Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: self-esteem

Girls on Film

Today’s post is supposed to be on fun (following my self-set schedule), but it’s not going to be on something fun so much on…well, let me just explain in my own, sweet, meandering time. I want to start vlogging because it’s what all the hip, happening kids do these days. Even though I’m an old, aching crankster who wants you to get off her lawn, I want to give it a whirl. Why? There are several reasons. One, many people don’t want to read longform posts these days. I understand because people are busy, not as interested in reading, blah, blah, blah. It makes me sad, but I acknowledge the reality. Personally, I don’t want to watch a video of someone talking about something and would rather just read it, but I think I’m in the dwindling minority these days. Two, I used to be a performer back in the day. I was with Theater Mu, and then I started doing solo performance pieces. It was hard work, but it was so damn rewarding. I would feel as if I was going to throw up ahead of time, but then I’d be riding high afterwards (followed by a crash, damn it). The several minutes after a performance was exhilarating, and the applause was just the icing on the cake.

I am a writer. I have said before that it’s in my blood, but I’d give it up in a heartbeat if I could be on stage. I wouldn’t want to give it up, obviously, but if I had to make the choice between writing and performing, it would be the latter every time.* I loved being in front of a crowd, and I fed off the energy of a live performance. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing, obviously, and I can do it copiously day after day (though I will admit that some days, it’s hard to crank  1000+ words a day), but the interactivity of it is limited. I write my posts, then I publish them and send them off into the ethers. I may get a response; I may not, but there’s no immediate reaction to it. On the other hand, when I perform, the stakes are so much higher. I’ve forgotten my lines while performing, and it’s the worst feeling in the world. I’ve delivered flawless performances and have received standing ovations, and it’s the ultimate high. Seriously. Noting has felt as good as the applause I’ve gotten for my performances. Not sex. Not getting good grades in school. Not finishing the Sword Form (though, to be fair, that’s more a subdued and sustained feeling of bonhomie). Not eating a whole pint of peanut butter fudge ice cream (back in the days when I ate dairy).

I remember one performance in a workshop where I received the best reward when I finished my monologue–silence. Oh, I know everyone’s about the standing O, but there’s nothing like that moment of stunned silence at the end of a performance which indicates that your audience is so absorbed with what they’re experiencing, it takes them several seconds to transition back into reality. I remember another for a dyke event in which I stripped down to my panties and received a thundering standing ovation at the end of the piece. I remember another that gave me so much trouble as I was writing it–it was a performance from my heritage culture (Taiwanese) for children, and the kids loved it. It was worth every gut-wrenching moment of writing it just to have that experience.


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Being OK With Letting Go

Yesterday, I came home from taiji and my mom informed me that my brother and the boys (his sons) wouldn’t be able to make it here for dinner. He suggested we go there. I immediately said no, and my mother said she knew I’d say that. She suggested we meet somewhere like Culver’s for dessert, but he decided to come here after dinner. Then, they came over, and my brother and I were discussing something while my mom and the boys were playing ping-pong. One of my nephews came up to say that my mom wanted to talk to my brother about something. He said OK, then we continued talking. I was marveling over that because I would have immediately gone done and probably resented it slightly. My mom can be very persistent when she has her mind on something, and it’s often easier just to give in than to defer. However, she also is more pushy with me than she is with my brother, probably in part because he’s very firm about his limits.

Anyway, after they were done playing ping-pong, they came back up. My brother, my nephews, and I were chatting about something when my mother said to my brother in a faux-whisper, “Can we go to Culver’s for ice cream?” A beat, “Or, we have bananas.” I started laughing, and my brother said with a big smile, “Can we go eat all the ice cream or stay here and have a banana?” He was making it clear that he realized there was really only one answer to that, which is something he wouldn’t have recognized before. We all started laughing and joking about it, and then agreed we would go, but in separate cars so they could go straight home. Then, my mom said, “Minna will have to drive.” She twisted her knee a week ago, and it’s still giving her problems. So, I said in a deadpan voice (because I mentioned it earlier, too), “Minna can drive to the place where she can’t eat anything!”* We all joked about that for several minutes, and then my mom said, “We should go now.” So of course, that got wrapped up into the joke (that my mom was making a suggestion she knew couldn’t be turned down, then adding layers of conditions to it), and it was a fun family moment.

To be clear, I was fine with driving even if I couldn’t eat anything. It was a moment of family teasing and bonding, and it felt great. I can’t help but compare it to how that shit would have gone down a few years ago.

Me getting home from taiji, quietly resenting that I don’t have space to myself.**

Mom (the second I step in the door which I still don’t like, but doesn’t send me up. the. fucking. wall the way it used to): Your brother wants us to go there instead of coming here for dinner.

Me (a bundle of resentment in part because I know that means me driving because my mom doesn’t like to drive at night, never mind that I don’t either, and my brother lives forty minutes away): NO I DON’T WANT TO GO JUST FUCKING GO YOURSELF GET AWAY FROM ME YOU EVIL COW ARRRRGH!

Obviously, I don’t say that, but it’s what I’m feeling. What I would say would be some variant of a huffy, “I’m not going there” in a very aggrieved tone.  I would feel I didn’t have a choice, which would make me really resentful, even if I did end up going. Also, my mom doesn’t believe she has the right to ask for anything (for many reasons), so she would never just come out and say, “I would like it if you drive us to your brother’s place.” It would be, “Your brother can’t come, but he said we could go there”, and I’m supposed to infer the rest. It’s actually part of what happened in the amusing family scenario above.


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