From mental health to physical impairments, more of us are dating with disabilities than you may think. We're chatting with Tiffany Yu about her own experience and how she's overcome the shame and insecurity that spilled into her dating life. We discuss why we tend to hide certain aspects of ourselves whiled dating, how to navigate dating apps vs. more organic connections with these said "imperfections", and how we can all start to see each other (and ourselves) as the beautiful people we are.
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S13E12: Do Relationships Make You Happy? w/ Rob Mack
00:00:01 - 00:05:02
The Dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that the Huffington post calls one of the top ten podcast about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about. From sex parties to sex droughts, date fails a diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host Yue Xu, former dating coach turned dating sociologists. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Krafchick as we explored this crazy dateable world.
Hello, dateable, welcome to another episode of the dateable podcast where we are your dating sociologists and we will examine study and dissect human behavior when it comes to dating and explain it all to you. So we can navigate dating much better. That sounded so professional. So educational. We are so professional. You know, even know. I always like that we say active daters turned dating sociologists because I think that really sums it up because we were both very much the thick of things, but you know, through this podcast alone, we've talked to, I mean, how many people? Of people. So that is the qualitative research that gives you sociology creds. Of course, we're not accredited yet, but some day. We're credited in the podcast world. That's all that matters. Hey, if we could help you find your person, that's all the credentials we need. And I'm proud to say we have helped people find their people. So, you know, it's not like we're just talking BS here. People are finding their people's through us. Yes. I remember talking to Niki novo, one of our past guests was the medium and I remember her talking about how I was the type of person that needed to watch before doing. And that this podcast really suited me for doing it because it allowed me to really study kind of dissect what I wanted and what I didn't want in a relationship, which would set me up for having the right relationship for myself. And I think in retrospect, she was a 100% correct because I feel like I'm able to reflect in ways that I 100% would never have. If we were doing this podcast. Oh, that makes sense. Yeah, you kind of want to see how other people have done it. And maybe paved the way before you even want to try that direction. That makes sense. Exactly. I like that. She knew you so well. Thanks for each other. Which learning from each other is exactly what we're doing today. I feel like we've been wanting to do this topic for a while dating with a disability. And I'm so glad that we finally did it with our guest Tiffany, who really shed light onto this topic. And I think she really expanded my definition as well of what a disability even means. I think we think of, you know, like, physical disabilities, and it can go so so much deeper to emotional behavior, like there's so many aspects of what a disability means. It does open your eyes, my eyes are all of our eyes to talk about the subject and I feel like now is the right time to talk about this as well. I think everyone's very open to it. I remember I've had trainings about it too, even in the workplace. So it's good that we're opening this up into the dating world. But I think a lot of us have gone on so many one day to date kind of things that we haven't even gotten to the point of knowing someone's disabilities. Imagine all the people you have been on dates with and what they would have revealed to you had it been date 5 or 6. 'cause I think we think of the things you could see. And as we go into it, a lot of it is, you know, some of its mental health related and things that may not be on the surface of Tate want or two. Yes. So this is just a really good discussion to have to just accept others a little bit more and to know that everyone has their own journey that they're going through and it's really hard to judge someone based on a snapshot of their life that you are entering at. Yeah, I think obviously for anyone that has a disability that they're dealing with this episode will be incredibly powerful. But I think a lot of times when you're dating, it's kind of like you don't know what's gonna get throughout your way. Have this image of who you'll end up with. You know, this person has been living a life for many, many years before you, that, you know, there's certain things that are going on for them that may not be in the picturesque view of what you think your partner is going to look like because we all are much deeper. We all have aspects of our personalities and just inherit traits that may not be what is listed on our dating profile per se. The basics. Yes, yes. This is why it's so important to get to know people for who they are. And it's hard to do that based on dating profiles and I get it.
00:05:02 - 00:10:03
I spent all weekend with some single boys who are navigating the dating scene and they're just telling me they're dating woes and I get it. I mean, I totally understand why it can be so frustrating and hard and you don't understand why you're even wasting I mean, quote unquote wasting your time, dating, but I say this all the time, there's a lid for every pot and when you find your lid, it is an incredible feeling. So keep looking for your lid 'cause your lid is desperately looking for you too. Yeah, and I love this, you know, we all have imperfections. None of us are perfect. So, you know, like I think the reframe of it is like letting someone into your life and all the imperfections that are there, allowing someone to kind of be along for that ride and you be along for the ride for them. That's like the greatest form of intimacy when you really think about it. It really is, isn't it? Yeah, when you're sharing an experience together, and then you get to create new experiences together. That's the ultimate form of connection. Yeah. And I feel like, you know, it's never that we wanna wish circumstances on people. We talk about in this episode, Tiffany's disabilities came from a car accident. We never want to wish those circumstances, but I do think having the heavy stuff does build layers to your personality and it goes much deeper than just the surface connection. So while it's never a good thing, none of us want disabilities, but I think having that is just an extra dimension of someone that you can really learn to love the full capacity of someone. And something kind of interesting about that and you'll hear this in this episode is that Tiffany has told her story a million times. And she's told her story to the point where she can remove her emotions from the story. And it is a very traumatic emotional story. And I think a lot of us and maybe not to this degree, but we all have these stories that we retell on dates. To the point where we remove our emotions from it too, it just becomes part of storytelling. And it does inspire me to retell my story differently now, because you realize your story could have such a profound impact on the person you're telling it to even though you've been saying this story for the millionth time. It's the same thing to you, but it's new to someone else. So I think that's just something for us to keep in mind every time you go on a date and you tell your story, know that it's impactful and that you can retell the story a little bit differently each time. Yeah, we talk on this episode a lot about vulnerability. And I feel like vulnerability is the biggest buzzword. I've actually caught a sick about hearing about vulnerability because it's just this catch all phrase and I feel like people don't even know what it means. And we kind of go into how sometimes you can relate trauma with vulnerability. And that isn't what it necessarily means to be vulnerable. And you know, I think it's how you tell your story and how you connect with others is so important when it comes to dating and relationships. And that doesn't necessarily mean doing it in the ways that we think. And I think that is a really great discussion that I'm not going to go into too much more because we go way into it. There's different sides of the coin, I guess. Yes, yes, yes. I love that observation. I was at a music festival this weekend and maybe did a little drugs, but the drugs made me realize something is that when we talk about vulnerability, we think it's about revealing. We have to reveal something about ourselves. And yes, that is part of vulnerability. But I realized that there's another side of the V word, which is listening. When you just sit and listen and not talk, that's also very vulnerable because it opens you up for reactions and judgment. So I think also it's okay to not talk and listen and that puts you in a vulnerable state also. I think vulnerability can also just be letting someone into your life a little more. Like this weekend, I had the pleasure of introducing my boyfriend to my parents, which was a big step for me, but they were visiting. And, you know, I was a little nervous I'll admit it, but I think it was really good. All said and done, it was really great. They all got along really well, but I think we both kind of walked away, being like, we've seen a new side of each other. Seen where I really like sharing with him that where I've come from, you know? That side of me that might be a little removed now that I don't live at home and I live across the country. And I think that's really nice and there is a level of vulnerability of just inviting someone deeper into your life. And I think a lot of that doesn't necessarily mean it's trauma bonding, but it's just like simple things that invite that person in. I think meeting someone's parents is so telling. You know, you kind of sit there and you think, oh, that's where you got.
00:10:03 - 00:15:11
You know? I get it. That's why you are that way, or that's why you have this characteristic. I see that the apple does not fall too far from the tree. Exactly. Do you think the parents I mean, we could do a whole podcast episode of that in itself? Because I feel like people have such different views of the importance of meeting parents. I've had so many friends that are just like, yeah, I've introduced every single person of daily to my parents. It's not a big deal at all, and then I'm definitely someone that it's a big deal. I'm not going to introduce every last person to my parents. So it's interesting how people swing so far on the spectrum of that one. I always feel like it's hard to even know how much weight to give it because people view it so differently. Do your parents have unspoken rules of how a boyfriend should act around them and what are these unspoken rules? Absolutely. I think it's like one of those things that I was like, oh my God, I hope this goes well because of that, but it's hard to pinpoint what they are exactly. Yeah. But they're in my head of just like certain things that would not be great, you know? Yeah. Like my parents are sometimes they're like, well, he should really take that seat. And I'm like, why? I don't know, in their mind. There's a reason why the seating chart and arrangement. Interestingly, as is in their mind, but to me, it's just not intuitive. So sometimes I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping that chances are things will just go as planned in their mind. I don't know if my parents have that rich enough rules, but I think they do have certain things that might be more judgmental. For instance, my brother, I did a FaceTime with my brother and my boyfriend. And we were talking about meeting the parents and my brother was like, yeah, I probably if you don't drink a lot, it will go a long way. And her boyfriend was like, oh yeah, now that I know that, I don't need to have a drink. So I think it's like stuff like that. That's more of the unwritten rules for mine. I guess I would know the rules, but it's sometimes like I don't want to push someone to behave a certain way. But the other side of it is if you're setting them up for success, why wouldn't you tell them? Right. Right. Like if you know flowers are definitely going to go a long way. Then to bring flowers. Right. If it was the reverse situation with drinks, for instance, and my boyfriend's mother, like, did it want me to do that? It's not that big a deal for me to have a drink or not have a drink. So I'd rather not have one, right? To make that impression. Well, I would love to hear from our listeners. Let's do a little call out. Maybe hashtag meet the parents. Are there any unspoken rules that your parents have when it comes to your significant other meeting them? I would love to hear all of them just tag us on Instagram at dateable podcasts and then hashtag meeting the parents. Let's see what happens. I feel like we need to make a third. They already have a sequel. Meet the fockers. Yeah, that one? Meeting the Kraft chicks? Is that the I don't know. I don't know. Well, you know, we were just talking about this too. I have not met the craft chicks. I know. I haven't met the parents. I know, which is crazy. My parents are dying to meet UA. I've met your parents. I have the luxury to be the shoes. They weren't quite adorable, vesta, I say. They're such cuties and I can't wait to meet your parents. You have to tell me about the unspoken rules when it comes to Friends meeting them. Yeah. They were like, your parents were like, has that radio show going? Oh yeah. My parents still ask about you all the time. House Julie. Glad I made the impression that I did. I met one of my friends parents in Boston when I lived there and he still asked about me today. Her dad, because we went fishing and I only caught the tiny fish and then that night for dinner. You know, the fish that they fish with, like, not a real fish. It's like the bait for the fish. Your kids. That's what I caught. And I was super excited. He's like, that's not a fish that that day for dinner. We had chicken, and he's like, could have had fish. And he still asked about me all the time. Elastic impression of that. That could do with our fishing equipment infamous Julie and her tiny fish. It is funny how you impact started people at some point. But people do make it a profound impact on you, or a lasting impression. And we do the same thing with other people. We tend to forget that. The most telling is when you have a friend introduced you to someone and how they introduce you. It surprises me every time how someone introduces me, 'cause that's what they've pretty much put me in a bucket as and, you know, it's just interesting, the impact you have on other people, which is related to our question for this episode and also it's related to our interview later. And the question is, when it comes to early dating, if you do have, for example, this person said I have high anxiety to the point where it become it becomes debilitating and dating does add to my anxiety.
00:15:11 - 00:20:02
At what point in early dating, should I reveal this fact? So, yeah, I mean, this is one of those topics where you have something that you know could be could impact the way you treat someone when it comes to dating. But is it too early to reveal, let's say on a first date or even in your dating profile? I personally just from the receiving and I have data someone with high anxiety and I wish I had known from the very first date. Yeah, you will be able to exploit you'll understand where they're coming from. Yes. And not take it so personally, I think. Yes. I dated someone with so such high anxiety that they would then ignore me when their anxiety hit. So I thought that they were playing games when they were just trying to protect themselves. So that's I can't explain that I can't read minds, this person didn't tell me until after we broke up. But those are things that I think it's better to know upfront and you can come from a place of like what we're saying with meaning the parents set people up for success when it comes to doing. So if you want to be successful at dating me, here are some things you should know. And I have a high anxiety. I've been managing it for years and when I see symptoms of it, this is what happens. And this is how you can help me kind of manage it. And on the other hand, I totally get that you might not want to be sharing all this personal information with every person on a dating app, especially in today's world where so often you never see this person again. I think that that's totally fair and I don't think everyone is at their discretion of when they want to share personal information. That being said, I agree with you of if it is getting in the way of your dating life at the sense that people are interpreting things that you're doing and ways that you don't want to being transparent might actually prevent some of the people from turning over. I think too maybe there is a certain level of intimacy that you get to. I think it's hard to say like a hard fast rule of the number of dates. I don't think that always translates. But I think if you really are connecting with someone, you could see it going somewhere, that might be the turning point of whether you decide to share this or not. I don't necessarily think you need to put this on your profile. I don't think it needs to be on the very first date. I think those should really be used to say, is this someone I even want to spend any time with? That being said if you feel a cancel the date, for instance, because of anxiety, I think you could share that with someone, or you could say, hey, it says not even if you're not really ready to say it's because of anxiety, even saying this has nothing to do with you. It then offering an alternative time. I think that makes all the difference, but just like fading off or ghosting because of it, that person's gonna take it extremely personally. And they're not gonna think that it's because of your anxiety and they're just gonna think that it's because you don't like that. People always buy defaults, I think humans think about ourselves first, the better for worse. So again, it's setting yourself up for success. If you do want to see this person, make them feel like it really has nothing to do with them, even if you're not willing to disclose all that's going on. When you feel like you really like them and you really don't want anything to get in the way in that early dating stage, I think it's a great time to maybe say something along the lines of I've really enjoyed spending time with you. I look forward to spending more time with you. I just want to let you know of some things and I don't want you to take it the wrong way. If I were to act this way. I think the worst thing we can do is leave people hanging and then they make up stories and that you never know where that spirals to. So might as well just catch it before it happens and then be very truthful but also coming from a place of love when you do tell it. This was a great question. You know, mental health is even though it's made such strides. I feel like there is still stigma that comes with disability in general. And I think having conversations like we're having today really helps break down that stigma, so I'm glad that, you know, we can address this question but also dive into it. Much, much deeper in this episode. Absolutely. Okay, so a couple quick announcements at dateable podcast is our Instagram handle. Make sure to follow us there. Love in the time of Corona is our Facebook group. This is the public group. Just give us a little one liner about why you're dateable so we know you're a real human being and that you listen to this podcast and then we'll let you in. And then the sounding board is our premium community.
00:20:02 - 00:25:17
We've had a lot of new members joined lately, some really good office hours that you weigh and I hold that are monthly, that people could bring their questions with such a great session last week. I really left energized. I think people kind of have been in a little bit of a dating slump felt energized as well. You know, whether it was looking at the apps in a different light, we even went through ideas of feeding more IRL, which, you know, as always, I think especially after being cooped up in COVID times is something that a lot of us are greatly deeply desiring right this minute. So yeah, if you want to join the sounding board, we do the monthly chats with the two of us, but also there's weekly chats and video calls with our host team who are incredible and they're just great discussions. There's one about not taking rejection personally the head. Super high attendance, so really great ones coming up, especially as we go into the holiday season that always kind of brings things up for a lot of people. So dateable podcast dot com slash sounding board. Make sure to go there first and sign up. And then we will let you into the secret Facebook group. That is the PSA. And we've had so many new listeners joined recently who've been curious about this finding your person program that we launched a while ago. If you are one of those people who have been interested, you saw something that we posted a while ago. You can still sign up for the wait list. It's finding your person dot com. The program is currently closed, but there is a chance that we may open up the program again. So just sign up for the wait list. So you get first dibs when we do open up the program again. Yes. Group live calls we've been having for those have been just so incredible. So incredible. I could see the lightbulbs going off. I love it. That's so great. That's so great. We have great people in the program for 8 people. Cool. So let's get into a couple of our sponsors now. This episode is sponsored by better help. It is no surprise, Julie and I are huge fans of therapy, especially online therapy and better help can do exactly just that. They match you with your own license therapist and connect you in a safe and private online environment. I was able to start communicating with my therapist and less than 48 hours super fast. Better help is committed to facilitating great therapeutic matches and it's more affordable than traditional offline counseling. There are licensed professionals specialize in everything from stress management, anxiety, trauma, dating and grief. We attainable wish for all of you to live a happier, more wholesome life, and we think therapy and prioritizing your mental health will accomplish that. So ask our listener, you'll get 10% off your first month by visiting our sponsor at better help dot com slash dateable, join over 1 million people who have taken charge of their mental health. Again, that's better help HELP dot com slash D ATE ABL E support for dateable is brought to you by in scipio. In scipio offers legendary protection for all of your devices from phones to AirPods, a tablets. They obsess over their tech to protect yours. It's like in scipio's line of products was made for me because with their phone cases, my phone is protected from drops as high as 14 feet. The cases are also wireless charging compatible, and there's a lifetime warranty. So they've got you covered. I have the organic core clear case, which is made up of a 100% compostable materials that reduces landfill waste I naturally reentering the environment from where it started. All the packaging is made out of a 100% recyclable materials with eco friendly water based ink. Now for data listeners only, we have a special offer. These incredible cases are now available for purchase at insipio dot com and you can use the code dateable for 20% off. That's IN CI PIO dot com and use a code DA te a BLE for 20% off. Okay, let's hear it from Tiffany, all about dating with a disability. Well, thank you, Tiffany for being in our community, but also joining us for this conversation about disability and dating and also, I guess we're talking about vulnerability and force intimacy to. There are a lot of other topics related, but who is Tiffany? We get to know her a little bit better. She's 33 years old. She currently lives in San Francisco. She's originally from outside of D.C. and she is single and actively going on dates. Hello Tiffany. Hello. How are you? So great to meet you. I've been like, I don't know if fangirling is the right word, but we've been fangirling back. I think that's I think that is the right word. You've been so active in the community and just so insightful. So we're really honored to have you with us to talk about this topic and a more expanded biography of Tiffany as she is the CEO and founder of diverse ability and the founder of the awesome foundation disability chapter and the host of the Tiffany and you show, which is a social impact podcast.
00:25:17 - 00:30:06
She serves on the San Francisco mayor's disability council and appointed by San Francisco mayor London breed in 2019. Making me sound so good. I'm so impressive. We're so excited to do this topic because I feel like this has come up in the Facebook group a lot about just disabilities and various different types of disabilities that will get into. But before we do that, we'd love to just hear your story a little more about your disability than what kind of got you in this space. Sure, so I was not born a disability advocate. And most of us who become advocates, I think come into this space because we have an experience that really makes us want to change the world, I guess, I'll say, that's my profound thought of the day. So I'm the first generation daughter of a Taiwanese immigrant and a refugee from the Vietnam War. And the reason why I think I'm on this podcast and in the world at the age of 9, over Thanksgiving weekend, my mom had to travel for his business trip. So my dad and a couple of my siblings went to go see her off at the airport on the way home, he unfortunately lost control of the car. And I sustained what I will call a plethora of different types of injury. So I shattered a couple of bones in my left leg, the tibia and my femur for those who have broken bones in their leg before. And I also permanently paralyzed one of my arms. My right arm, which was by dominant arm at the time. My dad also unfortunately passed away. And so part of the reason why I talked about Thanksgiving is because that whole holiday in that weekend to me was supposed to be about gratitude and family and this thing happened. And I mentioned I was the daughter of Asian immigrants because I think that cultural context will come into play here, which is not only was the traumatic car accident seen as kind of like shameful and taboo. Now I was visibly disabled and I also lost my dad, which I did a little bit of research on this. And in an old traditional way of thinking, if a spouse passed away invent that the living spouse was cursed or something, it meant like ill fate on the whole family. And so I was really conditioned not to tell anyone about the car accident. My mom told everyone my dad was away on a trip. I wore long sleeves all the time. Not sure how that would make a difference. And if anyone knows Washington D.C. I always joke about this question in D.C. so this summer. So hot. I'm wearing long sleeves. It makes no sense, but I was so ashamed of the way that my body now looked. And I had no outlet for it. So one other disability that I ended up realizing I had much later is post traumatic stress disorder. And I did want to bring that up because I feel like a lot of the conversations in the Facebook group are around people who have non visible disabilities or who can technically present as non disabled. So I have both a visible and a non visible aspect of disabilities that ended up coming out of this event. How does the PTSD manifest itself? Yeah, so I got diagnosed with so many things that are fascinating about this. So I actually think that part of what my mom modeled for me about not telling anyone about the car accident is actually what made me develop PTSD. If you don't allow your body to complete what we call the stress response cycle, your trauma, you know, there's a book I love called the body keeps the score. Trauma gets to get stored in your body. You don't even know where. So, you know, rationally, I thought, oh, my trauma is just where the injury was my body, but you know, trauma can be stored anywhere in some as it doesn't make sense. So I would say from 2017 until 2019 I got diagnosed in 2019. I was, I was very unwell, and for me, that manifested in really having emotional outbursts just crying uncontrollably doing seemingly random things. But they were actually all connected now. They all make sense to me. Yeah, I was a kid. 9. And so many things happen to my body that I couldn't comprehend. And I also want to share. So there's a 12 year period from 1997, which is when the car accident happened until 2009 where I didn't tell anyone about the cars. And it was like my secret. But during that period of time, the number of acupuncturists, physical therapists, surgeons, my mom brought me to was just like a loss of childhood in a sense in a way. So with your arm, is it visibly noticeable or how does this show up for others potentially? Yeah, so I and I don't know if you'll get the video. But I mean, my hand, my hand looks very different. So my hand, I'll describe it for those who are listening. Not only is my hand a one arm is shorter than the other, I feel like I joke that I have like some remnants of like a 9 year old arm in there.
00:30:06 - 00:35:02
I mean I grew a little bit, but when you don't have blood circulation, you don't have the same bone density, right? It's all kind of connected. And then when I say I paralyze my arm, what I mean is the injuries at the spinal cord. So even though it just looks like it's the most severe at the hand, that means my shoulders develop differently. The hand, though, is hyperextended at the knuckles. So I don't know what the best way is to is like when you make a fist my knuckles are like the other way. So yeah, so it is noticeable. And I will say that over the past couple of years, I now wear a splint on my injured arm to slow the hyperextension, but then also help stabilize the wrist. So of course, this is a dating podcast. A medical one. But we do want to hear how this has played into your dating life. Yeah. So I feel like dating is my biggest growth area right now. I've done tons of self work. It is actually, I think it is my best trait is how committed to my growth I am. But back in my early 20s, so I would consider myself a little bit of a late bloomer. So I didn't have my first kiss until I was 20. And I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was 23. And one thing I want to highlight is and one of the things I'm learning being entrenched in this disability advocacy world is that disability and sexuality is never really talked about that much. And so because growing up so much of my identity was shaped around, please figure out how to fix your arm, hide it from anyone, don't tell anyone about it. I like as a whole ID sexualized my whole body. I saw myself as a product of the acupuncturist and physical therapists and occupational therapists and these surgeons and all these other people. And I actually think that's why you asked me what did PTSD manifest and look like for me, I think there were all there were all these moments in those adolescent years where my body didn't feel like mine. So yeah, so de sexualization and there's a lot of infantilization of disabled bodies as well. And interestingly enough, even though mine is only my arm and I also have a non visible aspect of this ability. But the visible aspect, even though it's only my arm, it really, we can't und compartmentalize our body. It's like one body. And I feel like for a long period of time, I literally rejected my arm. I didn't want anyone to look at it or do anything. And as a result, I just rejected my whole body. So fast forward 20 years old first kiss 23 first boyfriend and I was telling Julie this, but I would wait to tell people about my arm and the car accident. I'd wait until the fourth date fourth day. It was always the fourth day. Well, well, the first date is like you just get to know someone and then the second date is okay, well, the first one wasn't so bad. By the fourth date, you probably like someone enough to be spending. And by the way, you probably spend at least four hours together. So in a way I almost and you're getting like raw version of Tiffany right here. I felt like I would like I got them with my personality by the fourth date that maybe then I could tell them about the car accident. But would it be noticeable beforehand to them or do you hide it with the long sleeve shirts and all that stuff? Yeah, good question. I think I probably hit it. Unintentionally, I had a conversation with someone a couple years ago, and they were like, Tiffany, what's interesting is we're sitting across a table from each other and you have your hands in your lap and I have my hands crossed on the table. She's like, look at these kind of unconscious things that you're doing because you conditioned yourself that you didn't want anyone to look at your hands. But at the same time, I will say I've recently been reconnecting with people I went to high school with, which was about 15 years ago and a lot of them are like, I had no idea about your arm. Wow. So these are people I saw at school every single day. Yeah, I was going to ask did anybody ever mention anything in those first three dates? Or you were just so good at hiding it? I was so good. I was an expert Hydra. I mean, I don't know. I mean, maybe they probably noticed. I mean, one of the things I wrote my college essay about this, I wrote my college es about stairs. And the fact that I knew that people were staring at my arm, but no one ever said anything. Okay, so you finally said something to them. They are dates. What was the reason? The fourth thing. It was, you know, when you have those moments where you share something so vulnerable and you don't feel embraced in it afterward. I think that's how I felt. I honestly I hate that feeling. Yeah, it's like we're vulnerable to try and be connected. And yet I feel more disconnected. Like you're doing a trust fall, nobody's there to catch you. Do you think that's because of the way they met you or what do you think drove that or was your internal stuff? I see you shaking your head. Yeah, honestly, I think it was my own internal stuff.
00:35:03 - 00:40:02
I mean, I was 23, kind of that first foray of dating and trying to figure out where this disability story fit into relationships. That was ten years ago. I mean, I think I've definitely now it's the first thing on my profile. I have pictures in my splint and show my arm and yeah, I think I think the trust fall in not having anyone catch me was just me looking to reinforce how shameful how ashamed I felt to my body. I see. Okay. It was more projected then. And what do you write in your dating profiles now? That's a good question. Well, now I'm the CEO of diverse ability, which, you know, was not a real word, but I have a line in there. I have a couple lines. First of all, it's in the pictures. And it says disability advocate and social impact entrepreneur. And then it says my work is trauma informed and unconventional, please look us up. Smiley face emoji. What type of messages have you got in from it? Is that the first thing people will talk about or will they just approach you like any other conversation? Yeah, you know what's an interesting thing. So I had the honor of giving a TEDx talk in 2018. And that is like a ten minute version of the car accident and things I've learned and how much I feel like I've grown. And so people who come across my profile in our interested will find that will likely be the first thing they see. If they watch it and they feel like it resonates with them, they'll say something about it. You know, I often joke that I feel like all the views for that from that TEDx talk are from my dating profile. I feel like thanks to dur for my beach for years. I know. But I guess what I will say is I don't want to feel shame about something that made me who I am. Yeah. And I feel like all of the hiding and the waiting. I don't know. That's just not for me. I'm trying to think about what I want to say. They're like, if I feel like I had to wait to share something so transformative or so impactful in my life, that's not for me. Yeah, we say this, I mean, even people without disabilities. It's better to have less matches, but people that see you for you and want to date you than to have all these people and you're not being your authentic self. Right. Yeah. We do about 5 years ago, I went on a date with someone, and they said, I don't feel comfortable with your arm. And I said, I can't change my arm, you know? Yeah. Wait, so you had you talks about it at all before on the state or was this in the phase of the four dates? You'll disclose. That's a good question. This was, I mean, I remember my faces of dating very well because I had like a New York phase and then now I've had a San Francisco phase. I will say one thing that has changed is I feel like I realized that I'm attractive to certain people. And what I mean by that is because I was in this disabled body. I just assumed I was ugly. So I felt like by waiting to the four dates, I was like trying to convince someone that I was like worth it. And now I'm just like, I'm at the peak of my attractiveness right now. Like, here, like, take it off. Take advantage. I mean, not really to the guys, but know what you're working with. Well, so I want to go through your journey a little bit because you went from being so shameful and basically a magician of hiding your disability or disabilities if we want to, I mean, we can all go into the layers of disabilities that we all carry as well. When did you make that shift from shameful to now being very confident and unapologetically who you are? Yeah, it actually happened with my second boyfriend. Oh. So my first boyfriend I didn't meet through the apps, and then my second boyfriend I also didn't meet through the app. So my second boyfriend, I met through a social impact network of under 30s. And so he was already familiar with my work and everyone that I met through this social impact network. Okay. And we were together for a year and a half, which for me and San Francisco time feels like a bajillion years. But he was like the most attractive man I thought I had ever dated. And he saw my body as beautiful, the whole thing, and I honestly I couldn't believe that he was with me. You know, how like, I don't know, whatever insecurities I had. But it was in that period of time where I was like, if all he sees is perfect to him, then that's within me too. Right. And I feel I feel a little embarrassed that I have to point to some external person who's not actively in my life anymore to say, that's what that's what created the shift for me. But then I was like, if I can date this attractive man, I'm attractive. So I'm going to go out and date other people I think are attractive like me. I totally hear what you're saying. I remember us talking about this on the body image episode we did a couple seasons ago.
00:40:02 - 00:45:04
And it was a similar thing. It's like I want to feel that internal validation. But sometimes it does take hearing it from someone, especially in a dating context when you feel like desexualize because of where you are. So I totally relate to that. I've heard it in other contexts as well. The internal validation is something that you learn. And the bike question is where do you start if you didn't grow up in an environment where you can learn that? Of course, we're all going to look for external validation. So it makes a lot of sense, but how did you come out of that relationship? Did you feel like a whole new person? So the other thing I learned in that relationship was I feel like given what happened to my body, what happened in my family as a kid? I have a complex relationship with safety. And being in that relationship is the first time I felt safe. And I remember talking to my therapist, we always have to bring therapy and I talk to my therapist and she goes, she goes, that must have been a really hard thing to walk away from because not only did he show you beauty, which was you, he also showed you what it felt like to really feel like you could take your arm or off that I could take my long sleeves during D.C. summers off. And so I gave myself, you know, I think it's the Sex and the City it says that it takes like half the amount of time you were together to get over the relationship. I gave myself the full-time. So we were together a year and a half. I gave myself 9 months to fall in love with myself again. And I will say, and so that was at the end of 2018. So since the end of 2018, I have actively been on this journey to continue to follow up with myself again over and over and over again. Got it. Yeah, I mean, that's great to hear. What about your first relationship? You were in your mind, you felt very unsexy. I was a late bloomer. Like, how did you get to even meet your first boyfriend? How did that you get over the hump to even start dating? So it wasn't that I never had suitors. Okay. I'm reminded of I read a book when I was in high school called beowulf, which you probably all just read. There was something about putting up walls some quote in there. And I always related it to my dating life. So I want to share just a really quick story in fourth grade, and he knows this. Hey, Justin. I had the biggest crush on this guy named Justin. And he ended up writing me a handwritten letter saying that he liked me too. At which point I tore it up into a million pieces and gave it to my best friend because I don't know. We were like, mean girls or something? And I was like, I can date back my anti relationship things to back to fourth grade, newly disabled at that particular point in time. I like someone. I had a huge crush on them. And then they told me they liked me and then I was like, nope. And actually, maybe you probably see this pattern a lot with different people who come into your show. And so I've repeated that pattern over and over again, I can tell you the summer after my freshman year really attractive I was learning Chinese at the time, we did a language program and there were some other guy and he liked me. And I said, I'm only here for the program and then, you know, that was the end of our show. So it's like the fears the fears of being seen, the fears of getting hurt from it is detecting yourself. So 23, what ended up happening was I was working, my background's on surprising or unsurprising. I started my career in investment banking. And I was at Goldman and my first boyfriend worked at UBS, and we were co banks on a deal together. So we were always on the phone. And he ended up sending me a text, and the text said, hey, I really like you. There's this restaurant I really like. Do you want to go try it with me? And so actually, we went to the dinner and because I worked in a male dominated environment, I did not read any signs, because I go and grab dinner with my male colleagues all the time. So then after the dinner, he said, I had a really good time at dinner. You know, I like you and would love to see if this can go anywhere. Oh. And I remember seeing that text and the first thing that came into my mind was this is a bad idea. I think I had conditioned myself into building that wall. And so I challenged myself and I said, let me just remind myself to have fun and when it stops being fun, I'll walk away from it. What I loved about that relationship is that we, first of all, the meet cute, you know, which I know we should not like, but I love the way that we met, but we also just grew into the relationship together. I think we had never neither of us had had a serious relationship up until that point. We lost our virginity to each other. Sorry mom. And honestly, I mean, one of the things I'm working through therapy is what I call fantasy attachment, which maybe you're familiar with, which is I meet someone and I'm like, here's our whole project for sure. I want to bring up that and like anxious attachment style because I think that this car accident just may me so fearful of, yeah, I don't know what I mean, if you're full of.
00:45:04 - 00:50:01
It just made me fearful to get close to anyone because I would just end up getting hurt. Right. Let's hold that thought and take a quick break for some messages. So it sounds like some of the earlier relationships you had kind of develop more organically over time because you got to know the people, you were in situations where you had form that Bond. What is your experience been with dating apps? Where it's a bit more superficial, right? Like dating apps are known to be that way. Have you met people off of that or has it been about your challenge? Yeah, I will say I was telling Julia, I just got back from Tulsa, and I wanted a bumble date in Tulsa. Cool. So I do not think, yeah, and maybe I'm a little too confident, but I really internalized that relationship that I had from 2017 and 2018, which is and I also I dated a guy just went on like three dates with him at the beginning of 20 at the end of 2017, or sorry at the beginning of 2017. And we have stayed friends and now he's engaged and getting married soon. But we stayed in touch. And one thing that he told me is he, I remember on our last date together, he was like, Tiffany, I don't think you're dating people at your level. And I never forgot that he said that. And I actually still, I mean, now we've known each other what for four years now, and I bring that back to him and I go, I'm never gonna find anyone. He's like, I don't believe that. You know? Let me leave that through the apps. And then that's great to have someone like that in your car. I know. But he called me out, because in 2017, I thought it was ugly. You know? None of us are ugly to someone. Right. Sorry. What am I saying? Did I say that correctly? Yeah. I'd like to use a lid for every time, right? Correct. So with the online dating, honestly, as a woman, in San Francisco, I feel, I feel a little overwhelmed by it. Okay. And so right now I'm in what I call the fun and light phase. I mean, you mentioned, we were going to talk about forced intimacy, but since August, I've been telling challenging myself to go on 20 dates by the end of the year, which ended up coming out to one day a week. And it didn't all need to be first dates. I think one of the things I'm learning is that because I know that dating is my biggest growth area, I'll go through periods of time where I feel great about, honestly, outside of relationship, I feel great about myself. I think my work is super meaningful. I feel the most fit and well, your cup is full. Yeah, now now that I'm in a phase where I'm open about my disability, I have been actively looking for the areas that I feel like I have shame in and trying to do that work on my own. The self work, you know, going to the therapist and trying to figure out what are on the roots of that. Or to be more aware of when those things come up. So one, I'll share one last thing, which is you brought up how PTSD manifested. And PTSD makes me super anxious and I call my anxiety like a guest in my house and sometimes my guest in my house books an air-b-n-b for multiple months at a time. Now I'm learning to say, is this anxiety or is this Tiffany? You know? When I try to DTR define the relationship, like, too early on, I'm like, is this anxiety or is this Tiffany? You know? So yeah, I think all of this comes back to the level of work that I feel like I've done it myself. What do you think is, let me see how I can phrase this question a little bit. There are a few of my friends who have either disability or they have mental disability where depression or I know someone who's bipolar who feels that when they start dating someone new, what gives them the most anxiety is re explaining themselves from the beginning, telling the story and revisiting that story every time and I can imagine in your case, revisiting the accident every time when you get to that fourth date, how do you cope with that, I guess, and how do you make and not so daunting? First date now, right? It was in the past. Or maybe not at all. So I'll explain this a couple different ways for both of you and for your listeners. So there's a difference between retelling a story versus reliving it. And so reliving a story means you're going into the depths of that pain, maybe there's some room for healing. Retelling a story is here's something that happened and I attribute some emotion to or I've done some work where I can share it without being transported back to a place that isn't my current space. So the way I explain this best is, I have a 20 minute version of the car accident, which is what ended up showing up on the fourth date. And I have a one sentence version, which is, hey, I got into a car because of my arms paralyzed. Like literally that's all I say. It's hard because I do this work full-time, and I have to share the context, which is the parts that didn't a lot. But I can now see the difference between when I was reliving going into the depths of that pain versus retelling.
00:50:02 - 00:55:07
And the 20 minute version had all the details took you in. Yeah. And the one sentence, I mean, when I told you that one sentence, you were like, cool, you know? Right. I do want to share one last thing to hopefully help depict this a little bit is I want to talk a little bit briefly on the edge of grief and trauma. And a friend came out Alyssa's a persuasion she came out with a blog post about grief and trauma and one of the things she said in her post was that her grief and her trauma were so intertwined with each other that she couldn't experience grief without re experiencing trauma. And so a lot of the work that she did in therapy was detangling them. So I think grief is beautiful. I see lots of gifts in it, but I've been able to untangle my grief around everything that I lost with the car accident from trauma, which I've done a lot of healing work around. That's a really good distinction. I'm curious 'cause I know there's more correct me if this is a misstatement, but there are like four major types of special needs categories, the physical, which relates to your arm more. Developmental behavioral emotional, which could tie back to PTSD and then sensory impaired. Is that kind of an accurate statement of categories and how do you view this? And I know you work with a lot of people that are disabled. How do you see challenges showing up for people based on where they fall in the spectrum? Yeah, you know what's interesting is I haven't categorized it like that because many of us who have disabilities have what we call comorbidities, which means I haven't categorized disability in that way because a lot of us have what I call comorbidities, which means that I lead with the fact that I have a paralyzed arm, but I could probably argue that the fact that I live with PTSD impacts me more on a daily basis than the fact that I can't use one of my arms. And there's a stat out there that says for people who have non mental health disabilities for people who are disabled who have non mental health disabilities, experience mental health distress, 5 times those who don't. And so what this all comes back to is it is really hard to live in a society that has told us that bodies should look a certain way that our minds should operate a certain way and anything that deviates from that is seen as not normal. Right. It's not celebrated should be hidden. And I think to carry around, I guess I'll call it disability shame, disability trauma for that long is going to is going to impact how we show up in relationships. Well, I think a lot like with especially mental health, I think there's a lot of stigmas there that, you know, like you need to be in a good place before you can even start dating and have relationships. And good place kind of goes back to what you were saying of what is like this kind of like the societal expectation that there's no challenges. How have you seen people emerge when they have a disability? We talked about earlier sounds like overall, you've got into a good mindset. You've been forthcoming on apps and you don't sound like you have that much challenge dating. It sounds like you have at least I don't want to say no challenges, but no, not like noticeably necessarily more than another person without a disability. Because you have a steady stream of prospects, at least on that level. I mean, one thing I'll share is sometimes I get the question like Tiffany, have you ever dated someone disabled? And I'm like, well, the last person I dated had ADHD and anxiety and the person before that had something called GERD, which I think is like a stomach thing. Yeah. Then one of them had BPD, which was borderline personality disorder. And then someone had had anxiety to the point that they couldn't get out of bed. And so I think that more people are disabled than you think. Yeah. About 70% of disabilities are nonvisible. And so what's funny is I tell them actually everyone that I've dated has had a disability and they're like, no, I mean really disabled. And then I'm like, well, those are categorized as disposing. So what do you mean really to say what you know? So I think my last boyfriend he was like, I don't really think of you as disabled. And, you know, I do this work. And so part of me is getting curious about what stereotypes are you attributing to a disability experience that I don't fit, right? Right. I mean, I think having an arm that looks different from my other room that I can't use is pretty classic disability, what are you assuming that I need to not have a job or need to be super insecure or need to think that my life is tragic, you know? So I love that we're having this conversation, but I also just think that disability is part of the human experience. And I'll share two other things, which is like, I look at the people that I've dated who share their disability stories with me and I wish they didn't feel that disability was so stigmatized that they could go around and share that aspect of themselves with other people.
00:55:07 - 01:00:03
Yeah, and I think that place into dating because I think instead of saying as a disability, we're differently abled. I mean, we really are, and we just assume everybody is able in the way that we are, but I've had friends tell me that people kind of assume my friend who has a hearing disability says when she talks about her disability, some people would assume that you're disabled because you're solely dependent on someone else. You can not be independent on your own. So it's almost a surprise to me someone who considers themselves disabled and be fully independent and functioning. So this is a good way for us to refresh our perspective on disabilities because we all have the stereotype of what a disability is. And Tiffany being Asian, I mean in China, you don't see disabled people anywhere. Because you're hidden. We are hidden. There are a ton of people in wheelchairs that are not allowed in public because it's so stigmatized. So families end up raising their kids for their entire lifetime inside an enclosed space. So there's so much shame, but also for the kids who are braised in that kind of environment. You just assume disability doesn't exist. You're like, oh, everybody's able bodied. So we need to understand that this ability are prevalent, but we're just differently abled and we have to see each other that way. Yeah. I mean, I would challenge that a little bit to say that so we'll just have a disabilities in some of us don't. And I think what you're really trying to say is that all of us have insecurities. And we are attributing potentially a disability experience with, oh, you should feel insecure, or you should feel ashamed of that, right? And so and so we all have things that we have shame around. We all have things that we have insecurities around. But yeah, I have disabilities and there's certain people who don't have disabilities, and that's okay. Because I think I also want to name and I don't want to wear my disability advocacy too hard on this podcast, because it's about dating, but I think that when we say that all of us have different abilities, we actually diminish the fact that those of us who do have visible disabilities face additional layer of shame and stigma around the way that the world sees us. Absolutely. Thank you for checking me on that. I appreciate it. I appreciate you letting me call you out or call you in on that. But I think back to that guy that I went on a couple dates with who came back to me, this is probably circa 2016 and he goes, I don't feel comfortable with your arm. Right. First of all, kudos to him for vocalizing. I think that's the level of transparency that we should probably have rather than I don't know. I have friends who have either more visible disability than mine or you could consider them more severe disabilities than mine who really have seen ableism at its worst in dating, right? Because with the absence, you're making judgments about someone's pictures. Well, that's what I was kind of trying to get out with you not to say that you have a walk in the park with dating. But it sounds like you have prospects where I think there is a stigma and stereotype that maybe you're not even getting matches if you're in a disabled state. So I was curious if people that are showing up more be like when you do kind of think about what is a disability, I think of wheelchair, whether that's right or wrong, but that's what I think of. And I know this is your story, but I know you work with a lot of people with disabilities like what has been some of those experiences. So so hard and really heartbreaking. I think that I mean, I don't even know where to start unfortunately. It's hard. We all have a. We're all common in our desire for human connection and yet some of us are stripped of that experience just because of the way we look. And so one of the things I remind people of within my community is the most very cliche. But the most important relationship you can have is with yourself. And even even with this dating, I mean, I don't have that many prospects. I want to manage expertise. But I do remind myself when things don't work out or I find my anxiety getting the best of me and it's hard. I'm 33 and I'm single and I feel like I've got a great job and I've got a great home and you know, I want to plan for the next phase of my life, but haven't really found I'm not 26 anymore, because I want to say. And that's starting to hit me a little bit. Because most of my Friends are coupled up or had their pandemic babies. But I think that I just remind myself of like, what are all the things that I like about myself? And there's a Netflix special and maybe you talked about this on an episode called jigsaw with Daniel sloss about how we shouldn't be. We should be making being single as celebrated as being coupled. And I try to think, I mean, I do think that ultimately I would like to be coupled. I will say that sometimes if I feel too much societal pressure and by societal pressure, I mean, my mom. Putting pressure on me asking, you know, when are you going to get married? I show up differently in dating.
01:00:03 - 01:05:03
I show up at the level of desperation that's not who I am, right? Yep. I think the last area I definitely want to dive into is this part about vulnerability because in a way having to disclose this forces you to be vulnerable. How have you seen this help and hurt your dating life? Yeah, so I would say I feel very open about my disability in a way that when I share people feel like it seems very vulnerable, but for me, all of my work is centered around this. And so it's really trying to manage that while that's not vulnerable for me that could be a lot for other people. And so this is something this is what I ended up putting in the Facebook group and we can direct your listeners to go to the to go to the Facebook group to check it out. But my therapist, therapy is great. And yes, it is. And she came to me. So interestingly enough, I have known that dating is my growth area for a long time. And one of the things that she and I are working on is the only way we know where I have room to grow is that I need to date. And I will go through periods of time where I'm like, but outside of dating, I just like like myself. Why would I put myself through that emotional roller coaster? So I've been dating more and updating her and she came back to me and she goes Tiffany, she's like, I think you might feel like you're being authentic when you share as much as you do early on in dating, but it could be overwhelming for other people. And in talking with the others in the Facebook group, I now use the term weaponizing vulnerability in terms of saying, let me share all this stuff and will you please still choose me. Right. Rather than saying, let me share all this stuff because I choose myself. Right, right. Well, we definitely have talked about this before. There's a difference between vulnerability and trauma dump and not saying that you're a trauma dumping. But I think some people associate vulnerability with going real deep, where it can be as simple as just putting yourself on the line a little and saying you had a good time on the date or asking that person out again. And I think we think of it as this declaration of all the stuff going on with us. We're that might be a lot for early stage dating. I know for me, the dates that I've gotten ghosted after has been when I got into this like deep life story type of date and the ones that have progressed better is when things started off a little lighter and then more naturally got to a deeper state. Yeah, I think we all know this, but my therapist said Tiffany, the beginning of dating should be fun. And I think that a combination of whether it was my anxious attachment tendency tendencies coming out, whether it was fantasy attachment, whether it was I call it forced intimacy trying to force a relationship sooner rather than letting it grow. So I will say since I've had this August challenge of trying to do these 20 dates by the end of the year, I honestly love the way I've been showing up. I understand the difference between what is my anxiety coming to the forefront and wanting to dump stuff versus what is Tiffany actually sitting in the fact that reminding myself that I like myself, but here's what I want to tell this other person. I had a great time on the day, or I'd like to see you again. That level of vulnerability. So what advice would you give to people who may be in a similar situation where they want to talk about their story in the beginning, but they also want to be cognizant of how other people receive their story. Yeah, that's a great question. I would say two things. One is it is unreal, the amount of work I've done on myself. And I'm still going. And this is outside of relationship. I remember on my profile or a lot of people will put I really value or find self awareness really attractive. I find self awareness attractive, but it's one thing to be aware, but I also need you to do the work on yourself. For sure. What was that quote someone posted in our group that was like, assholes self aware assholes are still assholes. Which is so true, right? So is. Okay, so I'm reading this from a pamphlet on historical racial trauma, but I will also translate this to disability trauma. So I will say disability trauma is the mental and emotional injury caused by direct or indirect encounters with ableism. This is due to the structural institutional and systemic injustices and suffering wrought from white supremacy. Disabled people may experience symptoms that include depression, anger recurring thoughts, physical reactions, like headaches, et cetera, et cetera. So disability trauma is a real thing. We are living in a society that has told disabled people because of ableism that our bodies and our minds, something is not normal about them and something about us is broken, and it needs to be fixed. If you feel like you have some of that, and you talked a little bit about trauma dumping, I hope that you can get the support that you need outside of a relationship. So then it doesn't become co dependent. So that's number one piece of advice is I think all of us have work in healing to do. And if you are finding that you have a little bit of shame around something, there might be some digging to uncover.
01:05:03 - 01:10:04
The second thing I'll say is just remember that you are valuable and worthy just because you exist. And you would not be on this earth in this world if your body and mind were not supposed to be the way it is. And these are kind of the messages that I remind myself of before I go out on dates because it's hard to let someone in. So those are my two pieces of ice. I don't know if that's helpful. But I think those two things have been really, really helpful for me. And lastly, what advice would you have for someone that meets someone that's disabled? How is a good way to be met when you share something like this? That's a great question. I've dated people before who I felt like did a really great job of making space for my anxiety because you a like most of the examples that you shared with me of your disabled Friends were bipolar, where more of these mental health disabilities, which can fluctuate in how they show up in relationship versus. My arm is paralyzed from the first date on my arms paralyzed from the 15 that there's not that much changing. So I want to address this question from a mental health disability perspective, which is I think it's really important to find someone who is able to make space for your emotions. And I've dated people who I felt like did a really great job of that. And then I've also dated people who I felt like couldn't make space for that. And those latter people might not be the right people for me. Can you expand on people who couldn't make space for that? What does that look like? Who could not make space for me? Correct. So I am the type of person and actually I've changed a little. So I'll tell you the before and after. So before I thought it was really authentic of me to vocalize every single anxious thought that I had. And I apologize to anyone I need to do. Let me do that. And now what I'm realizing is when I notice I'm having a period of more elevated anxiety, I turn to a group of women that I have met during the pandemic that I call like my anxiety support group. And so I know that's not super helpful, but what I was doing was I think I was putting too much emotional weight, emotional burden I would call it onto one person and now I'm realizing there's a reason why we call it like a web of support or a support system. Is there need to be other people, other safe people? I hope that I can go to, whether it's my therapist or this women's support group that I can turn to rather than saying, you man are the one and I'm heterosexual. You man are the one who needs to hold this container for all parts of me. So I don't know if that's necessarily the best answer for you, but I am learning that in the past, I think I put so much emotional expectation on my partner. As the partner, how can we identify when we are not creating space for our partners trauma? You know what I mean? Like, how do we recognize that we're not doing that? Yeah, because I think it's definitely on you to own some of it, but also you want to find a partner that can meet you too. Yeah. I guess we'll circle back as like circling back to the trust fall. Do I feel like I'm held or sorry for you? I feel like I keep coming back to me. I keep centering myself. It is hard to say, so I give a lot of workshops around disability allyship and how we can be better allies in the workplace and people often come to me and they were like, how do we know we've done a good job? And I'm like, go ask your disabled employees. Do they feel psychologically safe? And so in the context of this, you know how I talked about the trust fall and not being caught is do you as the partner feel like you're catching your partner in that trust fall. And that's a really personal thing between the two of you because I feel like I mean and now I've been doing disability ad because you were 12 years. I've told some version of the cards in so many different times. And there are instances where afterward, I feel really exposed. And then there are other instances where it's the same exact talk, and I feel really embraced. I often describe like my ideal relationship as a warm hug. And you know, it's both the figurative and the literal of the warmth, but not only is there the warmth of another human being, but being embraced being held in that space. Well, I think this is a great transition to takeaways. This has been an incredible conversation. I think the biggest takeaway I have is so much of it comes down to how we see ourselves. And not to diminish anyone's trauma and past experiences. But I think just seeing your evolution of how you were in a place of shame versus in a place of self love is so powerful to people. And I think, again, not to diminish disability over other aspects. But I think a lot of us hold something that we're ashamed of when it comes to dating. And it is important to know that you're beautiful or attractive to someone out there. I think with society, there is just universal stereotypes of who is dateable, and that's just simply is not true.
01:10:04 - 01:15:00
And I think we need to remember that as we date that someone out there wants to date us too, and we have a lot to offer. We should never feel like we're desexualized or not enough. And I think that is so important as you date no matter the situation you're in. Yeah. And I guess my biggest takeaway is from sort of when Tiffany called me in, I realized a lot of times I feel like with vulnerability and connection is I try to relate. And I think a lot of people do this, you try to relate to the situation, but that also minimizes the experience. So it's sometimes better to just listen to the experience and not putting yourself at the center of that experience. And this brought up a little bit of trauma for me during the Asian hate crimes because I had a lot of my white coworkers tell me about their similar experiences were nothing like mine, and it made me feel less connected to them. So sometimes in dating, we just have to just listen and learn. And that's a source of the vulnerability and that. I also feel like another takeaway is they're just we just have to see everybody as just part of a rainbow. I mean, there's just no one way of looking at people. And so the more open minded we can go into dating, the more fun surprises we discover and the more lighthearted and fun dating can be because, you know, we always have this mold of how someone should be, especially with online dating, we have an idea, and we get to that day and they don't fit that mold and it gives you anxiety and you're disappointed. That's what's the cause of those negative feelings. So we just stay open minded and be welcoming of the fun surprises. It'll just be so much more enjoyable. Tiffany is there anything you want to add is I know you live and breathe this stuff, but from this conversation or any counter to any of our takeaways. Yeah, this was this was so fun. I just want to share one last tidbit, which is I went on a first date with a guy from hinge. And after the first date, I sent him a note. I said, hey, you know, thanks so much for making the time. I'm not really seeing us dating from here. And he came back to me and said, thanks for wasting my time. I know I should have followed my instincts and something else. And wow. I thought about like, wow, isn't our first date like supposed to be fun and the skies like angry that he wasted time. So I guess my takeaway and I don't know if that story related to anything you're talking about in the episode. But for me, none of this is time wasted. I think about and I think about time and I think about how much not only time has passed since the car accident, but I have a saying that time doesn't heal all wounds. It's time plus work. Heels some wounds. Yep. And so I love that we had this conversation about dating and disability, but what I really think this conversation was about was more about dating and things that we feel shame around or things that we feel insecurity about. And potentially doing the work that we need to do there. Just out of curiosity, you said there were you had other siblings in the car with you? Did any of them sustain any injuries? So I always get this question, which is, is everyone else okay? And then I was like, well, what is okay mean? So none of them have visible disabilities. My one of my brothers and my sister were also in the car. And this is no secret I've talked about this before. My brother is maybe the angriest person that I know is kind of scary. He has not armed me or hopefully not anyone else. But the violence in the way he, when his temper does play. One thing I want to highlight in UA, you might be able to relate to this is we've never talked about the car accident as a family. It happened. Yeah. And actually, I talked to my therapist about this, and I was telling my therapist about my mom, who my mom is amazing because she'd raised four kids on her own after my dad passed. But the fact that she has suppressed so much is so different from me who's like, where's the new? Where's the new window I can open? And that's okay. I think I just remind myself that everyone heals in different ways. And as long as they're not harming themselves or other people, I just have to accept that that's okay. So yeah, my sister now has two little ones. I'm an auntie times two. Oh yeah. And yeah, my brother, my brother's just my brother. Yeah. I mean, I think that's a good takeaway too, is that disability show up in different ways? And I think what we the stereotypes of what we think are our disability or not like the extent of it. We just never know what people are going through. So especially on early dates, when people don't necessarily share all, I think a lot of times we take things personally, but we have really no idea what's going on for this other person. And yeah, I think part of it with what you share with your mom is some of its generational too.
01:15:01 - 01:18:38
That we live in a world where therapies a lot more accessible, it's a lot destigmatized. So I think mental health in general in our age in our era is more celebrated. And I think that's a great thing because it just help people come to terms with things. Yeah. And one thing I was joking with Julia about is I referenced the 36 questions to fall in love with anyone. And I feel like I exist at level three. And I actually feel like this conversation on the dateable podcast was a level three conversation. But I'm reminding myself that in early dates, I should stay at level one or level two. So thank you for entertaining me and letting me be at a level at a level for this conversation. I think there are different levels. If you can't be at a level three on table podcast, what are we doing? Yeah, what are we doing? I quit. That's over. Thanks again Tiffany for sharing your experience and your journey and your story with us. And this is the point of this podcast is we want to share all these different perspectives and stories so that we can see how vast this world is and how different people can be, but also how similar we can all be due. So we're going to wrap this up. I just want to do one last a little nudge for everyone out there. It really makes us happy when you give us 5 stars in Apple podcasts and give us a nice little sentence or two about why you love us because we love you. So let's share that love back and forth. And then also we reference our Facebook group. So our Facebook group is called love in the time of Corona. Okay? And Tiffany, for anyone that wants to learn more about you, can you kind of share how people can learn more, get in touch all the things? Of course, yeah, you can find me across the social medias and I'm taking you, that's the letter I, the letter M, followed by my first and last name. Awesome. Wonderful. So we're gonna wrap this up. The dateable podcast is part of the frolic podcast network, find more podcasts you'll love at frolic media slash podcasts. Want to continue the conversation? First, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the handle at dateable podcast. Tagas in any post with a hashtag stay dateable and trust us. We look at all those posts. Then head over to our website dateable podcast dot com. There you'll find all the episodes as well as articles, videos and our coaching service with vetted industry experts. You can also find our premium Y series where we dissect analyze and offer solutions to some of the most common dating conundrums. We're also downloadable for free on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google Play, overcast, stitch radio, and other podcast platforms. Your feedback is valuable to us, so don't forget to leave us a review. And most importantly, remember to. Stay dateable. If you love hosting over the holidays, swap out your old age back filter with a filtrate air filter, it can help clear away particles from all your holiday cooking. Look for filtrate air filters at a retailer near you. Let's clear the air. Does every dollar you spend on your grocery is create a healthier planet? Built stronger communities and help farmers get a fair wage for their work. They could. With hungry harvest, get a weekly box of rescued farm fresh produce and grocery Staples that fight food waste and hunger delivered right to your door. Whether you customize or want to be surprised with our handpicked variety of fruits and veggies, you'll save money and make a real impact. Sign up today and get 50% off your first harvest with code hungry 50 at hungry harvest net.