bet you didn’t think so i command you to // tmi tuesday #26
I tried! We’ll see if I can make it to next week intact 🙂
TMI Tuesday this week is comprised of actually useful dating-site questions! I’ll answer those first.
1. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
This is interesting… I’m not 100% sure. Of course my family has been a huge influence on me. My parents are not amazing people with credentials to their name. They were far from perfect parents. They were simply good parents. They made mistakes (at least, I think they were mistakes) and they made what they think are mistakes but that I could not care less about. They tried to teach me about my history and mold me into someone who could be anyone.
Did it always work out the way they intended? No. They encouraged me to not preemptively close any door, but that now means that I am often unable to make quick, painless decisions. I dither. I weigh my options. I wait until the last possible minute to make a decision unless there is a clear right one. At the same time, though, I can see a wide range of options and outcomes for any given situation.
They never pushed me to date, never pushed me to think of myself as pretty or prioritize my looks. They didn’t try to control or manipulate my sexuality and let me make all my decisions about it myself. My mother didn’t teach me how to wear makeup. My father didn’t interrogate me about boys. When my mother caught me over the phone having spent the night in a guy’s dorm room, she didn’t say anything. They virtually never press me about dating. I’m not sure my brother feels he needs to “come out” to them. Now I feel confident without makeup, I don’t feel that I need to share the men in my life with my parents, and I have confidence that comes from the knowledge that I am intelligent, perceptive, opinionated, hardworking, capable, compassionate, and a whole host of other adjectives. On the other hand, I find myself sometimes hurt that I don’t think of myself as beautiful because I have never heard that affirmed by anyone, and it’s difficult for me to take a compliment about my looks seriously. I sometimes assume that my parents assume I will never get married. I lack confidence when I think about dating because I was never taught how. I don’t read romantic/sexual body language or take hints well. I don’t know how to be in a relationship with another person. I am happy to eat alone at a restaurant, but I am sometimes unhappy to come home to an empty apartment. I’m honestly not sure how my parents would react if I told them I wasn’t committed to monogamy.
And they were the ones that really encouraged me to look at myself in the mirror and see who I really was. They were the ones who taught me about being Asian American, being a woman, having a middle-class mindset but a working-class life, being part of a history of activism and alliance and anger. Nothing that has happened to me since I was 17 would have happened without this influence, good and bad.
That being said, I actually I think perhaps the biggest influence at this point in my life has been a series of events, rather than a person. Hindsight has given me a lot of perspective on who I’ve become as a result of being Asian American, female, almost middle class, West coast, and highly educated. It’s especially given me clarity on my years in college.
2. What kinds of things really make you laugh?
I’m an easy date, I have to say. Bad puns make me laugh for real (only sometimes out of pity) because I generally think there’s a cleverness associated with puns. Good news. Adorable baby pictures and stories. Kitten pictures. These Instagram videos. Literally any time the cute boy says something cute or flirty. Funny Buzzfeed lists, especially the one about why you should all want to be Hufflepuffs. Great pictures of Chris Evans’s hair.
3. What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
Hotel beds and deep soaking tubs/jacuzzi tubs. Seriously.
Also London. Love the food, the walkability, the free museums, the abundance of theatre and music, the beauty of the bridges and Big Ben at night. I know I’m romanticizing it, but it was the first place I ever went abroad, and there’s still something quite magical about it to me.
4. Who is your best friend? What do you like about him/her?
My brother and cousin know me best and I talk to them the most. I like that they’re, you know, related to me, so they take me as I am. My brother and I have similar politics but he’s much stronger about his than me. He can also be a good voice of reason. My cousin is female and we have similar interests – television, movies, food, engagement ring shopping. We can literally have entire conversations about tacos, or our favorite meal – pizza, Caesar salad, and cookies. All three of us can quote Pitch Perfect and Friends ad nauseum.
My best friend is someone I grew up with. We’re close in the sense that we have similar life paths, so we can talk about quarter life crises, not having money, having to make tough decisions about where to live, how much we dislike our jobs, investing, getting married, etc. We’re not as close since he moved away to a different state, but I’d like to think we’re still pretty good adult friends. We have real conversations about our lives, politics, social issues, sports, and we can travel together and volunteer for each other’s interests.
In many ways, I think people I identify as partners are also my best friend. They know me in ways I don’t let anyone else know me. Not just sex, of course, but they tend to ask different questions because they didn’t grow up with me and they have a vested interest in certain aspects of my personality. They challenge what I say for clarity, and they want to know what they think about them. They also simply have an intimacy cultivated by constant contact. And, of course, they make me feel incredibly special. The last guy, for example, I talked to nearly every day, so he knew details of my job, my coworkers, my stress levels, my short term concerns, even what I was wearing or what I ate. Now cute boy especially wants to know who I am and how I think. He asks incredibly insightful questions about my personality, my likes and dislikes, my goals, my uncertainties.
5. What’s your biggest goal in life right now?
Get better at having difficult conversations. From asking my manager for help advancing my career to dealing with my building manager to telling someone to butt out of my business to telling a guy I’m not interested in him to telling a guy I want something akin to a traditional relationship, I need to be firm and clear and not let the fear of someone’s reaction affect me.
6. What was your family like growing up?
Different than all my friends’. My parents were self-employed, so I spent a lot of time with my relatives and taking care of my little brother. We lived far away from my parents’ business and where I went to school, so I learned how to live without a kitchen and a bedroom and a desk. I never learned how to ride a bicycle. I learned how to fix a toilet. I knew the value of money but also didn’t have to hoard it and was allowed to use it as I wanted, no matter how silly it seems in retrospect. I couldn’t play sports in my community, so my parents tried to find other ways to get me engaged with my peers. I was a Girl Scout, my brother was a Boy Scout. I didn’t get to go to sleepovers or just walk over to a friend’s. My brother and I spent a lot of time together. We played together and were a team against video games (I don’t mind grinding, and it’s much easier to keep track of stats when you have a second set of eyes dedicated to monitoring health and magic levels). My parents wanted both of us to avoid being pigeon-holed. They made me pursue advanced science and math courses even when I doubted my own abilities. They didn’t really challenge me to consider my own identity until I was in high school, but they made sure I knew about my grandmother’s camp experience when I was still in elementary school.
Bonus: What is one thing about you that would surprise us?
I used to play basketball. (Surprising.) I was terrible at it. (Unsurprising.)
That… was much longer than I’d expected!
Now for the less fun stuff, which I include only for the sake of clarity/context and because it is important and I’m trying to be more honest. When I started this blog – and through most of its existence – I had one partner. He was amazing and I love him, and I could go on and on about him. We were long distance, and we had other issues, which I won’t go into here. Late last year, I suppose we broke up. I say I “suppose” because I didn’t get the dignity of a breakup. Not that there’s anything inherently dignified about a breakup – mine have always been messy and I’ve been on the losing, sobbing end, to be honest – but I think there’s something respectful about telling someone you are no longer committed to them. Instead, I got the silent treatment. He simply stopped responding to my Twitter DMs and text messages and stopped calling me.
We had a brief text message conversation in January, but that’s it.
In some ways I’ve moved on, but I’m still waiting for time to heal all wounds.
Image from Captain Chaos on tumblr.