Month: March 2016

WomenWhoCode helping women in tech

WWCONNECT2016 in Seattle

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Computer literacy is becoming essential than ever in a recent development of technology. At work, I find myself feeling incapable because I don’t understand Ruby, SQL and data analysis. I’ve been feeling of necessity of learning how our app works so I can talk to our developers and find a solution. One of my colleague have told me “Everyone should learn how to code.” Working at a small office, I know that it’d help a lot if everyone could jump in on a repo and fix issues, and create and discuss new features based on coding knowledge (not just an idea off course from capability of our system).
Then at home, as I sit down winding on a couch, CEO of Girls who code was talking on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah about their mission to teach girls to code and touted about their success stories. I’ve seen more and more of the message of importance of coding skill.

OK, so I need to learn how to code.

So, what do I do? As I was searching on the web and found the Women who code having an event in Seattle. I wasn’t sure if this is the right place for somebody who just started learning to code. I’ve been teaching myself basic free online courses for a couple of months. I really wanted to see if this is something I can do it and enjoy it. I wanted to see women working in the field, their success and their struggle and all. And I found WWCode created this worldwide community and it is growing strong. I thought this will be a great opportunity to learn. So, I signed up WWCONNECT2016 held in Seattle on Mar 19-20.

I’m glad I flew to Seattle (on March, yeah, I was advised it’s not the best season to go there but I found the weather was soothing and I liked it.) As I got there at the venue, there was a sense of support, encouragement and motivation in a room.

Here’s what I learned at WWCONNECT2016 conference.

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Comparisons and Confidence

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Walking into the grocery tonight I saw a woman talking to a little boy.  As I approached I noted that she was taking an extraordinarily long time to talk to and convince the boy they need to go into the grocery.  It was a little dark.  She was kneeling and her back was to me.  The boy looked like he was having fun and seemed to love the attention.  I walked by them, got a small shopping cart, and glanced in their direction.  Bam!  I locked eyes with the woman for a moment and was rattled.  She was gorgeous in that moment.

I quickly went inside, so I would not stare.   Who knows if she was really gorgeous,   I but I was flustered.  Why was I flustered?  It was because I did not feel worthy.  I did not see her as an equal and I disliked that in myself.  I gave her value simply based on beauty in that moment.  That was not valuing myself and that was not valuing her.

As I was grabbing things around the store I bumped into her literally walking around the corner of an isle.  Once again I was flustered and quickly made my way to grab what I needed.  She was gorgeous.  It was obvious she was dressed up to go to something.  I felt I had stared for a moment too long and thought of myself as a weirdo.  Not great self talk.

Soon after that I headed to the cash register.  I was still a bit flustered and at the time trying to figure it out, so I didn’t make a lot of small talk.  the lines were long, so I waited my turn and read the news on my phone.  Finally it was my turn to check out.  It was at that moment I saw who was behind me.  It was her.  Once again I was flustered and could not keep a decent conversation with the cashier.  All I wanted to do was get out of the grocery and figure out why I am tongue tied again.  Worse the cashier accidentally dropped the trail mix I had bought all over the place.  I had to wait for him to clean up and then give me a refund.

Some people are just gorgeous, man or woman.  Once I was out of the store I had time to really think about what had occurred.  I really admired how this woman worked at being sexy and the truth of the matter is I haven’t.  Most people think sexy is just natural, but those who really know what it is to be sexy, know they have to work at it.  She had been working out.  It was obvious.  I admire people who take care of themselves and  was embarrassed, because I had not been showing myself the same self-love.

Usually I live in cities where exercise is a part of my daily routine.  Lots of walking and outdoor activities, but this city is the anti-pedestrian city and anti-outside activity.  It is the drink, eat, catch a movie, and sleep city.  I realized I am literally going to have to take more time to work out.  My six pack is gone.  I want to walk through the grocery with the confidence I had a few months ago.

It felt like the universe was speaking to me and getting on track.  1.  Workout more diligently.  2.  Don’t compare myself to others, love myself for what I am.  3.  No one is above me.  We are all equals.  4.  Forgive myself for being shallow for a little bit.  5.  Love and respect myself.

Finding Yourself/Finding Myself

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This is a challenge I find most people usually have throughout their lifetime.  Most people settle or do not know how to find themselves.  It is not an easy task for many of us.  I used to be jealous/envious of those who were comfortable in their own skin, knew themselves, and trusted themselves.  At least I thought/felt they were happy.

So many years ago, when I was generally unhappy, I set a goal find what happy was for me.  Where would I start?  I asked myself what makes me happy?  Many things made me happy.  Visiting cousins on the farm.  Laughing.  Having mutual attraction with someone.  Connecting with someone in anyway.  Playing soccer.  Hiking.  Making money(it seems superficial, but it relaxed me to have money in the bank.  I HATE debt).  ETC.

I observed happy people.  Why were they happy?  What made them happy?  It wasn’t money.  That was clear.  Some of the happiest people were the poorest I knew.  It usually started with being surrounded by family and/or friends that genuinely cared about the happy person’s well being and success in life.  The happy person was always a positive person.  They saw the glass of water as half full and not half empty.  They had a sense of humor and were comfortable with their own thoughts and opinions.  they knew what they liked and they even knew when they were done liking something and it was time to move to something else.

The easiest place to start was my outlook on life.  I tended to focus on negative things in every situation.  So now I tried to find the good.  It was new, but it felt great.  I found a mentor and the mentor would often help me find the good in situations, if I could not.  They would help me keep the short and long term goals in line with each other.  Long term being happy.

Support/family/friends.  This was something I was clearly lacking in a big way.  My family loved me, but did not know how to love and support me.  They did not have my well being at the front of their thoughts.  Financially they were supporting me, which I appreciated, but emotionally they would try and cut me down.  Friends.  WOW, I had made some bad choices with who I would hang out with day to day.  Did they care about my well being?  No.  Not at all.  So I had to ask myself why was I hanging out with them?

It was at this time I decided I needed love and support, so I went about creating my own ‘surrogate family.’  First,  I didn’t know how to find a friend, so I targeted, yes targeted, folks who seemed loyal, honest, and might tolerate my transition.  Not all of them were good choices, but I finally narrowed it down to two.  There were more, but two were closer to where I lived.  It ended up being one who was a very good friend.  His family adopted me in a sense and showed me more love than I could have ever guessed.  Hugs were new to me, but god I loved them.  I did not disavow my family or my formers ‘hangout friends,’ but I did focus on doing other things, such as being around happy people.  It seems happy folks love having friends.

Next was discovering what I liked doing.  I felt if I could find out what I have a passion for this would help me find more friends, since we would share a similar passion(s) .  If I knew what I what I truly liked doing, then I would be more comfortable in my skin and what I talked about.  I would not get into interests, that I had no real passion doing or talking about.

That leads to where I am now.  Still growing.  I am monumentally happier than I was when I started this journey  I have my surrogate family, I have a clearer understanding of my passions, and I defiantely am now a Glass Half Full type of person.  I hope my short story can give you some light into reaching your goals.