Underneath my yellow skin

Taiji is the answer no matter the question

I have had a bad week. I fell twice; both times were completely my fault. The first time, I was walking from the couch to the kitchen with my NYT crossword puzzle soup mug with ginger honey lemon tea in it (cold) in hand. I stumbled over something and sent the mug flying. It’s thick, thankfully, so it didn’t break, but it sprayed tea everywhere. It was only about a quarter full, so at least there’s that. I crushed Shadow’s box (he wasn’t in it!), and I scuffed up my left knee. I also slightly pulled my right pec, but I was happy that it was that minimal. Back in the day, I would have pulled something or twisted something or just ached everywhere.

Then, the next day, I was lugging a box of cat litter into the garage. Or rather, pushing it because the box was falling apart. What I should have done was open the box and brought win each of  the two cartons individually. They’re not light. But, no. I didn’t do that. That’s one of my problems–I don’t do the thing I know I should do.

Funny side note: One time, I was telling Ian that my mother had complained to me about the way I put paper bags away. I mash them up and shove them in the cupboard. She told me I should fold them neatly and stack them. I said to Ian that I knew she was right, but I wasn’t going to do it. He was gobsmacked. He said, “Wait. You admit that she is right, but you are going to continue doing it your way, anyway?”

“Yup,” I said cheerfully. I knew myself, and I knew I couldn’t be bothered to do it the right way. I have changed that habit now, though. I fold the bags neatly at least 2/3rds of the time.

Anyway. I was pushing the box of two cat litter cartons when I felt myself pitch forward. I put my hands out to brace myself, but I also relaxed. That’s the thing that Taiji has instilled in me–the instinct to relax when I’m about to smash myself up. It doesn’t stop me from being clumsy, but it has helped me tremendously not to fuck myself up.

The biggest example of this was when I got into a minor car accident several years ago. I was going thirty-five on a local road (30 mph was the speed limit, but nobody goes that speed). There is a place when you can veer off to the freeway to the right (on my side, left on the other) and then a bit further, you canturn left to go on the freeway the other way (right on the other side, naturally).

This is not a well-designed “intersection” because it’s marked minimally. If you live in the area, you know how it is, but if you don’t, it’s a mess. Plus, the road itself is winding in a way that is difficult to explain, so I normally give directions to the next exit–which is more straightforward. Anyway, os I was going forward on my side, I noticed that the car on the other side of the road (an SUV, I think), was suddenly veering to the left at a high speed. They clearly needed to get on the highway and overshot the exit. I thought to myself, “I’m going to get hit” and my body instantly relaxed. A few seconds later, I was hit. The entire front of my car was stoved in, and my airbag deployed.


The young woman who hit me looked Indian (from India), so I felt instantly protective. Plus, she was freaking out about how her father was going to kill her, and I could relate to that as well. Her boyfriend was hovering over her and looking worried. She said that he wasn’t supposed to be there and repeated that her father was going to kill her. He had to go to work that night and that was his car, apparently.

I soothed her as best I could, saying he wasn’t going to literally kill her. He probably wouldn’t be happy, but he could get an Uber or Lyft to get to work. I understood her panic, and I did not want to contribute to it. She called someone to fetch her boyfriend, but before he left, he came over to anxiously find out if I was OK. He seemed like a nice young man, and I did not want him to get into trouble.

When it was just the young woman and me, I comforted her the best I could. It occurred to me that it was funny that she was the one who hit me and I was the one who was placating her, but she was the one who was losing her mind. Here’s the thing about me. I’m really good in a crisis. Maybe it’s because I prepare for the worst case scenario all the time, but when it actually happens, I become very calm. I’m in my element, and I can deal with whatever is happening.

Because of Taiji, I was able to relax. The only physical complication I had from the car crash was a massive bruise on my stomach, probably from the seat belt. Other than that, I was fine.

Here’s the thing about Taiji. It doesn’t stop things from happening, but it has changed how I deal  with them in response. I’m still as clumsy as ever, as seen by me falling twice in as many days. But in the old days, I would have not been able to move or, as I said, I would have sprained something. This time, I just have some bumps and bruises that hurt, yes, but will be gone before I know it. My right pec is a bit sore and my back is tweaked, but that’ll go away in a week or so.

Yesterday, I got my fourth vax shot. And I’m wiped out. I had to skip class today because of it, but I would have been fine if I hadn’t gotten it–even with all my various bruises. Taiji helps a great deal in many situations, but not in every one.

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