Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Musings

Snow!!!

It snow yesterday. That’s all.

It’s not all, obviously, but it really lifted my spirits today. And yesterday. It’s been gray and drab for most of the winter, and winter and snow are my favorites. I was skeptical with the winter advisory because we have not gotten much snow all winter. So 1-5 inches in my head meant a dusting. Then it started snowing. And snowing. And snowing some more. Big, fluffy, white flakes that wnafted gently down. I was getting more and more excited as it continued to fall down.

In the end, we got maybe three inches? Well, probably closer to four or five city-wide, but I got three or so. And I’m delirious with happiness. It’s been a miserable winter, so this really does it for me. It’s funny because there’s a post at Ask A Manager today about snow, and I related to it so hard. I answered a commenter who turned out to be living in a neighboring city. There’s a bunch of Minnesotans in the comments! In fact, the person who wrote the question might also be a Minnesotan.

Anyway, when I used to be on social media, I would be so excited about snow on my own wall and get snarky responses about how it was because I didn’t have to shovel it. I also heard from someone that their husband (whom I was also friends with) that he was tired of me talking about how much I love snow. Again, on my own wall. I did not go to other people’s walls and rave about how much I liked snow. I get being empathetic to other people (and I am), but I should not have to qualify my love for snow.

Look. Everything is problematic to a certain degree. As Alison pointed out in her response, there are issues with the heat as well. And yet, it’s assumed more widely that heat and sun are loved by everyone. I like the sun, but I hate the heat. So much. I hate summer and spring in a large part because of the heat. But when I’m talking to other people, mostly those who like summer and spring, I just smile and nod when they talk about how great the weather is.

Let me reiterate. I hate the heat so much. All the hate. Anything over 60 degree is going to make me grumpy. The hoter it gets, the angrier I get. But, again, I just smile and nod when people effuse about how great the weather is. So, yeah, they can suck it up when I talk about my love for snow. About a decade ago, one of my things was to go on Twitter and talk about dancing naked at midnight in the snow. Which I actually did. No pics, obviously, but it was thrilling to go outside in just flip-flops (in the privacy and darkness) and dance.

I am so happy with the snow. It makes me smile and it truly lightened my heart. Just watching the snow fall made me giddy. As I said, for the whole season, we haven’t gotten much snow at all. Most of the time we get the winter warning and I am bitterly disappointed by the lack of snow. This time, it just kept falling for several hours.

It’s going to melt. It is already. It’s not going to stay for a long time, but I’m just enjoying the hell out of it now. And I don’t need anyone to harsh that high. I understand that people have to drive in it and shovel it, and I want to be sensitive to that. But at the same time, I am allowed to love the snow. As I said earlier, anything can be problematic. Go on a trip to Europe? Think of all the people who can’t afford it. Or buying a new car. Or even buying enough groceries for the week. Or DoorDashing an order. Also, anyone who is an American is automatically more privileged in several ways than people in several other countries.

I am someone who tries to empathize with other people. Actually, I don’t even need to try because I’ve been doing it for so long. at a certain point, though, it just becomes virtue signaling, especially if the person doing the scolding isn’t actually doing anything to help the people they are championing. It’s a way to make them feel better about themselves without acutally having to do anything other than scold and chastise.

Alison said that ‘seeing red’ might be an overreaction by the letter writer, but I get it. Being in the minority means that you got to hear over and over again how your opinion is wrong. It may not be that bold, but it’s done in so many ways. As I said, just even the “I’m so glad it’s finally spring” attitudes can add up. To constantly be pelted with the notion that what you like is bad, wrong, or just inferior can wear you down. Then, in this case, the letter writer’s colleague told them that they were insensitive for not realising that unhoused people fair badly in the cold/snow. The colleague also said that adults realized snow was not a good thing.

That would make me see red, too. Calling me childish for enjoying something is deeply insulting. And, the LW themselves noted that heat is also dangerous for unhoused people(and rain and other weather), and that others in their office get excited for those. They were careful to point out that their colleague was not their supervisor, but was above them in their company hierarchy.

It’s just bullshit. It’s the same thing people have said about video games, Halloween, and stuffed animals. All things that I enjoy. That they’re for kids, I mean, and that grown-ups should put them away and be adults! Then again, I am not someone who cares too much about categories as I have said over and over again. I like what I like, so fuck anyone who puts that down. That’s my bottom line.

 

Love in all its various forms

Today is Valentine’s Day. I used to hate this day, even when I was in a relationship. It’s a manufactured holiday and one that has morphed into (in the het-norm) ‘Buy an expensive gift for your ladyfriend, otherwise you don’t love her’. There are just too mayn expectations for it to ever hold up.

Side note: That’s my issues with traditions more generally. They just cannot live up to the expectations. Weddings, for example. So many people put in so much time, money, and effort into planning their perfect wedding and then it never goes how they want it to go. Also, so many people say they don’t remmeber anything from their wedding. It always puzzled me because it’s just one day whereas a marriage, presumably, will be for the rest of one’s life. (In theory, anyway.)

Side note to the side note: I read an article many moons ago about how everyone these days is entitled to a starter marriage, as it were. Meaning one marriage that ended in divorce. They made a convincing case for it, including the fact that people live so much longer these days. (Which, not exactly true, but let’s go with it.)

To which I say, “Why restrict yourself to one person?” I am someone who does better when I am not in a monogamous relationship. I think it’s because I don’t feel pressured to be the one and only (read, doing all the emotional support). I get way too focused on the other person in a monogamous relationship.

Anyway. back to Valentine’s Day. When I was working at the county, my boss came in on V-Day in a terrible mood. She showed me a new leather briefcase she had, and it was really nice. Soft, supple, and obviously top quality. It turned out that her husband had given it to her for V-Day. I thought it was a lovely present! Her old briefcase had been in tatters.

She was furious because she wanted a tennis bracelet. She had left out magazines opened to tennis bracelet advertisements around the house, hoping he would get the hint.

I didn’t say this to her (because she was my boss), but I thought she was being ridiculous. First of all, she was a grown woman who could buy her own tennis bracelet. Secondly, if that’s what she really wanted from him, she should have just told him. Yes, I know it’s not as romantic, but depending on him to take in context clues was risky on her part. Thirdly, his actual gift was thoughtful. He had noticed that her old briefcase was falling apart and got her a really nice new one.

I get that some people don’t want something practical, so I can’t totally blame her for that. But again, if she really wanted the tennis bracelet, she should have simply told him.


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Just say no

In yesterday’s post, I was talking about where to draw the line when it came to problematic creators. It always amuses/frustrates me when people try to lecture me about not giving my money to someone I personally abhor. Even if they were objectively true that I should not use my purchasing power in that way–

Which, by the way. Let’s unpack and dissect that a bit. Capitalism is based on buying what you want/need. And the basic tenet is ‘let the market decide’. In tangent, we are told that people ‘vote with their wallets’. To me, this means that me deciding NOT to give money to JKR, for example, is exactly how capitalism/politics are supposed to work. And yet, I’m told that somehow I’m doing her wrong by not buying her shit?

I want to emphasize again that no one is owed my money. I’m not talking about bills, of course, but about creators who are trying to entice me to part with my dollars. While I support the arts in general, I am not obligated to support any one artist. It’s fascinating to me that the political right, who are big proponents of capitalism (so they say) are the ones who throw a hissy fit when they perceive ‘cancel culture’ is happening.

Look. You can’t really have it both ways. You can’t say let the market decide unless it goes against my point of view. I mean, you can say that, but it’s not being internally logical. Which, I know. It may not surprise you to know that I don’t think much of the right and their ability to maintain an internal logic.

More to the point, though, is that they are really good at staying on message. It’s one thing I envy about the Republicans. Less so since that guy took over the party, but still. They will line up dutifully behind their party and repeat the talking points ad nauseam.

I wish the Democrats were as on message, but for better and worse, we are the big tent party. I have been a Dem since I was eighteen. Before that, really, but maybe not vocally.


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Where to draw the line

Yesterday, I talked about being at the crossroad in my personal life. Today, I want to muse about where I draw the line when it comes to problematic creators of art. Yes, I know that no one is perfect and that it’s easier to know someone’s ugliness these days than a hundred years ago. I’ve heard that argument more times than I care to count. Along with ‘cancel culture’ and that tired trope.

News flash: Cancel culture is not a thing! I wish to god it were. Can you imagine if minorities actually had that power? To get companies that we disapprove of to disband or abolished? Hell to the yes! I would be all over that.

In the RKG Discord, there was a passionate debate about the Hogwarts game. I would like to note that British people are terrible about trans issues. Not to say Americans are good, we aren’t, but British people like to claim the high ground when it comes to isms (they often say with a straight face that there is no racism, which is utter bullshit), so it’s notable that they are particularly terrible about trans issues.

There was a guy who declared that poor JKR was just misunderstood and really trying to defend women. He was the one who brought up ‘cancel culture’. I said it wasn’t a thing, but if it were, then it would actually be in line with capitalism. I mean, capitalists always liked to say, “Let the markets decide.” If the markets decided that JKR was reprehensible and no one wanted to buy her books because of it, then that’s capitalsm.

Here’s the depressing thing, though. JKR is a billionaire. She’s not hurting at all or in any way. Cancelled? I think not. Also, she is not defending women because trans women are women. If she can’t accept that, then she needs to GTFO.

Also, ever if she were being cancelled, she is not owed my money. I am nnot obliged to buy anything from her, nor is anyone else. Again, that is capitalism! I spend my money where I want. And it’s definitely not on anything associated with JKR.

In addition, I can’t unknow what I know. Like, Woody Allen sexually abused his wife’s adopted daughter, brainwashed her, and then married her. I’m supposed to pretend this isn’t the case? Or that Roman Polanski didn’t rape a thirteen-year old? Nope. That’s not going to happen. I know this about them, and it’s reprehensible. Again, I don’t have to give money to anyone I don’t want to. In the case of these two men, whatever art they’ve done (and I don’t like what I’ve seen of Woody Allen’s movies. I’ve never seen one of Roman Polanski’s) has been tainted by what they have done as men.

I don’t like Woody Allen’s movies, by the way. Even before the aforementioned issue. I think of them as a man whining and negging the women around him. But for some reason, he’s seen as inexplicably attractive. So not my thing at all.

More to the point, there are millions of books, moovies, music, etc. I will not be able to see/hear 1/100th of all the pop media available. Why would I want to spend my money on someone I loathed?


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Feeling some kind of way

Yesterday, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Probably because I had to get up early for the demo of my teacher’s teacher. The demo was at 11:30 a.m. and that’s when I usually get up or am feeding my cat while doing my morning routine.

Side note: My cat has gotten very picky about food since he was sick in November of 2022. I tihnk his sense of smell has been blunted because when he actually starts eating, he’ll eat plenty. Or rather, he will eat about a fourth of a small can and then suddenly stop. Unless he really likes the food (and this differs every day), then he’ll eat half. Once in a great while, he’ll eat close to the whole thing. That’s very rare, though. By the end of the meal (which can be up to forty-five minutes later), we may have gone through as many as 6 cans of food (not necessarily new ones).

I can almost consistently get him to eat some of some kind of Fancy Feast, which makes sense. It’s the McDonald’s of cat food and perfectly calibrated to make cats want to eat it. What I’m saying is that it’s not the most nutritious, but at this point, whatever he’ll eat is good. I’ve given him some of the higher-quality food, and he does not care for that.

Anyway, watching the demo for my teacher’s teacher’s school has left me feeling some kind of way. Why? Because there were weapon forms being done that I want to learn. A two-person sword form was one as was another sword form. Both of them were done by my teacher’s colleague, who I really admire. She (the colleauge/classmate) is a weapons admirer as well, and it’s clear that she has such joy when she does them. In addition, it was seeing her do the Double Sable Form at the demo in 2020 that made me want to learn it myself.

Here’s the thing. My teacher does not care for the weapons. She does them because that’s what her teacher wants her to do, but she does not keep up with them. Nor does she learn the more advanced ones. She focuses on the solo stuff plus Bagua. She did the Swimming Dragon Form for the demo and it was amazing.

Unfortunately, I feel if I want to continue with my weapon forms, I am going to have to find another teacher. My teacher’s teacher is amazing with weapons. His forms are beyond compare. He truly is a master when it comes to the forms. The thing is, though, I don’t feel comfortable with him as a person.


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The limits of labels

I wanted to do a post on labels, so I looked up ‘No Labels’ to se ewhat they were up to these days. Unfortunately, they’re deciding to be assholes as usual. Basically, they are a bunch of rich people who want to rule America. So, per yooz, but without being principled enough to choose a political party. Because they would not suceeed in that party. So they took their balls to make another party. In other words, they are exceedingly egotistical people who think it should be all about them.

If you are a power-hungry asshole, just SAY you’re a power-hungry asshole. I do think that only having two political parties is bullshit. Most of my life, I’ve voted for the lesser of two evils, and it’s not great. It gives too much power to those two groups and disenfranchises many people. The solution is not to tave a bunch of gazillionaires declare themselves as de facto rulers of the land. that’s way too much like an oligarchy.

That is not the point of this post, though! I’m talking about personal labels. Back when I realized I was bi (thirty years ago), the common refrain in the queer community was to rebuff the ‘its a choice’ or ‘it’s a lifestyle’ phrasing when it came to being queer. And I get it. Straight people didn’t waake up one day and think, “Hey, I’ve decided i’m going to be straight today.” So, yeah, I was born this way to quote Lady Gaga. But. And this is the important part. I would have chosen to be this way if I had a choice in the matter. I ilke being attracted to people of all genders. Or no gender like me. I’m greedy. Why limit myself to just one? It’s broaden my horizons, and while I do see gender, it’s not the most important factor in my attraction to someone.

I didn’t like the ‘I can’t help being queer’ mentality because there was always a tinge of…negativity to it? Not negativity, exactly,  but….

Look. Let me put it this way. When I was in my later twenties, women started asking me if I had children/was plainning on having them/wanted them. I was young and naive, and I said no. Just no. Not “hell fucking no!” or “No, I don’t want them.” Just no.

I thought it was a decision that only affected me, but I was so wrong. Everyone had something to say about it, which boggled my mind. For whatever reason, the content of my womb was fair game to other women. I hadn’t got the memo, so I was gobsmacked with the outsized reactions I recieved.

Then, because I was feeling like an outcast, I looked for a book that might have stories from other women* about not wanting children. This was before the internet was as ubiquitous as it is now, so I was looking for an actual anthology. As in a book. I found one, and I was elated to get it. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that almost all the stories (and I mean all but one or two) were by women who wanted children, but chose not to have them for one reason or the other. Or who decided to not have children because of medical issues in their family.

All of them bent over backwards to say how much they loved children and how they were so disappointed not to be able to have them. More than one made sure to mention how they were aunts or had other children in their lives.


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Free to be me?

I’ve been talking about gender a lot lately. Why? Because I don’t get it. I say this with zero snark. Every time I hear people talk about gender, I feel like I’m listening to a foreign language. Follow the way my brain works. I’m going to be as honest as I can be here. Which means that it might be uncomfortable to read.

Other people say that they feel their gender deep in their soul. That being a man or woman (in this case, the binary) is a core part of their identity. People who are nonbinary also feel this deep in their souls. I have heard so many people talk about their gender and how important it is to them.

Whenever I think about my gender, I try to concentrate on what it is, and I get–nothing. I know I’m NOT a man, but as for woman or nonbinary, I mostly just shrug and say, eh, maybe? I’ve used this analogy several times. Being called a woman is like wearing an ill-fitting raincoat. It’s going to keep the rain out, mostly, and it fits, mostly. But it’s uncomfortable, and I’m going to take it off as soon as I can with a sigh of relief.

I don’t mind if other people call me a woman or want to connect on that level (we women, we’re sisters, etc.), but it’s becasue I’ve had similar expenciees. I am coded as a woman and I look very much like a woman is expected to look. I have hair down to my hips and I’m very curvy. VERY booby. And I love my body (now). I’ve never hated my curves, even when I hated my body in general.

I’m very comfortable in my body now. In a large part because it saved me from dying. Twice. Literally. But even at my most “I loathe my body” time of my life, I never hated the boobs, pussy, hips, or ass. Well, mourned the lack of ass, but that’s different than hating my body in general. Also, I can thank Taiji for giving me an ass! Ian has confirmed (very diffidently) that I do have one now.

Other people calling me she doesn’t bother me. Being called sir on the phone (which ALWAYS happens because I have a double alto voice. About as low as possible for someone who is AFAB) does not bother me. I used to be called sir when viewed from behind because I wore a black trench coat and had very short hair (this was on campus for college), and that did not bother me, either.

To be clear, I am not a guy. But I don’t care if someone calls me sir. It doesn’t bother me, even though I don’t identify with it. I am fine (sort of) being called she/her, but I would rather not be. And I will not call myself that. Though I have by mistake.

If I had my druthers, I would just ignore gender. It doesn’t matter at all to me except as to how others treat me. That’s the biggest thing about gender for me–it causes people to view me through a certain lens. Because I’m AFAB and LOOK like a woman, that’s how I get treated.


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Not everyone is the same

I was reading an old post on Ask A Manager yesterday. That’s what I do when I’m on the toilet or just chilling, by the way. I call them my stories and am fascinated by the glimpse into humanity. I choose AAM because the commenters tend to be more thoughtful than people in general, which means that the responses are higher quality than society in general. Plus, Alison (the site owner) will delete egregious responses that display any kind of isms or are mean to the original poster (OP) or other commenters.

Today, I was reading a post by a manager who was complaining about their best worker, ‘Norbert’. He was doing twice as much work as his colleagues and then when he pointed it out, the OP asked if he was a jerk for complaining. Also, the OP made Norbert train their colleagues when he complained and explained it to Alison as, “It was my way of saying train your coworkers to be as fast as you, then!”.

Alison had a great response as always, but a lot of the commenters got stuck on how he should be able to give tips and tricks as to how he’s so much better. Not that he should do it for free, but that it would be helpful. Several commenters said that he couldn’t be that much faster (naturally), even though more than one commenter said that some people were just that good.

It got so repetitive that Alison had to chime in. She does that by using a blue box to delineate her answer from the masses. Someone was saying there was no way one person was doing twice as much work as everyone else. That there had to be a reason for it.

Side note: That’s so bizarre to me that someone would think that. I will get to that in a minute.


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Intersectionality is still not a thing, apparently

I was watching an Australian woman’s video on a new paradigm for autism and was finding it interesting. At some point, she was talking about how information got passed along in an informal way. She said, “As we say, and this is probably problematic, it’s a game of Chinese whispers.”

My brain slammed shut and I could not hit the X button soon enough to close out the video. I was not expecting casual racism in my video about autism, and I was not down with it, thank you very much. In addition, it was doubly frustraton because she realized it was something that she probably shouldn’t say as she specifically noted it would probably be problematic, and then said it, anyway. That’s the part that really iced the cake for me. In addition, she could have easily just called it the whisper game and explained what it was or as we call it in America, the telephone game.

What she did not have to do was call it the Chinese whisper gome (and why is it Chinese in the first place) without a whiff of discomfort.

In the year of our endemic, 2024, this is just unbelievable. The video was fairly recent–certainly in this millennium. It underlies the fact that just because someone has something that is a minority in one way and suffers for it, that doesn’t make them automatically empathetic to others in the same position. It also shows how within dominant cultures, they can forget that racial minorities can also be, say, autistic.

Side note: Everyone loves the Maintenance Phase podcast and talks about how brilliant it is. I have listened to three episodes, and I’m underwhelmed. Not only beacuse I find it pretty basic, but also because it’s very much for white people. Which is fine. White people need help, too. But the fact that they briefly acknowledge that there are different issues for people of color does little to make me want to actually listen to the podcast.

Intersectionality was something I was aware of even before I knew the word for it. It stemmed from a selfish reason–I never saw me in anything. This was why I started writing fiction, by the way. I was going to be the change I wanted to see!

When I was in middle school, my world history teacher asked us what we wanted to learn about. I said Japanese internment and the Taiwanese/Chinese conflict. He said that we didn’t have time for that, which really annoyed me. Why bother asking then? The same happened in college in my feminism in philosophy class. I mentioned racism, and she said we did not have time to talk about it.

I’m sorry. I cannot put my race on hold while focusing on my gender. Thats’ not how life works. Again, if she wanted to say it was white feminism in philosophy, she should have said that. This was in 1992, so three decades ago. Sadly, I have not found it to have changed much in the meantime. Yes, there is awareness of more issues, but it’s still in discrete containers–and none of them include me.


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Bagua is my bag–bait and switch!

Bagua is my new everything.

That’s it. That’s the post. Ha! Not really.

I have fallen in love with Bagua as is my wont. When I am attracted to something (or someone), I am ALL IN. maybe not on the theory, but definitely in practice.

My teacher is dedicated to Taiji and Bagua. It’s what she does with most of her time, which I admire and aprreciate. I don’t know if I want to go that far, however, as it’s a part of my life (internal martial arts), but not the whole thing. I wrote about how she’s a gerat teacher in my last post. She puts up with my bullshit and questioning. I was the most recalcitrant student when I first started. I mean, that’s how I am in the rest of my life as well. I question everything after a lifetime of being gaslit by myy mother. And I mean that in the actual sense of the word. My mother will lie at the drop of a hat about what she has said and done.

Here’s the worst part, though. She is not aware she’s doing it. That’s not an excuse, by the way. It’s the literal truth. When my parents were last here, my mother and father had a screaming fight. My mother ran into the room where I was (living room), and my father followed. They were yelling in Taiwanese and I said loudly to my father that he needed to stop (which was probably not the best way to handle it, but it was really upsetting me as well.

My mother was crying and my father was shouting. He has dementia, which was markedly worse than it had been the last time I saw him. That was the summer before the pandemic so 2019. My medical crisis was autumn, 2021. So two-plus years later. The amount of decline was shocking to me, though it shouldn’t have been. He was getting worse and worse every year, so that much of a gap made it even more noticeable. But, as people who have loved ones with dementia know, it goes in and out without warning. One minute, he’s talking normally, and the next minute, he’s talking about something that doesn’t exist. I learned to go with it, but my mother could not. She claimed it was beacuse she could not lie to him, which was part of the abusive marriage.

I’m not going to get into that. Just suffice to say that after more than fifty-five years of marriage, she was completely worn down to a nub. Whatever fight she had in her was gone except for in very brief spurts that probably didn’t do any good in the long run.


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