On Beginning Thinkful

10 May 2017

I’m awfully glad to be posting something cheerful finally on this thing. I’ve been waiting to say something about this since early February but held off until now. Since then a lot has changed: I’m back in the DC area after some time in RI/MA, working part-time at a super cute local doughnut and coffee shop with adorable folks, wrote and had an article accepted by Sarah Jamie Lewis for her #QueerPrivacyBook, opened up on my past history of abuse publicly along with openly discussing my mental health, and a slew of other things. It’s weird.

I need to step back to January quick.

Before I went on my walk to find clarity and meaning (that I found in four days oddly) I applied for a full-tuition scholarship at Thinkful made possible by Out in Tech. After having gone to my first event while I was in NYC for O’Reilly Security I saw an e-mail talking about the scholarship.

Admittedly my mental health then was at one of its lowest points ever, no employment since mid-October after trying to find a job nonstop, living in various AirBnBs each month hopping all over Maryland and DC I was going to be homeless again after running out of savings. Something in me thought, “Huh, this looks interesting and I’ve got nothing to lose by applying.”

So I applied and thought nothing more of it knowing I’d get an e-mail eventually on it.

8 February, while at my wonderful friends’ home in Rhode Island to pick my life back up from nothing I got an e-mail letting me know I was selected as a finalist for the Out in Tech Coding Scholarship. From that point it was a prep course, a slew of interviews and technical evaluations, and patiently waiting to see the outcome. Moved back to the DC area mid-March, got the cutest part time job decorating doughnuts at a local shop.

At first I didn’t think I got it because I didn’t hear back for a bit longer than expected. I figured they had forgotten to notify me that I didn’t receive it or something.

28 March.

My brain froze in shock. Didn’t know what to say. I was flabbergasted.

I got it? Me? Beyond grateful and also trying to accept the outcome it was a lot of wait what in my head.

At some point I managed to snap back into reality to defer my enrollment into the full-time program to May because I had just started the part-time job so I could also save up somewhat before I began the class. From then on it was a lot of preparing myself for the program, making sure to not lose whatever I had learned, doing exercises, studying, etc.

Today I finished my third day of the full-time program that began this past Monday which will run until mid/late September, slightly under two weeks shy of my birth date.

I’m beyond excited to be in this program and also terrified at the future. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to pay for my living expenses while in the program. I had to pay taxes for the first time. Some of my medical bills just auto-deducted from my checking account somehow leading to a lot of panic attacks of, “How am I going to survive?”. Working only 20 hours a week now isn’t going to pay rent and necessities. I’m not sure how to survive the next five months of my life but I know it will all have been worth it in the end if I can get there. I also wonder if anyone would even ever hire me.

Some days I wonder if I’ll ever look back at myself now and regret being so transparent, especially in this current administration. I’ve made my choice though.

I’ve only got two true regrets in my life so far.

I refuse to concede and to be conditioned by rules on what is “socially acceptable” to talk on.

We can’t fix things by remaining in silence, that’s how we got to our current situation.

My refusal to concede to society may be the end of me.

It’s a wonder I’ve made it this far.

I have a lot of fears for the future.

I’m in love with life even with all of my current struggles.

I’ll be in Portland, Oregon (PDX) for Monitorama this month (21-24 May). I intend to be at what will be my fifth Defcon and BSidesLV this July somehow or another. I’m not sure how yet but I’ll find a way I hope. Other than that I’ll be doing Thinkful coursework, keep self-studying other things, working part-time, and trying to find other ways to pay the bills.

So that’s where I am currently at in my life.

Here’s to the next few months of this crazy wild adventure.