Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Mental Health

On the contrary; life as a contrarian

I’m a contrarian. I know this and to some extent, I embrace it. I swear to the heavens that it’s not out of spite or because I think I’m better than anyone else, but it’s just how my brain works. I tend to look at something from several angles and poking holes in theories. I will say that part of it is me always rooting for the underdog, which means I want to represent the minority viewpoint more often than not. It’s also because I hate things being misrepresented. It’s one reason I had to step back from politics because of the in-fighting. I expect Republicans to attack Dems, but it’s Dems viciously tearing each other apart that drives me fucking nuts. It’s always been that way, but it started getting really bad during the 2016 primaries and it has just gotten worse over time.

I am a far leftie in theory and a not-quite-as-far leftie in practice. That means I get to see the ugly on both sides. It really irks me that some Democrats online spend more time slinging arrows at each other than across the bow. What is the fucking point? I’m not talking about discussing the differences and hashing out what’s important to the party. I’m talking about demonizing the other side and declaring them the enemy. Seriously. We’re talking about degrees of how far we should go on an issue rather than being on opposite sides. It’s frustrating and irritating, and I want no part of it.

However, this post isn’t about me being a contrarian about ideas and politics and whatnot, but rather about me being contrarian when it comes to pop culture.  Now, while it’s true that in the aforementioned instances, there is often a small part of pure contrarian because that’s who I am. It’s 95% not that, but maybe 5% that. In this case, though, it’s simply I don’t like what other people like. I know some people think it’s me being hip or whatever, but it truly isn’t.

A recent(ish) example is Knives Out. It was a huge success and it got raved about over and over again. So many superlatives, so little time. It was an ensemble cast with a quirky detective, which should have been right up my alley. I watched the trailer and was…not impressed. Everyone talked about how great Daniel Craig was, but I could not get past how terrible his accent was. Maybe it was purposeful? I mean, he’s a great actor so I cannot imagine he couldn’t do a spot-on accent. Also, he appears clueless, but it had to be an act, right? Like Poirot.


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If you can’t say anything nice

Come sit by me. That’s usually my attitude towards that saying, but today, I’m going to put a spin on things and list all the good things about me that I can. Why? Because normally I gloss over them or downplay them or ignore them completely. I’m not comfortable with any kind of self-praise, evev if it’s just me saying it to myself. I’m treating this as just an experiment to take the heat off myself and I’m pretty sure I’ll explain away every positive point, but so be it.

Let’s start with the physical. I have two features I like. One is my hair, which is funny because I wear it in a topknot all the time. When I wear it down, I get compliments on it. It could be simply because of the sheer length.

Side note: I’ve mentioned this before, but my hair used to reach my waist. It stayed there for several decades until a few years ago, it began to grow again. I had no idea why. Normally, I would give credit to taiji, but that wasn’t something that had changed in that time. After some reflection, I realized it was probably my change in diet. That was around the same time I cut out dairy and gluten plus some other things that were giving me issues. That made sense to me and I’m sticking with it.

It grew to nearly my knees, well, a few inches from my knees, and I noticed that the edges were getting scraggly. I cut off roughly six inches and it’s now at the top of my thighs. I’m holding out hope that it’ll grow past my knees and that’s my new hair goal. The old one used to be let it turn all white a la Storm from the X-Men before chopping it off.  Now, I want it to reach my ankles.


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Feeding my addiction

Weapons. Let’s talk about them. Why? Because I’m obsessed with them. I mean, I’ve always loved my weapons, but in the last few months, they’ve really become deeply meaningful to me. As much as I love taiji in general, I would not have said the same for the Solo Form. I’ve really struggled with the Solo Form. I hated it from the beginning and, honestly, I didn’t know why I stuck with it especially since I had a disastrous experience the first time I tried taiji due to a terrible, manipulative, shady teacher.

With my second teacher, I fought her every step of the way. I was recalcitrant and grumpy, pushing back hard on whatever she said. I hated the Solo Form. I hated it so much that I didn’t practice it at home. In fact, I added a second class a week because I wouldn’t practice at home. Why didn’t I quit especially as it was not mandatory in any way? I’m still not entirely sure. Something inside me kept pushing me to go. I needed something to do as exercise as I hated nearly every other form of it.

In addition, I wanted to have a way to defend myself if I ever needed it. I have been in harrowing situations in the past and never want to be in one again. Or rather, I never want to feel as helpless as I have in the past. Indeed, I have already seen the fruits of my labor in other ways. Such as my minor car accident in which I saw the other car coming towards me. I thought, “I’m going to get hit,” and my body immediately relaxed. I didn’t will it to relax and I didn’t consciously think that I had to relax–it just happened.

But did I ever learn to love the Solo Form? No. I still don’t. I don’t hate it any longer, but I don’t love it. And yet, there was something in me that kept pushing to do it. I resentfully started practicing at home for five minutes a day. Just the warmups and maybe a bit of the Solo Form. Oh, I also did the weight-bearing set that is in taiji as well.

Against myself, I started incorporating more and more of taiji into my daily life. I added a third class and my home routine stretched out into ten minutes, fifteen, and now, up to forty-five minutes with the expansion being on the weapons side. I’ve had to cajole and trick myself into doing more taiji because that’s the way my brain works, but whatever it takes.


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Minor stressors becoming a major stress

My previous post was about a family issue that is compounded by a bad habit of mine and now it’s threatening to bring about a migraine. You can read about it here. Yesterday, I had to take my Migraine Excedrin (generic) for the first time since I started my caffeine regime. My sleep has gone directly to shit and I’m stressed about it even when I’m not looking for it. The document, I mean. The problem is that there is three or four places it should be. Three or four places where I would put it, I mean. I remember my brother bringing it to me and me putting it in something and putting it on the shelf under the coffee table. Which is funny because he remembers me putting it on the coffee table, which I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do. He added, or on the table by the couch. The one with the lamp. Also not what I would have done.

I’ve checked the three or four places several times and now, I have no idea where else to look. There are places that it’s not possible at all because I don’t go into those areas. There are places that are highly unlikely because I just simply would not put anything there–but I’m getting desperate.

The hidden part is that looking for this blasted thing is draining my energy–not that I had much to begin with. I’ve been making deals with myself like, “Check this area, then you can have your pudding.” And not the British version of pudding, but literal pudding.

By the way, sometimes, the simplest things are the best. Instant almond milk chocolate pudding plus a plant-based whipped cream with blueberries, chopped cranberries, and chocolate granola FTW.

Anyway. Gotta keep looking, but I’m running out of ideas.

 

 

Shying away from the ‘D’ word

My sleep has gone to shit again. This is not surprising, though it is disheartening. It happened once early in the lockdown and I managed to get it mostly under control–going to bed by 2 a.m. at the latest. In the past week or so, however, my body has just said to fuck with all that. I just had the revelation that it might be because I’m drinking caffeine every day again, although that has been longer than the sleep bullshit, I think. Back when I used to drink caffeine on the regular, it didn’t affect my sleep at all. But I gave it up for two years so maybe I’m a newb again when it comes to caffeine. Or it could just be my body being stupid. Bodies are stupid sometimes.

Bedtime has been creeping back again bit by bit. I hit the peak of 6 a.m. two nights again and decided I needed to rein it in. The problem is that I fall asleep/nap around nine or ten at night for an hour or so and then I can’t properly fall asleep for hours. Last night, I went to bet at 5:30 a.m. Sigh. Oh, and I think I have some kind of bug because I’m sleeping more than seven hours a pop. I would like to get it back on track, but a small part of mind says, “Who the fuck cares in this year of our lord, the pandemic?” It doesn’t matter, really, when I go to sleep, but it’s a point of honor now to see if I can actually sleep like a normal person. If I can move my bedtime to 1 a.m. and keep it there, I’d be satisfied.

Let’s talk about the staff/spear. I write it that way every time because it’s a staff, but I’m doing spear drills. It’s made of waxwood and it’s smooth as butter in my hands. It feels like supple plastic (in a good way) as it slides effortlessly in my hands without the fear of getting splinters. I love it like I’ve loved no other weapon save the sword and I want to learn ALL THE THINGS.

This segues into the title of my post, however. D is for disability. I don’t use the word because I don’t feel like I have the right but also because I don’t want to put that label on myself for the usual litany of reasons. Internalized ableism; feared ableism; thinking of myself as lazy rather than disabled; and more. In addition, it’s hard to think of myself as disabled because as I’ve said before, each individual thing is not huge in and of itself.

It’s also hard because I feel like a lazy bitch all the time. Part of that is depression, but part is because my body tires out so quickly. Then I think it’s because I’m fat and lazy and not in good shape, not because of my various issues.

I can’t. Sorry. I’m just not in the mood. Some days, it’s just too much effort. Here’s Apocalyptica doing O Holy Night.

I am just done

One way I can tell when I’m nearly done with something is that everything gets on my last nerve. Normally, I’m good at deflecting and keeping my shit to myself. But if I’m not allowed or able to replenish my reservoir, that ability erodes until at some point it completely disappears.  for example. Talking to my parents on the phone. Normally, I just ‘uh huh’ and ‘really?’ until the phone call ends and then shake off the slight depression before going about my business. By the way. My brother and I recently compared our conversations with our parents, and they’re exactly the same except I get more bitching from my mother. Way more bitching. Most of the time, my mentality is, “Just listen to them blather, nod in agreement, and get off the phone as quickly as you can.” With an added, “Tell them you’re fine, everything is fine, yes, Covid-19 sucks, yes, this current president sucks, have a good life, goodbye.”

It doesn’t help that my parents are deeply entwined in a codependent relationship that I’m afraid will leave my mother worse for the wear. I mean, hell, it already has as most of her life revolves around my father and catering to his needs. My mother was on a kick for fifteen years to get me pregnant and then switched to getting me married after that. She would say who would take care of me when I’m old and sick if I weren’t married? It took every ounce of will I had not to snap out that her being married hadn’t helped her. Indeed, recently, she fell and hit her head, and as she felt the blood (which was pink), my father insisted it wasn’t blood. He kept asking her if she had dyed her hair recently which, first of all, she hadn’t dyed her hair in a decade or so. Second, she’s never dyed her hair pink. She said this proved she couldn’t count on him and then did a little laugh. I hate that laugh, by the way. It’s a fairly new addition and she only does it when she knows that she’s saying something unreasonable. Like having to put up with your husband being worse than useless in an emergency situation.

By the way, my mother shared that my father’s latest dementia tests show that he hasn’t deteriorated in the year. She was relieved while I was baffled. If it’s not medical, then why is he getting worse and worse with his memory, his self-absorption, and everything else? This is an age-old question with him, though. Is it medical or just his innate narcissism? I try not to get sucked into the speculation, but it’s hard not to get drawn into it because my mother is incessant about talking about my father.

Anyway. When my mom calls, it goes like this. She asks the perfunctory ‘how are you?’ question then use it to springboard into whatever she wants to talk about. Usually her many physical problems, things my father has done to irritate her but she can’t admit it, Covid-19, the election, work issues, and then insist that I talk to my father. He’ll ask about Covid-19 and express amazement that it’s not going down. A bit about this president and the totally unfounded belief that Americans are logical and rational people and how could this happen? He says in complete seriousness that America is the best country in the world! Mind, he hasn’t actually lived here in nearly 30 years, but facts don’t matter. Then he pontificates how each individual person doesn’t matter (when it comes to the coronavirus) and we can’t do anything so we should just ignore it and move on.


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My empathy bowl is empty

Was reading my stories (AAM being the main) and there was a question about what to do when your boss was wearing his mask wrong (under the nose). I ran into this when I went to the gas station. An employee was wearing her mask under her nose. I just stayed away and got out as quickly as possible. I know I could have told her to pull it up, but it’s a young woman working a low-paying job. I had my mask on and I was only in there for five minutes. I wasn’t going to add to her already shitty day. However.

If I were in an office where I didn’t need to be and my boss did this? Yeah, no. That would be all kinds of no. There were stories in the comments about people knowing Covid deniers (some of them coworkers) who then got Covid and they (the commenter) having a hard time having any compassion for the person. It reminded me of a question to Dear Prudence from someone whose relatives, want to say brother and sister-in-law, who were avid Covid deniers, spread misinformation, and wouldn’t social distance or wear masks. The LW (letter writer) was pissed because her brother had set up a GoFundMe when he, his wife, and all their children got Covid. He wanted LW to donate and send it around. She was furious and unloaded some righteous anger in her letter to Danny. LW said not only did she not want to give her brother money or send around his request, she had no compassion for him for getting Covid. I don’t even remember her question–probably something about should she do it, anyway? That doesn’t matter because it’s the response I want to focus on.

Danny, rightly so, took the LW to task for being vindictive in her response. He said that it wasn’t the fault of the population that the government has fucked this up so badly and people were confused. This was a few months ago, I hasten to clarify, when information about what to do wasn’t quite as obvious as it is now. Danny also said that wanting someone to pay with their life was cruel no matter the person’s behavior beforehand. He said no one deserved to get Covid for their beliefs/behaviors.


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NaNo rebel coming in hot

I’m writing this on Election Day and I’m stridently ignoring that tidbit until later tonight. I already voted a few weeks ago by mail so I don’t have to do anything today. Four years ago, I was pretty sure that Clinton would win so I watched with eagerness. My excitement turned to dread as the returns came in. Ian was with me and we both were stunned. I sunk into a deep depression when I realized the results and it was doubly terrible because I had been so sure Clinton would win.

Fast-forward to this year. Most of the predictions including Nate Silver (the one who called it for the president and got pilloried for it. I am ashamed to admit I was one who decried him for fearmongering for clickbait) are overwhelmingly pro-Biden, but I am not going to let that happen to me again. I’m hopeful it’s going to be Biden-Harris (though I have no love for Biden), but I have the growing dread that the president will somehow manage to get away with it. I don’t know what it means, but that it’ll be four more years.

So let’s not talk about it. Let’s talk about NaNoWriMo instead. Or NaNo Rebel. Or whatever. In two days, I’ve written 8,000 words. To be fair, I started at midnight on the 1st, which I count as the 31st of October in my brain (day doesn’t start until I get up), but it feels good to have almost 10,000 under my belt. It’s me writing a thousand words at a time–sometimes forcing myself. I had been trying to be kind and allowing myself to take breaks whenever I wanted. That led to me writing for five minutes, breaking for ten minutes, taking a smoke break, then back to writing for five minutes. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Now, I’ve told myself firmly that I have to write a thousand words before I can do anything else. Then, I take a small break and do a thousand more. It’s not been easy, but it’s been invigorating. It really has changed my writing habit and drastically. In addition, I feel better about this project than I did when I was babying myself.

To be clear–I’m not putting down self-care. I think it’s important to  know your limits and to honor the fact that it’s a really difficult time right now. There are days when you simply cannot (this seems to be one of them for me), but at least for me, it’s time to be a bit more strict with myself and only myself.

In addition, I set the goal of writing 100,000 words this month. I’m still sticking to it, but I’m toying with a few twists to my goal. For one thing, I want to do a short bio of each of the main characters. Or rather, a backstory for each. Especially each sister and the aunt because they are so important. Like a snapshot of each. It wouldn’t be included in the novel, but it would be a good addendum to the trilogy.

Nothing big. Just 5,000 word snippets of each character. There probably wouldn’t be one for the main character because all three novels have snippets of her life. Plus, a few of the besties. Maybe seven in total? That’s an extra 35,000 words. If I do that, then I really won’t finish by the end of the year. But it intrigues me. Therefore, I may do it. One of my issues is being very rigid in my thinking and once I get something in my head, I have a hard time bending from what I said I was going to do.


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Free to breathe

I have a problem doing what I need to be doing. In this case, mailing in my absentee ballot. I’m registered to vote and requested my ballot in the beginning of September. I didn’t get my ballot and didn’t get my ballot so I checked the SoS website. It said it was sent September 18th. What??? I only checked my mail once a week (Sunday when I went to put out the trash) and there it was–two weeks after they said they sent it. Which meant it took at least five or six days to get to me–which shouldn’t be the case.

Then, I set it on my counter and didn’t do anything about it for two weeks because that’s how I roll. We had a bit of snow yesterday and it was predicted we’d get 5 – 8 inches today (now downgraded to 4 – 6) and it was getting uncomfortably close to the election for my taste. So, I went to mail it (I don’t trust my mailbox for good reason) and it felt so damn good to be driving with the windows down in 30 degree weather. I felt alive and refreshed; I had forgotten how much I loved doing that.

By the way, voting in my small city is so easy. I just Google candidates for about fifteen minutes and bob’s your uncle. Even for ‘non-partisan’ (yes, in quotes) positions, it’s fairly easy to tell where they stand on issues. If the first thing they mention is taxes, they’re not the candidate for me. If there’s no mention of social justice (especially with the current events being what they are), hard no. If there’s no challenger such as with judges, I don’t vote. I’m not feeling great about this year’s election for many reasons, but I knew I had to vote.

Being in the car with the window down, the brisk wind reddening my cheek, that felt good. Now, I’m on snow watch and it’s coming down hard. I can feel my soul expanding as I watch it fall. Oh, this is another reason I am not good with people. I love winter. I love snow and the cold. When the weather drops below forty, I feel more alive. Other people get SAD in the winter; I get it in the summer. Or rather, I get irrationally angry when the temperature rises about seventy. Put me in zero degrees with my weighted ‘cool’ blanket and a mug of dairy-free hot chocolate with my cat on my lap? Hell to the motherfucking yes!


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Fighting mad

I’m still feeling shitty. I’m doing another excavation as to what is causing my digestive issues. Strawberries for one. Also, berries are really frustrating in that they go bad in three days, but that’s not the point of this post. Strawberries are starting to hurt my stomach, which is a shame. Blackberries and blueberries are on the cusp.

I woke up feeling super shitty today and slammed down two migraine meds (non-prescription). I’ve been trying not to use them every day because I don’t want to blunt the usefulness, but that has meant white-knuckling a few days where I didn’t use them.

I’ve had to pare back on my taiji weapons because I just can’t do it all. I mean, it’s a lot to begin with, but my body is not up for doing the whole thing. I don’t like it, but there we are.