Why I Love My Exes

A long-ago work colleague once told me that whenever she broke up with someone, they were out of her life for good. She didn’t want to see them, talk to them, or think about them thereafter. Close the book and MoveOn dot org.

While I understand the logic behind this, it’s never been an approach that works for me personally. It feels like a waste. If I invest an immense amount of time and energy choosing and connecting with and understanding a person as a romantic partner — growing together and individually, learning how to be a team — how does it make sense to ever throw that all away? It would be like refusing to eat the cuisine of a country after I leave, or trying to forget how to write a press release after a high pressure PR job. Sure, there may be some negative associations, but it’s a lot of baby to chuck out for a little bathwater, however dirty it may be.

I do not necessarily recommend this mindset to anyone else, however, simply because it’s an integrated part of the way I approach romantic relationships. Patience has never been an especially strong virtue for me, so over the past 17-odd years I’ve been the initiator in dating more often than not. This grants me the boon of being fairly certain I want to be with the person I’m pursuing, since I’ve already thought things through enough to come to a strong positive conclusion. The major downside is experiencing a lot of rejection over the years, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. 

Breakups are difficult, especially if you tend to put everything you’ve got into a relationship. It’s useful to have a cooling-off period where there’s no direct communication, and I have exes I haven’t talked to much in years, due to residual trauma or growing apart or what have you. But I keep them alive in my thoughts and my life through the things they’ve taught me, which I insist on attributing to them. Favorite shows and video games, friends who have shaped me, places I’ve visited and lived, concepts that expanded my outlook on the world — these came to me courtesy of the people I’ve been in love with, and I have no real desire to separate the sources from their massively beneficial effects. There’s a strange notion out there that a personal passion isn’t “real” if you got into it through your significant other instead of on your own. I can say from experience that this is untrue; my tenure at Blizzard was no less “real” because I originally got into StarCraft through an ex.

I do like talking to many of my exes from time to time, and I’m largely pleased with how they (and I) have turned out years after our respective relationships. The pain points and heartache fade over time, and now I can see that the traits I appreciated in them in the first place are still there and often further developed — thoughtfulness, honesty, integrity, improbable accomplishments, a sly sense of humor, the drive to keep growing and perfecting, and so forth. It’s really cool to have friends like these, but the best part is that I can call upon their facsimiles in my own head whenever I wish and learn something new about whatever situation I’m facing. It’s like having a secret advisory board full of interesting people who care about me and always have something insightful to say.

Every one of us contains multitudes. I think I’ve chosen mine well, and I wouldn’t give them up for the world.

Thanks for getting me to 25% of my fundraiser goal! Check out my GoFundMe page here.

Education: The New Frontier

[Originally published on Facebook 9/4/2020]

My mother likes to say that my path to journalism started in preschool in Wellesley, MA when I would stand watch at the window at the end of the day and announce the parents who were arriving to collect their kids. This allowed for a smooth and joyful transition as my classmates ran to grab their coats for the journey home. It was information arbitrage at its simplest, and it was gratifying to provide a service that was useful and evoked delight. Since then, although my career has led me to much more esoteric corners of news in the video games and esports industry, I’ve always enjoyed being at the forefront of what we see as possible for humanity and relaying information and stories that herald a future of inspiring potential. I joined ESPN Esports in 2017, six months after the website was launched, where my colleagues and I described the glory of a brand-new kind of sport to a wider audience. The global passion and innovation of esports was too explosive to relegate to obscurity, too relatable to consign to niche online forums and uninformed assumptions about awkward teenagers in basements.

After years of moving around the US and the world to find the best stories and the best opportunities to tell them, I’m currently preparing to move back to the Boston area and shift to a new frontier: education. I’ve spent over a decade of my life breaking new ground in the esports and video gaming industry as a communications professional and an Asian woman in a space notoriously hostile to gender and ethnic minorities. I found success even as I grew increasingly dismayed at the doors closed to myself and others like me. Now, I think the answer is to mentor a new generation whose outspoken awareness of social justice will fully explore the possibilities of a world where anyone and everyone has a fair shot at their dreams, regardless of biological characteristics and circumstances of birth.

I will use the money from my fundraiser to support myself as I find opportunities to reach students, especially those who are interested in my former industry. I want to enrich their passion for games and esports with my unique depth of experience. This will give them the edge they need to pursue their careers in a very competitive field without compromising their visions of a more equitable world. The more young people I can inspire to tell the stories only they can tell through all the tools available, the more hope I’ll feel for a better and brighter tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!