Category Archives: Society

25 and Powerful

Feeling powerful scared me for a long time. Growing up, my mother and brother both yelled a lot. My mother would scream at me for almost anything I did, all the time, and I usually ended up crying in the bathroom of my basement or in my grandmother’s arms. My brother would scream back at my mother and they would sometimes yell at each other for hours, though I remember him crying too. This emotional abuse frightened me so much that I promised I would never act like my mother or my brother, that I would never express anger or even be angry, ever.

This fear of anger and power changed when I went to therapy in undergrad. Continue reading

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Dominate Me

I turn 25 in a couple of weeks so I have spent time reflecting on my growth as a person, including my sexual identity and romantic attraction to men. While I have unsurprisingly not yet met a man I want to date, I have learned something about the guys I’m generally into: I’m turned on by guys who can dominate me. In other words, I’m a bottom.

It feels weird to out myself as a bottom on the internet, though it feels weirder to claim that identity given the stigma I’ve internalized about it, especially as a gay Asian man. Continue reading

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A Job is Not a Person

Sometimes I idealize people. For example, as someone who cares about social justice and the arts, I often assume the best about organizers, writers, people who work in social justice-related nonprofits, etc. I tend to think that people whose careers involve fighting oppression or writing beautiful essays will possess corollary qualities, like deep self-awareness, a knowledge of how systemic oppression manifests in their interpersonal relationships, and a general compassion for those around them. My idealization reminds me of how some people I know idealize therapists as like, super emotionally intelligent, all-knowing seers of the human soul.

As a therapist who’s seen a few therapists for my own mental health, I’m here to tell you that some of us suck at our jobs. Continue reading

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Queer Asian Boys Do Not Live to Suck White Cock

Yesterday in the middle of a Coronavirus-inspired haze, I found myself indoors watching dirty videos. It all felt fun and pleasurable until I came across this comment:

racist comment about gay asian men

In all honesty, when I first saw that racist comment, I just exited that webpage and found a better use of my time. I feel sad admitting this, but the comment did not surprise me. A lot of people have written about how queer Asian men are fetishized and perceived as subservient by white gays, and I’ve already written about how we as queer Asian men are socialized to desire a white man’s love. This racist comment made me roll my eyes but did not elicit more emotion than that.

Today though, I remembered this comment while out on a socially distant jog. And suddenly I felt pissed. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Asian Frustration, Frustration at Asians

About two weeks ago I noticed myself judging and feeling frustrated with other Asian people. As someone who cares a lot about Asian American mental health and racial justice, I wanted to explore these feelings of judgment and frustration, because I like feeling my feelings and doing so helps me procrastinate my grad student responsibilities. Some incidents with fellow Asian Americans that have made me feel frustrated include: when I met a queer Asian American man last year who said he had internalized European beauty standards and is working to unlearn his automatic attraction to white guys; when I got dinner with an Asian American female friend who wondered about the truthfulness of reverse racism; all throughout high school when I saw other Asian American students obsess about grades and academic achievement and getting into prestigious schools.

When I sat with these emotions, I noticed a somewhat embarrassing thought emerge: you should all be better than this. I felt a literal judgment and I’m not proud of it. Continue reading

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Racial Trauma, Asian Power

Today I got triggered when I learned that my most recent crush is dating a white man. Beforehand, because I have no chill whatsoever, I asked him outright over text if his boyfriend is white. I then texted my best friend “Bri if his boyfriend is white… I may ask for a literal 3 minutes during our [next] phone call for me to scream.”

Lo and behold, my queer person of color sense proved correct and he texted me back saying that yes, his boyfriend is white. On one hand, I could not have cared less, because men are irrelevant to my life and he can date whoever the heck he wants to and I had predicted this outcome with my closest friends anyway. And yet, after I got that text, I fell into such a funk; I felt sad and angry and disappointed all at once. Continue reading

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