world has been so skewed and negative that I developed an obsessive fear of failure, which influenced my perfectionistic behaviors.

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Chelsea Francis
Toxic Relationships are not Glamorous & Television Shows Need to Stop Portraying Them as Such

I just got done watching this new show on Hulu called Shrill. There are a lot of good, yet questionable things about the show I could talk about, but this essay is about relationships. Specifically, how it’s no wonder to me, and everyone I know, end up in toxic relationships. What I’ve noticed is every toxic behavior, mindset, or societal expectation that exists, we can learn from the media surrounding us. You know why? Because toxicity is exciting and it’s capitalized on. I have failed tremendously in relationships because of it.

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Chelsea Francis
Breaking The Rules

Over the years I’ve made a list of things I can't or shouldn’t wear. My size 22 body has been governed by rules that I didn’t make for it, based on beauty standards that I didn’t choose. Beth’s body was living under similar regulations. She’s plus sized too, and she had a list of “cant’s” that she decided to break one day when she posted a photo of her in a bra and cutoff shorts to Instagram that received a ton of support. Shortly after that, she started modeling and has since been in international campaigns. This whole experience started her down a path, and she began questioning why we keep rules like these in the first place.

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Chelsea Francis
All Sustainable Everything

Living sustainably isn’t something that’s innate. It’s something we need to learn and be conscious of, especially in a society that is so material focused and so focused on our deficiencies to sell of us stuff and experiences that may not be in our (or our society’s) best interest.

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Chelsea Francis