Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Writing

Goals for 2024

Let’s talk goals. I want to cook more, thus the slow cooker/crockpot as I mentioned a few days ago. It’s still in its box.I bought the ingredients needed for corn potato chowder, so I’ll get to that this weekend. We’re supposed to get 2-4 inches of snow today (downgraded from 4-7, per usual), and a chowder would be perfect for this weather.

1. My memoir. I have been trying to write this ever since I got out of the hospital. The problem is that I get bogged down in the history of my family and all the dysfunction. It’s hard to know what to include and what not to include. The problem is that I can’t talk about my medical crisis without including that. It’s the context needed. But it’s so complicated.

Here’s the thing. As traumatic as my medical crisis was, it really…wasn’t. What I mean is that on the daily, it didn’t really hinder me. My parents were here and my mother cooked, did the laundry, and cleaned Shadow’s litter. Those were the three things I–I could have done them, but it was just easier not to. To be brutally honest, though I would much rather have struggled to do those than to have my parents here.

This is mostly what the memoir is going to be about. I feel like it’s bait-and-switch, though. If the memoir is supposed to be about my medical crisis, then that’s what it should be about. However, it’s just not that interesting. I mean, the event itself was shocking and a once in a lifetime experience.

My time in the hospital was also wild and something that is hard to explain. I was delusional the whole time because I was high on very strong drugs. At least one chapter if not more will be about my experiences in the hopsital.

I feel like I want to start with that day. I mean, what else matters, really? Plus, it makes a banger of an intro. What a hell of a start, really. Me dying twice and being in a coma for a week. It doesn’t get much more high octane than that.

Then again, do I want to just throw readers into the deep end like that? Well, yes. That tends to be my style. Just get the big stuff out of the way. Plus, it’s a bit of a flex to hit them with a ‘yeah, I died. What of it?’ start.

It’s difficult because my brain is very much do its own thing. Things make sense in my head, but I can’t necessarily explain them to other people. It’s frustrating as fuck. I can make the logical connecttion in my brain, but not on paper or in words.

It was the same in math. I could do things in my head that the teacher wanted me to write on paper. It really bothered me because it was simple shit like multiplication or addition. He was a terrible teacher and everyone hated him. He killed my love for math.

This is my priority in 2024. Write my damn memoir. Finally. I have started it so many times, but then I just give up. i want a decent worknig draft by the end of the year.

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Setting goals is a tricky business

One thingĀ  I really admire about my brother is that he just does things. He thinks it might be interesting to do something, and he does it. He once said that he has no regrets. That blew my mind because I had nothing but regrets. Well, at least I used to before my medical crisis. I looked at all the roads I had not taken, and I second-guessed the paths I did take.

That’s not to say everything turns out for my brother. They don’t. But he picks himself up off the floor, brushes himself off, and continues on. It’s really interesting. I am someone who feels things way too deeply. He’s someone who doesn’t feel things much. He’s told me he feels the basics–happy, sad, etc., but it’s very shallow. I just thought of something. His ex-wife had no sense of smell, so she could only taste the very basics. Sweet, sour, salty, etc. My brother is the same with feelings.

When I was in the hospital and unconscious, my medical team tried to prep my brother for the probability that I would not wake up. The social workers tried to probe into his feelings and get him to express them. They told him that he would most likely have to plan my funeral. My brother said that there was nothing he could do about that in the moment, and he would deal with it when and if it happened.

I laughed when he told me that because that is so like my brother. And I could imagine the look on the social workers’ faces as he said that. But they should be used to it because people react to grief in different ways. I know how it sounds. My brother has told me that he would deal with it if I died, and it sounds cold–but it’s not. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about me–he does. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me–he does.

Do you know how I know? Because he shows me. When my car got a flat, he came over the next morning to put the spare on. Several decades ago, the same thing happened when I was at work. I came out in sub-zero temps to see a very flat tire. I called my brother and he came over to change it for me. Another time, my car wouldn’t start and he came over to help me out.

When I was in the hospital, he was the one who coordinated everything. He set up a Caring Bridge journal in which he wrote updates every day. He directed people there if they wanted to know what was happening to me. He came and visited me every day and talked to teh medical team. He was the one who had to make the decisions as to what to do with me.

He was told the day before I woke up that he was going to have to make a decision about pulling the plug or not. As he was mulling that, the medical team called him and told him that I woke up.

He also Zoomed in our parents and my friends. He was the one who broke the news to them as well. As he was doing all this, he also had to do his daily life as well. Taking his kids where they needed to go. Doing his business. He’s always busy as hell, and me being in the hospital didn’t change that.

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Content creation and me

I have been watching several videos of autism and gender. Well, not exactly. I have been watching the first five minutes of several videos on gender and autism. The reason I haven’t made it past that is–there are several. In one, the woman repeated called herself ‘a female’ and women in general ‘females’. As a noun, not an adjective. In 2023, nearly 2024. This is not on because many people who do it are doing it as a slur or a way to undermine women. I am not here for that. At all. I winced every time she said, “I am a female with autism or anything similar.” In addition, I am not a woman. I am woman-adjacent, but not a woman. At least not as defined by society. Which is part of the whole point. If society’s rigid definition of a woman includes must wear makeup and a bra, have children, not laugh too loud, or just no take too much space in general, then burn it all to the ground. And I’m not just talking about the bra.

I also quit watching some of the videos because of the hypercuts. I can’t deal with flashing images, which some of the videos bordered on. One person kept making air quotes with their fingers, which I could not handle. Not only was the visual bothering me, but so was the meaningless of the air-quotes. I knew why they were doing it, but they were doing it wrong. And that annoyed the fuck out of me. Another person was spinning a ball or something. I get why they were doing it, but that also bothered my brain.

Side Note: I hate ASMR. It makes me rage. Insta-angry. It wasn’t, “Listen to the ASMR. Note that it was irritating me. Then, become upset about it.” It was, “Listen to the ASMR. RAGE SHUT THAT SHIT OFF AHHHHHHHHHHH!” with me scrambling to turn off the video. I’m saying this because some of the videos had the same insta-rage in my brain.

Here is what I like in my content creation. Chill people. Natural reactions. No forced shouting and forced outrage. Dare I say it, boring? Yeah, other people might find it so. No flashing lights. No spikes in sound. And no jittery camera work.

Here’s the other realization. Just because someone has, say, autism, it doesn’t mean they can talk about it in a way that is compelling or understandable. It’s like anything else, really. And, despite the intimate nature of most YouTube channels, it’s still a performance. Or at least public speaking. Which not everyone can do.

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I am writing a rom-com.

That sounds very normal, doesn’t it? Many people write rom-coms. Badly, but they write them.

I am writing a mystery. That is even more common. Many people write mysteries, and some of them are really very good.

I am writing them in the same novel. This is where it gets weird. There are comedic mysteries such as written by Carl Hiassen. Zany, I think you’d call his mysteries (I haven’t read one in ages, though). Mashing all three together, though, I can’t think of anyone off-hand who has done that.

Here’s the thing about the way I write (and how I know if it’s a good idea). I start with an idea. In this case, queer romance. I was talking to a friend online as to how dhifferent queer romance is from straight romance. There seems to be more room for different ways of relating with each other for queers than for straights.

I will preface by saying that queer people have, in the past, certainly, if not now, had to be circumspect in finding each other. Also, there are simply much less of us than of straight people. If you take the 10% number as being roughly true–huh. Apparently, it’s 7.1%, but that is double what it used to be and it’s because of Gen Z. 21% of them identify as queer!

That brings joy to my heart–that the youngers are more open to diversity than my generation (the invisible Gen X). Straight dudes are hurt by patrairchy, too. Buying into the idea that there is only one way to do romance–monogamy and sex has to be accompanied by love. Straight women, too, I think, but not as much as straight men.

Here’s the thing. When you’re already on the fringes, it’s not a stretch to think that maybe there are even more things you can do. And with smaller communities, you may not necessarily be able to walk away from an ex as cleanly as in the straight world. Plus, if you like the person enough to be with them, maybe you can still be friends after? This doesn’t seem like it’s a completely out there idea.

In addition, there doesn’t have to be such a strict delineation between friend and partner. There’s a term in queer communities called queerplatonic. It’s a committed relationship with a friend that is similar to a romantic relationship without the romance. I feel like I have that with my two besties. I am as committed to them as I would be to a partner, and I know they feel similarly about me.

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Pumping myself up

It’s almost NaNoWriMo. I can’t believe it’s been just over two years since I died twice and came back. Oooooh! Halloween is in a few days. Perfect time for some spookiness. The problem is that what I find scary is not what other people find spooky. I don’t count jumpscares beacuse that’s just a physiological response. It’s weird to me that other people are so freaked out by them. Or by a face showing upn in a window.

I feel like a weirdo that I am completely oblivious to those kinds of scares. In the RKG streams/spooky games, people always joke about how Krupa is stone cold. He said in this stream that he had feelings! Everyone chuckled. In his case, he’s just not physically and overtly expressive. In my case, I really don’t feel it.

It’s like my cat, Shadow. Most cats freak out over vacccum cleaners and thunderstorms. Shadow does not. But he’s had nightmares that have woken him up and made him run around the room. Then he’ll settle back in his bed and eventually fall back asleep. I feel that so hard. He does not care about your fake scares, people! He has real demons to fight.

He lived through something that should have killed him. It was an urinary infection, and the vets told me that he probably wasn’t going to make it. This was when he was six. I waited all Friday for the news, and I had prepared myself to have my heart broken. The vet already asked me what I wanted to do if it came down to making the decision. I said to put him to sleep because I did not want him to suffer. When she called, my heart was in my throat as I was ready for her to say it was time to let him go.

When she said he reached the number he needed to reach and was fine, my brain shut down. I had been steeling miself for the bad news; I did not know how to accept the good. I went to get him, and I was told to take him home and keep him sequestered for a few days, but that was it. That was elevenn years ago. He’s been right as rain since then.

His brother, Raven, suddenly died seven years ago. I can still remmeber the horrible night. Afterwards, Shadow was inconsolable for six months. We were grieving together, and I don’t know what I would have done without him. After my medical crisis, he became a different cat. When he was little, he only liked me (as far as humans go). When he first met Ian eight or so years ago, Shadow instantly took to him. But we were the only two humans he completely accepted.

After my medical crisis, Shadow became loving towards all humans. He completely lost his fear of them, and I wonder if it’s in part because he saw them working on me while I was passed out on in the front hallway.

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Free to be me

I want to be free. I feel hemmed in by my own restrictions (when it comes to writing). I have been stuck in a rut, and while I’ve written good shit, I think completely changing it up is the way to go.

I have never written a romance before. I’ve had romance/sex in things I’ve written, but not something that is focused on romance. It’s not an area in which I am well-experienced, and I was really bad at it to boot.

To be celar, I weas good at sex. Very good at sex. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was willing to try almost anything. I found out that I enjoyed the vast majority of what I did.

Side note: It’s been interesting watching my brother date in the past year. He’ll ask me what I think are basic questions about sex, but I have to remind myself that he’s been married for nearly thirty years. I’m used to being the teacher when it comes to sex, and I’m fine with it. I have the knowledge, and I enjoy sharing it. I want people to be knowledgeable about sex, and if I know something, why not tel lthem?

It helps that I’m very pragmatic about it as well. I don’t consider anything off-limits or too blue for school. It’s funny because in the RKG Discord, there are two guys who are tagged as the lewd dudes. But a woman and I can out-filth them easily and in a no time flat. It’s just that dudes are expeced to be rude, while non-dudes aren’t. That’s how the woman and I fly under the radar.

I am utter filth. I know it, and I embraced it when I was in college. I was the one my friends would ask about sex, and that suited me fine. It was the same when I lived in a house in the East Bay with a 19-year old guy who was very childlike in manay ways. He was raised by fundie Christians and had a ton of questions. Such as, was the clitoris as big as it was in the South Park movie. For reference, the clitoris in that movie was the size of a big dome building.

I looked at the kid (he was a kid in my mind. I was thirty) and said, “Does there seem like there could be anything that big on a woman?” I explained the clitoris to him in very matter-of-fact terms. I also showed him how to put a condom on a banana.

I hate that sex is so repressed in our society. I consider it my mission to make it as acceptable and natural as possible. I don’t mean we have to talk about it all the time, but I don’t think it needs to be spoken about in hushes and whispers behind scandalized hands.

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Creativity activated

I’m revitalized about my writing in a way I haven’t been since, well, years. I think it’s partly because of the pandemic. Let’s face it. Everything changed during the pandemic. My life didn’t change that much except not going to Taiji classes and the grocery store. I put myself on a hard lockdown because I have a shitty immune system. I was still writing during the pandemic, but I felt as if I were in a rut. Not a terrible rut, but a rut, nonetheless.

Then, I had a terrible medical crisis in the last trimester of 2021 and have not written fiction since. I’ve tried, but it’s been pretty uninspired. I think it’s beacuse I was tryingt do the impossible, writing a murder mystery with an unreliable narrator. Yes, I know that there is one. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. In that case, though, and, *spoilers* for a nearly hundred-year-old book, it’s because the narrator is the murderer. He is deliberately shading things so he’s telling the story of what happened, but just leaving out the fact that he did it.

In my case, I wanted the narrator to be someone in the hospital who was having delusions. But the person did not realize they were delusions, obviously. And the protag thinks a murder has happened in front of them–but it’s hasn’t. There is a murder, but it doesn’t happen in the protag’s room. The problem is that it just seemed so flat.

I’ve written this before, but the characters I write are alive to me. When I write something that is fire, the words sort of pulse on the page. By the page, I mean the screen, of course. When what I’m writting is trash, the words are flat and lifeless. They just sit there and refuse to do anything.

Anyway. I have written dozens of mysteries. Sever trilogies included in that. I do want to return to my two latest trilogies, but I’m not in the mood for that right now. In part because I would have to read the first two of each in order to prep myself for the third. In addition, NaNoWriMo is about starting a new novel. I haven’t always done that, but I feel like doing it this time.

I wasn’t feeling passionate about this year’s NaNoWriMo. I was going to do my memoir, which is fine but nothing exciting. I still want to do it one day. It’s an important experience (my medical crisis), but it’s just not what excites me right now. And one thing I’ve learned from that experience is that I don’t want to do what doesn’t excite me. When it comes to my writing, I mean.

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A breath of fresh air

I’m going to expand on yesterday’s post about the new idea I have for NaNoWriMo. I may not specifically say what I plan to do, but in talking around it, I’m sure you’ll get the general gist. I mentioned that Ask A Manager thread in the weekend forum about if it was possible for a single woman to be friends with a married man. Like I said, most of the responses were dispiriting, and there was one that blew my mind. So much so, I could not stop thinking about it. I’m paraphrasing, but this was the general gist:

I am the QUEENof my marriage and my husband better not even DARE think about another woman for even a second. She definitely said she was the queen, which made me sad for her in the first place. Then, however, she said that nonbinary people could not have an opinion because it wasn’t the same!

Um, hello? We were raised in this deeply sexist society, too. She did not mention agender, but I’m sure she would think even less of us than she clearly does of nonbinary people.

Her basic gist was that she was so insecure in her marriage, she couldn’t bear the thought of her husband even talking to another woman when he absolutely didn’t have to (like a coworker as a suggestion of when he had to talk to another woman). I wanted to find out who her husband was and tell him to flee, but he was either codependent or abused, so it wouldn’t have done any good.

Also, I couldn’t help thinking how pathetic she was. To be that insecure must be hell. Forbidding her husband from having any female friends is just…sad. Not just for her husband, but for her as well. But she was just at the extreme end of a very dispiriting spectrum.

This is one reason diversity is important. Those of us in the queer world have a diffreent perspective on this. Because same-gender attraction has not been a focal point of anything or scrutinized in the way opposite-gender attraction has been*, wo don’t carry the same ‘it’s the only thing that matters’ attitude that straight pople have.

That’s my amateur psychologist thought about it. To put it plainly, when you’re already on the fringes, you can see the bullshit for what it is. And all these rules saying what you should and shouldn’t do–will not stop two people who want to bone. That’s really it plain and simple. If two people want to do the nasty, they are going to do the nasty. You can say no emails or no one-on-ones. You can add that they can only speak in semaphores and with one eye shut. They can’t look below the neck or reference anything even vaguely mention anything sexual.

People. Will. Bonk. I mean, if they’re determined to bonk. You can put all the rules and restricitons in place that you want to, and people will go around them. I’m not saying this as a resigned ‘well, everyone cheats’ kind of way. I really am not. I just want people to think about maybe monogamy isn’t the be-all, end-all they think it is.

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Daring to be different

I am bananapants.

I have decided to do something completely different for NaNoWriMo. I was going to do my medical memoir, and I still want to do that at some point. But I have decided that I want to do something else for NaNoWriMo. What is it, you ask? I don’t want to say right now. I don’t like to talk about my writing before I do it because it loses something as I talk about it. Also, if I talk about it, then I don’t have as much energy to do it.

Side note: This is what complaining about a problem does if you complain enlessly about it. I am someone who likes a good vent. My spleen, it needs emptying sometimes. I believe it’s not good to keep it in because it can cause tension and stress.

However. If you find yourself complaining about the same thing all the time, that’s a problem. In part because if you complain about it, you think you’re doing something about it. Your brain says, “Yup, you’re done with this” when you haven’t actually done anything. And it gets grooved in such a way that the more you complain about it, the more you think you’ve done something. I know this because this is my mother. But this post is not about that.

I usually write myysteries. I started writing them because I enjoy reading them, but there were none that reflected me. This was way back in the day when there were very few female protags, let alone the hodgepodge that is me. The few female Asian protags were, very VERY thin on the ground. And one of them was so cringe-worthy. The whole tiger mama trope, ugh, I don’t want to even think about it.

Is it self-certered? Yes. I wanted to read books that reflected my life anwd my experiences. I think most people want that, don’t they? I mean, male gamers throw major tantrums when there are people who are not them in games, let alone the main character. It’s a travesty to them. A TRAVESTY I say! But in their world, it’s normal rather than being self-centered. Because the whole Western world is made for white cis het dudes. That’s just the way it is. So I feel no compunction about doing the same for myself.

I like who I am. It’s taken half a century to reach that point–plus dying twice, but I’m there. I am circumspect about that because it’s just not done, but I like my total package. I’m not saying I don’t have flaws. I do. I’mw not saying I can’t improve. I most definitely can. But I’m saying that the basic components that make up me, I’m down with all that.

Back to what I want to write for NaNoWriMo.

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My tongue-in-cheek self-help book

I want to write a self-help book, and I want it to focus on me dying. Twice. Then coming back to life! Or maybe do a series of self-help videos. I just don’t know how funny it would be after one or two shorts. Because, basically, my advice for any situation is to die.

Really. It’s the best thing that happened to me. And I did it twice.

I have suffered from severe depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia all my life. They all started when I was seven. Coincidentally or not, that was when I realized I was going to die. I became obsessed with death, but in a push/pull kind of way. I did notĀ  want to die and yet, I wanted it more than anything. The idea that one day I would just be gone forever repulsed, excited, and terrified me. That’s something I thought about for the following three decades of my life.

As for the trio of mental health issues, well. They crushed me when I was a kid and during my teen years. A defining moment was when my mother put me on a diet when I was seven. When I was seven. I had to repeat that beacuse it’s only in hindsight that I realized just how fukced up that was. I see pics of me when I was that age, and while I was chunky and solid, I was not fat.

Even if I were, I was still a little kid. I was in my growing phase. Telling me I was fat and that I needed to restrict my intake was cruel. I don’t want to argue about whether my mother meant to be cruel or not because in this case, impact matters more than intent. It would have been bad enough if she had put me on a diet and then just left it at that, but, no. She had to nag me about it. She would tell me that I had such a pretty face. If only I wasn’t so fucking fat! No, she didn’t say ‘fucking’, but it was certainly implied in her tone.

We did not have sweets in the house. My mother insisted that we had fruit and veggies at every meal. I know that’s a good thing, but it made me not eat fruit or veggies for several years when I was in my thirty. I wasn’t doing it on purpose–I just could not make myself eat fruits and veggies because of being forced to do it all my life.

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