I always wanted to run away from home, from my abusive mother and her screaming fits and mood swings. In high school, I put my head down and worked hard so I could get into a good college and escape. I did run away from home once. I wrote a blog post about it, too. Then, I got into a great college and left at long last, only to run head first into a disturbing relationship and PTSD.
Fast forward five years and countless therapy sessions later. I write this in my close friend Bri’s apartment in Seattle, with a peanut butter milkshake from Five Guys and a bottle of Sprite by my side. Red hair covers my forehead, which my mom would hate. I have healed from my PTSD and anorexia. I do my best to help others through providing therapy, teaching, and mentoring
and oversharing about my life online. I have a few close friends who make me feel understood. I live in an apartment filled with books and Ariana Grande and BlackPink paraphernalia.
I guess I share all of this to show that for anyone struggling through a hard time, with time and effort and luck, things may get better. I hesitate to write that it will get better, because that at least in part depends on one’s privilege too, and I know I have a good amount of socioeconomic privilege. Still, I think back to 12-year-old self-starving just trying to survive Thomas, and I feel stunned at how much has changed in a decade. I feel way more confident in my voice. I use my emotions to help others instead of to hurt myself. I eat. I actually eat, and I enjoy almost every bite.
Things aren’t perfect, of course. There’s a whole lot more I have to learn about and do for social justice. I feel more desire to talk to my current crush than I’d like. I push myself a bit much at times so I can secure a tenure-track job later.
But right now, I have everything I’ve ever wanted, no man or prestigious job necessary. I’ll spend the rest of the weekend gallivanting around Seattle with Bri
and by gallivanting I mean going to different bookstores because that’s all I’m motivated to do lol. This upcoming Monday I will see Ariana live with Sorrah, and I know I will transcend when she transitions from my first love “Break Free” to my current favorite “No Tears Left To Cry.” In a little more than a week I will see A and we will exchange gossip and support over a fantastic meal. Throughout it all, I will have me, the queer red-haired Vietnamese book-loving nerd I’ve always wanted to be.
I’m on spring break now and trying to actually take a break from doing work so wanted to share this post! I’m about to go respond to comments on my two most recent posts now. Would love any feedback from longer-time readers (or new readers) and if there’s anything you want me to write about in the future please let me know. Hope you all are well.
11 responses to “Everything I’ve Ever Wanted”
Thomas, it sounds like you’re in a pretty good headspace currently, and that’s so awesome to hear! I can definitely relate to the drive to keep aiming higher, working harder in pursuit of a “successful” future, but taking a moment to think about what twelve-year-old me would think of where I am now is pretty inspiring.
I hope you have an awesome time with your friends, and that you keep being your awesome, “queer red-haired Vietnamese book-loving nerd” self. 💕
Thanks so much for your encouragement Isabelle! It all means a lot to me, and I’m glad that you can relate to taking time to appreciate yourself and your growth amidst your desire to aim higher.
Like Isabelle said, it’s great to hear you are in a good headspace. Sometimes it can take us year to get into a good place and we feel like we can get on with our lives. I liked it when you admitted, ‘I hesitate to write that it will get better’. As someone with anxiety, this resonates with me. Right now I’m in a much better place than many years ago. At the same time, there’s always the possibility things can go pear-shaped once again.
I hoped you enjoyed Ariana 🙂
Yes, I love the point of how sometimes it takes time to get into a good place and feel like we can move on with our lives. And I’m glad that point about things not necessarily getting better resonated; I tried to be intentional about that because there’s no guarantee, really. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, and yep, I enjoyed Ariana a lot. 🙂
hi dear Thomas,
as always i enjoy reading your blog and i’m happy for you. i’m happy for myself too. i too have a few great friends who are very supportive. And i agree with you about healing, and being content without a romantic partner, and getting closer to goals:) i’m booking a concert in June, to see karen (my queen my ariana) with my friend. hope you have a great spring break!! and keep rocking your red hair.
I am so so grateful for you and hope we can somehow meet in person at some point! I’m so happy to hear that you also have a few supportive great friends, are content without a romantic partner, and are going to a concert in June. Please feel free to share any of karen’s music if you like. Sending much warmth and strength to you.
For a moment, I thought you live in Seattle which is one of my favorite cities. I can’t imagine what it is must have been like for you at a young age. When I stumbled on your blog, I read some of your entries about your childhood and it was tough to read. I admire your resilience and compassion. *hugs*
Enjoy the concert on Monday!
I can hear the calm breaths in your writing.
What a lovely post! I’ve been honoured to read your journey over the past few years. And yes, I could tell my 17 year old self trying to work SO HARD to escape that yes you will get away and you will have PTSD too and you will overcome it and you will try to help others negotiate their journey in your own way and be side by side with them, and maybe you won’t be able to share personal stuff on your blog but one day you will be able to in some way. Thank you for everything you share.
I love this post, Thomas. To see the difference in us both from…my goodness, 6 years ago? So much learning and growing. It’s hard, it hurts, but the brave moments when we can see our growth, the calm moments when we can enjoy the peace, those make it worth it.
Thanks for continuing to share your voice with us. ❤
This post was inspirational. Most people get so overwhelmed with what’s going on in their lives that they think things will never get better that’s why it’s so cool that you’re out there doing what you could to make a difference and sharing your experience. Also. Blackpink 😁lol. I’m also a blink