Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: tradition

What I’m thankful for this year

I don’t do holidays. I did them as a kid and when my niece and nephews were kids, but I’ve never liked them. Holidays, I hasten to clarify, not my niece and nephews. Them, I like a lot. More and more the older they get! They’re really great young adults. But holidays? Being forced to be around people I may or may not spend time with on the regular given my druthers? Nah, son. Not for me. My mother once said to me indignantly that just because something is a tradition, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Which, true. But, I would counter that just because it’s tradition, it doesn’t make it good, either.

This year, my brother is having a Thanksgiving lunch. I am not going because I don’t feel comfortable being around groups yet. If I hadn’t been in the hospital recently, I would consider it. Well, no, I wouldn’t because if I hadn’t gone into the hospital, my viewpoint would be not to do holiday things as it’s been in the past. It’s the hospital that changed my thoughts on many things, including the pandemic. Which is now endemic. It’s here to stay and I’m not letting it rule my life any longer.

So, if I were a year out of being in the hospital, I would consider going to my brother’s for Thanksgiving. This year, though, it’s too close to my hospital stay for me to consider it. I don’t want to get sick again. And while I’ve relaxed on the pandemic, I’m not ready to be around a group of people again.

So. I do feel grateful this year, though. Thankful, if you will. I’ve spent the last few months pondering my life and the fact that I’m still alive. A brief recap: I somehow got pneumonia. Not sure how. I wasn’t going outside much at that time, but I did open it up a crack from my earlier days of self-isolation. I called 9-1-1, opened the front door for the cops, then collapsed in the front hallway. The cops bagged me when they arrived (with oxygen) while waiting for the EMS. During the ambulance ride, I had two cardiac arrests and a stroke. They had to shock my heart twice and applied an Epi pen once.


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An Ode/Eulogy to Valentine’s Day

Ed. Note: I wrote this on Valentine’s Day, even though it won’t be posted until the day after. Just so there’s no confusion.

I have a complicated relationship with Valentine’s Day. I have always professed to hate it, and I do, mostly, but it’s for more complex reasons than I normally admit. I would tell people when asked (and sometimes unprompted) that I deplored the commercial aspects and being told that I have to buy lavish gifts to demonstrate my love. I firmly believed that you could show your love in many different ways at any time of the year, and I didn’t need Hallmark to dictate when I should display my love, damn it. That was all true and sincerely felt, but there was a deeper, darker reason I hated it so much–it’s because it consistently let me down. Yes, even I, as jaded and bitter as I was, I had bought into the promises and dreams Valentine’s day had fed to me, lies, really, during my teenage years and into my twenties. I wanted the romance, to be wined and dined, and to be made to feel like a queen. I wanted happily-ever-after that was the bailiwick of fairy tales and Harlequin Romance novels. When I was in a relationship during those years, even though I would pooh-pooh Valentine’s Day, I would secretly hope that my partner would surprise me with a magical night. It never happened, and each time it didn’t, I became increasingly bitter. Even though I tried to pretend I was fine with having a low-key Valentine’s Day, I wasn’t. In other words, I was a lover scorned being spiteful towards my ex-lover.

During my thirties, I tried to make my peace with Valentine’s Day, even though I dreaded its arrival every year. I was not in a relationship more often than I was, and each Valentine’s Day was a stark reminder that I was single. Our society is very couple-centric, and it’s not like I need another day to shove my alone-ness in my face. I get enough of that wherever I go–you really can’t escape it anywhere. Back in my thirties, I desperately wanted to be in a relationship, although I would have vigorously denied it. I was an independent, strong woman, damn it, and I didn’t need no man or woman to make me complete. Yet, there was something inside me that longed to be one half of a couple. I couldn’t squash the feeling, no matter how hard I tried. So, much of my bluster about Valentine’s Day was because it made me feel my lack of a romantic relationship keenly, and I hated feeling that way.

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This President Has No Home Training

eternal facepalm.
Uncle Sam is ashamed of us!

There is a GIF circulating the internet of Prime Minister Abe (of Japan) rolling his eyes and leaning away after this president shook his hand. Which the president did for a long time. I joined in the merriment, but then I thought more about it, and it’s such a classic bully thing to do. This president does that macho bullshit of crushing people’s hands when he shakes them, and he really did not want to let go of Prime Minister Abe’s hand. It’s a dominance thing in which the so-called alpha male shows he literally has the upper hand, and Prime Minister Abe’s discomfort was clearly evident. Then, the news that PM Abe’s wife was not accompanied by Melania Trump on her tour of DC broke, and I was stunned by the lack of etiquette. No, it’s not Mrs. Abe’s first trip to DC, and, no, she wasn’t completely alone, but still. She’s the wife of a very prominent foreign dignitary. You make it your priority to accompany her on her tour of your fucking city.*

This isn’t even Politics 101; it’s just common courtesy. You do not let an honor and esteemed guest wander about your city without being there. You. Just. Don’t. I’m not the biggest fan of mindless traditional behavior, but I do think there’s a base level of decency that we must extend to each other, especially if you’re the President of the Fucking United States. It’s embarrassing to watch this president interact with the heads of foreign countries, especially Asian ones. Asians are very big on face and showing utmost respect to others in public. There is an elaborate ritualistic dance you must perform, and anyone who doesn’t is viewed with askance. I’m not saying it’s a great thing in general, but I do think having a rudimentary knowledge of other cultures is important as president. Prime Minister Abe and his wife may never mention these indignities, but they will not forget them–I can guarantee you that.
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