Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Musings

Just world fallacy–American style

I don1’t know if this is specifically an American thing or a human thing, but, man, Americans really want to believe in the just world fallacy.

When I was a kid, my mother liked to say that life was not fair. Which infuriated me, but she was correct. Life was not fair. It was life. I think we should try to make it as fair as possible, but things were never going to even out. That was, indeed, life. In fact, me dying twice and coming back twice means that I’ve used up my luck for the rest of my life.

It was luck that I lived, by the way. Not completely. I tilted the deck in my favor by practicing Taiji for a decade-and-a-half. It prepared my body to relax under very stressful situations. That helped me when I was in a minar car crash about seven years ago, and I walked away with only a massive bruise on my stomach (either from the air bag or the seat belt), The front end of my car was caved in and the whole car had to be totaled, but I was fine.

I always say that love, luck, and Taiji were the three things that pulled me through my medical crisis. I mean, my medical team, too, but that was just a given. I would say of the three, Taiji was maybe 25%; love was 25%; and luck was 50%.

I have joked that I want to write a self-help book about my experience, but that would be basically, “Die and see if you come back to life.” It’s a high-risk, high-reward situation, and the chances that you will come back to life is slim-to-none.

A few months after I returned home from the hospital, I tried to find other people who had  gone through what I had. I also wanted to find a therapy group for people like me.

They don’t exist. At all. I could not find anyone who had walking (non-COVID) pneumonia, two cardiac arrests, and an ischemic stroke. Hell, I can’t even find someone who has had a cardiac arrest and a stroke, let alone the rest of it.

It’s interesting. There were people who wanted to know my secret–how I managed to come back from death–twice. This is such an American way of thinking, honestly. That we have more control over life than we do. I get it. It’s scary to think that things happen to you for no reason, but that’s life, indeed.

I also get the need to think that others will get their just due. Again, this may be an American thing, but people in this society really thirst for the villain to get their comeuppance. This is the Just World Fallacy, The belief that bad things will happen to bad people.

Continue Reading

CPTSD and the roots thereof

When my nibbling was six or sever, let’s call them X, I and my bestie took X and my bestie’s baby, we’ll call them Y, to the park for a picnic and later, a swim. My nibling’s mother is pretty exacting and very much a germophobe. I am….not either of those things*.

Here’s another thing you need to know about me. I don’t like shoes. At all. So I wear them as little as possible. Including outside when I can get away with it. I promise this matters for this post.

We’re eating our picnic, which I have to imagine was something like sandwiches and chips. I remember dropping a chip on the ground and folling the five-second rule, brushed it off and ate it. My nibling was gobsmacked because their mother would never allow that in a million years. I explained the five-second rule (and, yes, I know it doesn’t work that way), and they were fascinated by it. Later, they accidentally dropped a chip on the ground, picked it up, brushed it off, and then with a weird look on their face, put it in their mouth.

Here’s the thing. I was the one who often presented them with a differest point of view. I am radically different than my brother in many ways. One of the biggest ways is that I’m not a Christian and my brother is, as is my nibling’s mother. I never pushed my opinions onto my niblings, but if they said something to me about it or asked me a question, I would be honest. My last therapist scolded me because when my nibling said to me that their god was the oldest and best god, I corrected them factually. Not about the best part because that’s subjective, but the ‘oldest’ part because that’s just incorrect. the Christian god is relatively new. Of the seven most well-known religions (in order of oldest to youngest, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism (Taoism), Christianity, and Islam), Christianity is the second newest/youngest.

My therapist angrily said that since I was not my nibling’s parent, I should not have said that. Full disclosure, my last therapist’s specialty was motherhoodh. Just noting that because it’s possibly related. I disagree with that strenuously. I don’t think I should let my nibling believe a lie just because it’s been indoctrinated into them by their parent(s).

Side note: That might be because of my neurospiciness. I have never been formally diagnosed with either autism or ADHD, but I have several traits of each. And my inability to tell when to lie and when not to lie is one of them.

I am not being snarky when I say that I don’t get when a lie is polite and acceptable and when it’s neither. I mean, that’s not completel ytrue. I know not to tell someone that their ass looks fat in a dress, even if they ask. I don’t understand why this is true because I would not ask that question if I didn’t want an honest response, but I accept that this is true.

Continue Reading

Playing life on hard mode

Over a decade ago (ouch), John Scalzi wrote a blog post entitled, Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is. In it, he endeavored to explain to straight white dudes what privilege was without actually using the word privilege because they were so turned off by it. He said at the outset that he was writing it as a straight white dude, and the police blew up. It went viral, and it was deeply polarizing. He did a few updates to the post as well. I just reread the piece, and it still holds up today.

As a person of color, I think this is a solid post. Is it a bit snarky? Well, sure. That’s his style. But he’s also speaking their language (in this case, specifically, white nerd boys) by using the analogy of playing a video game called The Real World. Being a white het dude is Easy Mode, and he explains why. He also adds that ti doesn’t mean they will ‘win’ the game or that they won’t have a hard time. He’s just saying they start with an advantage that other people don’t have.

I want to springboard off that point to say that I really wished I hadn’t chosen to live my life on difficult mode. Or even maybe nightmare mode.

I will start by acknowledging that in one way, I am on easy mode. That is money. Scalzi says that’s a stat rather than a skill, but I will say that not having to worry about money is definitely easy mode for that particular stat. Especially in America where one hospitalization whilst uninsured can leave you bankrupt for life. So, I disagree with him on that. Not having to worry about money is hugely stress-relieving.

Having said that, almost every other skill/level/stat I’ve ‘chosen’ is bullshit. The reason I put it in quotes is because it’s more that I’ve realized things about myself rather than chosen them. Me being Asian (Taiwanese) and AFAB are both knocks against me.

Now. From here on out, I could have theoretcially chosen to do the straight (heh) and narrow. I could have gotten married to a man and had 2.4 children. Well, not the .4 bit. I could have gone to church dutifully every Sunday and taught Sunday school.

And my soul would have died. Several times. Over and over because nothing sounds worse to me. I never wanted children, but just assumed I had to have them because I was seen as a woman–and that’s what women did. Spawn children. That was the most important purpose for a woman–and maybe the only, don’t you know.

Here’s the thing about being bi. Back when I realized it (thirty years ago), it was drummed into my head that it wasn’t a choice. I didn’t CHOOSE to be attracted to people of both (at the time) genders. Now, all and any genders, and none at all. Which is true. But I could choose who I wanted to date. At that time, I didn’t want to deal with being bi so I ignored that part of me. Once I embraced it, I realized that i would have chosen to be bi even if I weren’t.

I wasn’t supposed to say that, though. Because the formal queer line was that it wasn’t a choice–you were born that way. Like Lady Gaga sang. But what if you did choose it? It would still be a valid choice.

Continue Reading

I can’t eat the sandwiches

Today, Alison from Ask A Manager wrote a post about why you need to attend your company’s holiday party even if you really, really don’t  want to. She gave advice as to how to deal with it, and it was solid as always. She makes good points, and if I worked in an actual office, I would–still not go.

Here’s why. One, the title of this post is based on another AAM post. If I remember correctly, it was about how to plan food for the office in a thoughtful manner. Someone suggested sandwiches, and someone said not everyone can eat sandwiches. Which people took great umbrage at because they thought the person was just being difficult. I think that person was being difficult, but in general, I actually cannot eat the sandwiches. Unless there is gluten-free bread.

Another tihng Alison has doen in the past is mention that most people want money for their Christmas gift (from the company). By far. Money. You would be surprised how many people push back on that because it’s not really a gift in the sense of it’s legal tender.

Look. Give. Me. Money. People are terrible at getting me gifts for more that one reason. One, I’m just a freak who is not interested in normal people things. Plus, with all my allergies, I can’t eat many things. This is related to the gift-giving thing that Alison writes about. There are many people in the comments who think that it’s the thought that counts. Well, yes, but if the thought is ‘you don’t count’, then what’s the point? Every suggestion people had, I could not use. Well, almost every. Chocolate? Has milk. cheese platter? All dairy. Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pie? Gluten. Foodwise, I can eat meat and I can eat nuts, and I can eat fruits. So give me any or all of those.

Candles? Allergic. Soap/lotion? Same. Clothing? Also probably allergic. Well, depending on the material. Wool is bad. Feathers are bad. Synthetic is fine.

As for alcohol, I don’t drink it–and I’m allergic to alcohol, anyway. I don’t contribute to these convos because it’s so tiring, but someone defended alcohol saying people could give it away if they didn’t  want it. One, why should I have to give away a gift for me? And nothing says I’m valued like a gift I can’t use. Two, some people can’t have alcohol in the house. I can, but I would prefer not to. Three, it’s a pain in the ass to pass it on. I don’t have anyone nearby who drinks wine (which is what’s usually given away). Beer I could pass on, but it’s still something I have to do that I would prefer not to do.

So. Let’s take this to an office party. I can’t eat anything there. Miss me with asking for special food because I have read enough AAM to know that even if you ask, the chances of getting exactly what you want is slim to none. I have a Kind bar in my purse for that reason, but it’s not enough to last a whole night.

Continue Reading

Customer Disservice at its best (worst)

Last week, the garbage collector did not come. At all.

I’m going to let that sit there and marinate while I go back a few months. My garbage is usually collected early in the morning. A few months ago, I started to get weekly calls on the day it was supposed to be collected telling me that my route was ‘running late that day’ and would definitely positively be there by the end of the day–which was something like five-thirty. For several months.

Look. If they just came out and said that my new route was at the end of the day, I’d be fine with it. I don’t actually care when they come as long as they come.

They leave a message every collection day telling me that my route is ‘late for that day’. I had gotten to the point where I erased it as soon as I heard the automated voice. I just assumed it was the same message. Last week, they did not come. It was Thanksgiving week, so I thought maybe they had Monday off. I have helpful neighbors who roll my can back up for me, but I put it back out (this was thenext day) in the vain hope that it would get emptied.

It did not. At the end of the day, it was still full. The next morning, I called Republic, the monopoly for the area. In effect, anyway. It’s one of the only games in town. I told the woman on the phone that my house had been missed. After asking for my address, she immediately said that because of the holiday, my guy could not swing by and pick it up.

I mean. I get that it’s a holiday, but what happened was not my fault. I did not want to make extra work for anyone, but they didn’t do their job. Of picking up my trash. Which was, might I emphasize again, their actual job. That I pay them for. That they are supposed to do every week.

So the woman on the phone was as unhelpful as possible. She made sure to tell me several times that it was a holiday week and there was no possible wayt to get my trash picked up that week. That was it. She had nothing else to say. I asked what I was supposed to do the next week because I only had one small-ish can and, if you can recall, MY GARBAGE HAD NOT BEEN COLLECTED LAST WEEK. Which meant, and I’m sure you can put two and two together, that there was still garbage in the can.

“Put it in bags on the side.” She could not have been any less interested in my problem. Because I wanted to make sure that all the garbage would be taken, I clarified, “They will take the bags?” Because normally, they would not. She said she would put a note in the record for them to take the bags.

Continue Reading

The most wonderful time of the year

SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder. Basically, it’s depression that is brought about by a season. For most people, that’s winter with the darkness, the coldness, and the gloom. One of the ways to deal with it is a SAD Lamp to bring you light when it’s dark out.

It’s annoying. The way SAD has come to mean depression in the winter, I mean. I can understand that’s the more prevalent time it happens, but it’s not limited to that.

I get it in spring/summer. I hate the heat, the outdoors in bloom, and everything about not-winter/autumn. We got snow last night, which makes me both happy and nervous.

I need to get my roof fix. I was going to do it last week, but then I had to deal with the aftermath of my Covid shot. I honestly don’t remember it taking a week to recover from my previous shots. I mean, my arm was swollen/had the welt for several weeks, but the aches, chills, sweats, and tiredness didn’t last that long. Or did it?

My totally unsupported theoriy is that it was because I got the Moderna this time instead of the Pfizer. It’s supposed to be fine to switch between the shots, but it seems plausible to me that there would be a stronger reaction to one than another.

I’m still very tired. The chills and sweats are almost completely gone, and I’m slowly adding weapons back to my practice. I don’t want to do the fallacy of going from zero to a hundo and hurting myself doing it.

I had a classmate who was frustrating in this way. He would not jog for the whole year, and then when it got the least bit nice out, he would run like ten miles. Of course, he would pull something nad then complain about it. Loudly. I never said it, but I would think, “What the hell did you expect?” It’s so antithetical to Taiji that I could only shake my head.

But he’s a dude with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. He actually ripped a tendon, I think, doing this. Part of my annoyance is directed at myself, I know. I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of person. I have to be careful because I will go all out and ignore my body’s signals that I should stop.

My goal is to add one weapon a day and then gauge how I feel. Today, I did the drills for the staff. Yesterday, I did the Double Saber Form. I’ve done all the weapons this week at least oonce–except I think for the Karambit Form. I don’t think I’ve done that one. Maybe? It’s hard to say. I think I did it the day after I got the shot because Friday is the day I do that form.

I would rather do too little than too much.

Continue Reading

What am I thankful for?

It is Thanksgiving today. I don’t celebrate, but I don’t mind thinking about what I’m grateful for. My brother is having his dinner tomorrow, and I had been planning on going. for the first time in several year. Obviously, in part because of the pandemic, but also because, quite frankly, his (now ex) wife made everything so unpleasant.

She sat around with her face looking like she was sucking on a lemon. It was clear that she was not enjoying herself and that she wished everyone was not there. That may or may not include her children.

She was Shrodinger’s asshole in that you never knew when she was going to snipe at you and for what. I have said in the past that living with my father was like living with an alcoholic. We had to tiptoe around him and his moods, always on edge that he was going to take offense at something or the other.

It’s a truism that we marry our parent, especially the one with whom we have difficulty. My brother married someone who was the combination of both our parents. From my mother–the crippling anxiety that made her question everything and averyone. Except in my mother’s case, it just made her really annoying in that she constantly questioned everything and everyone. She did not trust her own opinion on anything–and she had to ask so many people what they think (while not listening to anyone).

Ian commented to me once that she really didn’t listen to my opinion, did she? No, she did not. It wasn’t because sof me, though. Well, not exactly. Yes, she was sexist in that she trusted men’s opinions more than non-men people’s opinions. So, yes, it was partly that. And because I was the baby. But it was also (in this case) because she had to ask at least two people about everything, and when she was here, she was in the house with me. So I was the first person she was talking to. Then she would call my brother, and he would be the second person she would talk to.

She couldn’t just make a decision on her own, oh, no. That would just not do.

Another example of her anxiety. She had a shirt shipped here. Fine, right? All she had to do was let me know, and I would bring it inside. My brother and his family are going there for Christmas. He could bring it to her. No problem! Right???

It should not have been a problem. In fact, it’s one of the easiest things in the world. Delivery, I mean. I take it for granted, probably bbecause I do it often.

Continue Reading

I’m always not a woman to some

When I tured twenty-six, my mother commented that she had my brother at that age. I had nothing to say to that so I shrugged and dismissed it from my mind. Quitck backstory. I realized when I was tewnty that I did not want kids. Like, definitely did not want them. I had never been that sure about anything in my life. Ever. Not before and not since. It came down like a message from the angels above, and I shouted out, “Hallelujah!” Ok. No. I did not do that. But the relief I felt when I realized that not only did I not want kids, I did not have to have them, was immense. I can’t describe the weight it lifted off my shoulders.

Before that, i just assumed that I had to have them because that was the culture I grew up in. The Taiwanese culture, I mean, though it was backed up by the American culture, too. Women were nothing if they did not get married and have children. It was what they were born (and bred) to do. We were chattel and cattle, and more than one person referred to my birthing hips when I was in my twenties. Excuse me. Not person–but woman. Because it was only women who pushed me to have children, who nagged me about not having them, and who tried to make me feel selfish for not having them.

It was never men. I emphasize this because women are often the worst when it comes to upholding the patriarchy. There are many reasons for that, but that is not the point of this post. The point is that the fifteen years I was pushed to have children, mostly by my mother, is what planted the seed that I was not comfortable calling myself a woman.

My mother actually said at one point that it did not matter if I wanted children or not because it was my duty as a woman to have them. Think about that for a minute. Let it marinate in your mind. I was supposed to put aside my personal feelings and procreate because that was my express purpose as vagina-bearing person. That was what my mother was saying to me. That’s pretty horrifying if you think about it.

Oh. the one exception to men not pushing me about kids–when it came to the question of an abortion. More than one man I’ve talked with was firmly against it. One was a Catholic guy (claimed liberal) who said that if a woman ‘played’ then she should have to ‘pay’. Which was another terrible way to view parenting. It’s a punishment for your sins. That’s literally what he was saying. He claimed it was the same as if you were skiing and broke your leg. You had  to deal with the broken leg. I pointed out that ‘dealing with a broken leg’ did not include leaving it broken and saying, “Well, I broke it, so I have to keep it broken.”

I mentioned that if  iwere forced to have a baby, I would probably kill myself to get out of it. And the fetus would die with me, so two entities would be dead. How was that any better? He said that I could get a note from my doctor in that case. I said why should that be necessary? Why should I have to prostate myself and reveal my mental health issues just to be able to do what I wanted with my own body?

Continue Reading

Feminists are not the ones who hate men

I was talking to a friend recently about the oft-repeated canard that feminists hate men. It gets spread around by the Republicans (and the Tories in her case) that we feminists are just grim-faced, no-fux, sexually-frustrated women (because in their world, only women can be feminists) people who hate the mens.

I have always, and I mean always, claimed that it’s the men  who said that men are dogs who hate men. I mean, listening to these men talk about men, it’s really quite horrifying. “Men are dogs who can only think about sex. They have no sense of autonomy to say no to a pussy that is in front of them. They are just hapless victims to their raging libidios. Boys will be boys, you know. You can’t expect them to act like decent human beings.

Which, I mean. If this is truly the case, then they should not be allowed in polite society. One of the things that we should be able to expect (yeah, I know) in a civilezed society is that someone who acts in a way that is threatening or harmful to others should not be allowed.

I love men. Not all of them. Not even most of them, but there are plenty of men I love–or at least, like. In many ways, i get along better with men in general than with men. My interests tend to run more masculine (typically) than feminine, and I have had so many women question my womanhood.

I will say, it’s more circumspect than in the past. These days, no one is flat-out saying that you HAVE to think about fashion and makeup to be feminine, but there’s still covert implication that this ist the case. There was a time when I was in my thirties that I thought maybe it was finally going to be ok to be a woman who didn’t wear makeup, care about fashion, and discarded the bra. But, no. We’ve done a full double-down on you have to wear makeup, a bra, and care about clothing to be a woman.

It’s interesting how many women say they don’t care if other women don’t wear makeup, but for them it’s X, Y, and Z. I view that in the same way I feel about women who say it’s fine if other people are fat, but not them. And there’s nothing like a woman who’s maybe five pounds overweight going on and on about what a whale she is.

Let me be blunt. If  you (general you) go on and on about how you feel so ugly or whatever without makeup on, I am going to make inferences about how you feel about makeup-less people in general. Which, fine. But it’s not gonig to make me feel warm and fuzzy.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I like men. A lot. One of my best friends is a man. The other is a woman because I’m balanced like that. I expect men to be better than they are, which is to my detriment at times. Here’s the thing. I don’t see them as dogs who are driven by their instincts and cannot control themselves. I believe that they can be friends with women and not try to get into their pants. Am I giving them too much credit? I don’t think so!

When I was in college, I had many male friends. The guy I was dating at the time told me that all my male friends wanted to get into my pants. I accepted that at face value at the time, but looking back at it, I think he was wrong. And it wasn’t a very nice thing to say to me. It was pretty dismissive of me as a person for one and of the other guys in general.

Continue Reading

I’m coming out

I’ve been talking with an online friend about having to ‘come out’ as a minority (not necessarily queer, but that can be included under the broad umbrella). Not just in terms of being out about being in a minority group, but when to bring up related issues. In this case, it wass about a vvideo game about witches. You are a witch hunter, hunting witches. A woman asked, reasonably, if all the witches were women. Another woman later pointed out that with the Salem witch trials, it’s a valid question.

More than one guy pooh-poohed it, saying that it was just a game, blah, blah, blah. I hate that mentality. Games are part of society, and the fact that they have casual (and not-so casual) sexism baked into them is not something to be dismissed. In addition, and I say this with, if not affection, positive intent, dudes neeed to STFU and listen. I know cishet white dudes are so used to being the norm. I know they think that whatever they think is standard, fine, and good.

Over at Ask A Manager, there was a question today that was related. It was from a high level manager who had autism. Her company had had issues with people wdo were neurospicy and had to pay out two settlements because of this. They brought in a new HR person, “Jane”, and the letter writer (LW) told Jane about their autism. Only the CEO and their direct reports knew, otherwise. Later, they found out that Jane had talked about their autism with their direct reports. when the LW tried to talk about this with Jane, Jane got defensive and said that the LW had a moral obligation to disclose. Which, no.

Most of the commenters were firmly on the LW’s side and shared their outrage. One commenter, though, said that it was “legitimate for an organisation to ask senior  people who are members of minoritised groups (she’s British) if they want to be visible role models for that group….” and went on to say how it was beneficial to the person as well as the company. My immediate internal response was, “Fuck no!”, and I was glad that others agreed with me. There is no personal benefit to being forced to disclosed, even under the gentle wording of ‘if you want’ (which, I would think, “Is this a dictum wrapped in a suggestion?”). She double downed it later that it had to be truly optional, but that’s a pipe dream. She also meant it more in terms of LGBTQ+ (of which she was a member), but admitted it might not be as applicable to people with autism.

I wanted to say that it’s never beneficial to the person doing the revealing, but that’s too definitive. I’me sure there are reasons it can be a relief if the employer is accepting and open. But, that’s rarely the case. And even if they are open abnd accepting on the face of it, oftentimes, they unconsciously judge the person who discloses. Or, and this is common with disability–they ascribe everything the preson does to that disability.

Continue Reading