Seven Mental Health Basics for #BellLetsTalk Day

When I got into hockey about five years ago, it was mostly because the game itself was so interesting to me. It’s fast, it requires a ton of skill, it has a lot of “holy crap can you believe that” moments, and everyone hugs after scoring. That’s my kind of sport. But a big reason, I think, that I stayed so invested in hockey was the fact that the hockey community is so intensely invested in initiatives to de-stigmatize mental health issues. As someone who has dealt with a lot of mental health issues (anxiety, depression, ADD), has been in therapy on and off (but mostly on) for over twenty years, and has been on psychiatric medication for about 17 and a half of those years, this was an enormous weight off my shoulders. At the time I got into hockey, I was nearing the tail end of my seven year episode of being housebound due to agoraphobia, and it was such a relief to be around people I felt like I didn’t have to lie to. Not that I told everyone around me the intimate details of my mental health, or really any details at all, but the knowledge that I could, that I didn’t have to be closeted if I didn’t want to, was a huge weight off my shoulders.

Every year the hockey community (because the hockey community is largely Canadian) explodes with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, which donates $0.05 to Canadian mental health initiatives every time it is shared on social media and also encourages the frank and open discussion of mental health issues. In the last few years, even though Bell is a Canadian company, it’s become a big thing not just in the hockey community. As of me typing this, #BellLetsTalk is also trending second in the United States. And frankly, not that many people are hockey fans.

Since today is for sharing about mental health, and since I have spent so much of my life being mentally ill and going through every type of therapy and/or medication regime there is, I thought rather than share my story (which is not very interesting – I was sick, then I worked really hard and now I’m better), I’d share the seven iron-clad mental health rules that I have learned and that I wish everyone, mentally ill or not, knew.

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If The Penguins Settled Catan (Orignally for Pensburgh)

2571261975_f079a04a32_oThe bond between athletes and popular board game Settlers of Catan is not a new one. But until now, we didn’t know that it had spread into hockey.

This Tuesday, the Penguins posted the annual holiday gift baskets that each player creates and then is auctioned off for charity. While most Penguins fans don’t have a cool $500 to drop at minimum, it’s always amusing to browse them and see what each player considers “important”. (Nick Bonino’s basket, for example, is all for dogs. Good man, Nick Bonino.) And Eric Fehr apparently considers Settlers of Catan essential to the “spend a day like Eric Fehr” starter pack.

Which begs the question – what would it be like if the rest of the Penguins players all picked up Settlers of Catan the way the Green Bay Packers did? After much thorough research and investigative journalism, I was able to determine that this is how games between the team would go:

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A Very Gerbil Hanukkah

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Love, Nico, Rizzo (and Julia)

So You Want To Go To A Boston Pride Game: Eight Things You Should Know (Originally for Stanley Cup of Chowder)


Here’s the problem with being a hockey fan in Boston: it’s wicked expensive to see it played live, especially at a professional level. I’m not even a Bruins fan (sorry, guys), and just attempting to see [team name redacted because I want you to like me enough to keep reading this article] maybe once a year was something I very quickly decided was not worth it.

I got into hockey about five years ago, and women’s hockey was something I settled on as a way to see good hockey without NHL prices. Conveniently, Boston also had a team that had all my favorite Olympian players, and by going I supported women instead of Jeremy Jacobs, real-life Scrooge McDuck, so it was a win-win. In terms of gameplay, the only real difference between women’s and men’s hockey is that there’s technically no hitting or fighting in women’s hockey. (Technically.) Checking still happens a lot, and once in a blue moon, there’s even a fight. Personally, though, I’ve never really enjoyed the “physical game” aspect of hockey, I much prefer the speed and skill aspects of it, which women’s hockey has in spades.

Hopefully by now you’re thinking “hey, that does sound like a great time, how do see one of these games?” Good news! Thanks to the NWHL starting this year, it’s now really, really easy. Just follow my handy tips:

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How To Look Put Together (For Girls Who Are Not Put Together) – Part Three: Makeup, Hair, and Grooming

Well, we’ve come to the end of the line, ladies (and/or people who like to dress like ladies). I’ve told you my best tips for clothing, accessories, and now we just have the final touches: makeup, hair, and general grooming.

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How To Look Put Together (For Girls Who Are Not Put Together) – Part Two: Accessories

In part one of my wildly popular new series on how girls (or people who dress in women’s clothing) can look put together without actually being put together in the slightest, I discussed exclusively clothes. But there’s so much more to an outfit than clothes (unfortunately for our wallets).  And so this week I present part two of my primer, aka The Part of Being A Girl I Am The Worst At: Shoes/Accessories.
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How To Look Put Together (For Girls Who Are Not Put Together) – Part One: Clothing

Being a girl is a mysterious, frustrating thing. At a certain age, people start expecting you to look, if not fashionable, at least put together. Guys get a free pass on wearing roughly the same uniform every day (my brother, for example, wears cargos/jeans, sneakers, a t-shirt, and a hoodie if it is cold, and has for his entire teenaged and adult life), but not girls. Clothing, hair, and makeup become hobbies that take up exorbitant amounts of time and money no matter how hard you try to avoid it. And the worst part is, at no point are you given a class or primer on how to do this stuff, you’re just supposed to magically know it.

I’m 26, I’m employed, and at some point I realized I have managed to trick people into thinking I have my shit together, appearance-wise. I have one co-worker who’s always commenting on how cute and fashionable I am. Considering that in seventh grade I thought the height of fashion was cutting up tights and wearing them as sleeves, I think this qualifies as character growth.

The thing is, I am two things that are very antithetical to Being A Girl, and that is that I am both lazy and cheap. But the nice thing about being lazy and cheap is that you develop really great shortcuts so people don’t know how lazy and cheap you are. And I realized one day, as I was getting ready for work, that the world deserved to know these. Surely, there are many girls out there who, like me, are lazy, cheap, and just want people to think they know what they’re doing when it comes to their personal appearance. And so I present to you this very long, detailed blog post for every lazy, cheap girl out there who’s just like me.

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