For decades, I dreamed of the perfect pedicure… without understanding the real dangers

Image for post
Image for post
Thanks to Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash for the photo

I was just a tween when I first pictured my toes being splendidly feminine.

Uncomfortable in my flabby, testosterone-filling body, I would lay awake on the wrong side of the gender spectrum and reimagine myself.

Inevitably, it would always begin with my toes.

For thirty years, on and off, I would replay this same mental and emotional exercise.

In the meantime, I met and married the woman of my dreams, began raising a family of four boys, and excelled in both personal and professional endeavors.

In all that time, I never spread one layer of lacquer on my big beautiful nails. …

Mechanisms that make writing easy and fun

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Have you ever stopped to wonder what it is that really makes you clock in, day after day, to a platform that pays, on average, far less than minimum wage?

“Based on my experience over the last year, I would say that it is realistic for someone putting in decent part time writing effort to make $100–$500 per month.” — Medium Blogging Guide

The answer might surprise you.

It’s found in the art of gamification.

What Is Gamification?

“When you take away the technical [aspects] of a game, you are left off with four elements…” — Eugen Eşanu

For centuries, mankind has been playing games. …

I feared the worst. They showed me the best.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by juan pablo rodriguez on Unsplash

A lot of things scared me about coming out as transgender to my four boys.

“They’re too young to understand,” I told myself to justify my silence. “It’s not something they need to know yet.”

But as the urge to come out increased, I knew I could no longer ignore the truth of the situation.

Not only did my boys deserve to hear it from me first, I would need their blessing before opening myself (and our family) up to the world.

What I had been telling myself was that I was protecting them by not speaking about it.

In reality, I had been protecting myself. …

A simple four-step guide to building a stronger reader base

Image for post
Image for post
Thanks to Morning Brew on Unsplash for the image

As a writer on Medium, I’ve found it’s simple enough to sit down and crank out an article.

What’s harder is writing something that will get read.

And what’s hardest is actually writing with your perfect reader already in mind.

It’s hardest because it takes time and experience to find your perfect reader.

Unless you’re coming to the platform with an already established reader base, it can require a lot of trial and error to find your “tribe.”

A key way to expedite this process is by developing what marketing experts call a customer persona.

What is a customer persona?

“The idea is to create a profile of your ideal customer as if he or she were a real person, so you can craft targeted marketing messages to them. These messages should use the right tone of voice and address the specific needs and desires of your customer.” …

Centuries-old sibling rivalries never get old

Image for post
Image for post
Thanks to NeONBRAND on Unsplash for the original image

We own an American fourteen-year-old.

Most days we call him Noah, although there are more colorful names which come to mind, given the day.

Based on the little research I’ve consulted (i.e. just enough Googling to ensure I’m not raising a psychopath), Noah is an ideal specimen of the species known as adulescens inconcinnus.

He’s as clumsy as a drunk pirate with two eye patches, moody as all get out, and has recently-developed the superpower of finding fault in everything.

Without question, Noah would be the first to tell you how life in France ruined his life. …

Vacation season is here. Why are you still working?

Image for post
Image for post
Thanks to Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash for the photo

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

To: Our Industrious American Colleagues

From: Your Lazy French Counterparts

Re: Summer Holidays

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

In recent decades, we French have been the target of many a joke told around your American watercoolers.

We’re always on strike.

We’re never at work.

It takes at least three of us to change a lightbulb.

Believe us, we’ve heard it all.

However, with the summer vacation season officially here, we’d like to remind our American counterparts of two important policies.

1. Don’t plan to find us at work (as per usual)

If you’re having a hard time reaching us in the office, this graph might help you understand…

Or my quest to find the perfect peanut butter & jelly sandwich

Image for post
Image for post
Thanks to natic_ua from Pixabay for the photo

Most people around me don’t understand what “gender dysphoria” really is.

As someone who self-identifies as having it, I can relate.

Growing up, I had heard of plenty of other terms in the LGBTQ lexicon:

  • Drag queen
  • Crossdresser
  • Transsexual
  • Transgender
  • Queer

Gender dysphoria as a diagnosis, however, alluded me for decades even though the term has been around since I was a newborn.

What is gender dysphoria?

“Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify.” — The American Psychiatric Association

In the definition above, the keyword is “conflict.”

If you’re male or female and are conflicted with feeling like the opposite gender over the period of months or years, this is gender dysphoria. …

What’s in a name depends on your typeface

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I’m a font geek at heart.

On road trips, while the rest of the family is playing the alphabet game or the license plate game, I’m looking at billboards and trying to guess which fonts they used.

When it comes to fonts, there are basically two main categories: serif and sans serif.

To begin, let's take a look at the visual difference between the two:

The question I wish I hadn’t asked (but am grateful for what I learned)

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by bill wegener on Unsplash

It happened our first night in Rwanda.

As is common practice back home, dinnertime is our chance as a family to come together and talk about the day.

This evening was special, not just because it was our first dinner in the heart of Africa, but also because we had a special guest.

His name was Aphrodis.

When we had shown up at our new home at 5:00 AM that morning, we had been told that Aphrodis would be our live-in security guard, if we were willing to pay a “little extra.”

“Live-in security guard?” we questioned. “Why would we pay extra for a live-in security guard in Africa’s safest capital?” …


Dave Smurthwaite

Helping you be happier & more creative by developing a Traveler Mindset:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store