About a week ago I dreamed that I sat in a Vietnamese restaurant eating with several of my friends. A little later on in the dream, I saw myself crouch forward, and I felt a little Asian boy throw his arms around my neck. I heard us laughing together, and a rush of happiness filled my body as I recognized this child as my son. I then turned to the right and saw an attractive Asian man standing along the wall of the restaurant, who I identified as my husband. I thought to myself, right before waking up: I wish my grandmother were alive to see this.
I felt so annoyed with myself from the moment I woke up from this dream. Continue reading
Sometimes I try to avoid coming off as a smart or intelligent person. For example, I am in a top-ranked Psychology PhD program, but I detest talking about my research or my academics with my closest friends. A few months ago, I realized that I had published some articles in top Psychology peer-reviewed journals like Psychology of Addictive Behaviors and Appetite and felt gross about it, to the point where I posted a dramatic Facebook status asking if researchers can indeed have hearts. When one of my friends entering a Psychology PhD program in the fall praised me on the phone the other day for being super smart, I felt a sliver of my soul shrivel up and ascend into the afterlife, aka, a land with unlimited Jeni’s ice cream and books and upbeat pop music.
After reflecting on it, I realize I dislike associating myself with intelligence because of all the emotionally undeveloped and/or cruel smart people I know. Continue reading
Have you ever wanted to believe a lie so much that it hurts, even when you knew it to be untrue? About a month ago, while ranting to my therapist about my most recent crush – did he ever like me, did he ever mean what he wrote to me – she told me that maybe his words were real, but not true. At the time, I nodded and went along with it, but I thought to myself, okay, what the heck does that actually mean, just tell me if he liked me even if it’s like, clearly impossible for you to do that.
Over the past week, I did more research about real but not true, an idea coined by Buddhist teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche. The phrase captures how sometimes when we encounter powerful or challenging feelings, we often experience these very real emotions and thoughts, even though the conclusions we draw from those emotions and thoughts are not true. An example Rinpoche often uses includes crossing a high glass bridge in Malaysia, how even though the fear and anxiety he felt was real, once he honored those emotions, he recognized the truth, that he could indeed cross the bridge safely.
Tsoknyi Rinpoche, the icon who coined real but not true. We had to stan. Image via tsoknyirinpoche.org
Because two of my hobbies include relentless introspection and over disclosing that introspection on the internet, I wanted to write about three instances of real but not true in my own life. The first instance that comes to mind includes my experience with anorexia. Continue reading
So I went on a date with this really cute guy named James and we talked for two hours and he had a gorgeous smile whenever he laughed and seemed to reject capitalism and I sort of wanted to see him again. We had some honestly mediocre because he’s a white man who hasn’t been socialized to communicate effectively decent text exchanges before he told me that he would like to see me again but not romantically because he hasn’t been into guys lately. Here are some thoughts I could have had, if not for my queen Audre Lorde: 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
Coming home has always been hard for me. I grew up in an abusive and neglectful environment, hence, all the dramatic, confessional posts from years past. I matured a lot since I started this blog and gained a lot of coping skills; I now see my family as three-dimensional characters instead of just antagonists in my personal story. Still, some factors at home make things stressful, like my family’s often oppressive silence.
About a week and a half ago I found this amazing website, The Invisible Scar. Continue reading
Cover via Goodreads.
Rating: 5/5 stars.
*Note: I do not post all of my book reviews on this blog. For more, check out my Goodreads page.*
“Suicide is a particularly awful way to die: the mental suffering leading up to it is usually prolonged, intense, and unpalliated. There is no morphine equivalent to ease the acute pain, and death not uncommonly is violent and grisly. The suffering of the suicidal is private and inexpressible, leaving family members, friends, and colleagues to deal with an almost unfathomable kind of loss, as well as guilt. Suicide carries in its aftermath a level of confusion and devastation that is, for the most part, beyond description.”
A gripping, masterful book about a topic shrouded in horror and sadness. Continue reading
This past week, Virginia state senators have passed a bill that would require public colleges to create policies on parental notification if their children show “suicidal tendencies,” unless a mental-health professional states that alerting parents would cause harm. As a William & Mary student involved in mental health activism, as an Asian-American who comes from a family that stigmatizes mental illness, and as a human who values his autonomy, I write this post to demonstrate just how much this bill disturbs me. I aim to prove that we need to treat and discuss mental health with the attention and nuance it deserves, instead of assuming that we can cure the complexities of the human brain with shallow, inefficient legislation.
I understand that these senators have good intentions; I get that they want to do something to prevent school shootings, to help people who suffer from mental illness. But they – as well as everyone else involved in this conversation – need to realize that introducing family into the equation will not aid students. 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
A few weeks ago, I watched Amour, a movie centered on Georges and Anne, a married couple in their eighties. They reside in Paris as retired and cultivated music teachers. Their peaceful lives change when Anne suffers a stroke that paralyzes the right side of her body. George chooses to take care of her no matter what the consequence.
My semester in a nutshell.
The media floods us with images of passionate love, with dramatized versions of real life. Continue reading