Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: weirdo

Free your mind…if you can

I have talked before about how I reach the end of things and then decide that I need to move on. It’s not a good or a bad thing; it’s just the way I am. Meaning that I get bored with things if they don’t change.

I had a Taiji class today (Zoom), and we were going over a movement that is in the first section of the Solo (Long) Form. In other words, the very beginning of the my studies. It has been refined and tweaked, but I’ve been doing it for fifteen years. Back before the pandemic, I was teaching myself the left side of the Solo Form, and made it to roughly two-thirds into the third section. In other words, one-third from the end. My teacher’s teacher was tinkering with the form, and he was changing so much at that point that I decided to put it on hold until he finished.

Theoretically, I understood that it wasa living form. Theoretically, it was exciuting that he kept changing it. My teacher said that when he was taking lessons from the masters, they  were changing t on the regular and just expected people to keep up. Which, fine, but that’s not the way I work. Especially when I was trying to teach myself the left side.

Then, I became focused on the weapons and then, the pandemic hit. It’s only in the last six months or so that my teacher has been teaching us the new Solo Form. It’s mostly the same, and my brain is not remembering the differences. I’ll need my teacher to go over them with me in my private lessons, but I’m happy that A) It’s been refined and B) It’s settled, more or less.

I’ve been in a rut for the last few months, and I’ve decided to shake things up. Now, I’m focusing on refining the forms I know, but also on working on my upper body strength. I need to keep things spicy enough that I don’t get bored, but comfortabl e enough for me not to feel overwhelmed.

I have a weird way of doing that. I stick with what I know for a bit too long, and then I rush to do ten new things. I do wonder if I have ADHD or at least the traits. I tend to hyper-focus on something until i get bored, and then i move on. This is with groups, hobbies, and, sadly to say, people. Not that i need a person to be constantly evolving because I sure am not, but I do need a person to be at least open to the idea that there is more out there than they know. In other words, that they are willing to learn something.

My brother has an ex-friend who is a dedicated Republican. They became friends back when he was a Republican (in name) and worked at the same place I think. She was really rightwing and said to him straight up that the truth didn’t matter. If the Republicans said it, then she believed it. He did not know what to do with it, and he wanted to talk about it from time to time. He wanted to know why she thought that way because he could not fathom it.

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A matter of perspective

Eminem, the rapper, has a notoricously difficult relationship with his mother. He’s written several songs about her, including one that he now doesn’t sing any longer, Cleaning Out My Closet. Which is a banger, by the way. The song that really struck me, though, was Headlights, ft. Nate Ruess, which I have included below.

Dang. I just Googled it. It’s ten years old. I still think of it as his ‘new’ song, even though that is most undoubtedly not ture. It really struck me for several reasons. One, it’s a really good song. Two, people took it as an apology song to his mother, which was not my take on it. Three, it got me thinking about my own troubled relationship with my mother, which is not good for my head space over time.

It got me thinking how we bring our own point of view into art. It’s part of what makes it such an evocative experience. If you have no inner tapestry, a painting is just a painting and a song is just a song.

I could not understand how people thought it was simply an apology/I forgive you song. I mean, it’s partly that. He said that he undrestood that she was mentally ill and did the best she could. He told her that he was ashamed of his earlier song and no longer played it in concerts. He told her that he still loved her because she was his mother.

But. He also said the following lines:

“And that’s when I realized you were sick and it wasn’t fixable or changeable,

And to this day, we remain estranged and I hate it though.”

“‘Cause you ain’t even get to witness your grandbabies grow”

“Now the medication’s taking over and your mental state’s deteriorating slow

And I’m way too old to cry; that shit’s painful, though”

“And although one has only met their grandma once”

“I hope you get this message that I will always love you from afar”

All these to me says that he has gone no contact with her. The fact that she showed up suddenly one day and the security questioned her (in the video) while checking a clipboard before shaking their head and watching as she drove off made it clear to me that she was not allowed into his house. Yes, that is conjecture on my side, but it’s pretty obvious to me.

I heard so often that it was a heartwarming song that I wondered if I was that off-base about the song. Yes, he said that he forgave her, but that was because he had given up hope that she would change. I know how that feels because at some point, you have to lay your burden down and stop hoping that your parent will change.

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Outside the norm

So I’v ebeen prattling on and on about being a weirdo. It’s something I think about because I have never been a normie. Even before I realized that I waws outside the norm, I knew I wasn’t like everyone else. When I was a kid, that just made me miserable and lonely. And I felt as if there was something wrong with me.  It was only when I hit my…thirties that I realized how much of a freak I was.

In my early twenties, I started to see that being Asian, a woman, and bisexual, were all minorities. Put them all together, and it was one giant minority. I went to my first queer Asian women conference when I was twenty-two or twenty-three, and it was an eye-opener. I felt like I fit in for the first time, but even then, I knew I was still on the fringe. Yes, it’s possible to both fit in and be on the fringe.

Here’s the thing. We were playing the fun game of putting everyone on the femme/butch spectrum. Look. It was the nineties. It was a different time. When they got to me, the person who was doing the labeling paused for a long time and said that they could not put me on the spectrum. I was very pleased with this because that’s how I felt about myself. I wasn’t adrogynous because I embraced both the femme and the butch rather than eschew them both.

At the time, I had hair past my shoulders, big boobs, and wide hips. I look feminine even though I did not wear makeup and was not at all into fashion. On the butch side, I had a deep voice and a no-nonsense attitude. My hobbies leaned more masculine, and I hod no interest in typically feminine things. I was not a soft butch, either, that meant touches of femininity that I had no interest in.

I think it’s really difficult to talk about this because I don’t want to be dismissive of feminine hobbies and habits, but they don’t interest me at all. And I don’t think I should be penalized for that, either. Like, me saying I don’t wear a bra should not be something that women take issue with, but from the reactions I’ve seen in Ask A Manager forums, well, that’s naive of me.

I have known since my early twenties that I did not want to have kids. At all. Like, with prejudice. The idea of having them was repugnant to me, though I would not say that to anyone, obviously. Not people having children in general, but me in particular having children. It’s not a pregnancy thing, though that’s also something that I would not want to do. It’s the idea of actually having children that repulsed me. Again, for me.

When I was in my mid-to-late twenties, I had many women asking me if I was going to have children. Keep in mind that it was never a subject I brought up. Why would I? I didn’t want them, so there was no reason for me to bring it up. I thought that if I just simply said I didn’t want to have kidswhen they asked, it wouldn’t be a big deal.

I was naive and I was stupid. So many women took offense at my answer, even though as I said, I never brought up the subject. I only answered when asked, and I shouldn’t havve done that.

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Ignoring the box

So, I was talking yesterday about being outside the box in so many categories. K said that it gave me a unique perspective, which is true. But it’s also alienating. Most of the time, whatever I think/feel is outside the norm. Basic things like can people of different genders be friends? I have known so many people who say no. When I was in college, I was telling my then-boyfriend about my cool guy friends (he knew many of them). He looked at me and said, “They all want to get into your pants.”

I took it at face value back then because I assumed he knew guys betetr than I did. Looking back, I didn’t think he was right. HE wanted to get into my pants, which he eventually did, but that didn’t mean every guy felt that way.

I love dudes. I love dudes a lot. Dudes are great. I felt more drawn for guys at that time in my life because I had more in common with them. That in and of itself was not bad, but I definitely had the chill girl vibe–meaning, I’m not like the other chicks please don’t hate me.

I honestly don’t understand people who think people of different genders can’t be friends. Or, you can’t be friends with people of the gender(s) you’re attracted to. That would mean I can’t have any friends! This is also why I am leaning towards agender. Gender just dosn’t mean much to me. I was saying to K that I had the experiences of a woman because that was how I am perceived, so I felt a kinship there. But I don’t understand the sentiment, “my gender is so important to me”.

I don’t know what gender is. I’m saying this without snark, and I want to be very careful to say that this is just about me. I know gender is very important to other people, but when I think about gender for me, I just get confused. In part it’s because I have been told all my life that I’m not feminine. Not even that I wasn’tfeminine enough, but that I wasn’t feminine at all. I’ve been told things I think and do are not things women think and do. I’ve also been told that I have failed as a woman because I did not get married and have kids. Granted, the last is mostly by my mother, but still.

I do think if I were a youngin, I would just slap on the label agender and be done with it. I don’t know why I don’t do it now. I think it’s because I’m…just tired thinking about it. I was in the hospital after I died. Say it with me. Twice. Waking up, I had a new appreciation for life and for my body. I joked with K that it was partly because I was high on drugs, and man were those some good drugs, but I walked out of the hospital l-o-v-i-n-g my body.

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Death becomes me

I’ve been talking about rules and why I don’t give a shit about them. When I was a kid, I was indoctrinated as to how things should be. My father, a narcissist with no sense of norms, had a highly-idiosyncratic idea of how people should act. In general, it was mostly that he should always be the center of attention and no one should dare contradict him. I remember once when I was a teenager, we got in an argument. I don’t remember about what, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a teen and a father.

I ran to my room and slammed the door shut. Seconds later, it went flying open and my father ran in with his face livid. He shouted at me that it was his house and that I was not allowed to slam the door like that. He looked like he wanted to hit me, and I was gobsmacked. Should I have slammed the door? No. Was it THAT out of line? Also no.

My parents did not tolerate me showing any negative emotion. Only my father could be angry and only my mother could be sad. I learned to keep my face completely still without showing a whiff of emotion. I also learned to not feel any pain. I mean literally.

When I first started Taiji, well, a few years after, my teacher showed us joint manipulations (chin na techniques). She taught us how to tap out if the pain ever got to be too much. Except, I could not feel the pain so I never tapped out. At some point, she decreed that I could only practice with her because it was too dangerous for me otherwise. I wasn’t trying to be recalcitrant in that case; I literally could not feel any pain.

My teacher’s teacher taught me a trick–to stand on my tiptoes as the other person does the chin na techneique. The problem was that I was muscling up and sort of gritting my teeth through the pain. By being on my toes, I couldn’t tense up. It worked like a charm. He had me stand on my toes and then did a wrist chin na technique. I flinched immediately.

Back to my family. I was a hot mess as a kid, but I managed to mask it well. I inhaled all the messages that I was worth nothing other than what I had to offer other people, be it sexually or emotionally. I used to crudely say that I was only worth what was between my legs because that’s how I felt. I was a terrible partner because I didn’t value myself–or the other person, really. It was more about being a martyr and desperately trynig to be the perfect girlfriend. Which, come to think of it, is exactly what my mother has done for fifty-five plus years.

I look back at little me, and I just want to gather her gently in my arms. I want to shelter her from the immense pain she was going through and whisper in her ear that she’ll get htrough it to the other side. I would tell her that she would shed a lot of herself along the way, both positive and negative (but mostly negative), and that she would be stronger for the experience.

I would let her know that she couldn’t dream how peaceful it was on the other side. How she could just let her burdens go and…not care any longer. Not care about being the freak and the one that never fits in. Not having friends and being teased all the time. Being the weirdo who read all the time and didn’t watch TV. How she was perfect the way she was and did not need to care about sewing or cooking, getting married, or having children.

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Being normal

In yesterday’s post, I talked about things that unwittingly push my buttons. Or rather, wittingly, but seemingly randomly. I know what it is, though. It’s me being understanding all over the place and not getting it in return. With every subject, I am in the invisible/ignored category. With race, it’s because I’m Asian. With sexuality, it’s because I’m bi.

By the way, that’s the default term I use to define my sexuality. I chose it thirty years ago, and it’s mostly been fine for me. If I had to use a word to dsecribe all my labels, it’s ‘fine’. FINE. Everything is fine, but none of it feels good. Taiwanese American is more than fine because it’s what I am. There is little wiggle room on that. Or rather, I could just call myself American, but in this case, I do feel like the second word is needed to explain more about me.

With my sexual identity, though, I would prefer just to call myself sexual if it didn’t sound so insufferably smug. It’s like the No Labels guys when they declared that was their new group. Just, ugh. I also don’t like all the hyperspecific labels like demisexual and sapiosexual. I tend to be the latter when I’m looking for a partner, but I am also a ‘fuck ’em and go’ person. I am good at sex. I am not as good at relationships, and it’s something I don’t want to work on.

By the way, dying twice has taught me that lesson. I have flaws. We all do. I have accepted the ones I don’t want to change or am not willing to change. I am a terrible partner for many reasons (much like I would have been a terrible parent. I was very much fine with that–still am), and I do not want to put in the effort to improve because I like being alone. Me and my cat, Shadow, I mean. I like not having to answer to someone else. I like the freedom to eat cereal at three in the morning if that’s what I wanted to do.

I have seen the compromises my friends have made to be in marriages/relationships. I don’t want to make them. I think it’s because I’m so used to being the person other people want me to be in relationships that I just don’t have it in me to do that for long periods of time. It’s the same as bras. Bear with me. Apparently, a female-presenting person going without a bra is still considered unprofessional (at work) by a big portion of women. Not men, but women. Women are often the worst upholders of toxic patriarchy. There are many reasons for this and it’s not part of the post, but my point is that nope. Not doing it. Not bras and not relationships.

I like sex with men. A lot. I like sex with women. Quite a bit. Not as much, but still quite a bit. I do not like being in a romantic relationship with a man. With a woman? I’ve only had one, and that was just as problematic. This was before I realized that there weren’t only two genders, btw.

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Impossible idealist

In my idealized world, I would be able to express my opinions without getting o ton of pushback every time. To be clear, I’m not talking about truly reprehensible opinions such as “All (kind of animals) should be killed.” or “(Group of people who can’t change who they are) should not be allowed to live.”

I’m talking about opinions such as “You don’t have to have children to be a good adult person (specifically woman)” or “I don’t want to get married.” Things that don’t affect anyone other than me is basically what I mean.  Decades after I got flack for stating that I did not want kids–

I want to emphasize once again that I never brought it up on my own bceause it simply didn’t enter my mind. As I’ve said, it’s the same as if I would mention that I didn’t play the harp–which would be weird. We normally don’t bring up things we aren’t or don’t have unless it’s to complain about not having it.

I get that having kids is in a category of its own. I’m not trying to diminish it by comparing it to playing or having a harp. My point is that I think about not having kids about as often as I think about not playing the harp–which is never.

Honestly, the only time I think about not having children is when I write posts about it. I was relieved when I realized that I didn’t have to have children, and it’s still the best decision I ever made in my life.

I am an indecisive person. I can regret what I choose to have for breakfast. The only time I had even an inkling of doubt about my decision not to have kids was when my mother was badgering me for the millionth time about it, and I thought for a brief second, “I should have a kid so she’ll shut the fuck up about it!” I was filled with such rage, but I managed to swallow it as I always did, plus I realized that having a kid to shut my mother up was a terrible idea.

I teeter between the idea of having one umbrella channel and different subjects for different days as I mentioned in the last post, and having separate channels. I know what the righ thing to do is–the latter. I talked about how it’s good to have a niche and flog it mercilessly. Right now, my mind is pretty occupied with my father lost in dementia.

There was a question into Slate…Dear Prudence I want to say from a man who  had been taking care of his parents for decades. First his father until he died and now his mother. Sounds like Huntington’s (that came from the comments). He works full-time and claims to do over half the chores at home (which I doubt beacuse he included washing the floors which is not a daily or even weekly task–they don’t have children). He would go to his mother’s house every day after work and do what needed to be done for hours. His wife used to help out, but she and his mother would scream at each other. He told his wife to take a break, but now he wants her to get back to it. He said in the last three times she tried to help out, she and his mother ended up screaming at each other.

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To the contrary

I’ve been called a contrarian. I am. But not for the reasons you would think. My mother once said to me in exasperation that just because something was traditional, it didn’t mean it was bad. I retorted by saying that just because something was traditional, it didn’t mean it was good, either. She didn’t like that much, but it explains our different world views in a nutshell.

She is old-fashioned and adheres to rigid stereotypes–except when she doesn’t. For exmaple, she thisk her worth is as a wife and a mother, but she has worked outside the home all her life. She hadn’t wanted to, supposedly, but my father insisted. He’s very concerned about money as he was dirt poor growing up, so he wanted as much money coming into the house as possible.

So, I was supposed to want to get married and have children, but I was also supposed to want to have a career in order to be a productive member of society. I was also supposed to go to church and probably teach Sunday School or some shit like that. I’m supposed to wear makeup, be a size 6, and all that other bullshit.

This is why I reject womanhood. I have been told all my life that I am not a woman. and I just don’t care any longer. My Taiji teacher asked if I wanted to be called they/them, but I don’t want that, either. I’ve long since gotten over my ‘they is singular’ hang-up, but it just don’t feel right for me. Same with neopronouns . I have not found one that feels right.

I’m not trying to be difficult. I promise I’m not. It’s just…none of the pronouns work for me. So I might as well stick to ‘she’. It’s the one I’ve used all my life, and, yeah, I don’t love it–but I don’t hate it, either. It’s…fine. Which is how I feel about a lot of things. It’s…fine. It’s not great, but it’s not something I want to put much effort into.

Here’s the thing about gender. I just don’t fucking care about mine. Or rather, I care much less than many people. I am not a dude. I know that much. Other than that, though, it’s wide open. And, I’m going to be frank. After dying twice and coming back twice, I just don’t care enough to figure it out. I’m at the point where ‘yeah, good enough’ is…well, good enough.

I have problems with the whole pushing of pronouns because I want to support people and whatever their pronouns are, but I don’t have them myself. As I said, I’ll accept ‘she/her’ if someone else uses them for me, but I don’t want to use them for myself. It’s hard, though, because it’s what I’ve used all my life, so I still slip from time to time.

It just doesn’t feel right, though. But on the other hand, I do feel a kinship with women because it’s what I’ve identified with for most of my life–and it’s what I’ve been treated as (albeit a defective one) for all my life.

I don’t have a problem with bonding over being women. It’s a tough road, especially now with the all-out assault on reproductive choices. It infuriates me that my niece has less control over her body in 2023 (though we’re pretty lucky in MN) than I did when I was her age.

Fuck that noise. Fuck the repressive religious regime that wants to take us back to the last millennium. By the way, this is NOT one of the reasons I don’t consider myself a woman. I have the plumbing to get pregnant, so it doesn’t really matter what gender I am in that case.

I just don’t understand why my gender matters to anyone but me. Just as I didn’t understand why back in the day me deciding not to have kids was anyone’s business but mine. Just as I don’t understand why me being bi, ENM, or areligious is anyone’s business, either. More to the point, why would anyone care? It has nothing to do with them.

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I’m such a freak

I’m a freak. I know that. I’ve known it since I was in my twenties. I just didn’t realize to what extent until, well, now. And I’m still realizing it. I wish I had known the extent when I was younger because then maybe i wouldn’t have wasted so many years feeling like there was something wrong with me. And being deeply depressed about it.

One thing I’m still coming to terms with or realizing is…well, it’s more of a question. How much of my weirdness is an actual disability. I’m some flavor of neurodivergent, but I have never been tested because I can mask it well enough for government work. This actually took me until I was in my thirties to fully grasp that people do not think the way I do. Not just in opinions, but in the actual way of thinking.

I have a very high EQ, which is how I can make myself look like a normal person. Something I have difficulties with, though, is very dry humor. Since I use facial and body cues to read someone, it’s hard when they mask that–or make a joke in writing that is very sardonic. My brother does this all the time, which makes it difficult for me. I can usually know when he’s making a joke, though, because I know him well.

Back when I was younger, I was numb all the time. I had to suppress my emotions to the point where I no longer felt them. There was a time when someone could tell me the best news in the world, and I would feel nothing inside. Same with the worst news in the world. “I’m getting married!” Nothing. “My mother died.” Nothing. “I got a promotion at work!” Nothing.

Part of that was because you can’t always tell good news from bad. “I’m pregnant!” is usually good news, but not always. Not if the baby is not wanted or an unpleasant surprise. Or, god forbid, the result of forced sex. “I’m getting divorced!” looks negative on the surface, but for some people, it’s the best thing to happen to them.

Back when I was completely divorced from my emotions, I would have to follow a very elaborate system so I could display the proper emotions. So. Let’s say someone told me they were pregnant. My first step would be to scrutinize their face to see if there were any signs whether they were happy or not about it. If I got the news by text/email, I would pore over the rest of the email/text for clues. Exclamation points? That meant something. Exuberant words? Good. That helped as well. Then I could match their emotions with simulated emotions of my own.

This took less than ten seconds on the average, and I was able to make it seem as if my reactions were natural. With practice, I got it down to two or three seconds. It appeared like an organic reaction, but it wasn’t. With the help of Taiji, I’ve been able to inhabit my body and feel comfortable in it. Dying twice has cemented my love for my body.

I’m still shaky on emotions, but I’m able to feel them more than I ever have. I still go through the process I mentioned above, but it’s at lighnting speed now, rather than several seconds. It’s as if I have a Rolodex (I’m old) of emotions in my head that i rapidly flip through until I find the right one.  So it’s still not organic, but I’m not bothered by it.

It’s interesting. Even knowing that I’m different, a freak, and a weirdo, it’s astounding how far out of the norm I am. And, this is something I have a hard time discussing, that I might actually have disabilities. Believe me. It’s not something my family would have accepted. My father cannot handle the idea of women who actually work outside the home (even though he saw plenty of them when he was the VP of TIER, the Taiwanese Institute for Economic Research) let alone whatever the fuck I am.

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My little bubble

I am a weirdo and I’m fine with it. Hell, I embrass it. My friends are on the fringe as well, though they can interact with normies on a more consistent basis than I can. But in general, I relate best to creative poeople. People who are on the left (waaaaaay left), who want to seize the means of production. Er, I mean, fuck capitalism! I don’t mean that seriously, obviously. I live in America. I am a capitalist by default. I can’t walk five feet without tripping over capitlism. I just went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of capitalsim. So, yeah, when I saw fuck capitalism, it’s mostly symbolic.

I do try to limit my intake and reuse rather than continuously buy, but it’s not easy in such a wasteful country. I do think that unlimited socialism has its problems as well. As does any other system. That’s why I would like a socialist-capitalist system that covers the basics for everyone, but also allows room for innovation and personal growth.

I also like people who look at issues from different angles and go deeper than the surface. It’s not easy to find, though, and I have to remind myself that many people aren’t able to think on several different levels at the same time.

I’ve mentioned before that I read several advice columns at Slate. The advice columnists vary in degrees of helpfulness and insightfulness, but the one tihng I have to remind myself to do is not read the comment section because they are awful. Not everyone, but many of them. They are really terrible at any ‘ist’ issue, making excuses for the offenders. Except sexism. Sometimes, they will catch that and call it out. But racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other isms? Nope. Those don’t exist in America!

Another thing is that so many people in the comments think they are hipster comedians.”Ooooooh I’m being so edgy by making a racist joke.” No. No you’re not. You’re just being a dick. You got to say the racist/homophobic/sexst thing without consequence. There’s a commenter on the site who does this with every letter, and it gets old really fucking fast.

I’ll just point out that Ask A Manager’s commentariat is roughly 97% female. I don’t have a stat for Slate, but there are significantly more men. And, I’m going to bring up my theory of dudes. The more dudes you add to a group, the grosser it gets because of toxic masculinity. (There are issues with all-female groups, too, but that’s a different topic and not the one at hand.)

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