Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: weird

Private and personal

I was reading some old Ask A Manager posts and came across one that was from a manager who was curious about their report, Adam. The letter writer (LW) said that Adam never volunteered anything about his personal life despite having worked on the team for six years. Two months before the LW wrote in, they noticed a ring on Adam’s left third finger and wondered if he had gotten married. In the past, whenever he put in for time off, LW would casually ask if he was going on vacation and he would say yes. Nothing more.

The LW, while emphasizing several times that it was fine that Adam was private, really, really wanted Alison to give them a way to pry. No matter how many times they said it was fine that Adam didn’t want to talk, the undercurrent was that it was very much not fine. Not in a ‘it’s bad for the tieam’ way, but in a ‘I really, really want to know’ way.

Which, I get. If you’re around someone eight hours a day, then it’s natural that you want to know something about them. But, I’m on the other side because I’m the freak. If I were in an office, I would have nothing to talk about. I don’t hate the snow–I love it. I hate the summer and the heat. I don’t watch movies or TV shows. I haven’t read a book in quite some time. I really need to start that up again, bu even that would be me just reading Asian women writers. Which, I can tell you, is not ‘normal’ at all.

I’m not partnered and have no kids. I don’t take vacations. There was a weekend thread asking for small talk questions. The ones people were suggesting were right out for me as well, such as food. What’s your favorite food? What my favorite food is and what I can actually eat are two very different things.

I am not religious. I do not want to talk about religion. At all.I am agender, not into monogamy, marriage, or anything like that. Someone in the commentariat said that they would be more inclined to go the extra mile for someone they knew something about. People argued, but I got what she was saying (I don’t like her in general). I don’t necessarily agree with her because you can have a warm relationship with someone without it being personal (so many people think I’m their best friend when I tolerate them at best), and a big part of it is listening. Most people want to talk about themselves so it’s a good way to seem engaged. Asking a few well-timed questions can aid this process.

In addition, my hobbies are writing (currently struggling with a memoir about dying twice), FromSoft games (video games in general, From in particular), and Taiji weapons. The first in general is a suitable topic, but then I have to explain the background if I want to talk about why I’m writing about it. Which I would not want to bring up in a workplace.

K likes to remind me that my dying (twice!) is a big part of my life story and that I should be ok with talking about it. Which, yeah, but in a work setting, it’s way too heavy. I guess if it’s one I’d been in for years, they would know what happened to me. At least the basics. It’s weird, though. I was up and walking in less than two weeks of the initial incidences. So in theory, I could have been back at work within two weeks. I would have been a hot mess and could not do anything for more than five minutes, but I could have been there. In a month, I would have been back to ‘normal’.

Side note: I’ve realized more and more how the stroke has affected me in small ways. My short-term memory is dodgy. I can take in some information, store it away, and then promptly forget it. It happened in my last private Taiji lesson. I wanted to learn some Bagua (a different internal martial art), so we’re walking the circle. I already knew how to do it with the DeerHorn Knives, but she’s teaching me the basics.

There is the Single Palm Change and the Double Palm Change. I’ve done the former and assumed the latter was, well, changing the palms twice. It’s not. It’s hard to explain, but single and double palm changes are called that because they have the palms doing one thing and two things respectively. One turns to the inside and one to the outside.

Continue Reading

Knowing what I know

I’ve been musing for some time about being a weirdo in a word full of normies. Of course, we can debate normal for days, but there are societal norms such as getting (het) married and having children.

I realized when I was 22 that I neither wanted children nor had to have them. It was such a relief and quite the revelation. I grew up in two cultures that mandated a woman had to have children. It did not matter if I wanted them or not (most emphatically did not), but I was expected to have them.

I have documented time and time again that the realization that I did not have to have children was formative for me. Until that point, I just assumed I had to have them and oh my god. I am so glad I realized that wasn’t true before I actually, you know, had a child.

That was the first time in my life that I realized that I could actually go against the grain and not do what I was supposed to do. And I got a lot of shit for it, especially from my mother. As an AFAB person, I was expected to have children, no questions asked. My mother guilted me over and over again, crying about the bond between mother and daughter when the daughter has children. She pressured me for 15 years to have children, and it was only when I turned 40 that she gave up. Then, she started bothering me about getting married to a man so he could take care of me when we got old.

Which was rich coming from her. Given her marriage, she was the last person who should have been pushing nuptials, especially for that reason.

Being who I am and realizing these things about myself over the years plus my natural ability to read people enhanced by decades of having to be my mother’s emotional support person makes me have a unique perspective on life. It’s one that makes me question myself more often than not, but it’s also helps me see many different points of view. Which can lead me to being contrarian at times. Sometimes, I have to bite my tongue because I don’t need to voice every thought in my head.

It’s hard, though. There’s someone in the RKG Discord that many producers (second-to-top-tier level) loathe. He is not a producer, so he can’t comment in the producer forums. He says a lot of ignorant things, but he also just states opinions that are not popular. I only know this because then a handful of producers will go in a producer forum and bitch about him. The first time I saw this happening, I hunted him down to see what he had said that was so terrible. And, I have to say, it wasn’t that bad.

Let me be clear. He’s ignorant and apt to spout off bullshit that doesn’t hold up. And one time, he said something that was eye-rollingly thickheaded. And sexist, but in an every day sexism sort of way. But, here’s the thing. It’s extremely mild in terms of the internet and he is entitled to his own opinions.

Every few days, someone will complain about him in the producer forum, and I don’t think they realize how it comes across to those of us who are not as invested in him being the Discord villain. There is one woman who has him on mute, but will unmute him when anybody gripes about him so she can join in.

Continue Reading

Unique, but not weird

I read a bunch of advice columns, or rather, I did. I’m getting bored/unsatisfied with most of them, but the one that is still decent is Ask A Manager. It also has a good commentariat, who are, for the most art, able to see things from many points of view. They have their weird spots, too, though, and one of them is business attire.

There was a post about the 100-day dress challenge. The basic premise is that you wear this one specific dress for a hundred days in a row for reasons. Supposedly, it’s about sustainability, but that’s not really what’s happening. It’s basically a marketing ploy, but that’s not my focus. It’s on the amount of people who said don’t do it because you would stand out in a bad way. Oh, it’s unfortunate and they personally didn’t feel that way, mind, but you know, society.

One person went so far as to say don’t be weird. It’s ok to be eccentric, but not weird. I had such a visceral reaction to their comment for several reasons. One, what’s to differentiate weird and eccentric? Two, to me, eccentric is further outside the norm than is weird. Three, it’s such an arbitrary distinction, which is which or if something is weird or eccentric in the first place. four, as noted in response to the comment, it’s so juvenile. “Don’t be weird!” Why not? If it’s not actually harming someone (like wearing the same dress every day), who the fuck cares?

Continue Reading

What it’s like to be normal

Most of the time, I don’t care about being a freak. In fact, dare I say it, I revel in it and don’t mind rubbing it in others’ faces from time to time. Not often, but once in a while, just pointing out that not everybody walks down the well-trodden path is not a bad thing.

However, once in a very long while, I get a hankering to be normal. Or rather, more mainstream. It can be frustrating not to be able to talk about anything while in the company of normies. Or talking about normal things without any real knowledge of said subjects (I am very good at mimicking others).

I dream of being married with 2 kids, a dog, and a house in the ‘burbs (got the last one at least). Going to church on Sundays and then going to a fast food restaurant afterwards. Honestly, that was my favorite part of gong to church as a kid especially as we were not allowed to have fast food at any other time.

Side note: I didn’t realize until  I was out of the house that my mother did not like to cook. She made us dinner, but it was very basic. I remember cow tongue once, but her staples were Indian curry and potato, rice and veggies, and other simple Taiwanese foods. They were filling, but not memorable in any way. I’m not being critical, by the way. I don’t like to cook, either, and I feel for her that she had to cook even though she didn’t enjoy it. As a kid, I was unhappy by her cooking, but later I realized what a chore it was for her and felt some empathy.

She was raised with the idea that a woman was less than a man, and that a woman’s worth was in being a wife and a mother. This despite the fact that her own mother was a highly-accomplished woman–who also pooh-poohed the lives of women. She was the first woman to attend a certain college in Japan, and she was the first woman to be a senator in the prefecture in Taiwan in which she lived. She was a powerful personality, but she also gave lip service to how much better men were than women (and left all her money to her four sons and none to her four daughters).

When my mother wanted to go on a date, her mother said she had to be engaged before she went on the date. So she got engaged to a young man before even dating him. Then, she came to America and was swept off her feet by my father and dumped her fiance through a letter. I don’t even know if she kissed him before dumping him (so were they really engaged? I guess?), but that was just the way it was back then.

Continue Reading

I’m weird and I know it

When I w as a kid, I had no idea what was normal and what wasn’t. No, that’s not right. I knew that my family was not like others, but I didn’t know why. It’s easy to see in retrospect that it’s cultural, but how was I to know that at the time? When you’re a kid, the only thing you know is your own family. That is the basis for normal. Which is fine if you have a healthy family. However, if your family is deeply dysfunctional as mine is, then it’s hell.

I was being shaped without knowing it. I was taught that my perfectly normal body was gross and disgusting. My brain was the only thing that mattered, but at the same time, I was supposed to make sure that at some point in time, I was attractive enough to secure a (male) mate with whom I would breed. I had to play an instrument and a sport, and there wasn’t any question of whether I could quit or not. Until I got deeply depressed and thought life meant nothing, but I’ll get to that later.

I started dancing when I was two and took lessons until I was twelve. I played the cello from eight to eighteen. I also had piano lessons; played ping-pong, tennis, and softball; and took enrichment classes during the summer at the Twin Cities Institute for Talented Youth. (TCITY). I took Latin, drama, and writing during those summers. There was no such thing as downtime; my brother and I had to be doing something every minute of the day.

When I was in high school, I was deeply depressed. I thought about killing myself every day. My brother had trouble with school so my mother was focused on him, not me. I was (and am) good at school, so she just took it for granted that I would continue to excel. She paid my brother for his good grades, but I got scolded when I brought home an A-.

I decided to give up my junior or senior year. I stopped trying and my grades plummeted. Probably junior year. I remember once in class, the teacher wasn’t there and we were all just hanging out doing our thing. I wrote suicidal poems on the blackboard and was outraged when someone else erased them. In retrospect, it was a good call, but at the time, I felt as if I was being erased.

Continue Reading

What is normal?

I’m weird. I have always been weird, and I most likely will always be weird. I’m an arty type ho is considered a freak by the normies. However, I am not weird enough to be accepted by the arty types. Or rather, I’m too straight-edged for them. I don’t drink or do drugs, and I prefer being around people who don’t do either as well. That cuts out vast swathes of artists, which is understandable. Here’s the thing, though. Most people are not fun to be around when they’re smashed out of their faces if you’re not also  smashed out of your face. The long rambling incoherent messages. The declarations of love. The breaks from reality. None of it is fun or interesting if you’re not right there. And everyone I’ve dated has had an issue with alcohol–whether it was liking it a bit too much or being an alcoholic. I grew up with a father who acted like a dry drunk in many ways and it was not something I wanted to do on the regular. At some point, I realized that I did not want to date someone who drank or did drugs. At all. Which is difficult because I DO want to date someone who is an artist type.

I adore creative people. We are the freaks and the geeks, on the fringe of normal society. I am more comfortable in the dark of the night with the weirdos than I am in broad daylight with the normies.

But, this post isn’t about alcohol or freaks, well, not exactly. I was reading my stories and re-read a Dear Prudence about a woman whose husband was dragging his feet on having children. And it reminded me once again why I don’t like this Prudie at all. Her viewpoint is so….myopic and more traditional than I am comfortable with. She did a follow-up with the Uncensored (in which she asked a guest to help her out), and I was even more uncomfortable with her answer. I admit that some of my unease comes from being someone who does not want children at all, but the fact that she doesn’t try to look deeper on the regular bothers me. For example, there was one question from a woman who didn’t want ta wear heavy makeup in a specific TikTok pattern  as a bridesmaid. Prudie essentially told her to suck it up and that when she agreed to be a bridesmaid, she basically had to let the bride have her way unless it was a matter of life or death (the friend hadn’t known about the makeup before agreeing).

Continue Reading

Tired of being a freak

I’ve written before about the upside of being an outsider. This is not one of those posts. I have seen people on social media blasting the whole ‘introverts living their best lives’ themes, saying that they were introverts, but who is living their best life right now? The tone is ridicule/anger, and it makes me uncomfortable because while I’m not living my BEST life, I’m not suffering like other people are. Meaning, I’m not visibly more distressed. Yes, my sleep  is more fucked up. Yes, I randomly want to kill myself, but it’s not an active feeling, and I have it during regular times as well. It’s not as intense then as it is now, but it’s there. Yes, I’m having way more family time than I want. Yes, I’m having a hard time focusing. But in general, I am less anxious than I am during regular times.

In addition, I don’t really miss hanging out with people. Granted, I didn’t do it much during normal times, but the reduction isn’t bothering me. The fact that I couldn’t do it chafed at the beginning of the lockdown because I don’t like to be told what to do, but in general, it doesn’t bother me now. The state is doing a soft open tonight at midnight for very depressing reasons (Americans suck as self-denial and no political will to go hardcore), and we haven’t even hit our peak yet. I’m resigning myself to another spike after the soft reopen, and I’m just grateful that I can do what I’ve been doing and ignore the soft opening all I want.

I don’t feel like I can say that I’m not any more stressed or anxious now than I was before. I know it’s because I had an unreasonably high amount of stress and anxiety before and that everyone has risen to meet my level, but it still doesn’t sound great when I say it outside. I also don’t miss being around people except sex. For whatever reason*, I want to fuck the next ten people I see. I’ve been rewatching Chiodini’s Kitchen (from Eurogamer, well, he was, now he’s at Dicebreaker and a DM extraordinaire), and one of them has the actual voice of Geralt from the Witcher series. Doug Cockle. Johnny was brewing a beer from the games at an actual brewery, and he sent a sample to Doug Cockle. Cut to the end where Doug is sitting in front of festive stuff, wearing a Santa hat. He talks a bit in his regular voice, tests the stout, and then says something in Geralt’s voice.

Full disclosure: Geralt is one of my vidya gaemz boos. I have the hots for him, and it doesn’t matter that he’s a video game character.

When Doug Cockle was talking in his regular voice, I was like, he’s a nice guy and he’s fine, but whatever. The second he slipped into Geralt’s voice, however, I wanted to bone him. I’m a sucker for a deep, husky growl.

Continue Reading

But what if I’m the weird one?

I’ve been reading an old open thread post on Ask A Manager (AAM)  in which Alison asks about people’s weirdest coworkers. It’s been amusing, but it’s also been informative. In the back of my mind as I was reading was, “What if I’m the weirdo?” Or, more to the point, I *know* I’m the weirdo. When I used to work in an office, I was definitely the weirdo. In the first place I worked (day treatment for juvies*), I felt out of place for so many reasons. The first month I was there, they had their annual retreat on which I had to go. It was awkward, obviously, and then one night, everyone got hammered and decided to play, “Never Have I” when it came to drugs. After alcohol and marijuana, I was done, and I watched incredulously as the rest of my coworkers kept raising their hands. Not only did I feel weird and out of place, but I was like, “You guys work with kids who struggle with these issues.” It was hypocritical as most of them seemed proud of the shit they’d done.

At the same place, there was a woman in the other program (for truant kids, not actual juvies) who spackled on makeup with a spatula. I mention this because one day, she looked at me through heavily-encrusted eyes and said, “You would be the perfect poster child for a makeover.” I didn’t wear any makeup and didn’t give a shit about my hair (other than to brush it and make sure it was neat) and clothes (clean and no holes), and when she said that, I thought to myself, “I’d rather be that than look like an over-sized Kewpie doll.” I could tell story after story about that place, but my point is that I did not fit into the culture. At all.

The reason I like to read advice columns isn’t just because they have stories that are unbelievable and entertaining (although, many times, heartbreaking as well), but it’s because with the ones I have carefully curated, there is always a few people who are similar to me. It helps me feel like less of a weirdo. In the particular thread I mentioned in the first paragraph, there was one woman, bearcat (fairly sure it’s a woman) who declared that she was the weird coworker. Reading what she wrote, I thought, “Except for the aromatherapy scentball, you’re the COOL coworker” (which is exactly what someone else wrote). I mean, she freaking hula-hooped at work. How cool is that?

It got me thinking how someone’s weird is someone else’s cool. Maybe I could just own my weirdness, but I’m not there yet. I’m not ashamed of it for the most part, but I’m not proud of it, either. What makes me weird? So. Many. Things.

Continue Reading

Blah blah blah

I have another dentist appointment, something like the fourth one in four months.  The last was for a root canal, and this is for a filling. I have another one in a month for a cleaning, and it’s just too depressing to think about. I know it’s a natural consequence of not going to the dentist for years, especially when I have really shitty teeth, but it’s still frustrating to deal with. I’m trying to be equanimous about it, but it’s not easy. I know there’s nothing i can do about it, and I know it’s better to deal with them now than to wait on it, but it’s still not fun at all.

I’m also grumpy because we were supposed to have a foot of snow yesterday, and we got something like four 3.5  inches. 3.5 inches is not a foot! It’s better than nothing, of course, but it’s a bit frustrating that after the huge build-up, it amounted to much ado over nothing.

I’m also trying to find a new video game. I finished Night in the Woods (will write a post about it later), and it’s going to be difficult to find a game that resonates with me the way this game has. The funny part is that after my first playthrough, I was satisfied and liked the game, but I had real issues with certain aspects of it (including the ending and the big mystery), but then I saw Errant Signals’ video about the game, and he mentioned that it really benefits from another playthrough.

I saw a ton of things in his video that I hadn’t seen in my first playthrough, so I started another game. I made different choices, and I tried to be as observant as possible. I got a different ending of sorts, met more characters, got new scenes, and felt much better about the game as a result. Surely, I had seen almost everything, right? Yet, I still had over half the achievements to unlock, so there had to be more to find. What could I do but start a third playthrough? Which I did.

I don’t want to get into it much here because I will be writing a long-form piece about it later, but I have to say that this game burrowed its way deep into my heart, and I can’t let it go. I adore Mae Borowski the main character because she *is* me (or the me I was many years ago, although I wasn’t as mouthy as she was) in ways I’ll definitely explore later.

In the meantime, see Chloi’s review on the game. It’s pretty spot-on.

By the end of the third playthrough, I was firmly in love with this game, and it’s going to be difficult to find a follow-up game that will keep my interest the way this game has.

Oh, and the music is fucking fantastic. I actually bought the soundtrack, which I’ve never done before (for a game).

Anyway, I will be writing about it for Friday’s post. Keep an eye out for it.