Underneath my yellow skin

Normal is in the eye of the beholden

In yesterday’s post, I talked about not wanting children. It bothers me that in the year of our endemic, 2023, it’s still considered the norm to  have children. Or rather, that people perceived as women are still pushed to have them. I had naively thought that in the thirty years that have passed since I was in prime breeding years, we would have evolved on this issue. But, no. We have not. If anything, we have regressed on so many diversity issues, it hurts my heart. I did not come back from the dead twice to live in a world that is worse for my niblings than it was for me at their age.

I honestly thought that we would have become a bit more enlightened by this time, but no. I know that it’s partly because the reaction to unwanted change is often fear and rage, but I’m discouraged (and fucking pissed off) that the conservatives are winning the fight to go back to the 1950s. Some liberals like to say that the old conservatives are dying out, but it isn’t as if they aren’t passing along their norms. Yes, the younger generations are better than us in many ways, but prejudices die hard. Those who are my age aand claim that the younger generations are prejudice-free are naive at best and willfully dismissive at worst.

The sad fact is that we always need someone to look down on. There always has to be an out-group in order to have an in-group. One could argue that we don’t need an in-group, but that’s human nature–to have an in-group, I mean. We tend to gravitate towards people who are like us. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because it’s natural. However, the key is to not hate those who are different or automatically suspect them, and we are terrible at that.

It’s funny because I assume that I’m the weirdo in any given situation. Therefore, tnhe few times I actually realize I’m in the norm, it’s a very weird feeling. Or when I find a group in which I actually fit (for that one thing). But the problem with the latter is that groups that focus on one thing are oftentimes not great in other areas. When I was in college, I saw this play out in real time. For example, I belonged to an Asian group and brought up women’s issues a few times. The leadher of the group (a guy) told me we didn’t have time to tackle that.

I was taking a Feminism and Philosophy class, and I wanted to talk about racism. The teacher said it was outside the scope of the class. Which made no sense to me. I can’t slice myself into bits and pieces. “Oh, this is the Taiwanese part of me.” “This is the (at the time) female bit.” “This here? that’s the bi in me.” It doesn’t work that way. This is many years before intersectionality became a thing, by the way. It was frustrating as fuck because I felt as if I was being asked to partition myself off, and I just wasn’t able to do that.

Here’s the thing. I can play the game much better now than I was able to do when I was in my twenties. The game of fitting in, I mean.  I did it back then as well, but I always felt as if I were scrambling to do so. Now, it’s automatic. I just file off the edges dutifully as need be. I know how to talk to normies as if I’m one of them with just a few spikes. I don’t need to feel like an alien when doing so, even if I don’t necessarily feel as if I’m me, either.

I don’t expect to feel like myself most of the time when I’m around other people. I have four people I can mostly be me around for various reasons. Ian and Kathleen, it’s because they’re my besties and accept me no matter what. They’ve seen the ugly and the grotesque, and they’ve rolled with it. Kathleen and I tell each other things that we would never say to other people, and I message with Ian every day about the sacred AND the profane.

With my brother, it’s that I can be completely blunt with him because he’s autistic and prefers direct communication. He doesn’t take offense if I say something that isn’t the most polished or protective of his ego. In fact, he prefers it when I’m plain-spoken, which is a relief. I’m very good at coddling and soothing, but I don’t like to do it. It’s funny that probably everybody in my family including me is somewhere on the spectrum, but I’m the only one who sees it (in us all). Though my mother has wondered if she is. I’m not actually sure about her, though. My brother and his son, yes. Me, yes. My mother….maybe on the very fringes. My father is…well, definitely an actual narcissist, but not so sure about the autistic part.

With my Taiji teacher, I really like that I can talk about this very important part of me without fearing that I’ll bore her. Granted, she’s not as into the weapons as I am, but she can still talk about them. Right now, we are focusing on the Solo (Long) Form, which I definitely need refinements on. It’s been eye-opening to see some of the things I’ve let slide out of habit. In addition, I’ve been spicing up my routine by adding things to it. I want to be able to do one-finger push-ups, which means buliding up my upper-body strength. There is a Taiji weight-lifting set that I used to do, but stopped once I got serious about weapons (which is also weight-bearing). I’m starting it up again, and my teacher said I only needed to do it twice a week with an 8-pound weight. I was up to 20-pound weights when I did it before, but she said the emphasis was not on how much I was lifting. Which is exactly what I need to hear.

I’m also thrilled that we have added Bagua to my regime. It’s another internal martial art that she pratcices. She showed me how to walk the circle with deerhorn knives many years ago when I could not do the Taiji meditation because of flashbacks. And I fell in love. The deerhorn knives are fucking incredible. I need to buy a pair of real ones because I only have the practice pair that my teacher gave to me.

I asked her if she ever felt the two martial arts she practiced were at odds with each other because Taiji is very much about reacting to what is thrown at you and using as little energy as possible. My teacher jokingly calls it the lazy person’s martial art, which is one reason it appealed to me. Bagua, on the other hand, is about being ruthless and using whatever it takes. My teacher has said that in China, if you tell people you study Bagua, they’ll consider you dangerous. Which is an interesting take.

She sees them as complementary, and I can see them as that to a certain extent. Taiji is very meditative and contemplative. It can be deadly, yes, but that’s not the point of it. It’s about taking what is given to you and redirecting that energy. You want to exert as little (energy) as possible yourself while taking what is given to you. It’s not about initiating anything. Bagua, on the other hand, is about attacking as often and as viciously as you like. There are no rules, really. Just take any opening you can get. The form was created around the deerhorn knives by the founder who used actual deerhorn knives in his practice. It’s so cool that the whole martial art is based on the deerhorn knives.

Man, I took a hard left somewhere, but I’m not sorry. I’ll return to the main topic tomorrow. Maybe.



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