Awareness · Self-Reflection

A Reflection on a Martin Luther King Event

So I was originally going to do a blog ranting about how many people at my job want to work on Martin Luther King Day, but I decided to do a blog post on yesterday’s outing instead.

My co-workers put me in a bad mood on Thursday and Friday because I felt like they didn’t care about the significance of today. Yes, they’re white so they were never affected by racism, but they could at least not want to work that day. On Friday, I was looking at upcoming events in my boyfriend’s town. I found the perfect one to make me feel better. So I decided to channel my anger into an educational opportunity for my boyfriend. He likes history and there was going to be a light lunch. Franklin loves food, especially if it’s free.

The event was a four-part event gathering people of the Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) in a “Journey to Peace”. This multi-faith event was created as a way to unite for peace when the 2017 inauguration was about to happen. The first event was the blood drive for people who are interested. 24 people signed up, and 16 whole units of blood were able to be used to donate. 1 unit of blood can save up to 3 lives, so up to 48 lives will be saved by the donations. The second part of the event was a light lunch. Bread, lentil soup, butternut squash soup, salad, and desserts were offered. I tried a new food, which I will talk about at the end of the month. The third event was us watching clips from movies and having a facilitated discussion afterwards. The final event was a 30-minute church service with scriptures from the Bible, Torah, and Quran; songs; and a ritual where we put tea light candles in a vase to promise that we will fight for peace and equality. As we said during the event, “Salam, Shalom, and Peace.”

We watched clips of the following movies:

  • Accidental Courtesy. In this documentary, we hear about musician Daryl Davis who meets with various members of the Ku Klux Klan to befriend them and try to learn why there are some people who hate African Americans. A few people he befriended quit the Klan
  • Malcolm X. This movie is about the life and activism of Malcolm X. He preached about a separation from white society, but his pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj, a mandatory religious duty for Muslims) made him learn that there are Muslims of all races.
  • Marshall. This movie is about Thurgood Marshall when he was a lawyer for the NAACP. He was assigned to defend a black man in Connecticut, but was not allowed to defend a fellow black man. Sam Friedman, a Jewish insurance lawyer, is assigned to defend Joseph Spell instead. Friedman is resentful at first. Trigger warning for the movie: mentions of sexual assault.

When I first stepped into the social hall where lunch and video viewing was located, I was surprised, but deeply disturbed at the lack of black people. This event is to honor someone that helped us. Why aren’t there more of us? More black people showed up when the lunch was ending, but I expected it to be a mostly black event. I decided to change that way of thinking and thought it was good that white people are here to be educated about the struggles we went through and still go through. Education is key to changing the perceptions people have about minorities. The food was vegetarian-friendly (and vegan-friendly if vegans avoid the desserts). It was a light lunch, but the soup helped to satisfy me and I didn’t feel hungry until later than usual. Drinks included sweetened ice tea, water, and lemonade. I usually don’t drink anything when I eat.

One key takeaway from this event was that change must first come from within. I first learned this in my Peacemaking class during my final semester of university. If you want to change others, you must look within yourself to see what self-improvements need to be made first. Kind of like “Love yourself before you can love others”. Another key takeaway is the message of how we need to unite with people like us instead of fighting with each other. Franklin liked the event overall, which is good. This boyfriend seems to get it, while the previous guy refused to acknowledge his privilege. I think we all felt renewed by going to this event. Go to your town’s (or nearest town’s) Patch for local events.


A Look Back at My 2017 Accomplishments

So it’s time to say goodbye to 2017 and say hello to 2018. The first half of 2017 was very rough for me. It was a continuation of increasing anxiety issues that almost required me to be on medication. I also got diagnosed with ADHD, and from stuff I read, medications for anxiety won’t work if it’s a comorbid condition with ADHD. However, the second half became better and I’ve been able to accomplish things. So here’s a list of things I accomplished in 2017.

January – June

  • Joined kickboxing, after first wanting to do it at 14 years of age
  • Conquered my fear of driving in the dark
  • Started paying some bills on my own
  • Cut my hair short
  • Started a personal journey to improve and figure out myself (still in progress)
  • Solidified my decision to apply to grad school (will apply in January 2018)
  • Got my dad to finally accept my anxiety disorder
  • Started calling people out on things they say (Never goes too well since people hate having their beliefs challenged, but it’s time for progress in this world)
  • Tried some new foods (discovered I don’t like raw nigiri sushi since it’s unexpectedly cold and crunchy)

July – December

  • Gained some independence in regards to driving
  • Continued to try some new foods
  • Learned how to write PowerShell scripts
  • Went out to do new activities with people
  • Started a web development project at work (web development is what I want to do. I flourish doing front end, but am still shit at backend. I’ll likely never grasp Java or other programming languages)
  • Did an activity on my own

Wow, it seems like I accomplished a lot this year. I hope to accomplish more as I try to be bound less and less by my parents. 2017 was the year of “Do what you want and not what others want you to do”. With inspiration from Erynne Hundley’s blog post, 2018 will be the year of “try something new”. I want all my followers and readers to help keep me accountable with trying something new.


Feminist Joys: Better Access to Birth Control in Maryland

Today while I was at work, I came across an article about how a Maryland law will make access to birth control easier. This law was passed in 2016, but will come into effect on New Years’ Day. Article here.

People! This is so important!

And before some of you complain, vasectomies are covered too.

Maryland is among a dozen states that strengthened birth control rights for those who need it. The Affordable Care Act has some loopholes that still made getting birth control harder, and with the people in this presidency who are trying to roll back women’s rights, this is a major step to resistance. Many states adopted this law after the results of the 2016 election.

Let us feminists and womanists thank the people who helped Maryland become a state that helps with women’s rights. Even when we’re scared, we can still resist.

Mental Health

When People Give Me Hope

I hope everyone had a good Christmas or Hanukkah! I got some gift cards, a jewelry box, a stuffed giraffe, and my hard-to-find deodorant (yes, Women’s Mitchum spray-on deodorant has become hard to find, but it helps me not get deodorant stains from clothes compared to gel deodorant).

So today, there weren’t many people at work. I finished what I needed to work on and look at a university’s website. I came across an article that was inspiring to me titled His Dream Never Died

In the article, a navy veteran who was once homeless many years before I was born became a role model to his classmates. After seeking help at a VA (Veterans Administration) hospital, he was diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder (at the time called “manic depression”) and agoraphobia. He later went to college to become a teacher, but feared that he would not be able to teach because of his disability. He has recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and now plans to get a Master’s degree in social work so he can help homeless veterans. His inspiration to help homeless veterans comes from his prior homelessness and to follow the footsteps of those who helped him.

I’m applying to grad school sometime next month and I’m worried that with my anxiety disorder and ADHD, I won’t have what it takes to make it through grad school. All these articles I read said that grad school is made to weed out people with disabilities and that people develop anxiety and depression during grad school. Would grad school make my anxiety disorder worse? Would my ADHD make the tough curriculum harder to understand? What accommodations will I need? I never had accommodations before. I know this man has his bachelor’s degree and hasn’t completed his Master’s degree yet, but he gives me hope that I can succeed in grad school despite my disabilities.

I know there are some resources that could help me, but those services seem to mostly fit an undergraduate curriculum where it is more test-oriented than paper-oriented or research-oriented. I work full-time so learning study skills at an academic center is out of the question, since academic centers are often only open during work hours.


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.


Fun Post! Favorite Proposal Videos

One day, I went to the mall. I went into a jewelry store and while looking at jewelry, I struck up a conversation with a friendly jeweler. She informed me that it’s engagement season. In honor of engagement season, I will share my three favorite proposal videos. These are in order of when I found the videos and they all happen to be proposals at an anime convention.

First up, we have a video from the masquerade from Animazement 2011. In the anime convention world, a masquerade is when many people people perform skits, songs, or dances in front of convention attendees.

The video of the proposal

There was bonus rehearsal footage with the fake ending (a stage slap by the guy and the girl chasing the guy with her tonfa), but I can’t find the video anymore. It must have been taken down recently or put as “unlisted” (which means only people who have the link to a video can see it). In this proposal, three people do a skit. When the guy walks towards his girlfriend, instead of the planned ending, he takes the ring box out of his pocket and proposes to her. I think this is one of the first anime convention proposal videos I have ever seen. Unfortunately, the couple had a nasty spat and broke up a few months after the proposal.

Second, we have a very adorable proposal that happened at the end of a panel.

The video of the proposal

At Anime Detour in 2013, there was a Hetalia cosplay panel. At the end of the panel (you only see the end of the panel in the video), a Hungary cosplayer proposes to an England cosplayer. What makes this a favorite video is that the England cosplayer has an adorable reaction to her girlfriend proposing. They got married during the fall in 2015. Happy ending!

The third and final favorite proposal video is another skit, but this time, the proposal happened at Anime Expo in 2015.

The video of the proposal

After some technical difficulties in the beginning of their skit, this group of Pokemon cosplayers decide to do battle. The Luxray cosplayer used the “Destiny Knot” on the Houndour cosplayer. The “Destiny Knot” was an engagement ring. What made this engagement special was the Luxray cosplayer was professional voice actor Sean Chiplock. According to social media, Sean will be getting married soon.. In the words of someone in the Hetalia proposal, “Three cheers for the happy couple!”

So those are my three favorite proposals. What is your favorite proposal video you have seen or story you have read or heard about (other than yours)?


Time to Educate: How to Choose the Right Birth Control for You

So as a feminist, I believe that feminists should educate people. Since healthcare is a part of feminism that got me started with being a feminist (but not the main thing to make me become a feminist), I thought I should provide some education on choosing the right birth control for you. This blog post is inspired by a recent IUD string check.

Disclaimer: Diaryofself is not a medical professional. She is a software developer. Please have a discussion with your healthcare provider to determine the birth control that is right for you.

When determining what kind of birth control is right for you, there are some questions that may be helpful when making your decision. Here are some questions that I have come up with that you can answer:

  • Do you want to eventually have kids? If that answer is yes, then you want a temporary form of birth control. If that answer is no, there are a few permanent options for birth control
  • Do you want hormonal or non-hormonal? If you want hormonal, you have many options. If you want non-hormonal, there are not many options
  • Would you forget to take a pill at the same time each day? If so, choose something other than a pill. You can take it as soon as you remember, but you may ovulate if you take it even six hours later than usual (according to my 9th grade health teacher)
  • Would you be in circumstances where taking a pill the same time every day would not be possible? For example, you are a wedding attendant a wedding. Wedding attendants have to start getting ready for the wedding many hours before guests even start to arrive. Of course, all personal belongings will be locked in a room. Will you need to grab a pill to take it on time if the wedding ceremony or reception is still going on when it’s pill time?
  • Are you able to see a doctor every few months for shots? Working a job may make appointments difficult. So is traveling abroad. Will you be able to go to any doctor for a shot? Seriously, do you? I never did shots for birth control.

There may be other factors you may have of choosing the right birth control, but these were questions I came up with when helping someone online with choosing what birth control they want to use. A few questions were questions I answered before deciding that I want to get an IUD.

So I won’t risk making this blog post too long, if you want to know what birth control options exist, Planned Parenthood’s website is an excellent resource to use. Not only do they tell you what options exist, but they mention the pros and cons as well as the effectiveness of the birth control.