Do the Hustle

Wow, for not having a job, things sure are busy!  This week, I met up with a friend of a friend who helped supply some creative and healing powers with the use of medicinal cannabis, consulted with a fellow doctoral student about my career trajectory, and corresponded with Dr. Darcy from “Famously Single” on VH1 about how to be a clinician in the entertainment industry. I attended class 3 of improv (I developed a proper man-crush on a classmate with an interesting twist). I randomly met a Bumble Boy in the middle of writing this blog post and may have a second in the works. I had friend-therapy with Meekachu and real-therapy with Mr. A after a two week break, and I participated in an intensive 4-day workshop on the EPPP.


Cannabis We Can

It’s time to admit something that I’ve been feeling too ashamed to share, and that is, I’m pro-cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes.  I was first introduced to weed when I was a junior in high school, but I didn’t start smoking it socially until my sophomore year in college.  It didn’t use for medicinal purposes until 2007, a wretched year contributing to my first major depressive episode.  I’ve had an on-and-off relationship with weed ever since.

The time I went back to live with my folks before starting my internship, I acquired a legitimate medicinal card in the state of California.  I told the doctor of my anxiety, depression, insomnia, and inertia.  He recommended a prescription of cannabis to regulate my symptoms and increase my academic and social functioning.  Let’s just say, it was the only way I could effectively cope with living with my family, finishing my dissertation, and applying and interviewing for 12 internships.

Ann Arbor is another community that allows medicinal use of cannabis.  I’ve made a few friends who have their medicinal cards, and I am seriously considering doing the same if I want to keep myself sane throughout this interesting life transition.  I’d like to be more wise and responsible about it now though.  Before I was using the card as an escape.  I can see myself doing that again, so this time I want to make sure that I’m also facing what it is that I’m afraid to face, and that I’m taking steps to understand, work through, and transcend them.  But more importantly, I’d like to end the stigma of using medicinal marijuana.


Helping Professionals

This week was also monumental in the midst of this life transition because of three major interpersonal connections.  I consulted with Miss AATBS who is going to help me study and pass my licensing exam (see section below called “EPPP”), a fellow doctoral student, “Gatino,” who specializes in helping post-docs with their career trajectories, and I corresponded with Dr. Darcy, a licensed clinical social worker from the show “Famously Single” on VH-1, to request time for an interview on how to be a clinician in the entertainment industry.

Gatino is a middle-aged gay latino from Texas who’s got substantial experience in higher education and has an adopted son.  It was serendipity and not a coincidence that we bumped into each other on the street when walking back from lunch with my former supervisor, Dr. C., during my last day as a post-doc.  Gatino just happens to work extensively with post-docs and early career professionals, and he validated that the challenges of this major life transition is commonly experienced with doubt, anxiety, and depression.  Gatino really took the time to listen and provide valuable guidance on how to navigate my current ambivalence of becoming a licensed clinician and an “informative entertainer.”  Our bond was developing to a point when he gave me permission to record our conversation and publish it!

His support, encouragement, and guidance was incredibly meaningful.  Now that I no longer have a job, I can’t always access my mentors or supervisors to help guide me.  Compounding this, my group/individual therapist, Mr. A, has been out on vacation and my parents have been in Europe.  For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been missing a huge part of my support system.  This particular time is wrought with anxiety and fear due to uncertainty, in addition to genuine thrill about the prospects that lie ahead.  The fact that this experience is lingering tells me that it’s not yet time to release my woes but to work through it.  And, while I’m proud of myself for reaching out to Quangel, Kasian, Meekachu, Diegy, and Mrs. Beige, I have to do it and be there for myself instead of depending on others to get me through it.

Gatino plans to reconnect with me to help me find additional job opportunities so that I can still help others and be myself and without the burden of having a license.

A few days before this, I was watching “Famously Single” on VH-1 and noticed that the celebrity clinician, Dr. Darcy, and I have similar treatment approaches and therapeutic styles when working with high achieving folks.  She’s young and married to her wife who’s also a licensed social worker and who both own a successful group private practice in New York.

I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but I emailed her to request an informational interview about how she entered into the entertainment industry as a clinician… To my surprise, she actually emailed me back!  Check out our email exchange below:

We plan to connect next week.  mtbr…


Improv Crushin’

We’re really cooking now because we’re getting more comfortable taking risks being silly and outrageous with each other.

Small side note… I’m developing a crush on a classmate, whom I’ll call Mr. Blue Eyez.  I believe we share a unique chemistry and bond inside the improv circle.  It’s becoming distracting, especially when I look into his eyes and everything else around me disappears.  I don’t know if I have the courage to inquire about his love life, or if I’m even ready to ask him out just to get to know him better.  I’d feel very silly if he’s actually gay but probably relieved too because then I’d understand the reason I felt safe was because I wasn’t threatened by him.

So while I have googly eyes for him, I can feel another classmate have googly eyes for me.  I’ll call him Mr. Green Eyez.  He made a few attempts to touch his my leg against mine, it wasn’t subtle.  I’m so interested to see how this’ll turn out.  There’s been an interesting dynamic between the three of us.  There have been several times where I’ve observed hints of competition among the two.  Isn’t that funny how life plays out?

Interestingly, after class 3 ended, I spoke with a female classmate, I’ll call her Boldy Locks, in front of our shared Toyota Prius hybrids.  I told her about my man-crush, and she told me about hers with another guy in our class.  We laughed as we joked about stalking them on Facebook.  But really, I think it’s because we both wanted to spend time with our peers outside of class.  The next day, she created a google doc for everyone to add their contact information by sending it through our instructor, Miss Lit, to distribute to the class.  Who knows what’s gonna happen, but my god am I curious.

***Improv Crushin’ Update!!!***

Oh my god, what a twist of events.  Well, maybe it’s not a “twist,” maybe it’s something that was expected or assumed as a possibility.  Maybe it’s just my brain basing its emotional reaction and conceptual understanding of the unknown from the collective unconscious.

So Boldy Locks befriended me on Facebook and we’re chatting on messenger.  She and I are excited about connecting with each other and the rest of the group, so she made and sent a google doc to Miss Lit asking to share with the class so that we could add our contact info and get in touch with each other.  Mr. Blue Eyez added his name, and now Boldy Locks and I were on an spontaneous adventure on the interwebs.  She’s got quite the skills and guts.  I’ve captured the evolution of events and this so-called plot twist below:

Obviously, I’m a bit mortified.  I’m also pissed that snapchat’s audio is missing on one of my snaps in the video above (starting at 2:18).  I think I said something along the lines of why I’m so drawn to him and why I feel so safe with him.  Basically, I enjoy spending time with him because he’s playful, kind, generous, and he brings out the good in me.

Naturally, I’m currently debating whether or not to tell Mr. Blue Eyez about this whole adventure.  I mean, I can’t really hide it now because I’ve been writing about my experience on this blog post and have probably mentioned it on a podcast episode.  We’ve become Facebook friends now too, so he’s bound to stumble across this if he is interested enough to read or listen to my plogcast.

At the same time I feel duped, I’m also happily relieved that the reason I felt drawn to, connected, and safe was because he’s queer like me!  He wasn’t a threat and I could completely be myself by accepting and loving myself.  I felt that he brought the best out of me, and I still believe that.  Interestingly, I never had a sexual thought or fantasy about him.  I know I mentioned that I have a sneaky suspicion that I would marry that man, and while that’s obviously not going to happen, I paused to reflect that I experience him as someone who’s part of “my tribe” and is more of a kindred spirit.  We’ve been chatting via Facebook messenger and I’m learning more about him and his husband who is familiar with Asian-Indian culture and society.

After taking time to think about it, including writing all of this out, I’m realizing that I’m glad to learn all of this now, because Lord knows I don’t wanna entangle myself in some shit that dun need it.  And because of what I learned, I now feel more comfortable to release any kind of pressure or nerves when interacting with him.  In fact, I sorta feel like I can push myself even further outside of my shell and feel safe to connect with him on stage.  He’s actually the perfect improv partner because he can help me show up and be seen.  So maybe I will tell him about this whole experience.  I guess, we’ll see…

In the meantime, I’m very curious to see what happens with Mr. Green Eyez, the other dude.  To be quite honest, I’m a little repulsed by him only because his clothes smelled of mildew this week.  Also, I can feel googly eyes in my direction, which makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.  Something about him reminds me of the Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (one of my favorite movies).  Now, before you judge me, know there’s much that’s unspoken about what’s underneath the discomfort from years of unpleasant experiences with male attention.  So, mtbr on all this and that…


Bumble Boy Bobby

Oh my goodness, you guys.. I met a bumble boy in the middle of writing out this blog post!!  I’ll call him “Bumble Boy Bobby.” It happened very fast and it was less weird than I had anticipated.  I haven’t met a boy offline in over a decade, and I’m not the same person I was back then.. so this was incredibly anxiety provoking.  We matched late last night and have been talking ever since.

We were just less than a 5 minute walk away from each other, so we decided to randomly meet up for an hour.  I walked to the agreed upon meeting point.. sweating, heart pounding, thoughts racing, dry mouth.  I had to poop so badly but couldn’t, of course.  So annoyed with my body having to poop every time I’m nervous.  

Bumble Boy Bobby was sitting and waiting outside on the concrete steps.  I approached him from behind before we shook hands.  He introduced himself as another name than what was on his profile.  I thought, oh god he’s catfishing me!! wtf?!  Good news is that he did look exactly like his pictures, so I chose to trust his story that he purposefully used a fake name online to protect his identity.

He has a huskie look, a cute and chubby face, and beautiful light brown eyes.  He keeps a nice beard and wears bifocal glasses.  I saw tattoos peeking out from his shirt sleeve that was exposing his wrist.

We sat inside a local Starbucks.. the same one I’ve been writing in while typing up this portion of the blog post!  There was an awkward moment when we’re at the register and he had forgotten his wallet, but hey, these things happen, right?  Even still, I had many thoughts, should I just buy him his hot cocoa?  Am I supposed to?  And why did he open the door for himself and go in first?  Am I really holding on to chivalry when I know that I’m a feminist and don’t need a man to hold no door open for me?.. still, why the hell didn’t he hold the door open for me??  These thoughts were swirling.  I just kept breathing and telling myself to stay focused on what’s in front of me instead of getting wrapped up in my head.

We had an awkward start, but eventually got into a natural conversation about many topics.  He’s a researcher and data analyst, single father, a vegetarian, and an atheist.  He’s a goofy nerd who shares a similar sense of humor, one that’s “absurd,” as he had described it.  We also shared some important life experiences, such as taking anti-depressants and living with suicidal ideation.  I think we hit it off quite well.  Before departing, we hugged each other tightly and exchanged numbers.  We’ve been texting and sending each other clever memes/cartoons ever since.

 

While there may not be a romantic vibe just yet, there’s definitely a friendly vibe and hope for something good.  In fact, we may go to Nerd Nite this Thursday.  I told him to submit a proposal about a topic that he wants to nerd out about.  He’s really considering it.

Either way, I just want it to be organic.  so, mtbr…

***BUMBLE BOY UPDATE***

Well, it’s not a surprise that Bumble Boy Bobby did not show to Nerd Nite.  I’m not sure what happened, but I can take a hint, so I’m moving on.

BETTER NEWS: I have a date with another bumble boy on Tuesday night.  I’ll call him “Antonio Banderas Jr (ABJr).”  Admittedly, I have no idea what I’m getting into or what I need to wear or what we’re supposed to talk about.  And I’m really bad at telling when guys are flirting with me or expressing any interest whatsoever.  I had a couple nice long chats with my best friend, Meekachu (see blow).  But ABJr and I are meeting, so mtbr…

 


Friend-Therapy

There are interesting feelings resurfacing, ones that I have been avoiding for over 10 years.  Putting myself back out in the dating world is probably one of the most vulnerable things I can do.  ABJr and I have been texting since Friday, but again, it’s been hard for me to see if he’s interested in “more than friends” kinda thing.  I’m not sure why I’m putting an emphasis on that so soon, I mean, perhaps it’s because of the narrative or schema that exists from being socially conditioned in today’s day and age.

ABJr wouldn’t be texting me if he wasn’t interested, right?  He wouldn’t have agreed to meet on Tuesday, right?  Well, I had to get the advice and support from my best friend, Meekachu, on how to read and write texts with a bumble boy I have an interest in and am way too scared to be vulnerable with.  Meeks and I met a couple times, once on Thursday at the Last Word speakeasy where a live band played and we ate thai-basil poutine, and again on Saturday at Texas Roadhouse restaurant where we ate some delicious Hawaiian-like bread with honey-cinnamon butter.

We talked about everything that is currently weighing heavily on my heart and on my mind.  I revealed my fears and discomfort dating again.  I didn’t feel comfortable talking with my therapist, Mr. A, about my past sexual/romantic experiences because it is painful (i.e., several “long cons”), but also that the last time I spoke with a male therapist about my sex life, I felt sexualized and had nightmares that he raped me.  Obviously, I’ve got work to do on this.

Meekachu helped me realize that I’ve got at least nine different domains that I am “stepping into the arena” of the unknown.  So of course I’m gonna feel overwhelmed (this isn’t new, check out my blog post “Freaking Out Now” for more).  Out of protection, she wondered if there was anything I could do to lighten the load.  I told her that although I am scared as hell to fall in love again, I’m also curious as hell to find out what might happen.  For you see, curiosity keeps me around more than hope .

So I asked her to read through the texts because I was in an emotional state wrapped with fear and shame.  She verified that the texts were indicative of ABJr’s interest in me and that he is making thoughtful efforts to connect and relate.  It felt good to hear that.  But I was still upset about all the feelings underneath this potential bumble date.   I don’t really ever talk about the feeling of rejection from not just romantic partners but also family members, friends, peers, co-workers or bosses.  Beyond that fear lies the fear of abandonment, and ultimately fears of being unworthy, unloveable, and undesirable.  These fears are too strong for me to bear alone, so I pushed them way deep down for many, many years.

Through talking over poutine and sweet bread, we discovered that the small child within me has been forced into the shadows of my psyche.  Neglected, alone, and in pain.  As Meeks was holding my hand from across the table (it’s become a trend where she and I go to a restaurant and hold each other’s hands and cry publicly about the challenges of our lives), I cried and scratched at my arm from the pain of feeling the pain.  She looked at me with her compassionate eyes and held me in this space, without judgment or trying to fix or take away what I was feeling.

She helped me connect with the wounded child within me.  At the Last Word, I was able to show myself loving-kindness, a type of meditation that instantly soothes the threat system.  I said, “May I learn to accept myself as I am.  May I learn to give myself permission to feel scared and vulnerable.  May I let go of self-doubt and self-criticism, and may I respond to myself with kindness and concern.  May I learn to forgive myself for my past mistakes.  May I lean into the unknown and trust that I am capable of withstanding it. etc…“.

At the Texas Roadhouse, Meekachu helped me practice mindfulness self-compassion with my inner child and say, “I want you to know that you are loved and cared for.  I want you to know that I am so sorry for oppressing you, and I hope that you can forgive me.  I want you to know that I am here and I am listening.  I want you to know that I am ready to do the work.”  As I imagined the scene of dialogue between myself and my inner child, I noticed that she was no longer neglected in the corner of a dark shadow.  She had become a radiant child of light, with strength, grace, and purpose.

Both times, I expressed these statements out loud with eyes closed and hand over heart.  My physiological symptoms of stress and pain had subsided instantly.  Meekachu even commented on how my face had lit up after showing myself loving-kindness and mindfulness self-compassion.  Honestly, I don’t think I could have done the work without Meekachu by my side and from having already been on this journey of self-acceptance and self-love.

This is the work, people.  It’s like what Moana learned in the Pixar movie.  She could only master wayfinding and be in the uncertainty, mystery, and power of the ocean by turning her boat head first into the wave so that she could ride it with more control and purpose.  Moana didn’t realize this at first, because in the beginning of the movie, we see her capsize because her boat is parallel to the wave, as in, she’s avoiding what’s coming and it took her out.  So this is my task, to become a master wayfinder in the depths of my own ocean.  mtbr…


Mr. A Returns

I go back and forth wanting to quit individual therapy.  I’ve been tired of doing the inner work for a while now.  Self-improvement is painful and exhausting!  Mr. A’s 2-week vacation forced me to rely on other resources for support, so I reached out to several other people whom I didn’t think would want to be burdened by my anxieties about improv, bumble, this upcoming job interview, and my licensing exam.  By allowing others in whom I might not normally have, I gained different perspectives that was much more needed during these past 2 weeks.  This is sorta what group therapy is about (mtbr on that).

Mr. A wondered if I was disappointed that he left me or if I will cut him out of my life first before he can cut me out of his.  These were not not true.  But I didn’t want to admit all of that.  I just wanted a break, or at least resume therapy until my life settles a bit, so I suggested that I take a hiatus from individual therapy for a few weeks until i figure my financial situation out.  Mr A has a way of making it seem like despite the financial worry, to still make time for therapy because there’s always something to work on, especially in the midst of hardship.

Well, Mr. A believes if I really want to leave individual, then I’d have to have one more session with him.  I would still be in group therapy though, which is like half the price of an individual session.  Because Mr. A’s been gone for 2 weeks, we also haven’t held group.  We are to resume this Thursday but I can’t go because I’ll be in Day 1 of 4 for an intensive workshop on my licensing exam (see below under EPPP Workshop).  Plus Nerd Nite is right after, so it wasn’t going to work, and that’s also why I reached out to Meekachu (see above).  So, I’ll be resuming group next week and having one final individual session.  mtbr…


EPPP Workshop

After consulting with Miss AATBS last week, she told me to do a few tasks before reconnecting.  Well, after two months of not studying, I knew it was a tall-order and that I wouldn’t follow through.  So I emailed her the day we’re supposed to check-in on my progress saying that I haven’t done much because I’m still unmotivated and experiencing some intense imposter syndrome, which is a real thing for folks in graduate school.  It’s actually much worse for women and people of color, and even more for women of color.  So, naturally, I’ve gotta work on this and everything else with Mr. A.  I’ve documented the last 4 days on snapchat.


As we can see, there’s so much happening right now.  There hasn’t been much room for lyfting this past week, but when the Fall semester rolls around and football season starts, I’ll have much more interesting adventures ahead.

Let’s see how this story unfolds.

…mtbr…

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