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.


A Letter to Me One Year After Starting This Blog

Dear DiaryOfSelf,

Exactly a year ago today, you started this blog. You started seriously wanting to figure out who you are. You’re still figuring it out and although you might never figure out who you are, you might be able to find your purpose in life. However, you have experienced personal growth.

You started trying new things even before the Try Something New in 2018 goal. You started taking some control of your anxiety, although you still have anxiety issues. You left a relationship that triggered some anxiety due to constantly being called sheltered, where the guy thought he was always right, and conformed to everything that was trendy. You met someone who is supportive. You got new diagnoses that surprisingly didn’t kill you. You sometimes struggle with your gender identity, but you’re becoming a little more okay with your biological sex and everything that comes with it. You are becoming a stronger, more vocal feminist. You recently started lifting real weights (not using the weight machines like you did in university) at your kickboxing gym after deciding to be silly and trying to use the ez-curl bar when it was just you and your boyfriend. It didn’t feel as silly or as heavy and now you have started lifting near the end of class almost every class. For the first time in your life, you feel empowered.

Here’s to another year of DiaryOfSelf, where within a year you will start grad school, lift weights to make yourself better in different aspects of life, get a blue belt in kickboxing, keep trying new things, and hopefully get engaged.

Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Things in March

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.

Compared to January and February, I made sure not to do too many new things. February had a lot more new things than I mentioned, but taking an emergency trip to Florida to a place that is not Orlando had me going to a lot of new places.

Let’s start with a new food I tried, which was seared peppered ahi. You may know it as seared ahi tuna as well, but Outback Steakhouse has pepper on the ahi tuna.

Barrier to trying seared ahi tuna: Unless it’s salmon, I don’t eat seafood.

Why I tried the seared peppered ahi:

  • I had a spicy tuna roll before and thought seared peppered ahi would be good too
  • The opportunity presented itself when I saw it at Outback Steakhouse as an appetizer option

Fun fact: I wasn’t planning on trying the seared ahi tuna yet. I planned on trying it in June when I’d meet my Godfather for our annual dinner when he attends a police convention. This restaurant we go to offers seared ahi tuna as an appetizer and I was going to get it in June.

My thoughts on the seared ahi tuna: It was surprisingly really good! The ahi tuna seemed to melt in my mouth. I will definitely get this again.

I went to a new restaurant this month too.

Barrier to going to this restaurant:

  • I never heard of it
  • The place is 40 minutes away from my house
  • I’ve only been to that part of the state twice

Why I went to that restaurant: My boyfriend and I were visiting his dad’s cousin and her husband and they decided to take us out to dinner.

My thoughts on that restaurant: It was nice, but due to the distance, I wouldn’t really get to go there again unless we visit my boyfriend’s dad’s cousin again.

Before I end this month’s Try Something New post, I wanted to make a comment. When I was eating my seared peppered ahi, I was worried that one day this year, I would try a new food and not like it because of my success so far with trying new foods. Realistically, this may be a possibility.


One Month After Witnessing Death: How Am I Doing?

To anyone who wonders what the blog title is about: Read this blog post. If the blog post is too long for you to read (because it’s super long), just read the entry from Friday February 23rd. Basically what happened is that my boyfriend’s dad passed away on February 23rd and I was one of the people there who saw him take his last breath. Franklin’s family had been asking me if I was okay while I was in Florida, and since other people ask if I’ve been okay, I thought I’d answer that with this blog post.

I feel better now. I wanted to go to a couple of grief support meetings since the day of Franklin’s dad passing was harder on me than I expected, but the nearby support group is a 13-week group (thought: no problem, I could probably drop in and talk about the feelings I didn’t want to share with Franklin) and you have to pay for a workbook (thought: Nevermind…). I’m doing my best to support Franklin, but I feel like I haven’t been much help since we returned to Florida. With all that happened and all that I learned from Franklin’s uncle, I have decided if I quit the tech industry, I’m going to be a patient advocate. I’m still working towards letting things roll off my shoulder, but having an anxiety disorder and emotional regulation issues that are a part of ADHD makes things harder.

A couple of weeks ago, we got his dad’s jewelry cleaned and his dad’s ring fixed. We were lucky to get it done for free, but I think it was because of the circumstances. Typically, jewelry cleaning where we went to costs at least $20 and jewelry repair price varies. Thank goodness the ring mandrel made the ring round again. That was the easiest part of everything relating to his dad. The banks are still a problem.

Franklin’s doing the best he can with all the work he has to do as the executor of the will. He’s keeping himself busy with work, grad school, and executor duties. Right now, he’s back in his hometown for a celebration of his dad’s life (no, not a funeral. That happened last week) since Monday would have been his dad’s birthday. Save me a slice of that pizza, honey. This will probably be an emotional time for him since he’ll not be busy and his brain will once again process that his dad’s gone. I’ve been leaving my phone on and available so he can call since he told me that he’s scared that he’s going to have a breakdown at the celebration. I have never been in his shoes before, so all I can do is be there for him even if I’m not physically with him at this celebration.

Long story short, I’m learning from this experience and I hope Franklin doesn’t get overwhelmed with everything he has to do.

Awareness · Inclusion

My Thoughts on Black Panther

I’m going to try to make this as spoiler-free as possible. Or at least there won’t be any major spoilers. Long story short, this is a must-see movie for black people.

On March 17th, my boyfriend and I finally saw Black Panther. Two things jumped out at me: the emphasis on social justice issues involving black people, and T’Challa’s technology developer little sister Shuri.

The first thing I must say is that Black Panther did not get advertised as much on TV compared to other movies, and we know damn well why. Still, despite white Hollywood trying to make us unaware of this movie, r/BlackPeopleTwitter did it’s job to hype everyone up and it’s still scoring big bucks at the box office. You know, because we know the importance of representation in the media. I don’t watch superhero movies, and I don’t really go to movie theaters anymore after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. However, BlackPeopleTwitter hyped up the movie so much for me that I knew I had to do something about it.

Characters like Nakia and Killmonger talk about the social justice issues that faced black people in the past and the social justice issues we still face. Even in recent years. No more explanation about that.

There are two tags that describe my feelings when I saw a black girl who develops tech stuff: #ISawMyself and #SeeHer. I’m a black woman in tech who has never been on a project with another black woman in tech. All the black women were in administrative roles. I was always the only black female software engineer in an industry oversaturated by white men. After the movie was over and my boyfriend asked me about my thoughts about the movie, I said “This will be the only time I will ever see another black woman in tech unless I look in the mirror.” Representation is so fucking important. We need to show other black women that they belong in tech. It’s why I’m excited to be going to grad school.

Going back to black representation, how many times do we see black people being represented as thugs, thieves, and murderers? How many times does media portray us in negative lights while white people get on news shows like Inside Edition for what would not be considered news? How many times are black people portrayed as successful and educated? Black Panther is the step toward proper representation of black people. Black Panther is the start of a revolution to change our media. We will get the same respect in media that white people do.

Even if you don’t watch superhero movies, this movie is groundbreaking. Vote with your wallet and see this movie. Show Hollywood that this is what we want in a movie. This movie is feminist-friendly, womanist-friendly, minority-friendly. I should have seen this movie sooner. WAKANDA FOREVER!