Within the past week I set a date for my dissertation defense, finished writing the first draft of a grant to investigate queer men of color’s health outcomes, and analyzed data for various research projects for about four hours with my students. While I work a lot, I also set aside time to nurture my relationship with myself and with close and casual friends. In my 25 years of life, I have met so many people who achieve a lot in their professional lives yet do not take time to work through their internal traumas and conflicts or to practice self-compassion generally, which often shows up in how they treat others. Thus, amidst the business of my life I wanted to write this informal post to celebrate some simple pleasures I have encountered as of late. Continue reading
Tag Archives: joy
Over the past month or so I thought about whether I should change my red hair back to black, or even to a tamer brown. In the next couple of years, I will apply for my psychology predoctoral internship as well as for a faculty position or postdoc. Because of white supremacist professionalism, I figured I may want to play it safe and revert to a more common hair color. Then, BlackPink’s “Lovesick Girls” came out and Rosé wrecked me as well as everyone else on this planet with her fabulous pink hair. Upon witnessing her gorgeous emotive performance in the “Lovesick Girls” music video, I thought to myself, oh, I have to go pink now. I chose to color my hair pink because pink represents my commitment to accepting and loving myself as a femme queer Vietnamese American who survived an eating disorder and PTSD, who does not care about fitting into white supremacist and patriarchal societal standards.
My journey of self-love and self-acceptance started with my grandmother. Continue reading
The other day I took a break from doing research and listened to “Red Flavor” by Red Velvet, a summery, shimmery K-Pop song from 2017. While this masterpiece of a summer song filled my mind with its dynamic beats and addictive melodies, I reflected on the overall quality of my life because instead of being able to do useful things in the external world like cook or put together furniture, I introspect. One of my best friends and I finished a super fun rewatch of Avatar: The Last Airbender a few days ago, and I ordered my other best friend a colorful customized cake for her 25th birthday. I enjoy the taste of food without guilt – shout out to fruity yogurt with citrus-flavored snacks – and savor the stretch and tautness of my body when I play tennis. I feel connected to my online community and bask in my vibrant red hair. When I thought about all of this, I realized: wow, I feel a lot of joy in my life right now.
At first, I felt some guilt for feeling joy. Continue reading
I have always loved people and their feelings. My family told me that I did not make a sound until I turned two years old, because I spent so much time sitting and watching other people. As a kid, I felt drawn to television and video game characters who used magic to heal others, like Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender and Yuna from Final Fantasy X. Though I did not have the words for it then, around the age of eight I sensed that I wanted to be a psychologist when I grew up, if not a writer. My then best friend in high school and I loved playing amateur psychoanalyst, such that we would spend hours talking about our peers and our families and fictional characters and their emotions, their relationships, and what drove their behavior.
Flash forward to now, over a decade after I started high school: I provide therapy*, and I feel guilty about it. Continue reading