Making Friends In Texas

A truth that many will agree with is that as one gets older, it becomes more difficult to make friends.   But, what do you do when you find yourself in a new town with no friends?  How do you go about making new friends?  Do you even bother?  What of if you are an introvert?

I really do not know if I have friends in Texas but I do know that there are a couple of people here that I can ask their opinions and expect a somewhat honest answer.  How did I do it?

a) By being myself.  One of the joys of getting older is that it becomes easier to become who you are because you really do not care.  You  believe that those who like you will,  and those who don’t will fall to the side.

b)By pursuing my own interest: Pursuing a hobby that you love provides an opportunity to meet people of similar interests.  Sometimes, saying hello leads to something deeper.

c)Work relationships:  One of the positives of working in crappy positions is that you meet with different people and gain a different perspective.  Some of these work friendships continue after the work day is over.

d) Loving yourself: you might find out that you actually prefer your own company to the company of others.  Introvert issues (finding that constant interaction with people leaves you tired).  If that is the case, own it and pursue fun activities on your own.   It isn’t a crime to travel, explore the city or check out a new restaurant on your own.

Disclaimer:

It is important to know who and why someone is in your life. Ensure that only authentic people are allowed into your circle. This ensures you do not get hurt.  Warning:  These are the reasons that some might want to be your friend. a) They want to get something from you. b) They want to copy you.  c) They want to have a front row seat to watch you fall on your face. Understand this ,and don’t be scared to refuse to engage, if you think that  you are dealing with someone who isn’t truly genuine.   When you have the right people around you, things often end up working out the way they should.

Take away message:  it is always great to make friends but it is more important to be your own best friend and advocate.

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An Interview With Myself

Wow!  It has been a minute since I blogged here.   I had to stop writing to focus on school.  Well, the good news is that I graduated in Dec. 2015.  So, I met my goal of not allowing anything make me drop out of school.    I was tempted several times to quit but, as they say, a weakness (a.k.a stubbornness) can be a strength.

So, was it worth it?

I will like to believe that it was.  I had an interest which I had been pursuing on my own for years and now, I have the degree to back it up.  I took the risk, and even though I will be paying for that risk for some years to come, I do not regret it. That risk brought me to Texas.

 

Was your school a good school?

Yes.  It is a good school.  I am very grateful for the scholarship that I received which enabled me accomplish my goal.

Beyond the Educational bits, what else did I learn from grad. school?

So many things, namely:

a) Grad. schools are different.  This was my second sojourn into the world of graduate schools and my first experience was actually nice even though I worked full-time and received some financial support from my organization but there was a greater symbiotic relationship between profs. and students.   My second experience was not as ‘symbiotic’.

b)  Grad schools are influenced by their environments: In New York, where I completed my first graduate program,  there was a level of freedom that I had to ask questions.   In Texas, before you ask your question, you need to wrap it up in pretty paper, place a bow on it, lower your voice, pretend to be meek and then ask.  I did not feel as free in school.  Of course, I had some profs. that were exceptional who wanted us to ask questions and be engaged in class.  These profs. focused on their subject matter.  A couple come to mind.

c) To survive the educational system in Texas (my experience at one school), you need to be psychologically prepared and resilient. There will be times, that you will feel that [the system/some profs.] might be going  out of their way to break you (psychologically, physically and emotionally).  Just be prepared.

d)Favoritism might be the order of the day.  I will just leave this here.

e) There will always be a silver lining.  I had some great profs. who came to class and focused on the subject matter.  No attacks; no, I want to see if I can overwhelm you; just pure subject matter interspersed with stories of their lives.  I will always be grateful  to them because  they helped me maintain my sanity.

 

How did I survive?

a) Stubbornness and persistence.  There were several reasons that made me choose to leave the East Coast.  One was to have a fresh start and the second was to acquire an education in an area of interest.  I was sticking to that goal.  I refused to be a statistic.

b) Avoidance:  I ignored a lot of things and when I knew that I couldn’t ignore any more, I avoided.  There were some classes that I spent more time studying on my own than in the classroom because I felt that the classroom situation was just too distracting.

c) Learn on your own.  There are many tools/tutors online that can get you through a class, particularly a distracting class.

 

What Next?

Well, I am still looking for a masters level opportunity that will provide an opportunity to utilize my educational backgrounds.  But, if I can’t find that for whatever reason, then on to the next.  I will not be returning to the East Coast.

 

Do I regret moving to Texas?

No, I do not.  Texas taught me or is still teaching me that I am tougher than I think.  Surprisingly, I like this very weird state.

Anymore  schooling in my future?

I come from a family (extended and nuclear) of highly educated professionals.  So, if I am not learning anything new via my workplace, then do not be surprised to find me back at school (either online, evenings or over the weekend).

 

PhD, maybe?

If I find an interesting subject matter that brings it all together, I just might.  My mother has one, so why not?  But,  it will not be this year.

 

Any advice?

Keep learning.   You are strong.  Go outside your comfort zone.  Always, have a way to relax.  Pray!

 

 

 

I Am Back……..

Hello there! I have been silent for a minute….don’t worry, I will soon blog about my first summer in the T State and what has been going on so far….

As you know,  this blog is primarily about Public Health, so here goes:

This is a link to an interview that I did with Stephanie Okereke many years ago when I used to ‘work’ at a radio station in Harlem, New York. In this interview, she talks about her interest in the issue of child marriages and its effect (health effects). She talks about VVF (vesicovaginal fistula) as well in this interview. (http://pamelastitch.com/entertainment/film/376-life-movies-with-stephanie-okereke.html)

So, I was super excited when a friend of mine told me that she finally produced that movie that she was talking about.
Here is the link to the site: http://www.themoviedry.com/

I have decided not to share my thoughts on marriage and the African female or the African female in the diaspora but if you know my alias, you know that I have been pretty clear about where I stand. So, it is hump Wednesday, I will keep it positive and humping.

 

opusc

Siting markets in ‘food deserts’ no quick cure for obesity, study says http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-supermarkets-food-deserts-obesity-20140203,0,7270818.story#ixzz2sZtEiFOE

By Melissa Healy

February 3, 2014, 3:04 p.m.

 

The logic seems simple enough: the consumption of healthy foods is low, and obesity is high, in neighborhoods where supermarkets are notably absent; so, opening supermarkets in those neighborhoods should boost consumption of healthier foods and drive down obesity. Right?

Not so fast, says the first American study gauging the success of a popular initiative aimed at combatting obesity: improving access to fresh produce and healthy food in the nation’s “food deserts.”

Six months after the grand opening of a new supermarket in Philadelphia, the study found, residents of the surrounding low-income neighborhood were not eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, nor were they less likely to be obese than were low-income Philadelphians across town whose neighborhood continued to be a food desert.

But compared with those trapped in food deserts, the residents of the newly served neighborhood did perceive their access to fruits and vegetables to be greater, and the cost of that produce to have declined, the study said. And among the roughly half of residents who said they were shopping at the new store, the trends in fruit-and-vegetable consumption were positive.

And that, said authors, is a start.

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-supermarkets-food-deserts-obesity-20140203,0,7270818.story#ixzz2sZt5Wr4t

Been Quiet

Yes, I realize that I have been so quiet over here.  I have been really busy trying to sort out all the other nuts and bolts that go into relocating and ensuring that you have everything necessary to begin classes.  Getting into the school of your choice is  one thing but there is often a long list of other things that also needs to be done before the first week of class. Like, finding the paper work for all your vaccinations or getting titters done  – very expensive by the way, finding accommodation which is a job on its own, and so many other things.  I am happy to report that I am almost done with everything that needs to be sent in.

Now, I have been told that I should choose my research area so that I can be connected to a professor that has the same research interest.  But, there are so many things that I am interested in.  Public Health is so broad.  I have to ensure that whatever I choose to focus on beyond being something that I am passionate about, it also has to be an issue that will need to be worked on globally for many years.  I don’t want to work where answers have been found already.

But,  yes, I am super excited about this opportunity and this journey.  I am not scared.  New York can make you walk in strength and not in fear.  If you’ve lived in New York, you can literally live anywhere….

🙂

My big fat revenge is a reality show in the United States where people who were overweight, lose some weight and then come back to taunt those who were mean to them or called them fat when they were overweight.  Obviously, this is a show built on pettiness and a show that will appeal to only those who have a psychological need to fight for the underdog. After watching several episodes in which women came back fighting back because a partner, friend, family member, lover had called them fat when they were obviously fat, I had to start asking myself some questions.

Obesity and being overweight is a global issue.  In the past, these were terms associated with the rich or high income countries.  It was associated with having surplus food that was affordable to the rich.   But,  being overweight or obese has gone beyond being a symbol of the rich and upwardly mobile to being a disease that affects all regardless of their socioeconomic state.   In fact, some have argued that  in present day society the reverse has occurred which is that as people move up the social ladder economically, they have mounting pressure to lose weight and remain slim.  To do this, they pay particular attention to their food and eat healthier.  This is not the case in many low or middle income communities and countries  where people are more concerned about getting something to eat rather than paying attention to issues of nutrition and portion control.  Interestingly, being overweight or being obese is a form of malnutrition.  How do we classify obesity or being overweight?   This is classified as having your body mass index (BMI) greater than 25.  Being overweight and obese has been directly correlated with the likelihood of getting diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis and the list goes on.

Now, the United States has two methods that are clearly used in working with those that are overweight or obese.  One is of total acceptance in which people go beyond the size and accept people for who they are on the inside. Communities are formed in which self-esteem is built and the accepted concept of beauty is challenged.  The second method that we see is fat shaming.  This is a method in which loved ones and members of society go out of their way to make those that are overweight or obese, seem less than in an effort to challenge them to create change.  Fat shaming was obviously the method that was used, that made these ladies call out for revenge.  These two methods are problematic because in the former, yes, the person has high self-esteem, sees themselves as beautiful but they are slowly walking towards their death because they are living an unhealthy life.  The second method creates a person who might lose weight but might be psychologically scarred for life.  A study needs to be published on if those who go through fat shaming, go ahead to have eating disorders.  I will not be surprised if there is a high correlation between fat shaming and eating disorders.  Now, how does this tie to my big fat revenge?

Beyond the fact that I feel that this show is petty.  There isn’t  any follow-up associated with the show. Yes, you lose the weight and you make the ‘enemy’ feel like a cad.  Then what next?  Secondly, the show doesn’t stress the importance of living a healthy life and how losing that weight might have saved their lives.  It is all about getting back at that person who dared to call them fat even though they were obviously fat.  Another issue I have with the show is that it does not stress the importance of lifestyle change and the importance of food. They do not go out of their way to tell us the story of what led to this person eating so much that they became obese or overweight.  There are reasons.  We do not see these people, go to meet any  counselor for help.  This show could be a good show to raise public health awareness about being overweight/obese, the detriment of living a sedentary life  and the psychological implication of this revenge.   But it is media, and often times, media chooses to stick to what sells  and entertains rather than what can inform.

Slightly Overweight. Attacking The Sedentary Lifestyle.  Quite Aware That I Am An Emotional Eater.

Me

 

OPUSC

My Blurb On Mental Health…….

Yesterday was Mental Health day and a day that we remember and support those who are living with one mental health disease or the other.  It is amazing that many don’t know how widespread this  is because they assume that those  who are dealing with this issue cannot be working members of the community and for them to have a mental health condition that they have to be walking the street buck naked.

The later idea is one that is common amongst many Africans.  But, mental health issues goes beyond schizophrenia or bipolar disease or even dementia /alzheimer  but it can also be depression (short term or long term).  I will end this paragraph by saying, before you judge – learn and know and also, ensure that the person that might be acting crazy isn’t behaving this way as a result of those that he/she has around them.   LOOOOL!!!  There is always a need to look at your circle critically and purge those who might be bringing more stress than they are worth because friends /families can bring about stress and stress has been linked to dementia.