Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: fringe

The grass is always greener

Most of the time, I’m fine with being a weirdo. Sometimes, I take a perverse amount of pride in not being traditional. My mom once said with much irritation after I–oh, I know what it was. My cousin had gotten engaged by her husband (fiancé at the time) and my mom was relating how it happened. Or at least, we were talking about it. He had collaborated with her boss to make it appear as if she had a professional meeting in another country. Unbeknownst to her, he was flying out to the same country a day early to propose to her.

My mom thought this was the most romantic thing I had ever heard. I, on the other hand, was horrified by it, as I would be by any flamboyant/public proposal. Sad to say, I went on a rant about it because I hated the whole idea and thought it was a way of one-upping other people. I also hate people having secrets about me so everything about this proposal hit me in the worst way possible.

Now, decades later, I can see that it was more about me than the actual proposal. To be clear, I would still hate it, but it wasn’t about me. It was about my cousin and what she would like–and she loved it. It made her feel loved and cherished, and it was a great proposal story she could share with people.

Just because my idea of the ideal proposal if I were into getting married, which I’m not, is for me or my lover to roll over in bed and say, ‘Hey, wanna get married?’ before hoofing it for the JoP, there’s no reason to rain on other people’s parades. Fortunately, I never said any of this to my cousin because I had a higher EQ than that.

My point is that I’m weird. I’ve always been weird. When I was younger, I couldn’t understand why I didn’t think the way other people did and I was miserable all the time. I got picked on all the time for being Asian, fat, and smart. I didn’t really have any friends and I didn’t know how to go about making them. I didn’t watch TV or go to the movies. I ate mostly Taiwanese/Chinese food before it was chic and took a lot of teasing about it at school.

I first learned about death when I was seven, which freaked me out. But, at the same time, I became inexplicitly drawn to it. It became my boon companion, both lover and bogeyman. I used to sit up in bed, my heart pounding in terror at the idea of simply not existing forever. And yet, I looked for death wherever I went because it was calling to me. I wanted to kill myself as early as eleven and that lasted…well, it’s still around in a lesser form. And it’s not that I want to kill myself, but rather than I don’t want to live. It’s hard to explain the difference. I’m not actively seeking to die and haven’t been for decades. However, I’m not sold on this life thing, either.


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Beyond freaks and geeks

Oh, you think the darkness is your ally, you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man; by then, it was nothing to me but blinding! The shadows betray you, because they belong to me. I will show you where I have made my home, I will be preparing to bring justice.

–Bane

I was born a weirdo, and I’m comfortable living on the fringe. Hell, more than comfortable–I thrive on the edges. I’ve never been a normie, even though I’ve tried hard to fit in. I wore a powder blue sweater for my senior picture, had feathered bangs, and wore makeup. Whenever I think about it or see a copy, I stare in wonder. Who was that girl, and how did I know her? When I spent a year abroad in Asia, I quit doing all the girly things I had started doing just because I felt I should. I stopped shaving my legs and armpits–I didn’t really need to especially since as a Taiwanese American person, I didn’t have much hair. I cut my hair short so I didn’t have to deal with it (and because it was too damn hot for my usual mop), and I stopped wearing makeup because it just melted off my face in a hot second, anyway.

I felt much more myself once I stripped away all that shit. I still wore earrings, but no other jewelry, and my style of dress was lackadaisical at best. In Thailand, I had someone tell me I looked like a gratui, which is a boy who dresses/looks like a girl.  It was said with a laugh and no intention of malice, but it stung. I had enough issues with my own femininity; I didn’t need other people questioning it as well. I never felt like I was enough of a woman, though to be clear, I didn’t feel like a man, either. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a boy so badly, I would pray to God to make me a boy. I mean, hey, He created the world, right? So making me a boy shouldn’t be any big thing for Him. It never happened, and I woke up every minute feeling bitterly disappointed. Again, I want to stress that I did not want to be a boy; I just didn’t want to be a girl. To me, I saw how much better it was to be a boy (in both of my cultures), and I was like, “Sign me up.”


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Fringe Benefits?

Most of the time, I am perfectly fine with being on the edge of American society. I am *deep breath* a Taiwanese American, bisexual, fat, old, unmarried, childfree, agnostic teetotaling, makeup-free, taiji-practicing/sword-loving woman with four tats who hates shopping, cooking, and clothing, but likes video games, graphic novels/comics, and sports*.  It’s just who I am, and it’s not something I think about most of the time.

However, once in a while, I can’t help but think it’s would be easier and less lonesome if I were a bit more mainstream. Take alcohol, for example. I grew up in a non-drinking household, and I never had the desire to drink. First of all, I’m allergic as are the majority of Asians because we don’t have the gene that breaks down alcoholic enzymes, but that obviously doesn’t stop other Asians from drinking. I’m sure I had the random glass of wine or beer when I was a teenager, but I didn’t really experiment with alcohol until I was in college. Even then, the thought of getting smashed every weekend didn’t appeal to me. I had heard about beer that you just had to keep trying until you found one you liked, but that seemed stupid to me. Why dedicate so much energy to something that was so distasteful to me just so that I *might* discover something halfway enjoyable? It didn’t work, anyway. I remember a chocolate raspberry beer that was tasty, but that was because of the chocolate and the raspberry. I did find one beer that was acceptable to me–Bud Lite. When people found out that was my favorite beer, their usual response was, “It doesn’t even taste like beer!” To which I would retort, “That’s why I like it! It’s water with a waving of beer running through it.”

Wine is even worse. I hate it, and I’m the most allergic to it. I don’t know if it’s the tannins or what, but there is something especially repugnant about wine to me. When I did drink (infrequently, maybe twice a year, three times at most), I preferred hard alcohol–it’s the one I’m least allergic to. Gin & tonic or rum & Diet Coke were my go-tos, with an amaretto sour thrown in for variety. Even then, I disliked what the alcohol did to me–made me red all over, and I became short of breathing. It all came to a head when I was celebrating a birthday, I want to say my 40th, and I had some kind of ‘dessert’ drink with chocolate, whipped cream, and probably Kahlua and/or Irish whiskey. I found myself thinking, “This is tasty, except for the alcohol.” That’s when I realized that I could have a delicious dessert drink without alcohol because I was a fucking adult, damn it, and I could drink what I pleased.


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