Mental Health · Self-Reflection

This Thanksgiving, I Am Thankful For…

Trigger Warning: This blog post mentions suicidal thoughts and ideation. Please please please stay away from this blog if you find anything relating to suicide to be triggering!

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is the day where I volunteer at a community center for the third year in a row, I’m off from work, Franklin gets free food (as is tradition whenever he comes to my house), and we (are forced to) reflect on things we’re thankful for. I know some people have the same feelings about Thanksgiving that they do about Columbus Day, which is why this Thanksgiving post is for a time of reflection.

I never really had to do an “I’m thankful for…” speech on Thanksgiving until last year at my childhood friend’s apartment during “Friendsgiving”. Yay, fun.

There have been some things going on in the past month, starting with getting my midterm exam results back. Read that if you haven’t yet, and pay close attention to the friend I talk about in that blog post. Okay, you’re back. Well, my friend was going through some mental health issues last month and at the beginning of the month, I found out how bad things were getting. (Hence the trigger warning at the beginning)

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my friend still being alive. (Trigger warning starts here and ends at the next bolded text)

Let me preface this by saying that he’s been in therapy for awhile and got his medication dosage increased sometime last month. I’m thankful that he didn’t go through with committing suicide like he planned to do mid-October. He planned to buy a shotgun and… yeah… I had a friend attempt suicide before, but I had a much stronger reaction to what my friend was planning to do. I stayed at school after he left since I knew there would have been no way I could drive (I learned in driving school to not drive when you’re highly emotional).

This Thanksgiving, I am also thankful for still having him as a friend even though he has feelings for me.

I had it confirmed last week that the aforementioned friend likes me. Yes, he knows I’m engaged. While this seems a bit what the heck-ish to be thankful, you should know something… back in my second year of undergrad, a friend told me his feelings for me were so strong that if I didn’t date him, then he couldn’t be friends with me anymore. I’d feel really hurt if this friend’s feelings were so strong that I’d have to choose him or lose him. Besides, I’m engaged and my wedding is less than 200 days away. A little bit of a tangent that’s still related: I keep getting asked by the same person at work “Are you sure you want to get married?” and I’m getting tired of it. She even said yesterday that she thinks the wedding isn’t going to happen. I know it’s because of my friend. My mom wants me to invite this friend and another grad school friend to my wedding. I might as well be stepping on his heart…

So yeah, these things aren’t the typical “I’m thankful to have food on the table” or “I’m thankful for my family”, but they’re things I’m truly thankful for.

Self-Discovery · Self-Reflection

I Think I Found a Purpose in Life?

So I was going to make a blog post about walking around without having a purpose in life. I was going to question on my blog over whether life was worth anything if you didn’t have a purpose. I wondered how you found your purpose in life because I completely disagree with my ex about how you have to create your own purpose.

But I think I found my purpose in life.

First of all, how does someone find their purpose in life? Does it magically fall into your lap, do you take some time to reflect on your interests, or do you have to create your own purpose?

For me, I found what I think is my purpose in life by reflecting on my interests. I’m just now thinking about a blog post I encountered when I started blogging and it was an activity on how to find your purpose. I forgot about it for over a year, but I remember how you can find your purpose based on your passions. My passions include the following:

  • music (both instrumental and vocal, though I have been focusing on singing lately),
  • performing (which is being satisfied via choir), and
  • social justice (me being vocal about social justice issues has caused problems, but I don’t care. They can’t silence me! People have tried and failed!)

I also like public speaking, but I don’t do it as often as I used to, so it’s not exactly a passion.

So now that I know my passions, how can I turn my passion into a purpose? Is there something in common with music, performing, social justice, and public speaking? Hmm, let’s see.

  • Music is one of my passions. Since I’m currently singing, I am using my voice as an instrument
  • I fulfill my performance passion by singing in a choir. I use my singing voice for a song related to the day’s service
  • I use my voice to speak out against sexism, racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and other social injustices
  • When I do public speaking, I am using my voice to talk about whatever I would be talking about

What word do you see in all of the about bullet points?

Voice.

I feel like my purpose in life is to use my voice.

Let me tell you a fact about myself that I forgot about until I thought about what could possibly be my purpose: I have an interest in spoken word. It just seems so powerful when it’s spoken. Maybe I felt inspired by Kavindu “Kavi” Ade’s spoken word performance titled “It” (Warning: Mentions of transphobic actions and words) that felt so powerful when I watched the video a year after one of my best friends in undergrad came out to me saying he’s a guy.

When I developed an interest in spoken word, I wanted to do a spoken word performance calling out my family for not rallying behind my cousin who struggles with alcohol addiction. I wanted an outlet for my social justice feelings. However, not only is it hard to find spoken word venues to express myself, but I won’t be able to handle any criticisms for my works of spoken art. (Thanks Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria…)

So yeah, I’m going to use my voice now. Time to put batteries in the megaphone mom bought me for Christmas.

Self-Discovery · Self-Reflection

Independence Scares Me

Hey everyone, I am about to go back to grad school to start the spring semester so I will not be posting as much. Then again, I haven’t posted much during winter break.

So I will be the first to admit that being independent scares me. I’m just not used to it, really. I started being independent on some things late, too. I’m very sure I didn’t start dressing myself for school until 4th grade. I think I was in college when I finally started picking out my own clothes to wear. My grandmother was worried about me when I started college since I was going to be living in a dorm and never really learned the life skills I needed to be independent. It is important to note that I have not been diagnosed with autism. Just wanted to point that out in case people assumed.

I have been called sheltered multiple times by a former co-worker as well as my previous boyfriend. While I wasn’t really bothered by my former co-worker using that word to describe me, being called sheltered multiple times by my ex somewhat damaged me and has triggered bouts of high anxiety. Due to my mental health issues, my parents feel the need to coddle me. I know my anxiety disorder means that being independent is extremely hard because when I hear about all the things I still need to do, my anxiety heightens. Trying something that will help me be more independent is anxiety-inducing. I still feel the need to be coddled.

If I was truly independent, I wouldn’t still be living with my parents at age 26. I wouldn’t have mental health issues that cause me to not be able to live alone (not exactly safe for me). I wouldn’t be labeled a damaging label like “sheltered”. If I were truly independent, I would be able to drive myself more places instead of getting anxiety when driving on interstates.

I was driving home from work earlier this month when I thought about how I will eventually need to drive myself to and from classes for grad school. The goal I had originally set was to drive to school myself for the spring semester. I was practicing, but then mom was living with grandmother for part of October since my grandmother had her other hip replaced and my mom needed to stay with her. I worry about not meeting my goal of driving myself because if I can’t do it after the first week of classes (the spring parking permit does not go into effect until February 1st, after my first week of classes), will I ever be able to drive myself?

So I came up with a plan. On both of my class days next week, I will drive to and from school with mom in the vehicle since the spring parking pass doesn’t go into effect at the start of the semester for some reason. If I feel comfortable driving each time I get behind the wheel and take the interstate to and from school, I will purchase a parking pass. If not, then I’ll keep practicing and get a spring pass the next month. Does that sound like a good plan? I’m not used to taking charge of making a major life change like this.

Now can someone tell me why L-theanine mostly comes in pill form? I can’t swallow pills.

Self-Reflection · Try Something New 2018

Looking Back on the Try Something New in 2018 Pledge

In this blog, I pledged to try one new thing each month in 2018. The new thing could be trying a new food, doing a new activity, or going someplace new. I have asked my fellow readers and my fiancé to hold me accountable. At the end of each month, I told you all what new thing or things I have tried and discussed the barriers that caused me to not try it before.

2018 is over and we are now in 2019. I can now say my wedding is next year! But let’s stay in the present and look at the past in this blog.

Surprisingly, I was able to keep myself accountable for doing something new this month. Yes, there were some days that I only tried one thing new, but it’s something. Starting out, I was doing a lot of new things, which is probably why some months didn’t have many new things. I was able to add a few new foods to add to my somewhat short list of foods I eat.

If I were to pick a favorite thing I tried, it would be joining the choir at my Unitarian Universalist church. It’s mostly men, though. From what I was told, there used to be a lot more women in the choir, but I know two choir members just moved to a different state so they clearly won’t be at the church anymore. It wasn’t a problem before since we were able to recruit more sopranos for last month’s song, but it’s becoming a problem for me now since I can’t sing as high as I’m supposed to because I can only hear the men.

So for 2019, I have decided to do a quarterly decluttering. I’m doing the decluttering as a way to get a head start on getting rid of things I don’t need so I won’t be rushing to do it right before the wedding.

Self-Reflection

One Semester Down, Lots More to Go

I used up a lot of my blog brain energy writing a guest post about grad school for another blog, so this blog post will not include everything I would have included. Find my guest post here.

I finished my first semester of grad school last week. Like with my summer math class (which I luckily got a B in, after much hard work studying for the third exam since I didn’t do so well in the second exam and the three exams were worth 75% of my final grade. Needed at least a B in the class since I’m a grad student in an undergrad math class), I had to develop the study habits required to do well in college. Unlike in undergrad, I need to pass with at least a B in my classes. Unlike in undergrad where you need to have at least a 2.0 to graduate, you need at least a 3.0 to graduate from grad school.

I also have the additional challenge of being a “conditionally accepted” student. Because I had under a 3.0 GPA in undergrad (but over 2.75 GPA. I was closer to the 3.0, though), I need at least a 3.0 GPA in my first year of grad school to stay in the computer science program. It’s why I had to learn study habits that I was never taught for undergrad. I’m happy to say that I’m on track for meeting the minimum GPA to stay in the program.

Data Structures and Algorithm Analysis: If you remember back to this blog, I said I had to take prerequisites since my Bachelor’s degree was not in computer science. This class was my easier of the two classes since I’m a developer at work and have learned these concepts before in an intensive 20-week training for my first job out of college. The only difference is that I was learning C++ in this class, which I find easier than Java. I experienced anxiety once during the lab for this class. I liked having a lab in this class since we could practice the concepts we learned.

Final grade: A.

Computer Organization and Assembly Language: This was my final prerequisite class. I’m glad I’m done with that class since that class was a lot harder. This class is what the university calls as satisfactory/unsatisfactory class (otherwise known as a pass/fail class) and you needed at least an 80% to get satisfactory (it IS grad school, after all). I was worried about passing this class because the final exam was 40% of the final grade and that exam was tough, even though I had been studying for that exam since this month started.

Final grade: Satisfactory. (Thank goodness)

I did the graduate career exception option for discrete math. This meant the class would not count towards my GPA, which is good since I would have to apply again as an undergraduate non-degree seeking student if I wanted it to count towards my GPA and I didn’t want this class to bring down my GPA because I need at least a 3.0 to not get kicked out of the program. Pass/fail classes only count towards your GPA if you fail the class, so this didn’t count towards my GPA either. Only my data structures and algorithm analysis class counted towards my GPA.

Current GPA: 4.0

Now that I’m done with my prerequisites, I’ll be getting into the core classes needed to graduate. A professor warned everyone in my class that things will be getting more intense. Next semester, I will take a computer networks class and a database management systems class. Thank goodness the wedding planning won’t kick into high gear again until after the spring semester is over.

Self-Reflection · Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Things in November

In this blog, I pledged to try one new thing each month in 2018. The new thing could be trying a new food, doing a new activity, or going someplace new. I have asked my fellow readers and my fiancé to hold me accountable. At the end of each month, I will tell you all what new thing or things I have tried. I will also discuss the barriers that caused me to not try it before.

I officially call this the “New Restaurant Month” because all new things I tried involved going to new restaurants. First off, I finally went to Hard Rock Cafe!

Barriers to going to Hard Rock Cafe: I have wanted to go there for years. Honest. I was supposed to go there for my childhood friend and her husband’s combined bachelor/bachelorette party back in 2016 (read my wedding review here). However, whomever was supposed to make the reservations failed to do it in time and we had to have the party elsewhere. Over a year later, I wanted to go there, but then went to an expensive sushi place instead.

Why I finally made it to Hard Rock Cafe: I told Franklin we had to go there since we were nearby for a bridal expo.

My thoughts on Hard Rock Cafe: Eh, probably not going to go back. I asked for no onions on my burger and I still got it. It wasn’t the waiter’s fault, honestly. I think the cook tried to sneak onions in my burger since it was underneath the cheese. Maybe next time, I’ll get the mac, chicken, and cheese. Despite the insane amount of calories in it.

I also went to a new Asian restaurant!

Barrier to going to that Asian restaurant: It didn’t exist until two years ago, but I never got the chance to go there.

Why I went to the Asian restaurant: I originally wasn’t planning on going to dinner after the exploring membership class at my UU church, but Franklin didn’t have a Skype meeting with his classmates, so we went.

My thoughts on the Asian restaurant: Best. Spicy tuna roll. Ever! I also loved the intimate atmosphere in there, despite it seeming like an open space. And even though the price of the food there is more expensive than the nearest sushi place from where I live, the price for two people wasn’t as expensive for some reason. Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either. I’ll hopefully return there.

The third restaurant I went to is Olive Garden!

Barrier to going to Olive Garden: I got it mixed up with another Olive restaurant that I went to in years past that I didn’t like.

Why I went to Olive Garden: It was one of the restaurants with something for free for veterans and I didn’t want to go to the same places we went to last year (Sorry Friendly’s and Red Robin). Franklin’s a veteran, so date night!

My thoughts on Olive Garden: Despite it being crowded, our food came out fast! Even our waitress was surprised! Tip: Olive Garden is one of the many restaurants where you can put yourself on an online wait list and you won’t have to wait as long. You still have to wait, but if I didn’t check online, we would have been standing there for 35-40 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

I also went to a steakhouse for dessert, but to keep it brief, it was for the free veterans’ dessert (and my paid dessert). The desserts were big and we got full before we could finish. We wished to just share one dessert.

And finally, I went to an Italian restaurant that also has the name “Olive” in it!

Barrier to going to an Italian restaurant: I just don’t go to any very often.

Why I went to the “Olive” restaurant: Earlier this month, Franklin and I went to a consultation for the photography and videography service. We went out to dinner after that.

My thoughts on the “Olive” restaurant: For a restaurant that’s connected to a hotel, it wasn’t small. It wasn’t big either, but we weren’t cramped. Also, the chicken tasted so fresh! It’s too far for me to go back there unless I’m in the area, though.

Total Restaurant Visit Count: 5.

Next month’s Try Something New will be my last Try Something New post since this was for 2018 only. After next month’s post, I will be talking about why I decided to try at least one new thing each month and reflecting on what I did. I will also announce what I will be doing for 2019 since I already decided what I will be doing then.

I must also tell you that I will be spending a lot of time studying for my mid-December final exams. Just like before, this means I may not make many blog posts. If I do, they were probably pre-written in any spare time I have and are scheduled to automatically post.

DiaryofSelf Marries in 2020 · Self-Reflection

Am I Feminist Enough? Feminism and Weddings

When a feminist goes through wedding planning, she (or they) becomes aware or is already aware of traditions that are misogynistic and women-are-property-based. Feminists will choose to chuck traditions out the window. Websites like A Practical Wedding and The Feminist Bride preach about outdated misogynistic traditions and how to raise a middle finger to the patriarchy which still exists today. But what if, like me, there are traditions that a feminist wants to keep? After reading many posts on r/weddingplanning as well as The Feminist Bride, I started questioning if I was truly a feminist.

Some traditions seen by feminists as misogynistic and women-are-property-rooted include changing your last name to your future husband’s last name, having your father walk you down the aisle, being walked down the aisle in general, being “given away”, having the bride’s parents pay for the wedding, even changing your prefix from Miss or Ms. to Mrs.

Guess how many of those aforementioned misogynistic traditions I’m doing because I’m very big on tradition? Everything except being “given away” and having my parents pay for my wedding. Instead of the part where the officiant asks who’s giving me away, I’m having the officiant ask our families who welcomes Franklin as part of my family and who welcomes me as a part of Franklin’s family (and the family members will say “We do). Before I became a feminist and while I was still with my previous ex, I wanted the welcome into the family instead because of two families becoming one and such. Franklin and I will pay for our wedding because I read so many stories where families contribute financially and try to butt in with what they want. Since money usually comes with strings attached in this case, we want the wedding WE want and will not accept input of how OUR wedding should be.

I’m changing my last name because despite it being seemingly simple, it is often spelled wrong. Someone is walking me down the aisle because it will feel awkward walking by myself. Dad’s walking me down the aisle because I’m a daddy’s girl (I know some feminists just barfed at daddy’s girl). I never thought that Mrs. would be sexist because according to The Feminist Bride (which is a bit too radfem for my taste. If I was a radfem, I would not be marrying a man), men don’t need a change in prefix to show a change in relationship and sexual status.

So what does this have to do with me questioning my status as a feminist? Am I personally gatekeeping based on what other feminists did to deal with weddings? Probably. Am I falling into confirmation bias due to what I’m reading in regards to feminism and how the wedding planning subreddit seems to be based on being non-traditional? I barely looked at that subreddit ever since I got engaged since the only non-traditional thing about the wedding is that Franklin and I are an interracial couple. I should continue with taking breaks from invalidating readings.

However, I will still try to add some feminist elements to my wedding. I’m still deciding on who to have as my officiant, but if it’s my pastor from the Unitarian Universalist church, I know she will be well aware about how to make a ceremony feminist. In the ceremony and in speeches, women WILL speak first. I’m putting the song “Blurred Lines” on the “Do Not Play” list. The religious reading will be a scripture that DOESN’T say I need to be subservient to my husband or that I have to obey him. There will be other ways my wedding will be social justice aware, but I’ll talk about that in a future wedding planning blog post.

Before I go, I plead for someone to donate to my Light the Night fundraising page that will benefit patients going through blood cancers and their families. While I am no longer walking the charity event because no one is giving me credit for coming up with this idea and every donation going to Franklin, I will leave this up until November 3rd. I’m tired of white men not giving credit to women, especially women of color.