Tag Archives: healing

Forgiving the Most Foolish Person on the Planet, Myself

I developed a crush on a guy who messaged me through this blog last year. Our connection felt intense from the start; our emails back and forth often included several paragraphs each. Over the course of several months, a decent amount happened: we both admitted to feeling some romantic desire, he wanted space to heal from a recent breakup before we talked further, and most recently, he shared he only wanted me as a friend. Cue, an image of me crying to “in my head” by Ariana Grande while driving on the highway from Virginia to Maryland at 1am. Continue reading

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The Very Serious Function of Racism in Academia

I feel so hurt and I feel so scared.

I feel hurt because in my professional life I have encountered awful experiences of racism as of late. I feel scared because if I share these experiences, people may hurt me further. They may gaslight me and say I exaggerate. They may stereotype me as the angry queer academic of color, when my anger, a justified anger, stems from having experienced racism. I feel sad, too, because I wish I could share specifics about what has happened on this blog like I often do, but right now, my fear of retribution – that someone will find this blog and attack me for my sharing – makes me unwilling to provide specifics.

This processing takes up time. Continue reading

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Lost and Found

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of my grandmother’s death. This past Monday, my therapist asked me about some of my favorite memories of her.

“I remember her waiting outside the bathtub with a towel when I first learned how to shower,” I said. “Or waking up from a nap in preschool and seeing her standing beside the door, waiting to drive me home.”

I told my therapist I felt unsure about why I kept thinking of all these early memories. Continue reading

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One Year of Grief, Still Got Some Tears Left to Cry

My grandmother passed away last year on December 20. Sometimes I shrug off her death. “Yeah, she was like my actual mother, so it’s sad,” I’ll say to a friend, “but it’s fine, like I’m fine overall.” I like to use the word “fine” a lot, because it helps me avoid how not fine it is to lose the person who had loved you the most. Or I’ll point to my planner and say, “Yeah, it’s tough, but I did this therapy session, and this research meeting, and that class reading, so it’s okay. Sad, but okay.”

But sometimes grief and loss and mourning are not okay, and no matter how much I want to embody put-togetherness, I just have to feel that shit, that not-okay-ness. Continue reading

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A Death in the Family

My grandmother passed away last Wednesday. I stayed with her in the hospital a few times in the days leading up to her death , though she had been sick for awhile at that point. She had Parkinson’s disease. Over the last few years, she lost the ability to walk. Over the last couple of months, she lost the ability to breathe without the help of a machine. Despite this physical decay, I have a clear picture to remember her by from an earlier time in her life: when she raised me, protected me, and loved me unconditionally.  Continue reading

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Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Thomas

Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Thomas,

Hi, this is your nineteen-year-old self. How are you? I want to start this letter by saying that, yes, you still write embarrassing super personal blog posts three years from now. You do not write as much on your blog, because college keeps you busy, but you still do. Congratulations: no admissions officers take the time to Google your blog and reject you because of it, so keep writing.

So I guess I will start on the whole college thing: you get in. You really, really do. You get into William and Mary, the University of Virginia, and the University of Pennsylvania. All your hard work pays off. Almost three years ago, you wrote this post about optimism, about how you would not let a B- in Physics Honors keep you down. Guess what: not only do you end up with an A- in the class, but you graduate high school and enter the university of your dreams: William & Mary. This might blow your mind, so feel free to take a moment and listen to Lady Gaga (you later get super into Ariana Grande and her song “Break Free,” but that can wait) or read a book.

Even bigger news: you escape your mother. No, not 100%. You still have to go home and see her, you still have to put up with her mood swings over the phone. But for the most part, you leave. You highlight your hair, you wear whatever you want, you study all the subjects you care about, and you have your freedom. At college, you feel the happiest you have ever been.

But I want to tell you some bad news. Continue reading

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Abuse Me, Refuse Me: A Recount of Control

I faced a lot of abuse as a child. To this day, I still feel an ounce of panic when someone raises their voice, and I still flinch when anyone raises their hand, even if just for a high-five. One of my most vivid adolescent memories centers on the first time I saw a friend’s parents interact without shouting. It proved to me that non-dysfunctional families did exist outside of fiction, that some people did get along without hurting one another, and that maybe one day, I would find someone who understood me, too.

I do not want pity for my past, but I do want to talk about how I coped with my abuse: I developed a huge internal locus of control. Continue reading

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