Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Writing

Resting Blank Face

When I was young, I was taught that my emotions were not allowed. More specifically, my negative emotions. I was not supposed to be angry or sad or upset. I was not supposed to disagree with my parents in any way. I was supposed to paste a smile on my face and act like I was happy/grateful/upbeat all the time.

I have to say. Upbeat is not in my vocabulary. Not by a long shot. Even when I’m happy or elated about something, I’m very lowkey. I have had to learn in online communication that I can come across as flat, so I need to add emojis and exclamation points. I’m verbose, yet, but I’m also factual. I don’t tend to be flowery in my writing, so I can come across as dry.

In real life, I have perefcted the blank face. It’s my resting face, and I have to actively add emotion to it if I don’t want to be perceived as being emotionless. I had a Taiwanese roommate once tell me that he could not see a guy asking me out. This did not come out of nowhere, by the way. I was complaining about being hit on as I did my moring walk. At least once a week, a guy would try to come onto me. It was always white and black guys, though–never Asian guys.

When my Taiwanese roommate said this, I retorted that not all guys were afraid of a strong womnan. It wasn’t very tactful of me, but he hadn’t been tactful, either. He was very much into the steretoypical Asian woman, but then he would complain about how bored he was of the women he was dating.

Not only had I trained myself not to show my emotions, but I also trained myself not to show pain. Physical pain, I mean. As a result, my pain threshold is insanely high. When we were doing chin na (joint manipulation) techniques in Taiji, this was a problem. You’re supposed to tap out when the pain was too much, but I would never tap out. Not because I was trying to be hard, but because I truly could not feel it.

My teacher finally decided that I could only practice with her because she did not want me to be hurt. She was the only one experienced enough to realize when to back off without me having to tap out. She talked to her teacher about it and one time, he was in our class to practice/watch. He suggested i stand on my tiptoes, and then i was abble to feel the pain. I did, and he demonstrated. I automatically felt the pain and tapped out. He said that when you were on your toes (generic you), you can’t tense up your muscles/joints.

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New year–let it snow!

It’s snowing. We are supposed to get 4-7 inches. It’s the best kind of snow, too. Large, fulffy flakes gently wafting to the ground. I got Thai carryout yesterday so I’m set for the next few days. I am so lucky that I don’t HAVE to drive anywhere and have a guy to plow. Therefore, I can enjoy the snow from the safety of inside my house.

It’s white and cheery outside my window. Well, white is a fact and cheery is how I feel. I love snow. I will say that in the RKG Discord, there is a channel for grot called #slug-love. It’s also the channel in which we support each other, and it’s my favorite channel. It’s the last channel (they’re alpha within the category), which is fitting.

I have a running gag of reporting how much snow we are supposed to get, but with no context so it sounds like I’m talking about sex. I did this yesterday, and someone gave a treatise on the average size of the male penis and how me looking for half of what is expected is unrealistic. At the end, he said, “Unless you’re talking about rain or snow. I can’t tell.”

I could have kept going, but I took pity on him and said that I was actually takling about snow. But it’s fun to be able to riff on that with like-minded people. And it’s contained in one channel so you don’t have to dip in it if you don’t want. There are a half-dozen of us who are regulars, and then there are probably a dozen people who drop in semi-regularly. Then another half-dozen or so who say hey infrequently. It’s always fun to see new faces, though! One person came in to tell us that we were all really inventive, which was a nice boost.

It’s funny. I used to be very dirty when I was in my twenties. It was in reaction to being raised in a very fundie, restrictive, Evangelical Christian household. I’ve written about how I was taught that having premarital sex would send me to hell, which was such bullshit. Once I went to college, I let my imagination run wild, and it was so much fucking fun. I talked about sex all the time (way too much), and I felt so free.

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More to say about the New Year

Ok. It’s Thursday. For some reason, I thought it was Friday (which it’ll be when this is posted), but it’s not. Time is weird and time is strange. I got more than eight hours of sleep last nigt, which is good because my sleep has been spotty for the past few days. We’re coming up on the last few days of the year, which is putting me in a pensive mood. Not pensive because pensive has a tinge of negativity to it. The dictionary definition is:

Engaged in, involving, or reflecting deep or serious thought.

It does not sound negative at all so I don’t know why I assumed that. So, yes, I’m pensive. Again, not in a negative way, but in a “It’s the end of the year and time to think about the next year” way.

In the last post, I wrote about the desultory things that I might want to do next year. Actually, it’s more ramblings, which is so me. There are a few actual goals that I have, so I want to talk about those in this post.

Let’s start with therapy. I wanted to find a group in which I could talk about what happened to me. I have written about the fact that such a group does not exist. I mean, I’m sure there are therapy groups for people who have had medical crises, but I cannot find one for someone who is in my position. I have found plenty for people who are caregivers or who have lost someone to a serious illness/disease/situation. I’m saying cardiac arrest or stroke. As I mentioned, most people who have had a cardiac arrest are dead. Most people who have had a stroke are impaired to some degree. They are not going to be up for group therapy for the most part. Me and John Fetterman to the contrary.

Now, I will say it out loud. The therapy I need is to deal with my family. I have no remaining issues from my medical crisis. I have completely recovered from that and the few little negative ramifications ain’t no big thing.

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New gooals for a new year

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I have tried them in the past, but I find it too much pressure. It’s because the tendency is to go big and to go hard for a week or so and then fall off. It’s why gyms sell so many memberships in the first few weeks of the year (and probably why they make them yearly.  Or at least did. I’m hoping that’s an outdated mode of operation).

In addition, it’s artifical to set it up to do things differently in a new year. I get it. It makes sense to have a fresh start in a fresh year. And there is something about mentally tearing off that December page that signifies the end of an era. Especially since for me, last year was the first whole bonus year that I had.

The beginning of 2022 was me coming to terms with still being alive. Then, Elden Ring was released at the end of February and that was the next six months sorted. Time flew and before I knew it, it was the end of the year.

2023. It seems so weird to write that. I do have a few goals that I would like to reach in the new year. It may just be a matter of semantics, but I have decided that goals are better than resolutions. The latter are too declarative and like a fait accompli. It feels much more like pressure, which I don’t need. The latter are more like suggestions or rather, something to aim for. Plus, it can be year-long rather than just doing it in discrete moments. Discrete, not discreet, by the way. That was one of my pet peeves when I was using Craigslist personals, by the way (yes, I’m that old). People saying they wanted ‘discrete’ lovers, not ‘discreet’ lovers. Not that I was going to help someone cheat on their partner, but if I were, I certainly was not going to do it for someone who could not discenrn discrete from discreet.

So. What are my goals for 2023? I have three. Well, more than that, but three serious ones. The not-so-serious ones are to get laid and get paid. Well, the former, anyway. I have not had sex in quite some time, and I started thinking about dating before I ended up in the hopsital. Seriously, it was a few months before my medical crisis that I was girding my loins to return to the apps. Obviously, that was put on the backburner after I left the hospital. I had other things I needed to concentrate on.

Now, however, it’s been over a year and I’ve gotten a clean bill of health. I’ve had it for a year. I’ve been back to my old self (or some facsimile of) for nearly a year as well. I have no desire to be with someone because that brings out the worst in me, but I am ready to have sex.

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Writing the wrong way

In reading my stories this morning, I came across an article at Slate about Taylor Swift. Normally, I would just ignore it because I don’t care much about pop culture and the weird nitpicking Slate does with celebs. I don’t mean nitpicking at celebs is weird–but they choose to focus on weird things like the suit Obama wore in his inauguration photo. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible as they wasted thousands of words to say, either. It was just boring as fuck–which was the point, I would surmise.

Anyway, in this case, there was an article called, Why Does Taylor Swift Hold Her Pen Like That? It’s by Heather Schwedel, and her writing is…uh, incidental is the best way I can phrase it. That’s not entirely fair, but it’s like she’s dabbling at the fringes for the most part. Which is fine. Not everyone has to write about important and weighty issues, but it’s just strange how something like the way Taylor Swift holds a pen in her video spurs an article that includes interviews with occupational therapists.

First of all, the title of the article caused me to roll my eyes as the title of most Slate articles do. I know clickbait is the name of the game, but Slate is particularly egregious with this. Then, there is a question and an answer under the title and before the name of the author. Should we be concerned? We called up occupational therapists to find out. 

The utter hubris of the question and the answer. Taylor Swift doesn’t need Heather Schwedel to be concerned about her health. Taylor Swift has access to the best doctors in the world. If there is an actual issue with the way she holds a pen, she is perfectly capable of fixing it on her own.

In addition, when I looked at the picture with the big arrow pointing to her hand, I had no idea what the problem was. I had to read the actual article and do some Googling to figure out the actual problem. Apparently, the ‘normal’ way to hold a pen is between the thumb and the middle finger with the first finger used as the stabilizer (or not).

This was an utter shock to me because that’s not how I hold a pen/pencil. I hold it between my thumb and ring finger with my middle finger as the stabilizer. I have been doing this all my life, and have never known this was the wrong way to hold a pen.

My mother, by the way, holds it like she does her chopsticks, in her fist. It’s oddly endearing and it does not impede her in any way.

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Planning my next move

It’s time. My brother has left me his little camera, and it’s time to get shooting. I have a hatred of pictures and videos, which has been lifelong.

Brief primer: I have been fat for most of my life–except for the two times I deal with anorexia (and bulimia the first time). Well, to go back a bit more, I was a chunky kid, but I wasn’t out-and-out fat. This is an important distinction because my mother put me on my first diet when I was seven and hated on my body since that moment. She never had anything positive to say about my body, and when I was so skinny I was passing out from lack of food, her only comment was that my waist was smaller than hers–and it was said with much envy. This is something that scarred me for most of my life. I had to actually institute a ban on her mentioning my weight because it was that bad. She protested that she was only concerned about my health, which the previous anecdote has proven incorrect. But more to the point, she only harped on it looks-wise, saying things like, “You have such a pretty face and would be beautiful if you lost weight.” When I pointed out to her that I was the only one in the family with low blood pressure, she ignored that.

It’s not a nice feeling to know that your mother thinks you’re a grotesque pig. Pigs are so cute, by the way! I love them. So let me rephrase it by saying my mother thought/thinks I’m grotesque.

Because of that, I have hated the way I look all my life. To be fair, it’s not just her; it’s society in general. America is not kind to fat people, especially women. It’s one way, sadly, that women bond–over dieting and counting calories and exercise. If you don’t participate in the discussion, then you are considered suspect.

I understand bonding through shared experiences. It’s one reason I identify more with women than other genders. But, on the other hand, after a lifetime of being told that I am not a woman because I don’t do anything that women like to do or act in a way that is congruent with how other women act, well, it’s difficult for me to feel warmly about it.

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Try, try, try again

I stumbled over a channel called Jolly the other day by watching Try Guy videos–after first watching their explanation video (as to why they fired Ned). It’s a channel with two Brit guys who are named Josh and Ollie (J-Ollie. Or Jo-llie. Get it?) and they do a variety of things. Lots of them are food-related, but not all of them. They also have a channel called Korean Englishmen because they both love all things Korean and want to make their friends eat Korean foods and videotape it.

They have 2.7 million subs on their Jolly channel and 5.4 million on their Korean Englishmen channel. They are cheerful blokes, and they are decent-looking guys. I would say they are conventionally cute, albeit in a nerdish way. They are in their mid-thirties, married, and one has a child. At least. That’s what I’ve gleaned from their videos.

They are upbeat and carefully calibrated to not offend. They are so gosh-dang wholesome, but with just a touch of sauciness on occasion. They are definitely the kind of boy you can take home to you mother.

I have watched several of their videos and they are very morish. They eat a lot of food. Their videos in LA were funny, familiar, and easily digestible. When I say that they make their videos deliberately non-offensive, that’s exactly what I mean. They are crafted in such a way that you can watch it, chuckle lightly, then move on to the next one. I’m not being dismissive, by the way. It’s an art, and  they have it down to a T. They are affable, goofy, and kooky, but in a very acceptable way. There is nothing jarring or off-putting about them.

Josh is the nerdy guy who wears button-downs and glasses. Ollie is the class clown who is adorably clueless. They are both just so eager to make sure everyone is having a good time, and they are very diffident. I know the latter is part of being British, but I can’t help but be charmed by them.

Right now, I’m watching different videos about people eating Howlin’ Rays–Nashville chicken–mostly the hot version in LA. The vast majority of the channels are dudes. Sigh. I really don’t like the ones that are WHAT’S UP FAM IT’S ABOUT TO GET LIT–especially by non-black people. And airhorns. And fast cuts. I just hate all that shit. Just be chill and show me the food, damn it.

Anyway, most of these channels are men. The ‘try all these things’ channels. I have a theory and it’s completely out of my ass (ass theory). Men are more acceptable acting up than women and other genders are. That’s it. That’s my theory. I can go more into it, but it basically comes down to that.

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In the beginning

When I started this blog, I had a grandiose idea of what I wanted to do. The topics are based on the days of the week. Musings for Monday and Fun for Fridays. etc. It was a good idea, but I ended up pretty much just ignoring it and writing about whatever I wanted to write. Because that’s me. That’s always me. I’m both very rigid and very not-rigid. I’m rigid in that I like to follow a routine. I get up, do  my hour of Taiji in the same order with only the weapons rotating each day (parts of it), feed Shadow, get the coffee going, and then clean Shadow’s litterboxes. I also take my meds and brush my teeth in there.

I message Ian, check the RKG Discord, do the Wordle and then the Octordle for the day,  all the while having videos in the background. I write my post for the day, then work for my brother. I play some games, then do my fiction/memoir writing. 2,000 words. That’s what I do every day. Of course, I feed Shadow two more times during the day (breakfast, lunch, supper). He also have a bowl of dry kibble that he can eat throughout the day and  two bowls of water. I also leave water in the bathroom sinks because he likes to drink from those as well.

That’s my daily schedule. However, what time all that actually happens at wildly varies from day to day. I woke up late today 10:30 a.m. and didn’t really get rolling (after my Taiji routine) until 1:30 p.m. because I had to run to Cubs and there was some drama there. Apparently, they had just started a stamp program and did not train the cashiers how to use them. My favorite cashier had to deal with it with the person before me and complained to me afterwards.

Now that I’m changing things up and going to migrate to video (hopefully), I think I need to be more structured about what I do.  But, again, this is fighting in my brain. I am rebelling at the idea of following a schedule, but the pragmatic side of me says I have to build a brand.

I know that the most successful way of being a content creator is to find a niche and flog the hell out of it. Make everything related to that niche and go buck wild. Have merch,  will sell it. It’s the tried-and-true way of doing it (tried-and-true for a job that is a decade old, really).

There are variety content creators, but it’s still within a topic. Like video games. Someone can be a, say, a Pokemon streamer. Or someone could be streaming games, but different ones. Maybe in a genre or maybe not. Or someone streams indie games.

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Knowing what I know

I’ve been musing for some time about being a weirdo in a word full of normies. Of course, we can debate normal for days, but there are societal norms such as getting (het) married and having children.

I realized when I was 22 that I neither wanted children nor had to have them. It was such a relief and quite the revelation. I grew up in two cultures that mandated a woman had to have children. It did not matter if I wanted them or not (most emphatically did not), but I was expected to have them.

I have documented time and time again that the realization that I did not have to have children was formative for me. Until that point, I just assumed I had to have them and oh my god. I am so glad I realized that wasn’t true before I actually, you know, had a child.

That was the first time in my life that I realized that I could actually go against the grain and not do what I was supposed to do. And I got a lot of shit for it, especially from my mother. As an AFAB person, I was expected to have children, no questions asked. My mother guilted me over and over again, crying about the bond between mother and daughter when the daughter has children. She pressured me for 15 years to have children, and it was only when I turned 40 that she gave up. Then, she started bothering me about getting married to a man so he could take care of me when we got old.

Which was rich coming from her. Given her marriage, she was the last person who should have been pushing nuptials, especially for that reason.

Being who I am and realizing these things about myself over the years plus my natural ability to read people enhanced by decades of having to be my mother’s emotional support person makes me have a unique perspective on life. It’s one that makes me question myself more often than not, but it’s also helps me see many different points of view. Which can lead me to being contrarian at times. Sometimes, I have to bite my tongue because I don’t need to voice every thought in my head.

It’s hard, though. There’s someone in the RKG Discord that many producers (second-to-top-tier level) loathe. He is not a producer, so he can’t comment in the producer forums. He says a lot of ignorant things, but he also just states opinions that are not popular. I only know this because then a handful of producers will go in a producer forum and bitch about him. The first time I saw this happening, I hunted him down to see what he had said that was so terrible. And, I have to say, it wasn’t that bad.

Let me be clear. He’s ignorant and apt to spout off bullshit that doesn’t hold up. And one time, he said something that was eye-rollingly thickheaded. And sexist, but in an every day sexism sort of way. But, here’s the thing. It’s extremely mild in terms of the internet and he is entitled to his own opinions.

Every few days, someone will complain about him in the producer forum, and I don’t think they realize how it comes across to those of us who are not as invested in him being the Discord villain. There is one woman who has him on mute, but will unmute him when anybody gripes about him so she can join in.

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What to do with my life

Once when I was in my twenties, my mother was probing me about my life goals. Which, that’s a mother thing to do so I can’t blame her for it. At one point, though, she was exasperated at me and snapped, “Do you not want to work?” I, being stupid, took her at face value and said, “I would prefer not to.” The disappointment in her face and tone was heavy. She made it very obvious that she thought I was a failure for admitting that.

Story of my life, though. One of the things my last therapist said to me that turned on a lightbulb was after I was lamenting about all the ways I had failed my mother. I was very much aware of my mother’s checklist of things that her daughter should be. Skinny was at the top of that list (but not skinnier than she was because that made her jealous0.

Side Note: After I came home from the hospital, eating was difficult because my father could not understand my diet. I did not eat gluten or dairy. He and my mom would eat something with one or both of those and he would offer me some. I would decline, which should have been the end of it, but half the time my father would question why I didn’t accept it. He would say, “Don’t you want any?” Not in a nasty way, but in a puzzled tone. I would explain I couldn’t eat it, and  I could see that he didn’t understand. That was fine. Annoying, but fine. It was when he conflated my hospital experience with my diet that it got frustrating. He thought my doctors had put me on the diet and would ask when I would be off it. He couldn’t understand that I had been eating that way for several years, which, again, was fine in and of itself. It just got old after some time.

Anyway, my mother wanted a skinny, feminine, perfect clone of herself. She wanted a daughter who had a career, yes, but also was a mother of two children. Someone who went to church every Sunday and was heavily involved in the church life, and someone who did not swear.

What my recent health scare had done for me was make me see with brilliant clarity that my mother does not like me. I already knew she didn’t love me as a person (I will concede that she loves me, her ‘daughter’)., but it took me longer to realize that she doesn’t like me. At all. She likes nothing about me, in fact. Not that I do Taiji (she thought it would invite the devil to dance on my spine. Which is surprisingly poetic for her, but a bunch of horseshit) nor that I am a writer. The one short story she read from me elicited the only comment of ‘there’s a lot of swearing in it’ and nothing else. She doesn’t like that I’m fat, single/unmarried, and she most definitely does not like that I don’t have children.

She doesn’t like that I don’t have a regular job (which is fair), and she doesn’t like that I have a cat. She wishes I cared more about performative femininity, even though she has a complicated relationship with it herself. Yes, she wears makeup (has eyeliner tattooed on her lids), but she does not wear skirt/dresses much, and she is much more comfortable in pants. Plus, she plays sports. Or used to, anyway. She exercises every day, too.

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