Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo

2016 What About Your Friends?

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I was wrong. A few things had happened and I took them to be something different then what they were. So I proceeded to talk about a friend behind their back. I did this instead of talking to my friend about it. Well, of course what I said went back to my friend and they were hurt. I figured as such and I reached out to apologize. I felt bad. I was wrong for what I did.
So my friend told me how much I hurt them. I was devastated about what happened. So my friend said I needed to make a public apology and guess what? I did. My friend means more to me than the people that I was talking to and even if our friendship is never the same, atleast they know where my heart is. I also know that I have to reevaluate my friendships. Maybe the truth is that I consider everyone to be my friend but in reality I don’t have any. Don’t let my Twitter or Facebook followers fool you. I probably have more associates than anything. At this point in my life even though it makes me sad, I have to be okay with that and I will. So many people underestimate me and cannot begin to understand the pain that I have felt in my life. And again that is okay. People may have to be hard pressed when I go mute because I’m really really good at it.
At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what and who matter. There is no point in letting people get me down just because it is easy. But oh it is so easy. So I’m going to go through the motions just to get through because that is important to me. Maybe it is much less important that my voice be heard because in a vaccum of white noise everything cancels out anyway. I’m very disappointed in myself for believing that things were different. I only had a few friends growing up and I don’t even have them now.
So here’s to me learning a lesson in being quiet.
Peace

2016 When Everything Turns Up Roses

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Hey y’all. I hope this finds you well. If not, I hope you feel a little better after reading. Why? Because you deserve to feel great. I know it sounds cheesy, but once you start telling yourself what you deserve, you start feeling better. Now this may get a little bumpy as I tend to go all over the place(just like my writing, and another reason why revision is a great thing, not something to fear or hate).

First things first, this semester is going awesome. Like I totally turned things around in Stats(and each class session is even more awesome). For instance, last week we began a conversation about multilevel modeling and I am telling you it was like poetry. Pure mathematical poetry. Every day I realize that I love math(a lot).

Second, I got an awesome job. Like it is so awesome that I still can’t believe it. I just can’t believe that I have this opportunity. The people that I work with are great. I get to work on real world projects. I am in a good space.

Third, every single conference that I submitted to, I was accepted. I still can’t believe that people want to hear about my work and what I have to say. So, a lot of people are proud of me and I have been given permission to be proud of myself. I am. I am.

Fourth, everything is working out wonderfully, so for the first time in a long, long time, I have no drama. Yep, you read that right, no major drama in my life(or the dancery quoting MJBlige). What does this mean? It means that I have a lot of time to make up my own internal drama(filled with over thinking and wondering where Prince Charming is). But I have an amazing support group who nudges me and jostles me out of the drama cloud and I am on my merry way again.

So, I plan on doing a better job of writing on here. So, be ready for a bunch of stuff because I have a lot to talk about(or be ready for a little bit of stuff because I might get busy lol). Who knows, let’s just be optimistic and hope for the best.

I am hoping for the best in all things. Even though I am turning that big scary 3-5 in a few months, I am going to be optimistic. Even though it seems as if Prince Charming lost all of my contact info, I am going to be optimistic. Even though there are a million things that I cannot change, I am going to be optimistic. Because really at the end of the day, I have no other choice.

Peace, love, and light y’all 🙂

 

2016 Gratitude

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    Hey y’all! I just wanted to post some good stuff. With all that is going on in the world, I don’t think positive vibes hurt anything.
In line with the year of yes, I accepted a super cool job. My family is proud of me. My friends want me around. I am doing well in my classes.
     I know that doesn’t sound much but it means a lot to me.     No I haven’t met the great love of my life yet but I still manage to smile at the world. I’m trying to be the change that I want to see in the world and on most days, I think I’m on the right track.
    It seems like everyday I have an epiphany about something and I’m humbled. I know that my journey is only through the help and strength of a ton of angels on Earth.
    I got to hear my sponsor’s experience, strength, and hope tonight and I know that God blessed me with her awesome example of living life on life’s terms. I have had the opportunity to hear so much wisdom from my professors and I’m blessed to learn from them.
    So I’m just a bundle of gratitude because when we talk about the promises, I know that I didn’t envision anything that even remotely looks like my life today.
   I’m grateful for you taking the time to read my roller coaster of a blog.
Thank you!

2016When God Says No

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Hey blog readers. Hope you are doing well. I am actually doing pretty well(that’s an understatement) but I want to discuss a few things that are on my mind. Let’s just say that 98% of life is going well for me right now. It’s the other 2% that I am still processing.

So, I know that I talk a lot about mi vida loca particularly when it comes to guys and relationships. What I am about to say, just pile it on top of the loca hot mess pile called Gemma’s love life(aka no life). Let me tell you a story. It’s true. Names are being protected to spare the guilty. Okay, so here it goes. A long time ago(over a year ago), I met someone. Let’s call that someone Mr. Fire. Just go with it. Mr. Fire is nice, charming, handsome, and would potentially fit the list of good on paper. Mr. Fire asks me for my number, which I give to him. Mr. Fire calls me. Mr. Fire texts me. Mr. Fire emails me. Mr. Fire always checks for me. Mr. Fire takes me out to a bookstore where we have interesting conversation because that’s what you do with Mr. Fire. Let’s fast foward to a more recent time. A friend mentions, Oh, Mr. Fire is married. I’m like Oh, okay. That’s interesting because Mr. Fire has never 1)worn a wedding ring 2)spoke of a wife 3)mentioned being married and this is why Mr. Fire is Mr. Fire.

Let’s just say this is where God steps in. Because in recovery we talk about God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Well, God showed up and out. It was finally revealed that yes indeed Mr. Fire is married(with kids) and that’s how you know God speaks through people. So, what did I do? I deleted Mr. Fire out of my phone and tried not to explode when everyone that I mentioned it to, put the onus on me and what I did or didn’t do. Because apparently, men can do no wrong, even when they are dead wrong and everything will always be my fault. For the record, I never did anything tawdry with Mr. Fire.

In another weird turn of events, an old acquaintance(like someone I know of) saw me and asked me about my ex(because people who remember us together only know how to ask me about him for some reason). Well, he said that my ex is back and closer than before. So I have been trying not to freak out(I’ve been praying about it) because my head is like “Yep, he wants to kill me”. People close to me have told me that maybe he has changed(which is possible). But I just don’t even want to see him.

I got Mandy Hale’s new book and she talks about not dating for a year(which is something that I keep telling God about or rather He keeps telling me that that is basically the situation). I’m not sad about it, I just wish that I could just be completely turned off(if that makes sense). Like, no crushes, no nothing.

Thanks for reading

 

2016 Sometimes Truth Is Stranger

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     Hey blog readers. I have been thinking about a few things to write about. That was as far as I got. Until last night.
     Yesterday I found the hole in my air mattress. I was sad because I love it. Well, I decided to make a pallet out of it. So I found a fiber bed to put on top of it. It is amazing.
     Well, while running errands I forgot to mail something. I developed this habit where I go to the post office, check the mail, and forget to mail stuff. So I ran another errand.
    While waiting for the bus, I met this guy. Let’s call him Jon Luc. So Jon Luc strikes up a conversation and offers me his coat. It got cold. I politely declined. Jon Luc and I got on the bus. We kept talking. It was good conversation. Jon Luc invited me out for a drink. I’m trying to be cool and I say sure. Jon Luc waits for me(not at or in my apt). I grab my coat and we head out. We talk some more and I get a vibe. So since we don’t have a set plan I suggest going to McDonald’s. Well, I sense that Jon Luc is impatient. Then he tells me as much. Jon Luc decides he doesn’t want to go to McDonald’s. I say okay. Because I have a warm comfy bed to go home to and cake.
Jon Luc asked me for my number. I texted him a quick reply. I happily went home.
     As I have gotten older, I don’t really go out at night. I pretty much just go to class and go home. I don’t have a problem with it. I have a few friends who ask me to go to things that usually don’t start until 10pm and I have to politely decline.
     Even though I treat sleep very badly, I actually love sleeping. I love being cozy. I’m cozy at home. I’m okay with that and I’m too old to care about who isn’t.
Signing off from my lair of cozy.
Peace

2016 The Year Of Being Open To Life

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Hey blog readers and viewers. I hope you are having a great new year so far. I know I am. I told God and the universe that I wanted to be open and a lot of good things have come my way.
     I had two interesting job interviews this week. I hope to hear a good word soon. Classes started back in my doctoral program. I don’t think I have been more excited about a semester. Anxiety aside, things are looking up. People are showing interest in my research. I’m getting amazing feedback and that’s great fuel to keep writing.
     I renewed my gym membership so now I have to go. I’m going swimming tomorrow. I have been getting in some good workouts.
     I met someone. I know it’s early but it is so interesting. We are getting to know each other. We spend time talking. He seems to be into me. Which is surprising. I already laid down the law. He knows where I stand. So even though things feel great, I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think he is intrigued because I’m not looking to hookup. I’m also very honest.
     We are using SAS this semester and I had to get another laptop and amazingly found one for just my price and all I need. I’m calling it an early birthday/dissertation gift.
     I feel like I’m in a really good place at the moment and that’s great. One funny thing is that now that I found someone to be interested in, all of these other people that I was interested in before have all made a point to reach out to me. One day I was thinking about how many guys may still have my number in their phones. I know that’s an odd thought.
     But whatever happens, it’s nice to have someone to think fondly of and know that someone is thinking about me too.
Well I better try and get some sleep.
May your tomorrow bring even more joy than today 🙂

2016 That Birthday Year

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As I was thinking about 2016, it came to my attention that this is the year I turn 35. I know, I will probably tell people that I am turning 25 again but this is it. I have been worried about turning 35 since I was probably 25. Throughout my life, the world has told us so many things about 35. What is supposed to happen, what life is supposed to look like, and where you are supposed to be.

Well, surprise, surprise, I am not any of those things. I am not married to some awesome guy who is the love of my life. I don’t have those wonderful kids that I dreamed of. I’m not working in the awesome job of my dreams either. I said all of that to say that life is hard and tricky when you have a plan for how you think it should go and reality tells you otherwise.

The other day a friend told me that guys do not like girls who are doing more than they are(such as having big goals and trying to chase after them). We have all been told that guys who want to have children don’t want to have them with women who are 35. Also, we know the fertility stats for women once they hit 35.

So, this is quite the recipe for bitterness, depression, and wondering why I even have to be 35 at all. But you know what, I will choose to focus on the good things in my life. Yes, I do have big goals but what would a great life be without achieving our goals? No, I am not a spring chicken but I still know how to do the chicken dance. Also, no matter how depressing my life may seem, I have to have bigger hope that I will have good things in my future.

As I move into this new year, I hope to have more growth than fear and more joy than envy. I have to keep praying and know that I don’t have all of the answers for where my life will take me, I only have to be ready for the ride. I know that I have great friends along on this journey with me and if it leads to meeting Mr. Wonderful, fantastic, but if it doesn’t, I can’t dwell on it.

Here’s to birthday cake 😀

2016 Potential and Possibilities

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Hey blog readers and viewers, looks like we made it to 2016. You may be wondering how 2016 will be different than 2015. You may be wondering if 2016 will be better than 2015. The answer to these questions is: As of this moment, I don’t know. I hope that things will be different. I hope that things will be better. But I know that this can only happen when I focus on changes that I need to make in order to have better outcomes.

I am doing my best to keep a positive outlook on things and that includes minimizing negative energy(I may not be able to eliminate it but I can definitely minimize how much of it I allow myself to be consumed by). Negative energy is draining and I want to be a source of positive energy so I believe that you get back what you put into the world so I am attempting to put more positivity in the atmosphere.

I haven’t made any resolutions for the New Year but I do have goals. Last year I had a huge list of goals and when I looked back over them, I had accomplished half of them. I was quite surprised if I do say so myself. So the plan is to continue working on the other goals in order to accomplish them. I know it sounds simple, but it requires work and dedication. Also, I believe that we have to have not only faith in ourselves, but faith in our goals(that they are achievable).

One part to achieving a goal is making a plan. I made a workout plan(for most of 2016, a meal plan, and of course a training plan for my running). These are things that I have done before but seeing them written down really did something to me, it made me excited. So before the new year hit, I had racked a few days under my belt of consistency.

I always make plans to read through the Bible in a year but I really don’t like reading the book of Genesis( I know that sounds horrible but hear me out), I think the first couple chapters of Genesis are quite dry, they are pretty much in my brain and I just struggle with getting through them consistently. Well, I am praying that I get through it. I will keep you posted.

Last semester I had the awesome experience of writing the first and second drafts of my dissertation proposal. I know right!? I couldn’t believe it either, until I did it and did it again. Well, now I am working on the first draft of my dissertation seeing it in full draft form is a wonder in itself. I am so excited about it. I am just glad to be on the right track.

Next week classes begin for the second semester of my second year of doctoral work. I feel like I am ready for it and I look forward to what the new semester brings. I have worked very hard to brush up on my coding for my stats and I am really excited about it.

Well, here’s to a great year!

 

 

What Courage Looks Like On An Ordinary Day

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Courage is defined as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty(Merriam-Webster). For anyone who knows me, I am a big proponent of honesty especially when it comes to sexual relationships. So in my social media presence, I share interesting info on how to talk about sex, and how to talk about sexual health. There are great sites out there that have great resources for information, support, and encouragement. Sadly, as many people that happen to have STIs, there is an even larger amount of sheer ignorance that continues to spread. Ignorance hurts everyone. There is no place for ignorance in the life of a person who considers themselves to be intelligent.

I told my STI story today. It was anonymous but it gave me the courage to share. I am not proud of my STI status but as much as I would like to wish it away, it will be with me until I die. So, I have had to make peace with it. Well, I had to make peace with it a long time ago. But as with anxiety, it is something that I can’t just put on a shelf. Also, because I do have STIs, I always tell potential partners before anything gets hot and heavy(For the record, I have been celibate for three years, FB let me know in my memories today).

So, if you are reading this and this is your first time hearing about this, it’s okay, you are hearing it from the horse’s mouth and I don’t care who knows, because there isn’t anyone that I had a sexual relationship with in the past who didn’t know. I have shared this info with people over email, text, in person, and on the phone(before texting was a thing). One reason why I am so adamant about people having sexual health talks is so that there can be one less person who has to cluelessly go to the clinic or ER because they think they are at the brink of death due to an STI. I believe that a sign of humanity is honesty. If you cannot be honest with yourself or with others, how are you helping the world? This is also why I have no sympathy for those who knowingly spread STI’s to others without letting the other person know. Just because a person wants to sleep with you maybe after just meeting you, doesn’t mean that they deserve to have something horrible happen to them(because STI’s aren’t roses).

Also, even though I feel that I am not the most loveable person because of my STI status, does not mean that I will not be happy for someone to prove me wrong 🙂

If you have never been tested for STI’s or you have had sex or are having sex with someone who gives you fifty plus reasons for why they just can’t bear to use a condom before having sex with you, please reconsider and go get tested. HSV can be tested with a blood test or if you are in the midst of an outbreak and sadly women are more likely to have symptoms before men. So please, for all things good in the world, go get tested. There are tons of places where you can get it done for free.

Here are the questions that I answered:

  1. How old are you?

I am 34 years old

  1. What do you do for a living?

I work in the education and tech field

  1. What STD/STI do you have/have you had?

I have HSV2 and had genital warts (HPV)

  1. How long have you had or known you have an STD/STI?

I have had both for seven years

  1. Do you know how you contracted this STD/STI?

With the HPV, I had warts and didn’t know what they were so I had my sister check me out and she told me to go to the clinic. With the HSV2, I had horrible symptoms for about two weeks or so when I had to drag myself to the hospital to get checked and was diagnosed at that time.

  1. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD/STI?

My life changed drastically. I have always been an honest person, but once I had interactions with people who weren’t honest and knew that I had to be upfront with people, I vowed to always let people know my status. I still feel a lot of shame and guilt, so I still have feelings that no one will ever want to be with me so my self esteem goes up and down about it. I have been celibate for three years.

  1. Do the people who know you have an STD/STI treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?

No, my friends and family have always been pretty understanding, they just consider me to be loca, so they figure it was a result of my wild days. They treat me the same. They are often way more optimistic about my life than I am.

  1. Are you currently under treatment for your STD/STI? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.

No, when I was diagnosed with HPV, I had insurance and I was able to get Imiquimod(Aldara) and when I was diagnosed with HSC2 I was able to get Acyclovir(Zovirax). After the prescribed time on each medication, my symptoms cleared up. I try to maintain my health by using a holistic approach of L-lystine supplements and a plant based diet. I also exercise and do yoga to try and keep down my stress.

  1. Has having an STD/STI hindered past relationships?

The person who gave me HPV accused me of being a dirty whore(when in actuality he slept around) and the person who gave me HSV2 broke up with me(when he was in the midst of an outbreak, rather than be honest about his status). I have had guys tell me that I was too much of a risk to be in a relationship with but I was good enough for a one night stand.

  1. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD/STI affected your partner?

I am currently single. I tell all potential partners before engaging in sex(with clothes on).

  1. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD/STI whom you did not tell you had an STD/STI?

No, after going through what I went through, I made the decision to always be upfront and honest with potential partners before engaging in a sexual relationship.

  1. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STD/STI?

I have changed a lot. I have always been a caring and giving person but I found that I have even more empathy for others and am always willing to go the extra mile for someone after my diagnosis. I don’t want anyone in my life to ever feel that they can’t tell me something or that I won’t try to understand what they may be going through.

  1. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I wanted to participate in this interview because I wanted to share with this project because I really appreciate what you are doing for the world. I also needed to have the courage to talk about this in a larger conversation. Thank you.

 

Exploring the inequality-mortality relationship in the US with Bayesian spatial modeling (Yang and Jensen 2015)

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Research questions: 1) Is the relationship between socioeconomic inequality and place due to different levels of deprivation and social capital? 2) Does income inequality threaten population health?
Purpose: To test the relationship between socioeconomic inequality and place.
Hypotheses: 1) Without any other independent covariates, inequality is positively related to mortality 2) Including control variables into the analysis will not fully explain the inequality-mortality relationship 3) After controlling for deprivation, social capital, and other variables in the analysis, inequality is not associated with mortality.
Data: United States County level data from U.S. Census Bureau and the 2003-2007 Compressed Mortality Files (CMF) by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
Main findings:
• There was a positive and significant association between income inequality and mortality that was partially explained by racial composition, SES scores, and metropolitan status
• The inequality-mortality association increased (by over 20%) when controlling for social capital and deprivation which impacted mortality in the expected direction
• The Gini coefficient remained a significant correlate of mortality.
• Deprivation and social capital partly but do not completely account for why inequality is positively associated with mortality
• Spatial modeling generates more accurate predictions than does the traditional approach.
Questions:
1. What are some mechanisms that can be utilized to reduce the relationship between income inequality and mortality?
2. How would you devise a system that better informs how we view place and its role in explaining population?
3. What other frameworks would you suggest to better explain place and mortality?