Till Kaeslin

1. I’m not writing anything that hasn’t been written before. What’s the point?

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Writing is hard. A simple sentiment, but an age-old truth, nonetheless.

But why is writing so hard? And why does it seem to become harder the more that we write?

Some writers will say it’s writer’s block, others will blame it on a creative-rut, but I tend to think they’re all really saying the same thing: Although there are as many different writers as the day is long, we all seem to share some pretty toxic mindsets when it comes to our work.

When we’re on a roll, we worry the next sentence will be our last. When overwhelmed by a sea of positive comments, we will fixate on the troll lurking under the bridge. When we come face-to-face with the dreaded writer’s block or temporary creative-slump, we wonder if we were not always, in fact, broken writers — defunct imposters that snuck our way into the club by sheer luck. …

Disrespect is what makes a relationship toxic, and it’s greater than the act of cheating.

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Photo by AJ Jean on Unsplash

This is going to be a provocative question for some of you, but here we go: Does it really matter if they actually cheated on you?

Look, I’m not going to endorse cheating in this article. In fact, quite the opposite.

Cheating is, to me, one of the most despicable things someone could do to their partner.

Well, with one caveat: I believe in accidents.

If your partner cheats on you in the heat of the moment, comes to you as soon as it’s happened, and throws themselves at your feet begging for forgiveness, I for one think there’s some room for moral disagreement there (considering it’s the first time this has happened).

What you do in that situation is entirely up to the context of the situation and who you are as a person — can you get over the fact that your partner cheated on you? Are you able to see it as an accident, or is there some history between this other person and your partner that you can’t overlook? …

We are always teaching others how to treat us.

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Photo by jhudel baguio on Unsplash

Whether you know it or not, you are always teaching.

You may not think of yourself as the most suited for a job in education, but here you are nonetheless. Every day we live, breathe, and interact with other people — whether that be online or IRL — class is in session; we are always teaching others how to treat us.

In my experience, not all of our students are taught the same thing.

I like to change up the curriculum depending on who’s sitting in the chair before me. This isn’t a conscious decision, but a decision made by an exchange of energy.

That sounds really “woo-woo”, I’ll give you that, but it’s a lot more concrete than you might think. If someone has highly-extroverted, very in-your-face, it’s-always-my-time-to-tell-a-story energy, I tend to become a mousey, fly-on-the-wall kind of person. …

Thoughts on self-worth and productivity from a boy at home for the holidays, unable to focus.

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Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash

It has often been said that we live in a society that likes to base our worth on our productive output.

I’m not really sure who I should credit with coming up with that statement, but in recent months I’ve seen the idea reborn and reposted absolutely everywhere.

Come to think of it, the idea really hit its peak after we were all coming down from our collective “I have to learn a language, write a book and master the art of French cooking during quarantine” phase. …

A queer person, writing from the room I came out in.

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Photo by Ana-Maria Nichita on Unsplash

His room was a place for late-night tears,
for pacing back and forth with worry,
for screaming into his pillow,
for wishing and wanting
for things to change.

His room is the same room I sit in today,
and yet it can’t be.

Because this room is just a room —
not a place for late-night tears,
for screaming into my pillow,
for wishing and wanting
for things to change.

This room is four walls, a floor, and a ceiling.
It is for sleeping, drinking coffee, and writing.
It is for calling friends, watching TV, and reading articles. …

There’s more to the trans narrative than the struggle.

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Photo by Sinitta Leunen on Unsplash

Imagine my shock and awe when, instead of finding shirtless torsos and unsolicited pictures of strangers’ nudes, I stumbled upon a heartwarmingly PG video of transgender women in loving relationships on . . . Grindr?

I mean, there was still plenty of the latter, but as the French gays say, “c’est la Grindr” — or something to that effect.

Anyway, the video was just sitting in my DM’s, simply titled “Trans Women in Love”.

Intrigued by the change in pace, I clicked on it immediately.

What followed was a 7-minute interview with two couples, both of which included one partner who was a trans woman. …

I spilled on my laptop; I won’t let it ruin my day.

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I just spilled my morning coffee all over my laptop’s keyboard.

Never would I ever have predicted that my one true love in this life and the thing I look forward to every night I lay my head down to go to sleep would betray me like this.

After a few seconds of stunned “did that just happen??” inaction, I got up and nearly airlifted in enough paper towel to dry out the Hudson. …

Grindr, ghosting, and racism — is it ever ok to assume someone’s unrequited attention is racist?

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Image by Author

For all those that don’t know, Grindr is a free-for-all kind of dating app.

Unlike Tinder or Hinge, you don’t need to match with people to message them, you can just click on their profile, hit the message box, and send your “wya” as you so please.

It’s a jungle out there — a hook-up-focused jungle populated by and for gay men (as well as queer and trans folks interested in men).

Going along with the jungle metaphor, the messages I’ve received on Grindr over the years have been nothing short of absolutely wild. Something about that app — the dark color-scheme, the slightly sinister-looking mask logo, or the fact that it’s the salacious older cousin of the more mainstream dating apps — just brings out a sort of intensity. …

We don’t need heteronormative conceptions to “explain” queer sex — it’s its own thing.

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Photo by Yousef Espanioly on Unsplash

Top, bottom, verse — so goes the sexual trinity of the queer community.

Although it may be pretty obvious as to what these terms refer to for most, let me indulge all my straight allies out there who may not be as well-versed in the everyday lingo of gay sex.

Identifying as a ‘top’ means you are the giving partner during sex, while identifying as a ‘bottom’ means you will be the receiving partner. Being ‘verse’, as you’ve probably pieced together already, just means you enjoy having sex as both the receiving and/or giving partner.

I feel like I just had the “Birds and the Bees” talk — only a few decades earlier than I ever thought I would be having that conversation, but here we are. …

A stream of consciousness on writing as truth.

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Photo by Krismas on Unsplash

Writing is your safe space. When you write, your brain goes into a sort of no man's land; a place where your consciousness, for once, is allowed to stream freely.

Editing is far pickier, more precise, and the inner-critic gets a rise out of you every time you look back on words-gone-stale.

But things are different when you write.

You freeze in the moment. You focus on the words, almost like you focus on your breath when you meditate.

You write just to write. Sure, you spend most of your time worrying about what editors might think about your work and what they might say to slowly “kill your darlings”, as William Faulkner might say, but, still, there are glimpses of very present moments. …


Till Kaeslin

20-something writing from my Facebook marketplace-adopted desk in Harlem. Travel, mental-health, LGBTQ+ card-carrying member. Instagram: @till_kaeslin

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