Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: alone

The good, the bad, and the ugly of being a freak

yellow and mellow.
Yellow and different–that’s me.

Yesterday, I commented to my taiji teacher that one of the good things about growing up a freak (both of us did) was that it gave us a lot of time being comfortable with liking things that other people thought weird. It was in conjunction to the fact that I had someone on my FB saying she didn’t see why on earth people played video games after I posted a pic from Monster Hunter World, and while I didn’t get into it on the post, I immediately thought, “Why is it so hard to believe that someone might like something you don’t?” I’ve never gotten that, really. Being so mainstream in your interest, you can’t fathom anyone not liking what you like is something I can’t even begin to imagine.

I like that I’m not invested so much in anything I’m passionate about, I take it as a personal affront if someone else doesn’t like it at all. I will say, don’t be a dick if you don’t like something someone else is enthusiastic about, though. That’s never very nice. However, I have so much experiencing being on the outside, I don’t take offense if people wrinkle their noses when I say I like something. I’ve mentioned it before, but I will cheerfully admit that my taste in music is garbage which takes the wind out of the sails of people wanting to slag me for the music I listen to. My taiji teacher likes loud experimental noise music, and I like cheesy pop music (not exclusively, but considerably more than is good for me).

I tend to like the niche in things other than music. Well, it used to be true in books because I’m an avid mystery reader, but it’s become so mainstream, I can no longer claim it as a niche. Also, there are several different sub-genres within the broad category of ‘mystery’ including literary, just FYI. In movies, I prefer indie films and ones with a psychological bent. I’m not huge into action movies, and I hate romcoms. In video games, I like Souls, which used to be niche but now is the standard. I kid. It’s still pretty niche, even though it’s a popular niche. I’m currently watching the intro bit to Death’s Gambit, a Souls-like game that was in development for ages. I forgot about it except when there was an update now and again, but then it was dropped without fanfare, which made me suspicious. The rating on Steam is mixed, so I decided to watch a few Let’s Plays of the intro areas (up to the first boss, but also extra boss in the beta demo, which was last week. Again, with no fanfare) to make up my mind.

What is Death’s Gambit? It’s a 2D Souls-like Metroidvania. I feel like I’ve been saying that way too often about games because there are many Souls clones out there. The graphics are gorgeous, and I was immediately drawn into the world. The music is appropriately atmospheric, and it’s soothing. One of the streamers I watched, RockLeeSmile, picked wizard to play as, which unnecessarily excited me. No one EVER plays as a caster on stream, and while I understand why (it’s not that exciting to watch, tbh), it’s hard for me to gauge my experience with a game if I don’t see a caster. That’s another way I’m different–being a caster.  It’s decried in Souls-like games, but I don’t give a fuck.  If it’s in the game, it’s fair play. In addition, as I’ve said, now that I’ve played both caster and melee, I can say with confidence that melee is easier than caster BY FAR*, so I side-eye all the streamers who unthinkingly repeat the blather than being a caster in baby/easy mode.

Anyhoo, this is not yet another screed about the toxicity of the Dark Souls community. It’s about the pros and cons of being an oddball. Another pro is that I’m very comfortable being by myself because I’ve done it for so long. I actually prefer it, which is both a plus and a minus. I’ll get more into that later. It’s just me and my cat, Shadow, and we get along really well–except for in the morning when he’s mewing and pawing at me to get up because he’s STARVING and needs wet food RIGHT NOW. Never mind that I free-feed him–he needs the wet stuff! It doesn’t help that my sleep schedule is all over the map so he’s never sure when he’s getting his breakfast, but he can be assured he’ll get it at some point.

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A Voice in the Wilderness

all by myyyyself
Party of one.

I’ve never been a joiner, and I don’t particularly care for groups. I find that no matter how liberal the group, there is a core mentality to which you have to adhere in order to be embraced. Otherwise, you’re tolerated at best, coldly snubbed at worst. As anyone who has interacted with me knows, I’m not a follower. I have a hard time with authority for various reasons, but mostly because I’m wary of a concentrated amount of power, no matter how just it might seem. In addition, we are all tribal at heart, whether we want to admit it or not, so the temptation to skew to the group norm is great. It’s not always a conscious thing, which makes it harder to recognize in yourself.

I’ve talked before about being a contrarian in part as a defense against falling into herd mentality. It’s partly because I tend to see things as multifaceted rather than as one thing or the other, which makes arguing on social media an exercise in frustration and futility. What I haven’t talked much about is how lonely it makes me feel a lot of the time. Despite my rather brash persona online and my prolific use of cuss words, I have a rather pathological need to please people. Or rather, not to offend people I care about and/or respect. Even when I disagree, I strive to find a way not to make it obvious that I’m doing so. It goes past trying to find common ground; I simply cannot tell someone I think they’re wrong without feeling overwhelmingly guilty. I’ll point out discrepancies or edge around the issue, but very rarely can I say, “I don’t agree.” I think there’s value in being polite or trying to see the other person’s point of view, but there is a limit. My way of dealing with issues in which I have a firm opinion is to not talk about it. For example, I am about as leftist as you can get on the topic of abortion. I think it should be legal all the time without question. Since I know I have no budge to give on the topic, I don’t discuss it with anti-choicers because there’s no point. I won’t change their mind, and they certainly will not change mine. Yes, I used to write about it ad nauseam, but that was just me preaching to the choir.

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