“I had this place that I called my recycling center.”

The thing in my house growing up was saving the Jif peanut butter jars, plastic jars. My stepdad is a handyman, and he likes to keep tons of stuff in those. Whether it's, you know, nails, screws, popsicle sticks when you're working with epoxy. You know, nuts, wing nuts, cable ties. They're just kind of a convenient size. I don't know why he, I don't know why he liked the peanut butter jars in particular, but he did, so we save - you know, wash those out and and save them. Similarly glass jars, liked to hang onto glass jars sometimes, just for drinking glasses, just kinda fun.  I mean for years, I've hung on to old laptops and kinda refurbished them. You know, adding a different battery, or back when they had magnetic hard drives, swap that out with a solid state drive, make it 10 times faster. Put Linux on it instead of Windows, similarly feel fast, it'll feel faster. Yeah, haven't, haven't had too much of the - I don't have too much space in my current apartment. But in an earlier apartment, I had this place that I called my recycling center. It was sort of an attic. And I would just save, save like stuff that would go into the recycling, or that was like an odd shape or an odd material and then sometimes I would use it for crafts or - that was back when I was working with electronics more. Just making random hobby projects and stuff, haven't been into that deep in a few years, but I remember that being fun.

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“I just feel like I’m always chasing that Irish Magnum Bar…”

... But something that I always crave, that's really really good... When I was living in Ireland, they had Magnum Bars. So they're just ice cream bars. They were the Almond Magnum Bars, so it's like chocolate and almonds on the outside and then just vanilla ice cream, which I guess as I explain it, also sounds very much like American food. But there's something about, like, the way that they make it there. I don't know if there's like different standards, but - 'cause I've had Magnum bars here that just aren't as good. There's something about them there. They’re so, so tasty. So when I was living there, I think they were like one or two euro, and I would just constantly be getting them as a snack. We were hiking all the time, so I'd be walking by the gas station and I'd grab some, and I don't know I just feel like I'm always chasing that Irish Magnum Bar because I see them here, I try them. I see them other places, I try them. They’re never as good, I’ve never found an ice cream bar here that even compares. Which is a bummer because I eat ice cream incessantly, and it’d be really great if it was the tastiest version of something I’ve had before. 

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“I stood in line for seven hours on the streets of Boston.”

So I have a favorite band, and they are a year older than I am. 33. 33 years old. September 16th, 1989 is when they formed, and they are called The Pillows. They’re a Japanese alternative rock band and when I say alternative rock… They've had a lot of years to experiment, so they've tried all sorts of different mashups of genres and all sorts of stuff, meaning I don't like every album of theirs. But they are interesting to say the least, and I definitely recommend giving a listen to every single one of their CDs, one of their albums, because if you're into alternative stuff, you'll probably find something you’ll like. Even if you don't understand the lyrics, you’ll vibe with the music and you can kind of, with music, get a feel for what the song is sort of about, like the emotion of the song, even without understanding lyrics, right? Generally. And with them, I think definitely so. That said, I discovered them when I was, I want to say 11 or 12 years old. They did the soundtrack with a few other artists, but for the most part, like I'd say like 90% of the soundtrack, was by The Pillows, and it was for an anime called Fooly Cooly, also known as FLCL. It aired on Adult Swim in 2001 or 2002, 2003, in there. Only six episodes, but it was a passion project, meaning everything involved in it, people put their all into it. They put every effort they had into it because it was something they loved. And that included getting The Pillows for the soundtrack. The Pillows are a very popular band in Japan. They've played at the Budokan which is like the freaking Mecca of bands. Like that's the venue you go to if you mean anything at all to culture there; they play there all the time. There's even an anime character named after the lead singer, Yamanaka Sawako, which is a play on Yamanaka Sawao, who’s the lead singer. Anyways, point being, prolific band in Japan and I became an instant fan and their music has guided me through a lot of my life. Discovered them when I was like 11 or 12 and I am 32 now. So back in 2018, they decided to tour America. And I knew this was coming because they announced seasons two and…

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“We saw that… they were angel wings.”

Anyway, so I went to a hockey game and then the next morning I woke up really early. I think I woke up at 5:30? And got ready, and my boyfriend and I went ice skating at the same place because they had 24-hour ice skating available for a charity event for our Minor Hockey League here. So, went really early, and one of the hockey players was skating every hour there. So, got my picture taken with the hockey player that was skating at the time that I was there, which I'm not familiar with what this - who this hockey player is, but what was really nice was that there was only this hockey player and one other person on the ice, so I had kinda free reign to kinda go all over and fall if I needed to and not feel embarrassed. And honestly, I think, I like, did an okay job. Like, I didn't fall this time around, you know, didn't fall at all and I went around four times. And I was like, “I'm ready to be done,” and then my boyfriend kind of pushed me to go around, you know, “One more time,” and then another “One more time,” and then another “One more time.” So I went a few more times than I planned, so that's good. And so, you know, I didn't - we didn't skate for long but I did get out there and I skated, got a picture with the player and then after we put our shoes back on from putting our skates away, it started snowing and it was really pretty out. So, we decided that we weren't ready to go in just yet, so we went to the river and there's this like beautiful lit up blue bridge in my city here and on it from a distance, you can see, like, there's these like butterfly or angel wings or something. So we decided to park on the river and, like, walk over to the bridge, like from one bridge to another bridge. And we got lots of really cool pictures of, you know, the walk in the snow, and then the bridge in the snow, and then the bridge being lit up, and then once we walked onto the bridge, we saw that the wings, they were angel wings. There were three sets of angel wings…

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“Other people just love you for who you are and how you are, no matter what you look like.”

We're reading the book Wonder by RJ Palacio. Wonder had its moment in the sun a few years ago ‘cause it was a hit young teen book that was turned into a movie that I just found out tonight has maybe Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson in it. I don't know, we're gonna try to watch it tomorrow. But, you know, it's about a student born with a disfigured face and his struggle through fifth grade in New York City, ultimately leading to his acceptance for who he is. And, you know, there's a point in the book where his dad reveals that - the main character's name is August, A K A Auggie, the dad reveals that he threw away Auggie's space helmet that he used to wear to obscure his face. He used to go to the playground and rock a literal space helmet ‘cause he was so embarrassed about how he looked. And the dad reveals that that space helmet was not lost. He had thrown it away, which crushed Auggie 'cause he loved that helmet, and the dad went on this short monologue, saying like "I hated it because I couldn't see you man, and like I wouldn't change a thing and I love everything about you. I love how you look, I wouldn't change anything. You don't understand how much I just want to see you." And it was a moment or an opportunity for me to discuss with my classroom, how like that's just as true for me as I saw my class, sincerely. But I talked about the complication there because it was so easy for me to look in the mirror and and notice my own imperfections, and I can be logical about them. "Well, we've all got them, whatever." But I still have those feelings of self-consciousness nonetheless. You know, I've got a good sized Adam's apple. I have a mole over my lip that - not over my lip but kind of above my mustache area that no one even notice or care about, but every now and again I look at it, I'm like, "Is that a little too big? Is that mole just a little too noticeable? I don't know. Do the other people notice it?" But real quickly, I think of, like, how I perceive others that I know, and that I love, or that I care…

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“It’s totally like a power jacket, I really love it.”

I do have one specific piece of clothing - well, I have a few pieces, but the one that I'm thinking of is kind of like top-tier for me. A piece of clothing that feels really freaking good to wear. It makes me feel really vibrant and in tune with myself I suppose. I feel like it really kinda expresses who I am. It's a - I went to Thailand back in October and we went to a local’s mall and found a ton of different clothing stores. And a lot of them, like, actually making their own clothing, which was really neat. You could go in and see all the different fabrics, and pick out what you wanted. But there was this one designer in particular who had these silk jackets. It's gonna be kind of hard for me to describe, but it's kinda like a crop, a crop jacket with like 3/4 sleeves I think. And it's reversible. And the material is kinda like a - kinda like a two tone metallic material if that makes sense, so depending on how you look at it and like the type of light that hits it, it reflects differently. But yeah, it looks like it came - like the design came, like, straight out of the '80s. It's totally like a power jacket. I really love it.

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“… I think that cost me a lot of jobs.”

You know, so a lot of people wanna feel like - like growing up in school, I was teased by a few people because I didn't have like, I dunno, name brand clothes or I didn't have my hair done all the time or, you know. So I would say in school, growing up, there was pressure. Not by everybody, but by enough people that it was difficult. And then I - let's see. You know, my parents really didn't take me to like the dentist and stuff growing up. Like, I had never gone to a dentist until, like, I was in my mid to late twenties, and I, you know, I had kind of crooked teeth because my wisdom teeth had come in, and kinda pushed my other teeth forward and made them crooked, and it didn't hurt but it did look bad. And so I think that cost me a lot of jobs. Because I didn't have any insurance and stuff when I was going through, you know, community college and university. And so, you know, of course, it's like I was trying to study and get an education and survive. I didn't have money for braces. My plan was to get a job and then get braces and stuff later on. So I would go into, like, interior design firms and architecture firms and stuff and try to, like - I would get interviews. But as soon as I would smile, they would like instantly look at my teeth and the mood would kinda change. So it's like, I would, you know, have a good resume and we have a good phone interview or phone - you know, like, you know, when they call you and say "Hey, would you like to come in?" And stuff, and that would all go fine. And then I would come in and people would, like, look at my teeth, and it would just change. And even for jobs where it's not, like, customer-facing, like, maybe I would've been assisting someone or, you know, or on the computer designing that, you know, it's like even in - like it wouldn't have been face-to-face with rich customers or something, it would've been like doing stuff kind of behind the scenes and they, you know, were still judgmental. So it took a long time and I finally got to the point where…

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“I have curly hair. I should be able to wear it like that.”

Note: There is language that is excluded in the transcript but not excluded in the audio.  The long answer to that is yes, I feel, I feel those - the pressure to be - to adhere to beauty standards all the time. Same with my hair, actually. I have naturally curly hair and, gosh, starting in maybe six or seventh grade, I started straightening it. Partly because, like, my mom has stick-straight hair. She had no idea what to do with a curly haired child. She would brush it and then I would look like I had a little puff ball, you know, on my head. You can't brush curly hair like normal hair, right? She didn't know that. So it always looked a mess. So straightening it was just easier. I knew what it was gonna look like. It didn't look messy, and I definitely felt that pressure to, I don't know, look neater or whatever. Just because, like, I think I'm an attractive person, but I was never thin, and not like - yeah, what do you call it? Like... Not attractive like the popular people, not like conventionally attractive. And it just, it was too much to be chubby and not conventionally attractive and not wear makeup and have messy curly hair, right? So like I did what I could by straightening my hair and wearing makeup. And I remember one time my senior year of high school, I wore my hair naturally curly to school for the first time since six or seventh grade, and I don't even know why I did it. I just kind of - maybe I thought it looked okay that day. I don't know. And like the first person that commented was one of my friends, a male friend that said, "What is up with your hair? Looks like you just rolled out of bed." And that was like, "Okay. That's why I don't wear my hair like this, right?" So back to straightening it I went. But in college, I just - it was - I stopped because I wanted to get as much sleep as possible. And so I didn't want to spend the time straightening my hair, and a lot of times I just like wore bandana or whatever over it. But like sometimes I look at some of those pictures and my hair was so gorgeous and…

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“… I tricked myself into thinking that this necklace is worth a lot more than I paid for it.”

I get to the end and there's this jewelry case, and I look down at the very bottom and there's a Heart of the Ocean necklace sitting in a box and I'm like, "I've never seen that. What is that? That's cute." And it gave me memories of cosplaying Rose as a kid. I was like, "It would be really cool to have, like, an actual, like, version of that instead of, like, this crappy painted kids necklace," which I still have as a keepsake for various reasons. And as I look closer to it, it was in a box that had Celine Dion's name on it. I'm like, "Oh, wait. This is like official? Like, maybe not like Titanic official, but like, this is like Celine Dion official?" And I didn't have any internet and this was years ago. So like even - I would not have been able to look this up and I couldn't so I didn't, and the price wasn't that bad. It was like 15 bucks. And I was like, "You know what? If this was just a random necklace, like this is obviously costume jewelry." And I was like, "If this was a - just a random necklace, I would not pay 15 bucks for it, but I like Titanic. It's got childhood memories, and it’s cute," so I bought it. I've kept it around in various places, like on my desks and, you know, stuff like that, just around. Didn't wear it. Just kept it around. I would hang it from things, just to be able to look at it. Actually with the old necklace from that - when I was a kid.  And then this past year, I had a lot of stuff change, and I don't know. I just felt compelled to start wearing it, so I did. And it's sort of like a comfort object for me, something that's like always around, you know, 'cause I wear it all the time. I don't take it off, like, ever. Maybe if I'm doing, like, a particular job or something, where like you can't wear jewelry or something, but that I - it's like a wedding ring. I don't take it off. So I was kind of wondering about it because I hadn't - like I said, I hadn't been able to look it up and I kinda forgot to look it up…

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“As I get older, I am way more likely to speak out.”

Note: There is language that is excluded in the transcript but not excluded in the audio. As I get older, I am way more likely to speak out. I think I used to be intimidated. I'm not any taller than I was, you know, 10 years ago, but I'm older and I recognize that my words can have some power, or at least shut somebody up. And I'm just very grumpy about it. I don't want to hear people b*tching at the cashier. I don't think there's a reason for it. And I mean now granted, cashiers I think are a little bit more supported to speak out, which is good. But I still just - that's one I've noticed. I spoke out after a plane ride. We were on a shuttle, and this guy was just reaming out our shuttle driver because he didn't have his ticket and she passed his spot in the parking lot. And so naturally, because he didn't tell her where he parked ahead of time, how dare she pass this car that she didn't know was his, and I was not having it. And no one else was speaking up and I thought that was wrong. He was berating this woman and she was like, “Oh, I'm so sorry sir, I'll turn around." And he just kept going, so I mixed it up with him, and his wife got really embarrassed and I didn't care. And my husband was really proud of me, and then said "Well, I wish he would -" He was like, "I wish I would've thought to say something," and I'm thinking to myself, "We all should say something, that was rude." So I'm definitely, I'd say grumpier because that I just immediately get a RBF and go to town.

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