On honouring my mother with my inability

From Death to Stock

I’m nearly 30 and I still can’t swim.

I have faint childhood memories of my mum dropping us off at the local pool without any instruction. Maybe she thought if we spent enough time in the water on our own, we would eventually become mermaids. This hypothesis later proved incorrect: by the time each of us entered high school, a family doctor wrote us notes excusing us from taking the swimming efficiency test — a graduation requirement — stating we were allergic to chlorine.

Aside from some vacation photos to prove that we were in Hawaii, I can’t remember a…


Why I secretly don’t want the pandemic to end

From Death to Stock

Now here’s something I don’t like to admit: I’ve been feeling guiltily content during this time of turmoil. To be clear, I’m not happy about feeling like we’re easing into a thickening plot of a dystopian novel, one created by the writers of Black Mirror where an invisible monster is restricting our freedom. I’m not happy about training myself to push crosswalk buttons with my elbows, constantly reminding myself to respect a two meter bubble around others, and introducing COVID-19 buzzwords like “asymptomatic,” “flatten the curve,” or “herd immunity” into my vocabulary.

And I’m definitely not happy about starting every…


Why my generalised anxiety disorder is both a blessing and a misfortune.

From Death to Stock

That’s the hardest thing about having generalised anxiety disorder. Accepting that I’m forever condemned to doubting, and never to knowing.

I know as human beings, we can all be doubtful. But this anxiety rides on a different frequency. It’s a crippling kind of anxiety. The kind where you have to tell people you’ve been busy — but what you really mean is that you’ve just been distracting yourself from the reality of your heart that sometimes feels so heavy, it’s like a weight pulling your entire body down and telling you that you’re not allowed to get out of this…

Explaining my autoimmune disease to others

Photography by Zezn

“I have an autoimmune condition that affects my skin. Basically, my white blood cells freak out and sometimes attacks cells that they shouldn’t.” I had this explanation long engraved in my memory, like the life lines that are permanently imprinted in the palms of our hands.

“White blood cells are the protectors of our bodies, but mine can get confused and ironically become destructive instead. These red spots are a physical indication of that.”

He continued to stare at the inconsistencies on my back — my skin was naturally tanned and smooth, but due to my psoriasis, it was considered…

Why a young girl continued to eat a fruit she hated

Collaged by Tee Tran using photos from Nicholas Worley and Hellen van Meene

In the fourth grade, my teacher had this learning encouragement system that involved golden apples. It was straightforward; you solved a tough arithmetic problem or you scored a perfect grade in last Friday’s Spelling Test and you were rewarded a Golden Apple sticker. That sticker would then be placed beside your name, in an alphabetically arranged classroom list of names, blatantly showing all your classmates how much you were, or lack thereof, a diligent student.

When you reached your tenth Golden Apple sticker, you were given a pizza party to celebrate your accomplishments. You could even pick out your own…

Tee Tran

My therapist told me to start writing, so I did.

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