Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: fitness

I am Kung-fu Fighting

I was writing yesterday about progress, not perfection. Specifically when it comes to working out. The American idea is to push harder, do it faster, and pay for it afterwards. Americans are weirdly proud of breaking themselves for some nebulous outcome. We see it in the jobs area, too. We’ve actually had to introduce the phrase ‘work-life balance’ because too many people were worknig too hard. We have the laughably-named ‘right to work’ ethos, too. Meaning that you can be fired for any reason as long as it’s not discriminatory in a very limited way in all states but one. Montana. That’s it. That’s the only state that can’t fire you at will.

It’s annoying as fuck when Europeans/British people on Ask A Manager bring up how much better employment is over there. We know! Believe me, wo know! Yes, it sucks that our healthcare is tied to our employment. Yes, it sucks that you can be fired for any reason that isn’t discriminatory (in the legal sense) without a warning–unless you have a union!–and yes, people are expected to work insane hours in many fields with little reward.

Many people are livinng paycheck to paycheck and are drowning in debt. And yet, they still think America is the best country ever. There are many good things about America. I can say that now, though I never would have said it twenty years ago.

I remember 9-11. I was in the Bay area at the time. In the months after, we had an outpouring of love and support from the world. Which we promptly squandered with jingoism, going on the attack, and, well, returning the terrorism. In America, I felt as if i couldn’t point out that it made sense that Middle Easterners would be upset with us. I did not want to put out am American flag, but I didn’t feel comfortable saying that, either.

I have never understood ‘My team is better than yours’ in any of its forms. Or rather, I understand it, but I can’t get on board with it. It’s becasue I see people as individuals. In addition, I don’t see anything as completely good or completely bad. That’s why my mother and I have this eternal argument going on. She gets frustrated with me when I point out the negatives in whatever tradition she’s bringing up. She said in exasperation, “Something isn’t bad just because it’s a traidition!” I retorted, “It doesn’t mean it’s good, either.”

That’s a strength of mine–and a flaw. I look at everything on its own (but, yes, placing it in context as well). And I question everything. I am the ‘well, actually’ person, even though I try to keep it to a bare minimum. don’t bust it out all the time, but I’m sure I annoy people when I don’t mean to. I just can’t help what I see.

That took me a long time to realize. I see things that other people don’t. That’s part of empathy, too. I feel things other people don’t feel. I had to learn to mask that when it wasn’t welcome–which was 90% of the time.

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My journey in Taiji

I hated Taiji when I first started studying it. I had a teacher before my current one, and he was terrible. Flat-out terrible. I only went to him because a friend of mine was enamored with him (he has a very cultlike personality, and my friend needed a father-figure desperately as his own had been very abusive). All my narcissist/predator vibes were pinging, but I tamped them down because I trusted my friend. And because I have my own extreme biases against narcissists that made me wonder if I was blowing things out of proportion.

I wasn’t. He was sleeping with a student. They¬† were in a relationship but as he was the teacher in his fifties and she was 27 and the student, could it truly be equal? In short, no. Not only was he scummy enough to sleep with a student, but he was very sleazy in his interactions with other women. He made a big deal about respecting personal space and not touching anyone without their consent, but that was a big, fat lie.

I gritted my teeth the entire time I studied with him which was probably a year or so, but I did not trust him one whit. That’s not a good relationship in Taiji, but I was young and stupid at the time. This was around the time The Matrix came out, and he raved about what a revolutionary movie it was. He said it was the essence of Taiji and removing yourself from the system. The message I got from him was that he was justified in being intensely selfish because nothing he did could help anyone else, anyway. Or rather, what was going to happen would happen regardless of what he did. It was such self-serving twaddle, I internally sneered even though I hadn’t seen the movie. Just by watching the trailer, I was sure that he was spouting bullshit, and when I watched the movie years later, I had my confirmation.

The Matrix is a good action movie, but unconventional and going against the norm? Not hardly. I watched it in a theater with my then-boyfriend who liked the movie and wanted me to see it. That was problematic in and of itself because I had a boyfriend dump me when I told him my views on Pulp Fiction, so after that, I kept my opinions to myself. While watching The Matrix, I kept thinking how hot Keanu was and how hot Carrie-Anne was. I did think back to what my ex-Taiji teacher had said about the movie and rolled my eyes because the movie had very predictable and conventional story beats. Then, Neo died and Trinity kissed him to bring him back to life.

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Testing My Resolve

resolve not to make resolutions
Making a list and checking it twice.

New Year’s Day came and went without any attention from me, which is not that unusual for me. Longtime readers know by now that I’m not very fond of holidays in general. I can understand the symbolism of ushering in a new year, but I can’t get too hyped about it myself. Sometimes, I would make resolutions, and sometimes, I wouldn’t, but the one thing I would always do is ruminate on my life and what a waste it’s been so far. It’s gotten better in the last few years, but it’s still something that dominates my mind on New Year’s Eve. This year, I was too busy grieving to even give it a passing thought. I will say, however, that 2016 was not a great year for me, and I’m more than happy to see the back end of it. At least, I would be if it weren’t for the fact that we’re going to have President Trump in two and a half days. This post is not about that, however, so just note my displeasure and move on. There were three things in 2016 that sucked balls, and I’m listing them in chronological order.

Alan Rickman died in February, which some of you might think, “What’s the big deal? He’s just an actor. It’s not as if you knew him or anything.” You’re right, and you’re wrong. I’m not someone who usually goes gaga over celebrities, but Alan Rickman was different. He first came to my attention when I was watching one of the Harry Potter movies. Something about his velvety voice and precise distinction plus his piercing stare thrilled me. It was the second movie, I believe, and when he was spelling Kenneth Brannagh, I nearly creamed my nonexistent panties. Once I noticed how hot he was, I started watching every movie I could get my hands on. This was before streaming was a thing, so I had to order the DVDs myself or buy them off eBay. The more I watched his movies and read about him, the more I was enamored with him. Not only was he a great actor, he was a terrific person who was a generous and supportive friend, and he was firm believer in class equality (as well as feminism and equality for ¬†other minorities). The day he died, I woke up to hundreds of messages on my social media offering their condolences. I joked through my tears that it was my dream to have people associate me with Alan Rickman, and it looked like I had accomplished that goal. He had had cancer, but didn’t tell anyone, so it came as a shock to the world at large.

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