Undercover Queer

           I am a born and bred Californian.  I am also Guatemalan/Mexican.  My whole life I have struggled with balancing these two identities so that I was able to make to it adulthood relatively unscathed by social ridicule. For example, my mom, being the traditional Guatemalan woman that she is, upheld the feminine ,make up clad, domestic role (and insisted this was necessary to get a man ) while at the same time constantly reminding me and my sister  to never depend on a man for anything because we, as women, are as strong or stronger than men. I pretty much disregarded anything that complied with traditional gender roles and femininity yet because I liked boys and wasn’t too “out there” with my tomboyish-ness I was allowed a pass from my traditional family.

           One lovely summer day teenaged me was at home brooding over the injustice of the world and having conservative parents who won’t let me date etc. when the thought occurred to me: this would NOT be an issue if I was a lesbian (as I was sure the reason my parents would not let me date was the fear of pregnancy.) Of course, then I imagined telling them this (just for kicks of course!) and claiming one of my two best friends was my girlfriend so I could go about a secret dating life. I stopped to consider which friend I would say was my girlfriend and realized I was not attracted to either of them. This was my only consideration as to whether I liked girls for the first 25-ish years of my life. Nevermind the fact that I made a point to watch and Jessica Alba project because “I appreciate her aesthetics” or that Nicole Kidman was becoming one of my favorites on screen because “everyone can appreciate a beautiful woman right?” I was somehow blinded to my own bisexuality because of this ingrained belief that sexuality was an either/or situation: either your gay or straight.

            About a decade later I am on a camping trip and it hits me like a ton of bricks: I like girls romantically, sexually and in platonic relationships. As someone who considers herself an independent, free thinking, Californian it came as quite a shock that I was able to deny that for so long. Reflecting upon it I realized I started having crushes on girls in early adolescence and reframed it so it fit better with societies narrative which, at the time, I was not ready to challenge. I mean, I started challenging gender roles and society’s narrative of women as weak at like, 8 years old, but I was always very careful not to go too far. I needed to stay safe because my skin is brown in a world dominated by whites. No one ever explicitly stated this to me but it was in everything I watched. Every time I did not see a reflection of me on screen the message was “this is how white people act. These are societal expectations. Fit these as best you can.”  Since I never saw an explicitly queer person “acting normal” (i.e. not overly flamboyant/promiscuous/made fun of) they didn’t exists for me, therfore, I couldn’t be one, right?

           In the last couple years I’ve been lucky enough to find great communities in both the cannabis and LGBTQ+ realms and I find my story is not all that unique yet there seems to still be this taboo around cannabis that prevents overlap in the communities yet,   “Public health researchers have already established that bisexual women use cannabis at much higher rates than straight and lesbian women.” Some cannabis companies,like Flow Kana, are actively working to bring the LGBTQ+ and cannabis community together by participating in events like SF Pride but we have a long way to go!  The communities I have been a part of have  taught me a lot about myself and I’m hoping to create more spaces where diversity is a priority and cannabis can be had for all.



The Importance of God’s Cousin Rod

      As a kid one of my fondest memories was watching TGIF on Friday nights with my family.  Corny as it sounds it was a defining part of my development. I am quite fond of movie and television trivia,a love passed down to me from my father. Of course, asking us random cartoon trivia questions could have just been his attempt at keeping us kids quiet in the back seat but still, it inspired a love of trivia in me. Even better, with the advent of home accessible internet I was able to fuel my knowledge with a whole internet movie database filled with trivia and message boards for all sorts of actors and actresses I was interested in. This (and Neopets) was my life mid 90s- early 2000’s.
          In 2013 I was introduced to a show called Firefly. It took me three tries to watch the first episode but once I did I was in love. When I saw the character of Shepherd Book I was struck with a sense of familiarity. IMDB came to the rescue and helped me place him as God’s Cousin Rod from the late 90s TV show Teen Angel. When I finished the series I went on a trivia binge (aided by some Jack Herer concentrate from TerpX) and was surprised to learn that the actress who plays Kaylee (Jewel Staite) was in a show I watched as a kid about a school that was in space. (A show I originally only watched because the actor who played the black Power Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was on it.) One of my favorite things to come from the binge was my new found appreciation for Alan Tudyk. The first thing I ever saw him in was A Knight’s Tale. I’ve seen that movie hundreds of times and thought he was funny as hell in that movie. It occurred to me half way through the second episode that I didn’t know if Alan was American or European and upon looking it up I learned of his talent for voices. I now follow his career more closely than before and my favorite role of his to date is the chicken in Moana, HeiHei. I love the fact that a grown man got paid to make chicken noises professionally.
           My love of trivia, community and nerdy things has made me a fan of Comic Cons and the like. The are Cons for cannabis such as : Hemp Con, New West Summit, Terpene and Testing Conference, to name a few. I love going to conventions because even if the panels are not as informative as I had hoped I can always get something from the experience. It is good for one’s soul/spirit/energy to be around people who share your passion. Whether you believe it or not your body feeds off the energy of others and generally speaking, the people at conferences want to be there and share an interest in the subject matter. It is a good place to begin building your community or expanding/ delving deeper within your community. Even if you choose to talk to no one new you can still observe what is going on and how this particular culture is playing out in real time and how it may evolve or stay the same. Sometimes, it’s fun to think about your role in the culture you participate in. All of this stemming from the fact that I saw this brown dude playing a deity as a kid.

Altruism, Shawshank and Grape Ape

              One evening I come home from my day job to find I have the house to myself. This is a pleasant surprise,as it is my only day off the next day so starting off my “weekend” in a quiet house with nothing in particular to do was nice. I decide to indulge in some Grape Ape concentrate that I recently acquired. Being a nerd, I find it really soothing and satisfying to take my time and clean my dab rig as part of my smoking process. As part of my smoking process I also like to slow down and look at my concentrate under bright light, smell it in the container (unless it’s silicone then I’ll smell the individual dab I’m taking), and take two half-sized dabs so I can play with the temperature, which in turn effects the taste of the concentrate.

          Grape Ape is one of my favorite indicas ever. The buds are a deep purple and smell like grape. The dominant terpene is linaool which is found in other plants such as lavender, basil, and hops. These terpenes assist in the relaxing effect that THC and CBD have in the body and mind. Plus, it’s really good if you need to get the munchies :-)For me it gives a warm, fuzzy feeling and reminds me it’s ok to enjoy the moment but it doesn’t put me to sleep.

              After I finish my delicious dab I go to the kitchen and grab a snack in order to prepare to make the dreaded choice: what to watch on Netflix before bed! Eventually I settle on the Shawshank Redemption, one of my favorite movies of all time. As I’m watching this movie it occurs to me: Making the best of a bad situation is what got Andy out. Giving good advice to a fellow human being (in spite of [justifiably] hating him)triggered the events that led to his escape. One good action led to a reccomendation and snowballed into various opportunities. Red says Andy “did it to feel normal.” and that’s true. Andy stayed true to himself even when it meant other inmates thinking he “think [his] shit smell sweeter than most.” He found his group of friends and kept pursuing his goal of helping people. Yes, it was because “prison time is slow time” and he “needed a new project” but it was more altruistic than most actions.

Life Lessons from the Golden Girls

          I recently gave in a purchase a subscription to Hulu in order to satisfy my How I Met Your Mother  cravings. One of the unexpected upsides of this is that I now have access to all episodes of the Golden Girls. I remember watching it as a kid/tween and thinking it was a funny show about people’s grandmas and nothing more. I was facsinated because I was seeing older people on TV and this was my only exposure to “old people” since most of my grandparents died when I was too young to have clear memories of them. When I was a teen I was able to appreciate to refreshing wit and (sometimes) wisdom of the ladies.

           When I started re-watching it I fully expected to enjoy this cheesy 80’s sitcom about some older women, I did NOT expect to be hit with ALL THE FEELINGS. When they refer to themselves as old I can’t help but think “they’re about my mom’s age, that’s not old!!!” and then I realize exactly what phase of life I’m in. It’s odd how you can know exactly where you are in life and yet be completely surprised at the passage of time. This is one of the things I love about cannabis. It helps me stay grounded and in the moment (though the moment may be momentarily interrupted by fleeting thoughts or a fit of giggles) which is something I can forget to do because I am “so very busy.*”

            Another thing that crosses my mind as I watch this amazing show is the fact that I can’t think of another show that paints a picture of women so truthfully. I’m half way through the first season and they’ve already addressed: predatory sales practices, dating, losing a parent, sex after losing a spouse, sibling rivalry, sexual harassment and so many topics that rarely get addressed in mainstream media let alone, in relation to the lives of older women. I love that this show exists and tackles these topics. I feel like everyone should be made to watch this as part of a social competence/learn about life/elementary education.

*Oldest excuse in the book for not engaging in self- care translate to: I don’t make enough time to properly take care of myself. 🙂


Cannabis and Sex

           This weekend I attended the New West Summit conference in Oakland. (Shout out to Minorities for Medical Marijuana for providing a networking event and free passes to the conference.) They had many interesting panels related to the social media, technology and the future of the cannabis industry. One of the panels that intrigued me the most was titled “Weed and the Joy of Sex.” This panel focused on different topicals, edibles and tinctures that have been formulated to address intimacy issues. One of the panelists, was going to describe the reason she used medicated products daily and she paused and said “I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this,” smiled, let out a nervous giggle and said “when my vagina is happy I’m happy.” The audience burst into applause amidst some chuckles.

            Here was a woman whose job is rooted in sex and drugs, and she is uncomfortable saying the word vagina.  If a person who has that much exposure to talking about sex doesn’t feel comfortable, how is the average woman suppose to feel comfortable? I’ll tell you how. START TALKING! Talk to your close friends about your period, use science, terms, slang, foreign language words… whatever you feel comfortable using…JUST START TALKING. We need to be familiar with all human body parts and functions.  Genitals are a body part the same as a foot. Some people have vaginas, others don’t.  Women have been shamed for so long about natural processes and pieces that make up their bodies it’s no wonder we hesitate,even in the safest of places, to talk about what happens to our bodies and how it effects our mood. It’s ridiculous.



Friendships, Offspring and Realization

I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across an article titled “Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendship of Boys?”  Now, I’ve been interested in gender issues ever since the first time my mom told me I couldn’t do something because “that’s for boys.”  As much as I railed against traditional gender norms for girls I totally bought into those for boys until embarrassingly late in my life.  I mean yes, it did piss me off that boys seemed to be socially and emotionally inept but it never occurred to me that ,  some males didn’t want to conform to these roles. Honestly, this was probably because I had never met a guy  who showed an (even mild) interest in learning to listen and communicate. I do not mean in romantic relationship either. In truth most of my friend group has always been pretty mixed so the majority of  my interactions with guys was platonic, so you could say I got to see them “in their natural state” (yes, I’ve been a nerd forever too :-D).
Anyway, this article describes how loneliness is a genuinely life threatening problem for men in the U.S. It talks about factors that lead to this such as traditional gender roles, the hatred toward anything feminine/female in “real” men, limited range of feelings, etc. and goes on to point out that as boys age they tend to lose the people they consider best friends. For some it’s because they “drift apart”, others don’t want to be seen as “weird” or “gay.”  Which brings up yet another factor that goes into destroying close male/male relationships: homophobia. Boys who are gender non-conforming are automatically seen as gay.  And of course we live in a heternormative, patriarchal society and no one wants to be seen as less than if they can help it.
In my last post I wrote about how important community is for individuals. I think one of the greatest things the internet can be used for is building community. Meet-up and other sites encourage people with similar interests or from similar walks of life to get together and enjoy each others company. Humans are naturally social creatures and do poorly when isolated from others. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of my favorite things about cannabis is that it is a social drug. We WANT to share our joy with others, we WANT to have buddies to pass the joint, even so some people still struggle with how to get past being buddies to form deeper relationships. This is not limited to just males, females and others may have problems forming these deeper relationships for various emotional/psychic/physical reasons.
So how does one form deeper bonds or reconnect with former friends?   ***Warning: Cliche ahead* It varies from person to person. One thing IS essential though: open, honest communication. Usually, people learn this from their family of origin. As we all know this is not the case for a lot of people. Even people who are determine to raise their child with the most open mind have struggles with unlearning behaviors and ideas that have been ingrained in society for centuries. Talking about feelings and thoughts is hard because we fear we will be made fun of for feeling and thinking, in other words, merely existing. It’s no wonder people have trouble with communication.


                      A theme that has been coming up a lot in my life lately is community. A lot of people have approached in my both professional and personal capacities and spoken of their desire to engage more fully with the world around them. It may be that they have a hobby that they want to get back into, a brand new endeavor that has always interested them, or a friend they want to reconnect with because “we had the best adventures”, but whatever the reason one thing is universal: humans are curious. No matter what the endeavor I always remind people to start with other people. Simply talking to others about your desires and interests might lead to an unforeseen opportunity. At the very least one can gain copious amounts of knowledge from seeking out the community in which they can foster a passion.
                      Socializing is hard for a lot of people. This is understandable given the various pressures that come from a society that values “fitting in” and the consequent felling of inadequacy/anxiety when one doesn’t or chooses not to blend in with the crowd. However, when one finds a community based around a passion for something, learning and sharing new ideas around said interest it can be a way to “ease in” to socializing because one already “fits in” in at least one way. Finding community can be transformative for many because it it is the first time they are surrounded by like minded people and guess what? It feels AMAZING to belong to a group as passionate about an interest as one is. One such group I recently joined was the East Bay Canna Community I consistently attend their First Friday Meetings on Lake Merritt and have found a tight knight group of activist that I could not be happier to know.


              Yesterday, I had a conversation with my neighbor about play. He told me about how he and another mutual friend were walking to lunch and decide they would  reach their destination by walking on the shaded areas only. I lamented the fact that more adults do not engage in spontaneous play and shared with him the fact that kids learn through play. He answered with “but it’s so fun!” and wondered aloud why adults don’t play more. I ventured that, as adults, it seems like we have forgotten the innocent joy of play time.  We have redefined “play time” as something unproductive,useless even, and so we hardly ever engage in it unless we have an excuse (a child visiting, vacation,etc.). I also think that we, as a society, treat children as less than. Engaging in any behavior that seems “childish” automatically gives one a second class status. Children have no power, therefore we must refrain from behaviors that make us look like children.


              For some people, engaging in play is as natural as breathing, for others not so much. Regardless of your natural disposition, one should make time and space for play. It doesn’t have to be down-home-rough-and-tumble-in-the-dirt play either. It can be board games, coloring, making up a story, pretty much anything one can think of that engages creativity and promotes relaxation. Indica strains tend to have more of a body relaxation effect, which in turn can reduce the amount of stress one feels at the end of a long work day, thus reducing two barriers to play. Indica dominant hybrids can also contain the right amount of sativa-induced creativity for a fun play session. Sativa strains are my go to for fun-enhancement. I love playing while I am engaged in it but it can be difficult to motivate myself. Sativas allow me to get out of my own head and just DO. It’s that little push I need to get out the door and play the shadow game or see if I can jump rope 20 times in a row (FYI the answer is no) or walk across the street and see if my neighbors want to play board games. We all could benefit from a little more play in our lives and I encourage you all to find your passion and play!

Music, Marijuana and Mirth

I was sitting and listening to Green Day’s “When I Come Around” and was blasted back to high school. I was filled with a sense of nostalgia and happiness, remembering how I listened to Dookie, Nimrod, and Insomniac on repeat, occasionally switching out to Led Zeppelin or the White Stripes. Those albums, full of memories and music were amazing stone cold sober. For me, one of the most beneficial aspects of marijuana is the amplification of feelings. I feel things very deeply in general so one would not think I would welcome an increase in intensity but with the right sativa it’s different. With the right sativa, my brain will attach itself to the positive feelings/memories.

Sativas are known for increasing euphoria,energy and creativity. On the flip side, if one has too much sativa one might experience paranoia and increased anxiety. It’s a trial and error process to figure out which strains work for you. If you’re just starting out, I suggest picking one symptom you want to reduce and picking strains that target that symptom. When I first started I wanted “something to make me laugh” and that’s exactly what I told the budtender at my first dispensary. Luckily, the person guided me in the right direction and thus began my love affair with Blue Dream.

I’ve come a long way since entering my first dispensary. I’ve learned to be more goofy and relaxed when not medicated but it was Blue Dream that showed me what that felt like and gave me a goal to aim for. Friends, board games, music and good food have also helped in furthering this ability.

Women in the Cannabis Industry

Women are making big in roads in the world of cannabis.

I was really happy when I got this email from Bloom Farms.

Women need to be more well represented in traditionally masculine fields. Personally, I feel like marijuana is a gender neutral field (the fact that fields of study are gendered is a topic for another post.). However, because it has been seen as a less than legal industry it can be argued that it is seen as a more male industry,’cause, ya know, it would be unseemly for a woman to engage in illicit activities.

With the turmoil our country is in I feel we need to take this opportunity to support each other as much as possible, in as many ways as possible. We all have different sets of skills and abilities. We all have different audiences who listen to us. We have the power to make a difference and change the world, AS LONG AS WE DON’T STAY SILENT. Talk to people, spread info via social media, march in the streets and spread love.

I rarely consume indica based products. However, the  overwhelming reality of the level of sexism, racism and homophobia in the country has been giving me trouble sleeping. I picked up some Master Blaster sugar wax (Purple Frost Genetics has long been a trusted grower;Bad Fish Extracts  is a new favorite extract maker). I’m so glad I chose this one for a bed-time aid. The extract is a beautiful blonde color (indicating a lower level of plant matter/residual matter), and delicious terpene filled scent are just scratching the surface of the awesomeness of this strain. One dab and there’s an immediate wave of relief that overtakes my body. As I take a deep breath and savor the flavor of the terpenes on my tongue I am reminded that there is still beauty in this world and I’m lucky enough to witness it every day.