GTRadio355 Finding Your Place

Finding Your Place

#355: Marc, Josué, and Link discuss fitting in, and finding places where you can be your authentic self. We cover several examples of media that conveys the exquisite nuances of navigating real and fictional social spaces.


Marc Cuiriz 0:11
Good evening, everybody. This is one of your wonderful co hosts Marc Cuiriz here on Geek Therapy radio. We’re here at Geek Therapy. We believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about. Joining me today on this lovely evening is the illustrious link Keller,

Link Keller 0:33

Marc Cuiriz 0:34
and the ever inspiring Josué Cardona.

Josué Cardona 0:39

Marc Cuiriz 0:41
How’d you guys like the new intro today?

Link Keller 0:44
It’s good.

Josué Cardona 0:45
You’re leveling up,

Marc Cuiriz 0:46
you know, I

Link Keller 0:47
sultry, even.

Marc Cuiriz 0:49
I noticed that. And this kind of goes in fitting with today’s topic. But I noticed that for a while a lot of a lot of the times my intro would want to mimic Josué and kind of how he does the intro. And I always saw that as my way of trying to sort of blend in with everything kind of kind of fit myself into everything. But today I’m on my drive home. I was like, You know what, I kind of want to give it a Sardonyx kind of vibe, you know, just kind of be really out there and kind of stand out for myself and kind of differentiate my intros from Josué’s from Link’s, has Lara ever done an intro?

Link Keller 1:35
not if she can help it?

Josué Cardona 1:37
I don’t I can’t remember a single time

Link Keller 1:40
once and she she beat us all up afterwards. So never again. I’m just kidding. I think that’s great. You’re, you’re individuating Isn’t that lovely?

Marc Cuiriz 1:53
Exactly. So. So this kind of goes in hand with the topic that I chose for this week. And this, this topic came up. When I saw Spider Man across the spider verse a couple a couple of weeks ago, I’m not going to really get too spoilery I’m going to try and actually avoid all spoilers about it if I can, but really just kind of touch on a major theme with in the movie, which was fitting in and having to find your place in society in the world, in your own social groups and sort of going on that journey and discovering kind of where where does someone like where do you fit in, in your life and things like that? So I’m kind of curious as to sort of what you guys have experienced with when it comes to like, figuring out where you fit in with things or what sort of journeys you guys have gone on. Either in the past or currently things like that.

Josué Cardona 3:06
Link, you fit in everywhere, right? Always.

Link Keller 3:08
I’m a social chameleon, which I am learning may also be a sign of autism. But that’s another episode we’ll get into. Yeah, yeah, I’ve had you know, as a as a kid, I moved a lot. So I got really good at making myself socially open to people to make social connections and, and to fit in with groups. Very much in high school. Like I hung out with nerds, but I also hung out with the Goths. And occasionally the stoners and didn’t, you know didn’t quite make the full drift cycle into like the sports and theater side. But yeah, fitting in, it is a great topic for this because there’s so much good media, talking about those kinds of stories because it’s true is like there is skill and effort involved in learning how to connect with people to get that feeling of fitting in and there are times when you do fit in but you don’t feel it. And so that’s I think an important thing to talk about as well.

Josué Cardona 4:31
I think it’s really interesting that you used the words blending in at the beginning marc, because you’re like, oh, you know, I’m gonna do the same thing everybody else does. So I don’t stand out. And it’s like the overlap between like the blending in and the fitting in. Because it’s making me think how I did not want to do anything that would make me stand out. But I did that because I did not want to fit in I didn’t want I wanted to be invisible, I hated everybody, I didn’t want to fit in. I was like, How can I? How can I? How can I blend in the most, so that nobody tries to bring me into their group. I hadn’t hadn’t thought about it when we were that way, as we were, you know, coming up with this. With this, I do, I do have that chameleon aspect, which, which is very unconscious in many ways. Like, I adopt things from different groups, and I completely don’t do it on purpose.

Link Keller 5:40
It’s totally like a human defense mechanism is like we we rely on each other. And so it is like, beneficial to be able to read social cues and then replicate them as a way to be like, see, I’m part of the group, please don’t throw me out into the wilderness.

Josué Cardona 6:01
Again, I may be wrong, but I didn’t. I don’t want to do that. You know, like, if I’m speaking with someone who has a particular accent, my accent starts changing. If I have I started adopting words that I didn’t mean to adopt. At some point, my life changed. And I knew I was like, Oh, shit, I sound just like this other person now laughing How did what? How did that happen? That’s, I don’t know. That is that is a way to fit in. Right? Like, you have people dressing up a particular way or doing something right to fit in with that group right like, I don’t I don’t know, did you? What did you do to fit in with the goths and the stoners at your school? Or were you just yourself? And they were just so accepting.

Link Keller 6:53
I mean, we’re talking about high school. So no, the nobodies that accepting. I not not so much like the the social signifiers like clothes and things like that, mostly because I spent a significant amount of my youth and adulthood uh poor, so I, you know, I buy secondhand clothes, and I prefer comfort over fashion. And so not so much that that social signifier to other people, but you know, my go to move is I sort of I sort of circled group, make a little circle I’m observing, I’m seeing who is talking to who I’m seeing what jokes are being utilized. I’m seeing what media people are talking about. And that was the in. So talking about music with the goth kids, that was the in. I wasn’t playing Pokemon at that time. But Pokemon Pearl and diamond came out while I was in my senior year of high school, and the nerdy kids who hung out next to the library were all on their, you know, on their DSs playing. And I’m just like, tell me all about the new Pokemon. I’m interested in this. And you know, at that point, had actually made some legitimate friends who are like, Okay, I need you to actually get a DS and get Pokemon and play with me. And I’m like, Okay, now I know I’m in because you’re actually asking me to engage more than just talking about the thing. It’s like, No, I want you to play the thing with me. But yeah, I mean, you know, I, we talk all the time about how media helps us understand each other and ourselves better. And, and that has always been my go to have like, you know, Oh, I see that you’re, you know, reading a book or you’re listening to something on your headphones. What are you listening to? And using that away to engage with people or, like, you know, did you see that cool new sci fi movie everybody’s been talking about? Like, what did you think about that, and using that as a way to, if not build, like, deep meaningful friendships than at least creating that social connection where somebody feels as though I’m at least an acquaintance and therefore could potentially make the next step into like, true friendship. So yeah, it’s a it’s definitely a skill though. Like when I was when I was in middle school is more like if I’m if I’m a silly little jester, everybody will find me charming and they won’t ask me to leave when I jester around to them. Being a little clown.

Marc Cuiriz 9:37

Link Keller 9:38
that doesn’t work as well as an adult.

Marc Cuiriz 9:42
I think for me, I was definitely a lot more like Josué in the sense where I was like, don’t Please don’t Don’t Don’t call attention to me. I don’t want to be seen. I don’t want to be noticed. I just want to blend into the background. And also had those those chameleon that That’s like I was able to socially chameleon myself and and camouflage myself and all the groups. But what helped me be able to go from group to group was not so much of like me sort of connecting to them through the media or for whatever it was, it was usually because I always knew at least one person, whether that was a person that was in my class that I just talked to a little bit more often. Or it was like a family member, like one of my cousins or something like that, there was always somebody that I knew. So there was always at least one connection that I could just like slither my way into, so what I would do is I would basically say, like, hi, like, I would scan the entire area, scan the entire group, find the one person and Beeline it to them, and then just be around them enough, and then take in everything. And then I, again, I was also a person that adopts different mannerisms, I, how my voice would be, and how I would communicate with people would change the language that I would use would change. And this is something that my wife has pointed out several times when, depending on who I’m talking to, she’ll be like, Why are you talking like that? Or why are you saying things like that you don’t talk like that, like, and I don’t realize that either. Like, it’s just my way of like, I just don’t want to make any waves. I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, I just need to fly under the radar and make myself just invisible.

Link Keller 11:30
I think there’s a sort of like an unconscious element to it. Where you’re, you’re reflecting back to a person. And people like to look at their reflection is doing a little mirror action. People are like, you know, I like that. I like you.

Josué Cardona 11:48
And you called it a defense mechanism earlier. Right. And like, I think I think you know, with enough trauma, you know, and that’s one of those things that just comes up because it’s a way of staying safe.

Link Keller 11:58
safe Yeah, absolutely.

Marc Cuiriz 12:00
And I think for me, at the time, when now all that was happening, I thought that that was me being able to fit in with everybody. Like I was like I fit in with a group I can hang out with the jocks because of my cousins and everything like that I can hang out with the theater kids, because that’s what I do. I have the choir band kids because I’m taking that class, I got this that whatever I could blend in with everybody. So I thought I could fit in. I was fitting in with everybody. And when I look back at it now it’s like no, no, I did not fit in there were there were some groups that I hung around sometimes where it’s like, I definitely did not belong in that group. It’s just that I was just able to camouflage enough that no one really asked or raised, too many eyebrows are asked too many questions about it. They’re like, okay, he’s here. It’s like that, like, little, like, stray dog that comes by and people just can’t turn it away because it looks so adorable. And they’re like, alright, we’ll keep you around for a little bit. That was basically me and I look back on it. I’m like, Okay, I’m starting to realize that I didn’t fit in with every group, but also started asking why did I think that I was fitting in, like, what about the blending in aspect of it made me feel like I belonged to that particular group, even though I knew or at least I know, now that that wasn’t the case.

Josué Cardona 13:21
You said the thing about like that the dog that just keep it around. I see that as like, I don’t know if you fit in or not, but you were not rejected.

Link Keller 13:34
I was just thinking, I think that’s such an important thing is like there, especially when you’re young. That feeling of fitting in is less about actually authentically being yourself and being accepted by authentic people around you. And more. So I am not currently being rejected. therefore I’m fitting in, I’m fitting in just fine. I think that’s such as you grow up and mature having that realization that those are like two separate bars there of fitting in bar and being rejected bar. I think that’s a good point.

Josué Cardona 14:10
It wasn’t until like, my early 20s When I started thinking of groups that I even wanted to be a part of. Until that point, it was always just like, just don’t, don’t reject me at the you know, to that point. Just like let me play pokémon in the corner and don’t just leave me the fuck alone. Please just don’t, you know, like, why does it matter? What does it matter what my hair looks like? What does it matter?

Link Keller 14:38
Let me exist in your space, but don’t don’t have expectations for me, please

Josué Cardona 14:44
everyone’s so judgey

Link Keller 14:45
just let me exist near you.

Josué Cardona 14:47
I mean, the the founding reason of Geek Therapy as an organization as an idea is that and I didn’t realize this like really, really well until A couple years ago, but it was me dealing with me being rejected all the time. Right. And I was like, when I work with my clients, when I worked with other people, I never want them to feel rejected. To how can I feel right? So a big part of it is sure we can connect over all this media, but the but but like, a lot of the skills that we teach are, how to how to be open to it, right? Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t let me know that you don’t like the Star Wars prequels Shut up. Right? Don’t yuck my yum, right, it’s a little thing. It’s things like that, that they’re not small, right? Like, if you’re working with clients that are children, you may be one of the few and maybe even the only adult in their life that hopefully, is not dismissive of parts of them, or is willing to listen to them talk about the shows that they’re like, or the problems that they’re having. A lot of a lot of us don’t didn’t have that, right, our parents didn’t know how we’re doing for a number of reasons. And there are many reasons why the adults in our lives when we’re younger, they have, they’re sharing their opinions, they’re concerned about you, they think they know what’s best. And so it’s like, everything’s a problem, from the way you dress to the way you talk to the way you look to the way you think. And that stuff can can wear on you. And so the idea that, you know, when you’re in a therapeutic relationship, teacher, you know, relationship, any any kind of mentoring, and having somebody that will just, again, not like, oh, I fit in. So I’m, I’m not even going as far as like, I want to say accepting, but I’ll take tolerating, and just not even ideally, it’s acceptance, right? But at the very least, like, just let me live. And again, that’s not fitting in. But that that is, that is a big part of it as well. Just feeling there’s a difference between not feeling rejected. And, and just exist existing without conflict, versus being accepted and embraced in a in a group. Marc, how are you fitting in, you’re doing alright?

Marc Cuiriz 17:21
Man, you, you got a whole lot of stuff. And it’s so since since I’ve started my internship, and I mean, we talked about this a little bit before, before we started recording, where I’m going to be starting to see children clients, and one of my biggest things is like i How, how does one work with work with children like that. And so I think what you were saying earlier about, you know, worth working with young kids of like, I might potentially be the only adult in their life that is willing to listen to them and you know, kind of hear them out or things like that, like that’s, that’s something that’s really important. It’s something that I was like, kind of reminding, like getting reminded of like, oh, yeah, like, that’s true. And that’s a very important piece of it. Because I know for a fact for me, when I was growing up no one gave a shit man like, they were just like, you know, what, you just whatever you do your thing and, you know,

Josué Cardona 18:31
are you playing your little games? with your little toys and your little shows.

Marc Cuiriz 18:36
basically. And I remember throughout my entire high school, you know, time I was looking for a group that I felt like I truly belonged to that I’ve truly fit in with. And I tried so hard to make several groups, that group and nothing stuck. Nothing really, nothing really encapsulated everything that I wanted in a group. I think I just always wanted to really feel like I could truly be my authentic self, and then feel accepted, not just tolerated, but accepted. And I didn’t I didn’t get that in high school. I don’t I didn’t get that really until Geek Therapy and listening to the podcasts and binging everything and basically engulfing myself in this this green wave that is that is this organization. It’s and let me tell you, the like when I listened to the very first episode, the within the first 10 minutes of the conversation between you and Dr. O’Connor. i My entire body had chills. And I was at I was at work I was I was at target at the time. And like I my face like I can feel it like physically like lighting up. And like I just like, felt so excited because I was like, This is it, this is the group I was looking for, I think I finally found a place where I feel like I can truly fit in and feel like I have like a sense of belonging somewhere. And it’s been a wonderful journey. And, you know, on and sort of discovering more about who I am as a person and kind of being more involved in this organization and everything like that. And I think that if you try to spend a lot of your time trying to find the place or the group or something where you feel like you can fit in, it’s nine times out of 10 not going to really work out. Because you’re you’re trying hard and you’re looking for it, I think it’s something that just sort of comes naturally to you. Because by trying to do something, I feel like you’re, you’re not going to be your authentic self, because you’re going to start overthinking it, you’re going to start analyzing it, you’re going to start breaking things down. And then you might have some unrealistic expectations. But it’s when you kind of let the guard down. And sort of just let yourself be who you are. They’re going to start like kind of gravitating around you. And then you you end up either finding the group or you create the group in which you you feel like you belong.

Josué Cardona 21:30
I’ve got two thoughts one, I mean, we’ve kind of all talked a little bit about how maybe like our identities aren’t as well defined as like, they could be right, like, so there’s some some problems there where you’re like, who am I? Like, what, what do I even like? You know, like, it’s hard to like, if you were looking for groups to you were looking for belonging, but you didn’t know what you were looking for. You didn’t know what that felt like

Link Keller 22:02
you have a bunch of practice doing avoiding rejection, rather than seeking fitting in?

Josué Cardona 22:09
Yeah. And like, if you have no reference to that, right, you’re like, I don’t know, what does that feel like? It’s hard to look for it. Yeah,

Link Keller 22:16
I think also having if you grow up around your parents, or whoever raises you, and if if they have friends, and you get to see how they interact with friends, that is instructive for you as a young person. My My parents didn’t really have friends. Like, I can probably count on like, one hand, how many times like my parents were like, friends are coming over? And it’s like, you have friends? Yeah, yeah, people who like choose to hang out with you? That’s weird. I never thought of that before. But um, this is definitely something that wasn’t really modeled to me in that way. Like, my grandparents were much, much more social within their community. And so it’s like, I got to see how you be a community member, and interact with a bunch of different people and do activities together. But a lot of those people, it’s just they weren’t, they were, my grandfather is a Mason. And so they did a lot of like Masonic and associated Masonic things. And so it’s like, there were some of those people were very much they were friends, like, they spent time together outside of Mason things, but most of it was within that social structure. And so it’s like, I think probably I learned a lot of skills from watching them interact with people and, you know, modeling those behaviors to me, and that went directly into the way I made friends in middle and high school, but I didn’t really know how to do like real deep friendships until, you know, graduating high school and actually investing in the friends that I was like, You know what, you’re worth it to try and figure out how to actually do this. And now I have like, such an amazing group of friends that I deeply love and deeply appreciate and feel authentic and seen and loved and, and absolutely fitting in. Yeah, I think I think if I I’m, I am remembering the first time that I played d&d, I was probably eight or nine, and my mom had, like her friend and that friend’s boyfriend and then the boyfriends other friend. And we all play d&d together. And only like it wasn’t a full friend group. But it was enough, close enough that I was like, this is legitimately the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know adults did this. It’s just like, most of them don’t, but some of them do. Some of them do have like friends that they play with and they are joyful around and it’s not just like we have to do a specific thing. activity, or we are going towards a certain goal is like we’re just spending time with each other enjoying each other. And I think that’s beautiful. And I wish I had seen it more as a kid. But thankfully, I get to see it a lot as an adult. So that’s nice.

Josué Cardona 25:17
Link, you and I are Third Culture kids. Have we talked about this before?

Link Keller 25:21
third culture kids?

Josué Cardona 25:22
have we talked about this before?

Link Keller 25:23
what does that mean?

Josué Cardona 25:24
So there’s this concept of Third Culture, meaning that you do not have a, you moved around a lot as a kid, right? And so you didn’t have a place to call home to go back to it’s like, where are you from? It’s like, I don’t know, I’ve moved around a lot. And so wherever you go, you’re never really a part of that place. And then you also don’t have a place to go back to. Right.

Link Keller 25:51

Josué Cardona 25:51
So this concept of the Third Culture is this group of people who, what they have in common is that they don’t have like a home base. Right? So you and I like, and me shit, I’m, I haven’t lived. This is the first time in my life, since I was 15, that I’ve lived somewhere for longer than three years. And I made a decision last year that I was like, No, I’m going to try to set some roots, I’m gonna, like, stay here. And this is gonna be like, Chicago is gonna be my place. And now I’m like, Oh, this is weird.

Link Keller 26:29

Josué Cardona 26:30
Because it’s a it’s a, it’s an uncomfortable feeling. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I’ve never had that. Right of like, this is where I can, if things go south, this is where I’m going to or like being born into a place even that I like to identify with, like, if you have that from the beginning, that’s kind of an advantage. Right?

Link Keller 26:51

Josué Cardona 26:52
If you don’t, then you have to, like you said, develop the skills to kind of make friends. And also, how do you fit it in different places, sometimes that are completely different. Like I had to speak completely different languages and the different places where I was living, and just so many things were different and hard. But yeah

Link Keller 27:13
I think probably one of the more important life lessons that I’ve learned is around like this, this idea of like, how do I fit in. And, and sort of realizing like, there are instances in which I don’t, I don’t want to fit in. And that is the good and right choice for me. And putting myself in positions where it’s like, I have to be liked, I have to be un-rejected from this group, I have to show that I have value, so people will not hate me. Or ignore me, which is sometimes worse. And just like, as, as an adult coming around the realization, like, you know, especially getting out of high school where you are obligated to be within social groups is like losing that kind of schooling structure. And sort of coming into this understanding of myself as like, I get to choose when I am going to expend that energy of opening myself up and being authentic and present and open with people as like, there are times where it’s not healthy to do that. And there are times when it’s it count, it goes counter to what I am trying to achieve or what I’m trying to do. And it’s just like having that upper level mental faculty of like, is this worth the effort of trying to fit in? Or is it okay to just like, not put in that effort? And am I gonna get judged for that? is like, Oh, isn’t people aren’t thinking about you as much as you are thinking about you. But I think that that has been an important lesson is like learning like, oh, I don’t have to go all in for everything like I can, I can choose what is more valuable to me to actually be present for and what I am allowed to step back from and be like, this isn’t this isn’t my thing. I don’t need to fit in here. I don’t need to contort myself, in order to be accepted. I can just accept myself and do something else.

Josué Cardona 29:19
Right, exactly. Like if you’re looking for, ideally, whatever you’re looking for in that group you can find on your own. And by and by, like you’re if you’re looking for people to other people to fulfill your needs. That’s never that’s never a winning game. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. But But, but yeah, that’s a that’s a tough one. And then it does not feel good, to not be authentic to have to sacrifice pieces of yourself to get that belonging. Right. And there’s a I’ve read about how many people that join

Link Keller 29:58
to chyron text right now. is applying for jobs is hell like, oh my god, I have to do the fucking dance. Oh, no.

Josué Cardona 30:08
But like, that depends to that depends also, right? Like, there’s a place that they want to hire you for being you and then because you play the game, they’re like, Oh no, this person is, you know, just like everybody else, we don’t want them right where you could have I don’t know if that depends, but um, was I saying?

Link Keller 30:28

Josué Cardona 30:29
I know, I lost it just not being yourself, what are they? Where was I going….damn

Marc Cuiriz 30:40
I’m sure it’ll come back

Link Keller 30:40
sorry i derailed us so hard

Marc Cuiriz 30:42
I, you know, I think that with that I, I kind of man, when I when I was in high school and even even up until a couple years ago, I would kind of make the claim that unless I’m like completely and entirely by myself, I am never my true authentic self, I feel like there’s always at some point there to some degree that I am masking or I am changing my behaviors in some way, shape or form. So that way they are more desirable to whatever group or to whatever individual in which that I am interacting with or hanging out with anything like that. And again, like for the longest time, like you said, like, if when you can’t be your true authentic self, it sucks. Because you don’t feel like you’re being yourself, you feel like you’re you’re some weird version of yourself. Or if you’re doing it to try to fit in with a specific group. And then you do get accepted and you are brought in

Link Keller 31:56
the imposter syndrome.

Marc Cuiriz 31:59
Exactly, then then imposter syndrome comes in, or you it’s one of those things like okay, cool, you got the thing, but at what cost? What did you have to sacrifice and in a lot of cases, it’s you sacrifice yourself, because you’re now not yourself, these people know, a version of you, but it is not the true version. Or it might be a completely two, you might even feel if you’re being a completely different person, because it’s so against who you are. But yet you you know, you’re trying so hard to be accepted or to feel like you’ve fit into a particular group. And then that’s just leads to just constant anxiety. Or just really just feeling that like, Okay, I’m in, I’m in this group, but I don’t I don’t actually fit in, I feel like I just just it’s like a puzzle piece where it’s like, you can kind of fit it in if you really like adjust or you really like smoosh it in there. But in reality, it doesn’t fit.

Josué Cardona 33:05
There’s a lot of nuance to this, because like, Okay, you’re code switching, right? You don’t talk, you don’t talk with your friends or you know, people in your community like you do at work. Maybe you do that on purpose, right? And it’s an understanding of like, I’m fine with that. Because, you know, I want to get paid. That’s the, this is roleplay. Right? We’re playing game, these are the rules of the game. That’s fine. Right? What I was saying before, and I was just slightly I don’t I don’t know why I lost my train of thought before was I was going to talk about religion, where I read that, right? They like people, like they survey people in who joined different religions go to church. And apparently, a lot of people don’t go because they believe they go because it’s a sense of community. Right? And then all of a sudden, you find yourself as part of a group that has very specific rules and expectations for you to be a part of that club. Right? And then so if you don’t even believe, and you’re like in a Pentecostal church, and you hate wearing long, long skirts, and you want to cut your hair, but you can’t because, you know, you want to have a place to hang out every Sunday. Like that could not, you know, that may feel not feel as good, but for some people that may be like, Oh, no, this is the price of admission cool. I’m in. and I know like to be with somebody to have to just like be a fake person or not not yourself in order to stay in a relationship to like, just like that to feel accepted by your parents. Like there’s all these different versions of it and degrees, where it can feel terrible, but sometimes it’s like, I don’t know, um, I don’t know. They’re paying me enough money or that’s cool. Or like, Oh, I’m gonna be You know, I’m going to be a celebrity. There’s a particular like personality that I don’t mind tapping into, you know, every now and then or being this person. Yeah, I don’t know, when I’m in consultant mode, I’m in consultant mode, right? When I’m in, when I’m playing video games with my friends, I’m in another mode. And, and that’s different, because there’s like, it feels like more control. And again, like, okay, these are the rules I used to tell my clients about, like, the rules are different at Grandma’s house than at your house, right? Like, you gotta You can’t touch stuff like, can’t curse, blah, blah, blah, right? Like at school, there are particular rules. And you might do it there, it’s like, you don’t want to get in trouble. Right? There are different rules. So kind of, once you start living outside of, you know, school, you find that, oh, there’s still rules for different places that you kind of adjust to, but when it gets into that personal life, when you’re starting to sacrifice, your identity, your your values, that can get very difficult to do. For the sake of again, either fitting in or blending in or not making noise. The idea of psychological safety at work where it’s like, I can’t be myself, I can’t speak up. I can’t say this. Not just because I’m gonna be rejected, but because I might lose my job. And if I lose my job, I can’t pay my rent, and my livelihood is at stake. And I have kids and dogs and cats and a mortgage. So you’re like, how much do you put up with to be able to keep these things and it can take a huge toll. Aight, Let’s go with media examples now.

Link Keller 36:48

Marc Cuiriz 36:48
Yeah. You? Yeah. Okay. So this is one that I kind of thought of. This is the one that kind of came to my head a little bit and like a little bit ago, and it’s a it’s a throwback here. My life as a teenage robot. Oh, you know, it’s XJ nine, or Jenny. She’s just trying to be an average teenager, going to high school doing all the typical teenager things, despite the fact that you know, she’s a robot, and she’s going to a school filled with just humans. And, you know, that’s her whole objectives, she just wants to fit in, she just wants to be a part of the society that is High School. And in her attempt, sometimes she can be sometimes like, ousted, or ostracized or something like that. And usually someone might call attention to it. And then, obviously, something happens, something goes awry. And then she’s able to kind of save the day. But even then, like, she still gets in trouble, she still has to deal with these consequences and things like that. But slowly, but surely, you know, she starts making friends. She, you know, develops her own, like sense of crushes, things like that. And, you know, she eventually starts to incorporate herself into the group that is high school, and that is just teenagers as a whole. But I think like, that was a show watching and kind of was like, oh, okay, like, this is what happens, like, this is someone who’s clearly very different. But yet, they’re also like, and you can see attempts when they try to blend in, or they’re trying to not be who they really are. And it fails, it just ends up causing more problems. So it’s better to just be who you are, and be true to yourself. Because that’s what’s gonna bring upon acceptance and things like that.

Josué Cardona 38:49

Marc Cuiriz 38:50
ideally, of course, that it’s a cartoon show, so they got to wrap it up in a nice bow sometimes,

Josué Cardona 38:56
yeah, yeah. Okay.

Marc Cuiriz 38:59
What do you got Josué?

Josué Cardona 39:00
I’ve got a quirky one and then a couple of serious ones. Link Do you have do you have one

Link Keller 39:04
I do I do. I it is a book called Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. And there is a sequel. It is about a young Black girl who goes to like early college and discovers a secrets Arthurian society that is very white. And it turns out that she has some of the magic that they do. However, she also has some magic from her mom. That is like an opposing magic system. And so she is trying to balance like becoming an adult, her mom died. And that’s like sort of the main thrust of the first book is her dealing with grief. and trying to like work through the crazy stuff that’s happening at school. But it’s really interesting because she, her, she goes to the school with her best friend who I believe is Asian. And so she, you know, these two young women of color and they are interfacing with a bunch of very white, very white guys. And this secret society that is like very much like, you do not belong here. And she’s like I do, because I have that magic, that means that you belong here. And they’re like, oh, I don’t know about that. I don’t like that. And part of it is obviously just basic racism, but a lot of it is the realization that, you know, they’re they’re focused on King Arthur and his his knights. And so the magic is passed down through lineage. And the realization is this, this black girl has white man magic, which means that rape happened. And so the combination of her trying to deal with this information and also everybody around her, like, putting that onto her and being like, and her just being like, you know why you’re so uncomfortable right now? Right? Like, you know, do you know, and it’s like, oh, it’s because one of your heroes is confirmed rapist, and I’m here and now we all have to deal with that. It’s a really fun book, I highly recommend it. The sequel is also very good. I think there’s going to be a third one, maybe next year. But I think it’s a really, really good coming of age story, I love the arthurian tale stuff fits in very well with this. And then they call her mom’s magic is that they, they call it root. And so getting some of the like African mysticism and culture also brought in there and sort of combining them within her and her feelings of like, wanting to fit in and be accepted, but also not not wanting to fit in and be accepted because these people have bad beliefs and are willing to do abhorrent things in order to hold up their historical values and stuff like that. And so it’s I think, is a really good story for this topic of like, figuring out how to authentically Be yourself and and accept who you are and how you fit into a space and then realizing like, I can change my shape to fit in this space better, or I can change the space in order to fit me better. And I think that that’s very cool stuff.

Josué Cardona 42:56
Camelot so white. Yeah. Yeah, okay. I read. A few weeks ago, I mentioned a book that I called, I said it was called Babel. I’ve always said the word Babel for like the Tower of Babel, but I’m listening to the audiobook, and it’s a British narration. And so in the UK, they call it they say Babel, instead of Babel. I saw a tik tok of the author saying

Link Keller 43:21
a lickle bri’ish innit?

Josué Cardona 43:23
Just a little, and I saw the author, like it’s mentioning that like, Oh, my book just won an award in the UK. And she was like, you know, my book Babel there they call it Babel. I was like, Oh, okay.

Link Keller 43:36
that’s funny

Josué Cardona 43:37
So in this book, The main character is half Chinese. And a big part of the book is how he can pass just enough as a white person to kind of be accepted into society. But he and he, he wants that, right. Like he has a great life because of it. And it isn’t until he sees that other people who other people in China specifically, who are getting just abused and completely exploited. And he is a part of it, because now he’s part of this, this, you know, white supremacist machine, that he starts thinking about how like, oh, like if I just looked a little bit different, like, that’s what I am though, but you just don’t see it that way. So you treat me a little differently. But then he realizes that he’s also being exploited, like no one actually cares. But he’s been he’s been kind of conditioned and trained to fit in and completely deny his roots in the park, where he came from. It’s something that goes through the book a lot and there are other people in the in the story from other countries who are also dealing with the same thing and in way, they also find comfort in the fact that they are not like the other people, but it’s about how, you know, they have to conform. Until with with, with the system, right in order to, to just be able to go to school and get and get, you know, like, live a good life, which is something that a lot of people can can relate to. And I read another, I’m doing the, like the Goodreads reading challenge. I put, I put one book per year book per week this year, right, so 52, and I’m a few books behind. So I decided to read a couple novellas to catch up. So I started reading the murderbot diaries by martha wells

Link Keller 45:44
Hell yeah!! I was just gonna say, Hey, if you want to get through a whole bunch real fast, I have some books for you.

Josué Cardona 45:48
Yep. Have you read them?

Link Keller 45:50
I have, they’re great. I love them.

Josué Cardona 45:52
Right? So so like, I’m on the third one now. And so murder bot the protagonist, and he’s he’s a robot that’s like, he’s a security robot. And he looks like he has armor and like this mask and stuff. But he’s built on like organic matter, all these robots are built on organic matter. So they, they do have human features, right? Like there is like kind of like a humanoid body there. And he he is very conscious of like, how he doesn’t want to, like spend time with these people. He just wants to do his job and not and not make not make any any any waves. Right? So he like he dims his his helmet, right? And so they don’t see his face. And then there’s a moment where like, they see that he has a face and it’s just so weird for him because now he has to act like a person. And I love because it’s you know, it’s first person perspective. So you’re hearing his thoughts about fitting in and, and a lot like what we’re talking about before marc, like how like, I don’t want to fit in with these people. I just, I just want to be invisible. And he can get away with it for the most part, but he can do it all the time. And it’s just great. And also just side note, one of my favorite things about those books is that he’s constantly talking about the media, as in like, he’s got a collection of media. He’s he’s watching me like he loves watching TV, and shows and soap operas, and basically stuff like that. And so he’s he’s always like, Ah, I’ve got this long trip ahead of me. Thankfully, I downloaded 100 episodes of media. And he uses media as like currency with other robots to like, get right it’s great. It’s fun

Link Keller 47:32
find it so interesting that you are using he him pronouns for murder bot.

Josué Cardona 47:39
Hmm. He hasn’t mentioned at any I keep saying he they referred to him.

Link Keller 47:47
Other people referred to murder bot as its or they. In my internal head I went from I was using she her in the beginning and then shifted to they them because I was like, Yeah, it’s fun. I like that. But they don’t it doesn’t specify this is a agender murder bot. But yeah, I do think it’s such a great series. But what a what a hook of having, like, oh, like murderous security bot that hacked their own system so that they don’t have, you know, shackles, forcing them to do whatever their corporate overlord says, and what are they doing with this freedom? I’m binging my space operas. Thank you. And I’ll do it again. like, okay, yeah, All right. Yeah, hell yeah. But yeah, those are really choice that actually is such a great segue recommendation for you for more novellas. This trilogy of books called Binti

Josué Cardona 48:49
how do you spell that?

Link Keller 48:49
B I N T. I. I cannot remember the author’s name off the top of my head. But they’re all like 100 120 pages perfect. I read all three of them in three days. I finished them it was great is about a young woman coming from a culture that is very exclusive. They don’t like outsiders. They like they’re very much like you. You’re born here. You grew up here. You serve the community you die here, but she wants to go to school. And she gets accepted into the like Space University basically, and on route to go to Space University, accidentally. The people that her people are opposed to have an ongoing intergalactic war with like jellyfish, aliens, and the jellyfish aliens show up and kill everybody on board except for her. And she’s just like, oh well shit, this sucks. But ends up being very much like because of her outsider position, she is more able to connect with the to opposing forces as sort of an intermediary. Really fun book books, I think you should add them to your your list. But it’s also another story that has a lot to do with fitting in and finding your place within novel spaces.

Josué Cardona 50:18
No. Okay, thank you.

Link Keller 50:20
pun intended. It wasn’t it wasn’t actually intended. I said it. And then I was like, that’s a good pun. I should I should take credit for it. It wasn’t accidental at all. [whispers] It was it was accidental.

Josué Cardona 50:37
I thought I thought of two more. And these are, these are more jokey. But the more I think about them, again, anything, anything is game in GT. You never know what you’ll relate to. So one of them is the Marvel show Secret Invasion, it’s all about fitting in. It’s about shape shifting aliens infiltrating the world for different reasons. There’s only one episode out as of this recording. So I’m curious about it, but I’m sure that there’ll be some stuff there. And because, like, you know, like, wearing a mask for so long, like it can affect you, as in Tropic Thunder, a great example of

Link Keller 51:20
you know, I have not actually seen that movie, but it is, like, of my age, demographics. Very funny that you brought that

Josué Cardona 51:29
up. But it’s funny, because some people talk about the movie as like, oh, it’s messed up that Robert Downey Jr. was in blackface, but like, the whole point in the movie, is that he’s a white actor in blackface, and like, how he is just like, his identity is completely, like, all affected by the movie is a comedy. But there’s still like, like, I think his performance, right? It was like, very recognized for like, someone who is really struggling with like, their, their sense of identity, because they were put in a position where they had to play this character, and and what that means and all of that. Anyway, so that’s kind of jokey answer, but I’m sure that a lot of people can kind of relate to that, to kind of the, the experience has been canted out in the movie, especially when you in his case, it’s like Robert Downey Jr. in like, literal blackface, right? But some of us straddle, like, in between different different parts, right? Like, sometimes I’m white, sometimes I’m Hispanic, it depends where I’m at and who I’m talking to, you know, and like, I have to take different positions, depending on on what’s going on. And there’s tons of stories that deal with that kind of stuff. And like, like bable, does that even more. Murderbot does surprisingly do this a lot? it is really good. You know, link, I was thinking, I’m listening to it on audiobook. So just like a male narrator,

Link Keller 52:57
then that makes so much sense. That’s it, that explains it. that’s the answer

Josué Cardona 53:01
there’s like, but there was like, a sexual appendage. Consideration modification piece, right. And like, it seems to and the names that it has, it’s like, it’s interesting. I hadn’t even thought about about this, except for this is interesting. Yeah. I’m gonna keep that in mind now as I can I just yeah,

Link Keller 53:22
it was just very interesting. It makes 100% sense. I was like, you’re listening to a man read it to you. So yeah, he him? He said. Yeah, yeah. And I just I just read the book I borrowed from the library support your local library. But yeah, I think I yeah, I really liked the murder bot diaries. They’re they’re really fun.

Josué Cardona 53:42

Marc Cuiriz 53:44
You guys are talking about books and I don’t know why I didn’t think about this earlier. But

Josué Cardona 53:50
Percy Jackson, here we go.

Marc Cuiriz 53:52
You already know

Link Keller 53:53
favorite book series, Assassin’s Creed

Josué Cardona 53:55
you’ve got your Percy Jackson face on.

Marc Cuiriz 53:57
yes, yes. But but believe it or not, this is it’s not. It’s in Percy Jackson’s world. But this is a this is a story that kind of gets spread out from the third book of the original series, all the way through to the the sequel series until the very end, and the character is Nico D’Angelo. So he’s introducing the third book and you find out that he’s a child of Hades. So like that plays into its own thing. But his whole character development and story is, Hades is one of the gods that you know he’s he’s not accepted by the Olympians. He’s not part of the Olympian Council. He’s only allowed to come up to Olympus two times a year for the winter and summer solstices so for the most part, he is rejected, condemned to the underworld descending They’re still his children. For his demigod children, they’re the same way from all the other demigods, they tend to be more rejected, or they’re sort of not as quick to be easily accepted into the group because of their lineage. So Nico carries that with him throughout the whole story, he you like when he pops up, it’s always like, he looks like he’s been kind of like he’s been through the wringer. He’s been on his own, he’s been wandering, spending more time with the dead than he is with the living, because that’s just who he is. And then in the sequel series, you introduce the Roman camp, and the Greek camp and everything like that, and then their conflict. And you you learn that Nico has been in contact with both camps. Because in Rome, Pluto, who is more accepted among the Romans. So you start seeing him struggle, because he feels like he doesn’t belong in either camps and either families, he he’s condemned to be alone. And then at the end of the whole series, he ends up finding out and learning that he has a family with both camps. He’s accepted amongst both groups, both the Romans and the Greeks. And so like, while there isn’t a whole lot, like dedicated to just his story, I mean, there, there’s chapters and things like that. And there’s a couple of books that were you see his point of view of things, but for the most part, he just kind of pops in and out because of that outsider persona that he kind of has, and that he’s kind of thrown upon himself. And then seeing that change and develop as he grows and becomes more mature, because when you meet him, he’s like, 11-12 years old. And then you see him kind of grow up and start to gain that acceptance because of the things that he’s doing. And it’s more so now you’re looking and judging him as a person and as an individual, rather than who his godly parent is. I know he has his own book with him and his boyfriend, and it’s adorable,

Josué Cardona 57:11
cute for them.

Link Keller 57:13
What I think YA lot of YA, is about discovering your identity and learning how to fit in with social groups. And I think that there’s so much good content in there.

Josué Cardona 57:26
Coming of Age,

Link Keller 57:27
coming of age, it’s that developmental level is you’ve sort of just started to figure out who you are is like, Okay, well, what do I do with this? It’s like, Oh, you got to put it in social groups around other people like, oh, that’s new. How do I do that? Um, but yeah, well, I haven’t read the divergence books. But I did watch the movies, which were okay. enjoyable. But very much like main theming is like, being different is valuable. Because the society is so much about like, you must fit in. And being the person who’s like, well, I don’t is like, oh, that’s actually is a good and useful thing and exactly what we need. And I think that that’s a really important story for young people to be engaging with wherever they find it, but often in YA books. I think I personally very much resonate with stories that are about not changing yourself to fit in but changing the systems so that they have space for you is very much my, my jam is the like, yeah, destroy, destroy the structures that exist that oppress you? Hell yeah.

Josué Cardona 58:41
I have a nonfiction book recommendation that kind of falls into that. It’s called range. And it’s all about how in real life you can be kind of, it’s more about being a generalist, but the idea of like, you can come to a company that, you know, without an engineers, and you’re an artist, and it’s like, that’s valuable, or you excel or whatever, like you’re an athlete, and then like, you bring that perspective into this place, and it’s from a business perspective, but it’s, um, I think it kind of plays with that as well. Less young adult fitting in and more like adulting for sure. If you need a good book on that, it’s called range. Have question marc, just related to Percy Jackson, something I didn’t know or are there different, like mythological pantheons in the story, like not just a Greek ones.

Marc Cuiriz 59:37
So the sequel series, it goes over the Greek and the Romans. So the Greeks are on the East Coast and the Romans are the West Coast. And that’s, I can get into the story a whole nother time there.

Josué Cardona 59:56
So it’s a yes.

Marc Cuiriz 59:56
So and then and then in the And then the other series that he does that they’re all set in the same universe, so they all coexist. So the Norse pantheon exists, the Egyptian pantheon exists.

Josué Cardona 1:00:09
Awesome. Okay.

Marc Cuiriz 1:00:11
Yeah, I’m sure you could have all the other different pantheons exist in that universe.

Josué Cardona 1:00:15
No, that’s cool. That’s cool. Yeah, cuz that’s what I love about the God of War, like the new series. Right, right. It’s like, let’s, let’s play with another one. Right. Also, last thing related to this, but that’s it. This topic is, there’s a show on Netflix called record of Ragnarok. Okay, it’s an anime. And the whole show is just a tournament arc. between gods from from across, like, the whole span of the thing, right? And I’m talking about everything from where,

Link Keller 1:00:46
is this the one where like, Buddha and Jesus fight each other? I might be thinking of a different one

Josué Cardona 1:00:54
I mean, I mean, yes, yes. And yes, kind of right. Like you’ve got you’ve got like, Poseidon fighting Adam, from the Bible. And Zeus is sitting there you know, and he’s got like, you know, like Jack the Ripper is filing and fighting Hercules don’t ask me like Jack the Ripper is like one of the gods or stuff like it is. It is a crazy show. But it’s just so cool to see like all the gods from everything all in the same place. And there’s just a giant tournament arch for the for this for humanity. There’s like a for a good there’s two seasons on Netflix. It’s pretty good. Okay, that’s all I got. Anybody else any closing thoughts?

Marc Cuiriz 1:01:40
Be yourself. Be yourself and and the group that will best fit who you are, we’ll just we’ll either form around you or it’ll find you, it’ll find you.

Josué Cardona 1:01:56
I’ll add if you’re not being yourself, think about why that is. And that sometimes there are valid reasons for it. Because it may not be safe to be yourself. So just be careful out there. And you know, yeah, find don’t go alone on this journey. You know, try to try to hopefully have support whether it’s somebody you can talk to about it or somebody can be yourself with so that you’re not constantly in, you know, like Robert Downey Jr. You don’t know who you are anymore.

Link Keller 1:02:33
If all else fails, just be silly little clown.

Josué Cardona 1:02:39
Just just be a scroll.

Marc Cuiriz 1:02:42
Just just be funny. That’s it.

Josué Cardona 1:02:47
Okay, all right. Well, thank you for for joining us for this episode. If you are looking for your people, your tribe wanna try some things out. Want to want to meet an eclectic group of people check out our community spaces. links in the show notes to all those for more Geek Therapy visit geek therapy.org Remember to geek out and do good. Do you want to say a different version or anything new? Marc? no?

Marc Cuiriz 1:03:20
Listen, I did the intro. Okay.

Link Keller 1:03:24
little steps are fine, people. Small Steps count. It’s good.

Josué Cardona 1:03:30
We gotta redo everything. remember to geek out and do Good. We’ll be back next week

Link Keller 1:03:36

Josué Cardona 1:03:37
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place through geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit geek therapy.org

Transcribed by https://otter.ai and Link Keller

Characters / Media
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
  • Pokémon
  • Dungeons and Dragons TTRPG
  • XJ-9 / Jenny Wakeman / My Life as a Teenage Robot
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
  • Babel: An Arcane History by R. F. Kuang
  • The Murderbot Diaries (series) by Martha Wells
  • Binti (series) by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Secret Invasion
  • Tropic Thunder (2008)
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians (series) by Rick Riordan
  • Divergent (series) by Veronica Roth
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in A Specialized World by David Epstein
  • God of War (video game series)
  • Record of Ragnarok (manga/anime series)
Themes / Topics

Conversation Topics:

* Rejection
* Change
* Consequences
* Cultural representation
* Death
* Difficult emotions
* Fear
* Feeling alone
* Finding Oneself/Identity Development
* Making new friends
* Moral dilemma
* Standing up for oneself
* Sacrifice for others
* Taking responsibility for one’s actions

Relatable Experience:

* Acceptance
* Clarity/Understanding
* Coming of age/Getting older
* Fear/Anxiety
* New Life Event (New Rules)
* Moving
* Trauma
* Masking

Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.

Links / Social Media

Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com

GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org

GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord

GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy

Find us at www.GeekTherapy.org | @GeekTherapy | Lara: @GeekTherapist | Link: @CHICKENDINOSAUR | Josué: @JosueACardona

Ask us anything through the Question Queue and we’ll answer on the show: geektherapy.org/qq

Join the Conversation!

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