All right. Back to the software upgrades. Go read the other parts of this series if you want to be au courant on the subject, especially the last post.
Minna 4.0 is more stable in functioning. The downtimes are briefer, and maintenance is not as intense. In addition, her firewall is stronger.
The earlier editions of Minna had a big flaw–I couldn’t say no. I thought if I said no or stood up for myself, I would lose a friend. For the most part, this wasn’t the fault of said friend as my friends are solid people who love me for who I am. But, there have been people over the years who didn’t like this one bit. And, because as I said earlier, I tended to store things up until they exploded, the ending of said friendships were ugly and brutal. And, of course, it would reinforce my notion that I couldn’t voice my real opinion or I would lose my friends. My best friend, Kiki/Kat, who has been there for me since 1994, gave me a plaque for Christmas that has this quote by Dr. Seuss:
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ”
It really resonated within me, first of all, because she’s one of my biggest supporters. She’s seen me through some ugly things, and she’s never faltered in her friendship. Secondly, I am used to feeling that I fall short of some amorphous ideal, and it’s soothing to hear from a very dear friend, “Hey. I like you the way you are.” Thirdly, I am slowly reaching the point where I am OK with myself. And, that quote just underscored the inchoate sense of self-acceptance that is burbling inside of me somewhere.
So. I am slowly starting to say no once in awhile. I’m beginning to demur and say, “No, I don’t agree. ” In other words, I’m becoming more than a mirror for other people, merely reflecting what they want to see. And, if someone doesn’t like it, then she wasn’t really a friend in the first place, was she?**
Let me add–I’m not talking about being needlessly cruel or gratuitously contrary–though some would say I do the latter, anyway. I just mean that I want friendships that are healthy, and it’s not healthy to be a yes-woman or to constantly fear that the other person in the friendship is going to drop you if you say something she doesn’t like. This is something I discussed with another friend. Setting boundaries with someone can, ironically, lead to a closer relationship with that person. If a friend knows where she stands with me and that I will let her know when I’ve reached my limit, then she is freer to be herself with me.
Boundaries. Limits. This is you. This is me. It’s really figging*** difficult and scary for me to set boundaries, but I see the rewards I reap when I do set said limits. And, I’m less likely to blow up at someone if I’m open with her about my boundaries in the first place. It’s a win-win-win-win!****
Minna 4.0 also has some forced upgrades. The procrastination code has been re-routed. Somewhat. I am a champion procrastinator, especially when it comes to doing things I really don’t want to do–like switch doctors. My old doctor used to be great until she got bitter and fearful of insurance companies. The last time I saw her, her main technique was to shame me. Now, I can do that myself, thank you very much. So, I did not react well to it. Plus, there were shenanigans over my last refill, and I had to go without my meds for weeks. Yeah, that didn’t go over well with me. So, I dragged dragged dragged my feet, and then finally made the change. I go to a new doc tomorrow, and while I’m freaking out about it, I know it’s for the better.
In addition, I’m trying to fix my sleep schedule. Longtime readers know that me and sleep don’t get along. I have viewed it as a nemesis for most of my life–only bad things happen in my sleep. My therapist suggested years ago that I get on a set schedule, one more geared towards not sleeping into the afternoon. I started doing it back then, but then with one thing after the other, I slid back into my old habits. I recently decided to try again. I set a 1 a.m. curfew, much as I did last time, and I stuck to it, more or less, for a week or so. Then, something bothered me, and I let it slide. Then I got back on it. Then, this weekend, big drama with the mama, and I let it go to Hades again. The thing is, there’s always an excuse for backsliding. There will always be upsetting events and drama and crises and whatnot. I can’t control that. What I can control is how I react to it. If I want to be in the dingdang bed/couch by 1 a.m., I have actual control over that (no matter how much I argue to the otherwise). It’s not easy as there are several reasons I hate going to bed, but in the end, I can make that choice.
This segues nicely into the hardware upgrading that I’m doing. My body. My other nemesis. I haven’t been very kind to it, preferring to pummel it into submission than to treating it with kindness. Right now, I am near to the top of the heaviest I’ve ever been. I have started a new fitness program. And, given my history with eating disorders, I’m nervous about it. See, I can say it’s to get in better health, and, sure, that would be a nice bonus, but the reality is that I want to be thinner. Oh, and I want to get my eating under control. But mostly, I want to be skinny. I know myself well enough to know that’s the driving force–not the health bit. That makes me worried.
Every time I set out on a new fitness program, I am always determined to do it the healthy way and not go overboard. Every dingdang time, I go overboard. The last time, I ended up passed-out on the floor of a nightclub. The difference this time? I actually feel my body. I wrenched my shoulder months ago, and I can actually feel the pain now. I can feel hunger, too– something I had suppressed for decades. I am aware of being in my body, instead of thinking of myself as a brain that is carted from place to place by this lumbering form of mine. I want to do this in a sensible way. I am cutting down on my food intake and increasing my energy output by increments. I know the signs of me becoming obsessed, and I am trying not to go down that road again. I also have friends who saw me go through it the last time and are unwilling to watch me do it again. Plus, new friends who are having themselves no part of that. This has been my bugaboo for over two decades, and I don’t want to carry it with me any further.
Minna 4.0 has had many upgrades, but the biggest one is this: I am not a pacifist. This is pretty mind-blowing to me because I have self-identified as a pacifist for decades. I used to say I would let someone kill me before I killed him (and, I always imagined it was a him). I shied away completely from violence as it was another forbidden subject. Well, it was. If anger was unacceptable, then violence was unthinkable.
So, what changed that for me? Taking Taiji classes. See, I wasn’t taking it just for the health benefits, though they are many. I wasn’t taking it for the meditative aspects, which I currently dread and with which I struggle. No. I wanted to know about the applications of the postures. Choolie told me she knows who’s going to like the sparring by who’s giggling as she describes what the application is for each posture. That’s me. The nastier the application is, the more I like it. The more damage it will inflict, the more I’m eager to learn it. This is discomfiting enough for someone who was taught by society and her family to be a nice girl and that nice girls were…well…nice. Nice girls didn’t want to hurt anyone, no how, no way, not ever.
The next step happened when I was practicing a Baguazhang drill. I went into a zone, and I immediately imagined I was attacking the enemy–and I was killing him. What’s more, I had no problems with it. This deadly calm lasted for the entire drill, and it shook me the Fu Schnickens up. It was bad enough that I was grinning over the idea of breaking someone’s collarbone; I couldn’t believe I could imagine killing someone and not feeling bad about it. Yes, even a hypothetical attacker. That’s just not the way I roll. Or didn’t.
Republicans across the land are making abortion laws more and more draconian. The Christian Extremists are, at last, putting into practice what their rhetoric has suggested. They believe abortion is murder; therefore, they have no qualms about outlawing abortions after 20 weeks (in Idaho)–even in the case of rape.
I’ve been raped. I will not be raped again. And, I will be DAMNED***** if I carry a baby to full-term, especially a baby that is the product of a rape. That choice is mine. Mine only. Abortion is another issue on which I’ve evolved, but I’ll leave that for another time. I have covered some of these insane bills over at Angry Black Lady’s place, and I have become aware that my response is, “If I’m in that situation, I would kill the guy before he could rape me.” Now, that’s partly because I don’t like my chances of living through another rape at all intact. But, it’s also because I am starting to feel that no one has the right to do that to me–rape me OR dictate what I should do with my body.
I’ve told this story often, but when I was a kid, I was bullied mercilessly. I have to give my parents credit in that they did talk to my teacher once, but he said there wasn’t anything he could do. And, as immigrants, my parents didn’t know how the American school system worked. Plus, back in the day, bullying was even more scoffed at than it is now. My parents gave me the well-meaning, but useless advice of, “Ignore them, and they will stop.” Uh, no. That didn’t work? You know what does? At least for me? Fighting back. A girl used to tease me every day (and I still remember her name) until I snapped. I pulled her head back by the hair and told her if she ever fucking bothered me again, I would kill her. You know what? It worked. She never bothered me again. Sometimes, bullies will only respond to a greater show of power. I didn’t yell at her. I didn’t even raise my voice. I actually dropped my voice, and I was serious.
Unfortunately, I felt guilty afterwards (per my breeding), and my takeaway was that I had to tamp down my anger and not let it get so out of control again. My takeaway should have been that standing up for myself is a not wrong. If I had stood up for myself in other ways prior to the death threat, I may not have had to use that last resort. And, that’s what it is. A last resort. I don’t want to use violence if I can settle matters in other ways, but I am no longer crossing it out as a viable option when I have exhausted other possibilities. Choolie is teaching me how to defend myself so hopefully, I won’t have to dip into that particular bag of tricks, but if I’m backed into a corner and it’s down to me or him, I want to be confident that I’m going to be the last one standing.
*Check back in a month for updates and patches.
**Generic she. I have male friends, too, but more female than male ones.
***Lent NEEDS to be over. I really miss my swears.
****Me, my friend, and the voices in my head.
*****Sometimes, only a swear is good enough. I’ll throw some Hail Marys and eat some rosemary as penance later.