Danielle Ma

Personal essay contributor for past and current publications including Thought Catalog, Quarterlette, Twenty Something Living, and Pink & Black Magazine.

Before You Cancel Your Date, Read This

I know you don’t like dating. There are people who like dating and people who don’t. You are a person who does not like dating. You’re a badass, kickass, independent, BUSY human being doing things with your life. You’re meeting deadlines, running marathons, reading books, making art, prepping meals, calling your mom, and hanging out with the best friends a girl could ask for—when you have the time and energy, that is.

When You Really Love Someone, You Never Stop Wanting The World For Them

I’m dress shopping today. I wish you were here, picking pretty things for me, making me feel beautiful. You always excelled at making me feel beautiful. I fell in love with you this September. I think you knew it before I did, think you felt the air shift slightly as I tumbled in graceful and glorious denial. I think you had one hand on the small of my back, gently nudging my fall, wanting to see what would happen. Everyone wants to be loved. I think you heard meaning in my voice before I did,

Breaking Up: The Present Participle

After a breakup, strength looks like the ability to move on, to cut communication, to archive your memories away and date other people. Weakness looks like the 1am call to talk about what happened between the two of you, the Christmas present you sent him anyways, the inability to leave texts unanswered. Strength looks like deleting his number. Weakness looks like bringing him up in day-to-day conversations. Strength looks like getting out of the house to meet the guy you found on Tinder. Weakness looks like choosing to stay in bed.

A Farewell to Adam

This is the piece I’ve been too afraid to write, the piece I’ve put off for days, now weeks, quickly circling a month. At first, I didn’t want to write it because I didn’t want to fall apart. I didn’t want to get pulled back into the pool of toxin I had just sucked out of my body. I also didn’t want to give him any more power or presence in my life than he already had. Writing immortalizes people, for better or for worse, each moment and emotion crystallized into eternity.

And Then I Met Adam

When I was in the 8th grade, one of my teachers told me that if I was hooked up to machines, I could power the school with my energy. I’ve always been the excitable one, passionate about all the things in my life, people especially. People are everything to me. More than knowledge or success or truth or honor or fame or good-doing, I live for people. They are the reason life is worth living. To love and be loved, that’s purpose defined. I’ve been consistently shown what unconditional love looks like (thanks Mom and Dad!) and have mirrored that in my closest relationships. There’s always been this innate curiosity to know others, to drink in their stories, uncover their vulnerabilities, and find the humanness that makes us all wonderfully weird.

Something Cosmic

There’s a man in my life I can’t be with. A man who isn’t right for me and whom I am not right for in return. I’ll just say the things we have never said to each other but know without needing to. He’s too old for me, and I’m too young for him. Our families wouldn’t understand, our friends would maybe indulge in empathy but ultimately succumb to confusion as well. We’re at such different points in our lives that we would both need to give things up for the other. Not the regular relationship compromises that are necessary when merging worlds, no—the big things. He’s already lived the life I want with someone. The love, the marriage, the child-rearing, the family. Our generations just barely missed each other, not enough to affect our incredible ability to connect, relate, and make each other laugh. But enough to mean that we can never be a we.
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