Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Self Esteem

Consent is hot as hell

I’ve been struggling with anger in the past week, and now it’s come crashing down around me and has settled into a thick goo of depression. i have a hard time finding motivation for anything, and I have a fatalistic viewpoint. I mean, I do in general, but it’s especially bad right now. I have the tendency to be negative, and the pandemic sure isn’t helping.

Side note: My right eye has been twitching for no reason. This has happened in the past, but not to the extent it’s happening now. In addition, my sleep has been really fucked over the days. Not unusual for me, but it’s reverting back to early days sleep, which is discouraging. I don’t sleep enough, and then I’m drowsy all day. Then, when I try to sleep, I’m suddenly wide awake.

As my readers know, I am a big fan of advice columns. I call them my stories, and I have a loop I do every morning. One of them is, was, Doctor Nerdlove, and I need to talk about it. I want to say before getting into the controversy that while I enjoyed reading his column, I did not like his podcasts or his videos. It was puzzling to me how someone who could write a good column with solid advice could not do videos/podcasts well (in my opinion, of course). In addition, while I agreed with his general advice, his specific tips in dating were borderline cringe-worthy to me. His idea of flirting was aggressive and skewed cliched, and if he were to his tricks on me in real life, I would be very turned off. That said, his general advice was sound, and I allowed it to overcome the grimace I always had when I read his specific advice. This is relevant to the rest of the post, I promise.

So, there has been a spate of stories about sexual harassment in different branches of geek culture. Games and comic to be more specific. Doctor NL wrote a post about a mentor of his who was accused of…not exactly sexual harassment, but of sexualizing the attractive young women in his forum in a way that would assume de facto pressure. He had a lot of clout in the industry (comics), and a leg up from him would do a lot for someone’s career. Add to that the fact that comics are still largely white dudes, and it’s easy to see how he could use his power for evil.

In the comments, there were people who didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. Distressing, but common. There was one dude who ‘just wanted to understand’ and kept asking questions. It was clear that he really did want to understand, but he was coming at it from the wrong angle. I had a Twitter interaction with an Asian friend that was crashed by a rando who was ‘just asking questions’ about a racial issue, but it became quickly clear that he wasn’t arguing in good faith. I muted him and moved along with my life. In the above case, however, it didn’t really matter that the guy was arguing in good faith because the starting point was so different for him and for the actual situation. He didn’t think the behavior was bad enough to classify as damaging, which was pretty myopic of him. But, it’s sadly common in that people often feel that they are the standard of norm. I’ll delve more into that in the future.

A few days after this, the doc then penned a post about his own situation. He was at a con in 2017 and was flirting with a woman at a bar. He’s in an open marriage, so there’s nothing there (unless he didn’t mention it to the woman involved). By his own recount, they flirted and had chemistry. He thought it was going well, so he reached over, gently wove his fingers through her hair, and lightly tugged.


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What the Covid does to the brain…specifically mine

Today, I woke up feeling markedly better than I have in the past few days, which was a relief. I’m still not at 100%, but it’s doable. I’m still exhausted, but I think that’s partly because everything is fucked up right now–and I mean everything. I had been saying one of the upsides to the Covid-19 was that I hadn’t gotten my usual bi-monthly (every other month) sinus issues.

Side Note: One of the, not solutions, but suggestions always offered when talking about how to battle depression is exercise, specifically walking. People talk enthusiastically about how their minds are so refreshed and clear after walking. It always makes me feel even worse about myself because I fucking hate walking. I used to do it when I lived in the Bay Area. I’d walk four miles a day, and I hated every step. I get sweaty no matter how much or how little I exercise, and I become uncomfortably hot. Walking and/or running actually makes me angry, and it’s nothing I’ve learned to mitigate. It doesn’t energize me; I don’t feel better afterwards. In addition, I am allergic to everything in the world, so walking outside is always fraught for me. I like to joke that the outside is where it belongs–outside. And away from me.

Anyway, not going outside at all except for a few minutes a few times a day for a few puffs had left my nose free and clear  for the past few months. I still have the tender, prickly nose, and my head is thumping. I’m worried I’m about to get a migraine headache or a sinus headache, but it’s not bad enough for me to justify taking meds yet.

I’m tired. I woke up early, and I just have no energy today. Here’s a video of Outside Xbox’s Mike and Andy competing to see who has the worse ten bad games of the two according to Metacritic, the critics and not the users. Jane was the looker-upper.

Tired of being a freak

I’ve written before about the upside of being an outsider. This is not one of those posts. I have seen people on social media blasting the whole ‘introverts living their best lives’ themes, saying that they were introverts, but who is living their best life right now? The tone is ridicule/anger, and it makes me uncomfortable because while I’m not living my BEST life, I’m not suffering like other people are. Meaning, I’m not visibly more distressed. Yes, my sleep  is more fucked up. Yes, I randomly want to kill myself, but it’s not an active feeling, and I have it during regular times as well. It’s not as intense then as it is now, but it’s there. Yes, I’m having way more family time than I want. Yes, I’m having a hard time focusing. But in general, I am less anxious than I am during regular times.

In addition, I don’t really miss hanging out with people. Granted, I didn’t do it much during normal times, but the reduction isn’t bothering me. The fact that I couldn’t do it chafed at the beginning of the lockdown because I don’t like to be told what to do, but in general, it doesn’t bother me now. The state is doing a soft open tonight at midnight for very depressing reasons (Americans suck as self-denial and no political will to go hardcore), and we haven’t even hit our peak yet. I’m resigning myself to another spike after the soft reopen, and I’m just grateful that I can do what I’ve been doing and ignore the soft opening all I want.

I don’t feel like I can say that I’m not any more stressed or anxious now than I was before. I know it’s because I had an unreasonably high amount of stress and anxiety before and that everyone has risen to meet my level, but it still doesn’t sound great when I say it outside. I also don’t miss being around people except sex. For whatever reason*, I want to fuck the next ten people I see. I’ve been rewatching Chiodini’s Kitchen (from Eurogamer, well, he was, now he’s at Dicebreaker and a DM extraordinaire), and one of them has the actual voice of Geralt from the Witcher series. Doug Cockle. Johnny was brewing a beer from the games at an actual brewery, and he sent a sample to Doug Cockle. Cut to the end where Doug is sitting in front of festive stuff, wearing a Santa hat. He talks a bit in his regular voice, tests the stout, and then says something in Geralt’s voice.

Full disclosure: Geralt is one of my vidya gaemz boos. I have the hots for him, and it doesn’t matter that he’s a video game character.

When Doug Cockle was talking in his regular voice, I was like, he’s a nice guy and he’s fine, but whatever. The second he slipped into Geralt’s voice, however, I wanted to bone him. I’m a sucker for a deep, husky growl.


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It’s complicated. No, I’m complicated

I’m irritable. In general, but more to the point, right now. The filters I have set so carefully in place are…shall we say…stressed. As are we all. Here’s the thing. I have a constant dialogue in my brain–dialogue? Monologue. Lots of time, it’s just anxious chatter about how I’m fucking up. But, otherwise, it’s a snarky MST3K voice sniping about everyone and everything around me. I’m pretty good at keeping it under wraps for the most part–except when I’m driving. I have bad road rage. Or rather, I used to have bad road rage. Taiji has helped with it a great deal–but then it comes bursting out at the exactly wrong time. I’ve had this issue all my life so it seems as if I overreact to something small after all the rage has built up inside me.

I was taught never to show negative emotions, especially anger, by my father. He was the only one allowed to be mad, and he was very unpleasant to be around when he was raging. He would make his displeasure known one of two ways–either by shouting at the top of his lungs or by completely ignoring you. I don’t mean just not speaking to you, but looking straight through you. Unfortunately, I’ve perfected that ability, and in my case, it’s my way of escaping an unpleasant situation if I’m trapped. It’s my safe space, and I’m really good at blocking out everything.

Side Note: I know the silent treatment is not a good thing. It has a bad rap, and deservedly so. However, as someone who has been trapped in situations in which I cannot win, it’s the least-worst of all the bad options. When I was a kid, I was scolded about whatever. If I tried to protest, I was told not to talk back. If I sat there without saying anything, then I was attacked for the sulky look on my face. I felt as if I couldn’t win, so the only thing I could do was have a blank look on my face while being yelled at.


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Fuck everything…and nothing at all

I’ve woken up in a bad mood the past three or four days in a row. I have no idea why. It’s understandable, but not something  I want to deal with at the moment. My sleep, never good in the best of the times, is all over the fucking map right now. I was so tired last night, I wanted to go to bed at 11 p.m. I haven’t gone to bed at that time in…ever, unless I’m sick. But, I have been known to doze throughout the day if I’m sick or depressed. Not really sleeping, but not NOT sleeping, either. Last night, I was too exhausted to move, but I couldn’t fall asleep, either. I didn’t manage to fall asleep  until 3:30 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. Or rather, that’s when I put myself to bed. When I actually fell asleep, I’m not sure. Time has no meaning. Life has no meaning. I know the latter is not true, but it feels that way.

Actually, I don’t know the latter is true. I just assume it’s true. I’ve never felt life to have any meaning, but I assume there must be one. I mean, we’re alive. It would be a pretty heightened sense of farce if this was all for naught. Or for some higher being’s amusement. Which it might be. Who knows? I am not a theologist nor a philosopher. The point is that I’m tired, and not in the way I normally am. Way back many decades ago, I used to sleep four hours a night. There was a brief time (a semester) when it was under four hours. It was four hours a night for most of college and roughly a decade after. Then, through the aid of taiji, I managed to stretch it out to six hours. It was still me going to bed at five or six in the morning and getting up six hours later, though. Before the self-isolation started…what was that a month ago? A month and a half? Whatever. I had been working on making my sleep schedule more ‘normal’ for lack of a better world. Or rather, more day-based. I started pushing my sleep time ahead little by little, and before all this, I was hitting 2 a.m. as a regular bedtime. Now, it’s three or four in the morning again, and it’s either five hours of sleep or eight. Which I never get unless I’m sick. Am I sick? Who knows?

One of the hardest things about covid-19 is that it’s invisible so it’s hard to see the tangible effects. When I’m outside, I look around, and everything looks the same as before. It’s spring now, and there are birds singing, clear blue skies, and it’s starting to heat up. There are people golfing and playing games on their front lawn. Which makes me angry, by the way, but I acknowledge that they could be practicing proper social-distancing protocol while cavorting. Even if they aren’t, there’s nothing I can do about it but continue to do my best practices. I’m just afraid that as the weather gets better, there will be more people disregarding social distancing practices.

Side Note: I find it sickly ironic that the same people who years ago were yelling about how they would be the best soldiers in any war ever can’t even social distance for a month without losing their minds. I’m not one of those people who are dismissive of people struggling with staying home, but it does say something about us as a people that we’re having this hard of a time doing it. Especially the people who think they’re warriors.


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Goldilocks and the three reactions

I have PTSD, and while it’s lessened over time, it’s still a thing. I can blow up the smallest thing such as an interaction with a stranger in which I felt I didn’t handle very well. For example, I was at the deli counter at Cubs a few days ago. I wanted the bottom rack of ribs, and I said it to the woman behind the counter. I made sure to say the bottom one twice, but she didn’t say anything at all to acknowledge she heard. She just went to get a container, so when she returned, I mentioned it one more time. She snapped that she had heard me, and I managed to say, “Great. Thanks.” In my head, though, I was thinking, “Look, bitch. The normal thing is to actually acknowledge that the other person said something.”

Side Note: There is something about the deli/baked good sections of my local Cubs that must be toxic because many of the people working in those areas are exceedingly unhappy. And, they take out their unhappiness on the customers as well as with each other. Sometimes in the form of bitching with each other, but also in the form of bitching at each other.

I immediately thought that I had done something wrong, and then I was pissed at her for being a jerk. But, ultimately, it wasn’t a big deal, and I was able to shrug it off after a few hours. I know that still seems like an overreaction, and it is, but in the past, I would have ruminated over it for weeks before forcing myself to forget about it. I make a mountain out of every fucking molehill, and it’s so fucking tiresome. I can make myself feel bad about anything until the end of time.

Here’s the weird flip side to my PTSD overreaction. When I’m in an actual crisis, my brain goes on hyperfocus and I become deadly calm. I’ve mentioned this a few times, but when I was in a minor car crash a few years back, my brain slowed down. I accepted I was going to be hit, and I relaxed as the other car hit me. As a result, I only got a massive bruise on my stomach either from the air bag or the seat belt. The other driver was a young woman, only 17, and she was in hysterics. She looked as if she had South Asian blood, so I felt the urge to protect her. She sobbed that her dad was going to kill her because he needed the car (some kind of SUV, I think) for his job, and I said he could get a taxi or use Uber or some such. I told her he was not going to kill her, desperately hoping it was true.


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Too sensitive or just sensitive enough?

So. I’ve been big into D&D lately–trying to find good groups to watch. It started with the Oxventure crew with Johnny Chiodini as their DM, and it’s expanded since then. I have at least two issues with this, and I’ll start with the more general problem and then go to the more specific one.

There are not enough women of color in these groups. And there are definitely not enough women DM’ing.

Side Note:  This is a problem in general with gaming, but especially in the UK. They are really good with having women on their teams, but people of color, especially women? Not so much. It’s really annoying and discouraging because I prefer their style in general, but it’s started to bug me more and more.

I found one group that is all women and more than one woman of color, but unfortunately, I could not gel with the group. The DMs are also players, which made it very confusing, and one of the other women played a lecherous man who was really fucking annoying. Like, I wanted to punch him (the character) in the face annoying. So I fell off that pretty quickly. I gave it another shot, but I just couldn’t with the asshole character.

Which leads me to my problem with the D&D groups in general. I tried to watch the Dicebreaker one, but I absolutely loathed one of the characters. It didn’t help that I don’t care for the person in general, but his character is such a relenting asshole and a big bully. The way he was browbeating a woman (NPC) was really uncomfortable to me, and even though it also has one of the most adorable characters ever (Tim the Gobbo), I won’t be watching again. Not only because of this one character, but because of how the group treated the ‘animals’ (dinosaurs) in the two episodes. Especially the character I hate.

This actually ties into my issues with the Oxventure group, which I’ve started to dread more and more. Why? Because they seem to take more and more glee in being cruel to animals. Merilwen is an elf druid who specifically loves the animals. The others have treated it as a pain in their collective behinds since the beginning, but it was ok because it seemed like an inside joke. In the last four or five adventures, however, it seems much more malicious. Like they take glee in it. And while they’re always ribbing each other, it seems meaner than the way they treat the other members.

In the last adventure, Merilwen’s beloved (and passed) wild cat friend, Simon, showed up again as a hat on a hunter who used dark magic to make the animals go to him rather than have to go collect them. It was really disturbing, and while it was awesome to see Merilwen get scary mad, it really turned me off. In the comments, several people issued similar sentiments. One person even asked if Ellen (the person) had pissed off Johnny (the DM). Someone else noted that in the year, Dob found his sister; Corazon got some closure with his father and got the family mansion; Prudence got Frisky and The Darkness, pet grimoires; and Eggbert got a measure of atonement. Granted, he also lost a kidney, but still. What did Merilwen get? Her dearest friend being disrespected in such a horribly cruel way.


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Facing half a century with bewilderment

I’m turning fifty in a year and a few months.

Let me repeat. I’m turning 50 in a year and a few months.

Sorry, but my brain won’t get past that.

Where the hell did my late thirties and forties go? I know it’s trite to say that time flies and bemoan the loss of years, but it’s hard to believe that I’ve been on this earth for nearly half a century.

Honestly, I thought I would be dead by this age. I didn’t think I would make it out of my thirties, and for a while, I was fixated on the idea that I would die at age 55. My mom was 55 at the time, and it just seemed like that would be my time to go. I was…26 at the time? I think that’s right. Anyway, 55 seemed like a lifetime away, and now, of course, it seems disturbingly close.

I rarely look in the mirror, and when I do, I’m like, “Who the hell is this?” I’ve already had one person ask me with great trepidation if I were a senior (at a co-op on the day they gave senior discounts), but I’ve also had someone who thought I was at least ten years younger than I was. And, with my hair reversing the gray, maybe I’m a weird version of Benjamin Button.

It’s weird when I look back on my life and what I thought it would be like. Well, to be honest, I didn’t think it’d be like anything because I could not imagine a future. When I was a teen, I assumed I’d get married and have kids because that’s what you were supposed to do. I also assumed I’d have some kind of office job because that, too, was what I was supposed to do. Furthermore, I would go to church every Sunday even though I didn’t believe, and I would live a quiet and desperate life.


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Letting go and moving on organically

I have difficulties letting go of how I see myself. I think of myself in terms of absolutes such as, “I am a negative person”, and “I am lazy”. Once I get an idea about myself, I can’t move past it. It’s fine with such things as, “My favorite color is black” because it doesn’t really matter if I change that or not. It’s not so fine when it impedes me, such as, “I hate  people.” I mean, it’s ok that I hate people, but it’s not realistic to think I’m going to go through my life never talking to people at all. Also, it’s not completely true. I don’t hate all people or even most people. Just certain ones, and if I have to be around lots and lots of people, then I hate the idea of it and not necessarily the people themselves.

I keep thinking about how I didn’t care about Christmas this year, in a positive way. Short explanation: I hate Christmas. Or rather, I did. For many reasons, I became grumpy about it right after Thanksgiving, and it lasted until New Year’s Day. I would notice all the Christmas bullshit around me, and I would gnash my teeth at my hatred of all things Saint Nick. This year, I didn’t even really notice it was Christmas until a few days before when my brother invited me over for dinner Christmas Eve. I wasn’t going to go, but then, to my surprise, I thought, “Why not?” I went and had a good time, and that was the end of Christmas for me.

I know it doesn’t sound thrilling, and in some ways, it scans as a subtle neg. “I didn’t even realize it was Christmas until it was over–that’s how little it means to me!” But, you have to take me at my word when I say it really is a positive thing because it freed up so much of my mind and heart in the months leading up to Christmas. I say it started the day after Thanksgiving, but oftentimes, it was earlier than that because Christmas commercials start earlier and earlier every year. I don’t watch any TV and rarely listen to the radio, but that doesn’t mean the collective unconsciousness doesn’t seep into my brain as well.

My point is that I didn’t force myself to be chipper and cheerful and to pretend that I love Christmas while internally seething. I didn’t grit my teeth and endure it while resenting it with every fiber of my being–which I’ve done in the past–I just didn’t care about it. It was so freeing, and it wasn’t something I could make myself do it. Which is one of my issues with how obsessed with positivity this country is. Don’t worry. That isn’t the main point of this post, but I had to throw it out there.

It was strange for me not to choke with burning resentment against Christmas this year, and I was at a lost as to what to do with it. I mean, being anti-Christmas had been a part of me for such a long time, I felt as if I lost a part of myself. It’s not a bad thing, but it is an adjustment. An absence of a negative is still an absence, and I still think about it from time to time. Fortunately, it’s not something I have to replace with something else, but it’s still something I have to adjust to.


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Sand slipping through my fingers

I’ve been thinking about the demo for the past week because I love weapons. There I’m just going to say it. I. Love. Weapons. I love them with a passion that is probably unseemly, but I don’t care. I don’t talk about it much because I recognize that it’s not interesting to many people. Fun fact: whenever I mention weapons on Twitter, I get women freaking out and men drooling. It’s an interesting dynamic, and a commentary on societal expectations. I’d read that female cops had a problem with men when they found out that the women were cops. There were usually two reactions. One was, “Oh, hey, now, that’s too intimidating for me.” The article I was reading said that was a disheartening response, but the other was even worse. The guys who found it hot and made assumptions about how the women would be in bed.

In my case, the women who tweeted me were appalled that I was into weapons. How could I be attracted to something so violent? There was an undercurrent of me being a bad feminist, and that’s something I strongly denounce. I started learning taiji as a matter of self-defense, and now, ten years later, I feel like I could actually use what I’ve learned to defend myself. I see weapons as an extension of that, even though I probably won’t be carrying them with me on the regular. I am currently learning the Cane Form, and a cane is something I could use in my daily life. Even better, a sword within a cane!

When my teacher taught me the 8 Palms of bagua and walking the circles, I had a flash of ‘that is my opponent, and I am going to kill them’ while doing it. I t shook me because I considered myself a pacifist at the time. The idea that I would even think something like that made me question myself, and I brought it up to my teacher afterwards. She assured me it was natural and that it didn’t mean I was going to become a homicidal maniac. In fact, she believed that having a safe place to express your anger and aggression was healthy, and I’ve come to agree with her.

At some point, I also had to examine what I meant by self-defense. or rather, how far I would go to defend myself. I realized that i would go all the way, meaning if it came down to someone else or me, I would choose me. This was a big breakthrough for me because I was so used to thinking my life didn’t matter and that everyone else’s life was worth more than mine. I don’t want to get into the whys and the wherefores, but needless to say, this was a heavy mindset to grow up with. When I first thought, “I will defend myself by any means necessary,” something shifted inside me. I could no longer claim that my life was worthless because my natural instinct was to do defend myself. It should be everyone’s natural instinct, but so many people get it beat out of them–especially women. We are taught to put ourselves last in every situation and to demur that we need more than what we are given.


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