If You're Living Your Life Without A Vocal Filter, You Might Be Getting Yourself Into Trouble

If You're Living Your Life Without A Vocal Filter, You Might Be Getting Yourself Into Trouble

Just think to yourself will this comment add to the conversation or disrupt it.

Do you ever have those moments where something pops into your head and you know you shouldn’t say it, but you do anyway?

How about when you want to say something specific, but the words you use to get your point across give off a different meaning? Or even when you are trying to joke with someone, but it comes out insulting? This would be what it is like to live life without a vocal filter. I feel like there are plenty of people that can relate to this issue.

I write this from personal experience because unfortunately, I am plagued with this curse myself. Most people would think I am a shy and timid person, which I guess to a certain extent is true, but those I am closest to would beg to differ. When I am comfortable around the people I am with, I am a talker and once I start it’s hard to get me to stop. This herein lies my problem.

You know how people say think before you speak? Well, that’s pretty good advice and you should take it. I never think before I speak and that’s how I end up in some awkward or tense situations. When a thought comes to mind, I have to say it, it’s like a compulsion. Most of the time I regret what I said the minute I said it, but other times I’m completely left in the dark as to what I said that was so wrong.

Like I said, living with this curse can leave you in some awkward or tense situations. I find myself more in the awkward situations than the tense ones, but I have been in both.

For instance, I have a lot of people in my family and close circle that have a dirty mind and sometimes, they take what I say sexually instead of the innocent comment it was meant to be. This is obviously a more awkward/comical situation as most people end up laughing and I just shake my head. I usually know what to say and what not to say in front of these people, but because of the lack of a vocal filter, it comes out anyway and I’m just left there shaking my head.

Now, let’s talk about some of the more tense situations. Have you ever called someone a name that was humorous, and you were just kidding with them, but they took it more to heart than as a joke? Well, I have found myself in this situation a few times and let me tell you, it is not fun to receive that ‘how could you’ face from someone you care about.

For example, an old coworker of mine, whom I was very close with, and I used to mess with each other all the time at work. It helped kill time and the customers always got a kick out of our playfulness. One day he was interacting with a kid and you could tell this kid was uncomfortable with talking to strangers as he gave my coworker the ‘I don’t know you, why are you talking to me?’ look and I had to laugh.

After the customers left, I made the comment that the kid looked at him like he was the creepy guy in the neighborhood. Now, I meant no harm with this statement, it was a joke, but my coworker took offense. However, being the kind-hearted person he was, he just told me it hurt him instead of like yelling at me or something. I never meant to hurt his feelings and of course, I apologized, but the whole situation could have been avoided if I had just kept my mouth shut and actually thought about what I was saying.

Hopefully, most of you only have moments where you don’t have a filter and don’t have to live with this curse, but I’m sure some of you have it like me where it happens all too often. For people like us, we must be extra careful with what we say and must remind ourselves to think about what we are about to say. Sometimes a misunderstanding can be the difference between a hardy laugh and the loss of a friendship.

So, if there is any advice I could offer you out of this, is to be mindful of others before you speak. Think about your audience because I cannot tell you how many times I have embarrassed myself at work by talking when customers are around.

I know this is hard to do, believe me, I still struggle to keep my mouth shut. Just think to yourself will this comment add to the conversation or disrupt it.

Sometimes things are just better left unsaid.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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6 Things You Hear When You Move To America From Another Country As A POC

My mom is from the Philippines, I'm from Michigan.

I grew up the same as everyone else I’d say. I spent my evenings at the park playing with the neighborhood kids, I went to kindergarten and ate a bunch of snacks, ran after the ice cream truck numerous times, and learned to count to 7. The only difference that seems to make a significant impact on how others see me is that I grew up in a different country and am also a different race. Is it really that big of a difference though?

I was raised in a military family, so we were constantly moving from base to base, state to state, and country to country. I was born In North Carolina, my sister was born in Alabama, but we were raised in Japan for the majority of our early years. My mother would take us on mini vacations to the Philippines to visit her family quite frequently as well. So over the years we were most definitely exposed to several traditions, cultures, and more. To this day we still celebrate these traditions and our lifestyle can be a tad bit different than the average American. However, are we so different from everyone else that it gives people the right to make assumptions based on my race? No. No one deserves the basic stereotypes and racial comments regardless of who they are or where they’re from.

When you get into the nitty gritty of things in finding the differences between someone raised in America and another country there’s not a lot. Sure, there’s a slight language barrier sometimes, but is that any different? Sometimes we have more traditions to celebrate and handle things slightly differently as well, but when it comes down to it, we don’t have too many differences between us. Hell, I grew up in Japan and the biggest change I noticed when I moved to Michigan wasn’t the people- but rather how many damn trees are here.

As if growing up in another country isn’t enough, I am also Filipino and African American. A lot of people cut pretty quick to the chase in making assumptions when they see you’re from another country. However, once they see you’re a different race that’s not white AND you grew up somewhere else it’s basically a whole new ball park that’s full of questions and slightly offensive remarks. These assumptions are generally stereotypical and sometimes can come off as borderline racist (depending on how you phrase it). If you were born/raised in another country and found yourself moving to the country we know as the land of the “free”, or if you’re an ethnicity that’s not the “American Norm”, then you have definitely heard some of these questions/statements at least once or twice in your lifetime.

1. Where were you born? No, like where are you from? …where are you really from?

Well I spent the last 13 years here in Michigan, but I was born in North Carolina. But if you really wanted to know, yes, I’m half Filipino. Yes, I’ve lived there. Happy?

Almost everyone, regardless of their race, gets that question handed to them and it’s annoying enough to make your eyes roll out your skull.

2. What are you?

Human? What kind of question is that? Do I look like a breed of a dog or a vegetable to you? Just ask me what my race is, at this point I’m used to hearing that question so it wouldn’t bother me. Flat out asking what am I is a little more offensive than anything.

3. Basic racial remarks.

“Do you see as much as I do with your eyes that squinty?”

“Does your mom cook orange chicken really well?”

“Why are you so tall if you’re Asian, aren’t they usually shorter? Oh, that’s right, you’re also half black! That’s why you’re 5’4” instead of 5’0”!”

“You don’t have a stutter, that’s just your accent coming back to you I bet.”

Don’t even get me started on how many people have pulled their eyes back and said “ching chong ching,” to me and made fun of me with a fake Chinese accent. I’m not even Chinese.

4. Do you know how to speak their language? Can you say a sentence?

I know just as much tagalog as you know Spanish. All swear words and how they are. No, I will not say them either.

5. Common stereotypes.

These kinds of people just jump to conclusions and base their knowledge off television shows or the internet. There’s really no filter on them either, so they kind of just fire it at you.

“I bet you can do math really well, but watch out for her on the roads! She’s probably an awful driver!” Add the fact that I’m a woman on there too, that stereotype never ends.

No, I can’t do karate. No, I can’t do jiu-jitsu. I can barely touch my toes, let alone throw a solid kick.

6. How do you pronounce your name?

There are two types of people that ask this question: ones who say it in the most Americanized way possible, and then those who try to add an unnecessary obvious accent to it. Either they find new syllables and vowels in your name that you never saw, or it’s a giant slaughter altogether. Regardless, at least they asked right? They’re still going to pronounce your name wrong…but they still asked.

As much as I can go on this topic forever, the point I’m trying to get to is to please watch what you say. POC shouldn’t be used to hearing remarks like these. The things listed here are directed mainly towards the Eurasia side, this doesn’t cover what our buddies from other countries and continents endure. We are all human in every way possible. We may have different traditions and cultures, but we do not barge into your life and ask you irrelevant questions. If anything ask us in depth questions, not the simple black and white ones.

Cover Image Credit: Max Pixel

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I'm Bi And Dating Straight For The First Time Ever

And sometimes it feels weird. In a good way, though.

There’s a time in almost every bisexual’s life when the implications of actually being bi slam against them.

It’s usually the moment when you have to make two profiles on a dating app because it only lets you pick one gender. Or, typically if you’re a woman, all the worst threesome-seeking couples within the tristate area glom onto you like a starved barnacle on a 15th-century Spanish galleon.

For me, it was a Lyft ride. I was on my way home from a Tinder date.

The driver was friendly enough. She was middle-aged and built of soft, sweeping curves. Her car smelled like peppermint and a hand-sewn and very pink Christmas sweater clung to her shoulders. If she wasn’t a grandmother yet, she was already well-prepared for it.

Naturally, we chatted. She asked me what I had been up to. “Just got back from a date.”

“Oh, what was she like?”

I fired back the basics: she was a biochemistry major at Oregon State University, we had a lot in common, had a great time.

There were things I didn’t share: we’d hit it off so well that we’d missed out on plans to see the new Blade Runner and I’d ended up staying the night. That my date had soft, brown eyes with an understating gravity, strong enough that you barely realized she was wearing glasses. But the basic point was relayed.

It hit me as we pulled up to my place. Not once, in describing the idea that I had had a date, did I have to disguise the pronoun of my date to hide her gender.

Later, when I had a second date with Eve, and when we eventually decided to make things official and date for good, the culture shock echoed further: I was in my first-ever straight relationship.

Eve wasn’t the first woman I’d ever dated. However, she was the first woman I’d dated since transitioning to male.

My first relationship started in the 8th grade. I was out as bisexual to a handful of friends and relatives. She was an out-and-proud lesbian. We would stay together for three years, eventually ending up long distance after my family packed up and moved across the country.

Like the best of lesbians, she’d introduced me to the finer points of vegetarian cuisine and we’d write shitty fiction together, my fiction considerably shittier than hers. We’d even stayed friends, for a time, after an amicable breakup.

The entire relationship was spent in various closets. We held hands in the dark. I didn’t even tell my parents until we’d been together for at least two years. We’d ignore the sneers we’d get in public. I handily hid my gender issues.

Not long after I turned eighteen, I stopped hiding the gender issues and began working towards manhood. I’d like to think I did okay for a former girl scout. Along with that? I started dating (and hooking up with) other men.

Like my ex-girlfriend, my ex-boyfriend and I got used to keeping a couple inches away from each other while walking in public, especially in the shadier parts of town. I got used to calling him my “partner” just so I wouldn’t have to out myself as gay/bi to classmates or colleagues.

When I came to realize I would be a guy dating a girl, some small part of me finds I’m still amazed at the novelty of it. Another part of me feels a little guilty. And I feel that weird guilt, especially as I “pass” more and more as a male. I blend in, when I was used to sticking out. Sometimes it’s comforting. Other times I feel like a traitor selling out the gay agenda.

But that’s the thing about being bi. We date who we date. We love who we love. And hoping one of these days, it’ll only be love that matters.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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