This past Tuesday afternoon I talked with my therapist about my elongated struggle with men. I told her about how that morning, I spent around half an hour investigating when Caroline Knapp, one of my favorite writers, met the romantic partner she later married, Mark Morelli. I used my millennial/Gen Z cusp internet sleuthing skills and pulled up several articles about her, such as one about when she and Morelli went to couples therapy together and another that shared that she got sober at 36.
“I figured out that she met him in her early 30’s,” I said. “Which is kind of helpful but kind of not because if I do want to date a man, which is questionable, I want him now.”
“There’s a sense of urgency here,” my therapist said. We had stopped wearing masks at this point, both of us vaccinated and sitting at least six feet apart, so I could see her smile. “I wonder if you can think of this like growing a garden.”
Omg, she’s about to solve all of my mental health problems with florals, I thought to myself. Continue reading
Growing up with an emotionally unstable mother, I developed a strong preference for planning and control from a young age. By eight, I knew I wanted to be a psychologist to help others. By middle school I planned out the one college I wanted to go to to escape my family. Now, as an adult, I am one of the least spontaneous people I know. I plan almost every day out by the hour; I once had a near-breakdown in undergrad when I thought I had lost my planner. A friend who I’m kinda on pause with once characterized me as “regimented” on her blog, a word that Google defines as “very strictly organized or controlled,” which fits me embarrassingly well.
This desire for control and planning emerged the other week when I ranted to my therapist about my typical life conundrums: men, friends, the men who date my friends, etc. Continue reading
In high school, I dreamed so much about going to college. I identified my top choice university my freshman year and worked my butt off the next four years to get in. I took tons of honors and advanced placement courses, I studied SAT vocab words while running on the treadmill to Lady Gaga and 2NE1, and I talked with my friends all the time about this school. While on one hand I saw college as the next step in my dream to becoming a psychologist, I also viewed it as an escape from my abusive mother. I saw college as a dreamland where I could free myself from her endless shouting and screaming and escape into freedom, into pure bliss.
I got into my dream school. But it turned out that college kinda like, sucked though. I spent my first year and a half in an unfulfilling, borderline-abusive friendship. Then when that friendship ended, post-traumatic stress disorder hit me like a brick. I cried in a lot of bathroom stalls and meditated in the midst of panic attacks in many others. I wanted pure bliss and got a ton of mess instead.
But not all of college sucked. Continue reading
After submitting 15 applications, traveling to a new state every weekend for a month, and taking a lot of time to deliberate, I have accepted an offer to attend a renowned Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program in the D.C. metro area! I almost cannot believe that I started this blog as a sophomore in high school, and now, seven years later, I write this post just a few months before graduating from William & Mary and beginning a doctoral program in August. In addition to sharing this good news with everyone, I also want to reflect on a few ideas inspired by the film Before I Fall, which I saw a few nights ago and loved.
I am also in shock that this book came out in 2010 and that I read it in high school, so many years ago. Image via goodreads.com.
This intense application process and film both made me ask: why do we do what we do? 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
I turn twenty in an hour and a half, and the English major within me wants to explain why I write this blog. In addition to my thoughts on society, books, and pop, this site has always served as a space for me to reflect on my personal life, as you can see from how the traumatic events of this past semester show themselves within my recent writing. Though this thesis might change, I will make it clear, as of today: I write this blog so that it can serve as a place of compassion, for myself and for others. A quick definition of “self-compassion,” provided by professor and researcher Kristin Neff:
As I’ve defined it, self-compassion entails three core components. First, it requires self-kindness, that we be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental. Second, it requires recognition of our common humanity, feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering. Third, it requires mindfulness – that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it. We must achieve and combine these three essential elements in order to be truly self-compassionate. – Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion.
Two themes run throughout my life: the depth of my emotions and the struggles I have encountered. Continue reading
One month has passed since you ended our friendship. 28 days have gone by since you took my heart and shattered it in your hands, smiling the whole time.
I could write about anger. I have every right to hate you for the horrible way you treated me. This past month has been a whirlwind of emotion, in which some days I sing “Break Free” at the top of my lungs and others in which I spend hours in a dark haze of memory and regret. You hurt me, and though I do not often feel frustration, I still get upset at myself, for trusting you.
But the idea of anger brings me back to a quote from Jane Eyre, in which Jane’s friend Helen says “life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity.” Every second I spend thinking about you means one less thought given to my true friends, to the issues I care about, and the causes I fight for. Continue reading
Last night they slammed a sledgehammer to my heart, and my whole world broke into pieces.
If you do not like personal posts, please do not read this. But if you care about me, please do. Continue reading
A post in four parts:
Abortion: Yesterday morning I finished Pro by Katha Pollitt, a fabulous work of nonfiction that I reviewed on Goodreads and even made a Facebook status about. I could sing so many praises for Pollitt’s impressive research and incisive writing, but at the center of it all she does a remarkable job of focusing every argument on how the war on abortion acts in truth as the war on women: on women’s rights to equality in every sense. If you feel any ambiguity toward the pro-choice movement, read Pro. Trust me.
Breakfast in Williamsburg with Pro. Feels good to be back.
Missing Reviews: So why did I not post my review of Pro on this WordPress blog? Continue reading
This past Thursday, I moved back to college and volunteered to help freshmen with course registration. Afterward, acquiring alone time felt wonderful after such a hectic summer, and all of the nature on campus added a scenic touch. Also, because neither my roommate nor I brought posters to our respective rooms last year, I decided to buy a few to spruce up our living space.
Fitting posters for an English and Psychology double major, right?
The passage of time still surprises me. Continue reading