In Another Life

After experiencing my mom’s abuse as a child, I knew around the age of 12 that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping people and making a difference. Over a decade ago, as a kid, life felt arbitrary and meaningless – like, what force decided that I would be born into a family with this cruel and dysregulated monster? Somehow I decided to create my own purpose: if I could not control the circumstances of my birth, I would take charge of my destiny and devote myself to empathy and compassion.

Now, at 25, life feels replete with opportunities to help others. I provide therapy, mentor undergraduate research assistants, conduct research related to mental health and systemic oppression, teach, and over disclose about my life on the internet. Despite the general tumultuousness of 2020, I have felt more content with myself, my relationships, and my purpose than ever before.

I feel proud of myself because I ate this amazing pecan frosted Cinnabon a weekish ago without feeling any guilt! I enjoyed eating it which means I have come a long way from my disordered eating days of early adolescence. Now instead of stepping on a scale I am stepping over unworthy men, yay.

The other day I played tennis and reflected on how I have no active romantic interest in any man right now. As I breathed into my face mask in between points, I wondered about when I would ever desire a man again. Upon finishing out my tennis match, I pondered if I would ever meet a queer man of color who knows and loves himself, advocates for social justice, and can top communicate and exchange support in healthy ways with me. I then thought, what if, in another life, I had not been born attracted to men and did not have to go through this struggle of desiring a gender that society socializes into mediocrity? Or if I will meet this amazing and non-existent man of color later on in my life, what would it have felt like if I had met him earlier? How much has my queerness distracted me from my life purpose, and how much of it has informed my fire for fighting white supremacist patriarchy given the hordes of mediocre men I have encountered on the dating circuit lol yikes?

I do not feel grateful at all for the way my mom treated me. However, I appreciate that in part because of my dysfunctional childhood, I never have cared much about what other people think of me or how they want me to live my life. In high school, when a lot of my peers cared about popularity or dating or getting good grades, I felt so focused on getting the heck out of my home and then acquiring the skills necessary to make a difference in the lives of others.

I feel the same way now. I get a lot of societal messaging about the heteronormative life path of dating a guy and getting engaged to him and marrying him or whatever, as well as notions that I should aspire to own property and/or aspire to raise a child. For me, though, I literally could not care less about romance or other traditional symbols of adulthood. As long as I can make a difference in the lives of others while maintaining healthful boundaries, I feel set. No man will divert me from my mission.

I love embodying every moment of my life now. Some highlights from this week include jogging six miles in one day to BlackPink’s “As If It’s Your Last” and “Lovesick Girls” and feeling every beat and synth in my bones, gossiping with friends about people we know who adhere to white supremacy, and showering and enjoying the feeling and privilege of clean water on my skin. Perhaps in another life I would have been born into a different family and I would not have struggled with disordered eating or PTSD. At the same time, maybe I would not have ever written this blog or developed an interest in destroying white supremacist patriarchy. Regardless, I’m happy to write that I like my life a lot right now, propelled forward with confident queer Asian femme energy and drive.

I took this selfie of my marvelous pink hair about a week ago and am posting it so we can all bask in its glory. I am in the process of wondering whether I want to go back to black or keep the pink going. We will see!

Have you ever pondered how your life may be different than it is now, and if so how has that gone for you? How are you holding up with the end of 2020? Though I am working quite a bit I also wrote this Twitter thread about maintaining a happy life outside of work and positive mental health overall. My next post may be my annual top ten books of 2020 post or maybe I will have the capacity or interest to publish something before then. Regardless, until next post!

4 Comments

Filed under Personal

4 responses to “In Another Life

  1. priya

    I’m so happy for you and how you’re feeling content with your life and relationships! I really admire how you’ve known what you wanted to do since you were very young. I’m not sure if you’ve talked about this before but if you haven’t,,, how was your first experience with therapy? Also, do you play tennis with a mask on?? That sounds really uncomfortable! I feel like I could run 6 miles with blackpink’s energy too hahaha

    • Awww thanks for this warm comment Priya! Yes I think I wrote about my initial experiences in therapy before but to do a quick summary, at first I saw someone at my undergrad’s counseling center but she wasn’t a great fit – she was nice but didn’t offer more of the emotion regulation-focused stuff I was searching for. Then the services coordinator at my undergrad college connected me to an off-campus provider who did a lot of cool trauma/DBT/psychodynamic work and we hit it off pretty well and I saw him for about a year and a half/two years and it was great! It was pretty tough in parts and overall an amazing and healing experience.

      Haha yep I play tennis with a mask on – just started doing that in late November I think. Doubles is not bad but singles is pretty rough. Fingers crossed the vaccine works out! And yayyy omg I know BlackPink’s energy is infectious and effusive and everything we need in this world. Hope you are well. (:

  2. I did the same at the end of school, pushing to get the exam results to get out of there. I love your lack of giving a sh*t about others’ opinions or the hegemony and you are an amazing role model for so many people.

    Don’t you dare post your top 10 books before the last day of the year (better: the first day of next year) though. Who knows what you will read that astounds you!?

    Happy Christmas and New Year. I’m so glad I’ve had the privilege to watch you grow and spread your wings … over those who also need protecting.

    • Awww thank you Liz! Yep, some of my favs Audre Lorde and Caroline Knapp definitely inspire me to not care about other people’s opinions as long as I can help in the collective liberation effort for healing and wellbeing. (:

      Haha omg I thought of this comment when I just posted my top ten books – please know I am so vibing with you about waiting until the very end of the year to post! I definitely like to wait in case I read more books. This year with my work schedule and stuff it just felt easiest to write it all up yesterday evening and then post today. I’m gonna be somewhat sneaky/acrobatic with my reading such that if I get close to finishing the book I’m currently reading I’m gonna wait until Friday to actually finish it so I can count it in 2021, lol. Looking forward to your list!

      Thanks for your warm wishes and I hope this liminal space between Christmas and New Years is going well for you. So appreciative of our e-friendship!

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