Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Wellness

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.


Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

I can’t even

This is one of those days when I just can’t. Here’s Gregg’s Woods from Night in the Woods, one of my favorite games of all times. I’ve played it three times, and I’m thinking about playing it again because I loved it so much and because there are still a few things I missed the first three times. Gregg’s Woods is lovely, beautiful, and heartbreaking.

What a drag (on my health)

whiling away the hours.
My new home.

I’m afraid this is my new normal, being roughly 60%. Every time I get past that point, something happens that sets me back. For example, last night, and TMI for possibly grossness, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because I’m twelve–side note: why are PB&Js considered children’s food?–and a minute later, I had to run to the bathroom. Exploding diarrhea all over the place (hyperbole! I made it to the toilet), and I stayed there for at least ten minutes. A half hour later, I was back again. I went to sleep a bit later, then was jolted awake in the middle of the night (not sure when) because my body was urgently telling me I needed to go. Again. I was more than half-asleep, and I almost fell down on my way to the toilet. I almost fell asleep on the toilet. I almost fell asleep on my way back to the couch. It was a surreal experience. I was basically pooping in my sleep, and I was just happy I made it to the bathroom first.

What was it that did it? My instinct is the peanut butter, but it could be the jelly. In fact, it’s more likely the jelly. I’ve had the peanut butter before, and I’m not sure I’ve had this brand of (blackberry) jelly before. It’s not the bread. I eat that all the time, and it’s not a new loaf. So, I’m going to do a controlled test today. I’m going to eat the jelly on its own, an then I’m going to try the peanut butter. Of course, the fact that I think it’s the peanut butter might unconsciously bias me.

I woke up grumpy and exhausted today. My energy is extremely low, and I just feel so blah. I’ve been trying to write this post for over an hour, and every word is begrudging. It’s not like me at all. I’m verbose to an extreme, and I can usually toss off a two-thousand word post in an hour or so. I currently have 350 words, and I am already running out of steam.

On a related note: I’m struggling with the second book of my current trilogy. The first one is finished. It’s rough as hell, but I really like the energy of it. The second one never really came to life to me, and I’m 92,000 words in. I’m thinking of scrapping it and starting over. I’ve had writer friends incredulous that I would actually throw away whole novels, it’s not an anathema to me. I wouldn’t literally throw it away or delete it; I would simply start another story. I might take some nuggets from the first story, but I would go in a different direction.

Side note to the related note: When I write a novel, I have an outline in my head. I write mysteries, and going into it, I know the perp, the victim, and the motive. I don’t always know how I get from Point A to Point B, but I know in broad strokes what my chain of events will be. I’ve had times when the motive has changed or shifted as I’ve written, but for the most part, the motive I go in with is the same one that remains at the end–more or less.

In this case, I started the first novel with a firm idea of all of the above. I even know mostly how I was going to get from Point A to Point B. About halfway through the novel, an idea came to me that I couldn’t ignore. It led to the main thesis of the second novel, and it recast everything in the first novel in a different light. Of course, I had to keep in mind that the first novel had to be able to read on its own. I finished the first novel with the second one in mind, and I was excited when I started the second.

Goddamn it. I just can’t today. I’m so tired and bone-weary. And my innards are still grumbling. That’s all for today.

Snow, my cold, and conflicting emotions

let it snow!
My happy place.

The snow, it is real. It’s been a steady accumulation over the last few days, and it’s making me a very happy camper. Indoor camper.

Side rant: I love snow. I always have. Ever since I was a little kid and played in the snow as I was bundled up so only my nose was showing. I’d go sledding (which I loved) until my fingers and toes were numb, and then I’d drink hot chocolate. Snowmen were a thing, too.

Winter was great because I loved the cold and because my allergies were mostly dead. I’ve been very open about my love of snow and cold, which for the most part has been fine. However, whenever I post about it or tweet about it, there’s inevitably one person who has to say how much they hate it. Or remind me that it’s a bitch to drive in. Or shovel. It’s gotten to the point where I preempt it by mentioning my gratitude in not having to drive in it when I talk about it in hopes I can be allowed to enjoy my snow somewhat unimpeded.

Snow is one thing that gives me pure joy. Can I please have that? It’s good to be aware of other people’s issues and whatnot, but at some point, I just want to revel in the fluffy white goodness.

Side note to the side rant: It’s different when I’m talking to friends who have to struggle with the snow affecting their commute or income (having clients cancel because of weather). I can empathize with them and their frustrations. It’s more the people who feel the need to tell me unprompted that snow is a problem for people. I’m not stupid or ignorant. I know this. And yet, it’s a bit too ‘there are starving children in Africa’ for me. There is nothing that doesn’t cause problems for SOMEONE. Does that mean always having to qualify one’s own pleasures/enjoyment/happiness?

Anyway. Back to snow. We’ve gotten 10 inches to a foot, and it’s lightly snowing now. It’s the fluffy and light snow, which is my favorite to frolic in. There will be no midnight nekkid snow dancing, however, because I’m still having sinus issues. The cough has diminished, but the congestion has increased. The needles pricking my nostrils feeling has come back again. When I woke up, my forehead was hot. I popped two (generic) Migraine Excedrin, and I’m hoping that will do the trick. I also have a raspy voice, which, while sexy, may be a harbinger of more congestion.

I’ve been incredibly crabby over being sick, but at the same time, really happy about the snow. It’s a weird mix of feelings that keeps whiplashing back and forth.

*a thousand needles prick my nose*

I hate having a cold!

*looks out the window at the gently-falling snow*

Oooooh, so pretty!

We’ve gotten between 10-12 inches over the last few days and are supposed to get a few more inches. Maybe this is my consolation prize for this cold dragging on. Either way, I’m enjoying it–just not as fully as I would if I weren’t sick.

Still. It reminds me of what I love about Minnesota winters, which have sadly become more tame over the years. Thank you, climate change. No, really, thank you for fucking up my favorite season. Trying not to be bitter because it seems a bit ungrateful as we’re in the middle of ALL THE SNOW, but I’m greedy. I want so much more.

Side note II to side rant: I want to say that if people want to bitch about how much they hate snow on their own FB walls/tweet about it–have at it. I know most people don’t feel the same way about snow that I do, and that’s fine. I’m used to being in the minority about–well, pretty much everything. Except loving chocolate. I think I’m in the majority there. So, yeah, I’m used to biting my tongue when certain subjects come up. When other Minnesotans grumble about the snow and talk about wanting spring, I just nod and smile. Or, if I’m in a feisty mood, I’ll say I like winter, but I understand how they feel.*

So on my own FB wall or Twitter TL, just fucking let me have this, ok? To hell with it. I may actually do nekkid midnight snow dancing tonight, my cold be damned.

 

 

*I don’t, but it’s a social nicety that keeps things moving.

Just fuck everything, but snow?!?

To no one’s surprise, I have a fucking cold. Warning: I will be fucking sweary in this post because I am so fucking sick and tired of being, well, sick and tired. A deep hacking cough, a stuffed nose that simultaneously feels as if it has pine needles jabbing into it from time to time. Add chest congestion to that, and you can understand why I’m irritated. Not just irritated, but downright pissed off. I have been sick on and off for the past few months, and every time I feel better, something else happens to me. It’s not as if I’m in the public all the time, a lot, or much at all. So why the hell am I getting sick? It’s a question for my doc the next time I go, which will be soon because I have to get my annual thyroid check for my meds.

Speaking of docs….Every year, I have to deal with my insurance, and I thought I set it last year so I wouldn’t have to do it again this year. I got a notice saying my insurance would end because I hadn’t re-enrolled, and I found an earlier letter with the re-enrollment form. I filled it out and sent it in with a brief explanation of what happened. I sent it in before the end of the month, and then this week, I got a notice that my insurance had ended last month. I thought about checking my mail today before I called the insurance office, but I didn’t because I’m lazy. I called, resigned to wait for over an hour as I had to do the other times I called them (this is a governmental office, so you know how that goes), but I got someone within five minutes. She told me there was nothing wrong with my insurance, and I had her double check and read it to me exactly to make sure. Afterwards, I went to check the mail because I was going out, anyway, and sure enough, there was my health plan letter. I had to laugh, but I’m relieved that it ended well.


Continue Reading

Checking in on my health

drink it all up!
Staying cozy and warm.

The vaunted snowstorm netted us a whopping three to four inches of snow. I’m not mad, really, just disappointed. However, I knew it wasn’t going to be eight to ten inches because we’ve consistently gotten less than has been predicted, so I’m not crushed as I would be otherwise. It’s lightly snowing now, and we’re supposed to get more snow during the big storm next week. Only a few more inches, but I’ll take it. We haven’t had snow hardly at all this winter.

As for the cold, it’s really fucking cold. Currently, the temp is ‘feels like’ -28. There is no feeling going on at that temp. That’s cold, even for me. I did have the window slightly rolled down when I ran to Cubs this morning, but it’s only three minutes from my house.

Fun fact: Some years ago, the windchill factor formula was tweaked so that it more accurately reflects how the wind feels on your skin. As a result, there will probably never be a -100 windchill again. We used to get them when I was a kid, and about ten years ago, I started wondering why I never saw -100 again. It tuns out that a new windchill factor was established in 2001, which was comforting to discover. It wasn’t just me this time!

Anyway, now I’m back at home, and taiji classes have been canceled due to the extreme cold. I had been considering going to the new class tonight (new to me, not to my teacher. She’s taking it over for her teacher), but even if the classes hadn’t been cancelled, I wouldn’t have gone. I’m not leaving the house for the rest of the day. I have my traveling mug of tea and my comfy throw over my legs. I’m hunkering down until this cold snap passes because it’s too cold even for me.

Unfortunately, I’m fighting off the crud. I feel on the cusp of being sick, which is worse than actually being sick. When I’m sick, I’m just dealing with being sick. I don’t really think of much else. When I’m maybe about to get sick, I can’t do anything to stop it, and it makes me pissed off. I don’t go out into public that often except to the grocery store, which, come to think of it, is a terrible place to go if you’re trying not to be sick.

It actually makes me angry that I can’t stop myself from getting sick. I’m drinking all the tea, including immunity-boosting tea in addition to my usual honey, ginger, lemon tea. I’m doing my taiji routine every morning (including stretching), which is a half hour. When I first started taiji, I didn’t practice at home at all. In fact, I was resentful of the idea that I should practice. I don’t know why. I was a bitter, negative, and deeply depressed person when I started taking taiji classes. I’m still depressed and negative, but not nearly as much as I used to be.

When I first started practicing taiji at home, I did it for two minutes. The first section of the Solo Form, and even that was begrudging. I slowly started adding to my morning regime, and now, I’m up to a half hour of stretching and taiji. It doesn’t even feel like anything most of the time. My taiji teacher says an hour a day is the most I should do, and I don’t have to do it in one session. Looking back, I can’t believe how much I resented having to do even two minutes of it every day.

Continue Reading

The consequence of not reacting

where did my head go?
I’ve lost my head over this.

I’m going to start out this post talking about Dark Souls because one, I love the series and will talk about it whenever I can. Two, I had a realization today about why I’m shit at parrying (in Dark Souls), and I wanted to muse on it a bit. Yes, it falls into the Wellness category because it’s  about mental health manifesting in a physical way.

Brief primer: Due to a traumatic childhood, I have an extremely high pain tolerance. I’ve mentioned this in the past that when we do chin na (joint lock) techniques on each other in taiji class, I have to be very conscious about when it’s reasonable to tap out rather than do it when I actually feel pain. In the beginning, I could only practice with my teacher because she didn’t trust that I wouldn’t get hurt else-wise. Part of that is natural flexibility in certain ways, like I can yank my thumb towards my wrist without even flinching when others jump after a little tweak. Most of it, however, was me training myself not to react to anything because I would get yelled at as a kid if I let one iota of a negative emotion show.

Come to think of it, that’s probably why I don’t talk about my depression much with anyone or I downplay it. I was either told I wasn’t feeling it when I was a kid, ignored, or scolded about it. When my mother actually did something about it, dragging me to a therapist when I was fourteen, it was at a local very religious school, and he had nothing for me. Yeah, it was a man, which only added to the problem.

I was also heavily bullied in school, and my mother gave me the age-old useless advice of ignoring it because that always works so well. The only two times I got a bully to back off (and both girls for what it’s worth) was the time I cried when a much older girl was bullying me. Her face immediately changed, and she complimented my hair and never bothered me again.  This was when I was six, and the only thing I took away from that experience was that it was so embarrassing to cry in front of someone else. Much later, I realized she was probably in a not-great home situation herself, but six-year-old me couldn’t understand why a teenager would want to be so mean to her.

The second incident was in high school. There was a girl (and I still remember her name) who used to pick on me every day in science class. I want to say physics, but that detail is fuzzy. My stomach would twist in knots every time I walked into the classroom because I knew the second I stepped into the room, she would be on me. Why? Who knows? Probably because I was easy to target as an outsider (fat, Asian, smart, and not knowledgeable about American culture at all). Remember, I was also deeply depressed at this time and probably had anxiety, although I didn’t realize that I had anxiety until much later, and the last thing I needed was some bitch picking on me in class.

I snapped. One day, she started in on her usual bullshit. I grabbed her hair, yanked it back, and told her if she ever bothered me again, I would fucking kill her. She blustered something about me thinking I was so big, but I didn’t. I was just fucking tired of her picking on me every goddamn day and no one doing anything about it. She never bothered me after that, and you would think the lesson I learned from that incident was that a bully doesn’t like to be bullied, but no. I was mortified at how I acted, even though I was pushed into it.

That’s part of the problem of constantly put down–you believe it’s what you deserve, and if you stand up for yourself (the general you), it feels wrong, even if the result is positive. It’s a vicious cycle, and it keeps someone who is downtrodden firmly under other people’s feet.

Continue Reading

Let’s talk about health, baby

the best is a combination of all of the above.
All the bad and none of the good.

Hello. I have sinus problems. It is no fun. I think it’s allergies, but I am not not sure. I woke up feeling as if ice picks are being smashed up my nostrils. By the way, I think I know why I’ve had two migraines and the beginning of the third in the past two weeks is because of the lemonade lite I bought that has Stevia. Now, it’s not one of the listed side effects, but it’s the only thing that has changed in my diet, and I haven’t had a full migraine for about a decade.

I had a taiji classmate who asked me how to tell if a headache is a migraine, and my immediate response was that you would know if you had a migraine. Correction, that’s if you get the headache part of it. My taiji teacher doesn’t, and I’ve learned that’s a type of migraine, albeit rare. You get all the accompanying symptoms without the actual headache. That sounds wacky to me, but it’s apparently a thing.

For me, I can tell because the world goes gray. Or rather, everything starts losing color and feels dull. In addition, stimuli hurts even more than usual (I have sensory issues in general), and I find myself wincing at the least bit of light. When I say hurt, I mean physically. The light hurts my eyeballs, and sounds hurt my ears. It’s as if I have no sensory filter, and everything scores a direct and palpable hit.

If I’m lucky and I catch it right in the beginning, I can pop two Excedrin Migraine (or the generic equivalent), deal with a lowkey headache, and go about my life. If I don’t catch it in time, however, it’s a completely different matter. I will say that I’m still lucky because I can at least function when I have a migraine, albeit at a much less productive pace. I have to turn off all the lights and if I’m watching a video, I have to keep the sound extremely low. I can still write/work, but I have to take more breaks, and my brain runs at a slower pace. The full migraine lasts roughly twenty-four hours, and the chemtrails last for another twenty-four hours or so.

Sinus issues are a different matter. This time, it’s not a sinus headache. It’s my nose feeling as if I’ve snorted a handful of pine needles into it. Again, it’s as if I have no filters, and I can feel everything more intensely than I otherwise would. My nose is also stuffy, and my ears are scabby. I have a cough that comes and goes as it pleases. My body is aching, but that could also be because of some changes my teacher is making to our stance in taiji. It takes more effort, though it’s supposed to be better for you in the long run.

Continue Reading

My life is one long Groundhog Day

The night before the new classes, I was hit with a migraine. I didn’t catch it in time, which I think is a shorter window these days. I’m also not sure my Excedrin Migraine (generic) pills are enough any longer. That would be a shame as it used to be I could pop two if I caught it in time, suffer through a low-level headache for an hour (and maybe some nausea), then I was fine. For the last three instances (in two weeks!), I didn’t catch two in time, and the one I did, it the pills didn’t have the same effect. It took longer to work, and the pain was more intense.

I’ve written before that I’m relatively lucky when it comes to migraines because I can still do work even though I’m not as productive as long as I take plenty of breaks. I think it’s because I have a very high pain tolerance, but whatever the reason, I’ll take it. On the other hand, it’s possible if I completely rested while I had the migraine, it might not last over twenty-four hours.

I just went to the grocery store, and I knew in an instant my migraine wasn’t over. It’s a gray and gloomy day, but there is sun. I winced as it hit my eyes*, and the bright lights in the grocery store made me nausea. I had to press my lips together several times even though I don’t throw up in general,** and I got out of there as quickly as possible. I hate nausea and dizziness. I would much rather have a backache or even a headache rather than nausea and dizziness–or my eyes hurting. It’s the weirdest feeling. It’s like the lenses of my eyes aren’t even there, and the sun rays are boring into my pupils.

Anyway, migraines suck. I don’t know why they’re popping more lately, but I need to figure it out. I hate having a whole day and a half (or two or more) wiped out because of them, and I haven’t had a full migraine in quite some time. I experience many of the triggers for migraines. Lack of sleep, stress, and depression are on the list. Also, certain smells, foods, and even sunlight can be triggers as well. That’s basically my whole life right there. The only one I am mostly clear of is the food trigger. I don’t consume caffeine any longer (which has been hellish, let me tell you); I don’t drink; and I don’t eat cheese any longer, either. Those are the biggest migraine triggers food-wise.

Veering wildly to another topic. The one YouTube series I watch consistently is the Prepare to Try lads. Well, it used to be. They were a group of three lads from IGN who started this as a lark. Apparently, Krupa (Daniel Krupa, who loves the Soulsborne series) floated the idea before the release of Dark Souls III of having a newbie (Rory Powers) play through the original Dark Souls with him, Krupa, as the guide/loremaster. Gav (Gavin Murphy) was along for the bants (banter. He drives the banter bus). I found it way after they did it, and I gobbled up the whole thing. I bingewatched the original series plus the Dark Souls III series.  They’ve done a bunch of one-offs as well as Bloodborne, and I was excited when they finally announced they were doing Dark Souls II (which Krupa hates. I think it’s a very good game, though not a great Souls game). This was in November of last year, then they said it was being put off until February of this year because reasons.


Continue Reading