A mental health advocate, global citizen, and polyglot learning to use her voice

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Growing up, writing wasn’t my strong suit. My test scores and teacher comments proved it, and I went through years of people around me telling me I wasn’t good at writing. You tell a kid something, and they’re going to believe it.

Little did they know that tiny Toffy was actually a good writer, but she just needed to be supported in the right way. She needed people to believe in her to break free of all those voices that told her otherwise.

College allowed her a fresh start in a new city to realize that hey, I can write!


Being white is a privilege, not a qualification

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I’ve heard so many stories of caucasian people going on a post-graduation backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, falling in love with the region, and then deciding to teach English so they can stay. Heck, 90% of the white people on Tinder in Thailand are all English teachers.

And we make it so easy for them. We practically roll out the red carpet. We put the West on a pedestal, aspiring to whiteness and its ideals, language, and values.

So it’s no surprise that when it comes to education, we place the same emphasis on whiteness. In various teacher postings I’ve…


A rational approach to online dating

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It was 2019 and I had just moved to a new city.

You know what that means — time to explore! And dating just happened to be a way to simultaneously explore the city, and well, date — two birds with one stone.

It was the first time I’d really gotten into using the apps, having only previously engaged with them through the periphery.

I was surprised at the volume of people you could match and potentially meet, and how relatively low effort it was, everything happening at the flick of a finger.

Pretty soon, I had a lineup of…


5 ways you can be reading better

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When people talk about their goals or resolutions, I always hear the mention of reading more. Although I read quite a fair bit already, I was no exception. Going into 2020, I set my reading goal at 40 books, and when the pandemic hit, I was able to dedicate even more time to reading and breeze through 52 books in the year.

But after reflecting upon my 52-book adventure, I realized there were times I was reading just for the sake of finishing the book to add to my count. There were times I was stuck in a book when…


Language has power; use it mindfully

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We know that words and language have power, and how we choose to use them matters.

A 2017 study shows that “language subtly reproduces the societal asymmetries of status and power in favor of men” and linguistic forms whereby the male forms, as the norm, “have the negative effects of making women disappear in mental representations”. Another 2012 study finds that countries with a gendered language system have significantly lower female labor-force participation. The bottom line is, language matters.

While English is a technically genderless language, gender and power relations still play out and the way we use language can…


It’s time to drop the rescuer identity

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Have you ever heard someone’s story and think something like wow they have it so hard and I want to help them?

Same.

I used to be the type of person to flock to those in pain, those who were bleeding emotionally. I thought I could help them, maybe save them from themselves.

And it’s in our nature to connect to another person’s emotional story and past. I was recently watching America’s Got Talent and I noticed that everyone who got the Golden Buzzer had a sob story to back it up. Pregnant and homeless to living the dream. Diagnosed…


What you can do instead

As much as we say don’t judge a book by its cover, we do (subconsciously, at least). The same is with a cover photo for a Medium post.

Whether you know it or not, a good image has the power to captivate your attention and make you click on an article. Your content is as much visual as it is written. Tweets with images are 35% more likely to get retweets and articles with images get 94% more views.

And when you spend enough time rummaging around the depths of Medium as I have, you begin the see the same…


How to detach your work and value from your comment section

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If you’ve put yourself out there into the world of the Internet, whether through writing or video or whatever form of media you use, you’re bound to get responses — responses that both agree and disagree with you.

I had a phase where I made YouTube videos about the world of figure skating, and one particular video was about how I preferred one skater, Jason Brown, over Nathan Chen. With my shoddy editing, I somehow drew in over 10k views and 131 comments, some agreeing and others, not so much.

Have at him!!!! I WILL GLADLY, HAPPILY KEEP NATHAN CHEN…


#5: When you leave at 8 pm because “it’s getting late”

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Love it or hate it, getting older is inevitable. Birthdays should be cherished and celebrated, because hey, existing and surviving deserve applause.

To commemorate my upcoming birthday, I present 5 signs that you’re getting older:

  1. When the response to I’m pregnant goes from what are we going to do about it? to congratulations!
  2. When you’re about to pull out your ID at the checkout counter to buy alcohol and the cashier lady looks at you sympathetically and says oh honey, that’s okay.
  3. When you start any sentence with I remember when...
  4. When you have to input your date of birth…


Move off the app asap.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

If you’re looking for meaningful connections on dating apps, you’ve got your work cut out for you. We know that there are many types of people on dating apps, and a lot of them are not looking for anything meaningful or long-term.

But it can be possible to find a genuine connection. You just need to be intentional so you can do the opposite of what the apps want you to do — swipe and stay on the app for a long time, unsatisfied so you’ll buy their premium features.

For those of you who are interested in finding a…

Toffy Char

Co-founder of MindTerra, a mental well-being community | I write about social justice, feminism, dating, self-help, and well — life. https://linktr.ee/toffychar

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