I wrote a thing.


We need more voices in science
to step up in defiance for those characters 
that get erased from our stories; accolades and glories granted to counterparts 
as though we didn’t have the smarts to achieve 
the impossible, believe in the improbable 
and create the unthinkable. 
It’s unthinkable to me that our hindsight is so blinded. 
Turning the cheek too many times makes me think you’re shaking your head:
no, no, no. 

"Hey - you look good in that dress today." 
Pay no mind to the mess that comment made 
of my self-confidence. It seems pretty obvious 
the words they think are innocuous are noxious, 
breeding doubt and insecurity, feeding bouts of fury in me
as I hear the same phrases repeated to the women in my classes,
our lab mates and the masses of budding genius minds
that yearn to focus on their hypotheses and methods 
but instead they’re distracted by those words left unretracted: 
"you look good in that dress today."

If you tell her that she’s pretty before you tell her that she’s smart,
don’t be startled when she starts to parcel out and pull apart 
her individuality. Trading physics books for glossy magazines. 
Instead of figuring fifty ways to solve differentials she’s counting up 
fifty ways to potentially please her partner, 
wondering - is this what is appealing? this feeling of cheapening my intelligence
because we’re terrified to be marginalized for tying to have it all,
all the while face burning, yearning tears not to drip drop while your stomach flip flops
at being called out for a love of learning. 

Just between us, from one woman to another 
it’ll take a while to recover while we wonder without ignorance
why there are so many instances of being told to be a mother
before we’re told to be discoverers. 
And I hope in twenty years or maybe less 
we’ll be blessed with plenty of reassurances that our work
is recognized for its significance, and the difference is 
we’ll be standing up for our accomplishments - not alone but with accomplices within our fields. 
Our fields. 
And it won’t be such a novelty to be so proudly standing up for our beliefs
and our discoveries. 
We need more voices in science, and not those that just say, hey- 
You look good in that dress today. 

—- 8/27/14




breaknbake asked
One of my friends is getting her BFA in drawing this year and she's having a small breakdown about whether she made the right choice etc etc. She has this real fondness for beetles/bugs/larvae and is sort of lamenting that she didn't go into entomology. I described the path your career has taken (as I understand it) and her response was, "It just sounds like she got really lucky." Is that a sentiment you agree with, or do you have recommendations to pass on to her?


Saying I got to be where I am because I was lucky makes me feel kinda bad - I worked hard. It wasn’t like I was putting in the time hoping a famous YouTuber was going to “find” me - I was looking for any opportunity to publicize the Museum, to talk about the work we were doing. I was putting in 40+ hours a week at a museum while still working a job 35 hours. I cared.

 Instead of regretting or lamenting doing something you felt was right for you at the time, use your knowledge as a beneficial tool to get ahead. Seize opportunity. Put in the time to the thing your passionate about, don’t cut corners, don’t slack off, don’t wait for accolades to be your encouragement. Do it for you.

Anonymous asked
I am currently working a job which I love and have always wanted but am not good at. I'm new and I'm trying but I feel like the best way for me to help my coleagues at this job is to just leave so they'd have one less incompetent worker. What would be the responsible adult thing to do in this situation? I'm feeling really bad about this and knowing that my boss does not have that much faith in me is really bringing down my already low self-esteem.


Thank you so much for this. I (Mike) have been wanting to address this question for a long time, and I think the best way to do so will be to share a story with you, and also impart some lessons I learned.  

But first, let me tell you the backstory.

I receive Asks like this at least once a week.  I hope you take this ubiquity as a comfort. The simple truth is, the feeling you’re describing is so common that it has a clinical name: Impostor Syndrome. Per Wikipedia, Impostor Syndrome is:

"a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds…. [S]uccess is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”

In other words, we all feel a little fraudulent, perhaps especially when we’re in a job or working with colleagues we’ve idealized for a long time. I’m not sure why this is, but I have a couple suspicions.

Firstly: We’ve imagined that the job/these professional associations would change us—make us “level up” as a person.  And not just in terms of income or career, but in terms of basic human worth. People with low self-esteem probably tend to do this more often than those with high self-esteem: Low self-esteemers sometimes feel they have to justify their existence, and so they tether the level of happiness to their level of accomplishments.  In other words, “I’ll deserve to be happy when I….” (I say this from personal experience, although—and again, I hope you can this as a comfort—it’s certainly gotten better for me over time.)  

Too often, though, once we’ve accomplished this big and beautiful goal/dream, the honeymoon phase passes and we wake up to find we feel like Just The Same Old Person—i.e., the person who spent most of their life not having these jobs or colleagues.  And so we tend to panic.  In my experience, there are two main negative behavioral responses to this panic:

1. We take every mistake we make as being prophetic of our impending doom.

2. We “cut down” the importance/prestige/awesomeness of the position we’ve attained. After all, if Just The Same Old Person can land the gig, how good can it actually be? (I’m reminded of that great Groucho Marx line: “I’d never want to belong to a club that would have someone like me as a member.”)

I would argue, though, that most aspects of Impostor Syndrome are the result of a very specific and destructive and UN-FRAKKING-TRUE mental process:

In art, business, and life, we compare our “first draft work/selves” to everyone else’s “polished and/or curated work/selves.”

We view other people as Great and Powerful Oz-es, not remembering that they have a Man Behind The Curtain, too.

It occurs to me that it might seem that I’m implying accomplishments are meaningless and happiness is a mirage glimmering on the unattainable horizon.  

But what I’m actually saying is that we have so much power over this feeling.

I think fatalism is another word for “bullsh*t.”

I promised you a story.

The road to the launch of HOW TO ADULT was long and wonderful and terrifying, and maybe I’ll tell the full tale one day.  But for our purposes, there are a few important plot points: 

- I began vlogging in late 2012, because I was very lonely.

- My YouTube heroes were Elmify (Emma) and the Vlogbrothers, and I’d been a Nerdfighter since 2007.

- Beginning with my very first vlog, I received a lot of unexpected support from the YouTube community.  The support that meant the most to me (and TBH made me cry) came from Elmify and the Vlogbrothers, all of whom promoted not only my videos but also my book.

- Last summer, Elmify asked me to develop a “life skills” channel with her, and I said YES!!!, and (loooong story short) Hank & John came on as producers, and the channel went live in February 2014.

- In other words, HOW TO ADULT—co-created with and produced by my heroes—Became A Thing little more than a year after I began making videos on my phone.

Working on HOW TO ADULT was and is the great honor of my professional life.  When it all came together, I was overjoyed with gratitude and disbelief.

And then…


….I was also terrified.

In the early days of the channel, I had days when felt I was on the verge of Screwing It All Irrevocably Up.  Who was I, this YouTube newb from Bridgeport, West Virginia, to work with Elmify and the Vlogbrothers?  

My fear peaked in March, I think, when I was making our tax videos.  I was trying to be Superman (“justifying my existence,” I guess) by doing everything by myself, including researching the tax code and writing the script.

This was bananas, obviously, and eventually I wised up and paid an accountant to write the scripts with me.  I’d waited a long time to do this, so although the videos were published on-schedule, they came together very late and it was a stressful, exhausting experience.  At the time, the finished products left me unhappy and a little embarrassed: I thought they were stylistically dull and that I’d hosted them poorly.  And I also felt like a bit of a failure for

1. hiring an outside consultant, and

2. not hiring that consultant sooner.

(Brains are weird.)


All of this to say:

I sometimes had days when I was afraid my utter ineptitude was as evident to others as it was to me.  And on the worst days, I worried a little bit that I was actually going to be “fired” (which would have been a pretty neat trick, yuk-yuk-yuk, since I co-own the show :] ).

But that’s not where the story ends.

Because, as the channel continued, I made myself pay attention to what my therapist calls “big little victories”: Our videos always went up on time, for instance, and they seemed to really really help people.

And over time, I stopped seeing “Elmify and the Vlogbrothers.”  These days, I just see my buddies, Emma and Hank and John.

And here’s the thing: Those guys haven’t changed.  I hope my work has steadily improved, but it would be disingenuous to say that it’s undergone some radical transformation in quality since my insecure days.  In fact, the sad-funny part of it is that I was the only one who was ever unhappy with the tax videos.  Nobody else said anything. God’s honest truth: 95% of the lovely people who came up to me at this year’s VidCon specifically thanked me for the tax videos.  

(…Guess who’s tearing up right now, thinking about that?…)

I also promised a couple of “lessons.”

This change in my psychology is not magic (though it can feel magical).  Rather, it’s the result of a systematic effort to connect to What Is Actually True. 

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Other people rarely notice and condemn our mistakes as much as we do.  It’s wise to give yourself a little grace.

2. It’s also wise to make yourself purposely notice and celebrate your “big little victories.”  I personally journal, every day, about things I’m grateful for and things I feel good or proud about.  Sometimes, what you’re proud of can be that you tried, or even that you let yourself relax and have fun.(It’s super important to not expect yourself to Do Great Things all the time.  Don’t let this turn into another running tally of your progress toward Deserving To Be Happy.)

3. Everyone begins as a beginner, and everyone makes mistakes.  I know that sounds so obvious, but that doesn’t make it unimportant or false.  Early on, I got an email from one of my HTA friends (I think Hank?) with a couple typos in it.  I was like, OH, right.  ‘Cause that’s what humans do. :]

4. At the same time, there really are things that you may not be doing as well as you (or, perhaps, your coworkers) would like.  Acknowledging this is healthy, as long as you don’t turn it into an excuse to beat yourself up.  Let it be your rocket fuel!  And most importantly, ask for help.  If you approach the conversation with the attitude of a proactive person who believes change and growth are possible through concentrated effort, most people will be glad to help you learn.  So maybe say something along the lines of, “I’m really loving working here, and I want to contribute to our team the best ways I can.  I noticed you’ve had a lot of experience and success in [blank].  I’d be really grateful if you’d give me a few pointers.”

5. Still, remember that you don’t have to be good at everything.  It’s okay to let tax consultants do all the tax research (…he said with a sheepish smile).  

6. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Talk therapy—and (for me) particularly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy— is frakking awesome. You can find a local therapist on Psychology Today’s search engine, and I also think FEELING GOOD by Dr. David Burns is an amazing resource on the subject.

7. People say “Fake it ‘til you make it.”  I say, “Fake it, and you’ll become it.” (There was an amazing TED Talk that was partly this, actually.)

Hope that helps!

tl;dr: Smile! Everybody poops.

- Mike


I just threw up from drinking for the first time ever. 

It was the worst thing.


I have been drunker than this.

Why now.

I forgot how much vomiting sucks. 

Especially when there’s like nothing left to come up but your toliet’s like this big open mouth screaming 


And you cry because, I’m sorry Mr. Toliet but there isn’t anymore.

But Mr. Toliet doesn’t care.


The Worst. 

panic/anxiety attack




  • breath in for 4 seconds
  • hold your breath for 7 seconds
  • exhale breath for 8 seconds

repeat once or twice more.

This causes an autonomic nervous system shift from a sympathetic (fight or flight reaction) state to a parasympathetic response.

Use this for panic/anxiety attacks, exams, presentations.

Never not reblog

Tumblr got anxiety advice. Fuck yeah.

No sympathy for rapists, no sympathy for abusers, no sympathy for those who side with them. No excuses for their behavior, no justifications, no exceptions.

(Source: akalittleone)

Corey Vidal —Youtube Abuse

Did it bother anyone else seeing Corey Vidal in the newest WheezyNews video? 

In all honestly, it really upset me seeing this man casually hanging out with other Youtubers as if all was well and certain things of the past had never happened. He has remained silent about this issue, despite declaring that he would make a video in response to the manipulation and abuse stories and personal accusations against his own behavior.

In the 2 hours and 23 minutes of his most recent video on his personal Youtube channel (which was uploaded almost two months after this post were he stated the video would be going up the following month), Mr. Vidal does not once mention Shannon Antilles and how he treated her, or any other direct response to consent or safety in the Youtube community. The raw footage is *his* story —as stated in the title of the video— a selfish recount about his struggle with ADHD, a lesson on what ADHD really is, and how he’s had a hard time in the past because of it. Absolutely nothing about consent or healthy relationships.

I am not demanding or even asking that he make a direct response to Ms. Antilles’ post, or to the Youtube abuse stories as a whole. Mostly because Mr. Vidal has had plenty of time to do so and chosen not to. {The closest he’s come to saying anything more about this issue is to reblog two posts on his tumblr, an extremely passive and uninvolved action. The first post explains the signs of emotional abuse, the other is an ask over how Mr. Vidal needs to be held responsible for his lack of any comment regarding the allegations against him.} There are many others who have stepped forward to make a statement so as to stand with the victims. 

I am writing this post because it distresses me that this man was apparently invited to speak on a panel at Vidcon, and has been in contact with other Youtubers —the content of which has been documented on Youtube. 

I am not saying that his friends should drop him and move on, but it is greatly upsetting seeing a Youtuber I respect and admire vlogging about a get-together with a man who has been accused of being manipulative and cohersive. It proves that posting 2+ hours of unedited footage after the heat has died down to gain sympathy and make others feel sorry for you, and refusing to further acknowledge accusations made against you, means there will not be any consequences from the community in which the abusive behavior occurred. 

I *am* saying that the Youtube community has an obligation to hold individuals accountable. By continuing to publicly support those who have been accused —rather than pause, investigate, and attempt to find a solution to the problem and publicly address it— sends a message to the victims that their voices and their stories are not valued, are not listened to, and are ignored. It encourages an unsafe environment. This is wrong and it needs to stop.


So stoked about the Hobby Lobby ruling today. Officially going to incorporate myself so I can get a religious exemption for my student loans debt they violate my deeply held religious conviction that all debts are supposed to be forgiven every seven years, as per the book of Deuteronomy.

Real talk




This time last year I was unemployed, broke, and suicidal.

Today, I just got the keys to my first house.

Give it time.

Needed this today


VidCon Attendees: Beware of Stephen Purcell (*trigger warning*)


This year at VidCon, you might not see a few familiar faces. Tom Milsom, Mike Lombardo, Alex Day, Luke Conard, and many others will either not be there this year or will be very low key. This is because of the bravery of individuals who have come forward and talked about their experiences of abuse from these men.

There’s one name (that you probably wouldn’t recognize) that should also be on the list of no shows. But he’ll be there at VidCon this year. He’ll be there, in part, because I lacked the bravery of people like Kristina, Hayley G., Shannon, Olga, and Rosi and publicly name my abuser.

His name is Stephen Purcell.

I first met Stephen in 2011. We connected through OK Cupid. In the process of getting to know Stephen, he shared with me many confessions. One of his first confessions was that, at 270 lbs, I was not his type. So why date me? As he also later confessed, he "wanted to use me for my connections".

In hindsight, I realize now that I was drawn to Stephen for all the wrong reasons. He confessed that his father is an alcoholic, that he had experience dealing with family abuse, that he had a history of shakey and short-lived romantic relationships, and (of the most concern) he had a history of watching and possessing child pornography and a history of sexual relations with legal minors.

I wanted to help Stephen through these struggles and I thought I could help by being in a relationship with him. Stephen became the first guy I ever dated, the first guy I ever said "I love you" to, and the first person I ever changed my Facebook relationship status for. Ever.

Maybe because I had low self-esteem to begin with, maybe because my own family’s history of abuse, or maybe because I thought if Stephen rejected me he might turn his attention back to minors, I tolerated many things that I shouldn’t have. Reading what others who have also faced abuse have written on Tumblr, I was tolerating many of the same things they were.

First was accepting the fact that I wasn’t good enough and needed to change. The biggest of this change has resulted in what my IRL friends and family describe as an eating disorder. I don’t eat everyday. Somedays I go without food for days at a time. This is true even on days when you see me posting about biking or going to the gym.

I stopped eating daily because Stephen made it clear I needed to lose weight in order to be attractive to him. In fact, we never once kissed, got naked, or had sex because he insisted I would have to lose the weight first. Incidentally, after dumping me (and after I lost 100 lbs), I got a message from Stephen offering a hookup because I looked "fantastic" now. I declined.

Not only do I struggle to this day with how I eat and view myself, I also struggle to figure out what a healthy definition of consent is. Stephen once explained that he had a "visceral reaction" at any of my attempts at affection. I respected this and refrained from hand holding, head nudging, and tickling (all of which he banned). I also respected his boundaries by agreeing to only show affection (such as kissing him on the cheek or shoulder) if I received express permission from him first.

What was confusing to me was that Stephen made it seem that I was not worthy of the same respect. In particular, I made it clear that I didn’t enjoy or consent to him hitting me or threatening to hit me. But, both in private and public, Stephen wouldn’t hesitate to smack me on my head if I did something he didn’t approve of. And there many things he disapproved of.

I would often incur Stephen’s rage (or, sometimes if he wanted to change things up, his silence and withdrawal) if I shook my leg in his presence, gave him a nickname (even calling him “Steve” instead of “Stephen” was unacceptable), if I ordered a high calorie meal at dinner, if I texted and made grammar mistakes, if I had the last word, if I liked too many of his instagrams, etc. It often felt like I was walking on eggshells - I was never sure what would solicit his scorn. Or punishment.

The fallout of this relationship ended with Stephen threatening to out me and me coming out in response to his threat. Up until now, however, I have never mentioned his full name. I decided to change that for three reasons:

1) I was protecting his identity for the wrong reasons. The fact is, to this day, I still fear Stephen. He warned me that he can be vindictive. After coming out, he threatened to sue me, drag my reputation through the mud, and make it impossible to continue my charity work. I want to be as brave as the other YouTubers who have come forward about abuse. And that means naming my abuser.

2) Both before, during, and after the relationship, Stephen displayed a near obsession with the YouTubers I knew. He pressured me to introduce him to The Gregory Brothers, asked to be introduced to Michael Buckley, and (after dumping me) took me back the evening he saw me tweeting about having having dinner with Karen Kavett, Andrew Huang, and Gunnarolla.

He once told me that "whether I like it or not" he intends to network and befriend with my friends in the YouTube community. In particular, he is most particularly obsessed with the vlogbrothers (in particular, Hank Green). Stephen mentioned trying to contact Hank literally hours after we became Facebook official with our relationship. He even broke no contact after dumping me to ask to be introduced to Hank Green.

Stephen has also used whatever job he had as an excuse to try and get in touch with Hank and John. The first was when he became Programming Director of an LGBT-themed gaming convention (GaymerX) and now it is in (from what I can see) part of his role working for the New York-based subsidiary of NTV (a Japanese TV and news station).

I feel like I owe it to my friends to let them know that someone both abusive and obsessive will be trying to contact or reach them while at VidCon.

3) I also feel like I owe it to everyone attending VidCon, in particular families who are bringing minors, that someone like Stephen will be in attendance at VidCon. Stephen Purcell is someone who has confessed to having fantasies involving children, having watched and possessed child pornography, and has had sexual relationships with at least one legal minor.

This isn’t rumor, speculation or even hearsay. Rather, these are things Stephen has discussed with me in writing. While I don’t know what will happen to Stephen, I have been told I need to come forward with all the evidence I have. As such, I’ve been compiling all the relevant written conversations I’ve had with Stephen regarding child porn and sex with minors to hand over to American authorities upon my return from Bangladesh.

It’s also important for me to say that, if you do meet Stephen in person at VidCon, he won’t seem like the person I’ve described in this blog post at all. The public Stephen is a sweet, kind, person who wouldn’t hurt a fly. He won’t be hitting anyone at VidCon. This is the side of him I fell in love with - but it’s only one side of him.

But abusers often have a darker less public side to them. And abuse doesn’t just happen by men against women. It can, as is the case here, by a man against another man. And, when it comes to abuse within the YouTube community, it isn’t always the content creator that is the abuser. In this case, I was the “celebrity” in the relationship. 

I also know that I can’t say these things without repercussions. I have made serious allegations. But I stand by what I’ve said here and have been careful to only say, only quote, and only mention that which I can prove - both to friends, followers, and in a court of law.

Thank you for your time.

Played 464,399 times








Every time someone says “dragon” in How to Train Your Dragon


if you listen closely to my deep, inner mind this is what you’ll hear


I feel like this completes my blog

muh draggins

this audio file accurately describes the inside of my head at all times



Let’s just remove the Tony for best actor. After all, it’s really more of a technical craft than an art form. And how are Tony voters supposed to judge the actor’s work? Obviously it’s too hard for the judges of a theatre awards show to have a basic understanding of the Stanislavski method. That wouLd be too much to ask. Let’s just expect actors to do their work without getting any sort of reward or attention for it.