Category Archives: Personal

Breathless

Lately I’ve felt so emotionally vulnerable and quite frankly volatile.

 It’s not a feeling I like…

I don’t like that at any moment, my breath leaves my body and I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s like to breathe. I can’t stand being in public when the tears threaten and my mind just wanders aimlessly to the point of exhaustion. 

Life is ever flowing and constant. If only I could flow continuously and flow past these moments that make me not feel like me. Such is humanity I guess: Always reacting to the human condition.

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Gray Area, Singular

I don’t know how to start this but perhaps I should start by setting minds at ease. No, I don’t have cancer or other lesser known incurable illnesses, and yes, there’s something I can still do about it.

I had a doctor’s appointment today and beforehand I was super worked up and this time not the general “I hate doctor’s and doctor’s offices” kind of anxiety. I had been feeling off for a while now and suspected that I could possibly have diabetes and today that was confirmed. Well… sort of. My doctor called it a “gray area” because some doctors say that at this point a patient would definitely be diabetic, while other doctors — including mine — say that we are not quiiiteee diabetic but are “pre-diabetic.”*

Let me back it up a little bit. As a Pacific Islander, my risk of diabetes is higher, and I have a history of diabetes in my family. (Needless to say, I always hate when people who are about to chow down on something too sugary/unhealthy joke that they are having diabetes for dessert.) Today, we took an initial first test and while that got whisked off, my doctor and I were having our usual chat/check-up when another lady pops her head in and tells my doctor a number. We stopped talking about whatever it was we were talking about and my doctor says that I am “pre-diabetic.” There’s not much that I know about these things so I’m confused about the numbers at first, but those words put it into perspective.

It’s like they say, it’s one thing to know and another to hear it said out loud. This doesn’t change your life in any way, but it does mine. Using numbers, I can tell you that I am .2%* away from the official diagnoses for diabetes. Using words, my doctor said that I need to “Act like I’m diabetic. Eat like I’m diabetic, exercise like I’m diabetic, live like I’m diabetic.”

That’s for sure going to be hard. And so far, this post is the first that I’ve said about any of this, other than to my family. I’m not super psyched about being so public about it, but I wanted to make this an opportunity to make it known in some capacity so I would feel even more accountable to good behavior on my part and really living life like I am diabetic. Someone very close to me said that at one point they were told that they were “pre-diabetic” and that they were in denial about it for so long because they “didn’t want to have diabetes” and never did anything about it and now their numbers are off the charts. So far, I’m doing okay. The nurse brought in the diabetes kit and my doctor sent it away so I didn’t come home with one today. What this means for me though is a change of lifestyle and for sure, a kick in the behind.

Not coming home with a kit almost felt really great. It means that they’re not seeing proteins where there shouldn’t be proteins or any damage to any organs in my body. I said it “almost” felt really great because there’s still a lot I have to do on my end to really feel great about not having the kit. I’ve been prescribed diabetes school (which I didn’t realize existed) and sent home with lots of handouts on measures I need to be taking to make sure I don’t have to come home with that kit.

I’ve already starting making some of those changes this very evening and made this post to acknowledge and put to words what perhaps my mind can’t/won’t comprehend. Life changes are good sometimes and changing my lifestyle to combat diabetes is one of them if I make sure to stick to it.

This is as far as the gray area goes. What I do to make sure I’m in the clear is now black or white.

Thanks to those of you still reading my blog and keeping up with my sporadic posts. For those that know me and that read my blog, sorry I won’t necessarily get the chance to chat with each of you personally about this (or any other post for that matter) and I appreciate your discretion and sensitivity to the fact that I might not want to talk about these things in person/all the time.

*terms and stats are as accurate as they were described to me by my healthcare provider.


Love, Man

{I will post the funnier side of the doctor’s appointment at some point so we (and by we I mean I) are not so bogged down by heavier matters.}

It’s Not That Funny

Little by little I’m coming back to blogging and sharing thoughts and stories with you!

Yesterday I met up with Person X at a restaurant. X had asked me to tutor her and she was feeling desperate so I met up with her but brought my little sister along because we were having a sister date afterwards and it didn’t make sense to go back and get her afterwards. We walk into the restaurant and X is already there. I say hi and introduce my sister, who then does her own thing for an hour and a half, while we do our work.

Today I saw her again, this time sans sister, and she says, “Oh my gosh your sister looks nothing like you!” Alright. That’s fair. I don’t have to look like her!

We have a few minutes before we have to be to class so we’re on our phones showing each other pictures of family members. For the next 5 minutes she says “I don’t see it!” “They all have the same nose!” “You don’t look anything like them!” “No seriously. Nothing like them.” All of which I take very politely. I mean, whatever, it’s not a huge deal. Looks are subjective. There are people that I’ve know for 8 years and they still collectively refer to my sisters and I as “the Raza Girls” because they can’t tell us apart. Which, I don’t get, but like I said, subjective. Then there are the people who are like, “Whoa! You’re all sisters? ALL of you? You looked similar so I thought maybe cousins! That’s kinda cool!”

I’ve heard a variety of reactions, however, X was taking it to a level I’ve never heard before. After repeatedly telling me that I look nothing like my family, she goes on to say “Haha maybe you’re adopted!” laugh laugh giggle giggle

I couldn’t believe it. What if I am? What if I’m not? What if I am but no one has told me? What if what if? “It’s okay you can tell me. I won’t tell.” Um excuse me? “Go home and ask if you are!!! Hahaha” Incessant laughing

It’s “jokes” like these that drive me insane! Just saying something and laughing about it or maybe adding a punch line doesn’t make it a joke.
Consider some tact, humanity! For the love of all that is good and holy, think before you speak.

“Jokes” about being gay. Don’t do it. “Jokes” about abortion. Don’t do it. “Jokes” about eating disorders. Don’t do it.
“Jokes” about being adopted. Don’t do it.
The list goes on. Just stop.

I remember in middle school the hallways were full of “yo mama is so…” “Yo mama (this), yo mama (that).”
I never really liked them because I just didn’t, but then my best friend’s mother passed away and it took on a whole new meaning. I didn’t and still don’t want to hear “funny” jokes about somebody’s mama being so skinny that they turned sideways and disappeared. My best friend’s mother is not on this earth anymore. To this day, anytime I hear a yo mama joke I can’t help but think “while you’re disrespecting hypothetical or real mamas, there are people who would cringe to hear that because they don’t have their mamas anymore.”

Some might say, “calm down, it’s just a joke!” or “live a little,” or “pull the stick out honey, and loosen up!” I’m not always the world’s most easy going person, I acknowledge that, but when it comes to matters like these, no thank you. I prefer to stand by my opinions.

…So Come What May

My little baby blog hasn’t been going for long, but there have been enough times where I’ve thought about writing a particular post then reluctantly admit to myself that those who don’t know me and will read those posts won’t know the important background information that should accompany said posts. For a new blogger I’ve posted a good amount of entries on my blog and there’s not one (public) post that explicitly mentions that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or as we are more commonly referred to as, a Mormon.

I will admit that I did not accidentally forget to post this. I chose not to mention it for a few reasons, many of which are still hard for me to explain in a coherent manner, so I’d like to share only a few reasons why I am choosing to say something now.

It takes a lot of courage to declare something that you know there will be opposition to.  Believe me that both you and I hoped that I would have that courage to speak up, but I’m not perfect and I don’t apologize for it. I know I’m not the only one out there who has something to say and hasn’t (whether for a religious reason or not) for fear of being belittled. I haven’t had very positive experiences in the past when I have mentioned that I’m a Mormon but I think it’s about time that I actually put an effort into saying that I am Mormon even when I know it might not be received well.

I grew up in the Church, so the things that I know… well, I feel like I just know them. As I grew older, I came to think that the people who convert to this church are actually more knowledgeable than I am in this religion. Perhaps in some cases they are and perhaps in others, they are not and that’s not what matters. I suppose I just feel like they came into it having all these questions and they were asking them and getting answers one way or another. I’m not restricted from asking questions myself, and I have asked questions as I’ve thought of them, but this Church has so so many questions that could be asked. I haven’t asked them all and quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll be able to get to ask all my questions in this lifetime and that’s okay. I think that’s one of the things that is beautiful about this Gospel: that I will always have opportunity to learn and I will never just be sitting in stagnant water. Aha! Here we have another reason why I haven’t come running out with a banner flapping in the wind that says, “Maniesse! (Among many things,) she is a Mormon!” Are you ready for the reason? I just don’t have the answers! Well, I have some answers but certainly not all. I can’t help but feel embarrassed that I can’t answer all the questions that have ever been thrown at me. Even though some people don’t say it, I feel like they are thinking “Well if you don’t really know the answer, how can you say you know this church and it’s doctrines and therefore tell me that it’s true?” I feel within me that it’s true and some people can’t accept that. They need cold, hard fact. I feel that when I have followed the counsel given and seen the blessings in my life, I can’t then turn a blind eye and say that it is coincidence. There have been too many things in my life for it all to be coincidence. (I have other reasons too for believing in this Church, but for now, this will serve as an introductory reason.)

I’m here now saying that I’m a Mormon because I know that it is such a big part of how I operate and who I am, that perpetuating my online image as someone who could or could possibly not be Mormon does not speak well of my integrity and it doesn’t truly show who I am. I’m here now saying this because little by little I am getting more courageous and as hard as it’s going to be for my peace-loving self to have people belittle me and my faith, I can only hope that it will build my character and circuitously, my courage. I know that I still don’t have all the answers and that I am not always so articulate, but I do know that I am willing to ask myself the same questions that people may ask of me, and hopefully we will be able to learn the answers together.

 

Have you had hard things to say in your life? What have you done about it? Saying some things can be freeing! 🙂

…One is Silver and the Other is Gold.

About 4 months ago I packed up in about 2 weeks and moved down here to the Washington DC area in an effort to literally change my life.

I knew going into this that it wasn’t going to be easy. I mean you know what they say about that rock and that hard place…

I expected a lot of the things that have happened, but I’ve also been surprised by some of the outcomes of this drastic move. Leaving the place where I “grew up” in the United States? Yeah I knew that was going to be hard. Switching from small town mode to big city mode? Logically different. I’d know fewer people? Bah who needs human interaction anyway? You get the idea.

When I moved these expected and unexpected situations were kind of pushed underneath somewhat blanket categories but it became apparent that each situation was different. If you asked me what has been the most unexpected situation, my answer wouldn’t be the same every day.

Today I think the thing that’s hitting me the hardest is the fact that for 8 years I built relationships and associations with people — from convenience store employees to seminary teacher(s) to choir/theatre directors and the list goes on. Sure I’m forming connections here, but I sometimes go somewhere and expect a certain reaction from people and when it’s not as meaningful as it used to be, I get a little sad. People don’t quite know the way I joke. I used to make little comments that usually spin off into crazy conversations with my former leaders and now, sometimes I just get nods of assent and the conversation doesn’t go on. Oh and remember in middle school when the boys and girls wouldn’t interact a lot? Well the boys in my Sunday School class in A—————— took a while to warm up to me and my loud ways (what can I say, I can be intimidating). After laying down ground work since the 6th grade, we finally reached a point where we became friends that went to concerts together, hit the movies together, laughed about Spanish teachers together, sang silly songs together, and made 5 hour (round trip) drives together. Now it’s back to sitting divided: boys on one side and girls on the other, and we don’t even know enough of each other’s lives to call each other “friends.”

So I guess it’s back to square one, huh? I knew that I’d miss all the people in my old life, but I didn’t anticipate that it would be so hard to survive the beginning stages of this thing called “making new friends.”

The Impact of One Life

How often do people dread the date on a calendar? Never in my life have I ever stopped to ask that question before. If I’ve dreaded a date, that’s what I did. I dreaded it. But like I said, I’ve never stopped to actually think about how often people dread a date on a calendar.
I’ve dreaded exam dates before. I’ve dreaded awkward and/or painful doctor’s appointments before. But this is the first time I’ve ever dreaded this date.

May 23rd. Last year, it fell on a Thursday, and I didn’t know any better. This year it falls on a Friday, and I wish it didn’t exist. If it didn’t exist, maybe the events that day would’ve never happened? It’s the date that one of my best friends left this earth. For almost a year now, anytime someone asks “What’s today’s date?” and it happens to be the 23rd, I always pause and go “It’s been (insert number) months since I last talked to him.” “It’s been (insert number) months since he’s smiled on this earth.”
I still wonder and I still don’t understand why he’s no longer here. I mean, I do. It was a car accident. It was bad. He died.
But…. I also just don’t get it. It’s something that I’ve had to think about a lot over the past 11+ months and I still have no answers.

There aren’t any guarantees that there will ever be any earthly answers to many of the questions I have, but I just hope that I’ll find more peace as I keep traveling in this life that is no longer his to be part of.

Ramblings of a Newbie

Inhale, Exhale. Inhale, Exhale
I think it’s time for a heart to heart. A… screen to screen? We won’t get lost in the technicalities. This post is almost a confession of sorts. Or maybe a call to action… for myself. No, no that’s not right. This is a….. hmm. Let’s figure this out later and just get to the post, shall we?

Blogging is really a big deal for me. I’m sure it is for a lot of people, and I’m one of those people. I’ve always been a pretty private person and here I am wanting a blog where I can just type my worries away and strangers will be reading about the things that make me angry or that make me want to cry or make me want to scream… you get the idea. I want that kind of blog but at the same time, do I really want most of my life broadcast like this? Ha! I guess that’s what my problem is— I’m a private person with a lot to say, so now where does that leave me?

Where am I trying to go with this?

Thinks for a minute.

Dear reader, I think I’ve found it. This post is a commitment. I’m committing to be more open and to share more of me.

Hopefully you stick around while I do my best to keep this “commitment” to myself.

An Expert’s Reflection on the Stars

When I was in 3rd grade, I lived on a tiny island nation in the Pacific Ocean.
I loved learning because school didn’t have any negative connotations yet. I was one of many kids whose favorite time of the year was when it was time for the book fair. We were not the most accessible and advanced of places if you can imagine that, and we didn’t get to walk into a library with tables and tables piled with books, scented pencils, and other awesome knick-knacks to entice our young and still eager-to-learn minds. What we got instead were the little Scholastic pamphlets that said we could have the tale of Johnny Appleseed for just $9.99! Pick of the Litter is only $6.99! Let’s not forget the coveted Mystery Kit for only $24.95! “But mom, it has the cool detective invisible ink that you can use to write secret messages! NO ONE can see unless you use the special light!”
Mom didn’t buy it, figuratively or literally.

What she did decide she could shell out for was the stargazing kit. I don’t remember it being my idea to get it but I didn’t really notice because heck, I was giving my teacher a large order and I wasn’t just buying the fat, foot-long pencil! Just you wait, classmates! In 3 short months when a ship finally reaches these sandy shores with the school order, my package is gonna be bigger than the one with your name on it. [I know. Cringe. 3 months?! Clearly since I didn’t know things could be shipped faster, 3 months was the norm! And on an actual ship too! Shipment. Hehe.]

Well that little stargazer kit arrived safely and “swiftly” and my mom, sisters and I decided to test it out. Ha-ha. The joke was on us. Hello? Tropical, tree-laden jungle island? There were not a lot of places that allowed you large enough and clear enough glimpse of the sky! Well played Scholastic! So we used our little kit a few times parked in a small church parking lot because the trees were mostly cleared to put down the concrete there. I learned the constellations Orion, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, Virgo, and Scorpius.

It was kind of disappointing, I’m not going to lie. I spent money and time waiting for this little thing and didn’t end up using it a lot. When we could make it up to the parking lot at night, the clouds were in the way. I was waiting for this kit to open up the skies for me! To help me on my way to being able to look up at the stars and tell you what time of year it was because of the position of the constellations. I was going to be a little wide-eyed, grubby faced star expert. Such high hopes, but I had never noticed before how little I could and did see the stars.

Here I am, many years later, sitting in the backseat of a car headed from Logan, Utah to Salt Lake City, Utah, and gazing up to a clear sky. Maybe I’ve had many chances at seeing open sky since I left the island nearly 9 years ago, but as I go through this mountain pass and I look up at this deep, dark night with blinking, winking lights, I can’t help but feel that that little failed attempt at stargazing is what makes me so attuned to the beauty of the heavens at night.

I have long since forgotten how to recognize most of the constellations I learned in 3rd grade, but I still like to think that I am an expert even if I’m just an avid stargazer at heart.