I Learned

A few weeks ago, I judged myself for my former crush on AWLOB (attractive writer labor organizer boy), the queer Asian organizer I pined for from December 2018 to mid-June 2020. Long story short, he messaged me through this blog, we began an intense email conversation, then started and stopped that convo as he broke up with his boyfriend of five years (December 2018), told me he felt attracted to me (January 2019), then began seeing other guys even before getting over his boyfriend (apparently throughout 2019 to 2020). I ended my desire for him in June 2020 after I sent him a pretty mean email about how he hurt my feelings.

Over the past few weeks, I have thought to myself, Thomas, how the heck did you not know this guy was garbage from the beginning? I felt so foolish because I saw all the signs: he confessed his attraction to me right before and right after he broke up with his boyfriend, he refused to have a basic phone call or video conversation even though he initiated our connection, and he literally told me that he uses accomplishments, awards, and sex to compensate for low self-worth. Yet I still pursued him because I found his passion for social justice and his deep, sexy voice attractive. I wasted so much brain space and even so many posts on this blog thinking about this guy who never intended to follow through with me anyway.

Things I do instead of wasting time on men example #432: co-facilitating this conversation about interracial dating and white supremacy within the AAPI community with one of my good friends, for our leftist organizing group! We love allocating time to values-based activities instead of prioritizing the patriarchal pursuit of romance.

The other day, I went on a second date with a guy where all my feelings about AWLOB made sense. This guy, who I will call Taco, felt nice: he had interesting thoughts about his biracial identity and whether Black people should feel guilty for pursuing wealth under capitalism, he wanted to help create a more equitable society through enacting wealth redistribution and universal healthcare, and he chased me, which I enjoyed because I like getting chased. While we cuddled on my bed after starting and stopping the movie Capital, I thought to myself though: omg, Thomas, this guy is definitely not the one for you, he doesn’t excite you the same way AWLOB did. 15 minutes later I texted him to call off our connection and sat down on my couch to write this blog post.

Through my dissatisfaction with Taco, I re-recognized the reasons why I developed my intense crush on AWLOB in the first place. Yes, AWLOB ended up disappointing the heck out of me, and at the same time, he sent a beautiful and vulnerable first message to me through my blog. Through his writing, I could tell that he cared so much about social justice, that he lived and breathed it through both his words and his actions. Also, once again, he had a deep and sexy voice which I discovered through googling and finding a YouTube video of him speaking about his immigrant family, like honestly I am still a little disappointed I could never hear that voice speaking to me directly ugh why did he have to avoid actually communicating with me because of his deeply-rooted emotional issues. When I remember these features that stirred my attraction toward AWLOB, I feel a little softer toward myself and my mistake of investing in him.

Things I do instead of wasting time on men example #192: listening to and watching iconic live performances of BlackPink’s “Pretty Savage” while basking in the radiance of my wonderful life fulfilled by friendship and purpose.

A couple of weeks ago I had a trauma dream that involved failing to clean up a mess in my childhood home and my mother yelling at me as a result. This nightmare reminded me that I could not afford to make mistakes as a child, because my mother would then emotionally abuse me for hours on end. After talking about this theme of mistakes with my therapist, I recognize now though that it is okay to make mistakes, that I am human and that even though I always strive for excellence, I may fall short of that goal sometimes. Unlike a decade ago, mistakes will not elicit my mother’s rage; rather, I can meet those mistakes with self-compassion and a gentle yet firm plan for improvement.

I remind myself too that I learned from my mistake with AWLOB. Before meeting him, I assumed that if a guy is into writing and reads good books, cares about social justice enough to organize with marginalized communities, and can say kind things, that he will ultimately treat me well or be in a place to continue pursuing me at some point. I know now, though, that emotional availability and healthy communication are emotional availability and healthy communication – no amount of writing, organizing, or flattering words will replace those things.

While my feminist foremothers had warned me about the dangers of abusive and mediocre men, before AWLOB I do not think I had read anything about how men who present as leftist can also hurt you. So I am writing this here in the hopes that it may help someone else, that someone else reading this will not make the same mistake I did. Perhaps one day I will meet a better version of AWLOB – a queer man of color who is passionate about social justice, who pursues me, and who has his emotional life together. If not, though, I’m already thriving off of my self-love and my friends’ love, and no man can take that away from me.

What are some life lessons you learned through experience? How do you practice self-compassion and kindness when navigating mistakes you have made, while also committing to growth and improvement? General reactions or feelings to this post? Until next time!

8 Comments

Filed under Personal

8 responses to “I Learned

  1. Well you can guess I’m about as happy at making mistakes as you are, given the similarities in our backgrounds! I learned early that leftist men can be bastards too, fortunately by reading about communes etc and back to nature type lives which perpetuated stereotypical gender roles. I learned that people lie to you with my first boyfriend and not to be so naive and well it makes good stories now (“He was so kind to his ex-girlfriends, that one time he had to go over and stay with x just to make sure she was OK” etc. Argh!). I’m sorry you weren’t into Taco but if you know, you know. Could he be an ongoing friend or did it sever everything. Also I’m a bit jealous you get to hang out with people as we’re in the highest lockdown here. I did run with two friends today, not just one, at least!

    • Haha I appreciate all of this comment and especially the if you know, you know! I definitely knew. And yeah thank you for sharing your process in recognizing that leftist men can still be interpersonally awful, glad I learned that eventually even though it would’ve been ideal if that whole situation could have been prevented for me. Yeah tbh I feel like perhaps we should be in a higher lockdown because the US has handled COVID pretty atrociously. Hope you are staying as safe and connected as you can!

  2. I wonder if you dropped Taco too quickly. Sometimes things just start slowly and the excitement might not be there for some time. Does AWLOB still somehow affect you as you choose your dates and/or friendships? Did he inadvertently set a benchmark?

    One thing I really liked is your self love, your sense of self worth and the love from your friends.

    Have a great week!

    • Aw thanks for this perspective Matt! I’m pretty sure I did not drop Taco too quickly lol, he just was not up to snuff however I wish him the best and he was nice! While I know now I definitely want someone more emotionally available and healthy than AWLOB, it would be nice to have that person with the level of excitement I had with AWLOB, even if it does take time to build. I appreciate your gentle questioning and your appreciation of different facets of my self love! Hope your week goes well too. (:

      • You noticed my “gentle questioning”. 🙂

        I was a bit worried how you would react to my question. Sometimes things don’t come across well when it’s not face to face.

        I don’t know if you celebrate Christmas. If you do, I hope you have a safe and wonderful Christmas. Take care.

  3. Lisa C.

    Omg I also love Blackpink, and my favorite is Ddu-Du Ddu-Du. Thank you for your sharing. Your post reminds me of my experience with one of my girlfriends whom I will call here as UNCLOG, unattractive Corean labor organizer girl. I can’t get over my feelings with UNCLOG who is constantly clogging up my life. She considers me her best friend but I’m so scared of her. I respect UNCLOG so much for her progressive political views, passion for social justice, and work with marginalized communities, and that’s why we became friends, but I never thought until after being friends with UNCLOG that someone so passionate about justice can also be so scary. Reading your post makes me wonder how do I unclog UNCLOG in my life? How to start saying no to clogging and say yes to a life without UNCLOG? Any advice you have would be much appreciated! Happy 2021 to you!

    • Hi Lisa, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment on this post and for your solidarity both in regard to BlackPink and this friend! It is helpful for me to know there are others who have had experiences with people who are passionate about social justice and can be quite yikes. Also I don’t know if you were intentionally trying to be humorous but your acronym made me laugh. First I want to say it sucks you’re going through that situation. Without knowing the details of your relationship with UNCLOG I’m wondering if you could maybe try setting some boundaries? This website has some initial recommendations on how to try that out: https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-way-to-build-and-preserve-better-boundaries#5

      Happy 2021 to you too and hope you are well!

      • Lisa C.

        Thank you Thomas! I like to read about psychology and have yet to find this website, so thanks for sharing this resource! I was inspired by the humor and creation of your acronym, that’s how my UNCLOG came about. Haha, I am glad it made you laugh. Hope you are well too and have a good start to 2021 so far!

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