Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Personal Life

CPTSD and the roots thereof

When my nibbling was six or sever, let’s call them X, I and my bestie took X and my bestie’s baby, we’ll call them Y, to the park for a picnic and later, a swim. My nibling’s mother is pretty exacting and very much a germophobe. I am….not either of those things*.

Here’s another thing you need to know about me. I don’t like shoes. At all. So I wear them as little as possible. Including outside when I can get away with it. I promise this matters for this post.

We’re eating our picnic, which I have to imagine was something like sandwiches and chips. I remember dropping a chip on the ground and folling the five-second rule, brushed it off and ate it. My nibling was gobsmacked because their mother would never allow that in a million years. I explained the five-second rule (and, yes, I know it doesn’t work that way), and they were fascinated by it. Later, they accidentally dropped a chip on the ground, picked it up, brushed it off, and then with a weird look on their face, put it in their mouth.

Here’s the thing. I was the one who often presented them with a differest point of view. I am radically different than my brother in many ways. One of the biggest ways is that I’m not a Christian and my brother is, as is my nibling’s mother. I never pushed my opinions onto my niblings, but if they said something to me about it or asked me a question, I would be honest. My last therapist scolded me because when my nibling said to me that their god was the oldest and best god, I corrected them factually. Not about the best part because that’s subjective, but the ‘oldest’ part because that’s just incorrect. the Christian god is relatively new. Of the seven most well-known religions (in order of oldest to youngest, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism (Taoism), Christianity, and Islam), Christianity is the second newest/youngest.

My therapist angrily said that since I was not my nibling’s parent, I should not have said that. Full disclosure, my last therapist’s specialty was motherhoodh. Just noting that because it’s possibly related. I disagree with that strenuously. I don’t think I should let my nibling believe a lie just because it’s been indoctrinated into them by their parent(s).

Side note: That might be because of my neurospiciness. I have never been formally diagnosed with either autism or ADHD, but I have several traits of each. And my inability to tell when to lie and when not to lie is one of them.

I am not being snarky when I say that I don’t get when a lie is polite and acceptable and when it’s neither. I mean, that’s not completel ytrue. I know not to tell someone that their ass looks fat in a dress, even if they ask. I don’t understand why this is true because I would not ask that question if I didn’t want an honest response, but I accept that this is true.

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Playing life on hard mode

Over a decade ago (ouch), John Scalzi wrote a blog post entitled, Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is. In it, he endeavored to explain to straight white dudes what privilege was without actually using the word privilege because they were so turned off by it. He said at the outset that he was writing it as a straight white dude, and the police blew up. It went viral, and it was deeply polarizing. He did a few updates to the post as well. I just reread the piece, and it still holds up today.

As a person of color, I think this is a solid post. Is it a bit snarky? Well, sure. That’s his style. But he’s also speaking their language (in this case, specifically, white nerd boys) by using the analogy of playing a video game called The Real World. Being a white het dude is Easy Mode, and he explains why. He also adds that ti doesn’t mean they will ‘win’ the game or that they won’t have a hard time. He’s just saying they start with an advantage that other people don’t have.

I want to springboard off that point to say that I really wished I hadn’t chosen to live my life on difficult mode. Or even maybe nightmare mode.

I will start by acknowledging that in one way, I am on easy mode. That is money. Scalzi says that’s a stat rather than a skill, but I will say that not having to worry about money is definitely easy mode for that particular stat. Especially in America where one hospitalization whilst uninsured can leave you bankrupt for life. So, I disagree with him on that. Not having to worry about money is hugely stress-relieving.

Having said that, almost every other skill/level/stat I’ve ‘chosen’ is bullshit. The reason I put it in quotes is because it’s more that I’ve realized things about myself rather than chosen them. Me being Asian (Taiwanese) and AFAB are both knocks against me.

Now. From here on out, I could have theoretcially chosen to do the straight (heh) and narrow. I could have gotten married to a man and had 2.4 children. Well, not the .4 bit. I could have gone to church dutifully every Sunday and taught Sunday school.

And my soul would have died. Several times. Over and over because nothing sounds worse to me. I never wanted children, but just assumed I had to have them because I was seen as a woman–and that’s what women did. Spawn children. That was the most important purpose for a woman–and maybe the only, don’t you know.

Here’s the thing about being bi. Back when I realized it (thirty years ago), it was drummed into my head that it wasn’t a choice. I didn’t CHOOSE to be attracted to people of both (at the time) genders. Now, all and any genders, and none at all. Which is true. But I could choose who I wanted to date. At that time, I didn’t want to deal with being bi so I ignored that part of me. Once I embraced it, I realized that i would have chosen to be bi even if I weren’t.

I wasn’t supposed to say that, though. Because the formal queer line was that it wasn’t a choice–you were born that way. Like Lady Gaga sang. But what if you did choose it? It would still be a valid choice.

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I can’t eat the sandwiches

Today, Alison from Ask A Manager wrote a post about why you need to attend your company’s holiday party even if you really, really don’t  want to. She gave advice as to how to deal with it, and it was solid as always. She makes good points, and if I worked in an actual office, I would–still not go.

Here’s why. One, the title of this post is based on another AAM post. If I remember correctly, it was about how to plan food for the office in a thoughtful manner. Someone suggested sandwiches, and someone said not everyone can eat sandwiches. Which people took great umbrage at because they thought the person was just being difficult. I think that person was being difficult, but in general, I actually cannot eat the sandwiches. Unless there is gluten-free bread.

Another tihng Alison has doen in the past is mention that most people want money for their Christmas gift (from the company). By far. Money. You would be surprised how many people push back on that because it’s not really a gift in the sense of it’s legal tender.

Look. Give. Me. Money. People are terrible at getting me gifts for more that one reason. One, I’m just a freak who is not interested in normal people things. Plus, with all my allergies, I can’t eat many things. This is related to the gift-giving thing that Alison writes about. There are many people in the comments who think that it’s the thought that counts. Well, yes, but if the thought is ‘you don’t count’, then what’s the point? Every suggestion people had, I could not use. Well, almost every. Chocolate? Has milk. cheese platter? All dairy. Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pie? Gluten. Foodwise, I can eat meat and I can eat nuts, and I can eat fruits. So give me any or all of those.

Candles? Allergic. Soap/lotion? Same. Clothing? Also probably allergic. Well, depending on the material. Wool is bad. Feathers are bad. Synthetic is fine.

As for alcohol, I don’t drink it–and I’m allergic to alcohol, anyway. I don’t contribute to these convos because it’s so tiring, but someone defended alcohol saying people could give it away if they didn’t  want it. One, why should I have to give away a gift for me? And nothing says I’m valued like a gift I can’t use. Two, some people can’t have alcohol in the house. I can, but I would prefer not to. Three, it’s a pain in the ass to pass it on. I don’t have anyone nearby who drinks wine (which is what’s usually given away). Beer I could pass on, but it’s still something I have to do that I would prefer not to do.

So. Let’s take this to an office party. I can’t eat anything there. Miss me with asking for special food because I have read enough AAM to know that even if you ask, the chances of getting exactly what you want is slim to none. I have a Kind bar in my purse for that reason, but it’s not enough to last a whole night.

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Customer Disservice at its best (worst)

Last week, the garbage collector did not come. At all.

I’m going to let that sit there and marinate while I go back a few months. My garbage is usually collected early in the morning. A few months ago, I started to get weekly calls on the day it was supposed to be collected telling me that my route was ‘running late that day’ and would definitely positively be there by the end of the day–which was something like five-thirty. For several months.

Look. If they just came out and said that my new route was at the end of the day, I’d be fine with it. I don’t actually care when they come as long as they come.

They leave a message every collection day telling me that my route is ‘late for that day’. I had gotten to the point where I erased it as soon as I heard the automated voice. I just assumed it was the same message. Last week, they did not come. It was Thanksgiving week, so I thought maybe they had Monday off. I have helpful neighbors who roll my can back up for me, but I put it back out (this was thenext day) in the vain hope that it would get emptied.

It did not. At the end of the day, it was still full. The next morning, I called Republic, the monopoly for the area. In effect, anyway. It’s one of the only games in town. I told the woman on the phone that my house had been missed. After asking for my address, she immediately said that because of the holiday, my guy could not swing by and pick it up.

I mean. I get that it’s a holiday, but what happened was not my fault. I did not want to make extra work for anyone, but they didn’t do their job. Of picking up my trash. Which was, might I emphasize again, their actual job. That I pay them for. That they are supposed to do every week.

So the woman on the phone was as unhelpful as possible. She made sure to tell me several times that it was a holiday week and there was no possible wayt to get my trash picked up that week. That was it. She had nothing else to say. I asked what I was supposed to do the next week because I only had one small-ish can and, if you can recall, MY GARBAGE HAD NOT BEEN COLLECTED LAST WEEK. Which meant, and I’m sure you can put two and two together, that there was still garbage in the can.

“Put it in bags on the side.” She could not have been any less interested in my problem. Because I wanted to make sure that all the garbage would be taken, I clarified, “They will take the bags?” Because normally, they would not. She said she would put a note in the record for them to take the bags.

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The most wonderful time of the year

SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder. Basically, it’s depression that is brought about by a season. For most people, that’s winter with the darkness, the coldness, and the gloom. One of the ways to deal with it is a SAD Lamp to bring you light when it’s dark out.

It’s annoying. The way SAD has come to mean depression in the winter, I mean. I can understand that’s the more prevalent time it happens, but it’s not limited to that.

I get it in spring/summer. I hate the heat, the outdoors in bloom, and everything about not-winter/autumn. We got snow last night, which makes me both happy and nervous.

I need to get my roof fix. I was going to do it last week, but then I had to deal with the aftermath of my Covid shot. I honestly don’t remember it taking a week to recover from my previous shots. I mean, my arm was swollen/had the welt for several weeks, but the aches, chills, sweats, and tiredness didn’t last that long. Or did it?

My totally unsupported theoriy is that it was because I got the Moderna this time instead of the Pfizer. It’s supposed to be fine to switch between the shots, but it seems plausible to me that there would be a stronger reaction to one than another.

I’m still very tired. The chills and sweats are almost completely gone, and I’m slowly adding weapons back to my practice. I don’t want to do the fallacy of going from zero to a hundo and hurting myself doing it.

I had a classmate who was frustrating in this way. He would not jog for the whole year, and then when it got the least bit nice out, he would run like ten miles. Of course, he would pull something nad then complain about it. Loudly. I never said it, but I would think, “What the hell did you expect?” It’s so antithetical to Taiji that I could only shake my head.

But he’s a dude with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. He actually ripped a tendon, I think, doing this. Part of my annoyance is directed at myself, I know. I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of person. I have to be careful because I will go all out and ignore my body’s signals that I should stop.

My goal is to add one weapon a day and then gauge how I feel. Today, I did the drills for the staff. Yesterday, I did the Double Saber Form. I’ve done all the weapons this week at least oonce–except I think for the Karambit Form. I don’t think I’ve done that one. Maybe? It’s hard to say. I think I did it the day after I got the shot because Friday is the day I do that form.

I would rather do too little than too much.

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What am I thankful for?

It is Thanksgiving today. I don’t celebrate, but I don’t mind thinking about what I’m grateful for. My brother is having his dinner tomorrow, and I had been planning on going. for the first time in several year. Obviously, in part because of the pandemic, but also because, quite frankly, his (now ex) wife made everything so unpleasant.

She sat around with her face looking like she was sucking on a lemon. It was clear that she was not enjoying herself and that she wished everyone was not there. That may or may not include her children.

She was Shrodinger’s asshole in that you never knew when she was going to snipe at you and for what. I have said in the past that living with my father was like living with an alcoholic. We had to tiptoe around him and his moods, always on edge that he was going to take offense at something or the other.

It’s a truism that we marry our parent, especially the one with whom we have difficulty. My brother married someone who was the combination of both our parents. From my mother–the crippling anxiety that made her question everything and averyone. Except in my mother’s case, it just made her really annoying in that she constantly questioned everything and everyone. She did not trust her own opinion on anything–and she had to ask so many people what they think (while not listening to anyone).

Ian commented to me once that she really didn’t listen to my opinion, did she? No, she did not. It wasn’t because sof me, though. Well, not exactly. Yes, she was sexist in that she trusted men’s opinions more than non-men people’s opinions. So, yes, it was partly that. And because I was the baby. But it was also (in this case) because she had to ask at least two people about everything, and when she was here, she was in the house with me. So I was the first person she was talking to. Then she would call my brother, and he would be the second person she would talk to.

She couldn’t just make a decision on her own, oh, no. That would just not do.

Another example of her anxiety. She had a shirt shipped here. Fine, right? All she had to do was let me know, and I would bring it inside. My brother and his family are going there for Christmas. He could bring it to her. No problem! Right???

It should not have been a problem. In fact, it’s one of the easiest things in the world. Delivery, I mean. I take it for granted, probably bbecause I do it often.

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Call me a barbarian and slap me on the ass

I have been trying to cut back on my meat intake for ethical reasons. But, and this has happneed in the past, when I up my exercise, I want to eat more meat. My Taiji teacher explained that it was a protein builds muscle thing (and, on a similar note, she recommended I eat an orange a after exercising because it helps reduce lactic acid). Now that I’m doing Bagua and a weight-bearing set, I want meat. Lots and lots of meat.

It’s interesting how the body is connected like that. Yes, I know that’s an obvious thing to say, but it’s good to be reminded when we think we’re above it all. We really are just animals underneath it all.

I am reinvigorated.  will admit that I was flagging a bit with my Taiji routine. It’s not that I don’t love it–I do. But I felt a bit rote in what I was doing. I did the same things in the same order al lthe time. I mean, I rotated what forms I practiced each day (and which parts of what forms), but it was all the same stuff overall.

I asked my teacher to beef up (heh) my Bagua routine because I always liked the deerhorn knives. They are perhaps my favorite weapon. They are vicious, and no one can mistake them for anything but weapons used for attacking. I really want a good pair of them in addition to the practice ones I have.

Here’s the thing. Taiji is not an aggressive martial art. It’s meant to be reactive. Meaning, you aren’t attacking. Running away is a great option, and you want to do as little as possible to put an end to the situation. I really appreciated my teacher saying in one of the first classes that it was the lazy person’s martial art.

In America, there is a heavy emphasis on personal effort. (In a way to displace societal responsibility. Power to the people!) You’re supposed to give it your all. This is pushed so hard, there’s even a saying for it. “Give 110%!) That drives me crazy, by the way. Not only is it impossible to do that, it’s a toxic notion that you can’t evevr just chill the fuck out. We have a work culture that pushes more and more work. And has ‘at will’ laws–which means an employer can fire anyone at any time for any reason as long as it’s not discriminatory.

I read Ask A Manager, and there is so much focus on work-life balance. How to achieve it. How to push back on the company wanting you to work way more hours than you’re paid to work. The scam that in non-exempt (no set hours). People from other countries are always so flabbergasted by how awful work conditions are in America, and it can get tiring.

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Reality v. delusions

Just after I got out of the hospital, I tweeted about how great it was that my medical team was made of such diverse people. Different races, ages, genders, nationalities, sexual orientations, etc. There was an older woman from the Phillipines! There were several people from the Caribbeans! Several more who were Hmong! There was at least one gay woman! There were several Muslim black women! One Taiwanese-American woman like me! It was amazing.

Several months ago, I decided to look up the staff at Regions Hospital. None of the pople I remembered from my time in the hospital were there. Granted, this was over a year-and-a-half later, but still. You would think there would be a few people I remembered. That’s when it hit me. I knew I had had delusions while I was in the hospital. Many, many, many of them. So it should have occurred to me that maybe the diversity I had so welcomed in my hospital experience was…well, not real.

About a month ago, I asked my brother if there were any people of color on my medical team. Please remember I’m in Minnesota. PoC is just under 20%. Which, quite frankly, is a lot more than when I was a kid. But it’s still not much, and you can bet that the diversity goes way down in a specialized job such as nurse or doctor.

My brother said that not one of my team members was a PoC. He said that there may have been one when he wasn’t there, but he hadn’t seen one.

So. All the memories I have of people of color taking care of me? Either didn’t happen at all or I just substituted in PoC because that’s what I wanted to see.

Here are several of the incidents that I remember. One was an elderly female nurse from the Phillipines who reminded me of one of  my Taiji classmates and even looked like her a bit. In my mind, anyway. She was very motherly to me and taught doctor-related classes at a college nearby. She brought one of her students (East Asian) to tend to me because it was related to his schoolwork.

Did that really happen? Probably not. Looking back at it, it doesn’t make sense. None of it made sense, but try to tell that to someone who is as high as a kite.

By the way, I am very straightlaced in real life. Idon’t do drugs; I don’t even drink. Now, however, I can see why people do drugs. It was the best feeling in the world. I was flying high and felt no paint. I think it was the second or the third week after I returned home that I realized I actually had a body. And that body was in PAIN. I could see why people got hooked on opiates. They were so fucking good. Anyway. Ahem.

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Retry, Taiji, and Thai food

Saturday has become a ritual for me. Most of my days are free-form, but Saturdays have an established rhythm. I get up around 10 a.m. (Today, it was later. My sleep has been dodgy the last few days.) I feed my cat (and he’ll eat it or not. He’s been really picky in the last year since he’s been sick), then I brush my teeth, take my meds, and do my Taiji routine. On the day of a class, I don’t do the stretches because I’ll just be doing them an hour later. I do the weapons and the one section of the form. Right now, I’m doing the first section of the fast form on Saturdays.

Then, I watch as much of the Early Access episode of Retry as I can. Right now, the lads are doing Elden Ring, which means stacked episodes.Today’s is 2 1/2 hours, and it’s so juicy. I didn’t get to see much of it before class, but I’m ok with that. I’ve decided that Saturday is delivery/takeout day, and I get at least one dish with shrimp because…

Ok. How do I explain this. The lads always make their character in a From game Finchy after someone in The Office (I’ve never seen that show, but they’ve explained it more than once). The character is always Finchy, but they give an adjective to each one. So the one in Dark Souls is Chimpy Finchy. Dark Souls III (the second game they played) is Froggy Finchy. Bloodborne is Posh Finchy. Dark Souls II was Mama Finchy. Demon’s Souls was Papa Finchy. Sekiro was not Finchy, but they called him Finchy, anyway. Elden Ring is Aunty Finchy.

Chimpy Finchy didn’t really have a personality, but they started to give a voice and personality to Froggy Finchy. Now, each Finchy is their own person.

Separately, in each game, you can choose a starting gift. In this game, you can choose five prawns. They negate damage I think? Anyway, Rory was tickled by it and chose that as his starting gift. What he didn’t know, but Krupa did was that there is an NPC who sells prawns. He lives in the prawn shack in Liurnia of the Lakes. He’s called, ah, Blackguard Big Boggart. Rory and Gav were instantly smitten with him when they met him. Krupa made a rule on the spot that any time they visited him, they had to buy all the prawns they could.

They decided that Annty Finchy (named Tina, loving Tia Marias) had a shellfish allergy, but could not help eating prawns. Anyway, I get something with shrimp every Saturday now in her honor.

I have to say that this weekend is a big RKG weekend. They did their Halloween livestream yesterday (I’ve included it below), then a 2 1/2-hour boss episode today, and then Roundtable Hold tomorrow. That’s their new companion show, every other week, to talk about what they had experienced in the last two weeks. It’s a great show because it gives some insight into how the lads think.

Then, once a month, Krupa does a lore masterclass (which is a great name for it) that is just incredible. I’ts a great time to be a patreon.

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Wish I may

In the Ask A Manager weekend forum, there is a thread about a book focusing on the protagonist being able to see how her life would have been different if she had made different big choices. The Original Poster asked if people had choices in their lives in which they would have made different choices, then added what would you tell your twenty-year old self to change the trajectory of your life.

Most of the comments are from people saying they would not change anything because blah blah blah person they now are. It may be true. Or it may be what they think they need to say. Or it could just be that American can-do, positive toxicity shining through. There were a few people who said they would make different choices, but they were few and far between.

I started a reply in my head, but realized that I probably shouldn’t post it because it would get really negative and really self-indulgent. So I’m going to do it here instead.

First of all, I get what people are saying about if they changed something in their life, they wouldn’t have the life they have today. With concrete examples like, “If I hadn’t married my first husband, I wouldn’t have my child”, that makes complete sense. I feel the same about working at Katahdin, my first job after college. It was a terrible place to work and the people there were mostly really dbad at their jobs. At least one was a horrible human being, too. The lead of my team. He was narcissistic, vain, lazy, and just an all-around creep.

But, it’s where I met K. Who became my best friend and the sister I never had. I love her and cannot imagine my life without her. I have often joked that when we are in our eighties, we’re going to be at the same old folks’ home, heckling the other inmates. So, yes, I would not give up working in that hellhole if it meant not meeting her.

On the other hand, I would definitely have chosen not to date the Thai guy who forced me to have sex with him. And I most certainly owuld nat have stayed with him because of my twisted, fucked-up brain telling me that it was my fault and that I was trapped. I was fortunate that the relationship had an baked-in shelf life as I was returning to America.

But. The reason I stayed with him was because of how I was browbeaten to believe that my sole worth on this earth was what I could offer other people with being an available hole to any man (yes, man) who wanted it an implied secondary lesson.

This is the biggest thing I would change or that I would tell my twenty-year-old self. Hell, I woul tell this to teen-year-old me and fifteen-year-old me as well.

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