Rant

Picky Eaters Aren’t Childish!

So as I was looking up blog posts about picky eaters, I got so enraged that I was almost in tears. When I saw a post on Reddit about this, I was made to feel childish. As I may have mentioned in more than one blog post, I’m a picky eater. I already feel bad about being a picky eater. Being called “childish” and “a deal breaker for dating” makes me feel worse. I can’t help it that I’m a picky eater. I don’t want to be a picky eater. I don’t want to have to look at restaurant menus to see if there is anything I can even eat. You all are failing to even consider the many (but not all) reasons why someone’s picky.

  • Food allergies and intolerances. My niece is allergic to peanuts, my best friend from university is allergic to mushrooms, and a cousin has Celiac Disease. While my best friend’s food trigger can be avoided more easily, it’s not very easy to avoid things made of peanut products or gluten (though there are more gluten-free options than when my cousin was diagnosed). You know what would happen if they weren’t picky about what they ate? They’d get sick. My niece and best friend will break out in hives and my cousin will end up with intestinal damage.
  • Mental health and neurodiversity. Many people with autism do not have many foods that they will eat without having a meltdown. Based on stories I have read, some people with autism have so few foods that they will eat that I can count with one hand. With other stories, I can use both hands. OCD can be a factor too, when it comes to foods touching, texture, color, etc. Now don’t go self-diagnosing yourself as OCD because of this.
  • In some cases, it’s a disorder. There are many conditions, besides the aforementioned autism, that is a factor in having what is called a “feeding disorder”. Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), formerly known as Selective Eating Disorder is one of them. ARFID is very selective eating that is not attributed to lack of available food, a medical condition, or mental health issue. Learn more about it here. I eat a lot of different foods in comparison to the people whose stories are on that site’s guestbook.
  • Food restrictions based on religion. Some religions prohibit the consumption of certain foods. A majority of people who follow the Hindu faith are vegetarians. Hindu practitioners who aren’t vegetarians still avoid beef. Muslims and certain sects of Judaism prohibit pork. I used to work with a woman who is vegetarian because she is Hindu. The barber in the hair salon I go to is Muslim. This is non-negotiable. They cannot eat your pulled pork sandwiches.
  • They’re vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian, or anything else that means they don’t eat animal products and/or meat. With the exception of pescetarians who go to a seafood restaurant, there aren’t many options at restaurants for those who don’t eat meat. Yes, there are restaurants that only serve vegetarian or vegan meals, but how far do you have to go to find that if you don’t live in the city? I’m not a vegetarian, but the nearest vegetarian-only restaurant that I know of is about 26 miles away.

I am less picky than I used to be, but I’m still picky. My pickiness is largely based on how food looks. I’m also worried that if I order a new food at a restaurant, I won’t like it and I will have wasted money. I’m not picky based on texture, but I have liked certain foods or snacks because of its texture. Sometimes, me trying new foods would be a result of not having any choice. One time, Red Lobster ran out of chicken tenders on Mother’s Day, so I had to have a chicken caesar salad. I wanted to try the caesar salad, though, so I guess it wasn’t that bad of an experience. I also had to try beef stew one time at my ex-boyfriend’s family dinners to celebrate someone’s birthday. There was way too much wine in it. I’m sensitive with overpowering tastes, which is why I don’t like chocolate.

However, I have discovered foods that I like because of trying new things. I love sushi now, after trying it in March 2016. My boyfriend’s father’s cousin made the best French toast I ever had (I first tried it at my childhood friend Samantha’s 13th birthday sleepover). Franklin, honey, if you see this blog post, tell Ms. Linda to invite us over for brunch again. Maybe for Christmas? I first tried miso soup in 2014 when a moderator group I was a part of went out for Japanese food. Very delicious. I always get miso soup with my sushi.

So shame on you if you want to stigmatize people for something that it turns out they can’t control. Trust me, we don’t want to be picky eaters either.

Mental Health · Workplace

I Was a Victim of Workplace Bullying

October is Bullying Prevention Month. There was also a recent workplace shooting two miles away from where I’m currently working. A coach in kickboxing told me that the guy was bullied at work. Due to these reasons, I must come out and talk about my experience with workplace bullying.

In August 2015, I finished a 20-week intensive developer training and started employment at a company. More than a month later, I was starting to have problems. One main problem was this one guy who joined my project team. He gravitated towards me because I have the same issues with programming that he does. He would show me things that helped him, but sometimes he would treat me as if I was cognitively disabled. At one point, he directly asked me if I have any learning disabilities because it seems like I did. It hit me hard because he has a few learning disabilities (turns out I have ADHD, but didn’t find that out until this past June. That explains why I have trouble thinking in ways programmers have to think). I was also told that I tried too hard to make friends with a group of people I started sitting with at lunch.

I tried to get my mom to get me evaluated for learning disabilities and autism, since many disabilities don’t get picked up as kids. Disabilities don’t always get picked up because people learn to adapt. She wouldn’t do it. I know she doesn’t want to think about having a child with specific issues. She had a younger brother with autism. I ended up having to see my third (and final) therapist after a mental breakdown at home where I said I wanted to shoot up my workplace. I was also having homicidal thoughts. I stress this part because if it wasn’t for the fact that we had metal detectors at both entrances of the building I worked at during that time, I would have been the one on the news. People would strengthen gun control (which is necessary, IMO, but don’t focus on that in your comments) to further stigmatize people with mental illness because of me.

So I saw a therapist on Thursdays once a week, then later once every two weeks. It wasn’t effective. I recently learned why therapy doesn’t work for me, and it’s due to an aspect of ADHD that describes me. That’s irrelevant, though. People started rumors about me and also actively tried to get me fired. I had to report the rumors to my mentor because if the higher-ups heard about it, I’d likely have been either terminated or put on a performance improvement plan (which almost always leads to being fired anyways). Many months in, every meeting with the exception of daily standup meetings mentioned how I need help with things. The team thought it would motivate me to become better, but I shut down. I stopped caring about work. I was only there to make money and leave.

Things got so bad that I started having physical manifestations of my mental health issues. I noticed a few bumps on my right hand. A few days later, they appeared on my left hand. Then they spread to part of my forearms. At this point, I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something. Even at my childhood friend’s sleepover for her husband’s birthday, I woke up with my arms itching like crazy. They have a cat, so I was scared I was finally becoming allergic. Luckily, as I discover a week later, was not the case. These bumps even spread to my face for a day. The Monday after my friend’s husband’s birthday, I got let go from my job as a part of a wave of layoffs. That night, I was at my itchiest. Then on Wednesday, my bumps were clearing up. I chalked it up to one of two things: a reaction to a different body wash due to my sensitive skin, or a physical manifestation of my anxiety disorder.

On Wednesday, October 11th, I celebrated a year with my current company. Even now, I have still have lingering issues with what I went through at my old job. One person described it as post-traumatic issues (but they are not a licensed therapist so I’m ignoring that statement). I am making sure I don’t do anything that will make me a target for bullying. I have sadly found a potential bully on my current project. I hope I won’t have to return to therapy because I might as well quit my job if that happens.

Books · LGBTQ

“Harmony” Book Review

It’s another LGBT book! It’s another review! One day, I will have a book review that I can post on YouTube. Well, I already do, but I still haven’t done the review yet. I forget how I found this book. Probably also online in the Gay and Lesbian book section of Powell’s Books. I’m going to need a bookshelf for all the LGBT books I want.

Meet Andrea (mostly referred to as Andy in the book). She is a viola player in a string group that plays at people’s weddings. Meet Brooke, the bride-to-be who hired the string group to play at her wedding. When Brooke met Andy, it caused Brooke to unleash feelings that were forcibly suppressed for years. Join Brooke as she learns more about herself.

It took me so long to finally read this book. I got the book for Christmas last year, but didn’t start reading it until the last day of June. I finally finished the book on the last day of September. I’m not exactly a slow reader.

The first few chapters and the final few chapters are pretty short while the chapters in the middle were longer. I think the book went too fast in regards to Andy and Brooke desiring each other. A few chapters into the book (I believe chapter 3), Brooke and Andy go back to Andy’s apartment for… things that go past making out. I also didn’t like Brooke’s character very much. As much as I relate to her in having trouble with establishing a sense of self when everyone dictates your life, I did not like that she seemed to play with Andy’s heart when deciding what to do with her life.

I honestly thought that Brooke was actually bisexual and this is another book that showcases the lack of bisexual representation in books and the media. However, when I read more of this book, it was clear that Brooke truly is a lesbian. Yes, she was engaged to a man, but she was living her life the way her parents wanted her to live her life. When she started realizing that she likes girls, her parents sent her to therapy as a way to make her straight. We have now learned that conversion therapy is psychologically harmful.

One thing I like about the book is that feminism is a part of the book without it being a major theme. Andy is passionate about female composers, especially since female composers are not a thing that people are aware of. When people think composer, people think of men. Near the end of the book, a guest conductor talks to the orchestra and stresses the importance of the concert they’ll be playing. The conductor is also passionate about women being composers and talks about the time when women couldn’t be composers. The conductor advocates for women by hosting a concert made only of songs composed by women. As a feminist who wants women to be supported and uplifted in male-dominated fields, I liked that part.

Despite me not liking Brooke’s character too much, I want to one day be like her. She learned to stop living the life that others want her to live and started living the life she wanted. This year, 2017, I started working towards that. I’m still struggling with it, and I know that my parents are struggling with the fact that I didn’t turn out the way they wanted me to be. A person without mental health issues, a person who believes in God, a person who doesn’t care about what people think. Although I will never be free of mental health issues, will always care about what people think, and can’t find anything logical about religion (and feels that religion can harm more than help), I have to start being what I want.

Uncategorized

A Surprise? For Me? Green Belt for Me!

First off, I want to congratulate Catherine for completing another 5K! She beat her previous time and ran the entire 5 kilometers without stopping! Way to go! Good luck on your next 5K!

I’m recovering from a cold. Just wanted to throw that out there. Since I took a zinc lozenge as soon as I realized my throat was still feeling funny on Thursday afternoon, my cold wasn’t as intense. I was still able to go to kickboxing on Saturday and today. I just have an annoying cough.

So this evening at kickboxing, we did our usual conditioning during the first hour. After we finished our last exercise, the coach told us to stay where we were. He called all the black belt kickboxers to the front of the gym. I originally thought they were going to have us do another exercise or split off into groups. The coach said that kickboxers have an opportunity to obtain rank (we get belts in kickboxing). This is when I thought all kickboxers were being challenged to fight against the black belts and only certain people would get to the next belt. I was called to the center. My coach went to his office and in his hand was a green belt and a certificate. Oh yeah, and Franklin apparently had been keeping it a secret since Saturday. When we were leaving class, my coach wanted to talk to him, but had me stay where I was. Found out tonight that my coach told Franklin the secret about me getting my green belt.

If you remember my post from when I got my yellow belt, I said that it starts taking longer and longer to obtain higher belts and that you get your belt when the coach feels like you deserve it. There are also times where you don’t formally test and you get surprised with a belt. That was my case. I didn’t formally test and I only got my yellow belt three months ago.

I was told that no one has ever gotten to green belt this quickly, but I deserved it since I showed up to every class since I started and I worked hard. I have been doing kickboxing for more than 8 months. Today in class, I reviewed the techniques I already learned. I reached this goal sooner than I expected. I expected to get my green belt at the end of this year or beginning of next year.

Now that I’m a green belt, my next belt goal to aim for is blue. That means I will be learning more techniques. A few new things on the list of things you need to know for blue belt are things I already know. The two new kicks I will learn will be spinning crescent kick and spinning hook kick. I will surely be dizzy now!

Rant

Don’t Moon the Photographer! A Guest Perspective of a 2016 Wedding

For my friends whose first language isn’t English: Mooning someone means to show someone your bare butt by bending over and pulling down your pants and underwear.

I’m going to be vague on a few things and change some names because I don’t want anyone from the wedding knowing exactly who is doing this guest perspective. This blog post is in the rant category because this will mostly be a complaint about the wedding.

In 2016, my parents, my boyfriend at the time, and I attended my childhood friend’s wedding. She was still in elementary school when we met, so I am still saying childhood friend. My friend Maxine married Josh (names changed). I didn’t want to be there because I wasn’t asked to be in the wedding (we all thought I was going to be in it. Even her family members thought I was going to be in the wedding). I was already in a bad mood because my then-boyfriend left his phone at JcPenney the night before when he was trying on clothes for the wedding. We didn’t realize it until after the store closed. When we went back the next morning, they didn’t have the phone claimed. I think a worker found it, but chose to not turn it in.

The ceremony:

  • Started late. Didn’t really care about that since I heard someone say that it’s bad luck to start a wedding on time. The reason why the wedding started late was because only a few people on Josh’s side were here. Many minutes later, a giant group of people from Josh’s side arrived. I guess they got a bus from a hotel and it was running late
  • Way too much prayer! One prayer is fine, but four or five? Way too much! I’m an atheist so this was a big problem for me. I swear there was a prayer between each part in the ceremony. I think I even rolled my eyes and quietly huffed after prayer number 3. This is why my wedding will be 100% secular.
  • The processional was sad. What I mean is the bridesmaids looked sad. I seriously wonder who died. I am likely to be a bridesmaid at my cousin’s wedding in April 2019 (my cousin’s fiancee told me I’m in the planning committee and her sister will text everyone next year) so I hope the wedding party looks happy. Side note: I am very excited about my cousin getting married.
  • The flower girls, who were 1 and 3, were going anywhere but down the aisle. From what I read, if a flower girl or ring bearer is under the age of 7, they may not walk down the aisle perfectly, even if there is a wedding rehearsal. The three-year-old eventually walked down the aisle properly, but I think Maxine’s stepmom should have picked up the one-year-old and carried her down the aisle (the flower girls were Maxine’s half-sisters). I think their delay in going down the aisle caused my friend to miss her musical cue. I have a strong feeling of when she was supposed to walk down the aisle with her dad.

After the recessional, the photographer told us to make a half moon around the wedding party for the group picture before the wedding party photos. Dad asked me if we can moon the photographer. I told him no. This is where the title of this blog post came from. Dad also asked this when we stepped into the reception area, after the officiant blessed the food, and while we were eating.

Reception:

  • I don’t remember if the salad was served before or after the wedding party walked into the reception area. I didn’t put dressing on my salad because I didn’t know if the dressing was ranch. I have a food sensitivity to something in ranch and I will feel nauseous if I eat or kiss someone who ate ranch. Found out later it was Italian dressing. The caterers should have actually said what it was.
  • When Maxine and Josh walked into the reception area, not everyone stood up. I think a table and a half on the other side stayed seated. Guess who was singled out by the “aunt” (who is actually Maxine’s dad’s friend who probably is still attracted to the bride’s dad)? That’s right, me. I was in a bad mood already. Lay off, you alcoholic swine.
  • The dances happened after the dinner, which surprised me. I expected the dances to happen right after the bride and groom walked in. I expected the following to happen: wedding party walks in, the newlyweds walk in, first dance by the newlyweds, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, eat food.
  • I thought it was decent that Maxine’s dad walked onto the dance floor from being a bit hidden for the father-daughter dance, but I would want my dad to already be on the dance floor when it’s time for us to dance.
  • It was a buffet dinner, which I prefer instead of plated meals. This is mainly because I have some family members who may not be able to have a regular meal (niece is allergic to peanuts and beets while a cousin has Celiac Disease). There were a lot of food options. The alcoholic “aunt” commented that she loves black weddings because they serve fried chicken. I knew she was already drunk at this point. The food was good, though.
  • Mom complained about the music during dinner. I think she said the music sounded too “old”. I reminded her that this was Disney music by Randy Newman. All of the music on the CD on the tables were from Disney. Maxine wanted a Tinkerbell wedding, but Josh luckily said no. She got married shortly before her 23rd birthday, so yeah. Too old for Tinkerbell.
  • No one seemed to pay attention to the cake cutting. I’m not sure if the cake cutting was announced. If it was, no one cared. As someone who strongly craves attention, I would be openly pissed about it.
  • Here’s the part that caused me to almost start a brawl: the bouquet toss and the garter toss. Long story short, the garter was passed to the best man and the bouquet was passed to the best man’s girlfriend. On top of my then-boyfriend’s phone being stolen and way too much prayer, I snapped. I was livid. I’m flipping out at people and my dad couldn’t even calm me down. We had to leave during the groomsmen dance performance of “Sexy and I Know It” because I was in kill mode. The only reason why I didn’t start attacking people was because the bride was my reference for my security clearance investigation. Maxine, if you read this, you are damn lucky.

So to my fellow brides-to-be, grooms-to-be, and non-binary spouses-to-be, I have some tips for you based on this wedding (and a few other weddings, but mainly this one)”

  • Not everyone is Christian. Don’t assume and respect those who aren’t Christian
  • Limit people’s alcohol consumption at the wedding. Of course, alcoholics will have already had some drinks before heading to the ceremony
  • People walking down the aisle should pretend to be happy that the couple is getting married. I know the real reason why Josh proposed to Maxine (no, she wasn’t pregnant despite what I originally thought), but this is the perfect time to be fake
  • Don’t have flower girls that are too young. Four or five years old is a good minimum age
  • Make sure people use clear language so people don’t misinterpret things. Not only for people who want to joke at a solemn event, but for people whose language may not be English
LGBTQ

Coming Out: My Story

First off, I apologize if some things don’t make sense in my coming out story. I wrote this years ago and I discovered nearly a year ago that one romantic interest from university now identify as non-binary and another came out as a guy (so that line about liking someone who is not a guy can be ignored), so I had to change some wording and pronouns. Updated coming out post here.

So most of my life, I thought I was straight. When I was in 6th grade, a rumor started spreading that I was a lesbian (everyone in 6th grade knew I had a huge crush on this guy). It was probably because I liked hugging people. I come from a huggy-kissy family. Nope. Straight.

Fast forward to my first semester of university. I kept having the desire to kiss girls, especially this girl who sat next to me in math class and was also in my first-year seminar class (I saw her three times a week that semester. Let’s call her Bec). That’s when I started questioning my sexuality. Am I bisexual? I’ve always liked guys before and at the time I liked a football player I met during orientation adventures. I later concluded that I was straight and was one of the not-so-uncommon people who wanted to know what it’s like to kiss girls.

In the beginning of sophomore year, I felt like I was starting to develop feelings for one of my roommates (which scared me since I never liked a girl before), but that was nipped in the bud when I started a relationship with a guy from anime club. One of my friends said those feelings went away because I was suppressing them.

Junior year, my feelings came back for the former roommate (we’ll call her Mo). Thanks to a lesbian friend, she helped me confess my feelings to Mo. To this day, I don’t know if she liked me back or not. During the summer, I woke up realizing that I was bi-curious. I was even planning on asking Mo out. That never happened.

First semester of senior year, I liked this guy after getting over a guy I was interested in. Mid-semester, I went to the Coming Out Monologues. There was a freshman there coming out as bisexual. Let’s call him Alex. That was when I deemed them the coolest person I ever met (we both like wearing hoodies and we don’t conform) and I felt like I wouldn’t be surprised if I fell in love with him. I had a dream that we were at an on-campus eatery and holding hands at the table. That was the first sign that I was getting feelings for someone who is not a guy*. Once again, I was scared. After some encouragement from Alex, I confessed my feelings to him after the last LGBTQIA club meeting before the semester ended (the last club meeting was on the week before finals week). I wrote the note on the index card in case he was walking back to his dorm with someone else. I ended up having to hand him the card since he was walking with another club member. I got rejected a week later and I had to make sure I didn’t cry (being rejected so many times hurts. You get used to it, but it hurts). This was when I started questioning my sexuality for the second time.

Second semester of senior year, I went to lunch with another person from my university’s LGBTQIA club a week into that semester (I joined that club during junior year as an ally). Let’s call this person Taylor. They’re not a straight person. We stayed at lunch for three hours. They asked me at some point if I was bisexual or pansexual. I told them “questioning, but leaning towards bi”. After I got back to my on-campus apartment (they had homework to finish up, so we had to end the lunch), I couldn’t stop thinking about how much fun I had and that’s when I wanted to ask them to be my valentine. Later that week, I got my friend to take me to get origami paper and I practiced making origami hearts. I was going to give the heart to them at the club meeting before Valentine’s Day, but due to the impending snowstorm, that club meeting got canceled. I think I almost cried when I got the club cancellation e-mail. I ended up having to wait an additional week to give the heart to them (and that was after Valentine’s Day). When I developed feelings for them, that’s when I realized that I am indeed bisexual. I didn’t accept myself as bisexual until the Sunday after Valentine’s Day. Yay for realizing this at 21, which is later than for most people.

I’m only out to online friends and three friends from university (all three of whom fall somewhere on the LGBTQIA spectrum; a lesbian, a pansexual trans man, and a bisexual ex-boyfriend). I’m not out to family because even now, after realizing my bisexuality three years ago, I’ve only been with guys (partially due to dad’s homophobia, and partially due to my mom’s side of the family being religious Christians). I was also afraid to come out as bisexual because I didn’t know if the feelings for girls would end after graduating university (it didn’t. I developed feelings for a girl who worked at Noodles & Company). In retrospect, Bec may have been the first girl I ever liked.

Workplace

First Week on New Project

So I just finished my first week on my new project, so I wanted to say something about it.

Day 1: Monday, October 2nd

There is a higher percentage of women on this team compared to my previous project. There is a higher percentage of people of color (people who are not white) on this team compared to my previous project. As a feminist and someone who wants the successes of black people to be brought out to the forefront, this makes me very happy. This day was just about being introduced to people, reading documentation about the software, and getting my laptop set up. You know, typical first day of work stuff. I found a thumbtack, so I’m going to tack the picture of my boyfriend from his Captain’s Career Course (and wearing eclipse glasses) onto my cubicle. It won’t stay up there long because he just did a phone interview to be put on the project I’m on and I don’t want to jeopardize my position on the project due to possible negative reactions to our relationship. At least I don’t need to find a picture frame. I also feel like I’m not going to feel a close connection with the developers there.

Day 2: Tuesday, October 3rd

I’m mad at my boyfriend so I didn’t take his picture to work today. Today was filled with more reading and setting up my laptop. I also had my picture taken for my access badge, which I hope to get soon. I feel like the cliques have already been established by the time I got here, so I’m just going to keep to myself. I also found out the company in charge of this project stays open on Columbus Day. Since my company counts that as a paid holiday, I can either take off that day or make it a floating holiday (which means I will work that day, and take off another day). One day, I’ll drive to the nearby Panera Bread to grab lunch, but I’ll wait until after I get my access badge so I won’t have to turn in my visitors badge every time I have to leave the office. Oh, and I didn’t get lost going to my cubicle. I was worried that the building layout would cause me to get lost.

Day 3: Wednesday, October 4th

Still more reading (though I think I’m done now) and still more set-up. Now I’m at the point where I’m just going to shadow people. For lunch, most of the developers went to a nearby Asian restaurant. Since I knew we didn’t have all the time in the world, I only ordered miso soup and a California roll. Service was really slow, even though there weren’t many people in the restaurant. I don’t think we’re going back since we were there for nearly an hour and a half. I’ll go to Panera Bread next week. I still feel like the social cliques within the developer team have already been established, so I’m going to stick with someone I know from my previous project when he starts next week. I already know I won’t like this project and I’m stuck here for three years. Hopefully Franklin gets approved to join this project because he’s my saving grace for this project.

Day 4: Thursday, October 5th

Kind of a boring day today. At least being at the nearby eye doctor during lunch made things less boring (the eye appointment went well today). I got to do a few things other than the usual first-week stuff. I got to test functionality and got to use something called Postman to test the back-end for a few things. Found out last night that my boyfriend didn’t get accepted onto my project because they felt like he didn’t have enough systems engineering experience. His boss is trying to renegotiate, though. I also saw someone from my old project. The guy goes back and forth between offices doing systems administration stuff, and today was his first full day at this office. So now there are two people from my old project on this project and a few more will be joining (the developer lead from my old project will start next week on this project, a tester will start next month, a developer will start in January, and another developer will be here… I don’t know when). Oh, and I realized today that my first work anniversary with my current company is in 6 days.

Day 5: Friday, October 6th

Today is pay day! I still haven’t gotten my badge yet, and I’m mildly angry about that. I also had to stay later than anticipated again. I hope this won’t be the norm where people want me to do stuff when it’s close to time for me to leave. It’s Friday. Most people were gone by 3, but I stayed to do all my hours. Not much to say. Looked at code. Learned that we can wear jeans on Fridays (not all contracts allow this). At least my boyfriend is spending the night tomorrow night.