Self-Reflection · Self-Discovery · lgbt

LGBTQ Post: I Thought I Knew Myself, But I Really Don’t?

It’s LGBTQ Pride Month! I had this idea for a blog post awhile ago when I was doing some self-reflection, but I decided to do this now since it’s Pride Month!

I have learned through different articles that learning about ourselves constantly happens. There are aspect about you that don’t stay the same. People nowadays bash students who continue their education at a college or university, but that’s the perfect place to express yourself how you want to and may even learn something about yourself. You may even wonder if what you thought you were is a lie.

Let’s go back in time to October 2010 featuring a young, university freshman, 17-year-old me. I liked a football player because he kind of looked like a high school ex-boyfriend. Whenever I’d be near girls, I would have a sudden urge to kiss them. Of course, I wouldn’t act on it. I started questioning my sexuality. Am I bisexual? I’ve always liked guys so I knew for sure that I wasn’t a lesbian. After some searching online, I learned that it’s not uncommon for a girl to want to kiss another girl.

The feeling didn’t last long for every girl except for the girl who sat next to me in math class. I referred to her in a previous blog as “Bec”, but Bec wasn’t only in my math class. We were in the same new student seminar too, so I got to see her three times a week during the semester. That feeling was complicated by the fact that I liked a guy in my math class. I didn’t recognize that I had feelings for Bec until two years later when I was talking to a friend who realized she was lesbian the year prior.

I should have realized that I wasn’t straight after that semester and when I started becoming attracted to one of my roommates sophomore year, but I’m not going to retell my coming out story. This is the start to a years-long discovery that I am bisexual/queer.

Mental Health

Mental Health Post: My Thoughts on a Dessert Show

Warning: I briefly mention something about suicides in this post. If suicide is a trigger for you, don’t read this blog entry. Stay safe and practice self-care.

What does a dessert show have to do with mental health? Proceeds from the tickets to the dessert show my boyfriend and I attended last night benefits veterans with PTSD who are seeking treatment at a VA hospital near the location of the dessert show.

The dessert show involved a small selection of handheld desserts from a bakery only a few doors down from the dessert show location, coffee (which I don’t drink), and people from a music conservatory singing and playing instruments.

Before the music started, one of the musicians talked about how the proceeds of the dessert show is benefiting veterans with PTSD and talked about PTSD. He did mention the high suicide rates of veterans, which I felt was important to talk about because we had two celebrity suicides last week and suicide cases have spiked compared to previous years.

The same musician (who was mainly one of the pianists) also talked about how the conservatory he is a part of uses music to help with PTSD treatments in veterans. He’d play “dark” music as well as “light” music and has found that the “dark” music has helped veterans with PTSD connect with their feelings and start processing the trigger. Of course, not everyone in treatment is able to listen to the “dark” music at first.

Disclaimer: This is the point of the blog where I tell you that treatment for mental illnesses is not one-size-fits-all and no two people with the same mental illness is the same. Just because music therapy works for the veterans at the specific VA hospital doesn’t mean music therapy works for everyone. Just like mindfulness and meditation doesn’t work for everyone. However, I am not a medical professional and neither is the pianist, so you can take this with a grain of salt if you wish. Or you can try it if you want. If you found effective treatment, stick with that.

The veterans are asked to close their eyes or wear an eye mask so they can fully process the music. The music has helped people feel their emotions again. Before the pianist played a “dark” song that he wrote two months ago, he told us to not applaud, he allowed us to close our eyes like the veterans he works with do during music therapy (I wasn’t going to risk falling asleep), and even asked us to think of a title of the song. Me and a few other people felt like the song was about walking a path, one person felt like the song was about shadows, and another person felt like the song was about regret.

Then we had other music groups from the same conservatory performing. They’re going to start performing every second Saturday of the month. I’m not paying money each month for this, even though the first ending of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure will be performed next month (“Roundabout” by Yes. The song is more than 8 minutes long). I also learned that there’s talks about dropping the D in PTSD so it can just be “Post Traumatic Stress” instead of “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. Maybe it’s to decrease the seemingly low stigma? (Shrug) Now if only they could do that with Generalize Anxiety Disorder, since anxiety issues are being increasingly stigmatized.

Irrelevant comment: I wanted to move to that town when I got married since my boyfriend lives there, but just like at the big band concert, most of the attendees were of baby boomer age. I guess I’m too young to live in that town, and so is my Gen-X boyfriend.

Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Things in May

In this blog, I pledged to try one new thing each month in 2018. The new thing could be trying a new food, doing a new activity, or going someplace new. I have asked my fellow readers and my boyfriend to hold me accountable. At the end of each month, I will tell you all what new thing or things I have tried. I will also discuss the barriers that caused me to not try it before.

I did better than I did last month and tried more than one new thing (I only did one new thing back in April). Good for me. I first went to a new restaurant. It’s a British pub.

Barrier to going to a British pub: I don’t live near one. Clearly, I don’t live near exciting things.

Why I went to a British pub: Franklin’s dad’s cousin and her husband wanted to take us out to dinner. The plan was to eat a home-cooked meal, but the recent rainfall made the outdoor deck not look good.

My thoughts on the British pub: I liked how you could either get french fries in “shoestring” style or “English style” (which are steak fries). I personally prefer steak fries or crinkle-cut fries. However, Franklin’s dad’s cousin complained about how the pub was loud due to people coming from a wine tasting festival. Restaurants and pubs aren’t supposed to be quiet…

I went to another new restaurant the day before. It’s a new pizza place near my house that’s called “(insert name of a character from a popular movie here) Pizza”. Not saying the actual name or else you’ll find what town I live in. I’ve made some controversial blog posts so I don’t want to be tracked down and beaten.

Barrier to going to “(Character from popular movie) Pizza”: It’s a new place. It just opened up earlier this month.

Why I went to “(Character from popular movie) Pizza”:

  • Dad printed out the menu for me after hearing good things from his co-workers
  • Dad wasn’t making dinner that night
  • Franklin and I chose this over going to Noodles & Company

My thoughts on “(Character from popular movie) Pizza”: The inside of the place looked like the inside of a restaurant I visited back in January. Guess it’s a new trend? I also felt fancy having wine with my pizza. Moscato is the only wine I like. Definitely will go back one day.

Speaking of “(Character from popular movie) Pizza”, I tried a new food there too! I tried brussel sprouts!

Barrier to trying brussel sprouts:

  • I don’t like vegetables
  • No one I know eats brussel sprouts
  • I have never seen brussel sprouts other than in pictures

Why I tried brussel sprouts: It was actually Franklin’s idea. He looked at the small shareable plates and I asked me if I wanted to try the roasted brussel sprouts

Note to everyone: I read on Reddit that people don’t like brussel sprouts because their family members don’t cook them properly. Franklin has also never had roasted brussel sprouts because he’s had to eat them cooked in a way that “they were boiled within an inch of their life”. His words, not mine.

My thoughts on brussel sprouts:

  • They weren’t that bad
  • They were topped with parmesan cheese and pieces of bacon, which helped with the taste a lot
  • Needed more bacon and parmesan cheese
  • I would take a piece of bacon to put underneath the brussel sprout to help with the taste

Returning to School: How Do I Feel?

I would like to apologize if I post even less than I have been lately. I am about to return to school to obtain my Master’s degree in Computer Science.

Three months ago, I got my acceptance letter into the Master’s program. Because my Bachelor’s degree was not in Computer Science, I have to take three pre-requisite courses to “catch up” to the other students who have Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science. Those courses are discrete mathematics and two computer science classes. I have to get at least a B or better before starting my degree requirements. Tomorrow evening (May 30th), I will start taking a 7-week course for discrete mathematics.

I have decided to take the class over the summer so I could get a head start on my pre-requisites and reduce my extended time for completing the program. This will allow me to start my degree requirements in Spring 2019.

Weeks ago, I felt excited. I don’t feel anxiety about starting this even though I have heard how difficult discrete mathematics is, but I don’t feel anything right now. I’ll probably feel anxious about it tomorrow.

I have figured out ways to help me put in the most effort I ever put into a class.

  • I will utilize the small library on the military base I work on, my kitchen, and maybe some local libraries as study spaces. I live half an hour away from campus and will commute since I’m a grad student, so I don’t want to spend time and gas to get to the campus library.
  • I will read the textbook ahead of time to get an idea of what I will be learning about and to identify any concepts that are hard to understand.
  • I will review what I learned in the previous class to reinforce concepts in my head.
  • I will utilize YouTube videos to supplement my learning to review concepts in what could possibly be a new way or to fill a gap in my learning.
  • I will learn study skills that I did not learn in the past.

I will still do kickboxing, but I will only be able to attend Saturday morning lessons during my 7-week summer session and the fall semester due to having classes during the evening lessons. People say that exercise is good for relieving stress, so I won’t quit kickboxing. I will also utilize my boyfriend as my support when things feel stressful during the semester, because no one else will be my emotional support.

Anyone who has been following me since last year may have noticed that I don’t post as much this year. This is because much of my posting have been about other people or about events going on and it derailed from the original purpose of chronicling my personal journey. I changed that this year to mainly focus this blog on me. However, while I’m taking classes, I will likely blog less. I will still tell you the new things I tried this year because of my goal to try at least one new thing each month for 2018, but don’t be surprised if my only post for the month is from my Try Something New 2018 series.


Unexpected Good News

So yesterday, I was trying to find an application through my job that lets you set goals. I need to do this by Tuesday. I couldn’t find the application, but I found the electronic pay stubs. I decided to be curious and look at how much money has been going into my bank account lately and I noticed that it’s been more than usual. I originally thought it was because of changes into how much taxes get taken out. Nope, turns out I got my annual raise back in March.

I didn’t think I was going to get a raise after getting kicked off a project for not being good enough. I didn’t get an e-mail from my boss like I did last year. Glad I got a raise so I can put more money into my monthly student loan payments. Can’t wait to do that starting the next payment. Got to whittle down that student loan!

Speaking of work, I’m doing test engineering stuff on a project I was on when I first started with my company and it’s going well. I even was pulled aside by my test lead so he could say that I’m getting high praise and that I’m really good at being a test engineer. I find test engineering to be much easier than being a software developer because test engineers have step-by-step instructions, which is something that someone like me needs. Software development is more abstract and it’s hard for me to think the way a developer needs to think.

I’m still going to pursue my Master’s degree in Computer Science since the classes might help me become better at development work, but test engineering is probably my best fit for the foreseeable future. I will warn everyone now that when I start my summer math class and the fall semester, my blog posts may become more sparse than they have this year.

Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Thing in April

So first of all, I’m going to say something irrelevant: I am so happy about Janelle Monáe coming out as pansexual. It really started a conversation about what it means to be pansexual and while I don’t identify as pansexual, she is a black queer woman like I am. Representation matters. She’s my idol.

In this blog, I pledged to try one new thing each month in 2018. The new thing could be trying a new food, doing a new activity, or going someplace new. I have asked my fellow readers and my boyfriend to hold me accountable. At the end of each month, I will tell you all what new thing or things I have tried. I will also discuss the barriers that caused me to not try it before.

I’m going to be honest and say that I didn’t do much, but I still did something this month. It’s starting to become difficult to find something new to try. This month, I went to a new place. I went to Bonefish Grill.

Barrier to going to Bonefish Grill: The only seafood I eat is salmon cooked by my dad. It wasn’t until some time after graduating from university when I even tried salmon.

Why I went to Bonefish Grill: My grandmother got me the wrong gift card. I asked for Texas Roadhouse, but she got me an Outback Steakhouse gift card. I had been to Outback Steakhouse last month and a couple of other times within a six-month timespan, so I didn’t want to go back to Outback Steakhouse so soon.

My thoughts on Bonefish Grill: It was meh, in all honesty. I was given the wrong side and I found a bone in my salmon. The green beans were tough (I got green beans so I could eat healthy, but I never liked green beans). Not planning to go back to Bonefish Grill.


Things I Did While Boyfriend Was at Training

So on today’s date of April 27th 2018, my boyfriend comes home from a military class. Like many people whose significant others are away for something military-related (active duty, reserves, or National Guard), I can sometimes struggle with what things I can do while my boyfriend is away. Regardless of if your significant other is away for less than a month (like mine) or is away on deployment, it’s a good idea to find something to keep yourself busy. So instead of saying things that I want to do like I did in Temporary Goodbyes are Hard (and yes, this is the same class mentioned on here), I’ll tell you the things I did.

  • Spring Cleaning: In my bedroom, I have something that I call a hutch, but it’s probably actually a wardrobe. It had become cluttered so I took the time to do some long overdue decluttering. There’s a Geekfuel box that I won in a raffle at an old job that has some things that Franklin might want. If not, I can give the stuff inside the box away. I also dusted and decluttered the top of the dresser.
  • Take my car for emissions testing: I got an email earlier last week saying that it was time for emissions testing. I had to do it by July 11th, so I decided to go to a kiosk the Saturday after I got the email. I wanted to do it early since I’m about to be very busy and don’t want to forget about it.
  • Pay my summer tuition bill: I paid the tuition bill later than I had planned (bad diaryofself), but it was still well before the payment due date.
  • Get my immunization form signed: Yes, it’s another necessary task relating to grad school. I had to go to my doctor for him to fill out and sign my immunization form. Everyone is required to have received both doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and the Tetanus-Diptheria-Pertussis (TDaP) vaccination in order to attend the university. I uploaded the document to the university health portal and was able to check another thing off my to-do list for grad school.

I have done some pretty important things while Franklin was away, especially the stuff related to grad school. For some reason, I keep holding off on buying my math textbook. I should really do that before I end up in a situation where the book won’t arrive in time. I should probably get on that.