Kickboxer Rage! Shadowboxing Means No Contact!

First of all, I want to give a shout-out to Catherine. She is one of my followers and she’s started kickboxing. Read her blog posts here. Catherine, I will have a blog post in the future that will be able to give you tips for kickboxing.

I’m angry. So angry that I even talked to my kickboxing coach about it. Nearly a month ago, my workout buddy got kicked in the ribs and bruised his rib. No, I didn’t do it! I’d never forgive myself if I did. On the evening of May 17th, he got kicked in the ribs again. Same spot as last month. He also got hit in the nose by a different person and it looks like his nose might bruise. Last week, he got hit in the eyeball by a guy who is quitting boxing to join a different gym. These injuries should not have occurred because we were doing paired shadowboxing, which is no contact.

The combined boxing and kickboxing class is two hours long three times per week. The first hour is conditioning hour, which consists of warm-ups, stretching, shadowboxing by yourself, paired shadowboxing (no contact boxing or kickboxing), and ab work. Read that again. No contact. It means that your punches or kicks don’t hit the person. Tell me, why the hell is my workout buddy hurt again? Another month of him having to sleep on his right side since his left side is hurt! He said he’ll still be in class on Saturday, but I don’t know if he will.

So why are Gary and I angry? I’m repeating myself, but shadowboxing is no contact. Still, people are making contact. Gary got hurt twice in one day and ribs take weeks to heal. He doesn’t even want to shadowbox anymore. I’m angry because people aren’t practicing self-control. I’m starting to not like this gym because more than one person has done contact work during no-contact shadowboxing. Since he was kicked in the ribs twice, I’m worried that he might quit if he gets hurt one more time. I don’t want Gary to quit. I feel a connection with him moreso than anyone else at the gym. I only see him when I have kickboxing, although I want to spend time with him outside of class like some other boxers and kickboxers do.

For 2017, I promised myself that this is the year where I’m not silent. I will speak up. I don’t want to be silent and be seen as passively accepting things that are wrong. That’s why I talked to my coach after class. I suggested that he remind everyone that shadowboxing means that there will be no contact. He told me that he’s going to keep a closer eye on my buddy during shadowboxing and will tell anyone who looks like they may do contact “Absolutely no contact” before they do a round of shadowboxing. He’s also been given the options to either “work the bags” (hitting the bags) during the paired shadowboxing time, shadowbox with the coach, or shadowbox with a few people he can trust (which to be honest, he doesn’t seem to like kickboxers anymore since it’s almost always been kickboxers who hurt him. I hope I’m the exception to his dislike for kickboxers).

Gary, if you ever come across this blog post, Coach and I don’t want you to quit. Coach likes you a lot. I really admire how you figuratively spat in the face of death and decided to pursue boxing after being given your second chance at life. Whenever I get frustrated at my lack of improvement, you make things better. Whenever I don’t want to show up to kickboxing, the thought of you being there makes me want to go to class. You mean a lot to me and if you quit and I never see you again, I would be devastated.


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.


Meet My Awesome Workout Buddy!

Hello my lovely readers! Diaryofself is back, but today, I will not be talking about myself. In honor of my three months in kickboxing, this post is mainly about someone whom I met months ago.

First, let’s take you to my first week of paying for kickboxing class (first full week of February 2017). I decided to ask this guy his name because I’ve heard him being referred to by different names and I want to get people’s names right (people don’t get my name right sometimes and it seriously pissed me off). I found out the guy’s name is Gary, but he also goes by “asshole”. He’s not an asshole, though. I thought his name was Mike, but upon some personal retrospection a month or more ago, it’s because both Gary and Mike are both tan, white guys with dark hair and are older than I am. The main difference between them is that Mike is a kickboxer like I am while Gary is a boxer.

I will be honest and say that I feel a deeper connection with Gary than the other boxers or kickboxers at the gym (boxers and kickboxers train at the same time). I can’t pinpoint exactly when I felt this connection with him, but it may have been when he told me something about himself that other people may be afraid to say to someone they don’t really know yet. He’s also funny too. I know that him telling me that he’s a liberal won me over. I wish people didn’t see being a liberal as a bad thing…

I risk having an arrow shoved into my mouth by someone for this, but I really admire Gary. With everything he’s going through and everything he’s gone through, he’s still comes to boxing. The following lyrics from “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba describe him: “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down”. Sometimes, I don’t feel like going to kickboxing, but I still put on my exercise clothes and drag myself into my car to drive to class. Knowing my workout buddy will hopefully be there and the enjoyment I get from doing something I’ve wanted to do since I was 14 helps motivate me.

However, there was almost a time when I would have never met my workout buddy. Gary almost died last year due to medical stuff. Thanks to doctors, he’s still alive. I want you to think about someone who is a positive part of your life. They can be a family member, a friend, a significant other, a co-worker, etc. Now try to imagine if they were not a part of your life. Can you imagine that? Do you want to imagine that? Now that Gary is in my life, I can’t imagine him not being in my life, and I refuse to imagine it.

Gary, if you’re reading this, this song is for you: Best Friend by Weezer


Talk to Me, Too! The Importance of Inclusive Language

Warning: The first paragraph mentions sexual stuff. If you are at work, you may want to hold off on reading this. If you are in class, read this at your own risk if you’re worried about people seeing the first paragraph. If any mention of sex is triggering, skip the first paragraph.

In November 2012, I was at a national conference related to my on-campus job. I was at a breakout session called “Are You Talking to Me?” that was hosted by a few college students. We were given a slip of paper and we had to watch a scripted sex education presentation as if we were the person described on the slip of paper (mine was “A guy who is in a sexual relationship with another guy”). Afterwards, we would discuss how the sex education presentation was not inclusive. For example, the presentation was only about safer penis-in-vagina sex between a cisgender man and a cisgender woman. They say “man’s penis” and “woman’s vagina”, which could alienate transgender and non-binary people.

That breakout session ended up being my favorite session during the three days the conference occurred. I felt like I really learned something that I could apply to life outside of educating my peers at my university. I can use my words to welcome marginalized people instead of harming them. I can make people feel that they didn’t waste their time by coming here. I hear the cries of people who want representation, and I will answer that cry. After the breakout session, I started using inclusive language more often.

Some people wonder why we should use inclusive language. You don’t know every single person in the audience, so why write or say something like everyone was the same? Imagine yourself being a gay male and you read something about relationships. They only mention “straight” relationships. Would you feel welcome, knowing that you are not straight? Would it seem like you wasted your time reading the article? Or imagine you are a bisexual person attending an LGBT event and there’s only mentions of gay or lesbian themes. Bi+ people and people who aren’t cisgender feel excluded. This is a sad, common reality in the LGBT community, but that will be a rant for another day. There are many examples, but the point is that you don’t know your audience and by catering to what is typical, you are excluding people. Word have power. Remove the barriers and treat people fairly.

So what can you say to be more inclusive? Talk about same-gender couples as well as different-gender couples. Use gender-neutral job titles (mail carrier instead of mailman, salesperson instead of salesman, flight attendant instead of stewardess). Include bi+ and transpeople in LGBT conversations. There are many other ways to use inclusive language too. Figure out how you can use inclusive language more often.


Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness: Be Seen in Green Day!

Hello my readers! Today is Friday, April 21st. It’s no ordinary day, according to The Living Legacy Foundation. Living Legacy and Donate Life set today to be something called “Be Seen in Green Day” (although with Donate Life, it’s “Be Seen in Blue and Green Day”) where people wear green in order to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. I apologize if I cite a lot of sources, but people nowadays like seeing sources to back up statements.

In Maryland, where The Living Legacy Foundation is based, nearly 3800 people are waiting for a life-saving organ. This number varies from state to state. Wearing green will honor the thousands of donors and their families who were kind enough to save and improve lives through the power of donations. You can also start conversations about donating organs and tissues to raise awareness, since wearing a color won’t be enough.

Organ donation is a topic very important to me. I first found out about organ donation when an uncle died in October 2003. I later found out that he was an organ donor and my family went to the annual Ceremony of Remembrance in 2004. In January 2007, another uncle died. He was also an organ donor (I think my grandparents made the decision for him to be an organ donor since he did not have the mental capability to make the decision himself). At that year’s Ceremony of Remembrance, my family was there for two brothers instead of one. Because of my uncles, when it was time to test for my learner’s permit a year after my second uncle’s death, I chose to be an organ donor and have a picture of a small heart on the permit and license. No one knew ahead of time that I was going to say “yes” to being an organ donor. Years later, in November 2010, my middle school friend died. When I went to her memorial service, I saw the familiar organ donation medal that was given to my family for my uncles. Thanks to my decision to become an organ donor and my uncles and friend being donors, I have been able to get more people in my family to become organ donors. I one day want to speak at the Ceremony of Remembrance hosted by Living Legacy Foundation to share my uncles’ and friend’s stories, tell how they inspired me to be an organ donor, and to inspire other people to become organ donors.

There are some myths about organ donation that people hear, and it causes them to not want to donate. The number one reason I’ve heard when people say they don’t want to donate is because of a myth that the medical team will not work as hard to save your life if they find out you’re a donor. First, the donation team is completely different from the medical team that sees you. Second, any competent medical team will do everything they can to save your life. They don’t like telling family members that their loved one has died. Organ and tissue recovery won’t start until every single effort has been exhausted and you have been declared dead by the attending physician. Source with other myths

I will talk about this again in the future, but there is a need for more people of color and multiracial people to donate. Nearly 58% of people on the national transplant waiting list in the United States are people of color and even though transplants can be successful between a donor and recipient of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, transplants are often more successful between people of the same racial and ethnic backgrounds. Source

Some more fun facts:

  • You can be a donor at any age, so don’t worry if you think you will be ineligible to donate if you end up living to be at least 70.
  • If you have certain illnesses, you won’t automatically be ineligible to donate organs. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine which organs can be donated. Source for this fact and the previous fact
  • Just like if you donated blood, one person can save multiple lives. You can save up to 8 lives by donating organs, restore the sight of one or two people by donating your corneas, and heal up to 75 people by donating your tissues. Source, which includes more statistics. Scroll down to see the source of this fact

Tell me, readers. Do you know someone who was an organ donor? Are you registered as an organ donor? You can start raising awareness by sharing the sources on this blog, talking to family and friends about wanting to donate organs, or debunk myths when you hear someone say or see someone write about a myth causing them to not want to donate. Until next time, stay informed and be a hero to someone.

Link to The Living Legacy Foundation

Link to Donate Life Website


Rage! Get My Name Right, White People!

It’s another rage post! If you’re not white and don’t have a white name, you have experienced this issue. I am black, but I have a Hispanic-sounding name. No seriously, my roommates my freshman year of university argued whether I was black or Hispanic due to my first name. Once they saw me, they knew I wasn’t Hispanic (though people mistake me for Puerto Rican based on appearance). People will mispronounce your name, whether they butcher it badly, call you a completely different name, or drop letters. I’ve experienced the dropping of letters or being called a completely different name.

At kickboxing, people have called me Martika or Marcella (being called Marcella recently is why I’m writing this blog). It’s neither. I thank the people who get my name right. At the dentist, a receptionist called me Martine. I had to correct her, and I was snippy about it. I’m not sorry about that. You can only take so much incorrectness before you stop being nice. I’ve been called the wrong name by people’s family and by a bus driver in first grade (with my bus driver, she would say the wrong name when doing bus evacuation. At some point, I refused to say I was here until she got my name right). You know what all these people have in common? They are white.

Tell me, white people. Why do you feel like it’s okay to butcher non-white names? Do you like the power to piss people of color off? Do you not have the capability of getting names right? And tell me, people of color. Are you also pissed off when people get your name wrong? Do you want to change your name to an easier name?

I will not be nice about people getting my name wrong anymore! I’m even considering having white people call me a different name (possibly Cara) while people of color can use my real name. If you can’t say my name right at all, don’t say my name.


Such Cuteness! Kitten Academy

I’m actually not going to rage today! To offset the depressing blog post I made earlier this week involving mental health stuff, I’m going to spread the overload of cuteness! Accept the cute! Accept it!

On April 20th 2016, two people started live streaming on YouTube. These people, known to the web as DJ and Mr. Academy, started showing the YouTube community the kittens they were fostering. Kitten Academy started because DJ wanted to foster a few kittens before she started med school. Now, they have had many graduation classes pass through kitten academy to learn how to cat.

I first discovered the kitten academy live stream (which you can find here) in mid-July 2016, a few weeks after my childhood friend’s wedding. At the time, the Jackson Hole live stream was popular (anyone remember “Red Truck!” or the dabbing police officer?). When I started watching Kitten Academy, there was “momcat” Ivy and her kittens Harvard (a.k.a. Harvey), Cornell (nicknamed Nelly, but has been renamed Phoebe by her adopter), and Yale.

On Angel’s Wings, a no-kill shelter in Illinois that also rescues animals from kill shelters and animal control, lets Kitten Academy know when there is an expecting momcat or if there are kittens who need to be fostered. The momcat and/or kittens will then arrive at kitten academy. Once the kittens are old enough to be adopted, they have a graduation ceremony which means they go to the vet to be spayed or neutered, get vaccinations, and get micro-chipped. People in the United States can apply to adopt a kitten or cat via On Angel’s Wings. Right now, On Angel’s Wings only allows people to adopt if they’re no further than 150 miles (a little more than 240 km), but exceptions have been made for big fans of specific kittens. Below are some important kitten academy links:

The link to Kitten Academy’s website

The link to the 24/7 stream (unless Comcast has technical difficulties).

The link to Kitten Academy’s YouTube channel (since they post videos of kittens as well)

The link to Kitten Academy’s Patreon

The link to Kitten Academy’s Facebook page

The link to Kitten Academy’s Twitter