Reinventing Me: How is That Going?

Earlier this year, I ended a relationship. I vowed to reinvent myself by doing three things that would help out. Let’s see how I’m doing!

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.

I still don’t know how I can figure out who I am, and at this point, I don’t want to accept that I don’t know who I am. I don’t want to accept that I may have no purpose in life. However, I no longer feel like knowing who I am is what needs to keep me alive. I’m 25. People a lot younger than I am know who they are.

Months later, I never heard back from the subgroup of Living Legacy Foundation that focuses on minorities becoming organ donors. Guess that’s not happening unless I talk to Living Legacy Foundation. However, I did a volunteering activity.

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.

I’m not really doing more things on my own. There’s nothing to do around here. I started driving to my boyfriend’s house again after finding out that my new medicated eye drops to prevent glaucoma is working. I did some volunteer work by myself on Thanksgiving morning. Read more about that here. Long story short, I had a great experience, was able to reflect on the things I do have, and befriended a university student who will be studying abroad in Korea in a couple of months. Good luck, Angela!

So I went to a NAMI meeting on a Tuesday. Apparently the newspaper put the wrong date because it happens one Wednesday each month. I was very angry about that and I don’t want to seek support for my mental health issues. No, I don’t want to miss one kickboxing day each month. I just learned the jumping spinning roundhouse kick and I’m working on having less fear when sparring.

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.

I looked through some websites and liked that Zen Buddhism isn’t a religious practice. I have personal issues with religions. However, what turned me off of Zen Buddhism is that they claim to have a “right” way of thinking. I have no idea what the “right” way of thinking is, but I have an anxiety disorder and ADHD. I can’t think right no matter what. Plus, there is more than one way to think about things. I don’t like people who think they are always right. It’s one reason why I left my ex. I can’t work on healing myself if I have to conform to a path of life.

So pretty much my reinvention isn’t going too well. I feel like I need to gain some life skills to become independent first before I do anything else. How I’m going to do that, I don’t know. First, I have to convince my parents that my disabilities should not prevent them from teaching me life skills.


Self-Reflection: My Thoughts from Volunteering on Thanksgiving Morning

This blog post is a follow-up to my post Oooh, A Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunity. Thought anyone who read that post would want to know how things went.

It’s Thanksgiving. A time to gather with family and friends to eat food and hopefully not have to work. I got to spend Thanksgiving with my parents, boyfriend, brother, sister-in-law, and niece. My grandparents are having car trouble so they weren’t able to make it :(. Franklin was looking forward to seeing my grandmother again. Double sad face. But before I got to eat food and play pirates with my niece and boyfriend, I did some volunteer work.

Let me talk about some things that were mentioned in the above linked blog post first.

I saw that volunteers were needed to help with a community Thanksgiving for people who cannot celebrate the holiday with family and friends. People can volunteer to help set up for the meal, transport people to and from the community center where the meal will be held, deliver meals to people who are unable to get to the community center, or serve meals. Personally, I’d just want to serve meals, but I can help with setting up as well.

When I got to the community center at 10 AM, I had to park in the grass since there were many more volunteers than parking spaces. Many of us had to park on the grass. I walked into the community center and signed in. I was asked what I wanted to do and I told the person at the sign-in desk that I wanted to serve meals. She told me where I needed to go and I walked into another part of the community center. In that section were the people behind the tables who were handling the food, people who were lined up holding the Styrofoam containers that the food will go into (these people were called “runners”), and the people who were in charge of packing up the meals for people who were delivering. I was one of the runners, and it involved 2.5 hours of walking in an oval-shaped. Got lots of walking done.

You can either sign up ahead of time or show up that day. By the time I got home from work, the Eventbrite sign up was sold out. I’m still going to show up that day, and if they don’t need me there since every thing is covered, I can just go home.

I did not have to worry about being turned away due to too many volunteers. I think if I showed up any later, then there would not have been enough servers, runners, or meal packer positions for me to do anything. Though I had my GPS with me to drive to the community center, I don’t feel comfortable driving to unfamiliar places unless I do a test run and don’t need to go on an interstate highway. I took a route that was 10 minutes longer just to avoid driving on the interstate to get to and from the community center.

So let me go into detail on my runner role for today’s volunteer opportunity. When I got assigned to the runner role, I got in line with another group of volunteers. Gloves were passed around since we’re going to be around food. We were told what we needed to do and were shown where the Styrofoam containers were located. There were two lines since we had 1,000 planned meals that were going to be delivered. I think the meals for people eating at the community center were served in another room. Those two lines had the same foods. Once I grabbed a container, I went through the line to get the following food items placed in the containers in order: stuffing, mashed potatoes (later changed to macaroni and cheese), turkey, corn, green beans, sweet potatoes, and gravy to go over the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and turkey. We would then go to a table to close the containers and leave the containers at the table before going around to repeat the process of grabbing a Styrofoam container and having the meals placed in the container. I did this until a little after 12:30 PM.

During that time walking around in circles, I befriended a younger person studying graphic design. She will be studying abroad at a university in Seoul, Korea next semester. Best of luck to her. Like me, it was her first time volunteering for this specific event. She found out about the volunteer opportunity through someone at her church while I learned about the event from an online news site called “The Patch”. The Patch has local news, but it has a Patch for many cities around the United States. She said she’ll definitely be back next year and I thought it was a good way to do something other than sitting around waiting for family. We exchanged phone numbers at the end.

So what are my thoughts about the volunteer activity? Even though I did not see the dining room or the line of people waiting to be served meals, I still feel like I made a difference. Some people don’t want to donate money due to many charities using a majority of the donated money to pay their workers instead of using a majority of the money for their cause. Here, we’re donating our time and have something tangible to give to those in need. Also, during one of the first few times I was having food placed in a container I was holding, I had the thought of “What if I was in line to get food so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting a meal?” A few people I talked to wanted to do this too, but I didn’t see them. I probably missed them since they showed up earlier.

Maybe a few people can join me next year.

Self-Discovery · Self-Reflection

Finding My Voice in a Patriarchal Workplace

So today’s post was supposed to be an informational post to help people with finding the right birth control for them, but I did something at work that I’m proud of. Even Santa Claus was proud of me (more on Santa Claus later in this post).

So at work, we have to write user stories so there can be work for us software engineers to do. However, the software that is used for creating the user stories can only be fully used by certain people for right now. Me being one of them. That means people who can fully use the software has to input user stories from people who can’t create the stories on the software. However, I noticed that I’m the one being asked by another developer to input his user stories and another guy’s user stories into the software.

Is this sexism? I don’t know. I had to nip it in the bud.

So yesterday in our daily stand-up meeting (where some people sit down) after I said what I had done the day before and what I planned to do that day, I had asked if anyone else was being asked to input the user stories and I firmly (but professionally) stated that I will not be the secretary for this team. It felt good to nip any plans of taking advantage of me due to misogyny in the bud.

So one of my team leads (I have two) told me that he doesn’t want me feeling that way and he’s hoping that the additional creator licenses will free me from having to be a scribe. He also thinks they would have taken advantage of me if I didn’t speak up. Glad to have a team lead on my side. Then today before the stand-up meeting, a co-worker whose nickname is Santa Claus told me I get a gold star for yesterday. He told me he raised three daughters and he’d expect them to react the same way. As Santa said, I’m not a damn secretary.

I just don’t want a repeat of my previous job and just want to stop things before they start. Becoming a feminist has opened my eyes to opportunities to stop being silent. My mom got a magnet from a friend that says “Woman of strength and dignity” and it’s based on a Bible verse. That magnet will be me and I won’t let men or misogyny get in the way of that. I have the goal to not be like the old version of me who will be overly weak (as learned from an exercise I did with a therapist) and be worried about doing or saying something that makes people unhappy.

Maybe this is the beginning of my transformation. Come join me as I transform.


Revisiting June 2017 Goals

This post will be kind of quick because my cousin is arriving from North Carolina tonight and will be staying in this state for nearly the entire month of July. Since he will sometimes be at this house, my blogging may be a bit lacking.

Near the beginning of June, I came up with goals. Let’s see if I accomplished those goals.

Goal 1: Learn a new life skill. For this goal, I decided to learn to cook something following a recipe. I made lasagna and had minimal help from my dad. Goal completed!

Goal 2: Start learning and using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques. I actually started doing this shortly before making this goal. The technique I used this month was journaling. You just write in your journal about how you’re feeling. I had to do this with my second therapist and my blog post about how I felt about being diagnosed with a very mild case of ADHD is an example of journaling (trigger warning on that blog post: mention of suicidal thoughts).

Goal 3: Get my yellow belt in kickboxing. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in June. Probably because my coach was away from the class for a few days due to attending his girlfriend’s mom’s funeral. However, I was told that I will soon be testing for my yellow belt shortly after he comes back from July 4th weekend (also his birthday weekend).

Goal 4: Finally start reading the book “Harmony” by Karis Walsh. I finally started reading… on the last day of June. Hey, can’t have more than one unmet goal! I’ll do a review on the book after I finish reading it (whenever that is…). Once again, I have to do the review here because it’s an LGBT book and I don’t want any of my YouTube videos to be restricted.

Goal 5: Start doing exercises outside of kickboxing class. I have been doing this. I mainly use weights and I helped a co-worker move into his new apartment this past Tuesday after work.


Self-Reflection: Goals for June 2017

I know it’s weird to mention goals this late in the month, but I’m doing it anyway! You can’t stop me! I haven’t set goals for myself since January, and although I don’t set goals each month, I feel like setting goals will help me become closer to who I want to be.

  1. Learn a new life skill. I’m very far behind in regards to independent life. If I learn life skills, I can finally move out of my parents’ house. I’ll probably learn how to properly cook first because my cooking skills are limited to using the microwave and boiling water to make food. Gosh darnit, I want some chicken orzo soup sometimes!
  2. Start learning and using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques. Seeing as how my mental health has been getting worse since last year and therapy didn’t help me at all with my issues, I’m going to do things myself. I mainly did cognitive behavioral therapy with my second therapist, and I felt like this was the most effective thing for me. I even stopped picking at my skin for awhile! I found a site that has cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that I can do on my own. In a later blog post, I will talk about techniques I have learned in therapy and techniques that I learned online.
  3. Get my yellow belt in kickboxing. Typically, kickboxing classes don’t have belts. I think this is a way to track progress and see what there is to learn next. We don’t have official tests until black belt, but the coach decides when we have earned our belt. My kickboxing coach is a godan (5th degree black belt) in karate and a former professional kickboxer. I hope I get my yellow belt this month because he said it takes 3 to 6 months to be able to get a yellow belt for the kickboxing class and I’ve been doing this for more than 4 months.
  4. Finally start reading the book “Harmony” by Karis Walsh. I’ve had that book since Christmas and haven’t read it yet. That was because I wanted to save the book so I could read it during jury duty selection back in January. They didn’t need me to come in, though. Even if I only read a chapter or two this month, at least I finally read it.
  5. Start doing some exercises outside of kickboxing class. I have a set of 3-pound weights and 8-pound weights at home (they were my dad’s. The 3-pound weights were for his physical therapy after his shoulder surgery 3 years ago), I have a treadmill, and I have enough space to do ab work and work on my splits (I can almost go all the way down when my right leg is forward and I’m so happy about that!). Exercising outside of class could help me become a better kickboxer in regards to strength and stamina. Maybe my co-worker would want to spar or something.

Wow, that’s more goals than I originally thought of (goals one and three were my original goals for this month)! I should be able to do it though, although the yellow belt in kickboxing will be the hardest goal to achieve this month because although it’s up to me to work hard, the coach has the final say in when I get my belt. So tell me, readers, what goals do you have for this month or the next few months?


Self-Reflection: What Things Do I Want to Do?

A few things unrelated to today’s blog topic first. Happy National Nurses Day to all nurses! You’re just as important as doctors. Remember that. Second, I have been getting followers and likes on my blog posts, so thank you everyone who has liked a post or followed my blog! I look at some of your blog entries as well. Now to the reason I’m blogging! I haven’t done any self-reflection on this blog since last month, so it’s definitely time for me to self-reflect. I’m going to talk about what things I’d like to do and I’ll think about how easy or difficult it would be to do what I want to do.

  1. Start playing the clarinet again. Level of Difficulty: Easy. My clarinet is stored somewhere in the laundry room, but I will most likely need to buy new reeds. I haven’t played the clarinet since seven years ago and my reeds probably don’t look good anymore. I may have some unused reeds, but I don’t know if they will still be any good. I should also see if I have my lesson book from middle school music lessons, but if I don’t, I can buy another one at the nearby music store. It’s less than $10.
  2. Learn to ride the bike without training wheels. Level of Difficulty: Hard. My biggest blocker is getting a bike and helmet. Another big blocker is that I’m 24 and haven’t ridden a bike since I was 10. I felt like I was too old to ride with training wheels so after graduating from elementary school, I stopped riding my bike. I think I was starting to get too big for the bike with training wheels because my bike eventually kept tipping over and I’d have to quickly hop off. Riding without training wheels requires balance that I do not have, a bike that I would have to buy at a bike store somewhere (which will likely be very expensive), and a strong core which I am working on doing ab work during kickboxing conditioning hour.
  3. Improve my cooking skills. Level of Difficulty: Medium. The most cooking I’ve ever done was last year when I helped dad make lasagna and I had fun saving my dad a few minutes of time. Otherwise, my cooking skills involve either the use of a microwave or boiling water and adding things (not including soup). What makes this more difficult than it should be? I don’t like touching things that are slimy (so cooking chicken would be out), I’d have to buy things (I am stingy with my money), and someone would have to teach me because I never learned how to learn independently and just following a recipe would likely not end well. Honestly, I’d just make tacos a lot.
  4. Do volunteer work. Level of Difficulty: Medium. I did Service Corps for a year in university which is a club where we did volunteer work one Saturday morning per month. Outside of this club, I have also volunteered one afternoon per week in the summer at a hospital and picked produce at a farm that grew crops for food banks and soup kitchens. Time is my biggest issue for volunteering because I work full-time, I do kickboxing 6 hours per week (2 hours per class, which occurs three times a week), and I’ll be starting to work on my Master’s degree sometime in 2018. Due to time, I would only do volunteer work once a month.
  5. Get back into dance. Level of Difficulty: Hard. For five consecutive years, I did dance classes through a rec center. My fourth-year and fifth-year trophies are a few meters away from me. I had to stop dance because mom thought I’d be too busy with middle school to continue. I tried hip-hop dance once, and I didn’t like it. I tried out for the high school dance team and didn’t make it. I also tried out for the step team in university and I didn’t make it either. I never had to learn dance choreography in short bursts of time and my short-term memory isn’t very good (but my long-term memory is very good. I have scared people by reciting memories from weeks, months, or years ago). Difficulties mainly rise from time, finding a class for adults (there is surprisingly few adult dance classes in studios), and I’d have to relearn ballet first in order to learn any other dance style (most studios require ballet as a prerequisite for other dance styles). Dance can be a form of self-expression and I can use dance as a form of activism.

So out of all five of those, playing the clarinet again would be the easiest thing to do. I keep wanting to pick up the clarinet again because I listened to too many marching band songs on JW Pepper, the site where my high school band teacher would buy marching band music for us to perform. So tell me, readers, what is something that you would like to do? I’d like to hear from you so I’m not just talking to myself on here.

Self-Discovery · Self-Reflection

Let’s Start Off with Self-Reflection

So I had a bad evening last night. I don’t want to go into any details, since this is not what this blog is about. Before I start this blog, I want to bring your attention to something called #20PercentCounts. Women in the workforce on average don’t make as much as men. If you’re a woman of color, you make less on average. Is it fair that a white man without a degree makes more than a woman of color in the same field with a degree? Hell no. Here’s a video called #20PercentCounts: See what 20% less looks like that shows you what 20% less of anything looks like.

Now to get to why I’m posting. I was wondering what I should blog about next when I had an idea at work: list some things about what I currently am, and what things I want to be. I feel like it’s important to know about how I currently am before I start trying to discover who I truly am.

Things I currently am:

  • I am obsessive. When I was in sixth grade and first heard of the word “obsessed”, I thought it was a good thing. It wasn’t until sometime during eighth grade when I realized that the word has a negative connotation. I was first described as obsessed in the sixth grade and I was in tenth grade when that term was used about me again (not a good thing when your crush writes a letter to you saying that you’re an obsessive person and that he quit photography club in ninth grade because of you…)
  • I am someone who stands up for what I believe in. Yeah, people see it as a bad thing now. Even some people in my family try to stop me from standing up for what I believe in! However, standing up for my beliefs is how I saved someone from bullying when everyone else in the lunch group were either the bullies or bystanders.
  • I am someone who questions themselves a lot. I question myself due to comments people say after I make a decision, I question myself about my identity, and I question myself a lot when it comes to whether I made the right choice or not.
  • I am someone who has broadened their food choices. Even at my age, I’m a picky eater. However, I’m not as picky with food and am a little more willing to try new foods. However, it wasn’t until two years ago that people stopped making a big deal of trying new foods.
  • I am a cuddler. No seriously. I love cuddling. Get me a blanket and we’re golden.

Things I want to be:

  • I want to be a better activist. Right now, I’m just signing petitions and raising awareness of stuff in forum posts. People call that “slacktivism” while some people define slactivism as doing “activist” work only by complaining and not taking action. I want to march in rallies. I want to be a part of protests. I just wish that the nearest big city wasn’t dangerous…
  • I want to be less angry. I get angry very easily and people online can probably describe me as an angry bitch. I embrace that label, but it probably isn’t a good idea to get angry easily when you’re training in kickboxing. Hook kick to the face!
  • I want to pick up an instrument again. Maybe an instrument that I already have. Maybe it can be good for music therapy. I’m thinking about playing the clarinet again, but I need to buy new reeds (pretty sure my reeds are dry-rotted from not being used in seven years) and my clarinet is in the laundry room possibly near a mouse trap.
  • I want to gain skills to be more independent. I’ve been told by the same person many times that I’m sheltered. Having an anxiety disorder pretty much prevents my parents from giving me more independence. I didn’t see myself as sheltered until a few people at my old job told me that I’m sheltered.
  • I want to stop being afraid of who I am and who I may be. Maybe I don’t accept some aspects of who I am because I know what my family’s reaction would be or because I internalize society’s reactions to who I am.

Okay, now that I know what I want to be and some positive and negative things about myself, I think I can get started on my journey to figuring out who I am. Until next time!