More Good News

In my six-year doctoral program, our last year consists of a year-long internship in which we provide therapy full time. The process to determine which site we will conduct our internship at works kinda like the med school residency application process. We apply to different sites, they extend interview offers, and after we interview, they rank us and we rank them. Every year, on “match day,” my doctoral program directors send an email to the entire program detailing which students matched at which sites. Everyone shares their congratulations. It feels wholesome.

This year, a faculty member sent an additional email to everyone in the program with the subject line “More good news on an already fine day for our interns…” In the email, this faculty member shared how one of his former students recently had his second child. Attached to the photos were pictures of this student and his children.

While I felt positive about this news – I really like this former student, because he’s into social justice in a quiet way where he walks the walk about it without showing off – I also felt a little perturbed at the arbitrariness of this email. Like, are we all so into the heteronormative nuclear family that we think “more good news” consists solely of sharing pictures of students who have children with their spouses? I don’t feel turned off by celebrating someone having kids, though I do think we can widen what constitutes good news: how about the grad student of color who’s fought through imposter syndrome that stemmed from racism in academia? How about the grad student who’s learned how to feel happiness on their own and their chosen communities, outside of a romantic partner? How about the grad student who enjoyed their Friday night watching Itzy music videos no, these are all not just slowly morphing into descriptions of me?

Because I’m super into sharing about how I cultivate a fulfilled life outside of romance and the heteronormative nuclear family – even though I may want a child of my own someday – I want to share about my iconic weekend. A couple days ago I flew into Boston for a several day solo trip. I chose Boston because my favorite writer, Caroline Knapp, lived in Boston and often wrote about how she rowed her way out of anorexia on the Charles River. So I wanted to honor her spirit by spending time on the river and celebrating my life, hardships and joys and all. The rest of this post includes a few specific highlights from the trip so far. Also, I recognize now I should practice social distancing more with COVID-19 continuing to spread, so please take that into consideration as I will in the future!

charles river 2020 pic

If anyone saw or heard a red-haired Asian guy scream-singing “I WANNABE ME ME ME” while jogging along this gorgeous river this weekend, it was probably me. Thank you @ Itzy for blessing me with “Wannabe.”

1) Good news #1: running along the Charles River and feeling my feelings. This past week I got a couple of pretty rough rejections in my “professional” life, so I let myself feel my feels while blasting Itzy’s “Wannabe” and enjoying the beautiful view. Though I feel sad about the rejections, I also reflected on how far I have come since I last visited Boston in about 2016. Back then, my hair was black and I hadn’t applied to Psychology PhD programs yet. Now, my hair is red, I’ve provided therapy and published research for a few years, and I’ve learned a lot about what I want in relationships of all kinds. We stan a flawed human who honors his progress while recognizing he still has a long way to go!

iconic pork belly and smoothie

Look at how iconic this dish and smoothie look. I took a bite of the food, looked away to check my phone, and unlike the men in my life, the food didn’t ghost me after teasing me with an attractive level of emotional intimacy and passion for social justice. The food didn’t stand up from the plate and walk away. The food just stayed there. Anyway.

2) Good news #2: I ate iconic food. As a former anorexic, I want to honor how eating and enjoying food equals an important accomplishment for me. This Pork Belly Garlic Gaprow and mango smoothie from Sugar & Spice Thai in Cambridge satisfied me more than 99% of the men in my life have. Also, when I felt full, I stopped eating and took the rest to go – huzzah for intuitive eating! Now that I’ve worked through my emotional baggage I do not have to project my emotions onto food like I did in my early teen years, thank goodness. At this point I’m thinking about how to expand eating disorder treatment to underrepresented groups like Asian Americans, because even though I love Caroline Knapp, her book applies mostly to white women, and it’s time to move forward.

3) Good news #3: I talk with my closest friends. Though I love spending time with myself, I feel so lucky and happy that last night I FaceTimed one of my best friends and in about ten minutes I will Skype my other best friend! I love these two people so much. I feel comfortable being my full, weird, goofy, drama-loving self with them. They inspire me to write, to get more radical, to honor my worth as a human and celebrate myself always. I love how since 2016 I have not settled into any relationship with a man just for the sake of it. Thanks to my closest friends and my own self-love I feel so connected, and any man would have to serenade me with passages written by Audre Lorde while performing Itzy choreography while feeding me Jeni’s ice cream be freaking iconic as heck to get even close to my heart.

Anyway, this post has no point other than to celebrate myself even though I still have a lot to learn. Thank you to my .8 blog readers for allowing me to share my authentic self! How do ya’ll celebrate yourselves, both internally and externally? What good news have you experienced over the past little while? Why is it that there were no other gay red-haired Asians running on the Charles River while screaming Itzy’s “Wannabe,” a true shame in 2020? Who knows, maybe tomorrow on the Charles River I’ll run into Timmy, a bisexual Singaporean purple-haired 24-year-old who also over-discloses about his life on the internet and loves Itzy. Who knows.

9 Comments

Filed under Personal, Society

9 responses to “More Good News

  1. Amy

    Yay! I’m happy for your non-heteronormative-nuclear-family-based good news and delicious-looking food. :9 Please do continue to stay safe and practice social distancing, but, speaking of feeling all the feelings — have you seen Portrait of a Lady on Fire yet? It’s a wonderfully beautiful representation of queerness and female sorority.

    • Awww Amy thanks for taking the time to read this post and leave such a kind comment. Yes, I am in full social distancing mode right now. And thank you for your recommendation of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, I saw some tweets about it but your recommendation has elevated it on my to-watch list. I haven’t been watching much TV or movies lately but Celine Sciamma’s movie Girlhood is one of my absolute favorites (if not my favorite film) so I’m excited to watch this one. Hope you are well and sending warmth and strength your way!

  2. Sometimes the world doesn’t celebrate our quiet and sometimes “invisible” success (invisible only because the system can work against us). So it’s good that you celebrate it in a way that is meaningful to you. I enjoyed reading the 3 bullets on good news. I would love to try that pork belly dish.

    And if you do run into Timmy, please ask him to tell us what his blog is. I always enjoy reading bloggers who defiantly over-discloses their lives.

    Stay safe.

    • Thank you for your compassionate validation of my celebration, Matt. (: And hahaha I unfortunately did not run into Timmy but maybe one day, and then I’ll send his writing to you for sure. I hope you are staying safe as well and glad to read on your blog that you’re practicing social distancing on your walks.

  3. X

    I do feel weird about the good news email, though it is very nice. I can’t help thinking people’s value could be quiet narrow minded. In my experiences, having children, getting married are usually be seen the best news in life. But really they don’t have to be the best for each individuals 🙂
    Thanks for your very caring thoughts. My city is comparatively save on covid – 19 situation now and we still need to be careful. Hope all is great to you as always. That river in Boston looks beautiful!! Definitely iconic trip idea with the amazing food. haha!!
    Xin

    • Yes thank you for your solidarity Xin, getting married and having kids can be good news for some people though that shouldn’t be the sole cultural norm, especially with how marriage’s roots are in patriarchy. I’m glad your city is safe now – if you’re somewhere in China now I’ve read that COVID-19 is more contained. Sending warmth and strength.

  4. I was more worried to be honest that your tutor was sharing pictures of an ex student and their children with strangers! What? How weird. Lovely running path along the river, just the kind of thing I like. No singing here though as no headphones.

    I’m not sure what I celebrate in myself. Hm. I shared with quite a few people that one of my clients cared enough to email me and check I was doing OK and reassure me he had plenty of work for me. And I suppose I’ve been celebrating my status as a qualified information professional by shaming people on Facebook who have not checked Snopes before sharing rubbish … Then again, I’m British and then also from Birmingham, a city known for downplaying itself!

    Keep well and keep distanced!

    • Haha that’s a good point Liz, hopefully the prof received consent from the student before sharing their pics! And yes, when I wrote this post it made me think of all your running-related posts. I’m glad that you have a strong relationship with that client and that you are taking time to honor your skill as an information professional. Hope you are keeping well and distanced too. (:

      • No more running posts for a bit as I am keeping away from all the discussion of the isolating and distancing and restrictions to keep myself mentally well. Physically well and doing OK but a bit rattled, obviously.

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