Underneath my yellow skin

Political Stress Getting to You? Take a Break!

The elections are less than a week away, and if you’re a political junkie at all*, you’re probably feeling stressed as hell. It doesn’t help that you can check stats every second of the day if you want to, and while I wouldn’t recommend it, I know many political junkies can’t help themselves. I see tweets all the time about how we can’t be complacent, how we have to be STRESSED OUT AS HELL ALL THE FUCKING TIME. The implication is if you’re not freaking out about the elections 24/7, you’re helping Trump become the King of Trumponia, and you should be deeply ashamed of yourself. It’s been that way for almost a year, and that kind of anxiety simply isn’t sustainable. Well, it is, but at a serious cost to your mental (and physical) health.

I have had to pull way back from politics this year because every time I think about a President Trump, I start hyperventilating. That’s not an exaggeration. My heart clutches, and my breathing becomes very shallow. It scares the fuck out of me to contemplate going from an Obama presidency to a Trump one, so I stopped following politics so closely because I don’t need the nightmares. There is only so much I can do in the area I live, so keeping myself constantly agitated isn’t helpful to anyone. Minnesota is going to go for Clinton. I will vote for her. The end. I’m more perturbed by the fact that no other race is being highlighted at all. The Dems have a real shot at taking back the Senate and a longer shot at flipping the House, but i don’t hear about that at all. As important as it is to make sure that Trump doesn’t become president, it’s even more important to give President Clinton (please, please, please) a Congress with whom she can work. The current Congressional Republicans vowed to block PBO at every turn, and they’re already saying they’ll do the same thing to a President Clinton.

I can feel my heartbeat quickening as I type. I don’t appreciate being told I have to be anxious from now until Tuesday because I can do that on my own, thank you very much. In addition, it’s a misbegotten sense of self-importance to think that any one person makes a difference. Yes, it’s true that if everyone thought that way, it would change things drastically. However, if I decide not to vote and everything else remains the same, it won’t matter at all. We Americans have a weirdly-inflated sense of ego, and it bemuses me every time it flares up. ONLY YOU CAN DO THIS THING! WITHOUT YOU, WE’RE NOTHING! The DNC sends me emails like this all the time, which I stridently ignore, but I do see the subject lines, which alternate between sheer despair and an appeal to my ego. MINNA WE ARE LOSING AND ONLY YOU CAN SAVE US. I’m not fucking Wonder Woman, bitch. There’s only so much I can do, and my fifty dollars isn’t going to get you very far.

This is why I cut WAY down on my political news consumption. My emotional state is pretty unstable to start with, so I don’t need anything that’ll make it worse. I’m not saying I abdicate my civil responsibility by ignoring what’s happening around me, but I can’t take the steady diet of outrage and indignation. So, tonight, I’m watching the Cubs/Cleveland game (go Cubs!), while flipping over to the CMAs to see if the rumor that Bey will be performing with the Dixie Chicks is actually true or just a massive troll. I’m watching Kareem Salama videos because he’s my kind of country singer, and one of my cats is snoozing on the top of the couch by my head. I reach up periodically to stroke his silky head, and it soothes the agitation in my heart.

I glance at my TL, and I see David Duke’s name littered across it. He’s running for the Senate in Louisiana, and there’s a debate tonight. I’ve listened to a clip of the debate, and he’s a fucking hot mess. He’s a horrible human being (and, this is petty of me, his face-lift didn’t take), and it’s Trump’s rise that has emboldened Duke to think that he has a place in a civilized society. When I think about the millions of Americans who agree with Trump, I want to cry. I’m a pretty innocuous person as I go about my mundane life. What the hell is so threatening about me that people would gladly eradicate me from the face of the earth? Is that hyperbole? It doesn’t feel like it as I look at the faces of Trump supporters, contorted in rage as they shout hateful things at anyone they don’t like.

I just had some excitement as I flipped back and forth between the Cubbies hitting a home run and the #BeyChicks performing on the CMAs. I WILL make #BeyChicks happen; I promise you that. I had gotten myself half a sub and a piece of pumpkin pie and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. I added half a mug of milk to the bounty, popped a dairy pill, and came back to write some more. In the excitement, I managed to dunk my remote control in my milk somehow. Then, I had to guard my plate from my two cats who were watching me like a hawk, waiting for their chance to get at the ice cream or milk. It ended with one of my cats turning in a circle before plopping down on my chest. I don’t know why he does that, but it reminds me of a dog.

This is what I like about Twitter–talking shit with people as I’m watching something or the other. I used to do live-tweeting of movies/TV shows as I watched them, and I was told by several people that they really enjoyed it when I did that. I did Sharknado during its second showing (as it were), and that was tons of fun. I should make a habit of doing that more often, just as I should think about streaming me sitting on my couch with my coffee and my cats. I’m sorry that this post is even more stream-of-conscious than usual, but that’s where my mind’s taking me.

I wrote more fiction today, and it felt good. The characters feel more alive than they did yesterday, and I don’t think it’s total crap. I also finished my third playthrough of Dark Souls III and got the third (and my favorite) ending. Afterwards the credits rolled, I went back to the one optional boss I hadn’t fought (I did kill him with help during my first playthrough), and I decided to give him one try with the help of a phantom. This boss is fucking hard, even with help, so I fully expected to die. I bowed to my phantom, and he bowed back in return. Then, we walked through the white mist/fog, and…I was stuck. I couldn’t go forward, and I couldn’t go backwards. I couldn’t throw my fireballs, and I couldn’t attack with my sword. I could sure take damage, though. I resigned myself to wasting this ember and trying again, but to my amazement, my phantom (another player), went to town on the boss. Anwald Ironguise (I think his name was), I salute you for being such a badass. I watched in amazement (when I wasn’t trying to escape the fog wall’s hold ¬†on me) as he whittled away at the boss’s health. Remember, the boss gains health with every phantom summoned, so this wasn’t an easy feat. I’m sure my phantom had a weapon, but it seemed to me that he was punching the boss with his bare fists. He managed to get a visceral attack on the dragon to end the first phase, and to my relief, I could move for the second phase. I hopped in with my fire, pelting the boss from afar as my phantom continued to hack away from up close. We got the boss down to a sliver of health, but then I noticed that my phantom had a sliver as well (probably used up all his heals in the first phase). I wanted to get him his ember** because he had done the yeoman’s work in this fight, so I hurriedly threw another Chaos Bed Vestiges spell at the boss. Just as I did, my phantom punched the boss one more time, and the boss turned into confetti as he died. I bowed gratefully to my phantom, amazed by how skillfully he handled the fight. Then I took my souls and skedaddled out of there.

I’ve beaten the game three times now. Once as a pyromancer (my primary way to play), once as a melee player, and once as a miracle user with pyromancies. Now that I’ve finished the game as a melee character, I want to heartily extend both my middle fingers to all the Souls snobs who bleat about how easy magic makes the game, even if they’ve never played as a caster themselves. “You get time to breathe,” is one excuse I heard. “You just run around with no danger of getting hit,” is another. “Homing Soul Mass is so OP.” Bull and fucking shit. I’m not denying that pyromancy and spells are useful, but holy fuck the damage I could do as a melee character. There were four bosses I simply could not kill solo as a pyro. I have killed three of them solo with my melee character. The first one was easy (The Abyss Watchers)–got him on my second try as my melee character. I remembered flailing helplessly against him (them) as a pyromancer as he killed me again and again and again. As a caster, I have to forgo health, endurance, and vitality–the thing that allows you to wear heavier armor. As a melee character–

Hold that thought. We are in the tenth inning of the seventh game of the World Series, tied at 6-6. The grounds crew just rolled out the tarp because of the rain. What is this even? This game is epic and intense, and I’m really glad I’m not a rabid fan of either team (go Cubs!). We’re back, and the Cubs have a man on second with one out. This game is wild, and everything you’d want a seventh game of the World Series to be. I used to be a rabid sports fan, but my interest started waning when ads became more important than the games and when many of the series shifted to cable. I don’t have cable, which means I can’t watch many of the postseason games (at least not legally). Plus, most of ‘my’ teams suck. The Twins sucked this year. The Vikes started out well, but are currently in a nose-dive that is very familiar to longtime Vikes fans. In addition, I am uncomfortable with how much we exploit athletes. Don’t come at me with how much they get paid because that’s not an adequate response to how they brutalize their bodies for our entertainment. It reminds me of the gladiators, and I’m not OK with that.

Despite that, I can’t deny that watching the Cubs take the lead 7-6 in the top of the tenth is amazing. This whole series has been pretty great, and it reminds me why I liked sports in the first place. Plus, more importantly, it’s taken my mind off politics, and that’s what I really need right now. 8-6 Cubs! Yes, I’m kinda live-blogging the Cubs-Cleveland game. I contain multitudes, my friends. It’s the bottom of the tenth. Can the Cubs get this done? Will Cleveland come back one more time? One out! I like it because it’s much less meaningful to me than the political election (obviously), so I can be invested in it without really caring (go, Cubs!) about the results. Shit. Walk to the Cleveland hitter.

OK, I’m back Cubs win. I’m closing out this post. That’s me dealing with election stress. Wheeeee!




*And a Dem, natch.

**You get an ember and become embered if you help someone beat a boss.

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