Tag Archives: vulnerability

Are You There Stomach? It’s Me, Thomas

Sometimes I lift my shirt up in front of the mirror and sigh because I have a stomach. I could make this go away pretty easily, I think to myself, after I suck my fat in and my torso turns flat. A plan comes to mind: cut out dinner, eat only yogurt for breakfast and salad for lunch, and treat myself to potato chips and a soda on the occasional weekend. The regime feels familiar, because I implemented it often back in my early teen years.

At that time in my life, my mom yelled at me for hours almost every day, a doctor once told me I could stand to lose a few pounds, and a Korean girl I had talked to for weeks over AIM called me ugly when I finally sent her a photo of myself. Continue reading

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Picture This

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

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Our Own World

On my 26th birthday a couple of weeks ago, I spent a few hours jogging around Green Lake Park in Seattle, a beautiful expanse of water and naturey space in the middle of a dense urban neighborhood. When I paused to cool down on one of the docks that jutted out into the water, I reflected on how complete and fulfilling my life felt with stellar friendships, a deep sense of purpose, and physical and psychological health. I still haven’t dated a man yet, though I thought to myself, and I felt a tinge of sadness. I let myself sit with that sadness for a few minutes. Then I reminded myself that any emotional intimacy a man could give me, I’ve already gotten – through my immersive, loving, and in the past, challenging relationships with my closest friends.

Here is a picture of the edge of one of the docks at Green Lake, featuring my feet adorned by one of my favorite pairs of shoes! Yay for dedicated space for self-reflection in a capitalist society that always encourages productivity and accomplishments. Also, yes, I took this picture during a non-jogging trip to Green Lake because I would have disintegrated if I tried to run six miles to Twice’s “Feel Special” in these sandals lol.

Ten years ago, as a junior in high school, I started watching Queer as Folk for the first time. Continue reading

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Research

Several months ago, I asked my best friend Bri if wanting to do research made me a bad person. Sometimes I minimize the trauma I have experienced in academia, and Bri reminded me of our conversation from several months ago as an example of how academia has affected me. The fact that I even asked that question aloud highlights the breadth of heinous events I have witnessed in my academic career so far.

To provide a non-exhaustive list of some of the shit I have been through in academia: Continue reading

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Growth

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this super hot queer Asian American politician and felt a rush of longing heat up my chest. Through investigating his social media platforms, I saw how this guy advocated for legislation to hold corporations accountable, prioritized housing for the disenfranchised, and attended healing spaces for Asian American folks in the wake of anti-Asian violence. I literally can’t remember the names of any of the men I’ve ever felt desire for before, I thought to myself as I read this man’s Wikipedia bio and almost shivered in delight.

Pre-2020 Thomas would have idealized this guy. Continue reading

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This is for Your Own Good

Today I had a meeting with someone where they made me cry. We met about a project and they provided feedback in a cutting, abrasive way. Over the Zoom call, I forced myself to stop the tears from falling. This person told me that they believed in my project and that they intended their feedback to only increase its quality.

This interaction reminded me of growing up with my mother. Continue reading

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Maybe It’ll Just Happen

Over the past week or so I have felt sad about my attraction to men. While I love my life without a male romantic partner, I still feel some angst about feeling attracted to men at all. When I let myself luxuriate in my emotions, I recognize that a lot of my pain comes from my lack of control surrounding men, dating, and desire.

As a former anorexic, I tend to prefer situations where I can exert a lot of control. Continue reading

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In Another Life

After experiencing my mom’s abuse as a child, I knew around the age of 12 that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping people and making a difference. Over a decade ago, as a kid, life felt arbitrary and meaningless – like, what force decided that I would be born into a family with this cruel and dysregulated monster? Somehow I decided to create my own purpose: if I could not control the circumstances of my birth, I would take charge of my destiny and devote myself to empathy and compassion.

Now, at 25, life feels replete with opportunities to help others. Continue reading

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I Learned

A few weeks ago, I judged myself for my former crush on AWLOB (attractive writer labor organizer boy), the queer Asian organizer I pined for from December 2018 to mid-June 2020. Long story short, he messaged me through this blog, we began an intense email conversation, then started and stopped that convo as he broke up with his boyfriend of five years (December 2018), told me he felt attracted to me (January 2019), then began seeing other guys even before getting over his boyfriend (apparently throughout 2019 to 2020). I ended my desire for him in June 2020 after I sent him a pretty mean email about how he hurt my feelings.

Over the past few weeks, I have thought to myself, Thomas, how the heck did you not know this guy was garbage from the beginning? Continue reading

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Never Settling for a Mediocre Gay Romance (Because I Love Myself)

Sometimes I worry about whether I will abandon my values and settle for a mediocre man. I process this worry through journaling, talking with friends, and writing on this blog so the concern does not affect my life much. A few weeks ago though, I had an incident with a man that hurt my feelings for about an hour, which then triggered this fear-provoking question: will I get so tired of disappointing men that I will eventually settle for some random man who doesn’t excite me much but is nice, pays for meals occasionally, and can hold a conversation about a mildly interesting topic for one (1) hour every other week?

This fear of settling for a man gets inflamed in part because of observing many people I know settle for men. Continue reading

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