Do You Think You're Pretty?

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geekoutshappen asked: Based on your last question: Can I say I am not happy with how "minorities" (for the most part) are portrayed in rap and pop culture? Or would that be racist? (I'm Mexican & I sometimes dislike pop culture's portrayal of my culture)

Well, first off, you can absolutely say whatever you want, as can the last asker. I never want to tell anyone what they can and can’t say, but if you’re asking if something is racist, that can be weirdly subjective, and you’re asking me, so I can answer that. A lot of first amendment idiots confuse the two. You can be as racist as you want because “THIS IS AMERICA”, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to suffer the consequences of saying some hate-filled, racist shit by getting fired or what not. 

So absolutely you can say that you’re not happy with how minorities are portrayed in rap and pop culture. Is it racist to say that, given the context that you are speaking specifically of your own ethnicity?  

Regardless of whether or not it’s racist to hate on how your own ethnicity is portrayed, I notice that even as you tried to be as generalizing as the last asker, you couldn’t stop yourself from adding caveats- “(for the most part)” and “sometimes dislike”. That’s the difference. I’m Caucasian as fuck, and I sometimes dislike pop culture’s portrayal of Mexican people too. 

The key here is SOMETIMES.

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Anonymous asked: Is it possible to dislike "black culture" in America without being racist?

Maybe, but it’s highly unlikely. My pal yoisthisracist helped me clarify my thoughts on that. Sure, it’s possible that you can hate rap music/black culture and not be racist, but most of the people who are vocal about hating black culture are racist and just found a clever way to disguise it, so….

No culture is a monolith. To say you hate “black culture” is a blanket statement that makes assumptions about an entire culture.

Pretty textbook.

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Anonymous asked: Hi Emily, I am a relatively new reader of your site and enjoy your nuanced persepective on personal matters very much! I have been pondering a thing lately, maybe you can help me to make sense of it better. I find myself getting extremely angry at an ancient ex of mine and don't really know what's going on - it's been over a decade since we broke up and I we are both in committed relationships by now, plus I thought that we had the whole friends-thing figured out pretty greatly. Still, the last

time we met confused me quite badly since it felt so good. We had some very intense conversations and I think we were (maybe) also flirting. It’s been some weeks now and we have been emailing pretty regularly but at some point he just stopped writing me back. I don’t know what to make of a) this, but, more importantly, b) of my feeling very angry and hurt by his silence and c) my overall involvement in this thing. What do you think is going on? Thanks and keep up the great work!

Hi there! Anger is pretty rad, huh? It can function in so many ways, and one of those functions is to signal us that something deeper is going on inside us. Anytime you’re finding that your reaction is disproportionally larger or smaller than the stimulus (here that would be your anger not matching your ex’s silence after reconnecting), it’s a pretty good sign that stuff is going on within us.

What’s happening within you? I would guess any combination of the following:

  • you feel confused that the last time you met felt so good
  • you feel guilty that it felt good
  • you feel somewhat bummed that you can’t just flirt with him and do whatever you want, he’s an old friend
  • you feel unsure if what you’re doing is cheating and hate that you’re having these nuanced conversations with yourself about what cheating is
  • you feel embarrassed that he wised up BEFORE YOU and cut off contact, because…
  • …you know this felt a little further than just emailing with an old friend

So of course you’re angry with him. He, and your interactions with him, brought up a bunch of feelings in you that are uncomfortable. Sometimes we have people in our lives that we realize we have too much of a weirdo connection with, and therefore, they maybe can’t be in our lives when we’re in a committed relationship. That doesn’t mean that this ex is “supposed to be the one”, it just means that you happen to have some confusing feelings toward him, and him toward you. 

If you love the person you’re with, and even more, if you respect them, you will continue to have no contact with this guy. If you’re feeling wonky, write or talk it through with a friend until you come to an understanding if your wonky feelings. For extra credit, talk to a therapist about it, this is the kinda shit they love. Completely optional: talk to your boyfriend about it. I don’t know if I’d go this route, but a frank, open discussion about attraction and understanding the limits of it in a relationship is often very beneficial to the relationship. 

Fuck that ex for being so beguiling, and fuck him for realizing it was a bad move before you. This is less about him and more about you, so forget him and work on you a little. 

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icalledshotgun asked: Hi! This is a question about your former career as a couples/family counselor. Did you enjoy it? Would you recommend it? Do you have any suggestions for new people in the field? I'm going to school to get my MSW with an emphasis in family/marriage counseling. Ultimately, I want to open up my own practice and be a family/marriage therapist. However, I'm getting bummed out with the possible low paying jobs that I will have to endure before the private practice.

I really really really loved what I did. Absolutely. I worked in the field for just over six years and they were fantastic, terrible, tiring, wonderful years.

It is true that opening up a private practice is a lot of work, and usually, to build a private practice, you’ll be seeing those clients in the evenings, after a full day of work. You will take on really low paying jobs, and your office may be a fast food restaurant, or tiny and crawling with bugs, or shared with four other people. This is how it goes. 

I stopped seeing clients for a variety of reasons, preventable and unpreventable. 

1) I chose to work with more intense populations, and they just wear you out after a bit. Then when I tried to work with less intense populations, I found myself angry that they were so burdened by such tiny things.

2) I thought I was taking care of myself, but I really wasn’t. I poured myself into my work, every ounce of myself, to the exclusion of everything else. I think that’s pretty standard for your first year of being in the field, but I didn’t pull back and refocus on my own life after that. That is important.

3) I got extremely sick and had a hard time going back into it full throttle after that. 

My advice to you is to take care of yourself- most programs will have a class devoted to self care for therapists, and you should ask your clinical supervisors too. Pay attention to those things, because they will save you from yourself.

You’re no help to anyone if your own emotional health is in shambles. Therapists have the difficult job of keeping themselves healthy in the face of handling everyone’s problems. But it’s the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. 

People quit extremely high paying jobs because they feel like nothing they’re doing is making a difference. You are setting yourself up for a career that pays in ways money cannot. It’s the best. 

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Anonymous asked: I have very unreasonable paranoia. I get anxious about: people hearing what I about them even if there is no way they did, me or loved ones getting a horrible disease or into a car accident, having caused a car crash even though I KNOW I didn't, being pregnant even though I NEVER had sex, my car or bike being stolen even though I made sure I locked it 3 times, thinking my grandma is dead when she's asleep and I don't hear her breathing. Why is my brain doing this to me?

This is just free-floating anxiety, and your brain is looking for a home for it. I have had every single one of these paranoid obsessions at different points in my life. It’s the result of a lovely, hyperactive brain and lack of places to exorcise your demons. You should be proud of it, because I bet your brain serves you extremely well in other areas of your life. Just not so much in this one. 

If you don’t already, start exercising (ha ha exorcising and exercising) to help get you out of your own head, and go to see a therapist. You aren’t crazy, but learning to silence that constant anxiety-voice takes more than I can impart in a Tumblr post. 

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If you’ve ever sat next to someone on a plane who used your every move as an invitation to talk to you, congratulations: you now know what it’s like to be a woman.