August 17, 2022 · 10:14 pm
Several years ago, I met a woman in college who I will call P. P told me about how her boyfriend, K, once scheduled a virtual call to catch up with one of his best friends. His best friend did not show up to the call and did not let K know in advance. When I asked P if K intended to let his best friend know how this failure to attend the call affected K’s feelings, P shrugged and said that K did not have that type of relationship with this best friend. When P told me this, I thought to myself, no wonder K relies so much on P for his emotional support, if he does not even bring up with his best friends when they hurt his feelings.
This behavior reminds me of people who devalue friendship and prioritize their romantic partners. Earlier in my 20’s I would get more upset about this, and though I still do detest amatonormativity I think my feelings have softened. I suspect this softening has occurred because of how close I feel with my two best friends, both of whom I have had stable deep bonds with for several years now. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal, Society
Tagged as amatonormativity, fleabag, friendship, love, platonic, platonic love, relationships, secure attachment, security, trust
December 24, 2021 · 7:16 pm
“Sometimes you see the world in black and white,” my former therapist L said to me, in our last session together way back in May of 2017. We had already reviewed the ways I had grown in our two years of seeing each other, and he stated this black and white comment as an area for me to maybe explore further after our final session. At the time, I thought something like hm, that’s interesting. It’s not that I disregarded L’s feedback – in fact, I valued it quite highly – it’s just that this one comment didn’t resonate much with me in that final session four years ago.
Looking back now, I can see how my black and white thinking manifested when I entered my doctorate program at the age of 22. Continue reading →
October 15, 2021 · 1:49 pm
I love my closest friends just as much, if not more than I love Jeni’s ice cream, “Lovesick Girls” by Blackpink, sashaying away from mediocre white men, “Feel Special” by Twice, and celebrating the joy and empowerment of femme people of color combined. Thus, I feel annoyed when I see social media posts like this one:
On one hand, I get it. I do have friends, who I care about and respect and appreciate, who I see or talk with on an infrequent basis, maybe once a month, every few months, or a year. These friends share similar values to me in relation to social justice and compassion for other people. I like the flexibility of checking in with them on a nonrigid timeline, and I recognize the benefits of having casual, yet still meaningful social support in addition to my relationship with myself and my relationships with my two best friends.
At the same time, I feel angry and sad about the notion that we should never have expectations of our friends, especially our closer friends. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal, Society
Tagged as amatonormativity, communication, expectations, friendship, heteronormativity, patriarchy, relationships, resistance, romance, trust
October 5, 2020 · 8:23 pm
A couple weeks ago I felt sadness at the thought of winter approaching. I struggled to figure out what brought on this sadness. At first, I wondered if the emotion stemmed from the impending coldness and darkness cutting off my ability to go on walks and jogs outdoors, my break from the boringness of staying indoors. Several nights ago, though, I had a dream that helped me realize the true root of my sadness: that this winter marks one year since I broke up with one of my former closest friends.
The end of that friendship felt painful. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal, Society
Tagged as amatonormativity, ashley woodfolk, blackpink, break up, friendship, healing, love, lovesick girls, relationships, trust, when you were everything
March 26, 2020 · 8:26 pm
Three years ago, I felt abandoned by my therapist L. I remember curling up into a ball on his couch, a few months before I graduated from undergrad. I muttered something about wondering if he would miss me when I graduated. I felt a tight ball of shame in my stomach, like my desire for him to miss me marked me as too needy, or disgusting.
“Of course I’ll miss you,” he said. “I’ll miss you a lot.”
I struggled to believe L: to believe that he liked me, that he cared about me, that he wasn’t abandoning me. Continue reading →
September 21, 2019 · 3:48 pm
Sometimes I conflate passion for social justice and actual emotional intelligence. Take for example, a crush I had about three years ago on this attractive Asian man who went to an Ivy League school. He worked or volunteered supporting survivors of interpersonal violence, he could articulate the costs of racism and colonialism on people of color, and he said he valued empathy and compassion on his LinkedIn profile, which I may have read a dozen times. “Oh, my goodness,” I thought to myself while listening to Ariana Grande’s “Into You” in 2016, “this guy is like, the one. This is a hyperbolic re-rendering of my thought process at the time for dramatic effect but like, we’re totally going to date, get married, have two kids, and conform to heteronormativity in at least one other way, like buying a house with a white picket fence.”
But it turned out that this guy had not come out to his conservative Asian family yet, which bled into his inability to form a connection with me. Continue reading →
May 4, 2019 · 10:23 am
As a gay man, I learned a lot about unhealthy relationships through consuming queer media. I loved Justin and Brian’s relationship when I watched Queer as Folk in high school, though now I see how Brian’s character acted in abusive ways both toward Justin and his own friends. When I read and watched Call Me by Your Name as an early grad student, I felt repulsed by the relationship dynamics promoted by the narrative, the glorification of a relationship that entailed little to no healthy communication, boundary setting or conflict resolution, or clarity and mutual respect. I suspect that queer narratives may adopt these unhealthy relationship norms from toxic heterosexual/heteronormative relationships. So much media perpetuates the trope that we should chase a romantic flame – especially a man – even if they are emotionally unavailable, do not treat us well, or are outright manipulative or abusive.
I do not spend much time on romance and dating and men. That said, I have found myself within unhealthy relationships and relationship dynamics, ranging from my abusive mother and neglectful father, to the emotionally neglectful male friend I wrote about in an earlier post, to a few crushes I harbored on guys, to even a few former friendships with women. I feel so sad and angry that our society teaches us about valuing our work and careers and pursuing the heteronormative path of marriage and having children, yet it does not teach us much about what an actually healthy relationship looks like, between parent and child, friend and friend, or partner and partner. Since the fall out of my most recent crush, I have thought a lot about what my expectations for myself and others in healthy relationships. They look kinda like this list my therapist gave me several months ago: Continue reading →
March 23, 2016 · 12:12 am
“What would you tell your own client?” my therapist asked me. “When you’re in my position, what would you say?”
I uncrossed my legs. My whole body shook, and shivers ran up and down my legs, my arms. Over the past year, my therapist and I had started to uncover the abuse I experienced at the hands of my mother. Though I had made tremendous progress, talking about the abuse still made my skin crawl, like the past lived and moved inside of me, tiny slivers of memory ready to burst into flames at any moment.
“I would tell them it’s not their fault,” I said. Continue reading →
July 29, 2012 · 5:40 pm
As requested by an individual who commented on this blog, here is a post dedicated to answering the question: should I, or should I not come out? Before I begin, let me make it clear – just because I am gay does not mean I can control what other gay people do, or the outcomes of their actions. This is simply my two cents on the somewhat sensitive subject matter. Heck, if you’re straight, you should try coming out too! You might earn a few blank stares, but at least it won’t be because you’re so ugly you turn people to stone
like me. In fact, I think it is a worthy endeavor, because you would be forcing yourself into the shoes of those who have to announce their sexualities.
Let me reiterate that this is an umbrella post designed to give a general idea of whether one should come out or not. There are many factors that play into a decision like this, even if the decision shouldn’t be a big one at all. Please don’t hesitate to comment or message me with individual concerns or questions, or to suggest that I write about anything else – related to homosexuality or unrelated to homosexuality.
An easy way to structure this would be to split up my post into pros and cons. I’ll start with the cons, because everyone knows that seeing the rainbow is worth standing in the rain. Continue reading →