Underneath my yellow skin

Not in This Lifetime

I saw my last therapist for close to fifteen years. Around the ten-year mark, I said something about regretting that I was still working on some of the same issues that I had been when I first started seeing her. She said something to the effect that if I didn’t work on them then, I would be saying the the same thing in ten more years, except it’d be, “I can’t believe I’ve been working twenty years on this,” instead of ten.

I balked at what she was saying at the time (that’s just how I roll. My first instinct is always to counter what’s being said to me. I’m working on it), and I thought it was trite (which it was, but many tropes have at least a grain of truth), but she’s right. It’s fine to be sad that I haven’t fixed x, y, or z, but unless I work on it, it still won’t get fixed, and I’ll just have wasted more years. Take for example learning a new language. Chinese would be really useful for me to learn, but I would feel weird if I learned it before I learn Taiwanese which is my family’s native language. It would be harder for me to learn it, and I haven’t. I also haven’t learned Chinese. If I had started with that, I would know it by now.


In the past week, I’ve been thinking of my mortality. I’m probably past the half point of my life, and it’s all downhill from here. I jest, but not really. I have a thing that I hate the second half of things because it means the end is nearer than the beginning, and I’m feeling that way about my life right now. There are many things that are probably not going to happen in this lifetime, some for better and some for worse. Let’s start with some of the better ones.

  1. Have kids. WHEW!!! Enough said. Ha! Just kidding. About enough said, not about putting kids on this list. I can’t help but be smug when I remember an argument with a friend twenty years ago about having kids. There were three of us, all in our mid-to-late twenties, and one friend was insisting that I’d be the first of us to have kids. I don’t know why she thought that, but it really pissed the fuck out of me. I’ve known since I was twenty that I didn’t want kids. It’s the only constant in my life. To have someone who didn’t even know me that well tell me that I was going to have kids, aw, hell no. At the time, I thought to myself that I would send her postcard after she had a kid to gloat about it. She has a kid now and so does my other friend (my BFF), and me? Gloriously child-free.
  2. Get married. This is another that I assumed would just happen because isn’t it what every girl dreams of? Not me. I never made my Barbies get married–just have sex. I didn’t dream of my wedding because it seemed more like a nightmare to me. When I got older, I had political problems with it as well. The sexist origins of marriage, the taking of the dude’s last name, etc. Add to that the fact that marriage equality was but a dream when I was a young bi lady, and it was a big fat nope for me. Still, there was a tiny corner of my mind that wanted it for…reasons! I couldn’t articulate why, but I began to see it was to normalize my freak-ass self. I was such a weirdo and had no place in polite society. I had shed vestiges of an acceptable persona all throughout my twenties. I gave up religion, the idea of being a mother, and I had a hard time letting go of walking down the aisle in wedded bliss. What changed my mind? Over time, I realized I didn’t want to be with someone 24/7. I like living alone. I don’t like compromise. I like sleeping by myself. Well, maybe with my cat, but dassit. Any time I thought of marriage, it just seemed like a millstone around the neck. By the time I was thirty, I was done with the idea of marriage.
  3. A romantic relationship. This is in a gray area, but I’m leaning towards the idea that I’d prefer not to have a monogamous, primary romantic relationship. I’ve written about this before, but I’m not good girlfriend material. In addition, I don’t want to commit so deeply to one person. I have great friends that fulfill many of my emotional needs, and all I really am missing is sex. I’ve said it many times, but my ideal sex buddy would be someone with whom I could laugh, talk, eat, watch a sportsball game, then fuck for hours. Then, I’d kick them out and sleep the way I sleep best–alone. I wouldn’t mind having a few of these relationships. The idea makes me smile. When I think of a romantic relationship, there’s a constriction in my chest, and I have a hard time breathing. It feels smothering, which is what I tend to do in relationships.

Those are the ones I’m comfortable with. There are others that I’m less happy about. Let’s start that list now.

  1. I’m never going to be on Broadway. Sigh. I love musicals so much. My BFF laughed when I told her how much I loved Moulin Rouge because it was counter to what I normally like in a movie. I said, “Let me guess. You’re surprised because Sateen *spoilers* dies in the end, the romance is hokey, and the plot is laughable.” She admitted that was exactly what she was thinking. I said none of that mattered because it was a musical, and I didn’t care about that shit when I can sing along to a baller song like Come What May.  I love singing, dancing, and performing. I don’t care about the cheesiness when it comes to musicals–in fact I eat it all up (no lactose-intolerance problem here!)–and I want more. If I had been born twenty years later or into a different family, this might have been a viable path for me. As it is, now, I just sing in the privacy of my own car or home, and I think about what might have been.
  2. I’m never going to be on the big screen. See number one. Y’all know I’m a writer. I love to write. It’s a way of exploring my emotions, thoughts, and feelings. It’s a way of creating new worlds and people to populate those worlds. I can’t imagine my life without it, and yet, I would give it up in a heartbeat if I could be an actor. Acting was my first love. It’s my secret love. I’ve done acting in the past, but it’s been twenty years, and I can’t imagine doing it now. This is my biggest regret by far. I would give up almost everything I have to act again. But, as a fat, old, bisexual Taiwanese American chick, yeah, the odds are stacked firmly against me. I could do something with YouTube/Twitch myself, which I’m contemplating, but it doesn’t seem very real to me.
  3. I’m never going to be a size zero. This is objectively a good thing, but it doesn’t mean I don’t wish for it sometimes. I use to have a 27-inch waist, when I was anorexic. The thing is, I still felt like a fat cow, and I still tried to lose weight even though I looked skeletal. When I look back at pictures of myself from that time, I look so insubstantial like a stiff breeze could blow me away. But, goddamn it, I loved being able to see the gap between my thighs. I’m trying to find my way to a body in which I feel comfortable, but it’s not easy. I wish I had never started down the road of eating disorders (ED), but that’s another thing I can’t change.

Those are the major disappointments in my life, and number three isn’t nearly as big as one and two. Intellectually, I know that I could still perform, even if it’s not on Broadway or in Hollywood (and fuck Hollywood. Seriously. Their mistreatment of Asians is feeling fucking personal at this point), but I feel as if I’m too old for that. Yes, I know it’s in my mind. Yes, I know I could try out again on a local level. We have the oldest Asian American regional theater in the nation–Mu Performing Arts, nee Theater Mu, and I performed with them back in the nineties. I could also do more one-woman performances, which I also did in the nineties, which was really rewarding, but also a lot of work. Honestly, my best memories are of the times I created, directed, and performed one-woman acts. I got a standing ovation for one of my performances, which is like crack to me. There is nothing like the high of standing in front of a captive, er, captivated audience and pouring my heart out to them. I have stage fright something awful, but it’s worth it to get that dopamine hit.

I don’t know what to do with this knowledge. I love performing. It’s my lifeblood, but I haven’t done it in close to twenty years. I don’t know where to start or what kind of performing I’d like to do. I don’t know if I could conquer my stage fright enough to even do it any longer. All I know is I miss it like hell, and my life doesn’t feel fulfilling without it.


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