Underneath my yellow skin

Trying to Remain Mindful When Your Mind isn’t Willing

it's a wrap!
Is there a doctor in the house?

I hurt my hand the other day in the stupidest way ever. I was parking my car before taiji class when I realized that my back windows were open. My new car has automatic windows, and the directions are backwards to what I think they should be in my mind. I was already out of the car and impatient, so I reached into the car and pushed on the button, and it didn’t move. I became even more impatient and yanked no the button with the ring finger of my right hand. Immediately, I felt a tug in my finger, followed by a searing pain. I yelped and pulled my hand away as the pain radiated through my hand. When I went into class, I made a joke about it, but it fucking hurt. I used my water bottle (with ice in the bottom) to ice it down, and I participated in class as best I could. At the end of the class, I asked my teacher what I should do about it besides apply Dit Da Jow (Chinese herbal remedy, applied externally. No opium in this recipe, though). She said to bathe it in warm water or use a hot water bottle before massaging the Jow in. She didn’t think it was broken, and neither did I. I didn’t even think it was a sprain. At worst, it was a strain, but it hurt every time I opened and closed my hand into a fist. I asked if I should put a splint on it, and she didn’t think it was necessary. I agreed; it was probably better to move it as much as possible, anyway.

When I got home, I dunked my hand in hot water–as hot as I could stand. I left it there for several minutes before drying it off and applying the Jow. I massaged it in, careful to spread it all alound the injured area. Right hand, the base of the ring finger and the pinkie finger, and the pads underneath. My hand was painful, but not severely so. I continued to open and close it throughout the day, and to massage it thoroughly from time to time. I took a shower, which opened up the pores, then massaged more Jow into the injured area again.

The next morning, I had a purple bruise on my pinkie, rather distinctive, and it spread throughout the day until it was a ring above the top knuckle. It was stiff upon waking, which is only natural after sleep. I kept moving my fingers, and the stiffness grew less and less. On the other hand, the pain was more on the second day than the first. I knew this is normal, however, as the adrenaline that coursed through the body at the time of the incident drains out.

poppycock!
For medicinal purposes only.

The next day, the purple ring was distinct, but the pain was less. The bruise itself didn’t hurt at all, but it looked bad. I don’t know how I got a bruise on my pinkie finger when it’s my ring finger I pulled out of place, but maybe I knocked against it or something. It’s funny because any time I didn’t move my fingers, I didn’t feel any pain. When I did move them, then the pain would come back. It wasn’t a sharp pain, but a dull one. It hurt the most when I tried to curl my fingers inward, such as on the handle of my sword. I continued my routine of opening and closing my hand, massaging my fingers, and applying Dit Da Jow after I’d heated my hand. The pain was more in the pads of my palm than in my fingers.

That brings us to today. The purple ring is still there, though less obvious than before. My mobility is much better, nearly ninety-five percent, I’d say. The pads of my palm still hurt, and there’s stiffness when I bend the fingers. However, I’d say I’m well on my way to being fine. In fact, the injury isn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, and I’m thankful that one minute of stupidity didn’t result in anything disastrous.

I’ve been applying the same remedy to the sickness of my heart. It’s been a week since the election, and I’m still grappling with it. I’ve had an upset stomach for the past few days, and I’ve been eating my feelings all the time as well. I know I have to stay abreast of current events, but at the same time, I don’t want to become overcome by them. I’m anxious and fearful in the best of times, and this is far from the best of times.

It’s weird. I read all these uplifting posts about how love will trump hate and how we will get through this, and all I can think of is, “Really? You fucking sure about that?” I wish I had that kind of confidence; I really do. But I know what it’s like to be a despised outsider in this country, and what I’ve known was nothing like what we’re about to see. I see all these people brimming with ideas on what to do next, and I’m envious of their energy while simultaneously being paralyzed by fear. As I’ve said before, I’m not a brave person. Everything I do is to minimize my anxiety as best I can, and now it’s flaring all over the place. I can’t breathe sometimes because of nausea and the fear.

One thing a good therapist might have an anxious person do is to imagine the worst thing that can happen in a situation. It’s called catastrophizing. The therapist does this because anxious people are always running bad scenarios in their heads, oftentimes worse than what could possibly happen. Once the client imagines the worst, the therapist helps them find a way to deal with it. It’s a viable strategy, but in this case, the worst case scenario is, with no hyperbole, nuclear war. Or people in concentration camps. Or another Great Depression. In other words, I can’t even imagine the worst it could possibly be, and I have no idea how to fucking deal with it.

go away; i'm hiding
I’ll be in my cat fort if you need me.

I’ve not been on Twitter as much as I usually am because I cannot take the constant bickering, speculation, and bad news. In addition, Trump’s transition team is in such disarray, it’s useless to try to predict what they’re going to do. Ben Carson was announced as the pick for Secretary of Education, and today he declined the job, any job, because he didn’t feel qualified to have a federal position. Um, didn’t you run for president, motherfucker? Members of Trump’s transition team have either quit or been fired, and we’re not even a week in. The thing is, I can’t take getting agitated over every possible pick. I’m not even sure it’s helpful to anyone to do so.

I’ve been on a Poirot tear lately. I’ve watched all of the newer seasons which I hadn’t yet seen, and now I’m watching every episode (save the ones I just watched) from start to finish in order of when they were published. The novels, I mean not the episodes. I was joking to my taiji classmates that I might nerd out even more and read the books as I’m watching the episodes. I’ve read every Poirot book at least ten times, and some of them up to a hundred. I’m not joking. I’ve even began my own Poirot story, which I started in a fit of pique over an authorized Poirot story written a year or two ago by someone not named Agatha Christie. I read the first few pages, and I was appalled at how bad it was. It was as if she were writing a caricature of Poirot without really understanding the soul. So, I started my own, and I found it difficult as well. There’s a fine line between embodying someone and simply aping him. It’s more than just copying Poirot’s famous catchphrases and making him cock his head to the side. There is something ineffable about Poirot, and it’s not easy to capture on paper.

I could go on and on about Poirot for hours, obviously. I adore him for reasons I’m not entirely sure of myself, and watching Poirot episodes is comfort food for my soul. David Suchet is the epitome of Poirot, and it is a delight watching him. The later series added sex, drugs, and guns to make it more enticing to modern viewers, I suppose. This is strange to me because one thing I love about Poirot is the old-timeyness of it. That’s not the part I really object to, however; it’s the egregious what they’ve done to the plots, and I can’t think about it without getting mad. I can still enjoy David Suchet, however, as he is pure perfection. I will talk more about the Poirot series in Friday’s Fun post. For now, suffice to say, it’s one of my escapism methods, and it’s serving me well at the moment.

Taiji is another way I’m dealing with my anxiety. I still do my routine every day right after I wake up, and even though it doesn’t completely take my mind off the election, it does mitigate the anxiety somewhat. When I can focus on what I’m doing, I can forget about the shit world I’m inhabiting, if only for a minute at a time. It doesn’t make the fear go away; it doesn’t change the world, but it gives me a moment of respite, which I sorely need right now.

Writing has helped as well. Right after the elections, I couldn’t write. I let my fiction go for three days, but I’m slowly getting back into the groove. I should be able to meet my NaNoWriMo goal, if only barely, but it doesn’t seem important to me any longer. The goal, I mean. The importance is in the writing itself. In times of duress, despair, and possible destruction, I feel the strong need to create. I’ve been able to write my blog posts, but they’ve been choppy, almost incoherent, and shorter than ever. I decided it was more important just to write them and publish them rather than let them stew in my brain. No matter how imperfect they are, they saw something of what I feel. Since my impulse is to bottle up my feelings and sit on them, it’s better for me to let them free. I know it’s a small thing, and I know my writing doesn’t really matter, but it makes a difference to me.

Finally, I’ve been sleeping in the weirdest ways. For me, I mean. I’ve always had odd sleeping patterns, and they’re only exacerbated now. I fell asleep before one in the morning one night, and that’s not like me at all. Because of that, I awoke for good at eight, which is also unlike me. I’ve dozed off while watching Poirot episodes, only to awaken with a start a few minutes later. I’ve huddled under my blanket at four in the morning, determined to fall asleep, and not being able to do so. I’ve clutched my blanket to my chest, feeling my heart beat rapidly, trying to urge myself to sleep. I don’t want to sleep because I need to sleep or enjoy it. I don’t. I never have, and it’s something I’ve resigned myself to. If I could never sleep again, that would be just fine with me. But, I long for the clammy embrace of Morpheus, to envelop me in his embrace. Even though he and I have been adversaries for my entire life, just once, I needed him to be a friend. I want to go to sleep and never wake up, if only to escape from this hell we’ve created for ourselves.

I’m not going to kill myself. That’s not my nature. But I can’t deny it’s been in my mind since last week. It’s telling that to me, killing myself seems preferable to living in a Trump-led America and with people who voted for him or didn’t fucking vote at all. I need to think about what I’m going to do in this new America. I still have no idea, but I better figure it out soon.

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