Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: denial

When Positivity is Oppressive

I read a short rant by a Facebook friend on white spiritual workers (she’s white herself) being full of shit, and she ended it by saying Law of Attraction was bullshit. I didn’t know what that was, so I Googled it, as is my wont. I’ll get to that in a second. On this post, a friend of my friend posted how disappointed she was with the original post (OP), and she was being all airy-fairy about it, but I could easily read the anger under all her love and light words. Apparently, she unfriended my friend, which sort of proved my friend’s point. Many people who espouse to be all about love are some of the most repressed, angriest people I know. Not all, of course, but it’s easy to wrap yourself in the lingo as a away of avoiding your actual problems.

I’ve ranted before about Americans and our weird obsession with having a positive attitude. To me, it’s a way of coping with the fact that we have very little control over what happens, which is fine, I guess. However, we’re also a very repressive Christian nation at heart, which also believes that you get what you deserve, basically. When I was a Christian, I was told to pray to God if I needed something. If I didn’t get the response I wanted, well, then either I didn’t pray hard enough or I didn’t believe hard enough. It was always the fault of the supplicant and not of God.

That’s how I view positive thinking, at least the way many Americans interpret it. “If you think it, you can do it.” “You can beat this cancer if you just have a positive attitude!” “There’s nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it.” Even as a kid, I knew this was bullshit. I knew I could never be President of the United States, and this was before I discovered I was bisexual. I would never play in the NBA or be an award-winning photography*, neither of which I wanted to do, but still. I also felt I couldn’t be an actress which is what I really wanted to do because I didn’t see anyone who looked like me who wasn’t an extra on M*A*S*H, but that’s another rant for another time.

Barbara Ehrenreich, an author who is extremely conscious of social justice issues, had the same complaint when she got cancer. She went on all these online forums and was greeted with an onslaught of positivity that just made her angry because it seemed to be victim-blaming. One person told her to run to therapy because she was too angry. Being the researcher that she is, Ehrenreich dove into the positive thinking movement and wrote a book about it. She started a group called the Negatives, and they’re dedicated to debunking a lot of this bullshit. She makes it clear that she’s not a pessimist, but she sees a lot of problems with the positivity movement.


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Ignorance is Bliss–and Sometimes Necessary Escapism

relaxation is my game
Chillest cat ever.

Today, I woke up for the first time in two weeks not feeling an all-encompassing sense of dread. That’s not to say I don’t still think we’re fucked (I do), but I didn’t want to repeatedly bash my head against the wall for hours on end. It helped that we were supposed to get snow today, which we are now getting. Fat, fluffy flakes falling aimlessly to the ground. I hope it sticks. I love snow more than almost anything, and seeing it everywhere makes me happy.

I avoided most of the news today. Not because I don’t care, but because I was making myself sick reading about the new presidential team. I have very political friends, and they’ve been diligent about posting the latest news. I can appreciate that, and I think it’s necessary, but it can be overwhelming to see post after post about the horrors that is Trump. I’m still having difficulty accepting that this is the new reality, but glutting on the news isn’t the way to acceptance.

Wanna know what I did instead? I did my morning routine, which calmed me a bit. Then, I started a new Dark Souls (original) playthrough, this time as a tank. Those who have read my posts about Dark Souls know that I love the games* and play them pretty much exclusively now. I’ve tried other games, including Shrouded in Sanity, which is definitely Souls-inspired, but they all pale in comparison to the Souls games. Shrouded in Sanity tries so hard to be Souls, but with a few strange control changes. The heal button is Y instead of X, which is puzzling and too foreign for my brain to grasp. Plus, the camera is manual in a way it’s not in Souls, and there’s no shield. You get a sword and pistol, much like Bloodborne, which means you have to rely on parrying and dodging, rather than blocking. I am horrible at parrying. I’m too old, and my reflexes are too shitty for that. In addition, Shrouded in Sanity is a pale imitation of a Souls game, and the whole time I was playing, all I could think was, “I’d rather be playing Souls.”

When I’m a caster, I can stay a safe distance away from the enemy and keep backpedaling from them. When I’m playing melee, I use my shield to block and count on my high poise/endurance to tank the hits. This works very well except for a certain optional boss in Dark Souls 3 who shall not be named, mainly because he doesn’t have a name. No, seriously. He’s the Nameless King, and he’s my personal nemesis. I’ve soloed every boss in that game except him, and I am struggling mightily with him. Part of the problem is that I’m maining the Greataxe, which is very short. He flies around on a dragon, so a longer weapon would be more useful. I’ve tried other weapons, but nothing is as comfortable as my Greataxe, so I’m trying to make due with it. I don’t know why I’m being so stubborn about it, but it’s a point of pride at this point.

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Struggling to Grasp Our New Reality (Show)

munch munch munch
Get your popcorn ready!

If I look at what’s happening as a reality show, it’s hilarious. Trump’s transition team in disarray. Trump declaring that everything is fine and that only he knows who the finalists (for the cabinet positions) are. Many months ago, I suggested we declare him Trump of Trumponia, set in Scranton, where he can sit on a golden throne and rule over his Trumpettes with a golden scepter. People laughed, but I was being half-serious. I’ve known since almost the beginning that he doesn’t really want to be president because it’s a fucking tough job. The daily news that he wants this person for a position, then that person, then, oh no, that person declined, or, no, not that person is gobsmacking. They are the Keystone Kops of politics, and, as I said, if this were a reality show, I’d be laughing my flat yellow ass off.

However. This is reality, minus the show, and it’s horrifying. This is the team that’s going to take over the presidency? We’re going from PBO to THIS? I’ve been stuck in denial for the past several days because my brain simply refuses to believe this is actually happening. The last week has been surreal, and I desperately want it to be just a dream. A nightmare. And from which I’d like to wake up.

One thing I’d like to suggest is that we all slow our roll on the rumors of whom Trump is appointing to what position. Unless it’s already been officially stated, we don’t know what the hell he’s going to do becauseĀ heĀ doesn’t know what the hell he’s going to do. So, while it’s understandable to get riled up over possibilities such as Rudy Giuliani as Secretary of State or AG, it’s not productive until he’s actually appointed. I’m not saying not to protest or start gathering our resources because we only have two months, but save the outrage for actual events–not just reports and rumors.

I have my doubts as to whether Trump will actually make it to the inauguration. He’s out of his depth, and I have a hunch that he realizes it. His defensive tweets show it. His staff doubling down on ‘everything’s fine’ shows it, too. Every time he opens his mouth, he shows his ignorance. PBO has realized it as well and is spending more time with Trump than a president usually does with his successor.

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Giving Credit Where and When It’s Due

Newt Gingrich: You are fascinated with sex, and you don’t care about public policy.

Megyn Kelly: Me, really?

Newt Gingrich: That’s what I get out of watching you tonight.

Megyn Kelly: You know what, Mr. Speaker? I’m not fascinated by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office, and I think the American people would like to know…”

 

There’s a clip going around of Megyn Kelly and Newt Gingrich sparring over the sexual harassment accusations levied at Donald Trump. I saw it retweeted on my timeline several times, but I was hesitant to watch it for several reasons. One, I have a hard time watching people defend sexual harassment, and I was sure Gingrich was going to attempt to do that. Two, it’s Fox. I don’t watch Fox if i can possibly help it. Three, I loathe Gingrich for many reasons, some of which I’ll delve into later. In short, I didn’t think I’d be able to watch it with equanimity. What changed my mind? Seeing several people marvel at how Megyn Kelly handled Gingrich. I decided to watch it.

It went about as I expected, at least on Newt Gingrich’s side. He was pompous and patronizing, interrupting Kelly several times. When he couldn’t interrupt her, he simply talked over her. It’s something very common to dudes–talking over women and interrupting them, I mean. Side note: I did a simple study for my Gender and Psychology class in college in which I sat in on four classes. One was a male-dominated class (math). Two were neutral classes (can’t remember what they were), and one was my own Gender and Psychology class. In these classes, I didn’t say anything. I simply observed who interrupted whom and made a tally. The results were startling and depressing. Men interrupted men; men interrupted women; women interrupted women, but women never interrupted men. Even when the teacher was a woman (such as my Gender and Psychology class), they didn’t interrupt their male students. I expected to find that women rarely interrupted men, but never? That was a sobering discovery. Obviously, it’s a really rough sample and a crude study, but I would bet it’s not far off the mark. There have been legitimate studies on this subject, and it’s clear that men interrupt women more than they interrupt men. Women also interrupt women more than they do men. The jury is out as to the reason (including geographical difference in speech patterns, a play for dominance, and establishment of intimacy); indeed, it may be different reasons in different situations.


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