Underneath my yellow skin

Getting out of my own damn way

I’m my own worst enemy, and I know it. I can think about a hundred things I want to do or should do, but when I actually get down to the nitty-gritty, I start throwing roadblocks in my own way. I immediately think about a million of things that will go wrong, and then, more often than not, I end up doing–nothing. One big decision I made in my life was going to SF for grad school in writing. Writing & Consciousness, to be more specific. Yeah, it’s SF. Whaddya going to do?

Immediately, I was inundated with doubts. I poured them all out to my therapist, one after the other. After listening to me for twenty minutes or so, she stopped me and said, “Minna. Half of the things you imagine will never happen, and things will happen that you can’t even dream of right now.” I know it sounds cliched, but it really hit me hard. I didn’t have much control in my early life, so now, I worry obsessively as a way of trying to feel as if I’m in control. Her timely reminder that I can’t control what happens was what I needed, and it emboldened me to go forward with the move. The results were mixed, but I at least fucking did it.

You’d think I’d learn something from it, like, yeah, do something, anything, and just keep it moving. I’ve said it before, but one thing I really admire about my brother is that he’ll get an idea and just do it. If it doesn’t work, he’ll move on to the next thing. Now, obviously, there are downsides to that (like wasting time on unfinished projects), but it also means he can shrug it off when something fails or when he goes to the next project. Plus, he actually finishes a lot more things than I do. He once told me he had no regrets in his life, which blew me away. I regret everything in my life–everything! Even the good things, I can find a reason for regret.

You know what? I should take a positive example in my life–taiji. I had taken it before, and it was a terrible experience. Once I was recovered from it, I decided that I wasn’t going to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I liked taiji itself, and I wanted to take classes again. Of course, my brain was telling me a million reasons why it was a bad idea, but I managed to push through it and started researching nearby studios. I had a few things I were looking for–one was Asian-led. I let that one go pretty quickly, though, because I live in Minnesota. the second one was that the teacher was a woman. That one was a bit more fruitful, and I was encouraged. The third was no payment schemes. What I mean is, there are some martial arts schools that are more interested in getting paid than in teaching. A common way is to have paid belts. (There are no belts in taiji, or shouldn’t be.) There was one studio that insisted on a uniform and that you had to buy everything through them. NOPE.

I came across my teacher after hours of searching, and I have to say, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I’ve learned so much from taiji, and it keeps giving to me (even if I’m currently frustrated with it because of all the changes). It’s hard for me not to think of all the ways I’ve failed, though. All the bad decisions I’ve made, many of them in my personal life, are scarred deeply in my soul. Sometimes, I can’t help thinking about them and picking over what I’ve done wrong. Or, I Google my exes just to torture myself. (Not all of them, just the ones I regret where things went wrong.)

I tend to let things happen to me rather than actually be proactive about things. There are things I want to do, but I have a real fear of actually doing them. All these doubts besiege me, and I end up paralyzed emotionally. Let me give you a current example. I blog (duh), but I know that podcasts and vlogging are the ways of the future. Or, having a strong social media presence and piggybacking off that. Or streaming if you’re into video games, which I am. I *know* all this, but am I doing any of it? No. Why not? I’ll tell you why, one by one.

Podcasts and vlogging: I hate the way I sound and look. Now, I know the former is pretty common because we can’t hear our voices as they sound to others. I’ve accepted that I have a voice that others find soothing and pleasant, so I can deal with it. Barely. As for the latter, I hate the way I look. A lot. For several reasons. As I’ve noted before, I don’t look in the mirror unless I actually have to, and every time I do, I cringe. I don’t know if I can get past that barrier, either for vlogging or for streaming, but I know that people respond better to face cam than when there isn’t one (for streaming), especially with women, but that brings up another issue with women and streaming–the rampant sexism that women have to face online. On the one hand, there’s the death threats, the rape threats, the ‘you don’t belong here, bitch’ threats, and such. On the other hand, there’s the stalkers, the obsessed fans, and the “I want to get in your panties” assholes. For whatever reason*, misogyny just spirals out of control online.

In addition, if I were to stream, what would I stream? I’ve often joked about streaming me sitting on the couch with my cat and a cup of coffee, just reading or surfing online. every time I  tweet that, I get at least one person saying they’d watch me do that. Which, weird. I would never stream a Souls game because one, there aren’t any new ones for the foreseeable future and it’s no fun to watch someone who’s already played the games breeze through them. Two, Souls fans are the worst. Not even the ones who are ‘GIT GUD’ and ‘GET REKT N00B’ and shit. It’s the ones who can’t…stop…giving…advice. I’ve watched streams, and even when the streamer explicitly states that he (and it’s usually a he) doesn’t want any advice, he still gets some. I remember one streamer said he didn’t want advice, and a comment in the chat was something like, “Even though I don’t agree with you, I’ll respect it.” The streamer was like, “What’s there to agree with? It’s my stream!” Which, yeah.

Basically, I believe that bonfires/lamps are worth pointing out because you’ll be super-salty if you miss them, but I also think you should refrain if the person playing doesn’t want to know about it. Here’s the thing. One of the best parts of playing Soulsborne games is figuring things out for yourself, and it’s a serious bummer when someone spoils something for you. Yes, they’re meant to be community games, but the thing is, the wikis are there for you to use when you want to. Me, personally, I try to do everything on my own before delving into the wikis. I would be pissed if someone kept telling me what to do. I know it’s not malicious and people just want to be helpful, but help the streamer in the way they want to be helped!

Anyway, I have some ideas, but I can’t seem to kick myself hard enough in the ass to actually do any of them. Part of the problem with vlogging or streaming or even podcasting is that I’ve never worked with any of that, and I’m not good with technical stuff. Well, that’s not actually true. It’s more that I don’t want to make myself learn it. Or even more specifically, that I don’t want to teach it to myself. I know I could ask for help because I know people who can do both very well.

As for the tweeting thing, I have a few ideas of what I can tweet live to, and I get a good reception whenever I do it, but…here’s another thing about me. I’m lazy. I know the best thing to do is make a schedule and stick to it. I’m not good at that. I’m bad at promoting myself. I just cringe at the thought, but I know it’s a very important thing with social media. There are a ton of other reasons, but these are the most prevalent ones.

Honestly, I just need to pick one idea (which is another one of my issues. Indecision.) and run with it instead of thinking it so much. If I fail, I fail. It’s something I have to internalize.




*Anonymity amplifies assholery.


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