Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: medical crisis

Happy second rebirthday to me!

Today is my second rebirthday.

That’s doing my head in at the moment. It’s been two years since I died twice and came back again twice. At least it will be by the time you’re reading this.

My mindset is so different since then, even if my life itself is similar. I went from hating almost everything about myself to no one being able to say shit about me. Now, I’ve calmed down with my egoism a bit, but I’m still left with a better self-esteem than I had before I ended up in the hospital.

That’s not hard to do given that my self-esteem was nearly nonexistent beforehand. Taiji helped drag it up to low rather than negligible, and I was able to project that I was not as negative about myself as I was.

Now, however, my self-esteem is what I would call healthy. I think my body is wonderful because it got me through death twice. And, as I always say, that’s walking (non-Covid-related) pneumonia, two cardiac arrests, and an ischemic stroke. My body took all that, laughed, and said, “Is that all you got?”

Seriously. I should be dead. For real, I mean. I should not be here, and I stil consider every day a bonus day. I am writing this the day before my rebirthday, and  I just ordered a whole mess of Thai food to enjoy as I watch the early access episode of Elden Ring Retry from RKG. This is my Saturday afternoon, by the way. I have Taiji class at noon for an hour and a half. I watch a bit of the Retry episode before class, but then I have to leave the rest for later.

This episode is over two hours–which is nice and juicy. The lads have been really spoiling us with all the content. People can be such assholes, though. I was reading the comments on the Patreon page, and people were complaining because A) Rory is too OP; B) Rory is so bad at the game; C) Rory is spreading his points too much; D) Rory is using too much magic, and that’s just the start of it.

I understand that everyone has different expectations, but so much of it is just unnecessary gatekeeping. Retry is meant to be for hard games, but I just want Rory to enjoy the game. I love Elden Ring so much; I want him to experience the joy as well. I get that everyone thinks they know the one true way, but to be blunt, they don’t.Just because something works for them, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for someone else.

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How my anxiety manifests

I’ve had depression, anxiety, and body issues for most of my life. I realized I was going to die when I was seven, and that did weird things to my brain. I wav both fascinated by it and repulsed by it–which probably isn’t that weird, come to think about it. When I got my MA in writing, we had to write roughly a hundred pages of fiction around a theme. Mine was death. I was emo goth, which is who I am at heart.

I wrote roughly 150 pages of death-related stories, and the one I remember the most was about a Taiwanese American female serial killer. I remember it because it was basically a revenge fantasy in which I went to very dark places. My advisor said I should make her white because people would get fixated on her race–in a negative way. They would think it was representnative of all Asian women. He was Mexican American, and I understood his thought process.

I rejected it, though. I hated the whole model minority bullshit (especially because it was used for Asian people as a way to poke at black people) because it still didn’t acknowledge the humanity of the person. Real people are flawed and complex–neither wholly bad or wholly good (for the most part).

It’s a weird kind of pressure. Asian kids in college kill themselves at an alarming rate because of it. They get it from their homes (East Asian cultures are very big on education) and from American culture (which promotes the idea that Asian people are preternaturally smart. There was one time when I was in my twenties and doing one-person performances. An Asian group did a book of themed essays every year and one year, it was focused on sexuality. Then, we had a reading, and it was really fascinating. At the end of the reading, a white dude walked on stage and proceeded to trash us all. He started by saying he had an ex-girlfriend who was Korean (not Korean-American), and any time a white dude starts like that, it’s not going to be pretty.

Yes, because he had once fucked a Korean woman, he was an expert of all things Asian. He pompously said that he wanted to talk about Eastern spirituality, which was very common for white dudes, too. They always want to talk about how mystical ‘The Orient’ is. Which, I mean….there are a lot of venal assholes in Asia. I’ve been there. But that’s another kind of racism–thinking all people of any one race or even worse, a continent, were all the same.

Who the hell was this asshole to dictate what we were allowed to talk about? He took what had been a lovely evening and shit all over it. Several people went up after him to rebut him, but it still left a sour taste in my mouth.

Back to the story I had written. It was about a Taiwanese American woman who was disatistfied with her life. She was watching the news when there was a report of a sexual predator (white dude) who had had sex with a woman and then killed her. Then did it again and again. The protagonist became obsessed with this guy and other serial killers who disposed of their victims in particularly gruesome ways. For one reason or another, each of them eluded justice, so she deicded to get all of them back with the same method they had used to kill the women they killed.

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A whisper in the night

When I first came home from the hospital, I thought about my experience all the time. Well, maybe not all the time, literally, but it was always in the back of my mind. I would muse about what happened, but rarely about why it happened. I marveled that I survived pretty much intact, but as I told the hospital chaplain, why shouldn’t it happen to me?

I’ve always found it strange when people were floored when bad things happened to them. For example, when 9/11 happened, there were so many people saying, “I can’t believe this happened in America.” I get it on an intellectual level. In my lifetime up to that point, there hadn’t been any attacks on American soil. We have been lulled to believe that we are untouchable.

But, anyone who was following the situation to any degree could see something of the sort happening. I’m not pretending that I was precog and predicted an attack in NY. I wasn’t and I didn’t. But I am also not going to pretend that I was shocked that it happened. Grieved, yes. Appalled, yes. But shocked? Nope.

What I was shocked about and then disheartened was the jingoistic reaction by our government after the initial attack. We had the goodwill of the entire world–and we squandered it.

I’m a weirdo, though. I used to call myself a pessimist and/or a cynic because I was always seeing the dark side of things. Or rather, I was always pointing out something that other people hadn’t seen in a situation.

That’s right. I’m the ‘well, actually’ person in the flesh.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I was telling a friend of mine that I was a cynic/pessimist. He took a long look at me and said, “Minna. You’re an optimist.” Cue the outrage and the sputtering. Me , an optimist?!? How dare he! I was so pissed off, I wanted to tell him off. But, I decided to ask him what he meant by that. I was no Pollyanna who only saw the bright side to everything. How very DARE he????

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My life is not a movie

About a month after I came home from the hospital, my mother said I should write a script based on my life. I dismissed the idea for many reasons, not the least because no one would care about an Asian queer/genderqueer person. She got angry and said I would be an inspiration to people, as if that meant I was obliged to do it. Which, come to think of it is pretty much the case for her. Martyred service.

It’s interesting because in Ask A Manager today, there are two questions about serving others (in a way). One is the term ‘servant leader’, which is an AGILE term, apparently, but for me, it’s an Evangelical Christian one. In addition, I don’t think ‘servant’ anything should be on a resume. It just invokes old-timey British period pieces, which is probably not what people want it to say. At any rate, there was too much diversity in opinion for people to use the term without checking to see if it’s a valid one in their field.

Side Note: Someone in the discussion was saying she didn’t think it was a dog whistle because she had never heard of the evangelical Christian version before. I nearly had an apoplectic fit reading that comment because that’s what a fucking dog whistle is. Something that can pass for normal to the uninitiated, but that makes a point to those in the know. I mean, what the fuck do they think a dog whistle is?

I am getting angry about it all over again. I know it’s a case of someone is wrong on the internet, but this is the actual definition of the term! For fuck’s sake. I can’t even. It just makes me agog. AGOG, I tell you!

The other question was about making a comment to a student that you ‘know’ has an eating disorder. But you’ve only known them for three days. Sigh. This is something that seems very counter-intuitive for empathetic people, but here’s the brutal truth–many times, doing the empathetic thing is for the empathizer, not the other person. I’m saying this as someone who is a huge empathizer. Oftentimes, it’s the distress of feeling bad that is the motivator to push forward and help someone else.

Eating disorders are really hard to heal from. I’ve dealt with anorexia twice (with a side helping of bulimia once), and I went from that to compulsive overeating. And, at a certain point, I didn’t do any of that, but I still had body issues. As I’ve detailed several times here, it was me dying and coming back to life (twice!) that got me over my body issues.

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It’s almost my re-birthday

I have a belief I use on friends. When they go through something life-changing like having a children or getting married, they get a year to talk about it whenever they want and at any length. Then, they need to cut back proportionally as time goes on. I’ve never had to invoke it because my friends aren’t the type to go on forever about, well, anything.

I’m coming up on a year since my medical crisis happened. Which is difficult to believe. I should be dead. I should not have survived one night, let alone a year. I am better than I was before it happened, which is bizarre as well. But does this mean I can’t talk about it any longer?! K says no. when I mentioned this a few months ago, she said I’m allowed to talk about it as much (or as little) as I wanted, however I wanted to talk about it.

I told her that mentioning it made me feel self-conscious because it’s such a conversation-stopper. It’s not something I can just casually drop into a conversation and not make it a thing. K said that I could talk about it whenever I wanted because it’s part of me. She hastened to add that I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to, but I shouldn’t feel like I couldn’t.

And, I get it. She’s right, but it’s still…

There is no one like me. I Googled like shit to find anyone who had survived two cardiac arrests and a stroke with little to no side effects. I found nothing. I can’t find any support group for people like me, either. And the sobering reason is because most people who have cardiac arrests die. Most people who suffer from strokes aren’t in any shape to chat about it.

I still haven’t figured out a way to talk about it. In the RKG Discord, I’ll mention a life-threatening medical event, but that doesn’t really got to the heart of the matter, either. I’m not sure it really matters, but I would like to be able to bring it up because it shapes my world view.

On the other hand, I can’t really offer it as  a solution for, well, anything. Before my medical crisis, I hated my body. I spent years thinking it was disgusting and too gross for words. Same with my face. I hated looking in the mirror, and I balked at having my picture taken.

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