Category Archives: Society

Goodbye, to a Life Long Friendship

How do you deal with a long-distance friendship? I ask because one of my closest friends, A, moved away from the DC area about three months ago. Though we still text almost every day and FaceTime about once a week, I still feel sad. As I write this, I sit alone in my apartment’s living room space with all the lights on, covered in a semi-thick blanket, though I wish I were sitting a few feet across from her on her old apartment’s worn-down yet comfy grey couch. I am mourning: remembering the closeness we once had and confronting my life where I still have it in some ways, yet in other ways, no longer.

A and I met when I moved to the DC area for graduate school in August 2017. Continue reading

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Celebrating Three Years of Therapy

Drugs, food, men, shopping. I could have used any one of these to cope with the grief, racism, and remnants of trauma I experienced over the past year. I dabbled in all of them minus drugs – restricted calories for a few days, developed an intense crush or two, bought more books from Barnes and Noble and short shorts from Forever 21 than I should have – but I knew for long-term psychological stability, I should go back to disclosing my most shameful secrets to a paid professional. In all seriousness, creating and cultivating a relationship with the fifth therapist in my lifetime has been a wonderful experience, despite some necessary difficulties.

For every therapist who has helped me, at least one other has hurt my heart. Continue reading

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No, I Don’t Care If White Gay Men Want Me

Racism in gay dating exists, and it sucks a lot. Studies have shown that gay men of color receive fewer responses on dating apps, and Asian American gay men in particular get written off as desexualized and undesirable and experience fetishization. As a gay Asian American man, I have faced my fair share of dating microaggressions and mishaps, ranging from being fetishized because of my race on Grindr to having (usually white) men lose interest in me when they realize I have strong opinions about social justice, instead of being a submissive Asian wallflower. While these instances have felt hurtful, over the past few years I have adjusted my attitude to come to a more empowering conclusion: I really do not care about what white gay men, as well men in general, think of me, because I can love myself outside of validation from men.

I started thinking about the pointlessness of pursuing love from gay white men upon seeing the prominence of gay white men everywhere. Continue reading

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An Addiction to Romance: A Relapse and Recovery

In my therapy training class last week, I said that I would rather drink arsenic than depend on a man for happiness. As an ardent feminist, I have always appreciated myself for finding deep fulfillment in hobbies, a passion for helping others, and close friends, no attachment to men necessary. Given these truths about myself, I felt quite frustrated when earlier this week I matched with this super attractive man named Robin on the patriarchal capitalist romance machine Tinder and grew kind of obsessed with him. His profile said that he enjoyed reading, writing, and helping people. I felt a small pit of despair open in my stomach. Its name: desire.

At this point, I could have therapied myself and accepted my attraction to him which may have reduced its intensity and negative long-term effects. Instead, I found his Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, all within the span of ten minutes. Continue reading

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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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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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