Underneath my yellow skin

Navel gazing for the new year

One of the worst things about my depression is how it makes everything at least twice as difficult. I am my own worst enemy, as I have noted time and time again. For those who have never experienced depression, it can be difficult to comprehend just how time consuming it is. A small example: when I have to go out, say to taiji, I first have to convince myself that I will go. Even if I want to go, the idea of driving fifteen minutes to get there is daunting. On my worst days, it seems impossible. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve done it in my past. It doesn’t matter that I can do it in my sleep. Every fiber of my being does not want to do it ever again.

It used to be that way when my BFF and I used to go out dancing. Both of us suffer from depression and the overwhelming desire never to leave the house. We’d talk about how we both had to stop ourselves from cancelling, and we always had a blast when we went out. Not only was it difficult to make myself leave the house (my leaning towards inertia is high), but I would imagine everything that might possibly go wrong while I was out. Again, even for something as simple as going to taiji, I ruminate about will it drain me (not completely invalid when I’m sick), can I put up with talking to people for that long (an hour and a half. Not exactly earth shattering), etc. I go to the co-op afterwards, which brings with it a whole new set of worries. Even something as banal as talking to the cashier can tie me up in knots.

I mention this because there are two things I really want to focus on in 2019. As I’ve written before, I am not big on resolutions, but I do like to set goals for the upcoming year. The difference to me is that goals have steps with concrete actions that seem achievable. By the way, I hate ‘actionable steps’. I know what it means in context (something you can actually do as opposed to a theory or an idea), but to me, actionable means something that you take legal action on. It’s a personal pet peeve, but it sticks in my craw every time I read it.

All of that is explanation as to why I tend to have the same goals every year, even if I have concrete steps I can take to actually meet the goals. I  have to overcome my inertia to even get to the point of doing something about it. Then, I have to deal with the negative self-talk. No matter what I’m doing, there’s a voice in the back of my head saying, “What’s the point? Why bother? Nobody cares.” Some days, it’s better than others, but it’s always there. It’s happening as I write this post. Most of the time, I can ignore it enough to get what I need done if it’s part of my routine. But, if it’s something new, then it’s much harder. Or if it involves driving. Which is one of my least-favorite activities in life.

Let me give you an example from the two main goals of 2019 for me. One is to have sex. (Most emphatically not looking for a relationship, though I’m not discounting the possibility out of hand. The reasons a relationship is not high on my list of priorities can be found in my archive as I’ve written about it countless times.) Now. You’d think that’d be fairly simple. Just write a personal ad looking for Netflix and chill, and, bam! Instant sex! I’m a woman who enjoys sex with me! I should be able to have as much sex as I want, right? In theory, yes. Indeed, I have a Bumble profile, and I’ve been notified that I’ve been swiped…right? Left? I think it’s right…on by several people. But in reality, this is my brain when I actually think about it. “Oh. Someone swiped right on me. Let me take a look. Well, damn. They have/want children. They’re looking for a long-term relationship (I’ve made it very clear I’m not). They’re Christian. And the nitpicking continues ad nauseam.

There was one woman who sounded perfect (and was sizzling hot (to me)). She was bi, polyamorous, and loved museums. A redhead with a warm and sexy smile. I think she swiped right on me, but I’m not exactly sure how all that works. I’m old. This is my first time using a dating app. Anyway, I could have swiped right on her or started a conversation, and instead, I froze. My brain: “What would I talk about? What would I say to her? What if we don’t actually have a connection?” Let me take one step back. The emailing/chatting part doesn’t bother me as much as I’m in my element when I can write. No, it’s my brain jumping to the actual date and how that would go.

In addition, the sex. Which I want. I haven’t had it in several years, and while I’m not doubting my abilities, the idea of having sex with someone new is nerve-racking. I don’t like my body in the best of times, and this is definitely not the best of times. I’m fat. While I’ve accepted it for now, I don’t like it. More to the point, I hate it. I’m good at not obsessing about it as I used to, but it’s because I’ve found ways to avoid it such as I very rarely look in the mirror or at my body.

Honestly, I would rather meet someone in the wild and let things happen organically, but because I rarely leave the house, that isn’t going to happen any time soon. I don’t think Bumble is the way to go as most people on it are looking for a long-term (presumably monogamous) relationship.

Side note: Polyamory is weird for me. I’m not strictly monogamous, but I can and have been happily with one person. I don’t see myself having several long-term romantic relationships because that sounds exhausting to me. I don’t want to live with someone (I like a LOT of space), and I definitely do not want to get married. No kids, natch, and that’s soon to be a moot point (perimenopause, yo!). I used to think I’d like one primary partner and other booty calls, but I’m not even sure that stands any longer. The primary partner part, I mean.

Relationships are exhausting to me. I tend to be the one who listens, supports, and is the emotional rock. Which is laughable given my own mental condition. I have a few friends with whom I feel comfortable sharing emotional things, but not very many and not very often. I see the effect of the extreme version of this with my parents, and there is no way in hell I want to be in that position. Ever. But I know it’s in me to be the one who continually gives to the point of breaking, resenting the other person the whole time. I’m not at my mother’s level of delusion/trying to get control by excusing the other person to an infuriating point, but I can clearly see it manifesting in other ways.

Seeing my mother cut herself down more and more to fit into an increasingly-tiny space is sobering. In an hour conversation, all she’ll talk about is my father if I let her. I’m the only one she feels she can talk to about him because she’s set herself up as the therapist among her friends group. In addition, her closest friend is on the board of the association he’s setting up, so she doesn’t feel she could talk to said friend about my father without making my father lose face or something.

I can’t articulate just how frustrating and enraging it is to see a woman who deserves so much more scrape and grovel in front of a man whose biggest concern is himself. How she makes excuse after excuse for him and tries to come up with a thousand-and-one reasons why he’s the way he is. How she tries to make it about how she provoked him in one way or the other. I have a cardinal rule that I don’t talk with her about any of this because it doesn’t make a difference, but I broke the rule the night she called me and I was in the tail end of a migraine. It just made me madder and sadder because she couldn’t even see how distorted her reality was. It also underlined how she would always put him first. Always. She has since I was a kid, and she always will. Which makes the both of them. He puts himself first and so does she.

This is my long-winded way of saying I could see me becoming my mother little-by-little and hating myself even more than I already do. I know it’s my personal shortcomings, and I know it’s something I could work on, but I also know it’d take a long time and a lot of effort, and I’m not sure it’s something I want to do. Whether or not I choose to work on these issues, I need sex. That’s something that has to happen in the next year, two at the longest.

The second is publishing a book. Now. This one is so fraught with issues that I don’t even know where to begin. Wait, that’s a lie. Yes, I do. I’m a writer. I’m a good writer, even though I am verbose. I am quite confident in saying that there’s nothing out there like what I write simply because the majority of my protagonists are Taiwanese bisexual women. Add in taiji and black cats, and yeah. My strength is character development and dialogue. I am shite at descriptions–pure shite. I’m good with plotting, but I tend to let one or two strands peter out on their own or simply not address them. I’m of two minds because I know that in my genre (mysteries), there’s a heavy emphasis on making everything is tied up neatly at the end. On the other hand, life isn’t like that, and I myself like it when there are a few mysteries left unsolved–as long as they don’t tie in with the core mystery.

As you can probably tell, I come alive when I talk about writing. The business end, however, freaks me the fuck out. Whether it’s traditional publishing or self-publishing, it seems like a divide I cannot cross. That’s not even touching the marketing aspect at which I’m total shite. Self-promotion is against everything I’ve been taught, and I don’t know if I can push past that discomfort. In tandem with the publishing is starting the video aspect of my work. Unfortunately, I have nothing more to say on that as I don’t even know what I want to make videos of–except I’ve firmly crossed off cooking. Despite my brief dalliance with the instapot, I am no more enthused about cooking than I had been before I bought the instapot.

I will have to think more about it and get back to you when I know more. In the meantime, goodbye, 2018. I hope the door hits you on your way out.



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