Potential First Tattoo

So I’ve come up with a design for my first tattoo – which I really badly want, but am not sure when I’ll actually get.

Last night, my temporary tattoo kit came in the mail so I decided to test out the design, and the placement. I wanted to see what it would look like before I actually getting anything.

The tattoo ink is made from the pulp of a fruit called Genipapo, found in Panama. It is similar to henna in how it’s used – the gel-like liquid is squeezed out from a needle-point bottle the way henna is piped out like icing on a cake. I’ve used this product several times before so I’ve gotten used to drawing the tattoo freehand.

I feel like I did a pretty good job, except I got the arrow all crooked because of the angle I was drawing on. The temporary tattoo has developed overnight and it should get darker in the next half a day.

The tattoo design represents many things. Essentially, it’s the story of my life in a few symbols.

The semicolon (made from an enso, and the Fibonacci Golden Ratio), represents my lifelong recovery from mental illnesses; the enso (circle) representing “a moment when the mind is free to let the body create” which also represents strength, enlightenment and life while the Fibonacci Golden Ratio reflects my interest in art, as well as math – this I find beautiful because not only does the Golden Ratio helps artists create beautiful art, it also helps mathematicians do math. I like the intersection of the sciences, and the arts because of how much conflict there is between the two fields (especially coming from the sciences who claim that anyone who can’t do, are artists…). 

The curly brackets represents code – most codes are encapsulated with “{ }” which tells the computer to execute a function from what is in the middle of the brackets. It is a reflection of the field that I’ve chosen to put myself in.

The arrow signifies my strength and resilience because an arrow is useless unless you string it to a bow, pull it back, and let go. This reflects my life because of how all the struggle I’ve been through has caused me to grow stronger, and more resilient – like the arrow speeding forward after it’s been pulled back, I am also moving forward in my life. The arrowhead is the Star Trek TNG symbol representing my nerd/geek side.

I chose the Pi because of how despite it being an irrational number, it is also a constant. It reminds me during my dark times, that despite everything that could happen to me, that the world is still revolving, and Pi is still Pi no matter what happens. 3.14159, always.

The message “Don’t Panic” comes from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and it gives me a message to read when I’m anxious. It’s a directive, pretty simple and powerful for 2 mere words. The “42” is also from the same book, and in it, the number is considered the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. I believe in the theory that the number is actually not a joke as most of us have believed, but rather an asterisk (*)  (since the ASCII value for an asterisk is 42) in programming. The asterisk is actually used by programmers as a wildcard when searching for something, deleting something etc (Example, if you type rm *.* – it means that you’re wanting every file to be deleted from your computer). This means that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is what you decide it to be. 

Lastly, the equal sign is a nod to my struggles as a queer person seeking understanding and acceptance in society. It’s a subtle enough symbol for my sexuality that anyone who knows what the equal sign means, will know how I identify. 

So far, I like the design, and if I can find a tattooist who is okay with using my design (I hear that most don’t like to do that), and who can do good black and white tattoos with clean, crisp lines, I think this might be the first tattoo I’ll ever get. And since I’ll be getting it while I’m in my thirties, I wonder how many people will think this is a mid-life crisis. Haha…

Eventful Day

It has been an eventful and moderately overwhelming day – both for good and bad reasons.

I woke up this morning and discovered that I was low on both Zoloft and Strattera. I was very tempted to let them run out and just quit my psych meds cold turkey. I don’t think that would’ve been a great idea but I’m just sick of taking the medications that I don’t feel like are working. I was contacted by an old co-worker who was worried for me – she suggested that I seek help from an inpatient facility to help me cope. I thanked her for her kindness and unexpected messages because I hadn’t talked to her in maybe a year and a half. The fact that she cared enough for me to reach out warmed my heart.

My day started proper with my first Peer Educator duty of the day where I had to sit in on a presentation done by one of the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion (HWP)’s Assistant Directors. The topic was “Alcohol and Personal Choice”. As it was a presentation that I hadn’t seen before, I was very attentive through it all.

As I listened and learned, I also felt guilty for my drinking last Friday when I was feeling extremely disappointed, and depressed. This was because the presentation was about making healthy choices such as limiting drinking to less than 4 drinks per day and a total of 7 drinks per week (for women) or 14 drinks per week (for men). Last Friday, I had consumed 3 drinks and a shot of cinnamon schnapps (which tasted terrible btw) in an hour with an empty stomach. The result was a drunk me relatively quickly.

I made the worst decision ever to drive home. I was convinced I was okay. Somehow, I managed to park my car straight, and shower without falling down and killing myself. By the time I got to bed, I had actually just collapsed without realizing that I had fallen asleep until 2am when I got up abruptly because I needed to pee. The next day, I realized what I’d done and realized how easily I could’ve been arrested for DUI as well as how easily it could’ve been for me to cause someone harm. I was very regretful of my choices.

The presentation was definitely an eye-opener for me and I resolve to – if I even drink – to never drink so much so quickly. I was after a Peer Educator so I need to practice what I preach. I’m just glad that I get a second chance to never repeat this mistake again.

After the presentation, I was supposed to go to the Cube, where the office for the HWP Peer Educators’ was located. My office hours were from 11am to noon. As soon as I reached the Cube, I got a text from one of the Lead Peer Educators that I could skip my office hours today to help one of the other Assistant Directors (we have 3 ADs) with tabling. So off I went to help her set up the table – we were at the Campus Center to promote October as Domestic/Relationship Violence Awareness Month (yes, I’m aware that October is also Mental Health Awareness Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and National Coming Out Month).

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It’s On Us to Stop Sexual Violence!

I pasted a sticker on my skateboard to promote the campaign to stop sexual violence on campus and in the community. I figured that with how I carry my skateboard everywhere, it’s a good way to raise some awareness.

I had a good time tabling – I always do – because I not only had the opportunity to speak to the Assistant Director, but also another Peer Educator and be able to connect with people who stopped by the booth. It is one aspect of my job that I really enjoy.

Doing my job as a Peer Educator really makes me happy because not only does it make me forget all my woes for a while, it also allows me to help people with theirs. I realized today that I’m only happiest when I’m doing something Peer Educator related lately.

After my Peer Educator duties, I had to go to the MAC to perform my Mentor duties there. It was extremely busy at the section that I had to tutor at so it was hard not to get a sore throat by the end of my 3-hour shift. I was exhausted – socially, and emotionally by the end of it. Tutoring is always an exhausting affair because sometimes you could be dealing with students who have no clue what you’re talking about or students who have a hard time grasping concepts. I do enjoy helping people solve problems though so that is definitely one aspect of tutoring that I enjoy.

In the middle of the MAC shift, I went outside to the courtyard to find the Westboro Baptist Church members spewing hate towards the LGBTQ+ community and the establishment of an LGBTQ+ Center. They were there to protest the Center.

I’m proud to say that my university was not only prepared (they put up metal barriers around the area where the protestors were), the staff and faculty were also there to prevent students from engaging in the hate-mongers by forming a human shield between students and protestors. The CAPS staff were there as well to provide psychological aid and counseling if needed. I was so impressed by the staff and faculty because of how much they care for the students. They voluntarily stood outside in the sun to protect the students.

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I was very surprised by how many people showed up as well in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. I didn’t think we would fill up the huge courtyard but we almost filled all of it. While the WBC protestors were screaming their hateful words, the students had a dance party instead – the speakers were blaring loud music and it drowned out the protests.

As there were only 7 of them, you could barely even see them in the sea of people. I was saddened to see 2 children amidst the protestors. I wondered what they were being taught. While I agree with Biblical teachings and getting children acquainted with the Bible, I can’t say I agree with teaching hate to children. It’s so disgusting.

While the counter-protest in the form of the dance party by the students was going on, the whole place was just abuzz with energy and movement. I looked around and realized that it was like I was back at the Pride day again back in May. It really looked and felt like a Pride kind of event. Unbeknownst to the WBC protestors, their action had made all the LGBTQ+ community and allies come out together and have a good time. It was definitely an unexpected win in my opinion.

I spent about 10 minutes finding some of the people I know, taking photos, taking selfies, and talking to people before I resumed my shift at the MAC. It was a good event – what was supposed to be a negative event turned into a very positive one.

I was also able to meet the Director of CAPS at the LGBTQ+ Center. She was there to provide CAPS’ support. I introduced myself and told her that I wanted to thank her for the services that CAPS provide. I thanked her for all the hard work that CAPS is doing and how all the staff that I’ve ever met are very professional and have been really helpful. I told her how much I utilize the services and how I’m glad that CAPS exists. I told her that I didn’t know how much thanks she and CAPS get but I wanted to make sure that at least I say something. She told me that people don’t often thank them and that it’s rare to hear a note of gratitude but that she appreciates getting them all the same. She thanked me for bringing my thoughts to her attention and she seemed genuinely pleased that I had stopped to talk to her. Despite having been at CAPS for a year and a half now, I had yet been able to talk to the Director herself so I felt honored that I was able to do so today.

On a less than stellar note, I wrote an email to the management of the new restaurant that I had just joined about 3 weeks ago. I told them in my email that I was unable to continue employment with them because I am struggling too severely with depression and suicidality. I told them that even being around the work environment gets me down. I made it explicit that I would be suicidal every time I was at the restaurant. I apologized for letting the team down, for not finishing my shifts, and for not providing ample notice.

The truth is, I was just done with the place. I was done with all the management issues and how little the managers care about the employees. Besides not caring, they were also uptight about a lot of things – for me, they were upset with my dyed hair so I had to dye it back to my natural black.

When they told me that I had to do that, I was livid. I didn’t like them ever since then. I felt like I had lost a part of me when I dyed my hair back to black. I felt upset because the stability that I’m trying to rebuild for myself came crashing down when I lost the ability to express myself. For days, I felt uneasy because my hair was solid black. It is strange but somehow, my mental wellness depended on how I looked or felt on any given day.

Anyway, I hope the management team understands my restrictions and can forgive me for the immediate resignation. Somehow, I can’t see them being very compassionate. I could imagine them judging me and gossiping about me. I’ve never quit a job without giving ample notice before. And I’ve certainly never quit a restaurant after just 4 weeks of working there.

The negativity, whining, backstabbing, and gossiping that happens among the staff of the restaurant is definitely very annoying to deal with. I didn’t need to add more drama in my life – I already have enough to write a book with. I hope the management team doesn’t call me. I contemplated calling them and giving my resignation that way instead but the thought of calling someone and talking to them on the phone made me sick to the stomach. My anxiety was definitely acting up a lot and I didn’t think that I’d be able to speak on the phone without crying very hard. That was definitely a hard part of my day today.

Overall, I am spent. S and I will have a lot to talk about tomorrow.

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Representing the MAC, and the Office of HWP while also promoting mental health advocacy.

Happy Rounded Pi Day (AKA My Stable Day)

Pi Day

Happy Rounded Pi Day – 3/14/16! Here, have a photo of me studying at a cafe this morning while wearing a Matrix-style Pi shirt with a Pi decal on my laptop (that you can’t see in this photo) and a bright red sticker screaming “NERD”.

Happy Rounded Pi Day! Today’s date is 3/14/16 (for those who live in the US) which makes it 3.1416 which is the rounded number of Pi.

So I meant to post this sooner (on the actual Pi Day itself), but I had forgotten my blog password on my laptop and I was out for most of the day today. I had taken the day to myself while Hubster was off fixing the new apartment for us to move to. I walked to the mall and spent the entire day there by myself – just trying out some new restaurants and then getting a massage, and even ice cream by the end of the day. I treated myself and I think it was something I desperately needed.

Anyway, back to Pi Day… I like Pi. Ever since I did trig last semester, I’ve loved it. It’s a transcendental irrational number that is also a constant. Every time I think of Pi, I think of the beauty of all those three properties that Pi has. Somehow, Pi makes me feel like I have some grounding. If I ever get a tattoo (I probably won’t), the Pi symbol will definitely make an appearance in it. The constant part of it let me know that despite everything that happens in my life, there is one thing in my life that will never change – that being, Pi.

And fittingly, today was also the first day in 2 months that I felt like I have better footing. Despite the still-crumbling ground, I wasn’t falling today. Like I said, I was out doing things that I wouldn’t normally do. Thanks to that, I have been feeling much more stable today and I have been lately.

A part of me – the adult, rational part – knew that I would be alright. That right now, I’m going through some unfavorable conditions and despite that, I’ll be ok. I am beginning to understand now that the part of me that’s been whining on this blog and been very suicidal is the teenage part of me. Inspired by Quemada, I’m beginning to see that the many parts of me are all battling for control while the adult, rational part of me is holding everything together. When the adult part is tired of getting kicked on the shin, punched in the gut, and abused repeatedly by the kiddy parts, is when the rage and anger and lashing out happens. That’s when this blog gets peppered with hopeless and despair-filled posts.

I am beginning to see that now. Somehow, that feels like an important realization. Perhaps it’s an important realization because I feel like this gives the adult part an opportunity to forgive herself. To tell herself that she can’t possibly contain the kids (the abused child, the angry teenager, the dissatisfied young adult) and that it’s ok for her to feel tired. I don’t know. I’m just musing out loud at this point.

In any case, definitely something I will bring to S on Wednesday.

For now, I just want to assure the people who care about me that I’m ok. I had two encounters over in the blogosphere tonight that helped me make some important realizations – In the first interaction, I’ve learned that there is at least one person out there who care for me even if I’ve never met them. There is someone whom I can relate to, who knows how I feel and understands. That they also care enough to check in and make sure I was ok. Same person who also made me realize that the part of me that’s always angry is the irrational teenager self. In the second interaction, I learned that I have a yearning for “mommy” but that I need to understand three important things in order to heal: That mommy isn’t coming. That I am loved. That I am safe. Had I gone to bed early tonight, I wouldn’t have had these important interactions (one with Q, the other with someone who had commented on her blog).

Now I need to internalize these truths. I have an amazing husband who is toiling away day and night at the new apartment to set up a surprise for me (he has refused to let me help him clean and paint the new place so he’s working himself to exhaustion) who loves me. he protects me and I am safe with him. Mommy isn’t coming. But that’s ok because that sometimes happens. That doesn’t mean that I can’t go on.

My Purpose to Share My Story

Now I believe in God and the Bible. I read the Bible literally. I know there are many who don’t and that’s fine by me because I don’t care whether someone believes in Him or not. I want to preface this post with that because I don’t want needless debates about His existence and what not and I also don’t want people to think that just because I believe in God that I’m somehow ignorant or stereotypically like one of those “Westboro Christian” types. I don’t condone or even agree with the things they do and say to people. I don’t even want to call myself a Christian because I don’t agree with a lot of the things that churches are shoving down people’s throats.

Suffice to say, I firmly hold to the philosophy that to each his/her own and I don’t judge a person by what they do or don’t believe. I judge a person by what they do or say unto others.

Now that we have that out of the way… Let’s get to the point of today’s post.

Today, as I was sitting on the couch with my dearest husband watching a YouTube video, a thought struck me. “Why am I still alive? What is the point of me being alive? I struggle so much every single day and every single day, I just want to die. I want to die because I feel like everything is out of my control and I feel overwhelmed. I don’t get why God would still keep me here on this Earth…”

Then as I finished that thought, another thought entered my mind. This time, it was a stronger voice that said, “Maybe it’s because God is not done with me yet. He still has plans for you. Maybe He is keeping you here because He wants you to keep sharing the story of your struggles. Maybe He is using you as a means to touch others’ lives and to advocate for all those with mental illnesses…”.

The thought calmed my anxiety down a little. It dampened the depressive pressure that I’ve been feeling these past couple of days. And suddenly, things shifted into a different focus and perspective.

When someone is struggling with mental illnesses, it’s hard for them to see the big picture because all they feel is pain every day. That’s how I feel every day. It’s hard to see the big picture. It’s hard to get my mind out of the dark alley. When I do though, suddenly things are just that little bit easier to deal with.

Tonight, I was struggling. My worst days in the week are usually days when I have to work because as I’ve mentioned before, I work as a server at a restaurant. And to those who have never had to work in a restaurant before, consider yourselves extremely fortunate because restaurant work can be the most soul sucking and life draining job someone can have. I suppose most jobs where you have to deal with unreasonable people can be the same way.

Halfway through my shift, a couple sat in my section. Probably about an hour in to their dining experience, after they received their entree, I went by to check on them to make sure they were doing alright.

The husband said to me that he noticed the tattoos I have on my arms. (My Inkbox tattoo had faded and I’ve applied new ones. Now I have Pi on my left arm on top of the word “Worthy” and a semicolon on my right arm).

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He said that he was intrigued and would like to know what they meant to me. So I explained to them that I’m a nerd and I like math so the Pi which is a mathematical constant is there because I like math. Since it’s a constant, it’s also a reminder to me for how even when everything else in life sucks, that there are still things that will never change – like Pi. Then I explained that the semicolon is a way for me to advocate for suicide prevention and awareness. It is also a reminder to myself that despite the struggles, that I do have a choice to continue my life. I explained that there is a movement called “Project Semicolon” whose purpose is to advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. The couple expressed that they have never heard of such a thing before so I briefly explained the social media reach that this organization has. I also explained to them that I struggle with ADHD, Depression and Anxiety.

It was then that the wife told me that their 15-year-old daughter struggles with depression and anxiety as well. And she said that it is amazing that they ended up at my section and ended up talking to me about mental health. She mentioned divine providence and it reminded me of the thoughts I had this afternoon. Perhaps I was supposed to speak to this couple and to share with them a little about my story.

At the end of their meal, I gave them the address to my blog and told them that I write my story here because I believe that when you share your story, others will share theirs too. And I believe that no one should ever suffer in silence and no one should ever suffer alone. I also gave them my email address and told them that they’re free to contact me any time they’d like or if their daughter just needs someone to talk to, that I’m willing to lend my ear.

They seemed genuinely grateful for this short interaction and I was too. I’ve always described my depression as me being dragged into the sea and struggling to stay afloat while waves crash about me. Tonight, after this interaction, I felt like I was able to pull myself up from under the waves and take a deep breath. I really appreciated them asking me what my tattoos meant. I really appreciated being able to be share my story.

Sometimes, all someone wants is to be heard. I’m glad I was able to be heard tonight.

Update:
It turns out that this post is my 100th post on this blog! Wow! What an amazing coincidence!

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Mind Boggling Trig Question

I was up until 4.30am trying to figure out ONE trig question…

Mind Boggling Trig Question

Mind Boggling Trig Question

I’ve never ever worked so hard on a math question in my life. The photo above is just one of the many solutions I’ve tried and I still couldn’t get it to work for some reason… I must be missing something.

I have an inkling that the solution is staring at me in the face. And I have this pressure on my chest to find it!

I think my interest in math is now bordering on obsessive. That’s all I want to do lately. Weird right?

Anyway, I’ve gotten a brilliant friend of mine to help and even she couldn’t figure it out after 40 minutes of trial. I’m now asking the capable tutors over at the Math Assistance Center for help and they are a little stumped at the moment so the girl who’s helping me is asking for the other tutors to help too…

I kinda want to try it again but I’ve spent 4 hours on it already. My brain hurts. Haha…

Sorry for this nerdy post. I know how much people hate math and I used to be one of those people too…

UPDATE:

I’m happy to say that we’re not paying our Math Assistance Center fees for nothing because the tutors there have managed to combine their intellects and figure out my question! YES! And yes, it was staring me in the face and I had just missed it. Should’ve just gone to bed. Haha…