A couple of weeks ago I talked with my therapist about AWLOB and how I felt bad about the last message I sent him. In July 2019, when I asked if we could talk on the phone for an hour, he said no and that there “might be” a point we could talk way later, “perhaps,” when we could “potentially” be friends. I did not feel hurt that he set a boundary, because we should all have the autonomy to choose to communicate or not communicate with anyone in our lives. I felt hurt because several months ago he said that he had a crush on me I hope you all realize how painfully vulnerable it is for me to admit that I liked him having a crush on me lol brb gonna throw myself in a volcano now and that at some point we would talk, and then, all of a sudden, he retracted that with no explanation.
So I roasted him. Continue reading
In 2019, I fell out love with one of my closest friends, A. I remember a couple of our FaceTime calls during the last few months of our friendship, when she talked about how she and her boyfriend felt unsure about where they would live after she ended her internship year. My friend wanted to move closer to her family down south, whereas her boyfriend wanted to stay closer to his family in the mid-Atlantic region.
“And after we talked I just thought, what if he’s gonna break up with me?” A said to me, after one of those tenser conversations with her boyfriend.
Who the heck cares, I thought to myself, though I said other things to my friend: I’m sure you two will work it out, it sounds like you’ve both been practicing healthy communication, I hope you can take care of yourself through this. Taking a step back, of course I understood why my friend cared about if her boyfriend would break up with her. She had moved to a new state where she knew no one, then she started dating this guy, and he acted as her only in-person support system. Whenever they got into fights, she always asked me: what if he breaks up with me, and I’m all alone in [name of state redacted for confidentiality]?
Deep down though, I expected more from A. Continue reading
I hold a lot of cynicism toward romance. Given the state of masculinity in 2020, I tell everyone I will not find a dateable man until 3019, several reincarnations down the line; I roll my eyes at every engagement and wedding post I scroll through on my Facebook feed; I bought a book about single parenting to prepare myself for single fatherhood because I refuse to put my life on hold for a man. I feel like I must have pushed the person with the solution to destroy white supremacy off a balcony in my past life, because like, what else could I have done to deserve being attracted to men.
Then I encountered AWLOB in late 2018. Continue reading
About a month ago I got dinner with a friend who I have known since high school. At some point the conversation turned to what it felt like to support me when my PTSD emerged for the first time during our undergraduate years together, about six years ago.
“Yeah Thomas, it was rough,” she said. “I remember I had to set super clear boundaries with you, because if I didn’t pick up the phone when you called, you’d freak out.”
When my friend told me this, I felt mortified. 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
I grew up as a pretty girly guy. Ever since a young age, I liked pink and floral colors and designs, gravitated toward female television and video game characters, and hung out almost all the time with girls. I derived a lot of benefits from this association with the feminine: empathy, communication skills, valuing softness over brute force. At the same time, I also encountered the message that I should want boys to like me, or that desire always flowed in one direction: other boys did the desiring, whereas I desired the desire of other boys.
Until I grew into my own social justice awakening and until I met my bff Bri in undergrad, my female friends and I would often interpret a guy’s rejection as a fault of our own. If a guy did not exhibit interest in us, we took it as a sign that we did something wrong. Maybe we cared too much. Maybe we should weigh less. Maybe we expected too much communication. Some of my friends and I analyzed the motives of men with the ferocity of rabid chihuahuas, bloodthirsty for emotional intimacy and care. We gossiped about whether their past relationships and traumas inhibited their capacity to connect. We strategized on ways to conduct ourselves to maximize their comfort and openness.
Things more iconic than spending time on emotionally under-developed men #313: eating iconic Asian food while reading in San Diego during a conference! This took place in October, at the restaurant Underbelly. The pork belly bao buns were iconic.
Imagine my surprise when a cisgender, heterosexual white male acquaintance of mine in undergrad did the exact opposite. Continue reading