Underneath my yellow skin

The more things change….

I gave up coffee. Again. Maybe not for good, but I switched back to green tea for my caffeine. Why? Because my sleep has been terrible since I started drinking it again. Green tea didn’t seem to have that effect and it’s delicious, especially with pomegranate. I haven’t had this bad of sleep in some time and it’s really messing with my head. Yes, my migraines have been kept at bay, but is it worth it? I don’t know. With the absence of the migraines, I would say yes. But, in the middle of a migraine, I would say no. It’s the duel of the conflicting health issues!

On the weapons front, I loaded up today. I did the beginning of the Double Sabre Form, sword drills, the whole Sabre Form, the Karambit Form, and spear drills. Oh, I forgot to do the one row of the Cane Form I know, so I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m still thinking about about a music/form mashup and we’ll see if I have the energy for that. One thing about going to the demo is that it fills me with possibilities–much like a kid with her nose pressed to the window of a candy shop. I want everything I can see and all at one time. My teacher likes to say that there’s a lifetime to learn things so there’s no reason to rush.

She’s right, but that doesn’t stop my brain from whispering that I’m behind and need to catch up. Not that kindly, of course, as my brain is really mean to me most of the time. Actually, I have to check that. It used to be horrid to me. I had a constant tape of negativity that looped in my brain and it just felt normal. I called him (and it was definitely a him) The Dictator and he was a cruel master. He had so many rules and regulations, it was impossible to keep them straight and not mess up.

Side note: Quick background about the Dictator. I grew up being constantly told, mostly by implication, that my feelings were not valid. They constantly got minimized and ignored, and I was not allowed to show any kind of negative emotion. Negative meaning anger, sadness, depression, etc. Only my father was allowed to show anger because he was king of the castle and allowed to do whatever he wanted. The rest of us had to tiptoe around him and catered to his every whim.

I internalized those messages to such an extent that even now I have difficulty showing human emotions in a natural manner. It’s one reason I prefer writing because it’s easier to mimic through written words than through speaking. I’m better at it, but it’s still not something I can do without thinking. In the past, I’ve been able to mimic the emotions because I’m observant and I used to do some¬† acting in my youth.

I want to be clear. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel the emotion on some level. If a friend told me they, say, got a great new job, then I felt happy for them deep down inside. The problem was that I had wrapped my emotions in multiple layers of cotton that I could no longer feel them. Not only that, I couldn’t even access them.

I had a flat affect at the time because I was in a deep depression and I felt as if I could never get out of it. Now, I’m still not as emotive as ‘normal’ people, but I can more easily¬† pass. And I have access to my emotions, albeit muted versions.

Now, The Dictator is gone. I haven’t thought about him in years and I haven’t heard his voice in several. Yes, I give credit to taiji because I always do and I don’t remember when The Dictator left me. Do I miss him? Hell, no. But, there are still traces in the back of my brain. Even though the voice isn’t loud and constant, it’s still there. Whispers. Innuendoes. Telling me that my life is worthless and so am I.

It’s hard to talk about how much better I am these days because by outside observation, I’m still a hot mess. I’m sure if I told a stranger how my brain worked, they would think I was bonkers and incredibly hard on myself. It’s true–at least the latter part–but it’s lightyears better than I used to be. When I was in my twenties, I used to think that I was literally toxic. I believed that I was a net negative to the world so every day, I had to try to earn my way back to zero/neutral again.

Was this something that was specifically said to me? No. But it was the fabric of my childhood and I still fight it to this day because I’m in several categories considered negligible. Yeah, I know I don’t matter. I know. I don’t need it rubbed into my face on a daily basis. I do consider it a positive step that I no longer think I’m toxic, but I can’t see myself as a net positive, either. I know if I were to disappear overnight, there are a handful of people who would care while the rest of the world would emit a suggestive yawn.

That was one hell of a tangent, but it was an interesting road to go down. I know that my taiji journey is my own. It’s hard not to scold myself for being so lazy in the beginning of my studies. Oh, by the way, lazy is another thing I’m trying to grapple, but that’s a post for another day. I could have learned so much more rather than dragging my feet, resisting my taiji teacher every step of the way.

It’s hard not to think, “If only….” and to fill in the blanks with everything I haven’t learned yet. There are so many weapons and so little time! It’s difficult for me not to get impatient in wanting to learn every weapon, and yesterday. Still. All I can do is tell myself that I can’t change what I didn’t do in the past and can only do more and better in the future. It’s hard to feel like that’s enough.

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