Underneath my yellow skin

Author Archives: Minna Hong

Waiting in breathless anticipation with Sekiro pre-loaded

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which hereafter shall be known as Sekiro because that’s what it was intended to be called until Activision shoved its nose into the–I’ll get to that in a bit–is coming out tomorrow (or today by the time you read this). Or rather, tonight since it’s coming out at midnight EDT (are we DT or ST now?) which means 11 p.m. here. I had to uninstall Dark Souls: Remastered (the current DS game I’m replaying) to make room for Sekiro, which I bought last night. Pre-ordered it. At full AAA price.

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I’m cheap as hell. I don’t mind waiting for a game to go on steep sale before buying it, which means I’m usually playing a game a year or two after it’s released. I bought the original Dark Souls a year and a half after it was released, the Prepare to Try edition, for ten bucks, I think. Maybe twenty. I did play Dark Souls III in real time, but that was because Ian bought it for me along with the season’s pass. After DSIII, I said that any future game by FromSoft was an auto pre-order for me, and this is also amazing because I am very against pre-orders for a few reasons.

One, before Steam instituted its return policy, you were SOL if you bought a game and didn’t want it for whatever reason. Now, if you buy a game after it’s released, then you can look at reviews and whatnots of it in order to get a better feel if it’s for you or not. With the sheer volume of games being released these days, it can be overwhelming if you’re not the type only to play, say, Collar Duty games. If you are the type to only play COD BlOP or whatever, then I can absolutely see pre-ordering the next iteration. I can also see paying full price because console games don’t go on sale nearly as often or as steeply as do PC games.

Two, I don’t like this move to making games a service thing rather than a one-time product buy. I hate that a game can be released broken with the idea that it’ll get patched in time. Honestly, I would rather wait until a game is fully functional before it’s released, even if it means the game is delayed months. I will say that waiting for Eitr to come out has tested that theory, though. I first heard about it…I want to say three years ago, but it might have been six months more or less. Anyhow, they are the exception, and I would rather the game come out later fully intact than to be released a broken mess.

In other words, I don’t want to reward companies for bad behavior. Continually pre-ordering games that turn out to be broken, incomplete, or just downright bad gives said companies no incentive to do better. If they’re going to make the same amount of money either way, why not just released a broken game? I’m not even blaming them because it makes business sense. I also know I can’t make other people wait to buy games, but I don’t want to play into that system.

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My body hates me–and the feeling is mutual

I hate my body right now. This is not unusual for me as I’ve hated it for most of my life. I was a chubby kid starting when I was seven for many reasons, and my mother put me on my first diet. One of the things I remember her saying from that time was, “You have such a beautiful face if only you weren’t so chubby.” She was a big believer in vegetables and fruits, and she didn’t allow much junk in the house. All of this started me down the road of body shame to the point of body dysmorphia, It also gave me a food hoarder mentality, and I still don’t like to share my food.

Side Note: My mother has had body issues my whole life as well (yes, my life. I don’t know about life before me, obviously, but I suspect it was there from the start). She’s tiny–roughly 5’3″ and petite. She’s been heavier in the past, and she’s always obsessed with losing five pounds. It doesn’t help that she comes from a culture that is even more oppressive about women being fat (Taiwan) than America’s, so it’s something she unthinkingly handed down to me.

It shows up in small ways as well as big ones. Such as her talking about her diet whenever she was on one (which was basically thirty years). It was her policing my food to the point that I didn’t eat fruits and/or vegetables for years in my thirties because I was so pissed off about it. It was tricksy as her adopting the tone of ‘I’m only concerned about your health’ when I confronted her about it. Fortunately, I knew that was bullshit because she never said a word when I was anorexic/bulimic other than to comment jealously how my waist was smaller than hers.

It got so bad, I had to explicitly tell her that she couldn’t talk about my weight (this was when I was at my heaviest). Predictably, that’s when she wanted to make it about my health. Hell, she probably even believed it, but as I noted, she never had a problem with me being dangerously skinny other than to envy me, so it’s never been about my health. It’s been about how she hates having a big fat galoot of a woman for a daughter–except, she can’t handle having a too-small woman as her daughter, either. I don’t know what ‘just right’ would have been, but I suspect she didn’t know, either. It wasn’t about me, you see–it was about her.

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I wish I were Frankenstein

who dat?
Take a good hard look.

When I think of past mes, I feel detached from them. I examine them as if I’m an anthropologist or sociologist or, quite frankly, psychologist rather than me looking at me. I don’t recognize any of them, and they certainly don’t feel as if they are a part of me. I feel a lot of compassion for them, but I don’t feel connected to them in any way. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but it’s the truth.

I don’t like myself. I never have, and I don’t know if I ever will. However, there are parts of each of the past mes that I actually admire. Let’s go over them quickly.

Minna 1.0 (0-5) was fearless and brave by all accounts. My mom used to love to tell the story of how my brother was being bullied by some kids, and I chased them away from him. I was two and he was five. Another story my mom would tell (and confirmed by other relatives) was how I would jump off the coffee table in the living room and yell, “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!”, displaying my early love for performing. I don’t remember this me at all except we were at Disneyland (that’s the one in CA, right?) watching some ice-skating Animatronics-like figures, and all I could see was the grooves in the ‘ice’ and the mechanical spikes moving the figures around. I was disappointed it wasn’t the real thing.

I wish I remember Minna 1.0 because she sounds like one badass girl.

Minna 2.0 (5-10) had a troubled childhood. I realized I was going to die when I was seven, and it’s all been downhill since then. Not coincidentally, my depression started at the same time (not for that reason), but, on the positive side, so did my creativity and love for the written word. I apparently taught myself to read at age four (another part of the badassery of Minna 1.0), and it was my escape ever since. I was first bullied when I was in first grade, and it didn’t end for the next twelve years. I escaped by reading every book I could get my hands on (in the days before Kindle and the internet because I’m an Old), and I started writing poetry. That was how I coped with hating life, and while it wasn’t the best coping method, it did keep me alive.

Minna 3.0 (11-20) is the one who brings out the most compassion in me. Oh dear. What can I say about her that is positive? Honestly, not much. Those years were by far the worst of my life, and I can’t remember many having many happy times or victories in life. I will say I got my first boyfriend during this time and we dated for two years. That relationship set me up for many of the dysfunctional romances in my life because I was not mature enough to relationship well. It was also the beginning of my eating disorders, which I still struggle with now. I can’t help thinking how if I had gotten a good therapist when I was in this period, my life might look seriously different now.

Minna 4.0 (21-40) is probably the most interesting of the bunch and the one who accomplished the most. She’s also the one who experienced a really traumatic experience in a relationship in a foreign country, and that’s another thing that shaped my romantic/sexual history. I didn’t deal with that well at all, and I’m still handling the ramifications of that ‘relationship’. Not coincidentally, I did a lot of sexual experimentation during this time, which is not an uncommon reaction to sexual trauma.

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A confession from a FromSoft fangrrl

I have a confession to make that will probably get me kicked out of the Souls community, but YOLO.

Bloodborne is my least-favorite FromSoft/Soulsborne game to play out of the four (still haven’t played Demon’s Souls) for a variety of reasons.

Before I get into the reasons why (and why I’m writing about it again), let me clearly state that I think Bloodborne is a brilliant game. It’s gorgeous and lush, and all the intricate mapping that Miyazaki is known for is amply present in this game. If you can see it, you can get there, and it gives you something to work towards. I love the Hnter Axe even though it’s basic, and I will admit to having oodles of fun hitting an enemy in the face with the Augur of Ebrietas and yelling, “Tentacles to the face!” In fact, the only time I won a PvP encounter was when I followed this formula for massive damage and the kill. Granted, I was in the area way later than I could have gone so I was pretty OP for the area, but still. I was pretty satisfied with killing an actual player in this manner. However, it was not recommended that you go in with an arcane build on your first playthrough, but I’m stubborn. I’m a caster until the day I die, and it’s how I play all the Soulsborne games for the first time. I will say that I’ve changed to being a strengthcaster, but that’s for subsequent playthroughs.

Anyway, I can objectively say that I was amazed by Bloodborne. I wish I hadn’t watched countless playthroughs of it before playing it, but I never thought I’d buy a PS4, so I thought the only way I would experience the game was by watching it. I do sometimes wonder if I would have a warmer feeling for it if I had played it through unspoiled, but I go back and forth on that. I think I would have been completely frustrated if I’d gone in without any prior knowledge because it’s different in several ways to the Souls games. On the other hand, one of my favorite parts of these games is the exploration and discovery.

Side note: The boys of RKG nee Prepare to Try celebrated their 3rd birth-i-versary yesterday with a seven-hour stream. They were passing the sticks on each death, and Gav was saying how he had practiced for a couple hours before the stream because he hadn’t played much of the games before. He said that he thought for him some of the fun of the games was having Krupa there to explain the lore and to guide them. Gav and Rory had said more than once that they never would have gotten out of the Undead Asylum (first area of the original game) without Krupa’s help. Their goal was to see how far they could get in the original game (remastered) during the stream. They put a call-out for summons, and I was sad they were playing on the PS4 because that meant I couldn’t be summoned, but it was so cool to watch people in the stream get summoned. With all the summons and the shit they dropped for the boys, they made it well past Biggie & Small. They said they’ll do another stream in which they finish this playthrough which had a Finchy (all their characters are named Finchy) with a magic build.

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My health is on my mind, and my mind is on my health

all the dumplings.
Oh, how I miss dumplings!

I am an idiot.

I recently read the ingredients in a veggie burger I commonly buy. I don’t know why I hadn’t read it at the time as normally I am very rigid about that, but for some reason, veggie burger in my mind equaled GF/DF. Which is ridiculous because I am the first to point out that vegan is not the same as GF. Anyway, it had both wheat and dairy (most likely traces), which is one thing that has been causing me problems. I am not going to eat it again, obviously, but it underscored how I need to be hypervigilant about what I eat. Which I definitely am not.

In the last week, I’ve had two episodes of eating something that previously had not caused any problems and then immediately having to run to the bathroom. Then, it was a half hour of communing with the commode while cursing out my stomach. It happened once before this a few weeks ago, which I wrote about. That time it happened, I woke in the middle of the night and had to run to the bathroom again. I barely made it in time because I was dazed with sleep, and I nearly fell asleep  while I was on the toilet. That was a surreal experience, and it’s one I don’t want to repeat again.

I thought it might be the peanut butter (all natural) that had caused the reaction, so I switched to cashew butter which has a milder flavor. I prefer peanut butter, but the cashew butter was a good substitute. It was fine the first few times I used it, but the third or fourth time, I had the same reaction and raced to the bathroom.

I’ve used that brand of GF bread with no issues for several months, so unless they changed their ingredients (which, you never know), it’s not that. I don’t think it’s the jam, but again, who knows? That’s the most frustrating things with food allergies–it’s a bunch of ‘who knows?’. The second incident happened after I made an egg salad sandwich with the same bread, lactose-free cream cheese, and egg salad from the co-op. There is no ingredient in the egg salad that I recognize as something I can’t have, but I’ve had a bad reaction to the egg salad before. I also thought it might be the lactose-free cream cheese because it still has < 1% lactose, which is greater than 0%. I’ve had the lactose-free sour cream (made by the same company), and I haven’t had any intense reaction to it, but I’ve had a squidgy stomach in general for the past few weeks.

It’s really depressing because it makes me not want to eat at all. If every time I eat I have to worry about racing to the bathroom and staying there, well, that’s a disincentive. My asshole has been sore and my digestive system has been grumpy. I know I have to figure out what exactly is fucking me up, but I don’t have the energy to do that.

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Live like you’re going to die tomorrow


fork in the road.
It could go either way.

Many moons ago when I was mired in a deep and chronic depression, I was contemplating suicide. I didn’t talk about it much, but I did mention it to my BFF. I’ll never forget what she said, though I haven’t quite followed her advice in the meantime. She said, “Don’t kill yourself yet. Give yourself a year to do whatever the hell you want and then see how you feel about it.”

Of course, she wasn’t advocating that I kill myself–far from it. She was trying to reframe the depression that had me feeling like complete and utter crap on a daily basis. Her point was that if I was going to kill myself (and, again, emphasizing that she was not advocating for it in any way), I should go out with no regrets. Her suggestion was that I make a list of all the things I wanted to do, do them for a year, and then see how I felt then.

Unfortunately, I was too far into my depression at the time to actually follow her advice, but I find it on my mind now that I’m in the midst of another depression. It isn’t as severe as the last one, and I’m very aware that it’s external rather than internal, but it’s still rather debilitating. There are several small things I need to do (new glasses, tire change, get a new insurance card), and I keep saying I’ll do it tomorrow, next Monday, etc. Rationally, I know that each one is no big deal, but they seem almost insurmountable in my mind.

I’ve written before how much energy it takes to do anything, let alone anything outside of my comfort zone. It’s easy to think someone with depression is lazy, but that’s because it’s hard to gauge the energy depleted from the outside. When I go to taiji, for example, I start thinking about it the night before. I remind myself when I’m leaving after running through my agenda for the day in my mind. Then, the next day, I have it in the back of my mind the entire time I’m doing whatever else leads up to the actual departure. Then, I get up at the assigned time, go out for a quick smoke, get dressed/shower/brush my teeth/go to the bathroom/do what needs to be done before leaving. I grab my weapons bag, my water container, my canvas bag (for the co-op), and my purse. Then, I place everything in the car just so, pull on my sunglasses, put on some lip goo, before finally opening the garage door.

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You take the good, you take the bad

I’ve been watching the RKG boys play through Dark Souls II, and it’s reignited the debate about whether the game is good or terrible in ‘the community’*. There are the ones who insist it’s terrible, then cite the one thing that gets oft-repeated in the community–the physical impossibility of going from the end of Earthen Peak (up an elevator) to the Iron Keep. There’s just no way the two places could coexist the way the game places it, but here’s the thing. I never noticed as I was playing. I only learned about it from watching a video on what’s wrong after said video was mentioned in a playthrough I was watching. Now, it’s repeated as gospel as why the game is so terrible. I mean, yeah, it’s not great, but I wonder how many people would have even noticed without the videos on it. There are other things that the game can be rightfully dinged for in this same category (in the original game, if you see it, you can get to it. Everything is connected in an organic way, and it’s amazing), but this one single item isn’t the trump card that other people think it is.

In the post on the RKG FB page, it became clear that a big part of the problem was the expectations for DS II. I’ve mentioned before how sequels are often in an impossible position because half the people just want the original thing, only more of it and make it better somehow! Other people want an improvement, but they still don’t want you to skew too far from the original formula. Some people who played Demon’s Souls first think it’s a much better game than Dark Souls, and they cite the lack of invention in Dark Souls as the main reason. For people who didn’t play Demon’s Souls (me), Dark Souls was so innovative and they had never played anything like it. If you played Demon’s Souls first, then Dark Souls was more about refinements and pulling it all together. There were a few changes such as the interactive worlds, but a lot of it was streamlining the ideas from the first game and making it a bit more mainstream.

Side note: reviews for Sekiro are coming out by the people who got it before the release, and I asked Ian to tell me in general what the reaction has been. I’m trying very hard to go into it spoiler-free, which is really difficult. He said that people have said it’s the most accessible of the FromSoft games while still being satisfyingly difficult. I’m all in! I mean, I would be, anyway, obviously, but I feel more at ease with the positive reviews than I would be otherwise.

Anyhoo, back to DS II and the boys. In their latest episode, they just finished Huntsman’s Copse, and I want to talk about this area because it shows both the best and the worst of the game as well as how an idea that is good in conception doesn’t always translate well into reality. There is a room in the game that you notice as you’re going to Heide’s Tower of Flame. You may or may not notice that there is a post in the middle of the room that has a hole in it. You may or may not notice that there is a path that is barred off. If you are me, you don’t think twice about it until later when you’re at a loss as to what to do. I’m a bit fuzzy on my first playthrough, but I think I looked up what I needed to do with that room. Strap in, lads and lasses, because it’s a bumpy ride.

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Denial is no longer an option

back the fuck off.
Simmering rage.

It’s time to admit it. I’m depressed. Well, ok, I admitted that to myself a few months ago. However, I downplayed it to myself or told myself I would get over it in time. I haven’t. If anything, it’s gotten worse, even though I’m able to cope with it somewhat. When I say cope, I mean semi-deal with it. When I semi-deal with it, I mean, keeping the worst of it to myself. When I say keeping the worst to myself, I mean not snapping at everyone all the time.

Here’s something I knew about myself but didn’t really give much thought to: I’m also anxious/suffer from PTSD. I mean, I’m fully aware of both, but it was only after reading a comment in the Ask A Manager blog that made me aware that much of what I’m experiencing now is related to anxiety disorders, which includes PTSD. Or anger disorders, if you’re asking the Mayo Clinic website. The commenter listed all the things she read about anxiety disorders that clicked with her including getting upset about minor things, being ‘lazy’ about getting shit done, and other things that really resonated with me. She said she never knew all those things were part of being anxious, and that hit me over the head. In doing research for this post, I read that anxious disorders and anger disorders have some overlap, which makes sense, but I never made the connection for myself.

I’m like a textbook case right now. Things that normally would just irk me for a second before I let it go now irritate the fuck out of me, and I can’t shrug it off as I normally would.

Side note: I spend quite a bit of energy in general keeping my demons at bay. I would say at least 30% of my brain is dedicated to making sure I keep my irritation to myself as much as possible and not saying the sarcastic things my brain says on a near-constant basis. I have a reputation for being a good listener who is compassionate, but that is a very conscious decision on my part.

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Forgiveness without repentance and atonement is bullshit

“You have to forgive them for your sake.”

There are few phrases that send me over the edge as quickly as this one and any of its variants. I’ve covered this before, but it’s still something that bugs the shit out of me, especially during this time of #MeToo. I keep thinking about how much of the focus from some people* is on how hard we’re being on the perps. Or to be more precise, how hard we’re being on them by extension of being hard on the perps.

“This is gonna make it harder to meet women,” they whine. “I’ll be too afraid to even come up to a woman and flirt because she’ll scream sexual harassment!”

First of all, if you consistently have women saying you’re sexually harassing them, well, you’re doing flirting wrong. If you have to worry about your technique coming across as sexual harassment, then you’re also doing it wrong. If the general response from women you’re flirting with is, “Get the fuck away from me!”, you’re definitely doing it wrong.

Side rant: Women do not have to be gamed into fucking/dating you. Well, you in particular, maybe, because you (from two paragraphs up) have a poisonous attitude that women can smell a mile away, but in general, women are on the same sexual spectrum as men, which means ranging from asexual to ‘can fuck three times a day and still be horny enough to masturbate afterwards’.

That is another post for another day, so I’ll hew back to the main topic with difficulty.

I was raised evangelical Christian. There was the usual hell and brimstone bullshit, and the ‘forgive your transgressors’ bullshit that accompanies many religion. I was pissed as hell at Christianity for many years after I left, and then it faded away with difficulty in time. I got to the point where I didn’t care about it, and if someone wanted to believe, it was fine as long as it didn’t infringe on my rights and personhood.

I’ve never cared for the word forgiveness, but when it was accompanied by true contrition on the part of the perp, it was acceptable. But, to me, the underlying idea of pressuring someone into forgiving makes me supremely uncomfortable. It’s for the forgiven and for the audience, not for the forgiver. Or, to put it more plainly, it’s for the perpetrator, not the victim. It’s to make his (and it’s usually a him, but not always, of course) life easier because America loves a good redemption story.

And patriarchy, of course.

Here’s one of the insidious side effects of any ism–the narrative is centered around the majority and not the minority. That’s why it’s worse to be called a racist than actually be one, for example. That’s why anyone who is a minority has to be excruciatingly conscious about how they voice their objections. They know that they are going to get pushback that is outsized compared to what they actually said.

Taking this back to the concept of forgiveness. I don’t know if this is a specifically Christian attitude, but pervasive in this country is that someone who doesn’t forgive a perp in X amount of time is actually worse than the perp. I think it’s a Christian attitude crossed with the love for redemption PLUS the need to keep the status quo as is. It’s similar to families in which there’s one relative, let’s say Uncle Joe, who is an absolute asshole in behavior and words. He’s sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, and everything else, and everyone knows he’s going to say/do something awful at every family get-together. Yet, when Cousin Susie speaks up and says something to him, she is the one who is scolded and pressured into smoothing things over for the good of the family.

It’s the missing stair theory, which I first saw at the Captain Awkward website but originated at Pervocracy. Everyone works around the asshole and everybody knows they’re working around the asshole, but they don’t ever think, “Hey, maybe we should fix the asshole instead of working around him.” They try to warn new people about him, and they make sure to keep an eye on him, but god forbid they ever mention it. And, if someone else does, that person is often ostracized instead. The status quo is a powerful drug, yo.

Also, no one wants to feel complicit in upholding a sick system, and that’s what we have when it comes to sexual harassment/rape culture in America. There are a million different ways we tell women that they are there for the gratification of men, and we punish them for daring to speak up when all this goes terribly wrong.

To loop back to dudes who whine about not being able to flirt with women now–my dudes. #MeToo may be a relatively new movement, but the sentiments behind it aren’t new by any stretch of the imagination. Most women have been groped, cat-called, sexually molested, harassed, or raped at least once in their lives. The sheer volume of stories coming out during #MeToo isn’t because it’s a new thing that just started to happen in the past few years; it’s because women are finally feeling comfortable speaking–and still getting a hell of a lot of pushback for it.

I can’t stop thinking about Louis CK. I’ve written about him before, but he’s the one who’s stuck with me because I really liked his comedy. I’ve quoted him ad nauseam, and he was one of my favorite comedians before the revelation. Once I heard it, though, I dropped him from my lexicon like he never even existed. I felt conflicted about it for some time, but I knew I couldn’t in good conscience continue to reference him like nothing happened. In addition, the revelation made me feel sickened in retrospect by some of the stories he told in past stand up specials that made me laugh. He made me feel complicit after the fact for condoning what I would have considered questionable behavior in real life, but that was fucking hilarious in the context in which he presented it.

When he was confronted, he admitted he’d done it and said he would step away and spend a lot of time listening to other people. It was the one thing I actually respected him for (among a lot of disgust for his behavior and how he wielded his clout and power), and I hoped he would get his shit together at some point and become a better person in his absence. I wasn’t going to go back to supporting him, but I wished him well. Fun fact, I just realized I was still subscribed to his newsletter and instantly unsubscribed.

Anyway, about a month ago, roughly ten months after his revelation, he crashed a comedy club and did a set without warning that included a rape joke.


There is so much wrong with this that. First, that he was allowed to do the set in the first place. Yes, I know he’s Louis CK and that even now, having him perform will probably boost a small comedy club. However, there were women in the audience who were uncomfortable and even afraid while he was doing his set because there were many men who were applauding him and shouting encouragement. I can see myself in that situation being frozen and wondering what the fuck I should do. Hell, I have been in a similar situation. I was at a Dana Gould show (comped ticket), and he told an incredibly gross rape joke that had me frozen in my seat. I wanted to leave, but I knew that would be making a scene. I stayed for the rest of the (unfunny) set, and it was not a pleasant experience.

With Louis CK, I would like to think I would have gotten up and walked out, but I can’t say for sure. I know I would have felt violated and triggered by seeing him, though. And as a paying customer, I would have been enraged and never gone back to the club. Not only that, I would have spread the word on social media to inform everyone where it had happened so they could avoid it as well. That tipped my ambivalence about Louis CK into disgust. It was incredibly slimy of him to do that, and it was clear that he had learned jack and shit. There was some comedian on Twitter, Michael Ian Black, I think who said even though it was unpopular, he thought that Louis CK had done his time, so he should be allowed to perform again.

Yeaaaaaaah. There was plenty of backlash, and he finally ended up seeing the light, but it took a lot of work on the part of beleaguered women who patiently and not so patiently took away every one of his reasons for saying what he did. They rightly pointed out that Louis CK spent no time, still had tons of money, and made no amends. He did not express remorse and went so far as to make a rape joke during his set. In addition, he did not have the balls to set up his own show and perform–no he stealth-bombed a club, knowing he would be accepted because he’s fucking Louis CK, man. The fact that Michael Ian Black was so concerned about another man’s redemption story, with heavy emphasis on man, is wearying, but also not surprising.

It’s what’s behind all the ‘we can’t even flirt’ bullshit that’s happening now. It’s funny, though, because my reaction to these men saying they won’t flirt at all any longer is, “GOOD!” It’s a hollow threat, of course. They’re going to keep being assholes because they’re unwilling to look at their own behavior, and that’s what I hate about the current bullshit over forgiveness. Demanding a victim forgive their perp without demanding anything from the perp (as in the case with Louis CK) is putting the onus on the wrong person entirely. It’s saying the initial transgression doesn’t count nearly as much as the lack of forgiveness, which I find to be rampant in evangelical Christianity. I found this article by a woman who was sexually abused by her father in a very fundamental Christian household, and I can relate to everything she’s said. I admire her for having the strength to take him to court and the strength to resist after he was released from jail all his attempts to manipulate her into having a relationship with him again. The last two paragraphs in particular stick with me:

There are things about my abuse that I can forgive, but the list is short and circumstantial. I can forgive my dad’s untreated mental illness; I can forgive my dad’s alcoholism and drug abuse; I can forgive my mother for feeling too stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship to risk standing up for me. But I cannot forgive the act and I will not forgive him.

I don’t feel guilty about this. And that’s the best healing I’ve experienced so far.

I feel the same way about forgiving certain people. I don’t think I need to forgive them, and, indeed, I find it offensive when told I do ‘for my own good’. I included the Kelly Clarkson song above because it’s similar to my own feelings about forgiveness–you don’t have to do it to move on. It’s clear that Kelly hasn’t forgiven, but she’s built a better life without her father in it–which is better than empty forgiveness.

I hate the word forgiveness because of how loaded it is these days and how forgiveness is often touted as the only way to ‘heal’, whatever that means. For me, there are some people I will never forgive. What I have done is let go of much of the anger and moved past it. I’ve made those people less important to me than they used to be, and that’s really all I care about. I don’t care why they did what they did or if they’re better people now or whatever. All I care about is that it doesn’t affect me the way it used to, and in some cases, it doesn’t affect me at all. And, like Monica in the article I linked above, I don’t feel guilty about it at all. That’s healing for you!






*Men. Let’s be real. It’s men. Specifically cis het men.

Depression and escapism

the thinnest ray of sunlight.
Shrouded in darkness.

When I am depressed, I strip out all the extraneous things that I don’t *have* to do on any given day. There are a few things that I force myself to do every day, including my work and writing. I brush my teeth (and floss!) three times a day, and that’s the extent of what I force myself to do every day. I go grocery shopping every few days, and I go to taiji twice a week. Oh, and I do the dishes after I eat instead of letting them pile up for weeks. It’s a little change, but it made me feel much better. If I have energy and am not sick, I might go out to do something else, but that doesn’t happen very often.

I do the laundry when I would be running around outside in underwear otherwise (which would be today), and everything else is done on an absolutely needs to be done basis. I take a shower every few days when I remember it, and even that is a big production. I think it’s difficult for people who have not been depressed to understand how enervating it can be. I’ve heard people talking about someone, describing that person in a way that made it immediately clear to me that the person probably suffered from depression. Then, they would talk about how lazy the person was, and it would make me really uncomfortable.

Let me give you a small example. For taiji, I have to keep my nails short. That’s my preference, anyway, but it’s a good idea, especially when there’s hand-to-hand contact. Cutting one’s nails isn’t a big deal. It takes maybe five minutes, and a few swipes of an emery board after is all you need to do. When I first notice my nails need cutting, I simply think, “Huh. I should cut my nails.” Then I ignore it for a week or two as my nails continue to grow. The next time I pay attention to them, I think, “I really need to cut my nails.” I feel embarrassed and ashamed, but I still don’t do anything about them. Then, because I have shitty nails, they begin cracking and breaking. I also get hangnails which I chew and pick at, and I’ll chew on my nails to rip off the jagged edges. That doesn’t help, of course, but it doesn’t stop my brain from thinking it’s a good solution to the nail-cutting problem.

When it’s all said and done, it takes me about a month before I actually summon up the energy to cut my nails. I know rationally that it’ll only take me five minutes and then I can free up my mental energy for something else. Instead, I delay  it and stew about it until I absolutely have no other choice than to cut my nails. Looking from the outside, you could fairly call me lazy for not cutting my nails for a month. It’s not laziness, however, and it’s doesn’t help anything to have someone tell me I’m lazy. Believe me, I tell myself that often enough. I know if I wasn’t depressed, I would get so much more done. It’s not helpful, either, because it just makes me less motivated to do anything.

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