Well, Hot Damn!

My goodness, what an interesting week it’s been (8/20-27).  The solar eclipse happened, I attended class 4 of improv, went on a date with a new bumble boy, had two job interviews (one planned and one impromptu), resumed group and individual therapy, started Kickball, went to Chicago to learn how to contour my face, and watched the final episode of season 7 Game of Thrones (there will be no spoilers here).


Monday

The solar eclipse was the rage today.  I planned on going to the library to watch the eclipse but they ran out of glasses.  They only had 400 pairs but didn’t anticipate over 1,000 people in attendance.  That would have overwhelmed me if I stayed, so instead I just watched NASA’s video of the eclipse and it was just as magical.

Space sometimes scares the shit outta me.  Space and the depths of the ocean.  Both places, high and low, filled with uncertainty and unknowns.  I don’t trust that I’d survive it because it feels too vast and overwhelming.  Although, I do like to star gaze and imagine what life is like for aliens on other plants.  I also like watching documentaries on space and the ocean because it’s my way of exposure while also helping to contain any over-thinking about things.

It was lovely to feel the solidarity among humanity today.  Suddenly, it was as if all of our socially constructed labels, hierarchies, and rules faded away and we were all just basic human beings looking up into the sky thus putting life into perspective.  I wonder what we could do as humans to cultivate this feeling more often instead of spending all of our time, energy, and resources on what divides and destroys us.

I was supposed to review all the material from the EPPP licensing workshop this past weekend, but I was way too distracted by what’s coming up in these next few days, including improv tonight, my bumble date tomorrow, and an interview on Wednesday.  I knew that I wouldn’t have the energy or motivation to review, but I tried my hardest to at least review test-taking strategies.  I have a feeling that my motivation to study will return once I know where I’m going to work.  Plus, I’ll get paid more if I’m licensed, so it’s an even greater incentive to get this test over with.

Class 4 of improv was tonight and it was all about establishing and maintaining the relationship between you and your partner.  We played many different games that included using our body language, posture, and movement as ways to communicate emotions, thoughts, and intentions, and to express how we relate to others and the world.  It was also fun because we had a smaller crowd tonight due to the eclipse.  My improv crush was there, and I don’t believe he is aware of anything that’s transpired from the week before that, so we’ll see if I’m feeling emboldened enough to share the story with him or not.  Oh, and there’s only a month left before the big show!


Tuesday

All day I was supposed to be reviewing for the EPPP and prepping for my interview tomorrow, but I’m super distracted by thinking about my date tonight with the new Bumble Boy, Antonio Banderas, Jr. (ABJr).  I met up with two friends, Quangel for lunch and Kasian for coffee.  Quangel had some great advice about the date tonight.  They reassured me that I have what it takes to overcome my anxieties and fears about the date and the interview, and they encouraged me to trust and have faith in myself.

Kasian has had some interesting Bumble Boys, and I sorta feel bad for her because she doesn’t deserve some of the shit that’s been happening to her.  At the same time, I wonder what it is about her that is attracting these specific men who tend to take advantage of her.  Like, there was a guy who straight-up meets all the criteria for catfishing.  He told her a sob story of how he has no one in his life, is stranded in another country and needs money to fly back to the states.  He offers to deposit a check to her bank for the same amount in cash, and she agrees because she has a heart of gold.  So, the bank flags the fraudulent check and she calls him a scam.  He sends her a picture of himself holding a sign that reads, “Thanks for calling me a scam, [Kasian].”  It looked photoshopped as hell. While the quest for love can certainly be blinding to us all, I admire that Kasian calls people out and stands up for herself.

Anyway, I couldn’t focus on anything other than this date tonight.  What am I going to wear? What if he doesn’t like me, or what if I don’t like him?  Should I have an exit strategy?  What am I going to order to eat and drink?  What are we going to talk about?  These thoughts were overwhelming and annoying.  I just tried breathing it out and tried attending to whatever was in front of me.  So, to calm my mind, I walked around Ann Arbor visiting different shops and sight seeing.  I took a moment to write out a case conceptualization for my interview tomorrow, yet every once in a while my heart would flutter by the thought of the evening.

Bumble Boy Date: ABJr

Well, it came and it went.  It was awkward at first, but I tried not to draw attention to that.  I could tell he was a bit nervous too because he was standing at a distance with his arms folded.  I got dry mouth and was actively pushing away any self-critical or judgmental thoughts.  I grounded myself on what was here-and-now, in front of me.  There was a Simpson’s arcade game that gave us something to talk about instantly.  I pretended as if I’ve seen him a million times before and we’re just old friends catching up.  This approach and attitude helped relieve some performance anxiety and impression management.

We were offered a booth in the back of the restaurant, so it was more private and quiet for us to talk.  I realized that while I’m a feminist who doesn’t need a man to take care of me in the traditional sense, I still value and appreciate romance, which doesn’t have to be a gendered concept but a relational one.  For instance, I really appreciated that he held the door open for me and he even switched seats with me because he saw that one of the lights was practically blinding me.  I returned the favor and held the door open for him.  We split our check out of fairness for the first date, but he offered to pay for my drinks in celebration of having made it through the 4-day intensive licensing workshop the weekend before.

I’m relieved because we hit it off right away.  We share a similar sense of humor and interests (e.g., scary movies, cats, spicy food, pot).  He’s sarcastic with a twist.  He likes to joke in absurd exaggerations, something I’m familiar with.  He offered me a sip of his beer without a care.  Our banter went back and forth quite smoothly.  We were making each other laugh despite the expected awkward lulls.  I was worried that I was holding the conversation up the whole time and asked him what he’d like to know about me.  He responded by saying he prefers the conversation to be more organic than to put him on the spot like that.  That’s fair, I thought.  But still dude, ask me a question!

We shared a bit about our upbringing and families.  I told him some stories of hardship in my youth which helped to shape my character.  He seemed intrigued and interested, which was reassuring but also worrying.  There were a few times that I was uncertain where I stood with him.  I’m very new at all of this so it may be harder for me to read/interpret when someone is into me.  Also, he was likely too nervous to be vulnerable enough with me to say if he likes me or is having a good time with me.

What I noticed about him was his kindness, thoughtfulness, and compassion.  I didn’t care about if he went to college or how much money he makes or what his position is in his job.  I also didn’t care that he’s not much of a “food” guy.  I cared that he loved his mother and he takes care of his dog.  I care that he’s conscientious and considerate.  I’m impressed by his abilities to validate and empathize with some of my current circumstances.  He was encouraging and grounding.  I wasn’t as nervous as I had thought because I was feeling incredibly comfortable with him.

I like that he can laugh at himself and he doesn’t take himself too seriously.  I also like that he’s not intimidated by a smart, accomplished, and ambitious woman.   I like how accepting and nonjudgmental he is to look beyond the outside and he welcomes all of the good/bad things about me that make me uniquely me.  For instance, I told him that I identify as queer and he was interested to learn what that meant to me.  I like that he has his shit together, as in, he has a job and his own place, and I like that he has good friends with whom he hangs out with.  I like that he’s involved in things that interest him.  I honestly felt so supported, I felt so cared for by him.  I felt safe in his “love” already, which is scary as hell and weird af.

He seems to have a secure attachment style, and I wonder if he could be that person to help ground me when I’m feeling anxious or insecure.  He might need more time to feel comfortable enough to show up as deeply as me, but so far his willingness to be vulnerable to talk about his family means that he’s in touch with some of the pieces of himself that sometimes people struggle with.  There’s something about him where I find a maturity and an emotional availability that’s really attractive.  It’s refreshing and also terrifying because of the potential to fall in love with him.

It’s really hard to believe that we’re jelling the way we are.  It almost seems too good to be true, like what’s wrong with him that he likes me, or when is the other shoe going to drop?  I’m used to “the long con,” as in, I’m used to people who show me love and support and then eventually, when they get what they want, even if that’s many years later, I never see or hear from them again.  I feel so used and like such a fool, but with this guy.. my bumble boy, ABJr, I don’t think he wants anything for me other than I guess for me to be myself.

He also seems to enjoy spending time with me.   He was asking me important questions about things that are difficult in my life right now.  Again, these efforts make me feel so cared for.  It also makes me feel protected that I’ll be okay no matter what happens.  Sometimes I wonder if he will be able to actually keep up with me or put up with me.  I don’t want to burden him with my dramatic emotions/thoughts.. this is an insecurity I have about being “too much.”  Something that originated during my childhood.

I think he also has more of an optimistic or hopeful streak then he wants to admit.  Even though he doesn’t call himself an atheist, he does not believe in God, ghosts, or spirits.  He’s actually quite picky about what he eats and that he really doesn’t care about food too much.  He says he has the pallet of a five year old and sometimes the mentality of a 12 year old.

I told him about my love languages including playful teasing and thoughtful sentimental gifts in addition to quality time.  He agreed to make me a music playlist.  I think he liked my suggestion about putting together songs that remind him of me or that he thinks I may like to listen to.

I love his smile, and he’s got these beautiful smile lines next to his eyes.  He’s super bashful and he’s adorably awkward.  I like to be the person that makes him smile or laugh, it gives me so much joy!

My friends say that it could be possible he’s also nervous and anxious for this date but that it’s likely that I’m feeling more so only because it’s been over 10 years.  I’m trying not to get caught up on the past.  I felt like sometimes guys who were with me romantically were embarrassed to be seen with me in public or to tell their friends or family about me, and I just felt kind of like an invisible secret and I really don’t want to feel that again.  But my friend also says that ABJr is being very responsive through text and that he does have an interest in me. So, I just have to trust that and let go of any negative thinking that ruins the good feeling.

Needless to say, the date ended well and we’ve been texting every day ever since.  We’ve got another date next week, so mtbr…


Wednesday

I had my interview with the group practice this morning.  I’m going to refer to them as Vanilla, you’ll see why in a bit, so keep reading.  I woke up early to prepare a case presentation that I ended up not presenting because we used the time to talk about my story and ask each other questions.  There was one major logistical issue though and that’s that they do not have a licensed psychologist for me to practice therapy under or for me to get supervision from.  So, I thought I either had to find a supervisor in the community to practice under or wait until I get licensed, which may take a few months, and if I find somebody in the community (even if they supervise me and I’m practicing under their license) it’s actually the psychiatrist who technically owns the group practice that would need to sign off on my notes.  It all feels very complicated.
I already contacted at the state licensing board and have yet to hear back from them, so I’ll try again tomorrow.  I also reached out to some of my supervisors and mentors from my previous employment and some of my colleagues in community mental health centers to ask their colleagues so that I can generate as much networking or connections as possible.   In the meantime, I’m feeling motivated to study obviously because I need to get my license in order for me to practice independently, yet I’m still feeling very conflicted about getting licensed, mainly because of the restrictive nature and unwanted responsibility.
I’m also still experiencing the sense of procrastination pretty badly, like not just with studying but I have been wanting to clean up my apartment and basically get rid of a bunch of stuff and then move out into a smaller apartment but I’m just super lazy.  Well, the term “lazy” can be seen as negative or pathologizing in a way.  I guess I just feel like the anxiety is keeping me from really doing anything, and it feels terribly immobilizing.  I just want to escape through watching TV or smoking weed or something, and so it’s a little bit distracting and annoying.  I’m trying to do one small thing a day to increase my sense of accomplishment and confidence, which I hope is self-reinforcing enough to motivate me to do more.  We’ll see how this works out.  Either way, the tasks need to get done, whether I like to do them or not.  That’s life! and that’s also adulting…
I also feel like I’m way more addicted to my phone than I’d like to admit and it interrupts my sleep patterns.  I’m not eating regularly, which is not good for my mood or stress.  I’ve been trying to do this Blue Apron since the beginning of this year but within the last month or so I’ve been way too lazy to make any of the meals.  There I go again, the word “lazy.”  Well, I’ve been wasting the food and that makes me feel very guilty and angry at myself for doing that.  I think I’m way over my head, I’m overwhelmed with the realities of life, such as how my going to pay my rent and my bills, and how am I going to just be an adult now, how am I going to actualize what I want for myself?  I know it’s possible, I just have to do the work.  I have to stop thinking about it and I just need to do it.  I really don’t want to sabotage these efforts either.  More adulting…

Thursday

Well, good news! I heard back from the licensing board and they said that I don’t need a psychologist to practice under because all of my postdoc hours have already been accounted for, so it doesn’t actually really matter if I get supervised by a psychologist or psychiatrist, just as long as the psychiatrist is a medical degree.  It seems like I could start working sooner under the supervision of the psychiatrist at the Vanilla practice while also studying for my exam. But, it’s still just a matter of time.
While I am eagerly awaiting to see what happens, I’m going to little by little, one thing time, one task at a time, try to tackle all of the different areas that I need to prioritize right now. At present, I really need to study, apply for licensure, and clean out my apartment so that I can move eventually.  I’m noticing that when I’m not in a structured environment, which I believe is actually really beneficial for my AD/HD, I have difficulties with organization and I start to feel overwhelmed because of that.  I’m trying to be creative with how I can motivate myself with different tasks but I’m also struggling with even remembering that task in the first place, so I have to make lists and reminders.
I also need to start a realistic routine in my lifestyle including making sure that I’m eating healthy food options and drinking water throughout the day. I also need to prioritize sleep, so my curfew is before midnight for at least seven hours of solid sleep.  What gets in the way is going to bed with my phone near me, so I need to keep my phone away so that I won’t want to check it in the middle of the night when I wake up unexpectedly.  Honestly, it just makes it a so much harder to fall asleep, so I need to start training myself to be okay in the stillness, quiet, boredom, and loneliness.  I must learn how to tolerate and master that feeling so that it doesn’t affect my ability to sleep.  I don’t want to feel like I’m dependent on or super attached to my phone.
On another note, I’m starting kickball tomorrow!  I’m very excited to start incorporating movement back into my life.  I really want to start dancing again and I’ve tried to look for some Zumba outlets but there’s not a lot of spaces for big girls like me.  Also, some of the dancing is just kind of boring, it’s not fun enough for me.  I’m either thinking of renting a dance studio an hour or two a week to just do my own dancing where I’m essentially practicing for my drag persona of different songs that I want to emulate.  I think that would be a really great way to get some exercise but also be creative with the the purpose of becoming a bio queen.
Also, I have been wanting to swim for a while but I’m just so ashamed and scared of my body size, along with being hairy. I’m super self-conscious that people will see something they don’t want to see and I’m afraid of seeing disgust in their faces.  When I first moved to Ann Arbor last year, I bought these plus size bathing suits (very hard to find btw) with the intention to go swimming.  I also bought a bike (had to go through 3 different once that would “accommodate my size”).  After this past year, I validate for myself that I’ve been through a lot with my own personal journey of self acceptance and self-love.  Having gone kayaking a few weeks ago and performing during nerd night really helped me fully embrace my size, my queerness, and my sensuality.  I basically came out to the world and I reclaimed these identities of myself that felt so goddamn empowering.
I feel that I am a little bit more ready to get into the swimming pool and start to exercise that way, but the only thing is that every place costs a lot of money that I don’t have (yet).  Right now, I don’t have a stable income and I’m prioritizing the cost of therapy over this, so I may have to wait on that for a while.  I do have my bicycle still, but it had gotten rusty over the winter and now I need to get it repaired in someway. Surely but slowly, everything is coming together.  It’s just a matter of time, patience, discipline, and being intentional about the decisions I make.
This also includes only smoking weed when I want to relax at the end of a long day and to do so socially rather than alone.  I’d like it to be a reward, no different than a celebratory cocktail, after I’m done with everything that I’ve been needing to do, or if I’m going to an outing and I really don’t want to drink.  These would be the ways that I would want to utilize the weed that is not in a form of medicating or sabotaging my goals or taking me farther away from my values.
This intentionality is a constant reminder that I have to keep myself in check, otherwise I’m prone to inertia and laziness (there’s that word again), which then takes the form of procrastination.  But, again, this is all because of the anxiety and depression.  So, I have to work with what I’ve got and I need to be gentle with myself knowing that I’m going through this major life transition.  It isn’t necessarily realistic for me to be 100% on my A-game right now because I’m so overwhelmed from the mental difficulties dealing with uncertainty.  Instead of dwelling or focusing on that, I’m doing my best to stay focused on meaningful relationships, positive experiences and emotions, and creating something beautiful with those relationships.  By putting myself out there with improv, group therapy, kickball, dancing, dating, interviewing, studying, apartment shopping… that’s a lot of stuff!
In the meantime, my family is going through their own stuff right now and it’s hard to hold all of it from so far away.  For instance, they just downsized and moved from our home of 16 years.  My mom manages my dad’s private practice and gas station, while she also takes care of my younger brother and of her own mom whose dementia is worsening by the day.  My mom and brother are butting heads right now because he is moving out of the house to start college.  He’s been calling me and texting me more than ever before because he’s legitimately freaking out about this transition.  I’m doing my best to be as supportive and encouraging for him in a way that lands on him in a helpful way.  Also, my sister just got engaged (actually she eloped earlier this year), and a couple weeks ago she announced that they’re pregnant now.  She also dropped the bomb that they are possibly moving to another state.  Even my dad is in semi retirement mode, so there’s a lot of changes happening right now.  I understand that it’s not just about me.  I’m also holding onto all of the changes happening in my family and trying to be available for them as best as I can be.

Vanilla vs. Spicy Private Practice

Also, strange twist of events regarding job opportunities.  First some context.  Remember that I met a woman at the four-day workshop for my licensing exam last weekend?  She is a psychologist who is part of another group practice here (I’m going to call them Spicy, keep reading to learn why).  She ended up telling her boss about me and had texted me earlier today asking me to email her boss so that we could connect about recruiting me as a psychologist.  So I did and then about about an hour later we had a 20-minute phone conversation where she basically hired me on the spot!  Talk about the universe synchronizing itself!
The good news is that this particular center has a completely diverse staff from different cultures, different backgrounds, different lifestyles, and gender identities.  All of which makes me feel less “tokenized” (like I feel when at the Vanilla practice, which consists of primarily non-people of color).  Spicy practice also has plenty of license psychologists for me to get supervision from.  I worry about the psychiatrist from Vanilla practice who’ll supervise me because he’s not trained in the same field as I am, so I’m concerned that the supervision wouldn’t be as rich in theory or conceptualization than I’d like.
Spicy practice also values self-expression because they operate from a multicultural and feminist framework, which is basically collaborative and empowerment-based.  They do not pathologist the person because it’s more strengths-based, and that feels really good to be part of something where I share a very similar worldview.  I like that they won’t tell me to be somebody I’m not, which is kind of how I’m feeling about Vanilla practice.  I feel like I would have to really mold myself into what Vanilla is looking for in order to fit with their aesthetic (very Martha Stewart).  I think this presents an interesting conflict about where I work.  I was thinking maybe just a couple days at each place for some variety and exposure to different clientele and working with different people.  I think that’s the whole point of being able to work as an independent practitioner is to have some of these opportunities but also the autonomy and flexibility that working in an institution wouldn’t provide me.  So we’ll see, mtbr…
Additionally, I resumed group therapy today after a 3-week break.  It was really interesting to be back in that setting, but it also felt kind of good to be able to update everybody on the wild roller coaster ride that these last few weeks have been and where I’m at now.  I had started the group saying that I met a Bumble Boy and that I was offered a job from the Spicy practice.  There’s a lot of really good things happening in my life, although overwhelming and terrifying too.
I was feeling pretty high on life, but I also felt bad because there are some people in the group who are obviously in a lot of emotional and psychological pain and I didn’t want to shine too brightly about some of the good things in my life because I think it makes other people (whether they want to admit that or not) subconsciously feel threatened and are resentful, jealous, or envious.  I say that because I’m one of them!  Like, there are times when something is going good for somebody else and I wish it was going good for me.  It’s actually a very human thing, and it seems very natural to have those kinds of reactions in addition to feeling really excited and happy for them.  It’s possible to feel both good and bad, which is conflicting, but again, very human.
I mean, I just want to be thoughtful about over celebrating my good news..  and then I think about my family of origin experiences when I didn’t feel as celebrated.  It almost felt like it would be a threat.  I say that because I grew up with parents who are high-achieving and well-accomplished but for whatever reason, they were in competition with me my whole life! So, if I out shined them in whatever domain (e.g., intellect with my father and feminine beauty with my mother), then they felt insecure and it was not good for me (i.e., affection withheld or was responded to with silent treatment or harsh criticism).  Essentially, this is why I had to play small with myself as an act of psychological survival.
So, now that I am ready to embrace who I am and I know what I’m capable of, I’m feeling unstoppable.  I mean, I’m still affected by feelings of shame, I’m still affected by fear, doubt, insecurity, and anxiety.  These are all human emotions and experiences!  These are things that I’m not exempt from as a “therapist.”  And it all still sucks to have to live with it!  But I’m gonna hope for the best and I’m gonna do my best, even if that means I’m too depressed or anxious to commit to writing these blog posts and posting podcast episodes consistently.  I’m very curious about the reveal of life unfolding.

Friday

I started kickball today! I signed up through Meet Up.  My team seems like a lot of fun so far.  They are folks from all over the local area and who work different jobs (e.g., engineer, IT, teacher, graduate students), so it’s nice to have the variety.  I do notice that I’m one of two colored people from both teams combined, but this is something I’m used to from throughout my life.  Many of the girls were “green,” except for three of us who’ve played post elementary P.E.
I also noticed that I was one of three plus size women from both teams.  It’s interesting how both my color and size were things I paid attention to first when comparing myself to the group.  What’s even more interesting, I intentionally wore shorts with hairy legs to “test the waters,” and I feel like no body really seemed to give a shit.  I made friendly eye contact and was sociable with others, sometimes I think I do so as a distraction but really I think it’s because I also want to belong and connect with others.
I’m here to play, like I’m ready to go, even if I look darker, am of larger size, am unshaven, or if I haven’t played in a while.  I really enjoy kickball.  I love it, actually.  It’s some of the most fun I’ve had because it forces me to push myself outside of my physical comfort zone and it makes me feel a sense of community and accomplishment.  I like that I’m part of a team that needs to communicate in order to work together.  This team makes me feel capable.  I’m 100% willing to train on the job because I know that I have a lot of potential to do really well.  Of course, I wanna make my team proud!
I was on a kickball team when I living in San Diego for my masters.  I had a lot of fun because I got to play with friends and have fun at the bars afterwards.  At the end of the season, we played sloshball in which each base had an alcoholic drinking station.  I joined with my old college roommate and some friends-of-friends.  One time though, we were playing a game and I was in the outfield about to catch a fly ball.  I yelled “I GOT IT!!” but didn’t see my teammate, an ex-marine and a tank machine, also run for the ball and collided right into me!
It’s been interesting and fun meeting new people and putting myself out there as a newly transformed person.  Especially when I think about how far I’ve come since the last time I played kickball on a team.  In San Diego, I was still very self-conscious about my identities mentioned above.  I was still wearing make up and I was just starting to gain weight because this was about almost two years after my back surgery.  I had become a different body size that I was still adjusting to and it was difficult to like accept that I’m no longer as capable of physical mobility and flexibility than before.  What further compounds that is the lifelong body image issues and low self-esteem.
So when starting the season in Ann Arbor, all I know is that I have a better attitude about life and myself, and I’m ready to play with others.  Actually, I really pride myself for setting my mind to something and actualizing my vision, even if I don’t know what I’m getting myself in to or am unable to fully prepare myself.  It doesn’t matter because I want to hang out and have a good time.
It was nice to connect with the team.  Half of the women were “green,” as in the last time they played kickball was in PE class.  There is three women, including myself, who’ve played before.  Only one of them was a vet to the same team, so a lot of folks were basically rookies.  We also didn’t have any scrimmage before the game, and because we didn’t have any practice, we just sort of like hit the ground running and hope for a good time.  I really appreciated that most folks on the team were so willing to teach me about how to play kickball and was giving out high-fives left and right.  That felt really good to be included and encouraged.
We played what’s called a “double-header,” which means playing two games back to back.  We played with a pretty competitive team, actually.  They seemed to be athletes in their every day lives too, so it’s not surprising that they totally creamed us in both games.  Some folks were really intimidating, too.  Like, they wouldn’t smile or make eye contact, they were taking this game way too seriously and it didn’t feel like they were having fun.  It’s like, what are you trying to prove??  This isn’t a competitive sport or Meet Up event, so chill!  Regardless, I felt good about myself for kicking the ball, scoring a point, and catching a ball in the outfield.
Eventually, when we all had drinks it was fun to get to learn a little bit more about people on my team.  But there was something I found myself thinking about when driving to the bar after the game.  I noticed that our team did not correspond about the efforts or outcome of the game.  Since most of us are “green,” I guess I was expecting the team captains to say something like, yeah this was a great first game, what we want to do next time is…, and thanks everybody for showing up.. we look forward to seeing how next week/season is going to go.”  I felt like this piece was missing and learned that this is something that I need in a team.
It was even weirder that we didn’t mingle at the bar like I had expected.  Even though we all hung out after, it was like we all just spoke to who whomever we were sitting across at the table.  It would’ve been more fun if all of us were standing around to meet each other, like at little cocktail tables, instead of sitting down.  Well, whatever.  We did it!  We still showed up and we still performed well as a team.  Nobody gave up or had a poor attitude.  I put myself out there and did the best I could.  I enjoyed connecting with new folks and having fun playing outside.
So, I’m really glad that I went and I can’t wait to see what else happens.  Kickball is getting me connected and moving my body.  I’m enjoying myself so far, so let’s see how the season unfolds!

Saturday

I’m back in Chicago to visit family because it’s my niece’s one-year-old birthday (my cousin’s daughter).  It’ll be good to spend time with the family and learn about what everybody’s been up to.  I have two younger cousins who are very talented at applying contouring make up, so another part of this weekend is that they’re going to teach me how to contour for my drag persona.  I know that I need to study for my licensing exam, but I just can’t!  It’s seriously too miserable for me, and I need to be able to have a social life because I haven’t had one in a very, very long time.
Also, I am so freakin’ sore from kickball!! I could barely lift my legs or breathe really because basically every muscle had been stretched beyond capacity.  It also felt good knowing that I was moving around again.  So, I’m looking forward to the next game.  Side note: I’m also looking forward to renting a dance studio for an hour or two a week so that I can practice my lip singing and performance for my drag show.
So, when home visiting family, I was texting my bumble boy, ABJr, which felt good to stay connected.  My family was teasing me about smiling over my phone.  My uncle asked me to take a picture of him in front of the view of soldier field during the birthday party and to send it to ABJr for his reaction.  See below.  ‘Nuff said.
Sephora had a huge sale and I bought almost $400 worth of make up from the ground up, which I know is excessive but I also didn’t have any make up to build on top of.  I used the money that I’ve been making from Lyft to help pay for actualizing my drag persona, so that also felt good that the work I’ve been doing, my side hustle, has been funding this creative project.
The next thing I need to do is finish the look with wardrobe, shoes, jewelry, and wigs.  I need press-on nails and colored contacts.  And glitter, lots and lots of glitter.  But I don’t think I can do that without first creating a name and backstory to go with the persona.  I need to really be thoughtful about the kind of music I want to perform to based on the mood I’m in or on what I’m wearing.  It all has to match, make sense, and go together, or at least as a complement one another. I guess I just really want my drag persona and all of its little quirks and characteristics to unfold organically.  To me, that’s going to be more authentic and more true to who I am.
I want to make sure that I do it well and I do it right because I respect the craft of drag (if you haven’t seen Paris Is Burning I suggest that you do to gain some perspective).  I respect how thoughtful drag queens have to be when putting themselves out there.  I need to also create a signature look.  But, I’m not in a hurry to get on a stage or to be in front of a camera to dance and put the video on YouTube.
 The makeup artist, Caroline, from Sephora showed me how to contour my face.  There were some questions she was asking me about different kinds of make up and what I would prefer but I had no way of answering because I felt uneducated and ignorant about not just the make up but also the lingo about “beating the face” etc.  The process is very involved and takes several different steps to achieve the look of drag.
So, I bought a foundation that matched my skin complexion in the form of a stick, so it’s cream-based rather than powder.  Then, I bought a contour stick, which is a couple shades darker than my skin color, as well as a concealer or a highlighter, which is lighter than my skin and looks kind of like a lip gloss.  I would put the darker contour to define my cheekbones and jaw line and to make my forehead look smaller.  I’d put the light concealer in a triangle shame under my eyes, on the bridge of my nose, and in the center of my forehead to brighten that area up.
I also had to buy a couple of different brushes, especially one for shaping and contouring, one for blush, and one for “setting” the make up.  This is used with a translucent powder because it helps to “bake” the make up, which essentially means that it helps not create these extra lines and wrinkles that makeup naturally creates when you smile or when you eat.  Basically, it helps to keep it in place.  I still had to buy a primer spray to help moisturize my face, which apparently also helps to “set” the makeup.  Caroline also suggested that I buy a makeup remover that breaks down the makeup before I wash my face at night, so I bought an oil serum.  It honestly makes my face feel incredibly soft.
Since I’m just starting out, I’ll say it takes me about an hour to apply regular makeup with this new style. It’s a slower process for me right now because I want to make sure that I’m doing all the steps in the order that I’m supposed to, and that I’m using the products appropriately.  But I think the worst part about going full-on drag might be learning how to make certain illusions (e.g., making my eyes look bigger; drawing on eyebrows by gluing down my own) and putting on false eyelashes.  It’s quite a production and can become overwhelming I’m sure.
Even when I was with my family this weekend in Chicago, I let them know that I’m wearing make up in this extreme dramatic way because I’m working to become a bio queen.  Many of them couldn’t comprehend or understand what I was talking about.  They thought I was joking around because they truly didn’t think that a woman could be a drag queen.  But, when they saw how serious I was they were like “wow okay, damn she’s really going to do this!”  The support I’m getting from my family members is really nice, even if they’re confused or even if they feel like I am contradicting myself by saying that I don’t like to wear makeup everyday because I don’t like the oppression that beauty places on women yet I’m wearing this very bold makeup look for the stage/video.   They don’t see the difference why I’m doing it the way I am, and they don’t see that this so-called hypocrisy is actually me reclaiming what makeup is to me and what it represents in how I choose to express myself.  I have to be ok with the fact that this might be confusing to some folks and that it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else but me.  No one needs to understand it right now because everything is still in the development phase.
So, I’ve got an uncle who sometimes sees me and makes fat jokes.  They’re not funny jokes.  It makes me feel really shitty about myself because he says it in front of other people.  It’s incredibly fat shaming.   Like, when I attended this one-year-old’s birthday party, my uncle greeted me with “oh the reason I knew you’re here is because you’re the only plus size person in the room.”  That is incredibly hurtful!   I tell him that it’s not funny or that it’s hurtful or unnecessary, but he still seems to do it.  It’s to a point where I just have to avoid him, even though I know that his heart is not trying to be mean it just comes across very rude, insensitive, and insulting.  What sucks even more is that he is aware that it hurts me yet he continues to do that, so I think his mentality is more like he wants to toughen me up or to motivate me to lose some weight.
Also, this whole time I’ve been texting my bumble boy, ABJr, and my family noticed that I’ve been smiling over my phone.  They were giving me such a hard time asking me questions about him to make sure that he was worthy for me.  The same uncle mentioned above said, “I hope this guy realizes how special he is to be with you,” and I’m like “well well well, it’s not like that.. we’re just talking and getting to know each other.”  Still, my family was really happy for me and they could see how happy I was, so that felt really good to be surrounded with that.
However, I don’t want my family to scare any potential partner off.  I say this because there was another family member who is dating someone new and is not her type, but the family was giving her a hard time in front of him.  This new guy came to dinner with us and the family was telling this guy that sometimes she is a lot to handle.  I didn’t like that they were doing that because she’s already trying to make a good impression.  The last thing that she needs is her family members to say “well you better be prepared.”   Whatever, it was rude and I didn’t like that.
ABJr said that he understands that I have a very “ethnic American” family, and he said that he likes when I talk to him about what’s happening in my life as it’s unfolding and who my family members are.  I was sending him pictures of all the different dogs that are in our family and sharing stories about things.  All those gestures are me letting him in, so I’m really glad that he’s interested and cares but at the same time, I have to be careful and protect my heart.  I even sent ABJr a picture of my contour when it was done.  I told him “this is what it looks like with my face beat,” and he replied “I don’t think your face looks beat at all, I think you like really nice.”  *blush*

I have to hold onto this feeling of pride and confidence in myself for accomplishing a lot so far.  I am manifesting what’s happening in my life because I am listening to my inner voice, I’m honoring who I am moving forward.  I’m answering my calling, and the fear of the unknown is real.  I have no idea what I’m doing still, but I’m still putting myself out there, I’m still showing and being seen, and I’m giving less and less of a fuck about about what other people think about me. I don’t have time for that anymore because it’s too toxic to my wellbeing.  I will care about what you think when you’re also in the arena doing “the work,” aka working through psychological challenges and making intentional efforts to balance, regulate, stabilize, and harmonize.  It’s very important for all of us to look inside and do our own work!  That’s the only way I will except anybody else’s feedback for face validity.  So, until we show up in the arena of the unknown and we intentionally do the work, we have no room to criticize each other or to tell one another about what we should or shouldn’t do.
mtbr…

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