Sometimes I idealize people. Take for example, my most recent failed crush. When I read his writing, I thought, oh my goodness, this man is perfect, so this is the kinda guy Ariana Grande sung “Everyday” about. I later learned that this guy kinda sucked at in-depth interpersonal communication, or at least that type of communication to me. I had built him up in my head, my foolish, foolish head.
After this man and I stopped talking, I started to freak out about writing and my favorite authors. Wait a second, I thought to myself, if this man came across as such a talented, thoughtful writer yet actually treated me like a molded potato, how can I trust any writer to be a decent human being? As anyone who read this blog knows, I love books with all my heart, so the thought of my favorite authors treating people like dirt made me feel so hurt and gross. Continue reading
I have a thing for guys who went to Harvard. Not just Harvard, but other elite institutions of education too. I do not go on dates often, but I find myself sometimes more willing to give a guy a chance if he went to a prestigious school, like an Oberlin or Yale or William & Mary. I know this taste stems from my internalized classism and the faulty association between educational pedigree and traits like intelligence and work ethic. Yet, I still find myself in the process of unlearning and deconstructing my questionable taste in men.
The three men from Harvard I crushed on, in chronological order: the first, a hotline counselor at a rape crisis center who touted phrases like “restorative social justice” on his online profiles; the second, a med student whose research focused on therapies for postpartum depression; the third, a labor organizer who cares a lot about his mom. Continue reading
Four years ago, a man I loved broke my heart. We met as freshmen hallmates at my undergraduate college, his room at the end of the dorm and mine more toward the middle. We grew into close friends after a few intimate conversations and decided to room together our sophomore year. In the early spring semester of my sophomore year, he told me he did not want our friendship anymore, that he would never care about me as much as I cared about him. He said that I cared too much about him. He said I expected too much.
Now, I understand he took advantage of me throughout the friendship. I remember one of our conversations early freshman year, while walking down Colonial Williamsburg at night fall, the air crisp and fireflies illuminating our path. At one point he told me that he felt impressed by me because I cared so much about people, because he himself struggles to actually care about people. At the time, I found this inspiring: wow, he struggles to care about people and wants to learn how, that’s so deep and self-aware. So, over the next year and a half, I tried to teach him. He would fail and I would feel hurt. I took on the role of his therapist instead of asserting more healthful boundaries. He saw before I did that he would never meet my expectations, so he ended our friendship.
“He literally told me from the start that he doesn’t care about people, which is like, the reddest red flag that’s ever been red,” I told my therapist the other day. “I was so freaking stupid for having ever trusted him, for caring about him.”
My therapist said all the right things: that it wasn’t my fault because I didn’t know as much about abuse then, that I’m so much more empowered and self-aware now. Yet I struggled to believe her. Continue reading
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
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
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.”
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
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.
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