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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!

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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.

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Exciting New Work Adventure

Today was my last day on my current project. I’m still staying with my company, though. I turned in my Common Access Card (CAC), said my goodbyes to people and was escorted out of my building. On Monday, I will be on a new project for work. This project is not on the military post I worked at for nearly a year, but the project will only be 6 minutes away from my house. No, I’m not taking a bike to work. I don’t have a bike since I never learned how to ride without training wheels.

Saying goodbye to people wasn’t hard. I will see a few people on my upcoming project, but they will start after I do. However, saying goodbye to Brad — who became my mentor because the project I just left was my first job that required a security clearance — caused me to nearly cry. Now I only get to see Franklin up to four times a week (maybe back up to 7 if he gets on this contract too), so I will need to adjust to that. I will see him for kickboxing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays and we will spend time with each other on Saturdays and Sundays. If he has drill that weekend, I will see him less. Sad sad, cry cry.

Now the reason why I am blogging about this is because I’m kind of nervous about my new team. At my previous job (my first job out of university), there were people at that job who were sexist, I think there was some racism going on, and people were not very willing to help me. On the project I just left, the experience was much better. It was still majority white men, but the men weren’t sexist and the developer lead and his second-in-command went above and beyond to help me. I’m worried that the next team won’t be as helpful or that the team will be closer to being what the people at my previous job used to be like.

I am still affected by the things that happened at my previous job. I feel like I will always be affected by it to some extent. I will not go into detail in this blog, but I will talk about it in a future blog post. I almost forgot to mention that I will miss my boss from my company. This boss was great. I worked in a different building than my company office and one day, my boss came over to see how I was doing. Tom’s great. I’ll miss him. I will have a new boss. Please wish me luck as I go off to my next adventure and hopefully improve as a developer.

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“Chosen Families” are Valid Families

Chosen family. What does that mean? It’s a family that is not related to you by blood, but play a significant and positive role in your life. This is often a group of friends. I first heard the term in the LGBTQ community a few months ago. People often have a chosen family due to issues with their biological family. For me, I feel like the black sheep of the family, although for reasons that family members don’t know about.

For me, my chosen family is made up of the people in my kickboxing gym.

In this chosen family, any criticisms I get is to help me improve my techniques for my kicks. In this chosen family, there is support. This family did not discourage me from taking kickboxing due to me being a girl. No one has said sexist things (although I still get paranoid that they’re thinking sexist things). My blood relatives did not think I should do kickboxing because I’m a girl. Although I am afraid of shadowboxing against a few people, I don’t dread being around the people at my gym.

Sorry it’s a short post. I’ve been forgetting about this blog post for weeks and don’t have much to say. Also, today is my grandfather’s 87th birthday.

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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?

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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.

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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.