February 10, 2023 · 9:39 pm
A couple of weeks ago a white supremacist, amatonormative Incident™ happened and it stressed me the heck out. I don’t want to go into the specifics of the Incident™, though I will share that it made me feel dejected, weary of my relational boundaries, and somewhat hopeless. Ugh, I can’t believe I worked so hard to get a tenure-track job, got the tenure-track job, got a part-time job on top of the tenure-track job, and then life still smacked in the face with this bs, I thought to myself. Who knew you can’t girlboss/nonbinaryboss your way out of systems of oppression??
To eschew self-destructive and unhealthful coping, I practiced these three strategies: Continue reading →
Filed under Personal
Tagged as act, amatonormativity, coping, dbt, emotions, mental health, patriarchy, racism, radical acceptance, stress, white supremacy
January 28, 2023 · 7:06 am
A couple of years ago, I went on a date with a Filipino guy after I submitted my residency applications. We met at an Asian restaurant in northern Virginia sometime in December, late in the evening. We sat down, started eating, and talked about our work situations, music tastes, and dating histories. When I told him that I hadn’t dated a man long-term yet, he said “that’s surprising,” especially because I had been 26 at the time.
“What’s surprising about that?” I asked him. Continue reading →
January 19, 2023 · 2:58 pm
A few weeks ago, a cousin I have not spoken to for about a decade invited me to his wedding in Hawaii. I knew almost right away that I would decline the invitation. Yet, I felt guilty about saying no. I talked with one of my best friends about it a few hours after receiving the invitation which helped me feel better, and I decided to donate $30 to my cousin’s honeymoon fund instead. Still, his ask and my reaction to it lingered with me.
I felt a small drop of guilt for a few hours after I made up my mind to say no even though I had several strong reasons not to attend. Continue reading →
October 30, 2022 · 2:51 pm
Earlier this year I started thinking about home ownership. The timing made sense – as the majority of my friends enter their late 20s, they raise the topic more so I start thinking about it too. I myself may enter a new state of permanence where homeownership makes more sense. Next May/June I graduate with my PhD, and if I land a tenure-track job, I could end up staying wherever I go for the long-term.
Holy sh*t, I thought to myself when I looked up one-bedroom homes right outside the city I live in now. Continue reading →
September 21, 2022 · 10:43 pm
This morning I woke up with excruciating pain in my right foot. I could not put any weight on it; if I tried to set my foot flat on the ground, I felt burning shots of fire run up my heel. After texting my best friends about it and changing into short shorts, I hopped on my left foot to the elevator of my apartment and then into an Uber that took me to a local hospital.
The doctor and nurse informed me that luckily, I did not rupture my Achilles tendon – I had just inflamed it. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal
Tagged as achilles tendon, amatonormativity, best friends, feelings, friends, friendship, gay, grief, injury, short shorts, uncertainty
August 17, 2022 · 10:14 pm
Several years ago, I met a woman in college who I will call P. P told me about how her boyfriend, K, once scheduled a virtual call to catch up with one of his best friends. His best friend did not show up to the call and did not let K know in advance. When I asked P if K intended to let his best friend know how this failure to attend the call affected K’s feelings, P shrugged and said that K did not have that type of relationship with this best friend. When P told me this, I thought to myself, no wonder K relies so much on P for his emotional support, if he does not even bring up with his best friends when they hurt his feelings.
This behavior reminds me of people who devalue friendship and prioritize their romantic partners. Earlier in my 20’s I would get more upset about this, and though I still do detest amatonormativity I think my feelings have softened. I suspect this softening has occurred because of how close I feel with my two best friends, both of whom I have had stable deep bonds with for several years now. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal, Society
Tagged as amatonormativity, fleabag, friendship, love, platonic, platonic love, relationships, secure attachment, security, trust
March 5, 2022 · 3:03 pm
A desire I felt ashamed of: I had wanted my first long-term therapist L to attend my college graduation. When I stood on the auditorium stage receiving an award in 2017, I thought less about the work I had put into my academics over the past few years and more about the effort I had spent in my therapy with him. I felt fine that L had not attended, though I had always perceived my desire to see him there as too needy or too much in some way.
“I totally get why he couldn’t attend, because of ethics and stuff,” I said to my current therapist over Zoom a few weeks ago. I had never told anyone about wanting to see L at my college graduation before this. “I feel some shame though that I had wanted him there at all.”
“Thomas, it’s completely normal and makes sense that you wanted L to be there,” she said. “You two really cared for each other.”
When my therapist shared this, I started to tear up a bit. Continue reading →
January 21, 2022 · 12:01 pm
The other day I spoke with an older Gaysian guy I respect. He first gave me some advice about my Psychology residency application process, and our conversation later turned to topics such as the political roots of queer Asian men’s romantic desires. He expressed some ideas about white supremacy and transracial adoption I hadn’t yet put into words, which I appreciated.
At one point, though, as we talked about how internalized racism may motivate fellow Gaysian men to date white men, he said something along the lines of: “well, if gay Asian men don’t have any other options around them, is it their fault to be with a white man even if he’s basic or a fetishizer? It’s like Peeta and Katniss from The Hunger Games, it’s not like they had a choice to kill other people. I’m not saying it’s the ideal scenario, but if gay Asian men don’t have other options, I’m not sure I blame them.”
I want to make it clear that I do not think this older Gaysian himself endorsed the idea of Gaysian men settling for white men (just in case this Gaysian somehow happens to stumble upon this blog post, I think you’re rad and cool and otherwise wouldn’t have reached out to you!) However, I felt struck by the logic underlying this analogy, that not having any romantic prospects removes you of your agency to the same extent as being forced to kill other people against your will by a totalitarian police state. And yet, I have heard the same sentiment uttered by a less rad older queer Asian man
who is now engaged to a white man who couldn’t hold a conversation on his own when I met him, uh yikes, that it’s not about if you’ll settle, it’s about who you’ll eventually settle for.
What strikes me as most bizarre about this idea that you have to settle for the romantic prospects in your geographic area, is the implicit notion that you have to settle for a romantic prospect at all. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal, Society
Tagged as amatonormativity, caroline knapp, dating, empowerment, friendship, liberation, mental health, relationships, romance, self-love
December 12, 2021 · 10:18 pm
Several nights ago I had a dream in which one of my former professors from undergrad told me that she had started seeing my old therapist, L. When I interacted with this professor in real life several years ago, I could sense that she possessed unaddressed mental health issues. So when she told me in the dream about seeing my former therapist L, I felt happy for her, though a bit confused that we spoke about this topic while standing in one of the large, open bathrooms of my childhood home. The dream then shifted to me standing alone in an empty hallway with blue carpeting. A single showerhead jutted out of the wall, and I washed my blonde hair and saw it turn purple. As water continued to pour onto my scalp, purple hair dye ran through my fingers, the original black and the newer blonde strands nowhere in sight.
When I woke up, I knew right away that my former professor represented my mother. Continue reading →
October 15, 2021 · 1:49 pm
I love my closest friends just as much, if not more than I love Jeni’s ice cream, “Lovesick Girls” by Blackpink, sashaying away from mediocre white men, “Feel Special” by Twice, and celebrating the joy and empowerment of femme people of color combined. Thus, I feel annoyed when I see social media posts like this one:
On one hand, I get it. I do have friends, who I care about and respect and appreciate, who I see or talk with on an infrequent basis, maybe once a month, every few months, or a year. These friends share similar values to me in relation to social justice and compassion for other people. I like the flexibility of checking in with them on a nonrigid timeline, and I recognize the benefits of having casual, yet still meaningful social support in addition to my relationship with myself and my relationships with my two best friends.
At the same time, I feel angry and sad about the notion that we should never have expectations of our friends, especially our closer friends. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal, Society
Tagged as amatonormativity, communication, expectations, friendship, heteronormativity, patriarchy, relationships, resistance, romance, trust