Uncategorized

Meet My Awesome Workout Buddy!

Hello my lovely readers! Diaryofself is back, but today, I will not be talking about myself. In honor of my three months in kickboxing, this post is mainly about someone whom I met months ago.

First, let’s take you to my first week of paying for kickboxing class (first full week of February 2017). I decided to ask this guy his name because I’ve heard him being referred to by different names and I want to get people’s names right (people don’t get my name right sometimes and it seriously pissed me off). I found out the guy’s name is Gary, but he also goes by “asshole”. He’s not an asshole, though. I thought his name was Mike, but upon some personal retrospection a month or more ago, it’s because both Gary and Mike are both tan, white guys with dark hair and are older than I am. The main difference between them is that Mike is a kickboxer like I am while Gary is a boxer.

I will be honest and say that I feel a deeper connection with Gary than the other boxers or kickboxers at the gym (boxers and kickboxers train at the same time). I can’t pinpoint exactly when I felt this connection with him, but it may have been when he told me something about himself that other people may be afraid to say to someone they don’t really know yet. He’s also funny too. I know that him telling me that he’s a liberal won me over. I wish people didn’t see being a liberal as a bad thing…

I risk having an arrow shoved into my mouth by someone for this, but I really admire Gary. With everything he’s going through and everything he’s gone through, he’s still comes to boxing. The following lyrics from “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba describe him: “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down”. Sometimes, I don’t feel like going to kickboxing, but I still put on my exercise clothes and drag myself into my car to drive to class. Knowing my workout buddy will hopefully be there and the enjoyment I get from doing something I’ve wanted to do since I was 14 helps motivate me.

However, there was almost a time when I would have never met my workout buddy. Gary almost died last year due to medical stuff. Thanks to doctors, he’s still alive. I want you to think about someone who is a positive part of your life. They can be a family member, a friend, a significant other, a co-worker, etc. Now try to imagine if they were not a part of your life. Can you imagine that? Do you want to imagine that? Now that Gary is in my life, I can’t imagine him not being in my life, and I refuse to imagine it.

Gary, if you’re reading this, this song is for you: Best Friend by Weezer

Inclusion

Talk to Me, Too! The Importance of Inclusive Language

Warning: The first paragraph mentions sexual stuff. If you are at work, you may want to hold off on reading this. If you are in class, read this at your own risk if you’re worried about people seeing the first paragraph. If any mention of sex is triggering, skip the first paragraph.

In November 2012, I was at a national conference related to my on-campus job. I was at a breakout session called “Are You Talking to Me?” that was hosted by a few college students. We were given a slip of paper and we had to watch a scripted sex education presentation as if we were the person described on the slip of paper (mine was “A guy who is in a sexual relationship with another guy”). Afterwards, we would discuss how the sex education presentation was not inclusive. For example, the presentation was only about safer penis-in-vagina sex between a cisgender man and a cisgender woman. They say “man’s penis” and “woman’s vagina”, which could alienate transgender and non-binary people.

That breakout session ended up being my favorite session during the three days the conference occurred. I felt like I really learned something that I could apply to life outside of educating my peers at my university. I can use my words to welcome marginalized people instead of harming them. I can make people feel that they didn’t waste their time by coming here. I hear the cries of people who want representation, and I will answer that cry. After the breakout session, I started using inclusive language more often.

Some people wonder why we should use inclusive language. You don’t know every single person in the audience, so why write or say something like everyone was the same? Imagine yourself being a gay male and you read something about relationships. They only mention “straight” relationships. Would you feel welcome, knowing that you are not straight? Would it seem like you wasted your time reading the article? Or imagine you are a bisexual person attending an LGBT event and there’s only mentions of gay or lesbian themes. Bi+ people and people who aren’t cisgender feel excluded. This is a sad, common reality in the LGBT community, but that will be a rant for another day. There are many examples, but the point is that you don’t know your audience and by catering to what is typical, you are excluding people. Word have power. Remove the barriers and treat people fairly.

So what can you say to be more inclusive? Talk about same-gender couples as well as different-gender couples. Use gender-neutral job titles (mail carrier instead of mailman, salesperson instead of salesman, flight attendant instead of stewardess). Include bi+ and transpeople in LGBT conversations. There are many other ways to use inclusive language too. Figure out how you can use inclusive language more often.

Awareness

Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness: Be Seen in Green Day!

Hello my readers! Today is Friday, April 21st. It’s no ordinary day, according to The Living Legacy Foundation. Living Legacy and Donate Life set today to be something called “Be Seen in Green Day” (although with Donate Life, it’s “Be Seen in Blue and Green Day”) where people wear green in order to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. I apologize if I cite a lot of sources, but people nowadays like seeing sources to back up statements.

In Maryland, where The Living Legacy Foundation is based, nearly 3800 people are waiting for a life-saving organ. This number varies from state to state. Wearing green will honor the thousands of donors and their families who were kind enough to save and improve lives through the power of donations. You can also start conversations about donating organs and tissues to raise awareness, since wearing a color won’t be enough.

Organ donation is a topic very important to me. I first found out about organ donation when an uncle died in October 2003. I later found out that he was an organ donor and my family went to the annual Ceremony of Remembrance in 2004. In January 2007, another uncle died. He was also an organ donor (I think my grandparents made the decision for him to be an organ donor since he did not have the mental capability to make the decision himself). At that year’s Ceremony of Remembrance, my family was there for two brothers instead of one. Because of my uncles, when it was time to test for my learner’s permit a year after my second uncle’s death, I chose to be an organ donor and have a picture of a small heart on the permit and license. No one knew ahead of time that I was going to say “yes” to being an organ donor. Years later, in November 2010, my middle school friend died. When I went to her memorial service, I saw the familiar organ donation medal that was given to my family for my uncles. Thanks to my decision to become an organ donor and my uncles and friend being donors, I have been able to get more people in my family to become organ donors. I one day want to speak at the Ceremony of Remembrance hosted by Living Legacy Foundation to share my uncles’ and friend’s stories, tell how they inspired me to be an organ donor, and to inspire other people to become organ donors.

There are some myths about organ donation that people hear, and it causes them to not want to donate. The number one reason I’ve heard when people say they don’t want to donate is because of a myth that the medical team will not work as hard to save your life if they find out you’re a donor. First, the donation team is completely different from the medical team that sees you. Second, any competent medical team will do everything they can to save your life. They don’t like telling family members that their loved one has died. Organ and tissue recovery won’t start until every single effort has been exhausted and you have been declared dead by the attending physician. Source with other myths

I will talk about this again in the future, but there is a need for more people of color and multiracial people to donate. Nearly 58% of people on the national transplant waiting list in the United States are people of color and even though transplants can be successful between a donor and recipient of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, transplants are often more successful between people of the same racial and ethnic backgrounds. Source

Some more fun facts:

  • You can be a donor at any age, so don’t worry if you think you will be ineligible to donate if you end up living to be at least 70.
  • If you have certain illnesses, you won’t automatically be ineligible to donate organs. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine which organs can be donated. Source for this fact and the previous fact
  • Just like if you donated blood, one person can save multiple lives. You can save up to 8 lives by donating organs, restore the sight of one or two people by donating your corneas, and heal up to 75 people by donating your tissues. Source, which includes more statistics. Scroll down to see the source of this fact

Tell me, readers. Do you know someone who was an organ donor? Are you registered as an organ donor? You can start raising awareness by sharing the sources on this blog, talking to family and friends about wanting to donate organs, or debunk myths when you hear someone say or see someone write about a myth causing them to not want to donate. Until next time, stay informed and be a hero to someone.

Link to The Living Legacy Foundation

Link to Donate Life Website

Rant

Rage! Get My Name Right, White People!

It’s another rage post! If you’re not white and don’t have a white name, you have experienced this issue. I am black, but I have a Hispanic-sounding name. No seriously, my roommates my freshman year of university argued whether I was black or Hispanic due to my first name. Once they saw me, they knew I wasn’t Hispanic (though people mistake me for Puerto Rican based on appearance). People will mispronounce your name, whether they butcher it badly, call you a completely different name, or drop letters. I’ve experienced the dropping of letters or being called a completely different name.

At kickboxing, people have called me Martika or Marcella (being called Marcella recently is why I’m writing this blog). It’s neither. I thank the people who get my name right. At the dentist, a receptionist called me Martine. I had to correct her, and I was snippy about it. I’m not sorry about that. You can only take so much incorrectness before you stop being nice. I’ve been called the wrong name by people’s family and by a bus driver in first grade (with my bus driver, she would say the wrong name when doing bus evacuation. At some point, I refused to say I was here until she got my name right). You know what all these people have in common? They are white.

Tell me, white people. Why do you feel like it’s okay to butcher non-white names? Do you like the power to piss people of color off? Do you not have the capability of getting names right? And tell me, people of color. Are you also pissed off when people get your name wrong? Do you want to change your name to an easier name?

I will not be nice about people getting my name wrong anymore! I’m even considering having white people call me a different name (possibly Cara) while people of color can use my real name. If you can’t say my name right at all, don’t say my name.

Uncategorized

Such Cuteness! Kitten Academy

I’m actually not going to rage today! To offset the depressing blog post I made earlier this week involving mental health stuff, I’m going to spread the overload of cuteness! Accept the cute! Accept it!

On April 20th 2016, two people started live streaming on YouTube. These people, known to the web as DJ and Mr. Academy, started showing the YouTube community the kittens they were fostering. Kitten Academy started because DJ wanted to foster a few kittens before she started med school. Now, they have had many graduation classes pass through kitten academy to learn how to cat.

I first discovered the kitten academy live stream (which you can find here) in mid-July 2016, a few weeks after my childhood friend’s wedding. At the time, the Jackson Hole live stream was popular (anyone remember “Red Truck!” or the dabbing police officer?). When I started watching Kitten Academy, there was “momcat” Ivy and her kittens Harvard (a.k.a. Harvey), Cornell (nicknamed Nelly, but has been renamed Phoebe by her adopter), and Yale.

On Angel’s Wings, a no-kill shelter in Illinois that also rescues animals from kill shelters and animal control, lets Kitten Academy know when there is an expecting momcat or if there are kittens who need to be fostered. The momcat and/or kittens will then arrive at kitten academy. Once the kittens are old enough to be adopted, they have a graduation ceremony which means they go to the vet to be spayed or neutered, get vaccinations, and get micro-chipped. People in the United States can apply to adopt a kitten or cat via On Angel’s Wings. Right now, On Angel’s Wings only allows people to adopt if they’re no further than 150 miles (a little more than 240 km), but exceptions have been made for big fans of specific kittens. Below are some important kitten academy links:

The link to Kitten Academy’s website

The link to the 24/7 stream (unless Comcast has technical difficulties).

The link to Kitten Academy’s YouTube channel (since they post videos of kittens as well)

The link to Kitten Academy’s Patreon

The link to Kitten Academy’s Facebook page

The link to Kitten Academy’s Twitter

Rant

Feminist Rage! Why are Baby Girls Seemingly Less Desirable Now?

Trigger warning: There will be a mention of miscarriage in this blog. If this is a trigger for you, don’t read this blog. I want my readers to be safe.

Oh my gosh! People are reading my blogs! Thanks to everyone who has liked my posts so far! I love you! Today also marks 6 months at my current job! Let’s eat cake!

I rage again! This time, my inspiration comes from many things which will be mentioned in this blog. So in the West, I have been hearing more and more people wanting baby boys and have even heard about people being disappointed over having a baby girl.

I first heard about this after returning from a conference relating to my on-campus job. My brother and sister-in-law had a gender reveal party (I don’t know why they call it that. We’re only learning the sex of the baby) and when they found out they were having a girl, they were openly disappointed. They wanted a boy as their first child (they still only have one child, and I think it’s going to stay that way). I heard about it again at my cousin and his wife’s gender reveal party (I wasn’t there either, because… I don’t remember). At least this time, my cousin’s wife mentioned her disappointment to someone after the party. Here’s something I’d like to say to my sister-in-law and cousin’s wife…

BITCHES! BOTH OF YOUR PREVIOUS PREGNANCIES ENDED IN MISCARRIAGE! BE FUCKING GLAD THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO CARRY THIS BABY TO TERM!

Now recently, I’ve been hearing people say that boys are easier to raise than girls. My mom told me otherwise, but I don’t have kids so I can’t form an opinion. What’s pissing me off is that people are saying things along the lines of “At least you’re not having a girl.” Tell me, what’s wrong with girls? I know people’s brains have been molded by misogyny, and that’s sad. Women have just as much value in the world as men do.

I feel bad for the women who don’t want baby girls or feel thankful that they don’t have girls. They’re just victims of internalized misogyny. Society as a whole favors men more than people who aren’t men. Women shouldn’t contribute to the problem. If I were to have a baby girl (or adopt a girl), I would be happy and support them in this anti-women world.

A message to girls: You have worth. You may not be as famous for good things like Malala Yousafzai, but you are worthy of being loved and desired (not just sexually, of course!). Stand up for other women when they face sexism.

Mental Health · Rant

Rage! Families Not Accepting Neurodivergent Family Members

Warning: I will be mentioning stuff relating to mental health, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt, and suicide. Do not read this blog if mental health issues or suicide is your trigger. I want all of my readers to be safe.

If you have a mental illness or a learning disability, you probably have faced issues with your neurotypical family members. For me, my parents don’t seem accepting, though mom seems to try.

In November 2014, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Thinking back, I’ve been having anxiety issues since I was a child. I feel like I have other mental illnesses (like depression, BPD, possibly autism), but no one has diagnosed me yet. I have seen three therapists and I am not fixed (therapists one and three were just talk therapists and my mom forced me to see therapist one. Therapist two was who diagnosed me and did effective Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but has said a few negative things that kind of seemed harmful). I feel like I am beyond help. My parents not accepting me is not helping me. Despite my parents thinking that I may need to be put on medication, I don’t want to be medicated because that will mean that I have succumbed to my illness.

This blog post is inspired by an episode of My 600-Lb Life that I am currently watching. Steven Jr. has “severe psychological issues” and instead of his dad helping him, he’s verbally abusing his son and is not being supportive of his need for psychiatric help. To the people with a mentally ill family member: THIS IS NOT HOW YOU HELP! THIS IS HOW YOU HURT!

I’m the only one in my family (both sides) with a mental illness. It’s like a big family secret. It’s not the only thing that makes me different from my family (will talk about this in later blogs). My mom does her best, but she can sometimes say things that you never say to a mentally ill person. My dad, he’s a lot worse. He tells me I’m worrying too much whenever my anxiety goes up (and a lot of things make my anxiety go up. I don’t have a specific trigger). I try explaining to him about my anxiety disorder and that my brain isn’t wired differently, but I will not explain it anymore. He tells me to snap out of it whenever I have a breakdown. I almost threw something ceramic at his head. I have threatened suicide many times, but my parents only took me seriously once (never went to the hospital because of it, since I was 21. I’d permanently hate my parents again if they involuntarily committed me). My dad says that people who get off the bridge instead of jumping to kill themselves didn’t really want to kill themselves. YES THEY FUCKING DID! MY BROTHER SAVED SOMEONE FROM SUICIDE THE NIGHT BEFORE MY COLLEGE GRADUATION! DOES MY DAD NOT CARE THAT MY BROTHER GAVE A FUCK ABOUT A SUICIDAL PERSON WHILE HE GIVES NO FUCKS ABOUT SUICIDAL PEOPLE?! HUH?! My dad is also a victim blamer.

PEOPLE! LACK OF ACCEPTANCE LEADS TO SUICIDE!

I know my mental health will improve when I finally move out of my parents’ house, but dad said it will get worse. I am bullied into staying with my parents. I feel like will likely never get out. I even told my dad that I know that I’m not the perfect child that he wanted. Sometimes, I think he wanted another son. I feel like I’m trapped. I feel like people are about to give up on me. I kind of already gave up on myself.

Remember, lack of acceptance leads to suicide, and it would suck for a family member to be what breaks you in the end.