Underneath my yellow skin

What is ‘normal’ isn’t universal

run, run away.
Just looking at her makes me tired.

It’s wearing to always be the weird one. I have to get that out there before I start blathering about whatever is on my mind. Fair warning: I woke up feeling as if I was hit by a dump truck (not as bad as a Mack truck, but still), and I’m slightly dizzy and nauseated. So, I’m going to write until my brain gives out, which could be in five minutes or it could be in an hour.

One common wisdom people give about depression is to write about your feelings as a way of tracking them. It makes sense, but I refuse to do it. Why? Because I write a lot on a regular basis, and I don’t want to make it a chore, rather than something I enjoy doing. Telling myself that I have to jot down every feeling I feel is a sure way to make me not want to write. I do it, anyway, in these posts, so making myself journal seems excessive to me.

Another common wisdom to counter depression is to get some sun and to exercise. I’ve heard the latter so much, it’s embedded in my brain. My experience with exercise, however, begs to differ.

Side Note: I have SAD in the summer instead of winter, which is yet another way in which I am not normal. I love winter. I roll down the windows in my car until it’s zero degrees. I used to do it sub-zero, but I’m more sensitive to cold now that I’m an Old. My thermostat is set at 62º during the day and 60º during the night. I did not wear a coat all of last winter, but I also didn’t go out during the coldest days. I think we reached something like  -50º including the windchill, which is cold, even for me. I do appreciate the sun, but in small doses. I like it better than gloomy weather, but it has to be paired with cold.

Back to exercise. I’ve heard it all my life, and I’m sure you have, too. “Exercise drives away the depression!” Well, no. That’s not true. I found that it didn’t make my mood worse, but it didn’t help, either. No endorphin boost for me, except when I did dancing as exercise. Fast walking (and I used to do four miles a day) just made me actively angry, in part because I was getting hot and sweaty while doing it. I sweat. A lot. More than most people. I don’t have a problem with that, but it’s not fun to be bathing in it. Also, being in the heat makes me actively angry. Anything over seventy is not my happy place. I read about the office temperature wars, and I have to shake my head. Most people seem to think 70º to 75º is the comfort zone. In fact, women in general prefer a higher temp than men do. Me, I would cuss everybody out if I had to be that hot every day.

People who like it warmer complain that they have to cater to people who like colder temps, but it’s because at some point, we can’t take off any more clothing. One person on this temp war thread said their dad started a new job at a place where a woman kept the thermometer cranked to 85+º. Eighty-fucking-five. PLUS. The commenter said their dad almost fainted, and I would have fainted. The dad also kept his thermostat at 62º during the winter, so he’s my kind of people.

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Romance and vidya games

on paper, a good fit.
Does it tick all the boxes?

Back in the Stone Ages, I waded into the world of online dating. This was before CupidOK became huge, and waaaaay before Bumble. I was and am a cheap gal, so I only used the freebies such as Craigslist and Plenty of Fish. I waded through a lot of responses (see what I did there? Waded? Fish? Never mind), and the results were very much a mixed bag. I mostly posted in Casual Encounters because I was just looking for Netflix and chill at the time, but I did post in the dating section from time to time as well.

Do you know what I remember the most? Dick pics. Lots and lots of dick picks. Even when I specifically said not to send them. By the way, that’s the other thing I remember about that time–dudes don’t read the ads themselves. My ad specifically said that I did not want dick pics or Asian fetishists, and the vast majority of my replies started with, “I looooooove Oriental girls!” I never included a picture in my ads, so it wasn’t even my specific look, but just ‘Oriental girls’ in general. Let me tell you, there is nothing that warms a gal’s heart more than knowing she’s interchangeable with literally millions of other women.

I vividly remember one guy proudly writing that he was a member of the 8-inch club. What’s worse, he included a picture of him having sex with a woman, but don’t worry! He black-barred her eyes, so it made it totally ok. Now, maybe she was fine with him bandying about a picture of her getting fucked, but I highly doubted she even knew. In addition, OW NO! I don’t know why guys are so hung up (pun not intended, but snickered at, anyway) on size. Most women who enjoy copulating with men aren’t size queens, and I think, just as women dress up for other women, men are stuck on dick size because of other men. Someone pointed out years later when I relayed the story that sending a pic of him having sex defeated the purpose of his boast, anyway. Which, true, but also did not need to think about. Thirdly, it’s so easy to lie about dick size. Who’s going to pull out a ruler and measure?

I was looking for women concurrently, but I only ran into women who were in couples and ‘allowed’ to play with a third. I’m not against that situation, but it felt gross to me reading ad after ad from women who made sure to mention their husband/boyfriend and how he was fine with them playing around, but only if they (boyfriend/husband) was present. Again, I’m not against a threesome as I’ve done them in my past, but it just grossed me out that the ‘bi’ part of these women felt so performative or at the behest of someone else.

I found online dating to be mostly a loss for me. I tend towards inertia in general, and communicating with someone online–I could do that indefinitely. Going out and actually meeting them? Not so much. I only had one instance of an in-person meeting working out well, and that was only for a few months, anyway before I got dumped because of my opinion on Pulp Fiction.  Yes, for real, and, no, I’m not going to talk about it because it’s not the point of the post. Yes, I know, that hasn’t stopped me before, but moving right along.

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I’m my own worst enemy

I’m tired. My sleep is fucked, which means at least I’m not sick. My sinuses are still all over the map, and I’m squarely blaming that on the weather. It’s been 50 to 89 and everywhere in between. I’m loving the former, but not the latter, and my body really doesn’t like the rapid changes. I’ve also become even more intolerant of heat, and my love of the cold is gradually diminishing as well. I used to be able to keep the car windows open until it was well in the sub-zero temps. Now, I close it when it’s zero.

I have said that the problem with getting old isn’t that I can’t do what I used to (though that is starting to be a problem), but that it takes much longer for me to recover. I used to be able to get by on four hours of sleep a night (barely); I could go out until the wee hours of the night and sleep it off the next day. Now, I could go out all night, but it would take a few days to recover.

I also have to admit that my depression is back and not going away any time soon. It’s low key, and it’s not paralyzing the way it has been in the past, but it definitely permeates my mood. There’s an ever-present feeling of ‘why bother’, which seeps into everything. It’s frustrating as hell, and I know the only thing I can do about it is to go to therapy.

*deep sigh*

I do Not want to go to therapy. Not because I think it’s worthless; I don’t. I am a big proponent of therapy, and I have been in it many times in my life. I have learned a lot from therapy, and I know I could learn more. However, the thought of finding a new therapist makes me want to curl up in a ball and never get up.

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Shifting perspectives

My brother once told me that he doesn’t regret any decision he’s made. This was about a decade ago, and it blew my mind. I pushed a bit, and he said there was no point in regret as he couldn’t change anything he’d done in the past. He’s not wrong. Regret in and of itself is useless and can be harming if it causes shame. Shame keeps you stuck in bad behavior more often than not. On the other hand, it’s hard to learn from the past if you refuse to study it at all. I think there *may* be a truism about that floating around the interwebs. Since then, he’s made indications that there are things he might have changed or that he wished had gone a different way, but in general, he is an eyes-forward kind of guy.

I admire that about him. I also envy that about him because I regret almost every decision I’ve made in my life. Where I want to college. Going back to a certain boyfriend twice. Not questioning the narrative he laid out for me because I thought he was trustworthy.

Side Note: I recently talked to my mom about this ex of mine, let’s call him Todd because that’s most definitely not his name. I always held a slight grudge because she and my father had dinner with us once, and they both did not like him at all. I attributed it to my father not liking anyone who wasn’t properly effusive/deferential/in awe of how amazing he is plus a shitload of other unspoken expectations and my mother deferring to him. I found out during our recent talk that the reason she didn’t like him was because he took my love for granted (ironic given her own marriage) and because he caused me so much pain. She said he was using me and he was selfish.

We discussed a bit about how he dumped me three times and came back to me twice and how he lied to me in our relationship about having dumped his ex before she went abroad for a semester. In reality, they were in an open relationship, but only because he insisted. I found out by reading a letter from him to her. Yes, a physical letter. I was looking for something else on his desk, and when I saw a letter from her, I read it. When I brought it up to him, he got mad that I read it. Which, yes, invasion of privacy, but it allowed him to neatly sidestep the fact that he fucking lied to me. Why? Probably because he knew I wouldn’t have agreed to going out with him if he told me the truth. I was very straight and narrow at that time, and I would not have agreed to be in an open relationship. Funnily enough, though, when the girlfriend came back the next semester, he was ‘dating’ both of us at the same time to figure out what he wanted. I started dating someone else, and Todd couldn’t take it after a few weeks.

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End of Sekiro and I can’t play Return of the Obra Dinn

I’ve been romping through NG+ in Sekiro and not being fazed by much of anything. I two-shot Madame Butterfly and got Genichiro in half a dozen tries. The boss who gave me the hardest time was a mini-boss: Seven Ashina Spears–Shikibu Toshikatsu Yamauchi. It’s always the fucking spear guys that mess with my shit. I died to him seven or eight times, and I can’t imagine having to fight him for both Deathblows. By the way, it’s still one of my irritation about the game. Most of the mini-bosses can be stealth Deathblowed to start the fight, so why bother? In fact…I’ll get to that in a minute. No, I can talk about it now. The toughest boss until the very end game was the True Corrupted Monk. In my first playthrough, I cheesed by doing a stealth Deathblow for her first two pips, then just fought her normally for her third phase. I did that by intentionally dying any time I couldn’t pull off the first or second stealth Deathblow, so I ‘died’ to her more times than I actually count as deaths.

This time, I went in for the first stealth Deathblow, and I didn’t get the big red glowing dot. I let myself be killed so I could try it again. I figured I hadn’t lined it up correctly, so I tried it again. And again. I did it half a dozen times before fighting her first phase, then dying in the second phase. I tried it several more times, and I never got it. I mean, I’m not the greatest with spatial awareness, but it wasn’t *that* hard to get the first Deathblow. I finally looked it up, and it turns out they patched it out. Well then. Good to know. I had to fight the first phase the normal way and then try for the second Deathblow, hoping they didn’t patch that one out as well. I did that, and I got her on the first time I made it to the second phase (which did not have the stealth Deathblow patched out), and I moved on.

So, yeah. I was making it through the game at about a tenth of the time it took me on my first playthrough. I did some farming to get the skills I have yet to acquire, and I managed to get the one that costs 9 skill points which took me a goddamn long time. I would do it by going through an area and killing a boss, which at this point, took me tot maybe half a skill point, then I would go to Ashina Castle Antechamber and farm. Or Gun Fort. I would do this until I went past the next skill point and bank it, then I would go to the next area. I accrued a ton of sen in this manner as well, which was really pointless as I have nothing to spend it on except Spirit Emblems. I’ve ended up buying sugars and potions and such because I don’t want to lose the sen, but it’s just luxury at this point.

Side Note: I’ve mentioned that one tip I kept reading about how to survive in Sekiro was to buy coin purses to save your sen. They’re like consumable souls, and you buy them at a 10% markup. You don’t loses the purses upon death, so the rationale is that if you’re, say, going into a boss and know you’ll die a lot, better to have 90% of your sen than none of it. I understand that. I don’t disagree with that. My quibble is with the overemphasize on saving sen. In my first playthrough, I was never hurting for it. Never. If there was something that was a bit more expensive (such as Madame Butterfly’s Phantom Kunai for 3,000 sen, which is a ton at the point in the game when you can buy it), I’d grind for it. My early game grind spot, a stretch of the Hirata Estate, netted me 500 sen in 5 minutes (1,000 with the Mibu Balloon of Wealth), so it wasn’t a big deal.


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Fuck spri–summer and the horse it rode in on

Fuck summer. No, seriously, fuck summer. If I could, I would ban it from the face of the earth. One of the worst things about Minnesota is that we can go from a frost advisory two weeks ago to 90 degrees four days ago. Today, it’s 76 degrees, ‘feels like’ 77 with a high of 87. This whole week is going to be mid-seventies to mid-eighties, and I Do. Not. Want. I find that my grumpiness ratchets up in direct proportion to the heat. In other words, the hotter it gets, the more of a bitch I become. I also feel physically limp and drained, and I want nothing more than to sleep. But I can’t because I’m all puffy and hot, and my brain is about to explode.

What the fuck happened to spring? We didn’t have one. It’s not unusual for us to have snow in late March/Early April, but the cold we’ve had this year means that we skipped straight from winter to summer. It’s been really hard on me both emotionally and physically. Emotionally because I hate summer, so going from forty degrees to eighty degrees in a matter of a week (and going back and forth between the two) is not good for my psyche. It’s also not good for my body because I can’t acclimate to one or the other.

It’s one reason my sinuses are exploding. Some of it is allergy, and some of it is reaction to the ever-changing temperature. My homeostasis needs to be relatively settled in order for my sinus system to run optimally. Let’s face it. My sinus system sucks in general as does my immune system, so anything that throws it off is not wanted.

I ran to Cubs today to do some grocery shopping. I was wearing light sweats (with pockets! I can’t tell you how amazing that is as a woman. It should be simple, but no. It’s still a reason to be joyful in the year of our lord, 2019) and a sleeveless shirt made in Taiwan (in other words, meant to be worn in the heat), and I immediately felt like shit when I walked out the door. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t feel the same way how enervating it is to be in the heat for me. Five minutes, and I was ready to snap off someone’s head. I had to keep a tight rein on my ire, and that’s part of the reason I hate summer so much.

I’ve been dealing with my sinuses for the last month. At the beginning of that month, I also had a cold. That was a lot of fun, let me tell you. I could not hear out of my left ear for two weeks. Fortunately, my ear ‘popped’, and I can hear out of it now. Not so fortunately, the rest of my sinuses are raging out of control. My nose still feels as if there are a thousand needles piercing it. My throat is sore and clogged, and I’m having drainage in it on and off. My lymph nodes feel swollen to the touch, and I’m worried I might be getting another cold.

I’m tired. I’m grumpy. I’m dealing with sinus issues, and summer has just begun. It’s only going to get worse from here. Sorry that this is so short, but all my motivation is drained. Here is a video of the incredible Cher and the rrrrowr Andy Garcia (had SUCH a crush on him years ago) singing ABBA’s Fernando. Cher is still queen after all this time.

Faking it, but not making it

too crowded!
My brain is not a great place to be.

“Fake it until you make it” gets tossed around a lot as a way to deal with overcoming low self-esteem issues. The theory is that our brains believe what we tell them, so by acting as if we’re confident, we’ll eventually become confident. I’ve done it my whole life, but it hasn’t made me any more confident than I already was. If anything, I think it’s hindered me from actually developing more confidence. From the outside (and if you don’t talk to me for very long), it seems as if I have my shit together. I had it ground into me that I was not allowed to show emotions, especially negative ones, and I still have difficulty expressing those emotions out loud.

Side Note: When I was younger, I was a sponge for all the negative emotions around me. I could actually feel them as I walked by people, and it made me physically ill at times. This was before I was able to erect good emotional shields, and it’s one reason I don’t like being in crowds. On occasion, I would flash on why someone was feeling the negativity they were (though, of course, I had no way to confirm it. I was not going to ask a near stranger if they were being abused by their husband, for instance), and it made me profoundly sad. It was exhausting for me to be around people because I would be drained from running the emotional gauntlet.

Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) is all the rage right now, and I hate it. I wasn’t sure why exactly until I read someone explain their distaste for it in an Ask A Manager column (where they are overwhelmingly for it). She explained that it felt like gaslighting to hear the therapist say, “That’s just a feeling. It’s not real.” She was more eloquent and expansive, but that’s the part that really resonated with me. A big part of CBT is focusing on behavior (duh), and dismissing the feelings behind them. I’ve already spent a lifetime dismissing my feelings; I don’t need to pay someone to do that as well.

Side Note II: One thing I really hate about AA and all the groups that have sprung up that are based on AA, well, besides the fact that it’s success rate is no better than any other recovery program, is the insistence on powerlessness. Again, I couldn’t exactly explain why until I was talking about it with my then-therapist. I was participating in a CoDA program (Co-Dependency Anonymous) online, and I just couldn’t get past that (or the god shit. I hate the god shit). My therapist recommended a book to me by Dr. Charlotte Kasl called Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps. My therapist described the theory in a nutshell–for people who are not Bill W. types (i.e., white male Christian), we spend a lot of time feeling helpless/powerless, anyway. We don’t need to give up the power because we don’t have it. If anything, we need to feel empowered, rather than powerless.

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Point-and-click away from the genre

a ghost is taunting me.
KayKay is not impressed with my throwing skills.

I started Unavowed with cautious optimism because it had gotten rave reviews. It’s made by Wadjet Eye Games, and they are much revered in the world of point-and-clicks. As I mentioned before, however, I loathed their Blackwell series, which everyone else (who likes the genre) adored. I tried two of those, finishing one, and I hated every second. It’s a shame, too, because they should be right up my alley. Psychics and paranormal activity, people going crazy, all of it gold. Yet, the bullshit of the genre really stood out early on, and I could never get over.

To recap, the bullshit includes having to go to a ‘room’, doing one thing, going to a room three rooms away to do another thing, then pick up an esoteric thing and bring it back to the first room to do something else. In the beginning of Unavowed, they avoided this trope, and I was pleased. All the puzzles were logical, and, yes, you might have to traverse the same terrain several times, but it didn’t feel forced. The first two chapters were solid, and I was hopeful that it would continue to be a good game.

I liked the story, even if it was a bit contrived. My character, mulan rogue (I always name my characters that when I can), is an actor (could have chosen cop or bartender as my ‘class’), and the game starts with a demon being cast out from inside me. Then, we go back in time and find out how I happened to be inhabited by a demon, and the rest of the game is finding out what the demon was doing while in my body and for what purpose. It’s interesting to run into people who knew me from my demon-infested time and to see how they react to me in the present. I chose to be a woman, too, and I wonder what would have been different if I chose man or demon. I’m especially intrigued about demon, but I have a hunch it’ll just say something like, “That’s not your real self. Try to remember!” and make me pick man or woman.

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Health on my mind

leave me alone.
Go away.

I’m better. I’m worse. I’m both at the same time. I don’t have a cold any longer. How do I know? Because I’m sleeping six hours a night again if that. When I’m sick, I sleep seven to eight hours, and when I’m really sick, nine. That’s extremely rare, however, and it’s not something I want. Why? Because when I sleep that much, I feel like absolute shit. Or rather, I sleep that much because I feel like absolute shit. It’s the bare minimum my body can do to remain somewhat upright. The fact that I’m back to six hours a night means that I’m no longer sick.

Side note: I fucking hate that being better means less sleep. There is so much evidence that getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is optimal, nay, necessary, and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s taken me twenty years to build up my sleep from four hours a night to six hours, and I don’t know if I have twenty more years in me to add another two. In addition, there is some evidence that we sleep better in chunks rather than one full slate of eight hours. Much like eating. It’s better to eat several times throughout the day than to have three big meals. Sometimes, I think of how different my life would be if I could actually be refreshed upon waking up. Alas, it is not meant to be.

My left ear has cleared up as well, so that’s good. Just yesterday, I was wondering if I was ever going to be able to hear in my left ear again, and now I can. It’s not fully cleared, but it’s about 90%, which I’ll gladly take. Those are the two positives, which I’m recounting in part to remind myself that my health isn’t all shit. It’s just mostly shit.

Side note II: I had a hankering for a burger last week. There’s a Culver’s near me, and they have a gluten-free bun. It’s ten minutes away. It’s not difficult to go and grab a burger and fries. At least that’s what I told myself, but minutes passed by, and I wasn’t actually getting off the couch. I was just sitting there like a dumbass, bitching on Twitter about how I wanted a burger. This has been a problem for me since I was much younger. Even when I wanted to do something, the effort to actually get up and do it was immense. I knew I would enjoy the event once I got there (or enjoy the burger in this case), but it still seemed too much for my brain to force myself to do it without arguing for twenty minutes. I know it’s a part of my depression, but it’s one of the most irritating parts.

I finally hauled myself off the couch, changed into something presentable, and hopped in my car. Just as I was about two blocks from the Culver’s, the road was closed. Shit. I forgot it was construction season in Minnesota. I had to detour, and it’s not something I’m good at. Even though it’s my neighborhood, I never go on the side roads. I probably could have looked it up on my phone, but I adhere to the ‘keep driving around it with the destination in mind, and you’ll get there some day’ mentality, which probably isn’t helpful. Why? Because I have spatial issues, and I’m horrible at directions.

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Writing & aging don’t always mesh

all. the. questions.
Huh?

I’m reading the second book of a trilogy I’m working on, and I noticed that I completely left out a scene that I had setup to write. It wasn’t a huge setup, but I was carefully making it seem to be something important. Then, I just…forgot about it? Got distracted? I’m not sure, but probably the latter because I had setup another important scene, and that one I actually wrote. I’m going to have to write the scene and make it seamless, and I have to have my character talk to another character whom I introduced and noted I had to talk to, but then never did.

It’s not like me to forget entire scenes and characters, and I think it’s because I’m getting old. I hate to admit it, but my memory ain’t what it used to be. In my heyday, I worked in a department that had five hundred people. I checked in people to training classes, which meant I met most of the people in the department as many of the training was mandatory. I only forgot the name of two people, and one was because she was perhaps the blandest person I’d ever met. I felt bad about it, but it’s still a pretty good track record.

I’ve been losing the lyrics from 80s songs, which I’m fine with. I don’t need them, and they take up way too much brain space. It’s disconcerting, though, because I’d been carrying them around with me for decades only to have them disappear. Not all of them and not even most of them, but some of them–and that’s weird enough. I know it’s human nature to lose your memory capabilities as you get older, but it’s disconcerting. My mom and i have had several discussions about this because my father is rapidly losing his memory. He’s always had a terrific memory as well, and now, it’s really bad in some areas. To complicate matters, he never remembered anything he didn’t want to remember. If he didn’t consider something important, it didn’t register in his brain. For example. He never went to any of my activities when I was a kid unless my mom made him. He never showed any interest in my life, and I doubt he knows anything personal about me except I like cats and the color black. In addition, when he was the president of an economic research company, he had an excellent secretary (they still use that word in Taiwan) who would print out his emails for him. That’s not all she did, but that’s the extent to which his helplessness was extended.

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