Thomas’s Top Ten 2015 Reads

Friends, welcome to my top ten books out of the 103 I read this year! Because I stopped posting the book reviews I write on this blog, I included a link to each book’s full review on Goodreads to force you to get an account yourself. You will see lots of books about mental health as well as feminism, and I have to say, choosing between the top ~15 stellar works of nonfiction I read almost slayed me to bits. Now, without further ado: Continue reading


Filed under 4 stars, 4.5 stars, 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Love Me, Hate Me, Talk to Me: Why I Will Keep the Quiet Voice

I remember screaming in the middle of a filled parking lot several months ago. My sophomore year in college had just ended, and my entire high school friend group had discarded me, for reasons belonging to both me and them. I felt so alone sitting in my car, right outside the central shopping mall of my hometown where we all used to hang out. My hands gripped the plastic covering of the steering wheel as ugly animal sounds shot out of my body and filled the stale air around me. I hated myself in that moment: I hated how isolated and weak I felt, I hated how I had pushed my friends away and how they had stayed away, and most of all, I hated my inability to treat myself with the compassion I so often applied to others. This is painful and this is pathetic, I recall thinking to myself. Pull yourself together. Now. Continue reading


Filed under Personal

Thomas Gets His Heart Broken by a Straight Boy, and Other Personal Updates

I met Will at a volunteer orientation at a psychiatric hospital over the summer, and I developed a huge crush on him a few months later. At first I tried to resist my attraction with foolproof strategies, such as by saying “undergraduate men are way too immature for me” over and over while reading Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or by playing “Focus” by Ariana Grande until I could sing it backwards in my sleep. But my pull toward Will’s deep voice, his listening skills, and his confidence soon forced me to accept my feelings. I talked about him with several of my friends, I penned a creative nonfiction piece about him that I shared with my entire class, and I even wrote a psychoanalysis of my thoughts toward him while sitting next to him in my Developmental Psychology course. I was, unfortunately, in love.

So I planned my heartbreak for 4 p.m. today. Continue reading


Filed under Personal

Child Abuse, Accepting Care, and A Little Life

Two nights ago I wrote a review of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, an epic book about four friends growing up together in New York City. One of the four, Jude St. Francis, suffered extreme sexual, physical, and emotional abuse throughout his childhood. As an adult, Jude works as an ambitious and renowned litigator. In addition to his handsomeness and his intellect, he forges several deep and tender friendships. However, Jude’s trauma continues to haunt him. He cuts himself in egregious ways to numb his psychological pain. He views himself as someone who only inspires disgust. He refuses to open up about his past. I write this post because Jude’s struggle reminded me a lot of the emotional abuse I suffered as a child and my personal battle with the scars it has left behind. I write this post to prove that hope exists for people like us, for people who experienced what no child should have to.

I slept with this book after I read it. I kid you not. You can read my review for more detail.

I slept with this book after I read it. I kid you not. You can check out my review for more detail.

A lot of the conflict in A Little Life stems from Jude’s inability to accept care from those around him. Continue reading


Filed under Personal

On Emergency Room Visits and Mindful Gratitude

My throat burned after the fourth upheaval. I tossed another white paper bag, stained with the remnants of yesterday’s dinner, into the trashcan by my bedside. The nurse placed a hand on the top of my back as I tried to stand, only to grip my shoulders as I collapsed right back down into the cold seat of my wheelchair. “This is unfortunate,” I thought to myself, as the pressure to vomit built inside of me for the fifth time that day. “I will never take for granted the ability to walk, or talk, or sing ‘Break Free’ ever again.”

Even took a pic of the fancy equipment so I could prove this happened. You guys are always on my mind (in a non-creepy way).

I even took a pic of the fancy equipment so I could prove this happened. You guys are always on my mind (in a non-creepy way).

On that bright Sunday morning in late June, I woke to the world spinning. Continue reading


Filed under Personal

Car Accidents, Self-Compassion, and Other Summer Adventures

Imagine driving down the highway on a bright summer day. The wind flits across your skin, the sun filters every car around you in a lucid glow, and your vision shifts down for just a second. Then, the moment you look up, your life ends.

Exhibit A: wrecked car, with some supplies on top.

Exhibit A: wrecked car, with some supplies on top.

I acknowledge my melodramatic word choice. However, when the accident happened, I felt like my entire world – and not just my car – had crashed. After fidgeting my limbs to see if they still worked and checking to ensure that the other driver suffered no injury, I proceeded to have a little bit of a meltdown. Continue reading


Filed under Personal

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

*Note: I do not post all of my book reviews on this blog. For more, check out my Goodreads page.*

“Suicide is a particularly awful way to die: the mental suffering leading up to it is usually prolonged, intense, and unpalliated. There is no morphine equivalent to ease the acute pain, and death not uncommonly is violent and grisly. The suffering of the suicidal is private and inexpressible, leaving family members, friends, and colleagues to deal with an almost unfathomable kind of loss, as well as guilt. Suicide carries in its aftermath a level of confusion and devastation that is, for the most part, beyond description.”

A gripping, masterful book about a topic shrouded in horror and sadness. Continue reading


Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books