Posted on May 1, 2016 ; related to Updates, Real life, School, Identity. Leave a comment?
This post is a little spontaneous. Unlike my other posts, I didn’t carefully plan out and proofread everything, because I didn’t plan on making this post.
There’s a lot of things going on in my life lately. I found out last month that I will be graduating at the end of 2018, 2 terms sooner than I had anticipated. That means that I have to start working on my thesis next year, and start planning for it now. The thing about senior theses at my school is that most people do them with their co-op employers. They get paid to do their theses and they don’t have to think about what to (i.e. come up with an idea of the thesis) as much as how to do it. So their bosses mostly sat down with them, discussed the possible topic ideas, and they just chose from the available options.
For me, this past work term (January-March) did not go as well as I had expected. Last summer work term was at a different division that focused more on hardware testing, which I didn’t really care for. I had what I could call friends there, and although the boss was a more rough personality than I was used to, he and I got along and understood each other. I had a lot of stressful moments, but I got a SA (”Strongly Approve”) rating from that term.
Now this past work term I got an internal transfer, which allowed me to work more in Software which was my field. However, the people there, while polite and “softer”, were not helpful at all. My boss was away 40% of the time, and the guy who he left to supervise me was very bad at communication. Added to my hearing loss, that meant I spent days, even weeks there, unsure what I was supposed to do. I tried to ask questions, but they were not answered or vaguely answered. The people who worked at that office were apathetic, to say the least. And at the end of the term, I got an evaluation A (”Agree”) but had 3 disagrees on the evaluation which meant I barely got credit for that work term. And at the last day of work, I didn’t even know we had a training manual, or that we didn’t work on Good Friday! Turns out, I was the only one who went in on Good Friday and didn’t even get paid.
I was disappointed to say the least. I was angry, even. I was mad at my boss for giving me a bad rating when he had done a bad job himself. I was mad at my direct supervisor who was too busy and unavailable, not communicating with me well. I was mad at myself for all the “should haves”: maybe I should have spoken up more, maybe if I didn’t have this hearing loss I would have had better communication. But I was also angry at God. It took me 3 months of job searching, a career fair, and 4 interviews, all of which I got rejected, until this one. I had the interview 3 days before my flight to Thailand. I found out I got the job 3 days before Christmas, and it was only but the grace of God that I got this job, and now this? I was dismayed. Didn’t God want to give the best for me?
So now it comes to this. I had my thesis to do, and I’d be damned if I do the thesis at my co-op place. I didn’t even want to go back there for next work term, and now I have to approach my boss about a thesis, too? I prayed. I didn’t want to work with those people. I didn’t want to do something that felt meaningless, that didn’t really matter. I didn’t want to do just another mediocre thing. That was until I thought of an idea…
At the non-profit organization I work at, Amazing Grace Counseling Outreach (AGCO), I was in charge of most of the money flow tracking. I had to do the bookkeeping, so I needed to make sure all the money was accounted for. When I was at school, I had 3 months of bookkeeping to keep track of, and often the information (which was in paper) was scattered and hard to find.
My idea was to write a program to keep track of the cash flow for the organization, and tailor it specifically for them. It would be an entrepreneurship thesis, which I could do independently of my co-op. I’m very excited about this idea, but there’s still a long way to go.
I have to pitch the idea to my adviser, convince the co-op people to let me to this thesis, write a proposal, not to mention a whole lot of other things that go with the process.
But if it could work, it would really work. It’s harder than a typical thesis, but if I could pull this off, with God’s help, then it would help AGCO a lot, not to mention me as well as a potential business idea.
There’s still a long way to go, and honestly I’m afraid, but also excited. Here’s to my potential new thesis!
Posted on Dec 6, 2015 ; related to Updates, Real life, School, Looking Back. Leave a comment?
So I have two more weeks of school term until I get to go to Thailand for break.
I’ve come so far I think! One year ago I was still kind of fucked up and very lonely because I was living alone and isolated in Milwaukee. I didn’t have anyone I could really call a friend until the last 2 months of my time in Milwaukee which was April. I was still not technically “clean” since I didn’t want to be. I was dissociating regularly and still reeling from being harassed during my first quarter. I was also living without my regular hearing aids since they were lost in the mail, but I did not know that then.
But the main thing was the loneliness. It was horrible. Even while I lived in the dorms, my social anxiety combined with my hearing loss and culture shock resulted in my not making many friends in freshman year. While other first year kids were already grouping up, I isolated myself in my room. I rarely kept my door open, and I felt like I had to be vigilant all the time.
Although after I moved out from the dorms and got my apartment which was very nice, I was even more isolated. I went for days not talking to anyone. I remember one night where I just completely dissociated and spent the whole night just thinking about how lonely it was.
Even though I already was past the point of wanting to kill myself, I remember relapsing several times that first year. I had good grades and even pulled a 4.00 my second term and got a 3.93 GPA the end of my first year, but I was suffering.
But now to the good stuff.
After only 8 weeks at my new uni, I have what I could even call a friend group. People whom I study with, who I eat with, and who I laugh with. They might make me annoyed sometimes, but these people care about me, and I for them. Being with these people made me wonder how I ever made it without friends.
I’m 9 months clean today. I just finished my final project for computer science class. I might be pulling a 4.00 this term. I’m going to Thailand in two weeks.
I’m going through my first term again, but this time with friends there with me.
Posted on Jul 2, 2015 ; related to Real life, Looking Back. Leave a comment?
Last month, after coming back from college, I had my yearly checkup. I had prepared myself to tell my doctor about my being transgender, about vaccines and about my weight. Before stepping on that scale in the doctor’s office, I didn’t weight myself for several months, since before I left for college.
Because I spent most of my childhood and teen years agonizing about my weight and going on countless diets and exercise routines, my weight is a touchy topic. Growing up as a Thai American girl, and especially as the oldest kid, I was under pressure to look and act a certain way. The acting, I nailed down quickly, but the looking part remained a disappointment.
I learned to get used to my parents making comments about my body and how I should lose weight. I joined sports teams to play sports, but also to lose weight. Scrutinizing myself in front of a mirror, grabbing bunches of fat, and picturing myself as a beautiful, skinny person was something I did every day without fail.
While infrequent, trips to Thailand were marked with dread as relatives with good (and less than good) intentions stared me down, looking at how much I gained or lost weight since they last saw me. I simply learned to accept the comments about my eating habits and advice on how to lose weight, but that didn’t make their remarks hurt less.
Fortunately, at sixteen, I decided to stop all this diet and weight loss nonsense and decided to pursue Health at Every Size instead. I rejected dieting and calorie counting. Instead, I tried eating until my body told me it was full. I exercised with a different mindset, because it was good for my body and it gave me energy, instead of because it could help be lose weight. All this helped a lot with my body image issues, and I was able to keep my body hating thoughts to a minimum.
And now, here I was again, in the doctor’s office, facing my judgement in the form of a scale. Most people gained weight after their first year of college, I tried to reassure myself. Besides, why should you care about your weight anyway? I thought you were past that. Still, I hesitated to step on the scale.
When the numbers appeared, I looked at them, at first not registering them in my mind. 192 pounds? I lost over 10 pounds at school? I didn’t know how to feel. As I stepped off the scale, I was reminded of the time I lost 25 pounds at 11 years old only to gain them back a year later. I was reminded of the time I tried to starve myself at 12 years old because nothing else would help me lose weight. And at 15, when I gained 20 pounds in less than a year due to depression.
After all these years of trying to lose weight and failing then giving up, here I was, 10 pounds lighter. My old self would have felt elated, but I tried to blame it on a fluke. It might have been an error on the scale’s part, or just weight fluctuation. It could have been the stress at school. Strangely enough for me, I did not want to lose that weight.
When the doctor congratulated me, I smiled outwardly, but internally, I was conflicted.
I was afraid that if I accepted that I lost that weight, then that old feeling of hating myself and feeling that losing weight for the sake of doing it was a good thing would come back. I was afraid of falling back into old habits, and, really, of wanting to lose weight again. While I tried to convince myself that this was all past me, and that I was fully body positive now, I still had that old part of me that thought if I lost weight, my life would be much better.
While I would like to say that I am free from my baggage, I can’t make that statement. I still feel jealous of conventionally attractive people, I still sometimes think that I would be so much better looking if I were skinnier, and maybe I could even find a romantic partner if I would lose weight. It’s hard to escape feeling inadequate about my size, and even though I do acknowledge that I still hold some privilege over people who are bigger than I am, I don’t like my body a lot much of the time.
Still, even if I cannot shout, “I love and accept myself and my body all the time” from the rooftops, I can say that I’m constantly trying to accept my body for what it is, with or without fat, with or without illness, and with or without scars.