Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: self-isolation

Birthday blues? Nah, birthday blahs

It’s my birthday today (yesterday by the time this is posted). Normally, I’d shrug and move on because whatever. I’ve hated my birthday most of my life and actively pretended it didn’t exist for decades. I refused to say when it was, and I went as far as to put a fake date online whenever I had to provide a birth date. In fact, back in the early days of Facebook when you had to provide one and they published it without permission, I would have people wishing me a happy birthday in January because I picked a date at random. I would go to FB and see a dozen happy birthday wishes and think, “What the fuck? It’s not my birthday. Why are–oh, right.” I’m glad they’ve allowed the user to decide whether or not she wants to publish her birth date. I don’t care any longer, but I certainly did care for many years.

Then, about five or six years ago, I slowly went from loathing my birthday to being aggressively neutral about it to not caring about it. Was it taiji? Yeah, probably. At any rate, it was strange. What’s even stranger is that a year ago, I hated my birthday again. Not because of getting older. I don’t care about that in general*, but because of what normally haunts me on my birthday–the fact that I’ve wasted my life. For whatever reason, it hit me hard last year. Probably because I’m creeping up on fifty, which seemed unimaginable thirty years ago.

When I was a kid and a teenager, I would be dumbfounded when someone asked me about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Not only did I not know; I didn’t see myself as an adult. I couldn’t picture it because I couldn’t fathom being alive. I didn’t want to be alive, and I couldn’t envision it. Me, someone who can imagine anything came up with a blank when trying to see into my own future. I didn’t think I’d make it past childhood, and it continues to surprise me that I’m alive.¬†When I was in my twenties, I got it in my head that I would die when I reached the age my mother was–55. For a year, I was convinced this was true. Even then, I still couldn’t see anything about my future. I knew what I didn’t want–kids, specifically–but what did I want? I had no idea.

I didn’t feel as if I was really living my life or that I was a real person. It’s hard to explain because I know logically that I exist and that I’m moving through the world. But I don’t feel like an actual human being. It doesn’t help that I am invisible in this world. Asian, bisexual, woman, not married, no children, agnostic, fat, and a whole bunch of other qualifiers that render me worthless. The only way I matter now is that apparently it’s Asian women who are bearing the brunt of the anti-Asian sentiment. It’s not a problem, however, as I’m not going anywhere right now.

Anyway, my mom called last night at 11 p.m. I thought it was because I had sent her an email about some insurance thing, but no, it was because she was in a panic about not being able to call me today for my birthday.

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My (non)optimal way of dealing with self-isolation

There are several posts/videos out there telling you the proper way to work at home in this time of self-isolation. This is for those who don’t work from home normally, and they are full of fine information, such as to have a routine, get dressed as if you were going into the office, and have a way to separate your ‘work’ life from your, er, life life. As I said, this is all good advice. I also break two of the three with abandon. The first one, I mostly do. I get up, feed the cat, have a half cig, do my taiji for half an hour, then sit down to work. First, blog post. Then, quick (or not-so-quick) break. Content writing for a few hours. Another break. Fiction writing. Then, whatever. So my work is interspersed throughout my day, but I do the same thing in the same order every day, so that qualifies as a routine. I wear sweats and a t-shirt to work, and that’s what I wear to sleep as well. I work from my couch with my cat on my legs for much of it, and I get up for breaks every few hours. So, here we go with how I’m dealing with the covid-19 self-isolation, and I would not advise it for anyone else. I’m going to do it in the format of the conventional wisdom and how I deal with it (or not. Mostly not). Shall we start? Let’s go!

1. Go outside for at least thirty minutes. Outside is not my friend. Outside is where everything is trying to kill me. I am allergic to everything under the sun, and probably including the sun. As such, I flinch whenever I’m outside. Last time I went to Cubs, there was a man wearing so much cologne, I almost vomited. No, that’s not nature, but it was me going through nature to get there. And it’s technically outside of my house. Anyway, I don’t like outside is my point. I do go outside to smoke a quarter cig every three hours or so, and that’s how I get my thirty minutes of outside. Five minutes six times a day. Done. Sorted!

2. Get thirty minutes of exercise a day. I got that one sorted with my morning taiji routine. I also stretch every time I get up, so no worries here. By the way, I watch a shit-ton of British content, so that’s why some Britishisms creep into my vocabulary like ‘sorted’. I used shattered to mean emotionally drained to Ian, and he was confused for a hot second. I’ve always had a thing for the Brits, and it’s even stronger now.

3. Get thirty minutes a day (yes, that’s a theme emerging) of contact with other people. No. Moving on. Kidding. I’ll elaborate. Most of them are talking about real people, not internet people. Obviously, we’re all trying to self-isolate, but they mean by calling or by Zoom meetings or whatever. By the way, I didn’t know what Zoom was a month ago, and now it’s all over the place. That’s what my teacher uses for our online classes. I’m a loner in the best of times, and the last thing I want to do when it’s not the best of times is to make extra-effort to talk to people. I mean, I want to touch base with *my* people on a more than regular basis, but I don’t need to talk to someone every day. And, the idea of attending more meetings, social or not, exhausts me. So, yeah, no. I’ll watch streams and participate in chats now and again, but I don’t want any more than what I normally do.

4. Shut off social media apps while you are working. I don’t use apps. I don’t use my phone except when I’m on a smoke break. I work on my laptop, so I have the social media open at all times. Right now, I’m accepting that my brain is fragmented and will be for some time. I am getting my work done, but it’s just taking longer over all because I’m taking mini-breaks along the way. I’ll write for ten minutes, then check social media. Write a few more minutes, then browse an article on whatever. Rinse, lather, repeat. It’s hard not to berate myself because my day-to-day life hasn’t changed that much. However, that doesn’t help anything so I’m trying to be a bit more gentle with myself and just accept that I’ll get it done when I get it done.

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My contrarian side coming out to play

In this time of enforced self-isolation, I feel a compulsion to leave the house. I’m not going to do it unless absolutely necessary, but it’s part of my, shall we say, oppositional personality. Tell me I can’t do something, and I’ll do the opposite. I’m the same in arguments. If someone gives me one side of a story, then I automatically see the other side (even i f I agree with the first side). There are few topics in which this does not hold true, but in general, I can think of a thousand reasons why someone might have done something.

Side Note: Advice columns are a great way to see the fallacy in people’s thinking. And reading comprehension. Recent relevant example. There have been a few letters about the covid-19, of course, and in each, the LW was asking about how to navigate living with a significant other and dealing with business-related issues such as trying to interview while your partner is taking a conference call in a 500-square foot apartment. The partner was specifically at home because of the covid-19, so it wasn’t a normal situation. Several of the first comments were, “Go to a nearby cafe/library/park.” I mean….Not to be rude, but that defeats the purpose. Which, thankfully, several other people pointed out. It happens regularly, and it’s pretty annoying. Or, people will go down one train of thought and no matter how much evidence to the contrary, refuse to give it up. I know it’s natural human nature, but it’s annoying as fuck.

Side Note II: I am extremely picky when it comes to consuming popular media. I have so many things that irritate me, it’s difficult for me to find something that doesn’t tick me off on some level. It’s the same as my sensitivity to, well, everything. It’s why I don’t watch many movies or television shows, and it’s why I fall off things hard after some time. Right now, I’m trying to find a Sekiro* playthrough, and I’ve watched the first five minutes of a dozen YouTubers/Twitchers. I’ve done this before with the same results. I watch five minutes, cringe, then shut it off. What are the things that turn me off? I’ll quickly list them.

  1. Sexism. Unfortunately, it’s still a man’s world, and it’s still rife with sexism.
  2. Teabagging. I think it’s stupid, and I hate the underlying gross humor.
  3. Screaming and shouting as theatrics. Not my style. At all.
  4. A grating voice. Ugh.
  5. Someone who talks all the time.
  6. Chicks who try to out-bro the dudes.
  7. Anyone who is too good.
  8. Someone who misses things by not paying attention/not reading.

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