MTBR: Past Due

This past week (10/9-10/15) has been another whirlwind, mainly because I was slacking on the previous blog post (10/2-10/8) and I just felt like I was holding a lot in my head for no reason.  This whole time I’ve been gearing up for a few big events next week.  For instance, I’ve got my Nerd Nite performance that I’ll be doing in drag, I’ve got my photoshoot of Madame Kiki with my glam squad, and I’ve got a seance party in which I play the role of a fortune teller.  I’m so focused on next week that I don’t even know what I did this week.  Oh well, read on to find out with me!

Also, I’ve pretty much given up on studying for the EPPP (psychology licensing exam) because it’s just not important to me right now.  Plus, I’m still chewing on whether or not being a licensed clinician is the best thing for me.  I’d like to be more creative about how I can still help others without the responsibility and regulation of having a license.  I’m looking into life coaching but it’s all still a work in progress and I’m much more focused on developing Madame Kiki.

I’m also taking a hiatus from individual and group therapy because of the amount of money it costs me and the time it takes out from doing other things.  Obviously Mr. A doesn’t approve, but I don’t really care anymore.  I used to care what he thought of me, and I used to be afraid of disappointing him.  But ever since working with him to “stand my sacred ground,” as Brené Brown would put it, I’ve been successfully able to speak my truth to my own father and live my life without fear.  I feel more capable of doing that with anyone else, especially a male authority figure.  So, I’m getting what I needed out of therapy by being able to assert my needs and establish healthy boundaries for myself without taking responsibility for how others perceive or react.

MTBR: Past Due

It’s like one giant landslide of procrastination.  I can’t seem to catch up because of how busy the weeks are getting and how little energy or time I have to write this blog post at the end of the day/week.  There’s always something, and then when there’s nothing, I’m not in the mood to think or do anything.  This cycle leads to more procrastination, which then leads me to feeling disappointed in myself and frustrated that I’m making myself be so far behind.  I’m learning to accept things as they are and to forgive myself for not doing enough.  I’m hopeful that this is motivating enough to plug away bit by bit until the task is done.  So far, it’s been working.  And I have to be ok with that.

There’s no one else holding me accountable for posting on time, so I think the self-discipline feature is interesting yet also not enough for me to be self-motivated on a timely manner.  What’s good (and what I’m giving myself credit for) is that I’m at least publishing a post (even if it’s 2 weeks late)!  Does it really matter when it’s posted? or is it more important that it’s been posted?  I know there’s a few people in my social circle who are actively reading these blog posts as they enter into existence.  This feels affirming and validating, and it also adds to the pressure and fear of disappointing others, too.


Monday (10/9)

I did a lot today.  Mondays I like to save for writing the blog post from the week before, but I always seem to get busy and then I regret it later.  Today I went to Ragstock to hang out with my drag mother, Buffy Adams.  I had dinner with my best friend Meekachu before going to my first class of Improv, Season 2!

Call Me (Drag) Mother

Last night I got a phone call from my drag mother, Buffy Adams.  Poor thing has gone through some shit lately and just needs some TLC right now.  I went to see her at her work, which was helpful for us both.  She guided me to clothes that closely reflected Madame Kiki’s aesthetic.  I easily spent $200 on today’s purchase, but I walked away with 4 outfits, which I think is pretty good.  Drag is expensive after all.

Queens reveal the real cost of drag

A labour of love, indeed.

via Mic featuring Trixie Mattel, Bob The Drag Queen, Milk Queen, Kim Chi, Ginger Minj Official Fan Page — and more.

Posted by George Takei on Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I feel really honored to know Buffy Adams.  She’s got a lot of love to give and deserves the absolute best.  My heart is going out to her right now, actually.  She’s recently been through a lot, and I know that she’s going to only learn and grow from her experiences, but it still sucks to see her hurting.  I wanted to cheer her up a bit so I got her some chicken shawarma, pita bread and hummus, and a slice of baklava from a very popular place in downtown Ann Arbor called Jerusalem Garden.  She hadn’t had much of an appetite nor has she been sleeping very well- all natural human responses to unexpected change- so I figured the shawarma would fill her up and knock her out from a food coma.  She called me later today to let me know that she felt better and was looking forward to reclaiming her own.

I want her to know how loved she is, and how worthy she is.  I want her to know that she’s real and that she’s enough.  I told her that I’ve adopted her into my newly forming A2 tribe.  I have yet to come up with a name but so far my tribe is growing and anyone who’s part of this community will always feel protected and safe.  This is partially why I want to buy a victorian style home with a handful of rooms for LGBTQ+ identified youth who need a hand up and a temporary place to stay.  I want to help create healthy and healing relationships and experiences so that they can thrive and flourish out in the real world.  That would be my ultimate dream is to be able to give back to youth as an investment for their future.  So I’m genuinely excited that Buffy Adams is considering going back to perform drag again.

We made plans to have dinner on Wednesday night.  She wants to introduce me to another friend who’s going through a similar life experience when it comes to identity and self-expression.  There may even be an opportunity to record a podcast episode together (mtbr).

Xolair No More

After lunch, I went to see my allergist, Dr. IndianGuy.  He’s a specialist who was treating the medical condition (idiopathic angioedema) I developed last year.  He told me that I won’t need to have any more monthly allergy shots nor would I have to go back on a maintenance dose of prednisone (steroid).  I felt super relieved and thankful until he said that many of his patients would see symptoms after a few years and would have to go back on the monthly shots.  That made me very nervous because of the nighttime terror that I endured while living in Tallahassee last year for internship.

Over a handful of times I had this obnoxious inflammation over my mouth and it’d send me in such a panic when having to go to the ER in the middle of the night.  So, while Dr. IndianGuy is trying to be cautiously optimistic, I’m just focusing on today and holding on to faith that I’ll be able to navigate another flare up more smoothly.

Also, these ER trips and doctor’s appointments and medications all cost a shit ton of money.  I was covered by health insurance when working at FSU and UM, but now that I’m out from a cushioned job I’ll be paying big $$ for Cobra.  I’m considering it because I’d like the same benefits.  Plus, it covers my Xolair shots, which are thousands of dollars a shot if I pay out of pocket. I’m trying not to get anxious about that, so I’ve gotta hustle to make at least $670 a month to maintain Cobra.  It’s a helluva lot cheaper than paying for the shot.

Get Yourself A Meekachu

I had dinner with Meekachu, although it was very brief.  We went to a barbecue joint that had these amazing burnt end ribs, brussell sprouts, and cornbread muffins that were so mf delicious!  We caught up on all the things happening in our lives after nearly 2 weeks since we’d last hung out.  A lot can happen during that time!  I updated her on all the Madame Kiki stuff, and she’s been taking on more projects at work and has now officiated boyfriend/girlfriend status with Mr. Ohio, her Match-boy.  I know that the label makes her feel safe and grounded, which in turn makes her feel happy, which then makes me feel happy for her.

I’m really rooting for their relationship because I feel that they’re really good for each other.  I think that she’s good for him based on what I know she brings out in him and balances in the relationship, and I believe that he’s good for her because he provides a secure base and loving vibe that helps her feel grounded enough to thrive.  I hope it works out for them both!  It’s lovely to see her blossom in this way with a guy who makes her feel intrinsically good about herself.  He brings out her confidence and she just beams with love.  It’s hard not to catch some rays!  Her relationship gives me hope that maybe I can also find that kind of love.

I admire that Meekachu leans into her psyche and embraces the vulnerability of doing her own therapeutic work.  I’m excited for her continued growth in the areas that scare her the most.  With courage, curiosity, and compassion, she’s getting closer to who she wants to be as a person and how she wants to be in her relationships.  I admire her willingness to communicate her experiences with Mr. Ohio, and how ready she is to show up in the arena of the unknown.  She inspires me every day, I’m really proud of her, and I’m grateful to be friends.

This is something that we bond over because both of us are on learning the valuable lessons of mindfulness self-compassion, wholehearted living, and shame resilience (look up Kristin Neff, Christopher Germer, and Brene Brown for references).  Together we’re learning how to accept ourselves, on how to befriend who we already are, on how to love ourselves through anything.  We’re also extending those lessons to others as a means to move through life with grace and without unnecessary suffering.  It’s really special to have a best fiend who’s into the same kind of psychic and relational growth as me, and it feels good to have each other help us through some shit while also having fun and celebrating the good stuff.

Meekachu was so sweet- she felt compelled to gift me with these peacock inspired martini glasses.  She included a heartfelt note to remind me of Teddy Roosevelt’s quote about the man in the arena, it’s a quote Brené Brown was inspired by when coming up with the title for her book, The Daring Way.   It describes entering into the unknown, into this huge arena with vast uncertainty, and whether you like it or not, you are forced to step up to the plate and face your fears.  You are set up in a challenge, and how you approach the test of life will determine where your skills are and who your character is.  This not only includes the ability to perceive and react, but also how we intentionally respond and how we treat ourselves amidst the fear of uncertainty.

We’re working through our shame together, and we’re building this internal emotional resilience to get through whatever life throws at us.  The lessons from these lifestyles are teaching us how to have more meaningful and fulfilling relationships.  However, we can’t do that until we also stepped into the arena of our own psyches.

Both of us are simultaneously working on our own issues as they arise.  I like that I’m not alone in that endeavor.  I also like that it reduces stigma and shame because it increases our sense of connection.  Therapists are people and humans too who are not exempt from hardship or mental illness.  We carry our own emotional baggage and for whatever reason we may not have resolved it all just yet.  So naturally, we’re not going to have the most control over our unresolved triggers all the while stepping into our client’s arena as their therapist.

Personally, I’ve stepped into way too many arenas all at once.  To name a few: improv, being a limited licensed psychologist, drag, dating, and lyft driving.   Most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing, but all I’m doing is just showing up.  I gotta trust my intuition and my instincts. I’ve gotta have faith that my own wisdom and resilience will guide me exactly where I need to go so that I can best navigate through the internal and external noise of life.

I’m also stepping into the arena of my own psyche. I’m confronting scary things from my past and I’m exploring the memories and experiences that I’ve decoded information leading me to certain beliefs and ways of adapting through life.  This deep exploration is what mr. A wants from me because it’s going to help me determine what I do with who I am and how I get through life with others.  It’s coming into full circle for me, so I appreciated Meekachu’s birthday gift because we’re going to use them for toasting when successfully move through whatever arena.  We’re celebrating our own wisdom and resiliency, and we’re appreciating our capacity for human bonding, growth, and improvement.

I’m excited that Meekachu is gonna join me at Ms. Funny Bonez birthday party next Saturday.  The theme is a Seance, so she’s gonna let me do her eye makeup and wear a wig.  It’s gonna be so much fun, so stay tuned!

Improv, Season 2

Tonight was the first class of the next level of improv (intro level 2).  I’m jokingly calling it “improv, season 2,” and I call our improv troupe “fun with friends” (fwf).  There’s only about half of us enrolled from improv season 1.  Many folks had scheduling conflicts or other financial priorities.  It was really nice to reconnect with everyone else who stayed.  We were a bit rusty in the beginning, probably because many of us were tired too, but we eventually started loosening up and having fun playing with improv.

It’s weird how distinct each person’s energy really is and how much each person was missed in the same play space we’ve gotten to vibe in for the past 2 months.  It’s weird how close we’ve gotten and how much we mean in each others lives.  That’s because improv is an incredibly intimate experience, so naturally we’ve got to be vulnerable with each other.  We have to be open and willing to feel safe in each other’s eye contact and letting our scene partner’s heart to connect with our own.  It’s quite intense actually.

We’ve got a new instructor, too.  I’ll call her Adira, which means “strong” in Hebrew.  Adira is quirky and seems knowledgable of improv given her background and skills.  This is her first time teaching, so she’s got all the freshest bits to know about improv, and that’s a very exciting and reassuring feeling to have for the next two months.  I like that she has us sitting in a tight circle at the beginning and the end of the class.  She is also incredibly transparent and will explain the theory and purpose behind the activities we’re doing.  She’ll clearly explain the lessons and give us extra coaching and feedback because she truly sees something worth developing in our troupe.  That’s also a very reassuring and energizing feeling because I can feel comfortable and safe that me and my troupe will make this experience great for ourselves because we’re eager to learn together and we’re open to being vulnerable with each other.

We started today’s class with the classic warm-up games (Zip-Zap-Zop).  I like that Adira is already challenging us and it’s only the first class!  I like her teaching style, too.  She charmingly points out things we do well and should continue doing or things that are a good teaching moment to do something that’s more aligned with the way of improv.  She’s explaining terminology, like heightening and editing.  Heightening is when we build up the story/scene and emotion, whereas editting is when we cut the scene after a big laugh, resolved conflict, or if members of the troupe are struggling out in front.

Apparently, Miss Lit, our improv 1 instructor, told Adira how amazing our troupe is, so she wanted to push us sooner to prepare us for the next level of improv.  It helped that our troupe was already somewhat comfortable around each other.  I think we’ve given ourselves permission to be silly and goofy, but many of us are still in our heads.  Adira says Play with your heart, not your mind!  It’s something I’ll always remember on that stage.  She also said to connect with our partner for scene work by making eye contact.  The answer or the response, the relationship and the dynamic between our characters, is located in our eyes.

I learned about the rules of three for comedy the first time it’s an incident second time it’s a coincidence and the third time it’s a pattern which leads to a bigger laugh I also learned about entering a scene using an emotion to influence a character and then building a relationship off of that emotion and that character with your partner. I learned about the power of editing or cutting a scene to protect the group or protect the back line which is where everyone stands while they’re waiting for the next scene either to jump into so they added by clapping and saying that essentially that’s the end of the scene because it either got a big laugh or the whatever problem happened was resolved or are are. Our teammates are struggling out there so myself and

Mr. Blue Eyez and I have become good improv friends because we seem to both be pretty “bold players.”  When we play the classic improv game called “Freeze,” we clap ourselves into the circle and take ownership of characters, relationships, and scenes.  It usually moves quickly and it’s good enough to capture folks’ attention or tickle them with laughter.  Tonight and during our show case for improv 1, we both noticed that other people aren’t as bold, and we figure that’s because they’re more what it’s called “timid players.”   These are the opposite of bold players.  So, while the troupe is collectively thinking about when’s the most important part of the scene to cut, Mr. Blue Eyez and I have to navigate and balance our urge to step in.  Right now, I’m doing that by pausing and breathing.  By letting those few moments pass by, a timid player usually steps on stage.

Our troupe is very excited to continue playing and learning together because Adira really knows her shit and she’s aware that our troupe is pretty tightly bonded with good energy and a good attitude so she’s extra willing to push us to greatness.  Adira is gearing us up for what’s called “long form improv,” which means that there 2+ characters play out scene for a long time.  This requires more concentration and focus about what the scene is about and who the characters are and what their relationships are like.  This is different than short form improv where we exchange a few lines with just one partner.  So, she’s really preparing us for much more challenging improv, eventually.

Also, I didn’t have any issues with Mr. Green Eyes today (i.e., I didn’t feel any googley eyes).  At the beginning of class, we checked-in with each other, which felt good to engage in an open dialogue.  I’m already starting to feel safer to connect with him (to be vulnerable).  My favorite part of today’s class was after we received feedback from Adira, we each had to go around and give the classmate next to us a compliment.  People rarely do that!  It felt really good to be seen and valued like that.  It makes this experience more meaningful, which emboldens us to let ourselves go with each other.

(It’s been a week since writing this blog post and I honestly can’t remember what compliment was given to me and that makes me feel terrible).


Tuesday (10/10)

Thankfully today was a relatively easier clinical day, as far as my energy and attention goes.  I’ve noticed a pattern that I’m really tired the morning after improv on Monday nights.  For weeks it was really difficult for me to be 100% on my A game.  Maybe I’m getting used to the routine now because it’s not as challenging as it once was, but I also feel like I’m doing my first three clients in the morning a disservice because I’m usually depleted of energy.  I have to mentally prep myself when driving into work that it’ll be a good day because I’m going to stay as present and authentic as possible and when my mind naturally wanders I’m going to be kind with myself and gently bring my attention back into the room.  I get to practice the skills I’ve been trying to learn during moments when I need it the most, even if it doesn’t cause me distress. I give myself credit for just being able to show up.


Wednesday (10/11)

Good god, what a day!  I was not very thoughtful when scheduling.  I saw seven people back to back.  I am surprised that I was able to sustain the day with equal amount of energy.  I did have a small coffee after lunch.  Which, btw, I had Indian food with my supervisor/Ms. HBIC.  While I love ethnic food, I need to start eating food that doesn’t put me to sleep!  Also, it was raining like cats and dogs today and I didn’t wear proper clothing!  I kinda wish the weather was more predictable or that I had better clothes to prepare for the weather.  I’ve never owned a pair of rain boots and now I’m considering the investment, although most of my money is being saved for Madame Kiki.

In supervision today, I realized that I’m not as passionate and active as I was just months before, probably because I’m distracted by other life ambitions (e.g., drag, improv).  Also, unlike my previous places of employment where I had more diversification of tasks like supervision, training, meetings, and outreach, I now just see clients all day every day.  It’s critical that I reserve my energy so that I can sustain the clinical workload and so that I have enough for drag and improv.
After work, I had dinner with my drag mom, Buffy Adams.  She’s been going through quite a bit lately and I wanted to be there for her to show her my support but also so that she doesn’t feel alone at this time.  It’s important for me to know that she is loved and cared for.  She introduced me to another woman whom I’ll call Ms. Book Lady.   She’s also been through some life adversity that involves how society views her identity and appearance.
While sitting with these two beautiful souls, I was reflecting on Brené Brown’s quote, “True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world.”  It was quite comforting being with others who’ve experienced oppression, marginalization, and discrimination for their identities and appearance.  I didn’t feel as alone, and I felt understood and accepted.  I hope they felt the same when sitting with me.  I look forward to welcoming Ms. Book Lady into my new tribe, Qweens and Quangels.

Thursday (10/12)

Another full day of clinical work.  I have been fatigued for the last couple of days.  Also, I needed to prep for Nerd Nite next week, so I skipped group today.  I was supposed to submit my ppt almost 2 weeks ago, so I hope they’re still expecting me!  Honestly,

I also had an hour at the dance studio, so I wore a new drag outfit that I purchased at Ragstock on Monday and jazzed it up with the jewels, false eyelashes, etc.  I realized how out of shape I am for regular dancing, but I think my drag performance doesn’t have to be as physically taxing.  I need to continue practicing in my heels though.  I’m not used to it and I’m afraid of falling.  The hardest part for me is finding music that makes me feel good and connected to Madame Kiki, but also that sends an important message of equality, diversity, justice, freedom, and hope.

I was going to go hang out at the CandyBar (queer night at a local club – the same place that hosts Drag Wars).  Instead, I came home and played with my drag makeup to practice for next week’s gigs (e.g., Nerd Nite, photo shoot, Seance party as a tarot card reader).  I think I found a comfortable eyeliner shape, but I’m still struggling with the shapes for my nose, eyebrows, and lips.  mtbr…


Friday (10/13)

Today I woke up very tired, but I was excited about shopping for wigs after running some errands for next week’s gigs.  There’s a lot to learn about wigs!  First of all, do I want lace front; where should the hair part be separated; what color, texture, length looks best on me; how do I put the wig on and keep it secure; how do I care for a wig; do I need to glue down the lace?

I knew that I needed a wig cap, but the one I had was made of nylon and what I needed was one that was made of netting so that my head could breathe.  This explains why my head was so hot when I went out in drag a few weeks ago at Necto Night Club when I borrowed my drag mother’s long white wig.

Today’s shopping trip was very successful.  I walked away with three different wigs, all 20% off, with three styrofoam heads.  Each wig is different colors and different textures of curls.  I wanted the look of a wild and untamed lady, and I was looking for different lengths or styles that I wouldn’t normally do for myself.

I was planning on lyft driving tonight in drag, but I was starting to feel very tired.  Also, I’m supposed to be driving to Chicago tomorrow, so I decided to stay in and reserve my energy.  I felt bad because Quangel called to hang out too, but I was way too tired.  They suggested going to this place called Cultivate, which is a tap house and coffee shop that’s pretty trendy.  Little did I realize that my Meekachu was there already with work friends and her new boyfriend, Mr. Ohio.

Had I said yes, I could have seen her and spent time with my crew.  This is one of those opportunities that I had to say “no” to in order to say “yes” to myself.  It was a hard decision because I don’t want to miss out, and at the same time, I knew that if I said yes, then I’d be too tired for the drive the next morning to Chicago.  Sometimes, it’s really difficult for me to say no to others because I consider myself a people pleaser.  One thing I’m learning is to put up more boundaries, or at least be consistent with boundaries related to my energy levels.  This means that I’ll be missing out on other things, which is also hard to accept but I’m willing to sacrifice so that I can function and perform better later.

Side Notes:

I bought some purple contacts for Madame Kiki, and they’ll be coming in the mail in the next few weeks.  I’m very excited for this.

Also, I saw Mr. A today for individual therapy and had to essentially put my foot down and take a hiatus from therapy.  I could tell Mr. A wasn’t happy about that, but I don’t really care anymore because I’m not here to make him happy.  He doesn’t have to like or agree with my decision, but he has to accept and respect it.  This is something I’m learning to do with my own parents, too.  It’s empowering and liberating, yet I also still feel a small hint of guilt and shame for disregarding others’ approval of me.  I’ll be seeing Mr. A one last time individually in a couple weeks, and then I’ll be hanging out in group for the next few weeks to do a proper goodbye.

Essentially, I’m exhausted from doing the clinical work for years on end and I need that energy for my day job and my nighttime persona.  Also, I can’t afford therapy anymore considering I want to invest in Madame Kiki instead.  I’ve got adequate enough coping skills and an abundant support system that will help me get through whatever comes up.  I’m also still taking Wellbutrin and am working on a self-care routine, so this will also help regulate my system.  I’ll be ok without therapy for now, but I’m still open to returning if/when the time calls for it.


Saturday and Sunday (10/14-15)

I woke up early af to get my ass to Chicago for a 1pm lazer hair removal appointment.  I’ve been going every 2 months since I was 16 years old.  Aside from being naturally hairy as an Indian-born, I was also diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and one of the symptoms of this disease is excessive facial hair.  This is one of the areas of insecurity and shame for me, so I get lazer done to help mitigate the effects on my self-esteem.  Eventually, I’d like to get to a point where I don’t feel as shameful about it, but until then, this is the procedure that is usually painful.  However, the only good thing about this procedure is that it does make me feel better about myself and makes me feel like I can be out in the sunlight without feeling self-conscious that people can see the dark hair under my chin.  I also like the lazer technician who I’ve had since 2010.

 

This weekend I chilled with family and had some great dog therapy time.  I went to a reunion type thing on Saturday night and met new people and hung out with old friends while cross fading.  It also happened to be thunder storming terribly.  My family is incredibly supportive of my drag endeavors, albeit some are confused or questioning what it gives me.  They can see a change in me, as far as looking, feeling, and being happier than they’ve ever known in me before.  This is affirming to the work I’ve done to get to this point and to the work I’m doing now to maintain and sustain the fulfillment I get from my job as a clinician, lyfting, improvising, and dragging.


I’m trying to take each day as it comes, because otherwise I get overwhelmed and stressed and then I just shut down, which leads to procrastinating and then I get so far behind that it becomes overwhelming and stressful and it’s just this vicious cycle that gets exhausting.  It’s a form of self-sabotage as well, which then reaffirms old beliefs that I’m inadequate and unworthy.  So much fun /s.

Next week is a big week for me.  I’ve got a lot to look forward to, and I’ve got a lot that can go wrong, but I’m not going to focus on that!  I’m just going to show up and do my best.  mtbr…

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