Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Society

Nearly a week of feeling like shit (get vaxxed)

Nearly a week since my second jab and…it’s not going well. I wrote about the first few days in this post and I want to expand on that in this post. Sunday sucked. Was really bad. Woke up Monday (yesterday) feeling as if I had been hit by a pickup truck which was better than being hit by a semi. Still was exhausted and taking it easy, but I was cautiously optimistic that I was on the mend. Then, last night (evening) hit me hard in the face. I was smacked with a “I have to shut my eyes now” exhaustion that I have not felt in a long time. Woke up around ten or so feeling wiped out and moped about for a bit before falling back asleep. Woke  up today completely wrecked.

It didn’t help that I ate a big heaping of asparagus last night and paid the price this morning. To be blunt, diarrhea every ten minutes for an hour. That’s what happens when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me, but it usually happens immediately after–not the next morning.

The heat in my arm had lessened greatly then came back with a vengeance last evening as well. Now, it has lessened again but it’s still got slight heat. Also swollen and sore. I’m not a happy camper. This is all not fun at all. Still worth it, obviously, but I wanted to be frank about my experience because people have been pooh-poohing the possibility of a bad reaction.

Knocked out by the second jab (get vaxxed, tho)

Got the second Pfizer jab on Thursday (it’s Sunday as I’m writing this) and it’s been a trial. The first shot was like this. Day of shot, no reaction until around 11 p.m. Then, the injection site swelled up and my arm started aching. Next day, pure exhaustion plus the arm issues. Third day, less exhaustion, but still some and the arm stuff. Exhaustion lessened as did arm stuff each day. Still, my arm still had the bump and was sore to the touch by the time I went to get my second jab, three weeks and one day later. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting and except for the two days of exhaustion, more an inconvenience than anything else. Yes, the jab site was sore, but not enough to hinder me from my day-to-day activities. A week after the shot, it was only sore when I poked it (which was once every few days to see if it was still sore).

I went into the second shot cautiously optimistic. I was expecting a reaction, but based on the first shot, I was hopeful that it wouldn’t be too bad. The shot itself was no thing, much like the first one. I barely felt the needle go in (I have a high pain tolerance, though) and no immediate reaction. Well, a bit of sweating, but that could just be because I was hot. I get overheated easily and the temps have risen considerably in the last week. I waited my fifteen minutes then left, feeling as fit as a fiddle. Except the damn sweating.

Went through the day feeling fine. Then, at 11:30 p.m., just like last time, bam! My arm swelled up like a ballon and the jab site was hot to the touch. Very hot. My arm started aching and it was much more noticeable than the first time. Still, it wasn’t terrible. The next morning, I woke up not feeling great. I emailed my taiji teacher saying I was skipping class, but I was able to do my daily routine, more or less. I was dragging, to be sure, but that’s my normal life, anyway, and this was only a bit worse. I was optimistic that it wouldn’t be terrible.

Then, I crashed. Hard. Around five-ish at night, I was hit with pure exhaustion and fell asleep. I woke up around ten, chills coursing through my body. I don’t get cold so that was an indication that something was wrong. My arm was sore as fuck and I just wanted to sleep. I fell back asleep around two, then woke up at four. Fell back asleep around five and got up at eight-thirty in the morning. That really sucked, by the way. I hate stop-and-start sleep, which used to happen to me all the time. When I got up for good, I felt as if a semi truck had hit me, ran over me, and reversed before running over me again.


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Jab jab jab

Wednesday was my 50th birthday. I decided to celebrate by getting my first (Pfizer) jab as a treat. I knew I was going to have a reaction to it because I am always sensitive to this kind of thing. Many people online were reporting no effects at all. In fact, some people were saying the side effects were overstated or that people were making too much out of them. That it was deterring people from getting the vax. That really annoyed me because it’s just a fact of life for me. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but that’s just the way my body works. I definitely want people to get the vax, but I’m not going to lie about my reaction.

Let me take you through what happened. I tried to make an appointment online. I was able to make an appointment for the first jab, but when I tried to set the second one, the website said there were no times available. Um, what? Why the hell would you allow me to make a first appointment if I weren’t able to make a second one? That didn’t make any sense at all. I tried to do it again a few days later, but the website wouldn’t allow it. Then, it told me to set my first appointment and the place I had made the appointment at before wasn’t listed. Did this mean I didn’t have any appointments at all? It seemed to be the case.

I took a deep breath and did something I hated doing–picked up the phone. I called and was able to set both appointments by phone. Look, I love doing things online and I think it’s the best way to get shit done when it works. When it doesn’t, however, then talking to an actual person is the way to cut through all the confusion. The person on the other end of the line was pleasant and happy to answer all my questions (and I had many. It’s my way of dealing with my anxiety). She got me signed up for both shots and made me feel comfortable in getting them. I decided to go for my birthday because it was the best day possible of the early batch of days and I didn’t want to wait until two weeks after that to get my first shot.

Here’s the thing about anxiety. It doesn’t discriminate between legit worries and not-so-legit ones. At least my anxiety doesn’t. I found that it’s best to answer the logistics ahead of time so I can tick that off my list. In this case, I haven’t been to the Roy Wilkins auditorium in decades so I Google Mapped it. I also asked my taiji teacher about her experience because she got her jabs at the same place. She told me there was free parking if you mentioned you were there for the vax. She told me how to get from the parking lot to the auditorium and made sure to note that it was well-marked. All of that was helpful in allaying my anxiety. Knowledge is power!


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The grass is always greener

Most of the time, I’m fine with being a weirdo. Sometimes, I take a perverse amount of pride in not being traditional. My mom once said with much irritation after I–oh, I know what it was. My cousin had gotten engaged by her husband (fiancé at the time) and my mom was relating how it happened. Or at least, we were talking about it. He had collaborated with her boss to make it appear as if she had a professional meeting in another country. Unbeknownst to her, he was flying out to the same country a day early to propose to her.

My mom thought this was the most romantic thing I had ever heard. I, on the other hand, was horrified by it, as I would be by any flamboyant/public proposal. Sad to say, I went on a rant about it because I hated the whole idea and thought it was a way of one-upping other people. I also hate people having secrets about me so everything about this proposal hit me in the worst way possible.

Now, decades later, I can see that it was more about me than the actual proposal. To be clear, I would still hate it, but it wasn’t about me. It was about my cousin and what she would like–and she loved it. It made her feel loved and cherished, and it was a great proposal story she could share with people.

Just because my idea of the ideal proposal if I were into getting married, which I’m not, is for me or my lover to roll over in bed and say, ‘Hey, wanna get married?’ before hoofing it for the JoP, there’s no reason to rain on other people’s parades. Fortunately, I never said any of this to my cousin because I had a higher EQ than that.

My point is that I’m weird. I’ve always been weird. When I was younger, I couldn’t understand why I didn’t think the way other people did and I was miserable all the time. I got picked on all the time for being Asian, fat, and smart. I didn’t really have any friends and I didn’t know how to go about making them. I didn’t watch TV or go to the movies. I ate mostly Taiwanese/Chinese food before it was chic and took a lot of teasing about it at school.

I first learned about death when I was seven, which freaked me out. But, at the same time, I became inexplicitly drawn to it. It became my boon companion, both lover and bogeyman. I used to sit up in bed, my heart pounding in terror at the idea of simply not existing forever. And yet, I looked for death wherever I went because it was calling to me. I wanted to kill myself as early as eleven and that lasted…well, it’s still around in a lesser form. And it’s not that I want to kill myself, but rather than I don’t want to live. It’s hard to explain the difference. I’m not actively seeking to die and haven’t been for decades. However, I’m not sold on this life thing, either.


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The pervasiveness of motherhood

I was reading my stories today and there was a question in the Care and Feeding column from a woman who broke up with the love of her life because he was leaning towards wanting children and she was leaning towards not. Or rather, they were both ambivalent when they started dating five years ago, but he’s realized that being a father is important to him whereas the LW still didn’t want them. It wasn’t a strong, “God, I never want children,” but more that she was 32 and decided if she didn’t want them now, she probably never would.

Michelle Herman is the one who answered the question and I like her in general. I think she gave a good answer until the very end where she felt compelled to point out that she didn’t have her desire to have a kid until after she was 32. She posted something from Emily Yoffe (the old Dear Prudence) who also apparently had the same realization in her later years (didn’t read the link).

Which, I mean, for this letter, I suppose it’s appropriate because the LW did say she thought if the desire to have babies didn’t hit her now, it never would, but it still irritated me even though Herman was quick to point out that she might not change her mind, either. But, did she really need to say that maybe the woman would? It didn’t change Herman’s answer as to the current situation and it really read as if she couldn’t help herself. She had to mention that this woman might at some point want to have children.


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New year, hopefully not the same as the old

A new year is a strange thing. We put all this weight on it especially after a year like last year. How many of us (including me) vocalized our relief at seeing the backend of 2020? It was as if we felt we could collectively turn the page once the clock rolled over from 11:59 p.m., December 31, 2020 to 12:00 a.m., January 1st, 2021. It makes sense emotionally because we’re apt to look for categories and we are the best at putting arbitrary definers on things. So, seeing the year roll over into a new one, our brains say, “New slate!” It’s natural and normal, but reality doesn’t work that way.

Side Note: See Boris Johnson abruptly putting country on Tier 5 lockdown. There have been a lot of issues with the tiered lockdowns and the abrupt announcement that the country was going to Tier 5 without the law actually put in place, well, that’s just Boris being Boris. Which is a lot like our president being our president.

Side Note II: Speaking of this president (two weeks now. Two weeks now), I don’t know how exactly to say this, but why is anyone surprised by what the president is doing? He’s a narcissistic, arrogant, ignorant asshole who cannot stand to look bad or to lose. He’s a vain, pompous jerkwad who believes anyone who’s flattering him in the moment. Of course he was going to do everything he could to take down the country before leaving. If anything, I’m disappointed with how pedestrian and mundane he’s being about it. Lawsuits and threats? Come on! That’s bush league. Kidding aside, I’m bracing for the reaction of his supporters when it sinks in that, no, he can’t bully his way into another four years.

Side Note III: I’m really just done. Not with this year, though that’s quite possible, but everything in general.

 

 

 

The end of the year is nigh

The end of the year is right around the corner and I can’t stop thinking about what a strange year it’s been. Terrible in so many ways. The pandemic. The current president. The mingling of the two. I’ve been reading past posts I’ve done on my gaming throughout the year to get ready for my end of the year game awards I was playing Syndicate back at the end of February right before the soft lockdown. I can’t believe I played Syndicate this year. I feel like it was ages ago. I also realized I played a ton more games than I remembered playing. To be fair, most of them I only played for a few hours. But, still. Good Pizza, Great Pizza was this year? If Found? Code Vein? I feel as if I’m living in some alternate universe and I want to get out of it.

Anyway. I’m not here to talk about video games. That will be a post (or three) by itself later. I’m here to talk about how happy I am to see the end of this year and how weird that it’s simultaneously been the longest year and the shortest year ever. I have heard the same thing from several people so it’s not just me. February seems like such a long time ago, but it also seems like just yesterday. I can’t help thinking about that younger me and smile ruefully at how naive I was. Not just me, but everyone in America, really. So many of us thinking the pandemic would last a month or two. I was supposed to fly to NY in early July and pooh-poohed my mother at the end of February for suggesting I cancel it. I was also planning on flying out to Philly over Halloween and surely I would be able to do that!

Yeah, no. Looking back, the idea that I would be able to fly in July is unfathomable. I’m not beating myself up about it because very few people thought the pandemic would last as long as it did. Back in February/March, the general thought in America was that it would be a few months before life returning to normal or some semblance thereof. It isn’t our fault as our government handled it so fucking poorly in the beginning. Not only did they underplay how terrible it was, but their advice was contrary. Don’t wear masks and go about your business as usual! Do wear masks. Six-feet apart. But still buy things!

The worst is the president. He had done active harm and January 20th cannot come soon enough for me. Trevor Noah did a bit about all the things this president has done wrong concerning the handling of the coronavirus and I couldn’t watch the whole thing because it was both enraging and profoundly depressing. One thing that has been made crystal clear during the pandemic is how little certain lives mean to those in charge. All the talk about it only affecting those who were already at high-risk wore me down. Even if it were true (which it isn’t), don’t our lives count? Don’t we matter?

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Holidays in a weird and wild world

Note: I don’t celebrate holidays. I feel the need to get the way before I go on my screed. 

Thanksgiving is coming up and it could not come at a worst time in terms of Covid cases soaring in America. In my state, you cannot gather with another household at all now because our cases peaked at 7,500 cases in one day. I don’t think the strictures have gone far enough even though I understand why the governor had to walk the tightrope. I really didn’t like the press conference, however, because it was definitely targeted at the yahoos who refuse to wear a mask because ‘MURIKA FUCK YA!

To wit, he praised everyone for doing so much and emphasized how hard it was and how unfair it was. I don’t disagree with the latter, but I am not at all down with the former. So many people have flouted the rules and/or don’t think Covid is an actual thing. Then, he went on to emphasize that this four week restriction was going most definitely going to only be a month because the vaccine will certainly be ready to go by then.

I mean, what. But that wasn’t the worst of it. He ended by saying he knew that come April, we would be sitting in that Twins stadium maybe without a mask, sitting with your brother-in-law having a hot dog and a beer. There is so many things wrong with this statement. One, the fact that he was so positive about the timeline. It’s one thing to say something like ‘with the information we have, it’s likely’ or something similar. But he phrased it in a way that made it inevitable, which I think is a recipe for disaster. I know he wants to keep people’s spirits up, but that isn’t the way to do it.

Secondly, the whole situation is aimed specifically at a certain type of person. I’ll just be clear–the Covid deniers. That’s not something I would do even in the Before Times, and it make it very clear that the press conference was not for me. It was for the recalcitrant assholes who whine about freeeeeedum and personal choice. Mostly Republicans, but not all of them. There’s a thread in Ask A Manager’s weekend post about Thanksgiving and whether or not to travel for it. Most people came down on the side of not traveling, especially as many states have come out with no mixing households mandates.

There were more than a few people, however, who disagreed. They were thoughtful about it and said that it was up to each individual (or family) to assess their risks and be careful when comingling households. They pointed out how devastating the lockdowns/restrictions have been to the mental health of people. They were right about the latter part, but so very wrong about the former. It’s part of why we are where we are right now–the emphasis on individual choice.

My parents bring up Covid every time they call. They say that cases have to be down, right? They can’t understand why the numbers keep going up. Their country, Taiwan, has been the platonic ideal of how you should deal with a pandemic. I’ve had to tell them over and over again that the things that worked in Taiwan wouldn’t work in America for a variety of reasons, but the biggest one is because  individual freedom/choice has become fetishized in this nation.


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A big sigh of relief

I’ve been struggling with a migraine all last week. I woke up Saturday morning (afternoon, really, but why quibble?) and it was 90% better. I went about my morning routine then checked the news. I caught my breath and tears filled my eyes as I read that Biden was projected to win the election. No jubilation. No excitement. Just a deep and abiding relief.

Four years ago, I believed the pundits and watched the incoming results of the election with a sense of dread, despair, and surrealness. I was thrown into a deep depression in part because I was not prepared for it. This time, I wanted to believe and trust the pundits, but I just couldn’t. The memory of 2016 was still too vivid. Also, I went numb on Election Day night because I couldn’t handle it, but under the numbness was…a deep fear. I couldn’t live with another four years of this president. I didn’t think our country could survive. He’s already did so much damage and if he were in a lame-duck situation, imagine how much worse he would have gotten.

I joked on the social mediums that my migraine went away because I was psychic, but it’s partly true. Stress is a big trigger of migraines and this whole week has been stressful. I don’t think I was psychic because I truly was not suspecting that the election would be called Saturday. I talked to my BFF, Kat, later that day and she said the same thing. We both thought it would be at least Monday.

The one thruway I’ve seen/heard is relief. Everyone I talked to about it said that was their initial response. Most of that was followed by the clarification that everything was not roses and champagne, but at least the country wasn’t going to spontaneously implode.

That’s the thing. All the jubilation and elation really didn’t have anything to do with Biden. Personally, I don’t like him. I was not enthused about him. He’s too centrist, too handsy (and possibly more than just handsy), and too ‘aw, shucks, I’m Uncle Joe’ for me. Although that probably was to his advantage because he could appeal to some of the same demos as did the current president. Harris was my candidate and let’s talk about her for a minute.

We cannot understate the fact that we now have Vice President-Elect who is a woman, South Asian American, and African American. I would have preferred if she was the president, but that may still happen in the next four years. Joe’s old is what I’m saying. Anyway, she’s warm, caring, intelligent, and she means so much to me. I don’t agree with everything she’s done (she was a  prosecutor in the past), but she’s head and shoulders better than–I don’t even need to go down that road. She’s quality is what I’m saying.


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Positive affirmations and gaslighting myself

I hate positive affirmations and I always have. In the past, I haven’t quite been able to articulate why although I could say what I thought the effects of it and toxic positivity/individualism in general were. It makes it very easy to blame the masses for problems that start at the top. Let me explain. Telling people to vote and that each vote makes a difference is under this umbrella. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote and in the general sense, yes, each vote matters. But the emphasis around election time on each individual vote is disingenuous because in the end, it’s the system that matters more than the individual votes. So, yes, I can do my civic duty and vote (which I have), but that’s just propping up the status quo. Yes, it’s urgent to get this president out of office, but his presidency has outlined many of the problems with the system in general and how we take for granted that the president will act like a normal human being with a sense of decency.

Look. Does he need to be shunned from polite society? Yes. Should he ever have been made president? No. In fact, his being president highlights another problem with the system–how the Electoral College is an antiquated system that needs to be refined or trashed completely. But, with the exception of Obama, I haven’t been excited to vote for any of the Democratic candidates on the ballot for president. I’ve done it, of course (except voting for Nader instead of Clinton in 1996 after waiting to see enough returns to realize Clinton would carry MN), but being told that it’s more important to have any warm Democratic body as president rather than to have a GOOD Democrat as president is an indication of a broken system.

It’s difficult to fix a whole political system, however. It’s much easier to place an outsized sense of importance on each individual vote AND it’s easier to feel satisfied you’ve actually done something by voting rather than working on improving the system which may or may not be a lost cause.


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