Remember back to when you were young and you had yet to learn what proper conversational etiquette was. Adults had to worry that you would say something inappropriate, ask a rude question, tell a stranger some candid information. They tell you: “Shh, we only talk about that in private”, “Keep that to yourself”, “That’s enough, people are staring”, “You’re embarrassing me”. But you don’t understand. Why can’t we talk about that? Why can’t we ask that question? Why am I supposed to be quiet?

As we get older, we are trained on what subjects we are allowed to talk about, which thoughts are okay to share with others, what is supposedly normal to feel. We lose our sense of wonder because we are taught to stop asking “Why?” And we lose our sense of expression because we are taught not to complain or to boast. Don’t pry and don’t divulge. We are conditioned to keep our heads down and fit into the nice little box. Polite small talk; shallow words, devoid of meaning and substance. Carry these formalities on long enough and that’s exactly what will become of our lives: shallow, devoid of meaning and substance. But, hey, at least you’ll be known by others as “polite”, and “normal”.

No, thank you. I want more for myself and more from others.

This blog is my attempt at putting some important topics on the table for discussion. It is an avenue to express my thoughts; sharing as a means of catharsis for myself, but also sharing in an attempt to give support to anyone else struggling with similar issues. Some entries will read like storytelling of a great personal nature. Others will be more wide-reaching, like a combination of an opinion piece and analysis. I will discuss things I have personally been through, things I have researched, and things I have reflected on and have a passion for.

Death, sex, science, culture, alternative lifestyles, love, loss, regret. These stories and opinions are unfiltered and often not pretty. They aren’t meant to make you feel warm and fuzzy, and they don’t come with apologies. They are meant to make you think and give you encouragement to speak out your own difficult truths. Challenging what is acceptable may be uncomfortable, but discomfort begets growth and change. Of course we don’t want to unnecessarily hurt people’s feelings, but should we avoid it to a degree of losing our own identity? I believe that things are only as awkward as you make them and that any topic can be traversed if done so with tact and an open mind. There is no such thing as a dirty word; we decide what power to assign to something.

I have a master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in evolutionary psychology and social psychology. This greatly influences my approach, but I do not pretend to be an expert or qualified to give clinical-level advice. I simply want to take a step in the direction of destigmatizing seemingly taboo subjects. We fear what we do not understand and one way to demystify something is to get an inside look at it, gather more information about what it’s really like, and see it from another viewpoint. My hope is that I can articulate my experiences in a way that illuminates a better understanding for those who seek empathy and insight, and give strength and relief to those who can relate but may struggle to find the words for expression.

My ultimate hope is that one day these taboo topics will no longer be taboo talk. That we no longer have to hide parts of ourselves in fear of social retribution. That we find the healing we need through connecting openly with others. I seek to let my demons out to breathe. Demons that were never really heinous to begin with, but merely thoughts and feelings that were shoved down and suffocating through socially mandated imprisonment. When I retrieve and rescue them out of my vicious cycle of rumination, put them onto paper one step removed from myself, I can see them more clearly. And I find that they are not deserving of shame and embarrassment at all, but are beautiful creatures in their own right, characters that made me who I am.

Looking into the eyes of my demons… and sharing every. juicy. detail.