Monthly Archives: June 2014

  • Good News, Bad News

    Oh, the drama continues… I know, right after I’ve been telling you that I need to pipe my shit down. Well, new developments. So you know how I’ve been busting ass with these job center workshops and such, right? So last week, I sent off a few new job applications (where I applied my new “tricks”), and I also circled back with some past contacts. One role was a digital communications position with a national environmental advocacy group in SF. Another was a communications manager job with a grantmaking organization across the street from my former workplace. A third was a remote technical project management gig for a consulting firm that works with nonprofit clients. The good news? I got two bites out of three. Kind of. I have a phone interview for the grantmaking org this week. Then, my contact at the consulting firm got back to me, saying I’d be great for their PM role, but they weren’t currently recruiting. Needless to say, I was feeling awesome, especially because I got a bite soon after optimizing my resume and cover letter, you know? Like the response really affirmed that my changes were moving in the right direction.

    Then today, I had an info interview call. The lady is a super star big wig, recommended by my friend L. In the last several months, we had tried a number of times to meet up, but in the end, I was lucky enough to score a phone call. By now, I’ve done a shit ton of info interviews, and I seriously researched her background and read her articles and prepped for the conversation. But I dunno whether I was super intimidated or what… it did not go well. I tried really hard to have an agenda for our allotted 30 minutes (I didn’t want to waste her time), but I dunno what happened. The conversation did not flow at all, and in the end, I felt like my questions just came across totally random and stupid. All those social intelligence classes, all those books on how to talk with anyone, all those info interview articles… my gut felt awful, and I think it’s safe to say, I have a pretty good read of situations these days. Those two job interviews where I didn’t close the deal? I had a sense even before the news was formalized.

    So wtf happened? It reminds me of that time when my friend D was dating that girl L. On paper, everything about her was fabulous. I was so ready for her to be my next BFF. And then, there just was no chemistry. Maybe my questions were lame or too open-ended? Sigh. I mean, I still walked away with some helpful info and practices, so I’m trying not to get totally down about it, but damn, a part of me really feels like I came across unprepared and just plain dumb!!! And now what will she say to L? How does that change what he thinks of me? How does this change the mentorship role for which I have already designated him? Ugh, ugh, ugh. I have a sinking feeling right now…  how/why did I fuck that up???? Inhale, exhale.

    Surprisingly, my optimistic side keeps saying to me, “resiliency.” That’s the difficulty of dealing with people, right? You win some, you lose some. You connect immediately with some, but you scramble awkwardly with others. Chalk it up and move on.

    So this brings to mind something else I’ve been thinking about lately. I have many friends with whom I am extremely close. We get along super well; yet they have friends with whom I don’t connect at all. Similarly, I have other friends with whom they don’t connect. There’s something weird about association: just because two people jive really well together, there’s no guarantee that their connections will share that same level of stickiness. For example, my friend J. After he went to another job, our communications waned over time, and I remember complaining about it to my friend T. She would just say that he was a boy– typically lazy and prone to giving minimal effort. She also said that through her interactions with him, he was always a bit on the cagey side, that he was really difficult to know because he was so guarded. And she’s said that about another new friend of mine, A, with whom I’ve felt pretty easily connected. Same deal: difficult to read. I agree, there are definitely times when A doesn’t seem exactly the same page, but I have never really felt uncertain, you know? I mean, even with my close friends (except maybe N), there are times when there’s a disconnect or disjoint in terms of understanding intention and meaning and such but… Anyway, it’s an interesting observation, and maybe it just reinforces what happened today. I was so convinced that because this woman was a friend of L’s, we would hit it off instantly. Sigh. Man, human interactions are frickin’ complicated!! I need to go rest my brain now.

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  • The Desert Experience

    John and I had some SWA credits to burn (thanks Yapta), so we decided to hit Palm Springs in southern California for the weekend. We flew into Ontario airport for the first time ever… I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but as soon as we landed, I knew this was no swanky John Wayne Airport. Ontario is in the middle of “badlands” as John calls it: the surrounding area is very industrial, with lots of distribution warehouses, trucking stations, fuel storage facilities, etc.

    We arrived a bit before noon, and the sky was cloudy and overcast. The heat wasn’t too bad really– in the 80s maybe? We climbed into our rental (we got upgraded to the Nissan Maximia– woot, woot!) and started heading east.

    The drive to PSP was relatively easy. We started off on 60E, which was just a state route, but damn, it was still 4 lanes wide. Then, we switched over to Interstate 10, a serious highway with lots of slow-bos (old people) and speed demons (young people). Interesting mix of drivers on the road.

    Once in town, we hit up Sherman’s Deli and grabbed a table outside next to the misters. We had seen misters before in Arizona… so very deluxe!! Lunch was delicious (John had a Ruben sandwich the size of a volleyball), and then we just walked around some of the shops. The heat was pretty fucking intense, and I could tell looking at John that this was going to be a problem.

    After burning up from our walk, we sought refuge at the downtown Hyatt. That’s my MO… I take advantage of fancy hotel lobbies to just chill out, freshen up, use the restroom, etc. Even if I’m not staying there. The Hyatt had a super cool gallery of celeb portraits taken during the Palm Springs Film Festival. The photos were so detailed and well done. I didn’t know PSP had such a big Hollywood connection, but apparently it’s the destination for entertainers.

    After we cooled down, we hopped back in the car and drove to our hotel. Yeah, I’d spent several days on and off researching lodging… in the end, I settled on the Holiday Inn Express, and I’m happy with it. You see, boutique spots are the thing in PSP, but I dunno. We just aren’t always fans of the smaller, mom and pop hotels. Plus, some had a nude pool policy that made me nervous. :P Oh well, we kinda prefer the consistency of the bigger multinationals.

    For dinner, we headed out to Pacifica Seafood in some swanky shopping district alongisde El Paseo. The bar was hopping, and there was even a wait, which we didn’t expect at all. When something finally opened up, it was a table for four. We took our seats, but then we felt a little guilty about the two empty seats, so we did something that we have NEVER done before. And the most significant thing about this is that it was John’s idea. Yeah, I thought it, but I just assumed little unabomber would not be keen. Well, whatyda know? He suggested it, and I moved fast. We invited the couple  behind us in line to join. They agreed. We did brief introductions and handshakes, and then just kind of carried on our own separate conversations, but slowly, we started crossing over, talking to them as well. Long story short, we had a great conversation with the couple from Alberta, Canada. Turns out, the lady used to run her own sales and marketing training/coaching business, and she knows about that leadership guy I follow, John Maxwell!! She and her hubby are both entrepreneurs, so they were also really interested to learn about John and his startup. At the end of everything, they treated us to our dinner!!! I mean, as someone who has NEVER had a stranger buy me a drink or anything, this was huge!! I was thrilled, and really, on top of that, they were just so nice. It was like another “flight with L” moment, you know? Complete strangers meeting in some chance encounter and totally hitting it off! And to have John be in on part of that experience was even better. We swapped contact info, and now I’m connected via LinkedIn too. And I told them to buzz us anytime they were in the Bay Area, and of course, Alberta is on my travel list, so I plan on buzzing them once I finally make it to Calgary and Banff. :) Afterwards, on our drive home, John commented that I got such a high from the evening. He could see I was beaming, as if somehow my faith in humanity was restored. How right he is. I really do love when shit like that happens.

    The rest of the trip was short and fast but good. We got up early on Saturday morning to hit up Joshua Tree National Park. Holy crap, that desert heat is something else. We did a short little 1.5-mile hike on the Hidden Valley Trail, and afterwards, we were so beat. We did a little bit of exploring, spent a morning at the hotel pool, and also started our couple’s “visionquest.” Yeah, I had some worksheets to help prompt us to think about our values and our future. It was a touchy exercise– John really doesn’t like to think about such things, but we made a little bit of progress, and he was a good sport. It’s just an ongoing process… First thing’s first though: we need to definitely start re-introducing activities that bring us joy into our daily lives. Bottom line.

    We flew out Sunday evening after an entire day in the heat. Seriously, the temp hit 90 by 10 a.m. By lunch time, I’d been downing bucketloads of water, but I started getting all lightheaded over lunch, like I had trouble holding a conversation with Bubbey (mild heat stroke maybe??). We had to hit the mall so I could cool off. It’s pretty funny though, because we started off the day thinking, yeah, we could definitely live here: it’s so clean and manicured, and everyone has a frickin’ pool. But shit, by the end of Sunday, we were ready to eject and be back in the Silicon Valley bubble. Wow man, 108 deg is just too damn hot. For realz. Maybe next time we ought to try PSP in the winter.

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  • People and Perspective

    I had an interesting day today. I got up early and headed out to Livermore, where my friend S is a camp counselor for Camp Wonder, a summer camp sponsored by the Children’s Skin Disease Foundation. I was a little nervous, because I haven’t really spent much time with kids (like ever), but I made sure to ask S what gifts or snacks I could take… Gotta start things off on the right foot, you know’? Thankfully, she provided sufficient instructions: stickers, bubbles, coloring books, temporary tattoos…

    I’d never been to this site before, Camp Arroyo (part of East Bay Regional Parks District), but wow, what a beautiful location with well-designed green cabins and facilities. There were kids everywhere, and they were so… joyful. I mean, I don’t think I was really prepared to see the severity of their medical conditions… it was definitely an eye-opener. And I was so amazed and inspired by their ability to stay positive and to have fun in spite of their situation. The girls were so sweet and spirited. I am grateful for this new perspective today.

    After Livermore, I was back at the job center for an interviewing workshop. The caliber of classes there are so good… the only issue I have really is with the students. Sometimes they just really irk my nerves. Like today, everyone was really quiet in the beginning, so the instructor just told us to break up into small groups and do these ice breaker conversations: explain what kind of work you are seeking and share with us your favorite ice cream flavor. So neither of the two people in my group followed directions. The woman took the initiative to start, and then proceeded to share her entire life story… I mean, really? Do you think that’s appropriate when there are three of us, and class is supposed to start in five minutes?? I started giving her a look like, hurry it up lady and then she said, she wasn’t finished but she wanted to give us a chance to talk. Oh, like five minutes later… thanks for letting me do the fucking assignment. Seriously. And I thought I had bad self awareness and social intelligence…

    Aside from that annoyance, the class was really informative and helpful. I am supposed to start up the networking group next week… I’m apprehensive but also eager to see where all this goes.

    Meanwhile, J and I are off tomorrow for a quick desert getaway. First time to Palm Springs and beyond… Temps are supposed to be over 110, so I’m not sure how this is going to work out for Bubbey, with his heat sensitivity, but hey, I gave him an out and he insisted that the trip must go on.

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  • Shared Experiences

    After returning from North Carolina, I fell into a funk. Of course, that didn’t stop me from forcing myself to stop in at the government job center in Sunnyvale. I had actually researched Nova (northern valley) before and noticed the superb Yelp reviews, but for some reason, I had just never gone. Then, while I was in NC, one of my contacts suggested I check out the services. So I did.

    Admittedly, I went in thinking my resume was already the best it could be (after all, it’s already gone through a gazillion edits), but what do you know? I picked up some new tips, and now my resume and cover letters are even BETTER. Wha?? Was that even possible? :) I know, I fluctuate between feeling rockstar confident and feeling completely and utterly broken. Story of my life. Anyway, I attended a few workshops and orientations and also met with a couple of career advisers. Both felt that my materials were pretty strong and that for me, I needed to boost my numbers: network more and submit more apps. So now I’m back on that wagon.

    One of the advisers also recommended that I attend an orientation this morning for a job networking group. As with nearly all of these activities, we started off going around the room with individual 30-sec introductions. Ugh. I still dread those things, but I did notice that I’m less anxious about them now, so that’s promising. On the down side, I still kinda felt like I was in an AA meeting or a support group of sorts– we’re all a little defeated and a little uncertain. The trainer this morning talked about the emotional roller coaster during this whole job transition process. Sometimes I do feel a little sheepish–like we are some lame group of misfits or social outcasts– but today I found some comfort in knowing that my emotional ups and downs weren’t just about me. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with me: these highs and lows are just a natural and expected part of the process… and oddly, I felt a little validated from just learning that. So this networking group, should I decide to join, requires that people split out into groups/teams and then each member has to volunteer 4 hrs/week minimum helping to run the operations and group exercises. There are a ton of activities and role playing exercises to practice networking, interviewing , etc. Yeah, it’s super uncomfortable, to be honest. But I try to convince myself to consider this all as a game, except that shit, there’s so much frickin’ interaction!! One part of me wants to step back– it’s just too much people time and too much awkwardness and discomfort. And yet, if I give it deeper thought, I know that this is the new world order, you know? I left my comfortable, stable job to seek change, challenge, and adventure… Yes, I have grown tremendously in the last several months, but that’s not necessarily enough. This is how things are moving for everyone…

    As I’ve met so many new people and listened to their personal stories, I’ve always felt like my own life had a lame, boring path. I’ve alluded to this before: I mean, I know people who have battled cancer, lived through war, suffered from disease, poverty, abuse… they have these incredible stories of fortitude and survival. So maybe in some weird way, this process is MY story of resilience and strength. In giving up my job, I didn’t anticipate losing my identity and self-worth, but  I feel now like I am fighting to earn those things back. Not that I will only regain them through employment, but that every day, I’m struggling to keep disappointment and failure from degrading my soul and spirit. I shouldn’t give up just because I’m tired, or because this new paradigm makes me cringe. If I indeed value learning and adaptability, then this is where the rubber truly meets the road. The world is changing; the markets are evolving… there’s no time or reason to be defeatist. The world won’t stop just because I want a breather.

    This morning after the orientation, I was really leaning towards finding an excuse or easy way out. “I’ll just continue to network on my own; I know what I have to do.” But deep inside I know that I have to face this head on. It’s go time, and I have to pull out all the stops, goddamnit. Bring. it.

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  • Bad Vibes

    I am feeling so frustrated today. Last night, I was feeling negative vibes coming on, and I thought maybe today would just be a rest day. But then I got up this morning thinking that I should stop feeling so damn sorry for myself.

    Honestly, I dunno what the hell happened. I was just in NC for two weeks, where I had a great time hanging with N, learning tons at Duke, and making new friends. I was feeling energized like I had a path forward. And then, I guess I didn’t hear back regarding a few info interview requests; I didn’t get bites (yet) for a few job apps; and I can’t seem to connect with anyone here again. Busy, busy and next thing I know, Marty is really my only companion these days.

    My birthday came and went… and while I got lots of notes and messages, I didn’t get any cards… well, namely from Bubbey. Before I had left, he asked if I wanted to do a party or whatever. I just felt like it was too much work. Then, he’s been working crazy hours on a programming project. Really major hours. But still, I was really disappointed not to find a card in my suitcase or on the nightstand after I got home… it just made me feel really sad. I try not to be a demanding spouse, and I’m trying to be understanding with his job, but I’m bummed about it! And since I’ve been back, I have mentioned it a few times. Three days later, and still no card. Again, I chastise myself for having the expectations– even if I feel they are small ones. Remember how Bubbey said it was a totally bad idea to bring up “lack of attention or effort” to my friend? Well, maybe this is a similar case: I’m doing my best. So fine, I have to try not to care about the silly card.

    Meanwhile, I’m trying to seek companionship and consistency and reliability elsewhere. Maybe from some of my newer friends, like S from the Duke class. She’s flying up from San Diego to be a camp counselor for the Children’s Skin Disease Foundation in Livermore next week, so I’m going to go visit. On Sunday, my friend B made a deal with the hubby to watch the kids, so we’re gonna go all out crazy. Cougar crazy. Haha, just kidding.

    Interestingly, my friend J, whose long silence really upset me, texted a message asking if we were on emailing/speaking terms. Weird, right? That’s why I feel like he is actually a super sensitive person… not meaning thoughtful of me but just that he DOES have an awareness of situations, that things are different from before, you know what I mean? On the advice of others, I had just let that one go… I was getting busier and busier, and I guess I made a conscious decision not to prioritize there. It sounds like he is still super overwhelmed with fatherhood and work. I always feel such a strong pull to solve my friends’ problems. But I dunno. I’m feeling a little at the end of the string myself these days, so maybe I just have to conserve energy and refocus.

    While I was out in NC, I received a text from my plane friend, L. He said he hadn’t heard from me in a while, and he just wanted to make sure everything was ok. Such a sweet gesture. I don’t mean to gush, but this guy is just my kinda person. During my layover in Dallas, I sent him a quick email telling him about the Duke program and that I was finally scheduled to meet with his friend, a high-powered female executive whom he thought I should contact, and the dude replied in like two hours. And he always replies that promptly. I know, I’m so damn particular, aren’t I? In my defense, I’ll bet other people are just as particular but about other things, and they just don’t write about it on a public blog. Haha. Oh well. This makes me think of a term one of the teachers used in the class last week: Homophily. We are drawn to people who are like ourselves.

    I busted out my rollerblades for the first time in two years today. I was trying to work off my frustration. It didn’t really help since I’m writing my little tell-all right now. :)

    Yesterday, I went to the job training center in Sunnyvale. A friend had recommended the place saying that I was doing all the right things on my job hunt, but maybe the advisors could help me tweak my resume a bit more for the area market. So fine. Sat in on an orientation and a resume class. Apparently, employers spend LESS THAN 30 secs per resume, so it’s not really an opportunity to be creative. It’s just 1, 2, 3, done. So that’s annoying. And same with the cover letters. I read the samples from the class and honestly, I thought they were lame. Sterile even, but whatever. Guess I should listen to the experts. So today, I reworked my resume, and I have an appointment tomorrow with the advisor.

    Meanwhile, I’m still handling contracts and scheduling for the ranch. It’s fine, but now I’m really using it as experience. So far, because of my new contracts,I’ve brought in 100 new kids to the ranch. Ironically, I myself haven’t been riding since March. Maybe the cowgirl is no longer in me.

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  • My New Clique

    Wow, it finally happened today. I formed my very own clique in the class. Earlier in the week, I had invited some of the ladies to join me for a walk in Duke Gardens after class… I ended up going solo, because I gave like 15 minutes’ notice, but this time, I gave a few ladies some decent heads up as soon as I’d heard about an outdoor concert tonight in downtown Durham. One lady, from San Diego, I could tell was game for anything. We’d had lunch yesterday, and I had also overheard several of her conversations with other classmates: homegirl got OUT. Then I also recruited the lady who lives in my hometown of Frederick (She’s also Peruvian) and a lady with whom I had walked during lunch on Tuesday. A lady from DC also joined, so at the end, we had a good little group!

    Btw, the San Diego chick is a superstar researcher. She enrolled in some hotel program and earned double points plus gym access plus free breakfast, plus appetizers/drinks plus blah, blah… Yup, my kinda gal. And the Peruvian? She just learned salsa a few years ago: after she decided to learn, she started going to salsa clubs, and in the end, she met her husband there!! This evening, after the concert, she hit a local salsa club solo. Again, my kinda gal. Grab the bull by the horns!!

    So for tomorrow’s class on board governance, the teacher already sent out an email telling us to arrive early. Something like, if you arrive on time, you’re already late. Really?? What am I, a teenager?? Tomorrow night, he wants to have dinner with the class. That means I only have Saturday and Sunday nights left to plan activities with my latest clique. Hmm, what to organize??

    Btw, today we had a field trip to a recovery center for people with substance abuse. We met people in the program and listened to so many moving, personal stories. I’m shocked by what alcohol and drugs can do to people… but the trip really reminded me again of human resiliency and fortitude. I am so amazed by how far people can come no matter their depths of despair. I was also reminded today of how far I’ve gotten away from volunteering. Goddamn, as a kid, I volunteered at the hospital and at the animal shelter. In college, I also volunteered regularly at the animal shelter and at an after school center for inner city kids. In Florida, Remy and I did that Dr. Dog program at Shands Hospital. In Virginia, I was a literacy tutor for adult immigrants… what the hell happened to all of that?? What happened to that idealism, that hunger for real impact, that commitment to implementing change? I’d like to get back to that sooner than later. Time to strategize once again.

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  • Carolina on my Mind

    Is that the title of a song? It sounds kinda familiar, like a James Taylor song or something. I don’t know. My brain is pretty tired right now. This last week in NC has gone very well. I had a wonderful weekend with N in Wilmington, and then everything has so far gone off without a hitch in Durham. My one-way rental car was fine. The hotel checked out fine: the room is clean, and wifi is solid. The building exterior and breakfast are a bit sketchy, but whatever, it is seriously right next door to the class hotel at half the price. Cost above quality, baby!! Haha.

    So as you know, on Sunday, the day I turned 38, I ventured back on campus for the first time in probably 13 years or so. The campus itself is beautiful, but god, it has changed so much! Even the Levine Science Center, which was brand spanking new my sophomore year, looked totally old and decrepit. I went to the student center, my old dormitory, the engineering buildings, etc. Most of my old spots on West Campus and on Science Drive. It really brought up a flurry of feelings: nostalgia, regret, sadness… I couldn’t help but wish that I had spent my college years differently. I was in such a beautiful and magical place, and yet, I was so blinded by anxiety and worry, not to mention two years of frustration and anger from having to babysit my asinine brother. And my mother wonders why I don’t have kids.

    Anyway, the Duke nonprofit management program started on Monday and so far, it has been freaking awesome. The teachers are really excellent: they are organized, methodical, and the material is super practical and relevant. I am learning so damn much.

    On the other hand, the networking with classmates hasn’t quite panned out for me; I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe the group is TOO diverse, but oh well, I am just so pleased with the content. And the crazy thing is, once all my costs are tallied, this program will actually come in only a few hundred bucks more than the SFSU program that spans several months doing a Friday night + all day Saturday schedule.

    While in town, I’ve also managed to meet with a few people whom I had contacted through my info interviewing process back west. Those in-person meetings have gone great: the people have been remarkably nice, not to mention, beyond helpful. For the remaining nights, I don’t have activities planned, but I will likely ask around and see if some of the classmates want to hit the town for dinner or something. Classes will run through the weekend.

    So when I had spoken with my mother last week, she had somehow forgotten that I was doing this program. Then when I told her again, she asked if it was part of an MBA program. No mom, it’s freaking 8 days. No one is going to earn an MBA in just over a week. I know, it was probably just an innocent question, but well, what can I say: the nemesis ruffles my feathers. Then she made some comment about how it’ll be hard to absorb all the info for a full day now that I’m older. She has realized that she has trouble staying awake during lectures and talks. Fair enough, except that I am 30 years her junior… And, little does she know, I am on a learning binge, so that is not a problem!! After class yesterday, I even came home and reviewed all the notes and then tried to read the financials. Sadly, the teacher kinda rushed through it towards the end, so now I don’t quite have that one down. This morning, I tried to ask some classmates about it, but no one had really looked at the materials after class, and no one seemed concerned. I guess I’m kinda intense about my learning. I will ask different people tomorrow.

    And now it’s almost 1 a.m., and I am still up. I guess I was feeling some anxiety tonight, because I did some more job searching. Truthfully, I feel like I wasted the last six years of my life at the District. Nonprofits don’t consider government work nonprofit experience, and then because I did this combo of tech and communications, people don’t seem to want that either: the demands are either hardcore tech (i.e. Salesforce, coding, or database) or hardcore communications. So I’m just frustrated. I sent out some more info requests tonight, and maybe my next step will be the environmental focus, as one of my info interviewees suggested since that’s what the District mission was and that was also my academic background. That or I might just work to get that Salesforce certification. Sigh.

    I keep running all these different permutations in my head… I am really antsy to work again in these new areas. I suppose I should just finish this class first and then see what simmers and rises to the top afterwards. Time for bed.

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  • Full of Hatred

    Wow, first week of June is over already. Shit, who the hell can keep up???

    Well I had a coaching call this week; I submitted for three new jobs; I had another info interview, and then on Wednesday night, I flew out to NC. It’s been so great seeing my buddy N again. I was just in Wilmington, NC last September, and when I left, I really didn’t know when I would see N again, much less be back in NC. Thankfully, we have reunited sooner than later. The big news? N reached her target weight. Holy crap, she is a skinny mini. I mean, even from September, the transformation is huge. I am so proud of her. It really has been a long and arduous journey fighting her way back from rock bottom, and I know that each day is still a struggle. That’s what is so inspiring about her story: this is a constant struggle and an ongoing work in progress. I’m motivated by her courage and diligence.

    Just like last time, as soon as I got off the plane, we were back in sync. My first day here went great. We had dinner with her mom and several college buds at a very nice spot by the riverwalk downtown. Then we came home, and she nearly whooped my ass with ping pong. I know, whitey’s suddenly got game!! Shit. Thankfully, I managed to rally by the end of the night and tie up the games at 3-3. I’m gonna have to pull out all the stops for the match game. For reals.

    By evening, I was pooped, so I went to bed around 1 a.m. Yup, this good streak was not to last long. Why?

    Because at 4 a.m., my mobile phone started buzzing nonstop. WTF? At first, I was really worried that maybe it was some emergency in the middle of the night. Nope, it was just my brother writing me on FB messenger, and by default, that shit is NOT muted on my phone. So every single line of text resulted in a buzz. What was so fucking important? Nothing. Nothing at all: just more of his religious indoctrination bullshit: Come meet my master, and change your life for the better. After an entire paragraph of this nonsense, I let it rip. I started replying in real time: I don’t believe in your newfound cleansing and purity, and I sure as hell am not going to listen to this proselytizing. I mean, seriously, does your master endorse bullying and harassment and blackmail? I won’t go into the details to support my choice of terms, but I’m only telling it like it is: when people say no, they mean no, so back the hell up.

    In reply, he asked how any of this was considered bullying. Either you’re playing dumb, or you really are clueless. Why don’t you ask every family member in Taiwan who has attended your intro religious meeting and refused to join how they feel? Do you and your cronies even know what choice means? Do you know the difference between yes, no, and maybe? Stupid fuck. Then he went into an entire tirade calling me self-righteous, and who am I to judge and condemn him. Um, I’m sorry, but do you live in the real world or what? We make decisions every damn day based on people’s actions. I don’t give a goddamn iota whether or not you think I have “the right.” I certainly don’t wait for your sorry ass to tell me what is or is not acceptable. It is my choice to disagree and reject your annoying “suggestions” on how to live my life.

    Oh, I had a lot to say, and he asked with such incredulity, “How can you say things like that to me? You are so hateful.” Wow, really? You are going to turn this onto me? After all the past and present pain you put my family through, you’re going to criticize me for calling you on your bullshit?? Boy, you are barking up the wrong tree. I can rattle off example after example of your selfishness, your entitlement, your misogyny, and your manipulation… an entire lifetime full of toxic sludge. No, I am not perfect. I’ve done immature, hurtful, spiteful, and mean things in my life. In many ways, I was a mean girl. But I can live with how I conduct myself and how I live my life.

    Don’t mention your scammer of a shifu (master) to me anymore, because I will blow this situation completely out of the water. Go back to your den of denial and lies. You don’t seek the truth at all.

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