Temporary Goodbyes are Hard

You remember Franklin, right? The guy from my positive post? Well he’s gone for a few weeks. I said goodbye to him yesterday and he’s heading to another state for a military class. I wish he found out for sure that he was going ahead of time so I could have more time to prepare. Seeing him nearly every day due to work and now kickboxing (yay, he finally joined me in kickboxing!) + my anxiety disorder = saying goodbye is difficult (yes, even when he’s leaving my house for the day, letting him go home is difficult. I have gotten him into a leg lock to keep him for extra time). Can adults get separation anxiety issues? I heard it’s just an issue kids have.

I’ve looked at subreddits for people in a similar situation to me (but for longer periods of time), so I know I would have been given the advice of “keep busy!” I work full-time and do kickboxing. That means Mondays and Wednesdays are full plates for me, but what about all day Sunday, Saturday afternoons, and after work on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays? Well, I figured out a few things to do.

  1. Do a video journal each day that Franklin is away. I will have a total of 13 videos, and will do them near the end of the day each day. When he comes back, I will have him watch all the videos. No, these videos will NOT go on YouTube. But speaking of YouTube…
  2. I will create a YouTube video about OPSEC and PERSEC. The video about Operational Security and Personal Security awareness will mainly be targeted at military significant others (often shortened to milso, meaning the significant other of a military service member), but the topic is also important for family members and friends of a military service member as well as people with jobs (or want jobs) that require a security clearance.
  3. Update my resume. No, I am not looking for a new job. However, it is important to keep your resume up to date just in case anything happens to that job. Plus, I want to look up a few resume tips to tailor my resume to the current formats and styles. The way you wrote a resume in the early 2010s may not be favored too much in 2017.
  4. Maybe do some exercising outside of kickboxing. Who am I kidding? I’ll be crying into a pillow or into my stuffed elephant. I’ll be too sad to do shoulder presses or bicep curls or tricep dips or running a quarter of a mile on the treadmill.
  5. Continue reading “Harmony” by Karis Walsh. I read 12 chapters so far and have 24 more chapters to go. Maybe doing some reading will keep my mind off of being separated.
  6. Drink more green tea. I have a bunch of boxes of green tea and I haven’t drunk much tea lately in the past months. I won’t drink the tea on Mondays or Wednesdays, but I can drink the tea the other days. Drinking tea a few times a week helps me not experience anxiety.

Yeah, that’s it. Got teary-eyed a few times in the few days leading to his departure (found out for sure yesterday that he’s going). I guess I can be fortunate that he’s in the National Guard which means that his class is less than half the time the class would have been if he was active duty army (which he used to be). Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to cry again.

Awareness · Rant

Where are the Black Voices?

Warning: White people might be offended at this blog post. I don’t care. Either read this and be offended or don’t read this blog post. I’m not holding a gun against your head to force you to read this.

We all know what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. We see firsthand what happens when white supremacists use their power to make it dangerous for me, a black person, to live in America. The white supremacists aren’t even hiding anymore. I can no longer travel south of Maryland due to fear of being attacked because the color of my skin is wrong. Another white supremacy rally was allowed in Boston. Fuck Boston. I heard the sports fans are racist there too.

On Sunday, August 13th, there were rallies around the country. There was even one in my county! I wanted to go, but I didn’t want to bring my white friend with me due to my fear that he’d be harassed. That wouldn’t have happened, and it was a good thing I didn’t go anyways. The next day, mom saw images of the rallies around the country. There were mostly white people in attendance.

Tonight, I saw news reports of confederate statues being taken down. Guess what race did all the talking about racism? White people. Whites will NEVER be the targets of racism!

In these two cases, there was a strong lack of black people, the race that is the most affected by these scary spikes in racism that started occurring with Ferguson. Where are the black voices, the voices that matter the most? Yes, I know that white people marched with black people during the civil rights era, but these marches and protests didn’t consist almost entirely of white people. Black people have the power to change the world they live in, but they can’t do that when white people once again try to take the spotlight and silence us. Enough is enough.

White people, please do not speak on my behalf. I am alive. I am the oppressed one. I can speak for myself.


The Importance of Positive Representation In and Out of the Media

This post is inspired by a six-person student tour going on at my job. I didn’t see any black people on the tour. Five white people and an Asian person.

Why are there so many men? Why are there so many straight people? Why are there so many white people? Why are there so many cisgender people? Where are the people like me? This is something that people belonging in marginalized groups have often asked. Even I have started asking this question.

First, I personally believe that representation of different ethnicities was better back in the 1990s and early 2000s than it was now. The 1990s had many sitcoms where the cast was majority black or African-American. People who had (and still have) HBO on their TV could watch Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child on HBO Family (that show retold fairy tales with characters from different ethniticies and countries) with a Latin American Cinderella, a Chinese Little Red Riding Hood, an African-American Steadfast Tin Soldier, and others. Now, minority main characters are so few and far between outside of minority-centric television stations that shows like Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat are seen as gimmicks.

Even though the LGBT community (yes, all aspects. Not just gay people) are getting more representation in the media, there still could be some more representation. Shows that are known for LGBT representation include Glee, Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Steven Universe. Billions, a show on Showtime, has a non-binary character named Taylor Mason (the character explicitly says their pronouns are “they/them/theirs”) who is played by non-binary acting profession Asia Kate Dillion (who also uses “they/them/theirs” as their pronouns). Other shows have LGBT characters, but not all shows have positive representation of the LGBT community…

…Which is why my blog post is titled “The Importance of Positive Representation In and Out of the Media” instead of “The Importance of Representation In and Out of the Media.” Let me make it clear that I think representation is important, but positive representation helps to break negative stereotypes of marginalized people. Most of the time, bisexual representation plays upon the harmful stereotypes of bisexuals being greedy or promiscuous.

What about representation outside of media? I’m going to use the example of the workplace. The tech industry is filled with white men (and if they’re not white, they’re most likely Asian). A woman walks into an office for an interview and only sees men. How would she feel about that? Would she think there are no women who work there (they could just be in a part of the office she never walks by)? Would she fear sexist language and actions? Let’s take a black person who just started a new job. They see only one or two black people in the office. Everyone else is white or Asian. Even though there are others like them, would they fear they will be the target of racism, especially in this political climate?

Representation is important, whether you are someone with a disability, someone who doesn’t identify as a guy, a person of color, transgender, or not heterosexual. The world isn’t filled with able-bodied cisgender straight white men.


Reinventing Me

Hey readers! If you were following me, there is one thing I never mentioned: having a boyfriend. Well, had a boyfriend. I made the difficult decision to break up with him, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. I just wasn’t happy anymore, and life’s too short to stay unhappy. However, despite me breaking up with guys before, this was the hardest break-up for me to do.

So I’m going to use that time to reinvent myself.

  1. I will start working on figuring out who I am and to follow my passion for advocacy volunteering. Right now, I want to focus on speaking at events that promotes organ donation. I feel like that will be the safest advocacy work for me right now since the nearest major city where black rights activist events are held at has had more homicides this year than I ever remembered.
  2. I’m going to try to go out and do more things on my own. I found a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) meeting that will be happening not far from my house next month (can’t make this month’s meeting because of kickboxing) and going to a meeting will make me feel not alone with being mentally ill.
  3. I will take a look at Zen Buddhism, in order to see if there are teachings that can help with my healing and for other reasons. If you’re reading this post and you practice Zen Buddhism, please direct me to some recommended books or websites.

It is definitely time to reinvent myself and figure out who I am. I haven’t done that lately, even though I started this blog to talk about my journey of self-discovery.


Positive Post! Talk About a Positive Person in Your Life!

My mental health has been good lately. I’ve come to terms with my ADHD and am learning techniques to help with my focus and improving my short-term memory.

People tell me I’m a negative person. I’m actually a realist. Many people who are realists seems like negative people to anyone who is (naively, in my opinion) an optimist. To prove that I’m not always a Negative Nancy and to celebrate my good mental health, let’s make a positive post!

Being around positive people is… how should I describe it… fun? good for you? mentally beneficial? All of the above! Being around positive people is fun, good for you, and mentally beneficial. The people who should be in your life are the ones who build you up instead of tearing you down. Who make you laugh. Who make you want to sing in the car despite having a horrible singing voice. Who make you not freak out when they drive with their knee instead of their hands (yeah, this is specific. Will talk about this later). A positive person I will talk about in today’s blog is my co-worker Franklin.

When I first met Franklin back in March, he was a new member of my project team (his role is different from mine). My first thought wasn’t the best thought, mainly due to my feelings that there aren’t enough women or people of color in the tech industry. When he was having issues with his car and asked people at lunch for a ride to and from work, as soon as he said where he lived, I instantly said “My car isn’t bulletproof.”  Yeah, I don’t have a brain-to-mouth filter because I don’t have the cognitive ability to know what stuff needs to be kept in my head (unlike a few family members who choose not to use that filter).

You’re probably wondering how we started getting along. Beats me. Weeks after the whole “My car isn’t bulletproof!” deal, his car was at the mechanic shop since his car needed a new part and there would possibly be much longer to wait for the back-ordered part. We had a team-bonding event coming up (it was canceled a few days beforehand since only a few people paid the developer lead in advanced and people were backing out) and after finding out that he’s in the safe part of that town, I offered to be his ride to the escape room and back to his place. Sadly for me and fortunately for him, the car part came in and his car was repaired in time. However, that wasn’t the last opportunity for me to make penance.

A few weeks after that, we started organizing Happy Hour after work. He wanted to ride with a designated driver, so I volunteered. The day of happy hour arrived and I was so excited that I went to TimeAndDate.com’s countdown creation and had a countdown created. During the drive to the happy hour location, I learned that he likes Eurovision. Yes! Another person aware of Eurovision! He’s aware of more songs than I know of, though. We had fun and went to get frozen yogurt afterwards.

I really got the chance to know him a little more than a week later when he came over to talk to my dad about his landlady issues. He moved out of his previous “apartment” (half of a basement rented out) to a new apartment at the end of June. I’m there about once a week since he can now have guests where he lives.

People have noticed that I’ve been happier since becoming close to Franklin, and I guess they’re right. I feel less pressure to catch up with other people my age in regards to independent development. I’ve started taking more care of my appearance (not with make-up. I’m still anti-makeup) by putting witch hazel on my shoulders to work on clearing my hyperpigmentation marks. I’m even starting to reclaim some femininity. When I picked him up from the train station last month, I wore a dress. I had plans to get rid of every single dress I owned and buy ties and bowties. I got my hair cut short (though that’s mainly due to hair breakage and questioning my gender identity…). Also, I sometimes sing in the car now. I never sing in the car. I can’t sing well.

I also like that he doesn’t think he’s better than other people because he was in the army (currently in National Guard). There were these two classmates in a university religion class who were in Army ROTC and they would be in their army combat uniform (some people call them “army fatigues”) every Thursday for ROTC leadership lab. The guy in ROTC seemed to think he (and other ROTC students) was more disciplined and all-around better than everyone else because the skills they’re learning for the army are useful outside of the army. The girl in ROTC wasn’t as bad as the guy, but she still had a little air of superiority. Enough about university. Back to this guy!

I didn’t mention this yet, but he does some amazing things (and some not-so-amazing things, like puns). He can drive with his left knee. I think he can only do that since he’s 5’10” (slightly under 178 cm) and I guess he has long legs. I can’t imagine my 5’3″ (160 cm) self being able to do that. I’m still trying to gain confidence when it comes to driving! He should be careful about doing that in inclement weather, though. Both hands on the steering wheel!

There’s more to say about this guy, but this post is kind of getting long anyways. To wrap this up, you have seen the posts I’ve been making lately. You probably were worried about my state of mental health. Heck, you were probably seconds away from sending crisis hotline information to me. Having one person or thing that creates some sunlight in a sky filled with dark clouds makes a difference. Don’t worry, I will still learn techniques to manage my anxiety and ADHD issues without the help of a medical professional or medications (for people who think my ADHD requires medications, it doesn’t. It’s too mild for medications and I have a naturally high heart rate, which would be made worse with stimulants).


Got My Yellow Belt in Kickboxing!

I tested for my yellow belt on Saturday, July 15th. Before class started on July 17th, I was presented with my yellow belt.

Yes, my kickboxing gym does belts. When I was looking up kickboxing classes a year and a half ago, I found this gym. I liked it because of the belts. The belts would show measurable progress and it lets the coaches know what you will learn next. It takes 3-6 months to go from starting to yellow belt (it took me over 5 months), and for each subsequent belt, it takes longer and longer to test for the next belt. According to my coach, people can’t get their black belt sooner than 5 years after starting. He is an old-school teacher who lets you test when he feels that you’re ready to test. Nowadays, there are many martial arts schools that will give you a belt as long as you (or a parent) can pay the fees to attend training.

My next goal will be to get my green belt (they don’t do orange belts). That will likely take longer since I will learn some new kicks and improve the kicks I already know. Maybe if I’m lucky, I will get my green belt by the end of this year.

There were times I wanted to quit since one black belt kept pointing out my flaws. There were times that I thought I’d stay a white belt forever. There were times where I didn’t want to go to class. Whenever I didn’t want to go to class, I remind myself that I’ve wanted to do this since I was 14.

I know they won’t see this, but I want to thank James and Phil for reviewing the yellow belt requirements during the two weeks prior to my test.


I Want to Be An Organ Donor. Now What?

Today is the last day of ECHO. Thanks for reading along! This blog post is good for any time of the year.

You decide to be an organ donor. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It doesn’t matter what your motivation is to become an organ donor, but you’re doing something great for your community! You’re probably wondering how you can register as an organ donor. Actually, there are multiple ways to do it!

  1. Register when you take your learner’s permit knowledge test, when you get your new license, or when you renew your license. This is how I registered to be an organ donor. When I was giving my information before taking my permit test, I was asked if I wanted to be an organ donor. When I said yes, the woman behind the counter asked my dad if it was okay (when you’re under 18 and want to be an organ donor, you must get consent from your parents). Even when you say yes, they will ask you every time you go to your DMV for license-related stuff.
  2. Register online with your state’s organ donor registry. Just find your state’s registry and register there!
  3. Sign a donor card. Some places have donor cards which will say that you want to donate your organs and you can specify which organs you want to donate if you can’t donate all possible organs that can be donated. I know if you live in the UK, NHS has donor cards.

After you register to be an organ donor, let your loved ones know of your wishes. This is suggested in case they need to provide consent after death.

Thank you for joining me for ECHO these past few weeks! I hope I have raised awareness about how everyone has the power to make a difference in this world.