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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).

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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.

Awareness

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.

Awareness

Donate Life ECHO Post 4: Hear My Uncles’ Donation Stories

Both of my mom’s brothers were organ donors. They’re the reason why I registered to be an organ donor when I went to take my test to get my learner’s permit. I’d like to tell you about their lives while they were alive.

Let’s first talk about one of my uncles. He was an athlete, with his preferred sport being baseball. He was the youngest of three siblings. He was a graduate of Coppin State University and was one of the best freshmen baseball player to ever exist at his university. In early 2003, he found out he was going to be a father. He was very excited. A few days after the baby shower, in October 2003, he died from a severe asthma attack. His organs and corneas were donated. Thanks to him, someone has the ability to see.

My mom’s other brother, the middle child, had hydrocephalus and was autistic (mostly non-verbal, but knew some words). He loved to dance and his siblings were rightfully very protective of him. My grandparents refused to institutionalize him, which was a typical fate for people with cognitive disabilities back in the 1970s. He had a tooth pulled at the dentist office, and that’s when health problems started. He died of pneumonia in January 2007, a week after his birthday. I don’t know what organs were donated, but due to his pneumonia, his lungs could not be donated (what organs can be donated depends on cause of death).

Although my uncles walked two different paths of life, they still helped to save and enhance lives. You don’t have to be a celebrity or a well-known activist to make a difference in the world.

Awareness

Donate Life ECHO Post 3: What Percentage of People Need A Transplant?

In a previous blog post, I mentioned that 58% of people waiting for a new organ are people of color (a broad term for people who are not white). How did I get this percentage? Did I pull it out of my butt? No. The following image is based on statistics from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network as of April 14, 2017.

A doughnut chart with different sections in green and blue with the percentages of people waiting for a transplant based on ethnicity.
Image description: A doughnut chart with different sections broken down to represent what percentage of people from the transplant waiting list are of a specific ethnicity.

100 minus 42 equals 58. 42% of people on the transplant list are white. 30% are African-American/Black. 19% are Hispanic/Latinx (Latinx is an inclusive term for Latino/Latina and is used to be inclusive of people who identify as gender non-binary). 8% are Asian or Pacific Islander. 1% of waiting recipients are Native American or Alaska Native. Finally, less than 1% of people waiting for a new organ belong to two or more races.

So why am I raising awareness for multicultural communities to donate? Here’s an answer from Donate Life’s FAQ page on why it’s important to become a donor.

Although donation and transplantation can take place successfully between individuals from different racial or ethnic groups, transplant success is often better when organs are matched between people of the same racial or ethnic background.

People of African American/Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native and multiracial descent currently make up nearly 58% of individuals on the national organ transplant waiting list. These communities are in great need of more organ and tissue donors.

Awareness

Donate Life ECHO Post 2: Video Contest

Want a way to make a difference? How about posting a video as part of a video contest? Once again, Donate Life is hosting a video contest in regards to spreading awareness of how Every Community Has the Opportunity to make a difference in the world of organ donation. This contest runs from today, July 11th through 5 PM Eastern Time on July 22nd.

This year’s theme is #HearMyStoryOf. Before there was social media, before you could record videos, and even before the existence of written languages, storytelling has existed in all cultures. Use the power of storytelling to share your story of organ donation, spread the message of ECHO, and encourage people to become organ, eye, and tissue donors.

The first place winner gets a $500 Amazon gift card. The second place winner gets a $250 Amazon gift card. The third place winner gets a $100 Amazon gift card. If you post a video to Donate Life’s Facebook page today, you are eligible to win a $100 Amazon gift card for the best Early Bird entry.

So what do you need to do in order to be eligible for a prize? Full details can be found here, but to keep it brief…

  1. Create an original video. Nothing that is copyright protected can be used in your video. If it is, you will be disqualified.
  2. Your video must be one minute or less in length.
  3. Your video needs to be in .mp4, .m4v, or .mov format.
  4. Upload your video to Donate Life’s Facebook page by 5 PM Eastern time on July 22nd. If you upload the video late, you will not be eligible to win.
Awareness

Donate Life ECHO: Every Community Has Opportunity

On the second and third full weeks of July, Donate Life holds a national two-week event called ECHO. ECHO stands for Every Community Has Opportunity and focuses on organ and tissue donation within multicultural communities. Donate Life ECHO was started in 2015 when Donate Life partnered with Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) (Source)

This year, ECHO will be celebrated from July 9th through July 22nd. This means that I will be making blog posts throughout  these two weeks related to ECHO. Any unrelated blog posts will be scheduled to be released after July 22nd. For those two weeks, this blog will be dedicated to raising awareness in hopes to increase the number of people of color who choose to sign up to be an organ donor.

Why is this cause important to me? I’m a person of color. Not only am I a person of color, I’m someone who wants to help people of color make a positive impact, especially in a presidency where we’re made to seem like we’re less than human. People of color have just as many opportunities to make a positive impact on someone’s life as white people.

If you would like to help raise awareness of ECHO, there are many ideas that are given by Donate Life. For example, there is a video contest from July 11th through July 22nd. The video you upload to YouTube must be one minute or less, an original video, and uploaded to Donate Life’s Facebook page by 5 PM Eastern Time on July 22nd. Contest rules. There are social media images you can use that are found here (scroll down to Social Media Graphics and Phrases) and are  mainly in English and Spanish, although the sample phrases also come in the languages of Korean, Tagalog, and Chinese.

Be on the lookout for my upcoming posts related to ECHO, and I hope I won’t be the only person on WordPress talking about how every community has the opportunity to save a life.