Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: flaws

More on dating me

I’ve done several posts about what it would take to get me off my couch and actually date/fuck someone. The last post derailed hard into ‘dysfunctional family’ territory, but I’m not sorry about that. Family is important. Not in a ‘but faaaaamily!’ way, but because the scars you collect in your childhood can carry out all through your life. There’s a saying that of course your parents know how to push your buttons because they were the ones who installed them.

Growing up, your family is your norm. What happens in your house is what you think happens everywhere. That’s not because of  dysfunction, but because that’s just human nature. If it’s the only thing you’ve known all your life, of course you’re going to assume that’s what everyone goes through.

So. If your mother is a workaholic who always puts you last, for example, then you’ll probably date someone who treats you similarly. Even if you realize it’s not optimal; it’s comfortable.

In my case, it’s the push/pull that is my norm. I am so used to my parents alternating between smothering me and not even acknowledging what I existed. I don’t know what I would do with someone who loved me and treated me well, but also gave me space when I needed it. Someone who was attentive without being demanding. I still don’t know that what looks like. Eevn in my friendships, I prefer a distance that most people would probably find uncomfortable. i love chatting with Ian throughout the day, but I don’t need much more than that. I message with Kathleen once every other week or so, and we talk once a month on the phone for hours. I see my Taiji teacher on Zoom once a week and in person for an hour private lesson overy other week. I should add another Zoom class to my schedule.


11. Understand that I vacillate between clingy and aloof. This is not something I’m proud of, andI have worked on it in therapy. However, at this point in my life, I recognize that I’m not going to significantly change. If I’m going to date somenoe(s), they need to understand that I’m like that. I’m moody. I can keep much of the snappishness to myself, but it is going to come out now and again.

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This is who I am

In the last two posts, I have writtena about what I am loooking for in a partner. That is all fine and dandy, but there’s a more important list I need to share–who I am. This is me; I’m not going to change. I may fiddle at the edges and smooth out some of the rough spots, but I am not going to make any major shifts. I’m not going to suddenly be outgoing, love movies, and want to spend my time doing things. I’m not going to be a bubbly Pollyanna who only sees the good side of things. On the other hand, I’m no longer the bitter cynic who only sees the negative. Still cynical, yes. Still see issues in things, yes. But I’m very grateful to be alive, and I know I’m damn lucky.

So. In no particular order. Things you need to know about me (and accept) if you want to get with me.

1. I like Taiji (tai chi) weapons. A lot. They are my passion, and they are something I’m going to want to talk about. Not a ton and not every day, but they are going to come up. I practice every morning, and I’m always up for learning a new weapon. Currently, I’m on a break from learning a new weapon because I’m focusing on Bagua, which is another martial art. But I still practice all my weapons every day.

I like to relate my weapons to dating relationships. The sword is my first love. It was love at first sight, and it’s been an enduring love for a decade. It’s not the hottest relationship, but it sustains me. It’s what I draw upon when I need strength. It’s the comfy house silppers that you love to wear on the regular.

The saber, on the other hand, is like that person you hate when you first meet them. There is no rational reason for it, but you can’t stand the look of them. That was how I felt with the saber, but I had a reason for it. I was expecting it to be like the sword, and it was not. At all. I struggled with it and felt it was going against me. It took me a few years before I finally got the saber and made my peace with it. It’s still not my favorite, but I can deal with it.

There are others, but what is my favorite? What is the new hottness that gets my juices going? The double sabers. You might be surprised to discover that I LOVE the double sabers when I had such a difficulty with the single one. It’s because first of all, I got used to the single saber. The double saber is a set of two, obviously, that fits together as one (each hilt is halved).

I saw my teacher’s classmate demonstrate it at the demo in 2020. Right before the world closed down. I bought a pair immediately and demanded that my teacher show it to me because I was captivated. I wanted to be the human blender/Cuisanart, and this was the way to do it. My teacher taught me the first bit, but then–pandemic. I ended up teaching myself by watching my teacher’s teacher’s videos on it.

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The new and improved me

I am perfect the way I am. No, that’ is not true. I am joking, obviously. I have as many flaws as my arm is long, but I have realized the older I get that there is only so much I can do about it. Back in the day, I would set goals and/or resolutions and then fail miserably at them. It’s beacuse I am an all-or-nothing kind of person. I don’t know moderation, which is one of my flaws. Ironic, really.

I used to do the ‘lose fifty pounds in a month’ thing–which is ridiculous. Trying to lose weight in general is futile. There is a stat that has been bandied about that 97% of people who lose weight gain it back–and more. There was a letter to How To Do It (Slate’s sexxxxxytimes advice column) in which the letter writer told his wife (they had kids) that he was no longer attracted to her because she gained thirty pounds in the last two years–and her health, though. To be more precise, she gained 31 pounds. Yes, he knew precisely how much it was.

She agreed to lose the weight, which meant she  made two dinners every day (one for her and one ofr her husband and the kids) and went to the gym to work out. Her hubby complained that it meant more work for him at home, but he was very ‘patient’ about it. Imagine heavily-laid sarcasm infused into the word ‘patient’.

She got down to a weight that he deemed acceptable, but then she wrapped herself in huge clothing, complaining about being too cold and too tired for sex. She had it, but she wasn’t as adventurous as she was before. She wouldn’t derss in the hot clothes he wanted her  to and he was at a loss as to what to do. She also didn’t want to have sex with the lights on. He noticed other men eyeing her up and down, but she seemed oblivious to the stares.

Rich took him to task for being the sexist pig that he was an utterly repugnant. The commentariat was nearly unanimous in condemning him (which, frankly surprised me as they were pretty fatphobic), but more than one person commented that gaining thirty pounds in two years (gee, what happened in the last two years that might have made it easier to gain weight?) was a bad thing.

First of all, no.

See how easy that was? Look, I know that this country worships at the altar of painful skinniness, but there is not any sustained research that says being fat in and of itself is a bad thing. In fact, I have read more research saying being underweight is worse for you than being overweight, but you never, ever hear anyone say they’re concerned about a too-thin person ‘for their health’.

In addition, several people had antiquated ideas of what is a normal weight for a person, especially a woman. I’m 5’6″. When I was at my skinniest–fainting on the dance floor with a 27″ waist–I weighed 138 pounds on my homescale (which meant probably five more pounds on the doctor’s scale).That was JUST under overweight on the BMI scale. I have very dense muscles and look like I weigh tthirty pounds less than I do.

More to the point, people who say that they’re worried about someone’s health is lying. You cannot tell how healthy someone is by looking at them. Or what they eat. In general, yes, you’ll probably be in better shape if you eat plenty of veggies and fruit. But it varies with each person and it’s not as you’re innoculated from anything bad happen if you eat ten fruits and veggies a day.

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Funhouse mirror of flaws

I’ve written about how my self-esteem has skyrocketed since my medical crisis. In general, I am happier with myself. My depression has disappeared almost completely and my anxiety is reduced by roughly 60%. Considering that I first wanted to die when I was seven, this is a massive improvement for me.

In addition, all my body issues disappeared. I can’t overemphasize what a big deal that is. My mother put on my first diet when I was seven. She made frequent comments about how fat I was and what a shame it was. But, because she was an Asian mother, she also insisted on feeding me too much food and making me finish the food on my plate. The conflicting messages did not help at all.

I dealt with two bouts of anorexia with a side helping of bulimia the first time. I’m not the usual person when it comes to eating disorders because…I don’t know how to explain it exactly. But when I decided to give it up, I  swung in the opposite direction and started overeating. It really is a matter of willpower for me and not the disordered thinking that other people get.

I’m not explaining this well. I had the disordered thinking as well, but it was more a byproduct of my willpower and not the central thing. I have read about anorexia and how difficult it is to treat. That it’s distorts a person’s thinking in a way that grooves new brain patterns.

I definitely had disordered thinking while I was dealing with anorexia (thinking I was a fat cow, even when my thighs didn’t touch), but once I stopped being anorectic, well, I stopped the thinking as well. Or rather, I swung in the opposite direction. Which is how I work in general. I swing to the extremes.

After I returned home from the hospital, my opinion of my body changed 100%. I went from being studiedly neutral about it (through many years of Taiji and I wasn’t really neutral) to being positively in love with my body. It might be the drugs talking. In fact, it probably is the reason that I felt kindly towards my body in the first place.

In those halcyonic days (daze?), I could not get enough of my body. It saw me through death–twice–without a scratch. Well, not quite, but close to it. I will sing it from the rooftop all day song. Walking non-COVID-related pneumonia, two cardiac arrests, and a stroke don’t mean shit to me! I can still walk, run, do Taiji, and drive. Presumably (and I’d like to find out soon), sex would be fine as well. I can sing and dance, and I sleep better than I ever have. Seven-and-a-half hours to eight hours a night, which is unheard of for me.

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What’s wrong with me?

I have written many times before about how most of my life is better since my revival from death (twice!). But, there are a few things that have gotten worse, and I’m not talking about the family dysfunction for once (though there is that). There are a bunch of little things that add up to irritation, but nothing serious.

One, my ability to do math in my head. One time, I was trying to figure out the Canadian kid’s age on the RKG Discord. He was saying that he was 12 in 2015 when Bloodborne came out. I kept trying to do the math and came up with him being 22. I literally could not figure it out and was embarrassed (he’s 19). I wanted to say, “I have had brain damage. That’s why I had difficulty with that simple math.”

I pride myself on my brain and my intelligence. I have always had my smarts, even when I felt I had nothing else. So to have issues with it is difficult for me. But, I can use a calculator or pen and paper to do simple math. It’s not a big deal, really. I just don’t like that when I tried to do it in my head, I literally couldn’t.

Another thing is my memory issues. That’s another thing I’m proud of–how good my memory is. I used to have to do intake for classes when I worked in the Diversity unit for the Department of Community Corrections. We had 500 employees, and I probably saw most of them throughout the year. I remembered everyone but two people, which is an amazing feat.

Now, I have a harder time remember names of people or things. I don’t always remember if I told someone something already. It can take me a few more seconds than it used to to remember a word. None of this really bothers me, honestly. I can just explain it with a smile and a ‘brain damage’ before moving along. That’s assuming that people know what happened to me.

It’s hard to feel too bad about anything when the end result is that I’m alive and in mostly fine fettle. i sleep better since my medical crisis, for sure. My norm was 6 1/2 hours before I ended up in the hospital. Now it’s 7 1/2 to 8 hours a night. I wake up once to go to the bathroom, but then quickly fall asleep again.

A bit of my anxiety has crept back. Maybe 10% or so more than before. Which was down 50% or so from before that. Whereas my depression is almost completely gone.

But! We’re talking about negatives.

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Doing it to myself

I have waxed on and on about how great life has been since I woke up a year ago, and it is. However. In the RKG Discord last night, we were talking about romantic problems and one person said that barring a big life event, people didn’t change. I amended it to that people can change, but it is very incremental. I mentioned that after my life-threatening medical crisis (which I talked about in length further up the thread), some of my negative traits had vanished and some had been greatly mitigated. As I’ve mentioned, my body issues have completely disappeared. That’s probably the most amazing thing, and I’m grateful for it. Decades of hating my body–gone.

This is something I marvel at almost on the daily. I went from loathing my body to absolutely loving it. I am arrogant about it now. My body is, indeed, all that and a bag of chips. That’s what the kids say these days, right? That hasn’t been said in decades. Oh, well. I’ve never been hep or happening.

I love my curves, especially my booty. I am Asian, which means I was born with no ass. Not literally, obviously, but it was flat. I liked to joke that about my flat yellow ass, but it wasn’t really a joke. It was yellow and it was, indeed, flat. Taiji, specifically, Golden Roosters, lifted and boosted my ass. I actually had a bit of a curvature to it!

I was enamored with it, I’ll be frank. I kept looking at it with delight and I told Ian excitedly that I had an ass. He said diffidently that he had noticed, which made me chuckle. I kept staring at it in the mirror because I most definitely had an ass. I had to take ‘flat’ out of my vocab, which was fine by me.

I worked hard to get to studiedly neutral. Rather, I said I was neutral about my body, but I wasn’t. I didn’t hate it, technically, but I still wouldn’t look at it in the mirror. Which meant that I was more negative about it than positive.

Then, I ended up in the hospital. I had to have people wipe the shit from my ass, which is an embarrassing position to be in. But they treated me with such warmth, they made me feel safe, secure, and they allowed me to keep my dignity. It’s so vulnerable to not be able to wipe my own ass. Having to go through all of that wiped out my body dysmporphia completely. I love my body to distraction. It got me through death twice, and it is better than ever.

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Sick of myself

I’ve been big upping myself lately, which I’m fine with. There are a few things about myself, however, that really annoy the fuck out of me. Some are different since I got out of the hospital, but some are, annoyingly, the same since I was a kid.

The biggest one is my manic need to people-please. This started when I was a kid and had to tiptoe around my parents’ (yes, plural) moods. It wasn’t just my father and his violent mood swings, but also my mother and her constant depression. She should have seen a therapist when she was first married, but her belief was therapy for thee, but not for me (her). Instead, she dumped it all on me and expected me to caretake her. Not my brother because he was a boy and because he was not good with emotions. But I, on the other hand, had to be her emotional dumping grounds because I was female and because I was extremely sensitive to other people’s emotions. Sometimes I wonder if I would have been as sensitive to people’s emotions if my mother hadn’t forced me to be her confidante when I was eleven. I feel like my sensitivity is innate, but it’s hard to say when I had to do it for my mother 24/7. I can’t help but sense what other people are feeling, no matter how much I tried to shield myself from it. Even when it’s a chat and people are typing, I can sense what people are feeling.

And I’m always eager to step in and make sure that no one feels left out. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, but I push it to the extreme. It’s not my job to make sure everyone feels included, but it certainly feels like it.

I’m trying to pull back a bit, but it’s not easy to change a lifetime habit. It doesn’t help that my mother still insists on dumping all her emotional drama on me. She tries to say it’s part of being a child (duty to parents’ emotional well-being or some such bullshit), which may be more true in Taiwan than it America, but not to the extent that she insists it is.

If I were to tell her the brutal truth, I would say that I didn’t have kids in part because of her. I hated the idea of fucking up another generation with the deep family dysfunction. I knew that if I had kids,  I would not have been strong enough to protect them from my parents. If I wanted children at all, that might be a hard decision, but because I never wanted them, it was easy-peasy. When my mother said she would come back to help with my kids if I had them (which, yeah, sure. Not if my father didn’t want to move back), I almost had a panic attack. Remember, I never wanted kids, but just the mere thought of my mother being around my mythical children made me want to move somewhere without giving her a forwarding address.

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Life goals

I have stated several times that I am better than I ever was. My medical crisis was the best thing to happen to me, and, yet, that doesn’t mean I’m magically without flaws. I still talk too much and get mean when I’m tired or short of energy. I’m lazy and a slob, and I tend to procrastinate when I don’t want to do something. It makes it a bigger deal than it needs to be. I know I’m doing this, but cannot stop myself from doing it.

It’s been eye-opening to see my brother working the dating apps. He does it while he’s here so I jump into it as well. I’m on Bumble and OkCupid, but I haven’t really done anything with either. I don’t like that you can only be a man or a woman on Bumble, though I do like that I don’t have to put up with dick pics before even getting a ‘hello’. So. Many. Dick. Pics on Craigslist.

I like that OkCupid allows for a wide variety of genders as well as sexual orientations and relationship choices. You can be polyamorous in different ways,  or you could just be looking for sex. But it’s overwhelming in other ways, which makes me just not want to use it at all.

For example. You cannot save a profile for later. You have to swipe right or left immediately. I understand why they made this choice, but I don’t like it. I want to be able to think and ponder before making a decision. Yes, I know if you swipe right on Bumble, you have 24 hours before you have to message, but that’s still pressure.

My brother is quick to swipe left or right. He sends a brief message and if he gets a reply, suggests they chat on the app or meet up in person. When I used to use Craigslist, I would message with someone several times before feeling comfortable enough to meet them in person. That could be because of gender dynamics, which was certainly part of the issue. But, it’s also that I’m a ditherer, and I rarely make decisions in an appropriate timeframe.

I wish I could be more like my brother.  I’ve been thinking about dating for ages. My last relationship was a decade ago, and it was spectacularly bad. I was love-bombed from the start and fell for it completely. He was a sexist, narcissistic, touchy, alcoholic lout who should not in any way have been in a relationship. I’m no angel by any means, but I did not deserve to feel like I constantly had to tiptoe around his fragile male ego.

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I am definitely not flawless

For most of my life, I have been focused on all my flaws. I could barely see any of my positives and I was unhappy with myself in general. The psychologist Carl Jung talks about the shadow as the dark, negative side of a person that they either are unaware exists or actively try to deny. Usually, it’s the negative behaviors and ideas that a person does and has, including their flaws.

For me, my shadow has been my positive side. I have no problem listening my flaws and my negative attributes. I would do them at the drop of a hat and at length. I was comfortable with my negative side because I felt like I was worthy. It was drilled in my head that it was wrong to show pride in yourself. You were supposed to be humble and never brag, which morphed into the need to debase yourself in front of others lest they get the wrong idea.

Taiji helped me with that. I went from thinking that I didn’t deserve to live and that I would let someone kill me rather than fight to not wanting to fight someone, but willing to do it if necessary. I was walking the circle with DeerHorn Knives (Bagua, not Taiji) as a substitute for meditation when I couldn’t do the latter because of flashbacks. I loved the DeerHorn Knives (and I would love to have real ones, not practice ones) and walking the circle was very meditative. I focused on the middle of the circle which was where your opponent would be. I had a flash of “It’s either him or me” and  choosing me before it disappeared.

I talked about it with my teacher afterwards because it shook me up. I had been a pacifist up until that moment, so the idea that I would actually deliberately choose to kill someone rattled me. Granted, it was because he was going to kill me, but still. She said that it was common for women to be raised to be nice and to be averse to violence of any kind. It was how they were kept in place and it was based in sexism and the patriarchy. She said that she had to teach men how to CTFO and not take everything as a challenge, but she had to teach women how to be more assertive and not shy away from confrontation. Or rather, run away as the first option, but be ready to fight if need be. When she said that, it made sense. I was raised to believe that as a female-shaped person, my greatest value was in what I could do for others. I didn’t have any intrinsic value in and of myself, and I must never forget that. From the time when I was eleven and my mother made me her confidante, I was imbued with the belief that I had to do for others to be worth anything.

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The dark side of humanity

I am a negative person. I will always see the flaws in something, no matter what. It can be the best idea on earth, but I’ll see the cracks in the foundation. Let’s take Elden Ring for example. Because of course I would want to talk more about it; it’s constantly on my mind. It’s a fantastic game, but it’s not perfect. By the way, it quickly rose on my list of favorite FromSoft games. Here’s the list as it currently stands. Demon’s Souls is not on the list because I have not played it. I wish it would come to the PC already!

  1. Dark Souls III
  2. Elden Ring
  3. Dark Souls
  4. Dark Souls II (SotFS)
  5. Bloodborne
  6. Sekiro

When I started Elden Ring, it was immediately ahead of Bloodborne and Sekiro in terms of games I’d rather play. It’s not a list of the best From games because I don’t do that kind of ranking, but of my favorites. I’m more a Souls person than a Sekiroborne person. I think Sekiro and Bloodborne are both fantastic games, but they just do not lend themselves to my style of play. Souls games don’t, really, either, but at least I can cobble something together in those.

Anyway, the more I play Elden Ring, the more I appreciate it and obsess over it. I’m still not done with the second legacy dungeon. Apparently, I’ve stumbled over a few other main story bosses who are in the field; I haven’t beaten either one.

Still. There are issues. The technical issues have mostly smoothed out for me. There is micro-stuttering once in awhile and the game takes a few seconds to shut down, but other than that, it runs great. I don’t notice pop-ins, though, so that may be happening under my nose.  But with my higher-end graphics card, it’s running well.

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