Category Archives: Personal

When All Your Friends Abandon You for Their Husbands: A Contingency Plan

Some people prioritize their romantic partners. I prioritize my friends. My close friends have been with me through the best of times and the worst of times. One of my good friends consoled me in an H&M when I got the text that my grandmother passed away. Three close friends sat with me and comforted me on the cold, hard floor of my dorm room right after the friend breakup that triggered my PTSD three years ago. One friend drove me to see the therapist I had a life-changing relationship with in undergrad when I could not do so myself, and another friend drove with me to secure my first apartment near Washington D.C. earlier this year. With a handful of friends, I have exchanged the rawest emotional intimacies, the loudest of laughs, and hours-long conversations about feminism, relationships, the state of society in Trump’s America, and more. My friends have acted as one of the most major influences in my life, and I would not hesitate at all to dedicate my first book, or any of my accomplishments, to them.

I hope this backstory explains why I feel afraid of losing my friendships. Ever since starting this “adult” stage of my life a few months ago, I have noticed a striking pattern: we encourage women (who comprise most of my friends) to get married, and as they date and get married to men (or women, or whomever), they spend a lot less time with their friends. Continue reading

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A Death in the Family

My grandmother passed away last Wednesday. I stayed with her in the hospital a few times in the days leading up to her death , though she had been sick for awhile at that point. She had Parkinson’s disease. Over the last few years, she lost the ability to walk. Over the last couple of months, she lost the ability to breathe without the help of a machine. Despite this physical decay, I have a clear picture to remember her by from an earlier time in her life: when she raised me, protected me, and loved me unconditionally.  Continue reading

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No Men, No Marriage, No Problem

Yesterday, I went on a date with this really cute guy. The reasons why I decided to see him: his profile included a picture of himself in front of a mural of Barack Obama, he felt skeptical of the law because it oftentimes serves as “a tool… to uphold dominant ideologies,” and his face (I know, super shallow, please shame me.) The date itself went well too, I thought. Yeah, he may have said that he has never resolved an interpersonal conflict in his life in a satisfying way, but I put that on the back burner when he talked about his interest in advocacy work and used the term “emotional labor” unprompted because most men literally cannot even articulate any emotion, aside from anger, so my bar was low, like, beneath the ground low. Afterward, I journaled about my feelings for half an hour in a nifty D.C. cafe, and I decided to ask him out again. And, after encouraging me to add him on Facebook – I know, how odd – he essentially said no to a second date.

I feel bitter. Some of that feeling stems from the rejection of my interest and vulnerability, sure. But a lot of it also comes from how I wasted my time on this date. Continue reading

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Grieving Sense8’s Cancellation, and Finding Hope in the Dark

Sense8 gave me hope for humanity, and its cancellation took that away. The show follows eight people around the world who realize they share a psychic connection and must fight an organization intent on hunting them down. This premise, while exciting, serves as a vehicle for where the show really excels: its emphasis on love and diversity. I do not watch much TV at all, but after a close friend recommended Sense8 to me, I got so invested so quick, because these characters portrayed facets of identity never before displayed all at once on TV, in deep and compassionate ways.  Continue reading

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A Joyous Life, Without Romance

A few months ago, I got breakfast with two friends in one of our college’s cozy cafes. We had not hung out all semester, so I enjoyed catching up, until the topic turned to relationships and one of them said, “Thomas, I don’t know why you don’t have, like, three boyfriends, especially because you’re so caring and funny and smart. Why are you even single?” Continue reading

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Grieving Lessons: Saying Goodbye to My Therapist

This past Saturday, I skipped my college’s graduation ceremony and went to a bookstore with two friends instead. I walked up and down the aisles looking for a book about grief, grief of any kind; I wanted to flip through the pages of someone else’s sorrow so I could process my own. Just yesterday I had had the my last appointment with my therapist, L, and I could not shake my sadness. I would miss L with all my heart – his snarky laugh, how his face relaxed when he went deep into thought, the way his eyes creased when he smiled wide – but I had almost no sources of solidarity. People wrote songs, stories, and scripts about flames and flings, family members, and sometimes friends, but almost never about the relationship between therapist and client. Continue reading

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I Got into Grad School! Also, Thoughts on Before I Fall

After submitting 15 applications, traveling to a new state every weekend for a month, and taking a lot of time to deliberate, I have accepted an offer to attend a renowned Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program in the D.C. metro area! I almost cannot believe that I started this blog as a sophomore in high school, and now, seven years later, I write this post just a few months before graduating from William & Mary and beginning a doctoral program in August. In addition to sharing this good news with everyone, I also want to reflect on a few ideas inspired by the film Before I Fall, which I saw a few nights ago and loved.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I am also in shock that this book came out in 2010 and that I read it in high school, so many years ago. Image via goodreads.com.

This intense application process and film both made me ask: why do we do what we do? Continue reading

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