Queering the Nerd is ending… a last request

So, after a whole journey through identity (specifically gender and sexuality) I feel like I no longer want or need to discuss it in such an intensive way. I have learned a lot from the WordPress community and I really appreciate the conversations we’ve had on here. The next part of my journey is underway and it’ll just take time for me to work through it, a process I feel like I have to go through privately. Hope that’s cool with all of you.

It’s odd timing, as I am on course to hit and surpass my arbitrary goal of reaching 10,000 readers this year. But I am ultimately writing this blog for myself, not for some random goal, so I’d be misguided to keep blogging just for the sake of chasing that number. It would no longer have meaning for me. As soon as I became conscious of my audience, the blog no longer held the same meaning to me.

I’ll give it a couple weeks but then am taking down the blog. So here’s my request:

Some of my posts have gotten a moderate amount of traffic, especially “All about binders: a first-hand review of binders for larger-chested people” which has been viewed over 3,800 times! If any of you found that or any other post on here especially helpful–resource lists, whatever– feel free to copy and post it to your site! If you’re copying a post verbatim credit QTN please (though QTN itself will no longer exist) but otherwise, just take and use; no need for you to ask for explicit permission.

That’s it, that’s all. Thanks for tuning in.

A thing about me

I have this one sorta quirky quality that isn’t a big deal but sounds weirdly specific.

I have a thing for the color green. Certain shades of it at least: forest shades, olive and dark green, grayed out green, green so enchantingly dark it’s almost black.

And I don’t just mean I like the color more than other colors, I mean I’m drawn to it in unconscious ways. When I go shopping, my fingers will graze anything medium-dark earthy green. I will only notice it after the fact.

My bank has a green logo. My carshare has a green logo. It’s to a pretty comical extent that I gravitate to this hue, and always have; my mom pointed this out back in high school.

It’s just a lovely color. Plus it’s the color of botanical life; who can resist the inspirational forces of nature?

What about you? Do you gravitate toward some color, pattern, texture, to the point where it’s a little weird?

I’m back! New things: misanthropy is really redirected shame, opening up is hard, new organizational strategies, etc.

Y’all! What up! I have been taking a break from WordPress, but I have a lot of thoughts building up in my head so I wanna start getting them out. From least to most (word)pressing.

First of all I’m grateful that there is a safe space here I can turn to when I need it.


Here’s what’s up:

My physical space: plants

I moved apartments, and this one gets way more light; I’m taking advantage of that and propagating! I have just 3 plants; I’m hoping to make some more. Currently, the result is a bunch of discombobulated plant bits hanging out in various containers on my windowsill. I have no idea how it’s going… here’s a tally:

  • Cut my bamboo down. I left the rooted stump, and I’m rooting the shoot in water. I cut the stump below a node, stupidly, so now even though there’s a bitty new growth poking out a good inch and a half of the top of the stalk will probs shrivel off eventually.
  • The aglaonema (chinese evergreen, marketed as “plant of steel”, ever resistant to my brown thumb, like that time I left for vacation for 6 weeks and didn’t water it…) is doing great. It had already put out new growth off the bottom of one of the stalks on its own (what initiative!) I cut the longest stalk, and I’m seeing some potential new growth poking out. The top half of the cut stalk is being rooted in soil; the leaves are in 2:1 soil and perlite. Future work: replace the soil, which I’ve not changed it in 4 years, though fertilizer keeps it fresh.
  • My zebra cactus, Spike worries me. He had 3 “clumps” that were growing off the main, rotted-out root ball; 2 are in soil and 1 is in perlite. I put some leaves on soil to see if they’ll sprout anything; they may not be healthy enough though to propagate from. Many of the leaves are brown and wrinkled; hoping some part of Spike will find the strength to carry on.

From my plants, I hope to channel my love for taking care of things, my love of all things green, and my love for bringing the outdoors in. I also hope to learn to have more patience; I’m definitely having trouble keeping my hands off. LET ME TAKE CARE OF YOU! WHY DON’T YOU NEED ANYTHING!!

If I buy any plant going forward, I’d love to grow a vine or an African Violet. I love love love ferns but apparently they’re really sensitive, and bonsais but I killed one my mom gave me when I was 10ish and I still feel guilty about that.

My physical space: reorganizing, redecorating

In a streak of good fortune I met a fellow grad student in the market for a couch I’ve been trying to get rid of… and she was looking to get rid of a rocking chair! We made the swap, and I didn’t even know I needed a rocking chair so bad. I love it so. It’s great from working on my laptop; I might not even NEED a desk…

Then I finally hit on some more good luck and found cotton sheets at TJMaxx! (as opposed to polyester… no thank you.) Before, I only had one incomplete, ill-fitting and garish sheet set; now I have 2 new sheet sets that fit my deep mattress perfectly, and 2 new pillows at a reasonable price. My first bedding update in 6 years; and now when I want to change the sheets I don’t have to wash them the same day (which means I can wash them more than once a season…)

Also, I recently got rid of some old clothes and plan on doing another purge soon. I have a “purgatory” under my bed: and underbed drawer where I stick things I doubt I’ll ever wear again. If I don’t miss the stuff after a few weeks (aggressive I know), or barely notice that it’s gone, then out with it! At some point I’ll hit up Buffalo Exchange (where hipsters do their closet minimizing) and Goodwill (where regular people do their closet minimizing) and find new used clothing. No more brand new clothing purchases for me (with the exception of basics. And underwear.)

So, updated room, upgraded bed, clothing purge. Not bad for fall cleaning.

New academic year, new organizational scheme

I am now using a Personal Kanban (a board with 3 columns: “backlog”, “in progress”, and “completed”, moving sticky notes with to-do-list points from one column to another; this allows me to see my progress) and a Bullet Journal (a flexible-formatted individualized to-do-list-cum-goal-tracker-cum-journal). These allow me to see my tasks clearly, as well as to log what I’m doing and externalize the thoughts in my head. I’ll let you know how it goes once I settle into a groove. It’s getting hard to stay motivated with my project, so I’m using the bullet journal to write something about gratitude, and I might start writing down daily motivations.

On peer counseling

I did peer counseling training this year; not sure what to expect! I hope to contribute to a positive environment in the grad school, to help mitigate the isolation of the PhD for other students.

On being more open

I wall off from people when I feel shame. Like I’m a diseased limb. But the more I reach out to people the more response I get. I don’t know why I think people don’t like me, or that I don’t get support I need. I don’t know what support I need most of the time, so I can’t even ask for help. So yeah, generally, it’d be great to get better at stating my needs and allowing myself to be more vulnerable.

This is an issue because I sorta had to hush up my needs lately, or at least that’s how it feels, and remove myself from some group dynamics that didn’t feel good. So I’m hoping it’ll get better as I reconnect with people on terms that are beneficial for everyone.

This touches on the issue of mitigating the isolation of the phd in general; 47% of phd students are diagnosed with depression, and given how little emotional stability I’ve had since I’ve started, I believe that statistic whole-heartedly.

I have to treat my shame. I don’t have to feel isolated. I’m in NYC, but I’m not alone.

Esophageal spasms

I’m having cricopharyngeal spasms.

That’s when muscles around the esophagus spasm and it feels like there’s a knot in my chest. Exactly like the feeling of having to burp but not being able to.

It’s very uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure it’s stress related.

Maybe Now, We’ll Take Electronic Voting Hacking Seriously? — Mike the Mad Biologist

Resharing this great post about cyberhacking and electronic voting. If you’re not concerned yet, you should be.

This column by Bruce Scheier raises a very good point about the November elections (boldface mine): Even more important, we need to secure our election systems before autumn. If Putin’s government has already used a cyberattack to attempt to help Trump win, there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again — especially now […]

via Maybe Now, We’ll Take Electronic Voting Hacking Seriously? — Mike the Mad Biologist

I’m becoming a militant feminist

And I’m not even sorry about it.

Y’all, I hate to say this… but lately I really hate men. So much so.

(Yes, I know, not all men. Not all white people… I’m white anyways. Not all straight people. Not all cismen. Not all anyone. Just in general. Moving on.)

I (accidentally) sent this tweet around to a few friends:

WhatsApp Image 2016-07-28 at 10.51.25 PM

I thought it was funny, and I thought the handful of feminist ladies I was trying to send it to would appreciate it, but instead I sent it to my climbing friends, and it wound up blowing wayyyy out of proportion. One white guy said, “why does it have to be about race?” and another started saying how ridiculous it is to shame someone for their political view. When really, the tweet is calling out people who are using their vote to send a message instead of see it as an active participation in a system.

It blew way out of proportion.

And now I’m thinking no men really get it, they just feel personally attacked for some supposed privilege someone else is imposing on them (one even asked “but what does ‘more privileged’ even mean”… essentially asking what da fuq is privilege even…) so they get all up in arms about being attacked and dont actually want to have a conversation.

Well I hate to RNC (aka fear monger) over here but the real response to the “bernie or bust”ers I want to send…

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 12.17.43 AM

First off, that’s what a multiparty system gets you: empowered extremists. Secondly. notice that the second and third parties add up to more than the first party. Thirdly, LOOK AT ALL DEM WHITE MEN.

It does seem to blind people to discussions regarding privilege to feel attacked for their own privilege. They have to make it about themselves. Yeah yeah we get it your life is hard. Let’s move on from how this is personally about you. Stop with the white guilt. With the male guilt. Guilt doesn’t do anything to accomplish anything; guilt is still making it about you. So move through the guilt phase and actually LISTEN.

Because when it comes down to it, having Trump in the presidency would be disaster. But not for cis straight white men. For the rest of us. So when your minority friends panic fucking listen. Shut your mouth and listen.

Which brings me to everyone’s need to talk instead of listen. Also, lately there have just been so many examples, from the national stage to the local (i.e. a subway car) that my girlfriend and I have witnessed, where men just cry out for attention. Even Trevor Noah (a presumably straight/cis male) calls Trump out for it:


I’m becoming a militant feminist and not even sorry about it.

To be better


Even as I post less, my posts have been getting briefer and more straightforward. I came to two realizations today:

  1. I procrastinate because I still think I’m uncreative and that I should have come up with better ideas at this point.
    Solution: to realize that all grad students have to grind, that hard work begets creativity, that only after one really immerses oneself in a topic will ideas flow. Also, I totally have ideas. I just need to not be afraid of authority, and to have greater confidence in myself. Also, I have changed many things about myself this year so I think I’m proving myself a worthy person.
  2. My anxiety in my current relationship is worrying about getting stuck: ending up with someone who doesn’t want to challenge themselves, who doesn’t want to improve and grow with me. However I get a very good feeling about my current relationship, it’s been challenging me certainly, and I also have to keep in mind that I struggle on the self-improvement front as well. We’re all human.
    Solution: To not impose my goals on someone else, but rather to identify and work together toward our mutual values.

Overall I have to keep reminding myself of my own power and validity in the world, both in relationships and in my career.

Just some brief thoughts.