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13 Reasons We Won't Miss 2016

Culture

It's pretty undisputed that 2016 was a rough year. Not only was it a leap year, which is notoriously wrought with bad vibes, but it was also the year of the monkey, which for the Chinese means it’s a tricky time to say the least. Bottom line is 2016 was a year that tested our very humanity. We experienced a litany of emotions, and a lot of deeply upsetting and unsettling news headlines. Through it all we told ourselves it couldn't get worse, and it always seemed to.


As we turn the corner into 2017, we looked back at the 13 reasons we are ready to bid adieu to this year, and step boldly into the next.

The Bad News

1. Brexit Sets The Tone

The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, and caused an unexpected ripple effect in the global economy. Experts say that Brexit has already caused volatility in global stock markets and affected the value of the dollar, which on one hand makes it stronger, but on the other means product prices also go up, causing a negative effect for US trade and manufacturing. Brexit really set the tone for a year of unprecedented global happenings, which are still unfolding now.

2. Angelina and Brad Call It Quits

Courtesy of International Business Times

We were in shock when we found out Hollywood’s most beautiful, philanthropic-minded, child-rearing couple called it quits. The effervescent “cool but hot girl” and the handsome chill husband seemed the perfect pair, even for the most dubious believers of happy endings. We admit that the multitude of Jennifer Aniston memes were funny, but they couldn’t make the shock go away, and we were all left wondering who will be our everlasting Hollywood love story after all?

3. Election Disaster

Nothing has felt exactly the same since November 11. After prepping to welcome the first female president with premature election parties around the country, millions were left with gaping mouths as Presidential underdog Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in a stunning election upset. And upset we were. For those looking for silver linings, there has been an impressive rise in grassroots efforts which will benefit important causes concerned citizens are committed to keeping around regardless of who sits in the White House.

4. The Swell of Terrorism

From the horrific events in Nice and Brussels to the tragedy which unfolded at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, our hearts were shattered over and over this year as we watched a swell in violence like we’ve not seen before. We encourage everyone to donate to causes that help support our friends in Syria, as well as any victims from this past year’s detestable levels of violence.

5. Samsung and Apple’s “7” Editions

Although the new iPhone didn’t spontaneously combust like more than 100 Samsung Galaxy Notes 7 did, we weren’t fans of Apple's “upgraded” design and lack of a headphone jack. And the headphones themselves? We lost them before we even bought them.

6. Wells Fargo Sells Our Souls

Who knew bankers had the ability and the gaul to open more than 1.5 million deposit accounts on behalf of customers who never authorized them? Bankers went as far as to create fake PIN numbers and open fake emails to make the accounts seem legit. The bank formerly known as Wachovia dealt with the massive scandal by firing over 5,000 employees, and dropping credit card quotas for bankers.

7. Zika Virus Panic

Although Zika is technically no longer a a global health emergency, thousands of outbreaks and birth defects were attributed to this mosquito-born disease which has affected people in almost every country in the Western hemisphere and almost contributed to canceling the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

8. Saying Goodbye To Legends

We lost so many icons this year, including David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Gene Wilder, Bill Cunningham, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Harper Lee, Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, Prince, George Michael and Mohammed Ali. Just another reason 2016 was incredibly hard on all of us.

9. Pokemon Go Interrupts Human Life

Let’s just say it, mixing reality with virtual reality isn’t a great mix with every day life. To wit, Pokemon Go made things get weird. The craze left in its wake plenty distracted straphangers and even contributed to accidents and violent interactions across the country. Maybe real life scenarios aren’t the best locations for testing out VR.

10. Nasty Gal Bubble Pops

Despite raising over $65 million since it launched a decade ago, Nasty Gal claimed bankruptcy in November, much to the chagrin of many a funky clothes lover and #Girlboss fan. According to experts, expect more 2006-era start-ups to encounter difficult times ahead, as many burned through their funding without a solid revenue growth plan for reinvention.

11. Magazines Go The Way of The Dodo Bird

elite.style

It’s been nothing but bad news for the publishing industry the past few years, and 2016 was no exception. This year we lost Self, More, Complex, Mental Floss, Bloomberg Pursuits and Fitness. Further adding to our concern that magazines will be extinct in our life time, this fall Conde Nast condensed its staff, combining its creative and copy teams across the company.

12. Hacking
When it comes to hacking, this year was one for the books. Among the hacking incidents (which affected executives, celebrities, corporations, and civilians alike) across the country, were some doozies. One included the bitcoin theft of more than $65 million in cybercurrency, and another came just this past month when Russian hackers broke into more than 300,000 cash registers in hotels, stores and restaurants. Obama’s order for an investigation into Russian election-related hacking, only made us panic further.

13. Self Driving Cars

Until recently Uber passengers could choose a self-driving option, but authorities have put the kabach on the whole thing until more testing is completed. We’re not sure if this is good news or bad news, but we certainly are worried about potential ramifications of a fleet of driverless cars driving around.

Silver Linings

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1. Leonardo Wins
The actor was finally awarded for his immense talent with an Oscar for his role in The Revenant. Not only did Leo get the recognition he deserved in 2016, but it was also the year he released Before The Flood, which offers some profound truths about climate change and proves Leonardo is one of the Hollywood guys who gets it.
 
2. The Olympics
We got teary eyed when watching the opening ceremony and of course, the inclusion of the event’s first refuge group. With a whopping 121 medals (61 of which were won by women), the US showed some serious sports skills, and made us long for high school field day. With 46 golds, 37 silvers, and 38 bronzes, Team USA topped the metal count in every category, a feat that last happened in 1948.
 
3. Drone Deliveries Are A Thing
7-11 and Amazon have debuted drone delivery services, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Just when we thought it would never get better than Prime…
 
4. Hamilton Takes Over
Kudos to director, Lin-Manuel Miranda, for making history cool again. After setting a new record for most money earned in a week on Broadway ($3.3 million to be exact) and winning 11 well-deserved Tony Awards, it’s refreshing to know our fellow man voluntarily patronized the theater to learn more about our forefathers. Even though Alexander Hamilton is the man behind the Electoral College, which we do admit we old against him at the moment, we can’t wait until a time we can actually afford to see his story on stage.
 
5. Harriet Tubman Gets The 20
It’s not that we don’t like Andrew Jackson, but we are truly excited with the news that the abolitionist and humanitarian, Harriet Tubman will be the first African American woman on US currency. (Although, bummer alert: we may not actually see the new bills until a decade from now).
 
6. A New Level of Diversity
Gorgeous women like Nura Afia and Halima Aden proved that a headscarf can be an alluring accessory, while James Charles turned traditional gender roles on its head by signing on as CoverGirl’s first “cover boy” ambassador. What do they all have in common? They’re changing minds all over the world about what it means to be beautiful.
 
7. Flower Blooms In Space
In January, a zinnia grew on the International Space Station via NASA’s high tech veggie facility. This is the first time a flower has actually bloomed outside our atmosphere (well the first we know about anyway), and we are excited about the implications for sustainable space travel.
 
8. Television Upgrades
From Stranger Things to Black Mirror to West World, 2016 was a good year for time-wasting, make-you-think television.
 
9. Septuagenarian Gives Birth
This May a seriously fertile 70 year old woman from India gave birth to a healthy baby boy. All of you single women can take a deep breath. You’ve still got time!
 
10. Avocados Get An Emoji
Millennials breathed a collective side of relief when they finally had an emoji to accompany their “I know the guac isn’t free” messages. We were also happy to see a block of cheese, diversified female professions (we see you Emoji judge and firefighter) and of course, the eye roll we have all been waiting for.
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6min read
Health

What Sexual Abuse Survivors Want You to Know

In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.


For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.

Believe it or not, I am happy about that.

The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.

It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).

These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.

So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.

Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.

The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."

In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.