Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: working out

I am Kung-fu Fighting

I was writing yesterday about progress, not perfection. Specifically when it comes to working out. The American idea is to push harder, do it faster, and pay for it afterwards. Americans are weirdly proud of breaking themselves for some nebulous outcome. We see it in the jobs area, too. We’ve actually had to introduce the phrase ‘work-life balance’ because too many people were worknig too hard. We have the laughably-named ‘right to work’ ethos, too. Meaning that you can be fired for any reason as long as it’s not discriminatory in a very limited way in all states but one. Montana. That’s it. That’s the only state that can’t fire you at will.

It’s annoying as fuck when Europeans/British people on Ask A Manager bring up how much better employment is over there. We know! Believe me, wo know! Yes, it sucks that our healthcare is tied to our employment. Yes, it sucks that you can be fired for any reason that isn’t discriminatory (in the legal sense) without a warning–unless you have a union!–and yes, people are expected to work insane hours in many fields with little reward.

Many people are livinng paycheck to paycheck and are drowning in debt. And yet, they still think America is the best country ever. There are many good things about America. I can say that now, though I never would have said it twenty years ago.

I remember 9-11. I was in the Bay area at the time. In the months after, we had an outpouring of love and support from the world. Which we promptly squandered with jingoism, going on the attack, and, well, returning the terrorism. In America, I felt as if i couldn’t point out that it made sense that Middle Easterners would be upset with us. I did not want to put out am American flag, but I didn’t feel comfortable saying that, either.

I have never understood ‘My team is better than yours’ in any of its forms. Or rather, I understand it, but I can’t get on board with it. It’s becasue I see people as individuals. In addition, I don’t see anything as completely good or completely bad. That’s why my mother and I have this eternal argument going on. She gets frustrated with me when I point out the negatives in whatever tradition she’s bringing up. She said in exasperation, “Something isn’t bad just because it’s a traidition!” I retorted, “It doesn’t mean it’s good, either.”

That’s a strength of mine–and a flaw. I look at everything on its own (but, yes, placing it in context as well). And I question everything. I am the ‘well, actually’ person, even though I try to keep it to a bare minimum. don’t bust it out all the time, but I’m sure I annoy people when I don’t mean to. I just can’t help what I see.

That took me a long time to realize. I see things that other people don’t. That’s part of empathy, too. I feel things other people don’t feel. I had to learn to mask that when it wasn’t welcome–which was 90% of the time.

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Exercise tropes I disagree with

For years, I would hear people say that running is so great beacuse you get that runner’s high. I hate running, so I dismissed it out of hand. I’m not saying they’re lying ,but that it just never did it for me. Running was the absolute worst, and I only did it when I was forced to (such as in school).

Then, there was all the fluff about how walknig is great because anyone can do it! We all (most of us, bodies willing) do it every day so how hard can it be? Just walk for thirty minutes a day! Which, ok, not terrible advice in itself, but I hated walking as well. I did it as my only form of exercise when I was in the Bay Area for a year to attend grad school, and I walked four miles a day. I hated every step. I did not get any kind of joy in doing it, and it was grim.

It wasn’t even a neutral feeling. I just hated it lots. Once I started Taiji, though, it was–well, I hated that, too. The only exercise I didn’t hate was dancing, so I was happy to put on music and dance around my living room. With Taiji, though, I decided to stick with my second teacher because…I’m not even sure why.

It wasn’t until she pressed a wooden sword in my hand that I felt the click people talk about when it comes to exercise. Here’s the thing. I was deeply depressed for most of my life. I found nothing positive about anything, and if I wasn’t feeling crushed by life, I was numb.

I felt nothing. So maybe it was asking too much from the exercise to give me a boost. But everyone said I would get that boost from exercising. And I kept feeling like I was a failure because I kept resenting the exercise. Hm.

The thing that most people weren’t saying, maybe because it seemed obvious to them, was that you had to find a form of exercise that you enjoyed in order to get that euphoria.

Side note: In the weekend Ask A Manager thread, there’s a question about how to make small talk. The original poster (OP) asked how people got beyond the weather, but still kept it in the small talk realm. First of all, if you live in Minnesota, you never need to move past the talk about weather. But, the questions people brought up were interesting. Food, for example, is not something I want to talk about because I have so many dietary restrictions. It’s boring to talk about what I can eat. Though I will say that my current obsession with Indian food will work in a pinch.

But I don’t want to talk about my favorite food because what I like to eat and what I can eat is very different. If I didn’t have restrictions, I would be eating way more dumplings and mac ‘n cheese than I currently do.

Another is asking if people are from the area. Which, as an Asian American, is very touchy. Talk about your initial microaggression! When I was in college I got asked all the time where I was from. That was inevitably followed up with, “No, where are you really from?”

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