Workout Buddies: Good for Motivation and Improvement

Franklin’s military class is going well. Thanks for asking!

So jeanapril is following me now, and she’s a Lifetime Emerald Beachbody Coach. This inspired me to write today’s blog, which is about workout buddies.

I didn’t have my first workout buddy until my second year of university. I wanted to go to the fitness center more often than I did the previous semester and I heard this girl in marching band saying that she wanted a workout buddy because she wanted to start going to the fitness center. We would work out together on Tuesdays after we got back from English class (we were in different classes since she was a freshman and I was a sophomore) and she would work out on her own on Thursdays since I had color guard practice those days. And that’s how she became my other best friend from university.

After graduating, I didn’t have another workout buddy until I started kickboxing. You’ve heard me talk about Gary in the past, so I will just link to that blog post. Yes, for those wondering, I did have a crush on him. However, you can thank Franklin for the crush ending (as well as Gary getting re-injured and being gone for a few weeks to recover). I’ll just say one thing, though: the excitement of seeing Gary in class is what would motivate me to go to the kickboxing gym whenever I didn’t feel like it. Different people have different motives for working out, so tell me what your motivation is!

Now, when I’m not working on improving my new kicks and sweeps in kickboxing, I help to teach and review things with some other kickboxers. Last month, this one guy named John joined the kickboxing class in order to lose weight (he’s lost 8 pounds so far. Good for him!). I work with him on his kicks and gave him some warm ups that black belt Phil taught me for strengthening and stretching my hips. I may be a yellow belt, but I find that teaching kicks by breaking it down helps me to reinforce proper techniques. My next belt is green belt and we still have to perform lower-belt kicks for tests, but with improvements compared to the previous belt. Plus, being able to teach was (and might still be) a requirement for the last belt, which is why I led warm-ups last month when my cousin was here. I was told to lead a 15-minute warm-up. This was what I did in the warm-up in order.

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. “Front back side to side” This describes the scissoring motion your legs make. You start with one foot in front and one foot in the back. When you jump, you switch feet. That means if your right foot was in the front and your left foot was in the back, your left foot is now in the front and your right leg is in the back. When you jump again, your feet cross one in front of the other. Then in the next jump, your feet separate like you were about to do a jumping jack. Then you cross your feet again, but with the other foot in front of the other. I can’t find a video, so I hope I did my best to describe it.
  3. More jumping jacks.
  4. Feet moving side to side while doing jabs, hooks, uppercuts, and crosses. Moving the feet side to side is for footwork.
  5. More jumping jacks until the two minutes is up. We know when two minutes are up because of the Sparmate timer.
  6. Some stretches and squats.
  7. Shadowboxing for one round.
  8. Punching combinations. I would have liked to add kicks to the combinations too, but I was only given 15 minutes to lead the warm-ups. This was a good way to have me think on my feet (for those whose first language isn’t English, “thinking on your feet” means to think and react quickly. For example, I couldn’t stop to think for long to come up with the next set of combinations for the class to do).

Do you have a workout buddy? Would you want a workout buddy?


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.