Underneath my yellow skin

I just upgraded to my 2.0 version

I’ve been having a rough time lately with, well, lots of things. The low grade depression I’ve been experiencing for over a year–it might be two at this point–is more noticeable and yet….It’s hard to explain. I’m not outwardly depressed, but my body has been wrecked for a while now. The last week, I’ve been sleeping seven to nine hours a night except for two nights, and that’s a lot of sleep for me if I’m not sick. Am I? I don’t know. My nose is a bit prickly and my throat is a bit gummy, but nothing more than that. Oh, and I’m exhausted, but that’s par the course for me.

In addition, we’re renovating the house, which means I have to clean the bedrooms. I’m a slob. This is not an easy task. Well, one of the three rooms is clean, so that one is fine. My bedroom is a disaster area, and my computer room is worse. I’ve been working on my bedroom employing different strategies. The first was to do something every time I got up to do something else. Throw the clothes on the floor down the chute. Pick up papers from the floor. Or, in the case of my computer room, gather up all the stuffed animals. Then, I started to be more specific and take on larger chunks. Fill up this storage box with books from the bookshelf in my room. It’s a small bookshelf, but it’s already filled two medium-ish size storage containers. Today, I’m going to focus on cleaning out the top row and making sure everything is off the floor. Tomorrow, I’m going to tackled my desk. Which means getting more storage containers. Which means going to Target. I also need to get masks because there is a lot of dust I’m stirring around. A LOT.

I’ve heard of the Pomodoro method which is setting a timer for fifteen minutes and then doing whatever for that amount of time. The theory being that once you start, you’ll keep going. Or, if you don’t, at least you got fifteen minutes done. It’s a good method, but it still felt overwhelming enough that I chose to do it my own way. The bottom line is that if I put any kind of stricture on it, I wouldn’t have done anything. Now, I’m nearly done with my bedroom, and it’s more work than I’ve done on that room in over a year. The trouble is that I can only do so much in a given day, and it’s not because I’m lazy. It’s because of all my health issues. Which I’m still having a difficult time grasping as ok. Or rather, I’m having a hard time not thinking it’s all in my mind.

My family is very pro-work yourself into a grave. Both my parents work way more than they should, and when my father was forced to retire, he withered until he started an association into which he pours all his time, energy, and heart. My mom will never retire and if she does, she’ll volunteer most of the time, anyway. My brother works fifty to sixty hours a week and seems to have all his spare time crammed with interesting activities. Me, on the other hand, spends most of my time plunked on my couch. The work I’ve been doing on my rooms has been difficult, and it doesn’t help that I’m chastising myself for not doing more.

My body aches, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the colds I’ve been having, the fact that I’m upping my taiji practice, or the increase of housework. It’s probably a combination of all three, and it makes it even harder to do the work I need to do. My bedroom, I can think about with just a small uptick in anxiety. My computer room, on the other hand, freaks me the fuck out. I can’t think about it without nearly hyperventilating, which is not good for my health. It could be why I’m sleeping more than I normally would, but, understandably, the jump in sleep is making me wary.

Moving onto food issues. I’m tired of the Low FODMAP life. So fucking tired. I’ve been eating way too much meat and potato chips, but I can eat both of them without any issue. I had been trying to cut down on meat, but not now when it’s one of there things I can eat. That’s a slight exaggeration, but not that far off. It’s a good thing I don’t mind eating the same thing every day, but I’m getting pretty tired of it by now. Yes, I should cook. No, it’s not going to happen. I did try some items from a FODMAP-specific company, and the nut bars were tasty, but the salad dressing is meh.

I’m looking forward to the adding things back aspect of the diet, which should be in a few more weeks. First up is garlic, then onion, then honey. Or maybe honey first. Theoretically, I could try to add gluten and dairy back, but I was doing great without them. I highly doubt that I’d be able to add back dairy, and I’m iffy on gluten as well. I would be ecstatic if I could, but my gut is not friendly to much of anything, and I’ve been doing without those for nearly three years now. I think. Two? No, three.

Finally, the Sabre Form. Let me be real with you. I’ve been really down on myself for the past year or so as to how much I’ve been slacking in taiji. This probably plays into my family of origin, but I feel so lazy about what I’ve done so far. My teacher has a classmate who has been taking taiji for about as long as I have. I worked with her during my teacher’s women’s pushing hands class, and I was surprised that she hadn’t studied for longer. She was the one who did the Double  Sabre Form at the demo (and more), and it really underscored how lackadaisical I’ve been in my studies. It doesn’t help that my teacher’s teacher made over the Solo Form a year or two ago to make it easier for beginners. Plus, when I started with my teacher, he (her teacher) did not allow people who had not learned the Solo Form to do other forms. He has changed his mind on that now, and it’s hard not to feel resentful.

So, it’s 10% resentment about the changes and 90% self-recrimination about my work ethics. Back when I started studying, I never practiced and went to class once a week. It was one reason I started going to a second and then third class in part because I did not practice. Then, I started practicing five minutes ago. This was several years ago, and I was so fucking resentful. I couldn’t understand why it was such a choir, but I raced through the first section of the Solo Form and a few warm-ups and called it a day. Now, I do about fifteen minutes of warm-ups/stretches, ten minutes of weapons, and five minutes or less of the  Solo Form. It’s still my least-favorite part of taiji.

Wait a minute. That’s not true. Meditation is. Wait, that’s not true, either. It used to be, but now it’s chi gong. It’s a breathing-focused movement thing that is supposedly good for the health. I’m sure it is, but the whole time, I’m concentrating on how to breathe, which is not my strong point. I mean, of course I know how to breathe, but I cannot take a full deep breath for the life of me. My doctor once told me that I had the lungs of an eighty-year old, which, yeah not great, but it explained so much. I do feel I’ve increased my lung capacity since starting taiji, but it’s still not enough. I’m not able to hold my breath the way I should during chi gong. It’s stressful to me, which is probably the opposite of what it’s supposed to do.

The story in my family is that I’m the lazy one. It’s not spoken out loud in so many words, but it permeates everything. I can’t help but incorporate it in my self view. When I went to NYC with my parents two decades ago, the agenda was crazy. There wasn’t a second to rest, and the hosts insisted on showing me all the tourist trap bullshit that I loathed. i had to beg off going to the ferry at eight in the morning–honey, I don’t do anything at eight in the morning except go to bed–and I was made to feel like I was a slacker for doing so.

I hate that I’m so down on myself, especially as it doesn’t help me do the shit that needs to be done. I don’t know how to break it, though. The reno shit is not just about me, and it’s hard to–oh, wait. I was talking about the Sabre Form. I’ve reached the point in the Sabre Form where I stopped the last time. The last two movements were hell for me and for my teacher. She was unsure how to do them, and I didn’t get them. I was resenting the whole form and how it wasn’t the Sword Form, and I was fighting it every step of the time. This time, it’s part of me. It’s an extension of my hand, and I’m  loving every second of it. This second to last movement of the fourth row gave me so much trouble last time. I did not get it, and I hated doing it.

This time, it made sense to me as my teacher showed it to me. I could understand it on a molecular level, and it’s one of my favorite movements now. Before, I practiced begrudgingly. Now, I’m eager to have the saber in hand and to go at it. I can’t wait until I know the whole form, but I’m looking forward to the next form. And the next. And the next. I want to learn all the forms, and there’s no way that’s possible. That saddens me, and it adds to my depression. I don’t know how to break free of it because I can only do so much, and if I push my body, I’ll be able to do even less. I know I need to be ok in my mind that I can only do as much as I can do. I don’t know how or when I’ll get there, though.

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