Disclaimer: real names of places, people and events may have been altered or abbreviated to protect the innocent. Namely, me.

XOXO, R.

 

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Hello world!
Hello world!
Wake up
Wake up
It’s party o’clock!

Party O’Clock
Kat DeLuna

“First years." I rolled my eyes.
"Hey, not like we never do before!" the friend pointed out. She has a point.
What we laugh at first year university students for doing (but are secretly guilty of having done so in our own first years before):
1) Running to the bookshop on the first day of school and getting every single textbook, mandatory and optional ones. Because Asian student.
2) Doing the assigned readings religiously. And downloading every referenced article to read before bed. Then freaking out because the results section with all the funny statistical analyses are way beyond what we can grasp. Because Asian student.
3) Stalking the tutor after class to discuss essay pre-drafts, minutiae in the lecture notes that the lecturer has already assured us is not going to be covered in the exams, future employment prospects and whatever. Because Asian student.
4) Crying because you didn’t get a high distinction for an assignment and being utterly convinced you are the biggest failure ever and honors year is no longer possible from this moment on. Because Asian student.

First years." I rolled my eyes.

"Hey, not like we never do before!" the friend pointed out. She has a point.

What we laugh at first year university students for doing (but are secretly guilty of having done so in our own first years before):

1) Running to the bookshop on the first day of school and getting every single textbook, mandatory and optional ones. Because Asian student.

2) Doing the assigned readings religiously. And downloading every referenced article to read before bed. Then freaking out because the results section with all the funny statistical analyses are way beyond what we can grasp. Because Asian student.

3) Stalking the tutor after class to discuss essay pre-drafts, minutiae in the lecture notes that the lecturer has already assured us is not going to be covered in the exams, future employment prospects and whatever. Because Asian student.

4) Crying because you didn’t get a high distinction for an assignment and being utterly convinced you are the biggest failure ever and honors year is no longer possible from this moment on. Because Asian student.

Anonymous asked
ryan you're so sweet you answer your followers so quickly. im sure you definitely have alot more followers soon (: recently im having facing this issue. the thing is, I never knew that others see me as being feminine or too gentle. I'm not loud, but that still made me a target of being stereotyped. what should i do. would improving my body image work?

Huge hugs and thank you! I try to answer questions when I can but sometimes the inbox just goes all exploding; I have this ginormous backlog and I figure the easiest way to get through it is to pick the most urgent sounding ones which I think I can help in some way by replying.

I dislike the unspoken cultural rules that dictate male behavior. You probably know them: strong, masculine, assertive, proactive, violent and such. They reduce all men to one dumb stereotype to live up to and fail to recognize the entire spectrum of positive qualities a man can possess. A thoughtful, sensitive and caring man can be even more attractive than a dumb Neanderthal jock who cares only about his next beer or fuck. YUCK.

I think you are great the way you are! I am sure that you possess qualities that are really attractive too. Why chase appearances and pretend to be somebody you’re not, when living an authentic and truthful life is so much more empowering? Mark McCormack wrote quite a lot about masculinity in Psychology Today; I hope some of his articles may be able to help you in your journey of self discovery!

"Ryan you are weird. You want a totally honest relationship and you know that he is totally honest with you but you cannot bring yourself to do the same with him."
I stirred my coffee and sighed into it. Because what the friend had pointed out has grains (fucking huge ones) of truth in it. I never tell the whole gory truth, always massaging it into a more palatable version that people prefer hearing. Which makes me a hypocrite, since I despise people who tell technical truths that mislead in the end due to the way they are framed in or the information that is omitted from it. And here I am, doing the exact same. It is too easy to rationalize this truth massaging away as not wanting to hurt a person’s feelings, but truth is, what I am really trying to avoid is uncomfortable situations not for anyone else’s sake but my own.
"He has been totally upfront and frank with you. Maybe you should try doing the same for him too."

"Ryan you are weird. You want a totally honest relationship and you know that he is totally honest with you but you cannot bring yourself to do the same with him."

I stirred my coffee and sighed into it. Because what the friend had pointed out has grains (fucking huge ones) of truth in it. I never tell the whole gory truth, always massaging it into a more palatable version that people prefer hearing. Which makes me a hypocrite, since I despise people who tell technical truths that mislead in the end due to the way they are framed in or the information that is omitted from it. And here I am, doing the exact same. It is too easy to rationalize this truth massaging away as not wanting to hurt a person’s feelings, but truth is, what I am really trying to avoid is uncomfortable situations not for anyone else’s sake but my own.

"He has been totally upfront and frank with you. Maybe you should try doing the same for him too."

Anonymous asked
Hey Ryan, just a follow up on my life. Lately I've been feeling down in the dumps and I feel like I'm not good enough for anyone. And I would sometimes cry alone. Sigh. I lost the will to live

Hey Anon! I am so sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier, I hope you feel better today with a new week and all?

Huge hugs! Just because somebody does not see your worth, does not diminish your worth in any way. I believe you are a wonderful person; you’ve got one vote on that matter right from me!

I am really worried about the suicidal ideation you may be feeling. Do speak to someone, anyone at all (and give the Samaritans of Singapore a try, they have wonderful people staffing the lines who are really friendly and you don’t even have to be like, super suicidal or stuff to call, and they are really happy to be able to talk and point you towards any other resources you may need). It takes time for the black fog to lift. I had expected myself to be happy again by starting on antidepressants, doing therapy, going out with friends and such; truth is, just as the fog did not settle over my mood overnight and get me all down, the fog isn’t going to lift just like that. It is a meandering journey out of the darkness, one that I did not enjoy but which I now regard as having been a great source of self discovery and marshalling of personal strengths I never knew I had possessed.

Hang in there. You’re not alone in this. I’m rooting for your happy ending!

EDIT: omgitshumpy chipped in with a post as well. Don’t feel alone, it is wonderful you succeeded in realizing the sadness inside has been eating away at you! I relate to the ambivalence about suicide: we want to end it all, yet the consequences are terrifying. Don’t ignore the cries of help around us. Sometimes just talking about the scary, uncomfortable and overwhelming thoughts on the inside makes them a lot less scary, uncomfortable and overwhelming. We are all rooting for you Anon!

Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved, does not mean he or she does not love you.
My father expresses his love by buying breakfast for us on weekend mornings and making sure the fridge is stuffed with fruits and cookies he knows we like. My mother expresses her love by worrying herself mad over every single possible thing that could possibly go wrong and nagging at us to make sure we am prepared for all eventualities. Annoying and smothering, yes. But love all the same.
I used to go: “My perfect partner would be someone who has eyes only for me, totally monogamous, committed to us and willing to give everything up for me blah blah blah…” Lately I’ve come to see, that is pretty selfish of me. My father never insisted that my mother love him in the way he wanted (not nagging at him, probably); after the mother nags herself hoarse and nips off to look for more things to nag about, he would say that’s just the way she loves and cares for us.
How cruel would it be, to express your love in the way you best do, only to be rejected simply because it isn’t the way the other person wants to be loved?

Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved, does not mean he or she does not love you.

My father expresses his love by buying breakfast for us on weekend mornings and making sure the fridge is stuffed with fruits and cookies he knows we like. My mother expresses her love by worrying herself mad over every single possible thing that could possibly go wrong and nagging at us to make sure we am prepared for all eventualities. Annoying and smothering, yes. But love all the same.

I used to go: “My perfect partner would be someone who has eyes only for me, totally monogamous, committed to us and willing to give everything up for me blah blah blah…” Lately I’ve come to see, that is pretty selfish of me. My father never insisted that my mother love him in the way he wanted (not nagging at him, probably); after the mother nags herself hoarse and nips off to look for more things to nag about, he would say that’s just the way she loves and cares for us.

How cruel would it be, to express your love in the way you best do, only to be rejected simply because it isn’t the way the other person wants to be loved?

Anonymous asked
Hey Ryan! I forget how i chanced upon your profile, but i find you really warm and awesome, with fantastic IG photos (yea probably from ig!) There are a few posts about you undergoing some therapy thing and im just concerned. why are you going through therapy? (and what?) sorry if i sound abit erm. imposinggg

Thank you for the very nice note! Sensation and perception in psychology got me really interested in photography and the factors in creating aesthetically pleasing compositions; check some of these stuff out (Suler, ???).

I am still in therapy to deal with the lingering bits of myself I feel unhappy about. I probably don’t meet the diagnostic threshold for my previous diagnoses of depression and bulimia any longer because the symptoms no longer cripple my life (badly), but I find that the unhealthy cognitions, attachment styles and perhaps personality tendencies that I had carried with me all my life and which provided a fertile ground for the disorders to take root in the very first place, they’re what that continue to cause distress for me in day to day functioning and that’s why I continue therapy.

I think that psychotherapy or counseling can be really helpful for even people who are not mentally unwell; it helps you peel back the layers of yourself you have always taken for granted and assumed is unchangeable or that you’re unaware of, and it’s this huge journey of self discovery that is really satisfying and empowering and personally meaningful.

Damn you look like the perfect picture
About to go get my frame on.
Looking like the type I’ve been searching for
To put my last name on.

Push Push
Kat DeLuna

"What, you went to church?!"
It was kind of hilarious when the friend found out what this self-avowed atheist/lately more agnostic me did on Easter Friday, sitting through a sermon service at the YWCA and watching the sister’s boyfriend getting baptized. Considering my previous militant anti-religious stance, his skepticism is pretty well placed.
Heck, I surprised myself too. I had guilt tripped myself into going for the affair because the mother asked me to and I wanted to (for just once in my life) be a good, supportive older brother to the sister, since her boyfriend is getting baptized and it is this huge deal for the family. And out of a morbid sort of curiosity, because some Christian friends report that their church life is nowhere like the forbidding, austere and fire-and-brimstone one I’ve experienced (and disliked) as a child. I had expected myself to do the eye rolling and zoning out during the service, the bit where I expected the pastor to do the stereotypical pulpit thumping, declaring that humans are sinners and that the only thing you can do is repent so you better get down on your knees and weep over your dastardly deeds and wretched irredeemable nature sort of stuff.
The service at this other church turned out to be pretty different from what I had expected. It was a pretty uplifting experience, standing in the middle of a crowd joined together in a hymnal chorus dedicated to something greater than themselves. I finally saw why people enjoy church. They’re not horrible judgmental places I’ve always believed them to be.

"What, you went to church?!"

It was kind of hilarious when the friend found out what this self-avowed atheist/lately more agnostic me did on Easter Friday, sitting through a sermon service at the YWCA and watching the sister’s boyfriend getting baptized. Considering my previous militant anti-religious stance, his skepticism is pretty well placed.

Heck, I surprised myself too. I had guilt tripped myself into going for the affair because the mother asked me to and I wanted to (for just once in my life) be a good, supportive older brother to the sister, since her boyfriend is getting baptized and it is this huge deal for the family. And out of a morbid sort of curiosity, because some Christian friends report that their church life is nowhere like the forbidding, austere and fire-and-brimstone one I’ve experienced (and disliked) as a child. I had expected myself to do the eye rolling and zoning out during the service, the bit where I expected the pastor to do the stereotypical pulpit thumping, declaring that humans are sinners and that the only thing you can do is repent so you better get down on your knees and weep over your dastardly deeds and wretched irredeemable nature sort of stuff.

The service at this other church turned out to be pretty different from what I had expected. It was a pretty uplifting experience, standing in the middle of a crowd joined together in a hymnal chorus dedicated to something greater than themselves. I finally saw why people enjoy church. They’re not horrible judgmental places I’ve always believed them to be.

Anonymous asked
Hi, Ryan. I really need your help. I have a girl that I like but I can't have because she's attached. I often think about all the romantic things that we could have done if we were together. But the next minute I'm fantasizing about having rough gay sex. And I get turned on by looking at buff guys and dicks. Do I have a spilt personality? Am I gay or straight or bi? Btw I have a crush on you haha. You're too cute! Hehe :) hope that I don't sound like some weirdo here but yeah I really like you!

Thank you for the compliment! Definitely got me blushing right here.

I think that sexual attraction is not an exclusive choice thing where you tick a box in heterosexual/homosexual/asexual/pansexual/whateversexual categories. Most people probably fall on a spot somewhere along a continuum with attraction towards purely the same sex on one end and attraction for purely the other on the other end. I liked some girls in the past as well, but I never experienced a physical desire (I guess it can be more accurately described as desiring a deep emotional companionship with some people regardless of their physical sex) to well, do Bad Naughty Things with them the same way I would feel if you plopped the guy of my dreams right in front of me.

Take your time! You do not have to force yourself into a category or label to describe yourself with. Right now I am pretty sure of my own orientation (who knows there is a non-zero chance of it shifting but I highly doubt so); if I had decided for myself earlier in life that Ryan is ‘gay’ and took on every associated baggage that the label brought with it without considering whether they truly applied to me, I am pretty sure I would be a much unhappier person right now.