Last summer, I had my first panic attack, and it was induced by children.
By the way, I don’t have any kids.
During an office baby shower, a female colleague about 15 years my senior reminded me that I was next, since I was married, 27, and only had an estimated 12 percent of my eggs left. Highly inappropriate? Hells to the yes. And effective. It freaked me out.
Four months later, I was having a particularly rough morning at work. I couldn’t stop getting interrupted and my to-do list kept getting longer. I suddenly felt massively overwhelmed. My brain went into a crazy-spiral: If I can’t get my work done today, I can’t get home and write the screenplay of the century, and it’ll take me forever to become the Nora Ephron of my generation, and I will be letting down every woman and brown person in America by not unleashing my voice to the masses, and I won’t be able to have a baby until there’s at least some small sign that I could accomplish that, because I’m not trying to be some resentful, broke mom with “dreams.”
I blacked out at my desk for a minute, popped an Advil and sat in a nearby park for an hour inhaling an economy-sized bag of popcorn.
That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Keep reading »
I’ve had a boyfriend for four years and we’re not engaged. I know. But we like it that way for now. Seriously.
To me, getting married is not something that a person should do when she has to call her mother multiple times a day for various reasons including, “I was too scared to kill a bug so I just drowned it in Raid. Will I get cancer now?” Marriage doesn’t seem appropriate for someone who is continually moving the same 20 dollars from checking to savings.
As a wife, you can’t regularly experience existential crises like I do. In my mind, marriage is for more worldly people, people who have settled down in life. Because after you say “I do” comes the purchase of a house and the arrival of children. And quite frankly, I’m not comfortable with that. I openly admit it: I am not ready to get married. Now is not the time to tie the knot.
However, the lack of a princess cut or pear-shaped diamond on my hand seems to prove upsetting to those who know me. The amount of times per day that I am questioned about my relationship status is becoming rather alarming. During a recent trip to my dentist, the hygienist immediately grabbed my hand, and then let out an audible sigh. I was unsure whether I should apologize or just smile and walk away. Instead, upon further questioning, I blurted out, “No ring. Just some dry skin.” That seemed to put an end to the conversation. Keep reading »
My phone blips. Another email. Given that I’m stuck at an un-jaywalkable intersection in the East Village, I pause to open it. It’s another reply to my sorority sister’s chain email. The subject line from 35 emails ago simply reads: “Interesting.” I’m immediately engrossed, missing the walking man and chance to cross the street.
Earlier this week, another email sent off to “sisters” surfaced on the internet. It has received hundreds of thousands of reads, an onslaught of comments and at least two well-known dramatic readings. Rebecca Martinson’s virulent, expletive-filled rant confirmed and probably strengthened everybody’s stereotype of Greek life.
Her email evoked many emotions. I was embarrassed for her and disgusted with the email. I was incredulous that she could send something like that to an entire chapter of girls that she pays dues to be a member of. (Also that she used email, when everybody knows can easily be forwarded or published.) I thought of my own past Greek Weeks with amusement. But mostly I recalled the intense and all-consuming nature of the Greek system — the politics, the rankings, the jockeying for connection to a certain fraternity, the endless events, the rivalry of shirts and styles. I remembered what it was like to care so much about the frivolity. Keep reading »
It’s that time of the year when people are having drinks outside, couples are PDA-ing, and I’m re-activating my OKCupid profile. I have a notorious reputation for constantly deleting and reactivating that damned profile. I believe in Internet love! No, I’m a misanthrope! I want to find my soul mate! Soul mates don’t exist!
You see, I’m a total serial dater. No, not a serial monogamist — I’ve only had one real boyfriend and he gave me a box of condoms for my birthday — but a serial dater. If you mindlessly click through a sea of ineligible bachelors long enough, it’s pretty easy to secure a week’s worth of dates. I pencil dudes in like they are doctor appointments. (Tom at 11 a.m. on Tuesday? Sure. Luke at 7 p.m. on Wednesday? That works. ) Some people suggest that I have the dating habits of an addict -- I need it! No, I totally can live without it! No, wait, I can’t! I’d like to say that I’m just filled with that thing called eternal hope. Keep reading »
Well, of course, someone had to take some photos of me at a party, wearing my favorite dress (should I just stop wearing the clothes I love to events where there might photos taken?), bulky, lopsided, unfortunately proportioned, and my pregnant beauty bubble, so to awkwardly speak, was popped.
No matter how many times I tell myself patiently, firmly, “NO. Don’t pay attention, the photo is lying!” there’s that part of my mind that goes “But this is the truth! THE TERRIBLE TRUTH IN A RANDOM, IMPERSONAL UNIVERSE WITHOUT A GOD.” My new tactic is better, I think. I tell myself, “So what? So what if I’m ugly?” And that is always more helpful. But at that particular moment there had been much talk of beautiful women, much instant evaluation around me of women as either pretty or dismissible, and it seemed as though it did matter, at least enough. Because even if it’s out of sheer laziness or habit or nothing important or just in passing, people seem to talk about the way women look first, and constantly, and always. Keep reading »
Jared’s* question came during a sex party a few months ago, after some steamy foreplay organically led to this discussion: “Can I fuck you now?”
It caught me off guard, but not in an unpleasant way. Men had asked me this question before, and I was half expecting to decline, like I usually did. But I’d been fantasizing about having sex with him for months. This was opportunity knocking.
“It’s okay if you don’t want to,” Jared continued, directing this at both me and my husband, Paul. “But it seems like the logical next step here.”
It was. “Are you okay with that?” I asked Paul. He nodded reassuringly, excited to watch me take this new step. I smiled. “Then, yes. Let’s give it a try.”
So we did. Jared became the second man I’ve ever had intercourse with, signifying a change I never thought would come: an interest in sleeping with men. Keep reading »
It was a workday of minor annoyances. Everything at my temp job had gone normally, except for a snippy email from IT and a laminator malfunction that forced me to dig out a half-laminated page with a fork.
So why was I crouched in a bathroom stall, hyperventilating, sobbing, and trying not to scream?
A coworker insisted I see a doctor, who said my meltdown was probably due to anxiety and depression. I was shaken – but not entirely surprised.
I was born and raised in a majority-Asian community in Hawaii, where mental health issues are not discussed. Granted, since most of the people in that community are second- to fourth-generation Asians, there are some exceptions, although these exceptions are determined by an unspoken code. (It has to be an unspoken code. If you can’t discuss mental health, you can’t discuss discussing mental health, either.) As far as I can figure, you get a pass if you’ve tried to kill yourself or at least been hospitalized. Anything else is something that you just get over eventually. Don’t dwell on your emotions all the time. We must endure. That was the message. Keep reading »
Me: I’m sorry! It’s just not going in!
Him: Don’t worry – we can always try later…
Me: I’m really sorry! I’m just so scared! (Sobbing. Tearful search for bra.) What if this never works?
That was me and my now-fiancé during one of many abortive attempts to have sex for the first time.
For years, I viewed sex as something like the Ark of the Covenant in “Indiana Jones”: immensely powerful and great beyond belief, but if you tried to use it in an unrighteous way the wrath of God would melt your face off.
I grew up in a church which, like many churches, taught us that sex before marriage was Wrong with a capital W. To their credit, they also taught us that sex within marriage was brilliant, but still. This was a church where one of the pastors hadn’t even kissed his wife until their wedding day. We also learned that in courting situations (we were discouraged from the secular institution of dating; “courting” was the spiritually safe alternative) girls should also dress modestly because men’s thoughts so easily fall into temptation. Although a heated moment could seduce us into wanting sex ourselves, the message was that boys wanted sex and girls shouldn’t give it to them until the wedding night. A quick scan through my own experience, however – especially late at night – would have revealed that girls could feel the pull of temptation just as much as boys.The nature of that temptation was never really discussed. The few teenagers in the church were too embarrassed to ask about it; I know I was. It also didn’t help that this was a church full of middle-aged and elderly Asian people who did not talk about sex. Keep reading »
Once upon a time — before URLs, handles, likes and shares — I put some good old-fashioned postage stamps inside an envelope and sent away for a zine (made of actual paper!) that was filled with some very big ideas. I was 16 and the zine was called i’m so fucking beautiful, a title that hooked me instantly because at the time I was quite literally starving myself of that sentiment. I was all punk rock by day, but I had a couple of dirty secrets that did not exactly jibe with the Manic Panic and combat boots:
- I thought calories were evil. Unfortunately this didn’t stop me from willingly and regularly consuming wretched diet foods that were almost certainly concocted in the bowels of hell. Listen, when a chocolate product in a plastic tub includes instructions on how it can be enjoyed frozen as “ice cream” or microwaved into a “shake,” it no longer qualifies as food, okay? But I ate (and drank!) that sugar-free, chemical-laden kryptonite sludge like it was my duty, each scoop and sip meticulously tallied in my Calories and Fat Grams Journal, which was really more of a disturbing collection of numbers and equations scribbled on Post-Its and scrap paper than an actual journal. Think “A Beautiful Mind” for the eating disordered set.
- I kept a stash of “thinspiration” featuring pictures of models I tore from magazines (‘90s-style! Old school!). I wanted to be that kind of beautiful. And the more I stared at those images, the more fervently I started to believe in that waifish brand of perfection. So I made myself sick chasing sizes that were smaller than the small sizes I already wore. I developed a mortal fear of weight gain. And while my weight fluctuated up and down and back up again as I abused it with brutal cycles of starvation, bingeing, and purging, I was never anywhere remotely close to being plus-sized, full-figured, curvy or any other palatable euphemism for that oh-so-terrifying F-word.
Keep reading »
My husband was always a little strange — but that’s par for the course in a marriage sometimes. Sure, he covered his face whenever he encountered the smell of bleach, and he took to maniacal cleaning rather than use poisons to eradicate a cockroach problem. He demanded we turned off the heat at night to protect his lungs. I thought all of it was cute. It took me a while to realize that his unusual quirks were actually symptoms of a terrible disorder.
I met John* on Craigslist. We were looking for a third roommate and he was one of the many people we interviewed that hot August day. He had a dark, curly mop of hair and a full face with dimples, and he seemed nice. He was from South America, and had traveled all around the world; I found him extremely compelling. We interviewed a few other people that day but felt that we connected the most strongly with John, so we asked him to be part of our household. Keep reading »