Podcasts: Use Sparingly

Podcasts: Use Sparingly

The thing about reading is that it helps your brain understand itself, which in turn, allows you to understand yourself. When you read (and I do not have scientific backing or proof, only personal observation, introspection, education, contemplation and experiences), you are not only reading the words off the page so that you do not have to listen to someone else speak them, but rather, when you read, you are teaching your brain how to think, and when I say “read,” I am nearly always speaking about nonfiction books and/or thick literature. Yes, general fiction is absolutely important and included, and I have found that general fiction can challenge the way I think, but usually it doesn’t, like the way movies are capable of challenging you intellectually, but usually, they don’t. And so, I do not rely on general fiction nor to I reach for general fiction to educate me. If a general fiction novel does educate me, then I’m all the better for it, obviously; I merely do not turn to it to educate me, like I do nonfiction and literature.

The thing about reading is that it challenges your brain to either defend itself, accept itself or change itself. A good nonfiction book embeds itself deep into your brain, gives your brain a lot to think about, and then, after your brain has come to a conclusion, after testing it against everything else you knew about the subject before, it reveals to you what you think. When you hear someone speaking to you, you are confined by the whims and speed of the person speaking, and you can read much faster than you can listen to someone reading to you. You can also see and hear reading. When hearing, you typically do not see words in your mind, so, you’re not deepening your ability to write (i.e. the expression of your mind in words), and if you’re illiterate, you definitely do not see words flashing across your mind; you see images and are incapable of writing.

And so, this is my case against relying on listening. Of course, indulge yourself from time to time, and absolutely partake regularly so that your brain is intellectually well-rounded, but don’t consume only through your ears (and yes, I mean video, too, because when you watch someone else speak, you are not reading the words coming out of their mouths, and it’s the thing about reading that makes this so important, and yes, the blind can read with their minds’ eye). When you read you consume through both your ears and both your eyes. And the thing about reading is that it goes directly into your head at the speed your brain enjoys most. You can see the words for yourself, with your own two eyes, hear the words in your head through means nobody can explain, and your brain can decipher the words of other people at the speed at which it is most comfortable. This powerful combination is the power of literacy, and in a country where nearly everyone except the severely underprivileged is taught how to read and has access to every single book ever published for FREE, I am appalled at how so few people are avid readers. It’s shameful. When you think about how oppressive illiteracy is, how it fuels inequality, Americans should care more about their privileged position of literacy by reading all the books they can get their hands on. Instead, nobody reads.

But, your life is your own; what do I care? In the end, you can keep on listening to all that consumable “information” but all you will ever learn about is the opinion of the person speaking. Why would you want to spend all that time learning about another person when you could be spending that time educating and learning about yourself. When you read a book, you are presented with information, and your brain comes to a conclusion, thereby creating your own opinion, which now makes you an educated contributor to the conversation. Regurgitating the opinions of others makes you a mere puppet, parrot, tool.

So, I suppose what I’m saying is that you should just keep listening. I’ll go ahead and keep reading so that I can be part of the conversation with my own conclusions, theories and opinions to share, while you sit back and listen all while knowing nothing about anything except the opinions of others. I prefer it this way, actually.

Sex Day

Sex Day

To you Lady Lovers out there (and gents, I suppose, since, god-forbid, someone’s left out), who may be feeling at odds or some other unnameable thing at this point about your sex life, you need to establish Sex Day within your daily life and routine. What is Sex Day, you ask? Well, it’s the day that you schedule to have sex with your partner.

I don’t know about you, but my man has the libido of a man needing to populate a small colony, all by himself. Luckily for me, I used to have a similar libido, which made us quite the horny pair. As I’ve grown older, my horny-ness has subsided (what?, with being a female who menstruates every fucking month, which essentially means that my menstrual cycle overshadows three weeks of every single month—week one: PostMS recovering from period week; week two: the best week of life, life is #sogood; week three: PMSing for the upcoming volcanic eruption; week four: Purgatory—it’s a bit much to ask for sex all the time.)

Thus, my partner and I have recently established Sex Day, and it’s been working really well. As unromantic as it may sound, it really is quite freeing, which allows for an air of romance. Obviously, I’m not suggesting that you follow in our lead, of course, I would never do that. And so, the most important aspect of this whole process is that you complete Step 1. Step 1 forces us to do the one thing that, as an American society, we are not allowed to do: Speak openly about our sex lives. This leaves us all to our own devices, and perhaps, some of us think that we’re crazy or worse, deviant. Rest assured, you are not deviant. Whatever sexual proclivities you may possess, the internet has revealed that you are not alone. So, don’t feel alone. Perhaps you’re only able to see this representation through pornography, and that’s a shame. But don’t let that make you feel … morally wrong in some way. Unless, of course, you’re some sort of serial killer that gets off on murdering people, well, then, yes, perhaps you’re deviant and unhelpful to society.

Deep breath. Here we go then, a few easy steps to get Sex Day onto your calendar, today!

Preface: If you are not orgasming regularly, this issue needs to be resolved first and foremost. Talk to a doctor who actually cares that you’re not orgasming. Also talk to your partner. There’s no faking it until you make it, in this case. So, speak up! Get that Screaming-O!

 

Step 1: Talk with your partner about your sexual wants and needs.

If you find that your partner wants sex twice a day, and you’re fine catching dick once a month, well you’ve got a lot of compromising to do. If you find that you and your partner fuck every single day, but then realize that you’d rather also fuck other people, well then that’s great too. The point is that you need to TALK about it, whatever IT is.

 

Step 2: Compromise but be satisfied.

You need to be really honest about your needs, but you also need to be realistic. If your partner works from 6 AM-10 PM every day, and you have two kids under the age of three, and one of you is the president of the PTA or whatever (sorry, I don’t know what adults with children do), then it’s probably not very realistic to schedule Sex Day as being every other day. BUT, if, like me and my partner, one of us needs to get laid twice a day and the other needs twice a week, then Sex Day is every other day, which realistically turns out to be about 2-3 times a week (excluding that fucking time of the month). This, of course, does not mean that we have sex every other day, but because it’s on the “calendar” that means it must be addressed, ahead of time, if there are going to be changes. Maybe the changes mean that someone gets oral. And for you men out there, if you want to get laid more, you’ve gotta get your partner, who are we kidding, I don’t think that homosexual men have problems getting laid, so you straight-assed men out there, you gotta get your woman horny and aching for you, which probably means you’re gonna have to use that good old fashioned saliva-based lube and get to work.

 

Step 3: Converse regularly

I’ll tell you, I’ve been fortunate enough to find someone who satisfies me greatly, and so, I can also tell you ladies, that you’ve gotta speak up. You have to tell your man what you want. I hear that ladies are quite good at getting their ladies off, so that’s why I haven’t mentioned you. And men, you’ve gotta listen. I’m on a Sex Day schedule that has both me and my partner compromising, but it is geared a bit more toward my partner because he’s expressed his needs clearly and rationally. Therefore, our initial Sex Day schedule is tailored toward his needs, and if it ever does not work for me, I can say so, and we’ll change it up. But for now, I will say this, running on a man’s libido has actually made me feel great. I honestly thought that I would get burnt out by this heavy sex load, but it’s starting to become routine, which means that I’m now also starting to really want Sex Day too.

Once you and your partner have set a Sex Day (or two or a thousand), try your best to stick to it. And remember, it doesn’t matter if your Sex Day schedule is twice a day or twice a year. We’re all getting laid! What matters is that we’re all getting sexually satisfied. And absolutely don’t forget, if you have time to waste wondering whether or not you’re getting laid enough, LIFE IS PRETTY FUCKING GOOD.

Migraines & Me: A lifetime of learning and now, some reprieve

Migraines & Me: A lifetime of learning and now, some reprieve

As a long-time (and I mean this relatively speaking as I have suffered various types of headaches and migraines over the course of my entire life’s memory), chronic sufferer of headaches and migraines, I have had a lifetime of trial and error when it comes to attempting to either rid or avoid a headache and/or migraine. The first head-splitting headache I vividly remember (and there are many remembered headaches) was sometime in the first or second grade when my family attended Korean Heritage Camp (a long weekend filled with activities that introduce adopted Korean children to Korean culture and tradition). Prone to nosebleeds, I got a pretty gnarly nosebleed over the course of the long weekend. Immediately after the nosebleed (which lasted an inordinately long time as I also remember my parents not being sure what to do after I my nose kept bleeding after thirty minutes), I became ill with a nasty headache. The rest of the weekend was basically ruined. This was probably not my first headache, as my mother has always seemed keenly aware of any situation that may give me a headache (even to this day), but it is my first memorable headache. Another nasty migraine happened (again) over the course of a long weekend. My partner and I took a little trip to a small beach town, and by the time we rolled back to our hotel after an afternoon about town, I came down with a migraine that knocked me out through the entirety of the only full day we had. Luckily, I eased out of it by the time the final morning rolled around and we had a nice day and afternoon, but I basically ruined another trip, another weekend, another event. I do not know exactly how many situations my headaches and migraines have ruined for other people, but to the people in my life who have felt short-changed, I promise you, I’ve never once used a headache or migraine as an excuse to get out of anything. I would never inflict so much bad mojo onto myself.

As far as the techniques I’ve tried, not a single one has worked to quell or dispel a migraine, that is, until recently. At the lively age of somewhere in my early thirties, I have finally come to the conclusion that I have done everything completely wrong.

In the past, I’ve always opted for soothing sounds, dark rooms, sleep. My typical migraine strategy included (but was/is not limited to): putting some sort of dense carb into my stomach so that I could down two generic Excedrin with as much water as I could tolerate, and then off to bed I’d go until the generic Excedrin kicked in or didn’t. This strategy never helped to quell the discomfort, and so I kept on living in misery, hoping that this time, it’ll work. It never did. Not once.

Then, I learned that migraines often times come with some sort of aura (a sort of signal or warning sign that a migraine is coming on), and so, as soon as I realized that I had a migraine, I attempted to remember if anything felt strange or if any sense felt disturbed. After nearly a year of paying attention, I’ve found that my aura is a combination of sensitivity to sound and screens. I’ve always been sensitive to light while in the throws of a migraine, but (after my intentional determination to find out what my aura was [if I had one]), I became aware of the specific misery that the light from screens (my phone, computer, television) exasperated the problem in the form of nausea. Daylight and lamp light disrupts me in a way that creates a sharper head pain during a migraine. Screen light specifically made me nauseous, and after an hour or so of feeling sick to my stomach, I inevitably get beaten down with a migraine. This was the first big clue.

The second big clue was when my migraine cleared. I continued to notice that my ears always popped shortly before feeling that sweet sweet relief of the pain dissipating. That made me pay attention to my hearing just before coming down with a migraine. What I noticed was that my ears sort of ached like my ear drums were being stretched. And then I noticed that I would hear a bit of static off and on for a while before a full-blown migraine rose up.

With this new found knowledge and familiarity with my aura theories, I made a few attempts to preemptively strike against my migraines.* My first attempts went well. As soon as I felt as though my aura had appeared (either through static in the ears or nauseated sensitivity to screens), I would go through the routine: down a carb, two generic Excedrin, and as much water as I could tolerate. Then I would go to bed and try to sleep. This worked pretty well, but taking a nap in the middle of the day is not very convenient. Nevertheless, I stuck to the strategy, and it worked most of the time.

And then, I had an epiphany, What if I force myself to stretch? I stretch regularly because it’s just something I do and have always done. But now, I had to stretch for the good of my neck. One of the causes of my migraines is my neck injury. While working as an alterationist, my boss accidentally dropped a steel bar onto my head. It’s a long story that did not end well for my career at his store, but I am generally quite well. All-in-all, my neck needs to stay loose or I will get a headache. Thus, I realized that instead of going to bed and lying completely still, I thought that I’d force myself to stretch.

The first time I tried my new strategy, it worked really well. It worked so well, I couldn’t even believe it. So, now, as soon as I sense all of the signals of my aura, I immediately go through the same routine as before except now, instead of going to bed, I specifically get moving, despite how I feel. If a migraine arises, there’s not much I can do but pass out in bed, BUT, if I feel well enough to walk around, I get up and stretch on my yoga mat, go for a walk, and generally try to stay active while actively avoiding screens. I’ll throw on some tinted shades as well. I’ve also realized that screens, in general, really bother me and so, use the night light at all times, on the darkest setting, and now, I’m going so far as to get a pair of rose-tinted glasses, specifically for screen-time, as screen-time cannot be avoided in my line of work at this point in time.

Honestly, I am not even sure why I am so compelled to write about my migraines and newly-found strategy that actually works as I am sitting here now after deploying this strategy this morning after realizing that checking in on my friends on insta this morning was making me nauseous. Yay! I know that there are many people who suffer from migraines, and so, I am sharing my successful strategy with hopes that perhaps someone out there will find it helpful. I know that all migraines are unique, and so, you will probably have to come up with your own solution, and so, I suppose my real point is that you need to figure out what works for you, and if you still have not found a solution, keep trying. I’ve been suffering my entire life, and it took years to learn about my own body. In the meantime, I hope my strategy is a winning strategy for all of my future migraines, but I am realistic. There’s a chance that a simple change in water will affect my headache frequency, but for now, I am hopeful and ecstatic that my newest strategy is the first strategy to work successfully.

Until next time.


 

*I’m realizing now that I have not given you a sense of how many migraines I fight off at any given time. On average, I suffer one and a half migraines per month. They are, presumably (by both myself and my physician), related to my menstrual cycle. Every once in a while, maybe one or twice a year, I will suffer a stress-related migraine, and about once or twice a year, I will suffer a physical-tightness-related migraine due to issues that are beyond the scope of this here piece.

Conan The Clown (slash American Cultural Ambassador)

Conan The Clown (slash American Cultural Ambassador)

Recently, my mind has revealed a little tidbit of itself to me with regards to the “late-night comedian” Conan (Conan O’Brien). Conan O’Brien is not a late-night comedian. I mean, obviously, he is a “late-night comedian” in the sense that he jumps into our devices every day, late at night, in hopes of humoring us. However, this label of “comedian” does serve his purposes.

Since Conan identifies as a comedian, he can gain access to places and ideas without the typical strings that are typically attached to say, politicians or lawyers or even … journalists. Nevertheless, the essence of Conan is not comedy. The essence of Conan is education. It is by Conan’s intellect that he moves through the world, grapples with and deciphers the problems of this world. Comedy is his vehicle, and through humor, he can bring even the most complex things back down to Earth, creating Bathos. Conan’s genius is his ability to do this. Unfortunately, the masses do not care to learn, and so, even if those lessons are directed at you subliminally, your mind will reject this (and I have no proof of this, and I am too lazy to find a source to back up my claim; you were warned, which is why this is all theory, conjecture, especially since I do not know Conan O’Brien personally). This is the foundation upon which my theory about why Conan lacks mass appeal is built.

To me, Conan O’Brien lacks a bit of proliferation; I do not see him “everywhere.” I also know that he’s never one of the big three late-night comics. And I used to understand why: He’s a clown. But then, desperate for any entertainment when Colbert is away (I am capable of appreciating more than one person at a time), I started watching Conan’s “Conan Without Borders” segments while living in Seoul, South Korea. I couldn’t believe that Conan was even viewed in Seoul, much less adored. It was a weird awakening. So, inspired by the popular, I began watching Conan. Honestly, I don’t really care for his show, but I am absolutely obsessed with all of his “Borders” segments. I’ve seen them all, and I love every one of them. And I know I love them because of Conan.

While “Without Borders”, Conan can be the ridiculous American that the rest of the world may enjoy because he lives up to an American stereotype, The Clown. And Conan’s smart. He’s an actual intellectual. You do not end up with the types of credentials that he has and remain stupid. The difference is that Conan is not an elitist intellectual. He doesn’t sit upon his high horse (like say, Bill Maher, and I appreciate him so much, too!) and look down on all the uneducated (by systemic inequality or sheer laziness) people and call them stupid. He also doesn’t want to be surrounded by only those who are equally as intelligent as he is. He wants to be around people. And I cannot even qualify or “define” what type of person because Conan sees people as people. He does not treat a woman like a woman, a dude like a dude, an Asian like an Asian, etc., etc., &c. He treats everyone he encounters like a person. And that’s saying something, especially for someone who could so easily sell out for any number of reasons.

Conan is good with people in person. I find his pieces to be most consumable when watching him interact with other people. Hence my indifference to his late-night show. I basically watch everything of Conan’s on YouTube, except his late-night riffs, because he is so good at interacting with every type of person, he is hilarious to watch. He has no shame. He’s willingly going out there and representing the idiocy of Americanness to the rest of the world. He’s our global Bathos Ambassador.

People want and will easily think the worst of you, no matter what. The global community, the peoples of all the different, varied, cultures of the world do not have a positive, glowing, sunshine-and-rainbows perspective, perception or opinion of These United States. Of course, many people do want to come here to experience the ginormity of American life, but generally speaking, the American people are not looked upon with the same light that Americans use on themselves. And clearly, Conan knows this.

Not only does he know this, he is capitalizing on it. He is playing the role that the global community wants to see, wants to be proven right about, wants to interact with, and Conan plays that role unlike anyone else because nobody else is doing it. With all of Conan’s big intellect, he didn’t decide to point the cameras at his big intellect. Instead, he said (and I “quote,” but not to quote him but rather, to write a bit of fake dialogue), “I’m sick of all these intellectuals talking down to the less educated and calling them stupid. All you have to do is educate them.” And even if Conan has a smaller base of fandom here in These United States than I would like, it’s comforting to know that the global community has embraced him, enjoys his perspective, and feels as though they’ve won a small victory against the USA by being right about us Americans: We are clowns. Our day-to-day problems are so miniscule that we have problems and arguments about basic necessities (say, what type of person gets to use the millions of free toilets available to the general public) that other nations do not even have at all.

We’re all clowns. And so, if Conan has taught us anything through all his years entertaining us, it is that American comedians are not the only clowns. We have one sitting in the White House, and we are all clowns ourselves. To be American is to be a clown. Our problems are of such little consequence because we brought all of these problems on ourselves. We could literally fix all our problems tomorrow, with a few swipes of a pen. Yea, we then have to get to work and get it done, and so, again, Conan proves a point. It’s not only about realizing that you’re a clown and that you’re part of the problem; it’s also about how problems don’t fix themselves. So, if, as a nation, we are going to allow people to in our society to exist who are uneducated and lazy, then it’s our responsibility to change that, to create the world in which we want to live. If we do not want people to be uneducated, then we must educate them. If we do not want people to be lazy, then we need to build and create things and spaces for them to do and create things.

And so, I want to thank you, Conan, for getting out there and being the face of America. Conan may have a reputation of being ridiculous, but he does not hold a reputation of being stupid. So, whatever Conan does accomplish while the cameras are turned off is his real work, his learning. Nevertheless, he remains dutiful to his responsibility to also educate the masses, and for this effort, I appreciate everything that he does. Thanks, Conan! You make me laugh, but more importantly, you make me think. Thank you.

The Uproarious Haircut (plus color & tip)

The Uproarious Haircut (plus color & tip)

And yes, we should care but not really.

AOC famously paid for a $260 haircut, sorry and color plus tip (and do not quote anything I’ve said here as I’ve not done any research beyond the musings of, say, an article [and/or video] or two [or more but not fewer]). And people are in an uproar at the cost, and honestly, they fucking should be. We should all be fucking pissed that a Congressperson, who is paid a decent salary, does whatever the fuck she wants with her paycheck. Obviously, I’m kidding. I honestly do fucking care that she spent so much money on a haircut (plus color plus tip), though. I’m not pissed cause, obviously, without her job, she has no money, and the reason why AOC has no money is not because of her student loans, as she formerly proclaimed; it is because she spends it all. So, instead of being pissed, I understand and thereby know her a little better, and knowledge is, as we know, power.

Unfortunately, the thing that I know about her now is that she’s bad with money. But so is everyone. So why are we all so surprised when one of us is bad with money? It may seem like a trite and frivolous thing, spending $260 on a haircut (and color plus tip), but all of you do it all the time, just not with haircuts. You buy overpriced coffee, overpriced technology, overpriced everything, all for what: A bit of status? The AOC issue is disappointing because she was supposed to be different. She was supposed to know better. Better than what? Better than to succumb to the overwhelming pressure of her ego’s own vanity? As if. Men don’t succumb so easily because they have not had a lifetime of berratement or even comment with regards to their looks. Not that this is an excuse for AOC. She should be ashamed, but she probably thinks something more akin to “I deserve this.”

To be clear, I don’t care that AOC spent that much money. That’s not what I’m upset about. I’m upset about the fact that she spent that kind of money on anything so rudimentary as a haircut. The thing I learned, however, is that if Congresspeople make enough money to blow some on a $260 haircut (with color and tip), I’m now much more curious about being one myself. But who am I kidding? My electability is null.

In the end, it’s the same old story, a woman being ostracized about her vanity by the same people who comment solely on her outer appearance. If most women are like most of the women I know, then we’re all just trying to “look our best” in order to remove our appearance from the talking table. We’re all just trying to survive this hellscape where nothing that comes out of our mouths matters unless we look good. And god forbid you look hot; the hot ones are never taken seriously. So, what’s a woman to do being stuck between a rock and a hard place? And what’s a woman to do when that rock and hard place are both other women? Perhaps the trickiest part for all of us to wrap our minds around is that women are complex creatures, because people are complex creatures, and women are people. And on my worst day, with a few extra bills in my account, I’d do the same thing, not on a haircut, obviously, but it would be something equally frivolous, and so would you.

You’re not ‘stuck in a rut.’

You’re not ‘stuck in a rut.’

How to be happy you’re alive.

 

I’m annoyed, frustrated and generally pissed that people cannot seem to grasp the simple idea that life is monotonous. Just like so-and-so says in The Princess Bride*, “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.” When you don’t feel like ripping today a new asshole or you don’t feel like being awesome or you just want to eat junk food and play video games, that’s called Regressing to the Mean. It’s normal. It’s all part of your human existence within a thing called math. At some point, over the course of some time, you MUST regress because growth only and solely upward is impossible; the math says so.

Thus, the thing that every person dumb enough to pick up a self-help book needs to understand is that life is monotony, the everyday experience of experiencing everyday experiences every day. Awesome days cannot be awesome against the backdrop of every day being awesome. And days of misery cannot be miserable against the backdrop of every day being miserable. Get it? The daily routine of monotony is the baseline of your life that really gives your life (all the awesome and miserable days, events and experiences) its meaning.

For the creative types, “one of those days (or weeks or months)” are absolutely necessary. Your brain requires time to mull and digest information. There are input times and output times. The output times are obvious to spot; you’re outputting creatively. Input times have been mislabeled as “stuck in a rut.” Instead of contemplating your life in such hopeless terms, realize the truth, instead of seeking advice. This “rut” phase is your brain’s input time. Instead of forcing and hoping and lamenting about how you’re so unmotivated, realize that this is the time when your brain needs to rest, perhaps even sleep. Read a book. Sit outside in the sun. Do nothing.

You’re not going to feel awesome every single fucking day. Some people never get to experience the feeling of feeling awesome. And I’d even go so far as to say that everyone’s idea of what makes them feel awesome is different. Why are we all pretending as if we want the same thing? We don’t. I have yet to actually meet another writer who has the same sort of aspirations as I do as a writer. And yet, we all lump ourselves in together and hope to gain knowledge from someone who has found “success.” But another person’s success cannot ever be yours.

So now, I understand how hopeless my efforts are as this is, in fact, a piece of advice, but that advice is to stop taking advice. Instead of being just like everyone else who seeks advice, seek truth, knowledge. The only place to find this sort of content is within books. Your local library has a healthy supply of them, and guess what, all the books are free to borrow!

In short, you’re not stuck in a rut; you’re stuck in this thing we all call life. Get over yourself; relieve yourself of the pressure to be and achieve something all day, every day. The only way to find yourself is to actually spend time with yourself, and so, when you find yourself stuck with yourself (whenever you see yourself as “in a rut”) instead of lamenting about how you wish things were, show a little gratitude for keeping yourself alive, alive enough to want more than the mundanity that living affords so well.


*written by William Goldman

On Healthcare

On Healthcare

What the fuck do you need your ‘beloved’ health insurance for if you can afford to pay for all your medical services OUT OF POCKET?

Duh.

The thing that these idiots (the “central” liberals and anyone like them) who continue to bash the healthcare plan supported by Warren and Sanders fail to understand revolves around the specificity of their lack of understanding around the concept of COST. How much should medical services COST? The argument boils down to the simple fact that the Dems are divided on the issue of whether or not the government ought to set the COST for medical services.

That’s right, the liberal party in this country cannot even decide whether or not the government ought to control the cost of medical services and procedures. What kind of fucking “Developed Nation” is this? Healthcare, the everyday services that every single fucking person (in the world) needs, is essential for a healthy, equitable existence.

IF the government controls the COST, that means that medical services and procedures will be set by the government, and if the government is working and serving the public (as opposed to the corporate interest, power and control in Warren’s sight-lines), the COST of medical services and procedures ought to be cheap enough to afford if you are a living, working (whether for minimum wage or not, and this is a wholly other issue) person in the United States. Obviously, when the government isn’t working for the people, we all shrink small into ourselves and convince ourselves that we can make our own decisions, provide for ourselves better than our government or anyone else can, a la Andrew Yang and his “freedom dividend” (which is a great idea, just not yet). Yang doesn’t believe in an America run by a government that cares and feels responsible for its citizens. Yang is a pure capitalist, dangerous and selfish.

Bottom line, No one is going to “take away your health insurance.” The progressives (Warren and Sanders) desire to make medical services and procedures CHEAP (in cost not quality), cheap enough for you to be able to stop shoveling money into your insurance premiums (and deductibles and co-pays) and pay for your medical bills yourself (which you already are plus payments to insurance providers), AND have some extra money, the money not being paid to your insurance, if all goes to plan. Not to mention that your healthcare needs (medical services and procedures) will no longer depend on your employment/employer. This will also lift the burden off small business owners who have to provide insurance for their employees, when really, the government could just make healthcare so affordable that if you pay an employee a healthy, equitable wage, they (employees) ought to be able to pay for whatever medical services they need whenever they need them. Do you honestly love that job you’re doing solely for that healthcare coverage? Didn’t think so. Thus, if American healthcare coverage is so cheap that you can work anywhere and afford to pay out of pocket for any medical services or procedures you might need, you’re free to do whatever you want for work. Uncouple your health insurance from your employment, and you are free.

The point that Warren attempted to make in the September #DemDebate (but could not due to her admitting that taxes will rise) is that yes, your taxes will go up a bit, but you will not have an insurance payment! Duh! So, yea, you will pay more in taxes (technically), but overall COST of medical services will be so cheap that you will not also have to pay money to some fucking insurance company. That money you save from NOT paying insurance crooks ought to be more than the taxes taken out, so when all is said and done, not only will you be able to afford all of your medical needs, you will save money AND no longer have medical bills to pay. If all goes to plan.

Duh.

Don’t be stupid. Vote in your best interest, not against them.

Too Muchness

Too Muchness

It’s just too much.

I feel as though I’m afflicted with a phobia. If I were to guess, I’d guess that it is not an actual pathology, however, it does feel like one. I fear that I am afraid of too much. Not that I’m afraid that I have too many fears. That’s not it. Instead, I’m afraid of everything in a state of “too much.” For example, I am afraid of running too much. After realizing that to maintain my current (this was years ago) running ability (which isn’t even enough to brag about or even bring up really, nevertheless), I had to continue running every single day, and that was (is) too much. I quit running (although I still go out for a few jogs a year) cold turkey about two months after this realization. On a different note, one of my more vivid remembrances of “too muchness” happened roughly around the time I began having to wear makeup on stage for performances (as a gymnast, I never had to wear makeup for competition [although, perhaps I should have], and so, when I switched to dancing, the prospect of stage makeup sounded fun, albeit a little gross). I had worn makeup on stage when I was a child, but this time, I had to wear it as a young lady, and when I saw my own reflection, I liked it. I also then immediately understood that I would have to wear makeup like this every day or else, everyone would know when I wasn’t wearing makeup, or if I was wearing makeup and they saw me immediately after having seen me without makeup, etc., etc., &c., down the rumination wheel I spun. Until, ultimately, I decided that I would never wear makeup (off the stage) because people could see it, which meant that they could see when I didn’t wear makeup, which meant that I had to wear makeup every single day, and that was too much. There are other examples, but I strive not to bore.

Currently, I’m struggling with a different sort of too muchness, and the realization around this particular iteration spawns a bit of truth that I would rather not know. And please, save your judgments of my patheticism as I am very aware of how pathetic my situation is, not to mention the problematic egotistical nature of the situation. The issue is this: Although capable of writing every day, I do not out of fear that I will write too much.

The reality, however, may be less “ewe” and more “oh” once you’ve heard the underlying fear. And that fear is that I am afraid of scrutiny. (Boo, ewe.) I know the rules; I know the game. You’ve gotta write a lot, all the time in order to succeed. It must be an act to which you are fully dedicated. And I, I am only willing to dedicate myself so much lest it becomes too much. But I honestly do not even know what “too much” even means. Like, what the fuck? I decide to sit down and write, and as soon as I attempt to do so, a stupid fucking voice inside my head reminds, “Well, once you open this faucet, you could write for days on end. And that’s too much.” Too much what!

I don’t know.

And apparently, I cannot know because the problem inside my head is inside my own fucking head creating the problem that’s inside my own fucking head. This is why therapy and therapists exist, in case you were ever wondering. Goddammit, my nails are too fucking long to type fast, effectively and efficiently right now. Ugh.

Essentially, I’m stuck inside this psychological nightmare wherein I must write, but if I get carried away, I’m somehow afraid of writing too much (with no regards to how well I’ll write, mind you, and when has writing too much ever been a bad thing), but at the same time, I also fear the scrutiny and criticism of those who (I want to have) read my writings if they (the writings) gain any traction, AND I also fear that I will never be read at all, ever. Yea, I know; I’m a pathetic loser. And so, I suppose, the only thing left for me to do is to just write about this issue of “too muchness” in the hope of finding or knowing the signal to all this noise. The fear, most likely, revolves around something about how, I’m afraid that the next thing I write will be my last. It’s like they say, Hope floats on the death-farts of Dreams.

 

Am I a POC? And what is white, anyway?

Am I a POC? And what is white, anyway?

Am I?

I suppose that to know the answer to such a question requires the answer to a lot of other questions, namely, if I’m Asian—therefore descendent from Asian Culture—then what is Caucasian Culture? And is that how you know if you are or are not white, if you were raised in Caucasian Culture? Perhaps it is this question, specifically, that whites, in general, fear to know. How does that saying go?, You never try to find that which you would rather not see. And it is under this all-encompassing shame of whiteness that has ultimately led to a nation full of white people who have no culture, no identity. The world is not divided. White people, all over the world, are divided, and they have no cultural center or glue to rely on because to rely on Caucasian Culture would be to colonize.

Look at any, scientifically backed, global census. Here, just check out the Wikipedia page for Demographics of the World. That’s a simple enough check, right? Alright, so you didn’t need to scroll far to get a percentage distribution for the races of the world. If you add up the percentages of the populations of continents that are “not white,” you get a whopping 80%, which reveals that a healthy majority of the world is “not white.” All I’m saying is that when the news or the news or the news spews gossip about how the “nation is divided,”  “the world is divided,” what they’re really saying is that “white people are divided,” therefore, the nation is white, the world is white. But the United States of America is not only white, just like the world is not only “not white.” It never has been. This land upon which America stands had already been settled by “non-whites.” And according to today’s standards, Spaniards are “not white.” Are you starting to see my predicament? If everyone is “not white” then who is “white” and what does being “white” mean? Luckily for us “non-white”—and oh the irony now—the answer has been documented quite well by all those white people. It’s called History. In reality, we ought to refer to it as the History of Only the Good Aspects of White America, but then all of those atrocities would need to be documented in fairness and equality, and white people are divided on this issue.

So, what is Caucasian Culture? Fortunately for those “non-whites” out there, I have an inside scoop. As a “person of color,” I was raised by two white people. And honestly, it was awesome. Even though I look Asian, I had white parents, and we lived in a very small mountain town. Everyone knew who I was; everyone knew I was my white parents’ child. Obviously, I never thought about it that way when I was growing up; I simply never realized that I was “not white.” Intellectually I knew I was Asian, look at me, but that understanding did not come with the filter of being treated like an Asian. Sure, there were probably some people who treated me like an Asian, but everyone knew me, and so issues like that went largely unnoticed. There was this one time, though, sometime in grade school, when my dad, brother and I ran through Subway—as one was wont to do in those days—and while the guy making our sandwiches was ringing us up, he looked at me and my brother, and then, he looked at my dad and said, “They must really look like their mother.” My brother laughed, the way that he always laughed when one reveals their ignorance to him. My father scoffed as if the guy was a fool. And I looked at both of them, the only two males I had ever loved at that point in my life, and then looked at the guy behind the counter and asked, “What?” I honestly didn’t really understand what he was suggesting. My dad gave the guy a dirty look without another word. My brother muttered something and ushered me along to our table. I had every privilege and opportunity that every other “white kid” in my town had. If I had encountered a problem, two white people would come to my rescue, not two more “persons of color.” But even in all of this privilege, I was never taught or it was never explained to me that Caucasian Culture equaled Racist Culture.

Don’t get me wrong, I had the best parents when it came to their responsibility to instill within me a sense of and pride for my own race, to flesh out my identity in its entirety. And honestly, I think my mother will be disappointed to read my father’s reaction. She, being a masterful squeaky wheel, would have taught that guy a lesson about adoption. I can feel her now wanting to reach out and touch my face, tell me that I’m beautiful and that there’s no hair like Asian hair and no eyes as beautiful as Asian eyes, but she’s biased. No matter, we traveled as a family to South Korea during the summer before I started seventh grade. Before that trip, my mom attempted—on too many an occasion—to cook Korean food. We attended Korean Heritage Camp every summer and learned all about what it meant to be Korean, to grow an appreciation for why we look the way that we look that our differences are not just superficial. Koreans are different peoples, they have a culture, a way of life, that is not the same as the one I am growing up in. All of this effort, on top of also sending me around the world before I graduated from high school, forced upon me an innate understanding that everyone is different. There are no two people who are the same. How could you possibly treat an entire population of people the same way be it good or bad? The privileges of my childhood are privileges that, when whites say “people of color,” oppressed people do not have set into the palm of their hand, their only decision being whether or not you want to go on safari in South Africa.

Am I “white” then, if I experienced all of the privileges of “being white?” Well, first and foremost, I would never want to be white. No offense, but just look at History, white history! Caucasians are notoriously racist bigots with nothing on their minds but to control the lives and well-being of anyone “not white.” All “non-whites” are beneath the white man, and white history has shown us little else but this cultural consistency. So, what is Caucasian Culture? I’ll say it. The white man is Death. When the white man arrives, “non-whites” die. When the white man wants, “non-whites” die. When the white man takes, “non-whites” die. When the white man saves, still “non-whites” die. Wherever the white man goes, destruction follows, death in destruction’s wake. Obviously, no one is so naive to think that only white men are capable of such destruction. Nay, all men are capable of such destruction. All races are capable of such destruction, even of its own people. But that ought to be ANCIENT history by now. And, guess what, probably so capable are also women, but the men of the world have little to no idea what women of the past were capable of. We’re starting to find out now, though. My bet is that life for all people will be better with women in charge, just look at all the other apex mammals.

But today, here in the United States, we are not discussing the ills of other nations, the strife between people of the same race and nation. We are discussing white America. And the history of white America is not one to be admired. And yet, we are all sitting here today, in America, the great nation of freedom. And we want more. We want more. We have been groomed to be groundbreakers (literally, think of the Oregon Trail days), innovators, aspirants of the best, but unfortunately, this aspiration has turned into a sickly greed demon refusing to acknowledge the position of white privilege. Of course, not all white people subscribe to Caucasian Culture, but enough of them do and have split open the world of white people. White people are divided. “Non-whites” know what equality is because we can see it from the outside. Unfortunately, white people today do not even seem to know what equality is. Not only do whites treat “non-whites” terribly, they also, and have also throughout white history, treat poor white people just as poorly. So, what’s a poor white person to do: Support the fight and make sure that all people are equal, or do they ensure that they can rise through the ranks of the white world that continues to rule over and oppress all people?

I do not know what stimulates white people to fight for themselves over the good of the whole, but I do know that when your life’s survival is on the line, you are only thinking about Number One, yourself. Which then begs the question, why are all these white people in white America so poor that they’ve been resigned to survival mode? This is why I do not blame poor white people for not being on the side of all people. I blame the rich white people for taking such horrible care of their own people that they cannot do anything more beyond surviving from day to day. Shame on you, to all of you from every race and nation.

Fortunately, for me, I do not know what it is like to be white, but, like I stated earlier, I do know how awesome it is to reap all of the benefits of white privilege. At least, I used to. All of this “white privilege” disappeared once I represented myself, an Asian. Outside of the small town from whence I came, no one knows who my parents are, and worse, I am now in a relationship, and I fear that people assume that I’ve simply married a white guy, and I did, but my last name is not his white last name; it’s my very own white last name, my father’s white last name. And now, I don’t know if that’s any different or any better. In short, I used to be a “non-white” white person or “Twinkie,” but now I’m finding out that I’ve been “non-white” for quite some time. I have probably been a Person Of Color in the eyes of the world since the day I left for college, never to live again under my parents’ roof except for visits. But I only realized this a few days ago.

It all started, fittingly, over an IG convo I was having with an old friend of mine from college. We were chatting about Korean food, obviously, that’s what Koreans do. And then we started talking about my writing. In the end, she called me a POC author. And then I Googled “POC author.” And then I realized that I am a Person Of Color. I didn’t know whether to cry or scream. I’m not mad at my friend, obviously, she may be capitalizing on this “uplifting of minorities” in the publishing industry herself. If anything, I am extremely grateful for her essentially telling me that I live in David Foster Wallace’s “water.” Rudely awoken, I got to thinking … and writing. And I’ve come to zero conclusions, except for one, that perhaps has a few parts. First, white America sees me as Asian, but I’m culturally “white.” Second, white America sees me as Asian, but I’m not culturally Asian. Do not even get me started about being a “non-white” white person in Korea, that’s a story for another time.

I cannot live up to the stereotypes of Asian-Americans who live under the rule of a Tiger Mom. Neither can most Asian-Americans! And no one applies the stereotypes of whites on my Asian face. Whites are the most self-absorbed when learning about other people and cultures. Nothing makes me feel more diminished then when some white guy asks me where I’m from and when I respond, “Colorado,” they say, “No, where are you from?” If you are white and are reading this and thinking, “But the guy’s just trying to be nice. You’re the one saying that ‘whites are self-absorbed,’ but look, the guy’s trying to get to know you.” Well, sure, I hear you, but that’s not exactly the point. Do white guys ask you (I was picturing a blonde Texan in a pearl snap shirt and fringe tassel vest, with a short denim skirt and cowboy boots, despite never having ridden a horse or any live animal) where you’re “really” from? Didn’t think so. He only asked me because of my race not in order to learn anything about me as a person. It’s like someone complimenting your makeup. Some people are into it, but I do not understand the logic of feeling complimented when someone is praising your ability to be fake. It all comes down to that age old argument, “I do not have a choice.” Whites use this argument to get out of sticky situations. “Non-whites” are forced to rely upon it to try to make whites understand. And with race and sexuality and physical ability and intelligence and anything to do with variations beyond our control because they happen in the womb, all of these Civil Rights, we have to believe in them, uphold them, and then create a world that treats people as people not as a color.

So, no. I reject your offer to color me. I am a person. I am a human. That’s it. There’s nothing more to it. So to all my people out there, do we take advantage of this white olive branch and accept that they accept us and ultimately, get along striving toward equality? I mean, the whites have a lot going for them. Or do we give up on white people and just take them down? Honestly, I don’t really want to interact with anyone white or “non-white” who isn’t going to treat me like a human, first and foremost. So, could all the racists, bigots and misogynists please stand up? Oh, wait. We already see you.

 

‘Beauty & The Blogger’

‘Beauty & The Blogger’

… but don’t think influencing is something to be proud of.

-Bill Maher

(Real Time with Bill Maher, Season 17; Episode 8, 15 March 2019)

 

Imagine with me, will you?, the world in which you live. Perhaps when is the future. Perhaps when is the now. Either way, you plop down in front of a screen, and you scroll through YouTube or VidTube or YouVid, you get the point. You flip through a handful of your go-to channels, and then you browse a bit to see if there’s anything new left to discover. And then, you inevitably end up on the channel of an influencer. You watch this person entertain you with funny, educational, fun, beautiful life. You watch as this person either does a workout or performs some skill or teaches you something cool or shows you something cool or takes you along on some journey or slathers their face in makeup so that they may court jester you through the world of the elite.

The worst of these influencers, to me, are of the beauty variety. And a middle-of-the-road example would be Jenn Im, the beloved, adorable, cute, airy, uplifting, good-vibes-only, Korean-American, beauty influencer. Im runs a strong YouTube channel, has her own hype-clothing brand, collabs—seemingly endlessly—with all sorts of brands, all around the world. She’s living the dream, right? Unfortunately, not so much. The reality of the influencer market is that they are the future middle class.

If you cannot “make it” without a “job” (meaning, if you are incapable of creating work for yourself), you will not, unfortunately, make it very far into the future. Consider how much money it takes to live today, at the level of civility and luxury we all seem to think is middle class. From my perspective, the problem of the disappearing middle class is as much a problem of the actual people who make up the middle class as it is the powers that be who have (essentially) oppressed us. This is not really about that. Nevertheless, the amount of luxury that “middle-class living” demands has inflated the cost of a middle-class lifestyle. Not to mention inflation of the dollar in and of itself. What this means now, is that the middle-class lifestyle has shifted into upper middle class, and the what was the middle class is now lower middle class. What’s truly missing is the middle of the middle class. And so, it seems as if the middle-class lifestyle has disappeared, but really, those who are in the upper middle class are still middle class citizens, even if they do have a million-dollar net worth. A million dollars no longer makes a person rich, if they want to live an upper-middle-class lifestyle, and that’s crazy. Think about that. If you want the semblance of simply keeping up, you need to make more than a few million dollars. This is nearly unattainable for the vast majority of people, and this is why influencing is not something about which one ought to feel pride.

The future that I see includes a still disproportionate distribution of wealth with the majority of it being held by a few hands, but that group will grow. Influencers and content creators, with millions of dollars in hand each year, will fall largely within and makeup most of the middle class along with a few independent business owners and corporate, upper-level management, but they will never rise to the very top. And then, the poorest among us will be left far behind to (essentially) fend for ourselves within our own little, poor world. Economies will rise within the poor, and a few will be catapulted out, up into the middle class, the truly ambitious, perhaps further.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I would say that influencers will never rise to the very top, and you’re also now probably debating whether or not you should become an influencer. First, influencers cannot rise once they are influenced. Once an influencer is influenced, either by catering to their audience or by being bought by companies to promote products, they establish themselves among the service class of the elite. Yea, sure, they are rewarded handsomely, and are even invited to peep into the world of the elite, but do not be confused, they are not part of the powers that be. They are the tools of the entertainment establishment. Be a tool. This is what I’m here to say. Make yourself useful to someone who has money to pay you for your usefulness.

In a world that will—inevitably—be run and operated by artificial intelligence and robots, you will have to have a purpose larger than showing up to work every day. You need to create that purpose. You need to create your work. You need to create your value. Once the table is set, and it will be set very soon, everyone will have to sit wherever they land. The music will stop, meaning jobs will no longer be created for you. Make sure that you’ve found a seat long before that day comes.