A Subconscious Response To Loneliness

Last November, my experience of ‘waiting for something’ became so strong, that I decided it was time for me to move.  Rather than having living in another country be a ‘some day’ (which very well had the potential to turn into a ‘never’), I declared that, two months after I finished my current work commitment, I would move out of the US, exact destination TBD.

Now, eleven-ish months later, I find myself in a small suburb of Tokyo, fulfilling the role of an English Language Assistant in two nearby senior high schools.  That being said, let’s look at the locations of the people dearest to me in my life.  One person is about 5 hours and $200 (each way) south of me; another is halfway across the world; and everyone else is all the way across the world, back in the US.  And I’m a big hugger and lover of physical contact.  What exactly was I thinking, here?  (Haha I know, right?)

If I don’t have physical contact with others, I can grow really rather sad and depressed (Yes, it’s happened.).  And yet, I still decided to come be on my lonesome in a foreign land I can hardly understand.  But that’s not quite the point, so I’ll move past it for now…

The point is, I miss my loved ones.  And, I miss having around everything that they brought to the table.  But something happened yesterday that surprised me.

Walking to the trash bin (Yes, we actually had trash bins!), I caught myself doing something I don’t typically do.  As I made the final fold in the wrapper of my snack bar, looking down to begin the twist, which would turn this folded plastic wrapper into a knot…  I couldn’t figure out why on Earth I was doing it.  Or why I wasn’t totally agitated at my doing it(!).

You see, my mom does this with her trash in the car.  She keeps all sorts of candies and snacks in her car, because she has to drive so often for work and life in general.  Whenever she finishes a package of whatever candy or snack, she folds it up longways, twists it into a knot, pulls it tight, and tosses to the floor (to be picked up later when she arrives home).  It always would drive me nuts for two reasons: 1) My OCD analysis was that she was twisting up and knotting something that is designed to be flat, and 2) She always tossed it to the floor where my feet and bag were sitting (so as to have it out of the way of the gas and break pedals, but not out of sight to where she would forget about it in the back).  It just totally irked me every time I saw her twisting up the wrapper to whatever food she’d just had, knowing that she was about to toss it at my feet.  Even if we weren’t in the car – especially then, actually – and she did it, it would drive me slightly crazy.

And here I was, not only doing it myself, but enjoying it.

It instantly reminded me of how I started using phrases one of my best friends uses.  When we ended up living in different states and all a couple years ago,  I found myself using her words.   “Let’s be real…” (e.g. Let’s be real: I’m only going to the party, because I’m addicted to gelato.), “lulz”, and “Kay-love-you-bye!” have become regular additions to my everyday conversation.  I even have a few texting habits that keep trying to surface (and which I keep erasing and rewriting in my own words)!

And I realized: As I did these things, it was just like having them here with me.  No, my mom wasn’t here next to me, talking to me or hugging me or anything.  But she was here.  She was here, because she was in me- in who I was being, my mom was present.  Thus the total calm and delight.  I had my mom with me in the most loving, intimate way I could as I tied that silly piece of trash into a knot.  My girlfriend was with me as I used her words just the way she would use them.  And I couldn’t have felt less alone at those times.

The tradition goes that we want to have children carry us on in them, in who they are; that the world will remember us so long as people still carry bits of us with them.  Right here and now, I am carrying my loved ones with me.  I am remembering them and keeping them alive in my daily life – even though they are still alive elsewhere in the world – by expressing little bits of them in all that I do and say.

And even though I did pick up these formerly annoying habits of theirs, I find it beautiful.  This allows me to appreciate all that these people are for me, as opposed to remembering only the best parts of who they are, and ignoring the rest.  They’re only human.  But I love them for just that fact, and for how I get to be human when I am with them.  ūüôā  So, thanks for the new annoyances, you guys – I really love y’all.  ;D

Feminine Confinement

Because crying at work wasn’t already enough….
Heads up: If you aren’t comfortable reading about females’ bodily functions, then don’t read this post.

 

Do you ever feel like you are imprisoned by your period?  Not just limited, but confined, under lock-down.  Today, I 100% did, and even kind of went crazy because of it.  (I know, right?)

I have spent the day trying desperately to have this menstrual cup work. ¬†It worked wonderfully last month. ¬†Like¬†really well. ¬†And now, it keeps leaking. ¬†Not lots. ¬†But just enough to freak me out, and enough potentially to cause a problem (BECAUSE JAPANESE PANTYLINERS ARE COMPLETE NONSENSICAL BULL, AND WHY DO THEY EVEN EXIST, SINCE THEY DON’T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING BENEFICIAL?). ¬†So, although I wanted¬†to go back to bed this morning (after a rough 45-minute clean-up when I went to the bathroom at 6-ish) I didn’t actually make it back under the sheets until around 10, at which point I had finally given up on the cup for the morning and just used a tampon. ¬†And, of course, I had to set a timer, because tampons can only handle so much at once.

So I slept until around 2, waking up every hour-ish to change out. ¬†And then I tried it all again, because I¬†so want this cup thing to work – it is environmentally friendly, economically friendly, and (and this is possibly the best part for my daily life) it allows me not only to spend a reasonable amount of time living life during the day, instead of constantly searching for a bathroom*, but it lets me sleep through the night. ¬†I haven’t slept through the night on Day Two since middle school (except for that one night my mom convinced me it was ridiculous, of course I’d be fine, and I woke up literally covered). ¬†Until I tried the menstrual cups. ¬†I could go almost the whole day without even thinking about my period, and with no repercussions (yes, I unfortunately forget about it sometimes, which is not exactly a good idea when you are producing copious amounts of blood every hour).¬† Menstrual cups are like magic. ¬†Except, they are unreliable magic. ¬†Or something like that… anyway…

I’ve been wanting to go wander about and be outside and possibly even interact with people all day, but haven’t been able to find a reliable way to spend more than an hour out safely. ¬†As I was giving up on the cup for the second time today, pulling it out (and realizing that it hadn’t even been catching all that much, and yet it had been leaking as though it had), I just stopped caring about staying calm, and I broke down. ¬†I sat there a while, crying on the toilet, aware of all the blood around (literally below) me like some gory fight scene from a movie, feeling as though it were taking the life straight from my veins. ¬†I felt trapped. ¬†And trapped by menstruation. ¬†“Why do you have to confine and constrain me?” I asked it. ¬†“What does anyone benefit from this?”

All I wanted was a hug. ¬†I lay my head against the wall, and let the tears just roll. ¬†I just wanted to take a brisk walk outside, and explore around me. ¬†And I can’t even go outside without full preparation, and without setting a timer for when to be home. ¬†How do I alter this for myself? ¬†I don’t want to be confined and constrained anymore… and I didn’t used to be… What happened?

I’m ready to free myself of this total nonsense… because so what that the cup isn’t working? ¬†It isn’t working. ¬†So find something that does work. ¬†Oh, right. ¬†I already have. ¬†Tampons work. ¬†No, they aren’t your dream situation, but they work, and rather decently well. ¬†Maybe one day will be different. ¬†And you keep testing those cups – don’t give up on them. ¬†But stop this whole ‘my life sucks and I’m going to be alone forever, and this is just one more thing that is going to be extra-sucky about my life’ conversation. ¬†It’s all made-up anyway, so how about making up something worth believing in, worth wanting, worth looking forward to? ¬†Hmm??? ¬†Yeah, okay, fine. ¬†Haha ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†I’m down. ¬†ūüėÄ ¬† Let’s go for a walk. ¬†: )

 

 

* Last summer, during a day of exploring London, every time I found a bathroom and used it, I had to start searching for another bathroom.  They seemed to be few and far between, and I only had just over an hour to get to one each time.  I almost never succeeded in staying clean, and I had to spend so much effort looking for a bathroom, it was a really great effort to be able to enjoy the town and the day and everything around me, while literally almost constantly searching for a bathroom.  That was when I decided something needed to change.

A less than mediocre night

And sometimes it just feels like I am going to collapse inward, in a slow implosion of shattered… no, not shattered… of torn, crumbling papers. ¬†Like the papier m√Ęch√© of me being cracked apart, and falling to pieces on top of itself. ¬†No one is coming. ¬†No one is going to call. ¬†And it wasn’t a successful search for a job. ¬†Today hurts. ¬†Because, even though I know what comes tomorrow, I don’t much like it, and I don’t know how to move forward from it. ¬†And what I’ve been trying hasn’t been working. ¬†So what do I do now?…

The Rain

whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

For just a¬†moment, I linger as I pass the open window, noticing the rain outside. ¬†There is a sudden sense of longing… for something. ¬†Shortly thereafter, I find myself staring at an¬†open door… ¬†and then standing outside it in the cold. ¬†I feel¬†the soft sway of the wind, the occasional stream of mist caressing my face and exposed arms, and I am… just… I am.

There’s something about the rain, something magical… Deep down inside me, something awakens, and it¬†is beckoned by the rain. ¬†I used to shower in rainstorms – shampoo and soap and all – instead of using the bathroom. ¬†Now, with¬†no backyard, and therefore no privacy, I take to wandering through the pouring water, barefoot sometimes, but¬†dressed in something sufficient for the public eye. ¬†I let myself be soaked through. ¬†I allow for those few minutes for nothing else to exist but the cleansing, cooling rain. ¬†And I am made new, all my tightness and strains and pains washed away.

It is as though rain is a cleanser sent from Mother Nature. ¬†Even more so than snow, rain somehow cleanses the world. ¬†Whereas snow makes everything seem new and fresh and pure, untouched (and it really just hides¬†things under its beautiful blankets), Rain… rain washes away¬†everything. ¬†You can literally see¬†the cleansing happening¬†before your eyes, all those little troubles and sorrows being swept away, creating space for the new and beautiful to take root. ¬†And every time it rains,¬†I¬†let the rain do the same for me, to cleanse me, so that I, too, can have the new and beautiful take root in me.

Morning tea and journaling

Okay, so it’s actually closer to 1pm, but who minds, really? ¬†Morning is what you make it. ¬†And J. Christine is taking care of me this morning, just ’cause. She’s made me Chai rice pudding, Chai tea, and is now cooking some soupy udon for me, all as I sit on the windowsill, feet on the roof, just pondering and writing and loving the morning’s relaxed sense of nothing to do but be here, and now.

In my ponderings, these two just ran up and out of me:


Sometimes I feel like I’m missing some vital, obvious piece of information, specifically in regards to my partner. ¬†It almost feels as though he’s just sitting somewhere, waiting for me to figure out that little piece of information, and then go striding up to him and say, “Wow – that took me long enough, didn’t it?”

And he’ll reply cooly, “Yeah, but ¬†it was worth the wait.” ¬†Or something like that…
So what is it that I need to figure out, world?????????


And sometimes I feel like just picking a guy and saying, ‘This’ll work.’ ¬†And then going up to him and saying:

[Name], how about we just go ahead and decide that we will be a fabulous pair, and be together, creating this unbelievably awesome relationship for the rest of our lives?
Kay, thanks. ¬†When do we get married? (Not that I’m in a rush; really just wondering.)

“Nope. Not today,” said the world

You know those days when all you want is one thing, and the world gives you just the opposite?¬† When the world says, ‚ÄúNope.¬† Not today.¬† Today you have something more important to work on for yourself.‚Ä̬† Yeah‚Ķ today has been one of those days.

I want to have a partner and a shared life already.¬† I don‚Äôt want to be alone at home anymore.¬† And my impatience for having this seems almost unreal even to me.¬† Inside, I feel sometimes like a five-year-old – complete with images of a childhood friend and her regular almost-psycho fits – screaming and crying and stamping my foot, demanding with all my helpless might that my simple desires be appeased(!), and immediately(!).¬† ‚ÄúI am ready for this, already, so give it to me, won‚Äôt you?‚ÄĚ I silently wail.

But instead, as I am clearly not ready for a partner (since one has not yet arrived), today I was given a day for me to be with me and me alone (there wasn’t even any fun on social media to keep me company).  And I got to deal with the thoughts in my head that arose about how I didn’t want to be alone.  I could have resisted, as I have been these past two-ish months, but I decided the improvement on my life and my self would be well worth the efforts and time.

As the sun was beginning to set, I had sorted through loads of crazy thoughts I hadn’t even acknowledged that I’d been carrying around with me.  Yes, I still want a partner, and no, I still don’t have one.  But that desire is placated.  I want it with all my being, but the desperation has cooled.  And my goal is to have it continue to cool, until it is calm, cool contentment.

I suppose this is just one more step in the process of developing myself to the point of actually being ready to share my life with another.¬† It‚Äôs 100% annoying a good amount of the time, but I can only imagine how much more wonderful life will be with a partner, when I have already grown out of my biggest problems of my life today.¬† The kind of things we‚Äôll be able to take on not only in our relationship with one another, but in our relationship to the rest of the world, too‚Ķ I am lit up inside, and smiling out, just at the idea of the wonders our life would be.¬† ūüėÄ

And I also realize that I might never have a partner.¬† I won‚Äôt settle, so there‚Äôs a definite chance of my never meeting someone with whom I can share life.¬† But, I suppose that, if I already am dealing with my current problems of not wanting to be alone, then whether I find someone or not once I‚Äôm over this hill, I‚Äôll still be content – life will be fabulous whether I have a partner or not.¬† ūüôā¬† (Obviously I‚Äôm super biased right now, but I can see that altering completely with just a little more work!)

…that poor, crying girl

Those days when a lack of sleep and nutrition seem to consume your life… when a simple disappointment occurs as one of the worst things in the world. ¬†Tears stream down your face, a whole box of tissues could be dispensed by your nose, and you just want to collapse to the floor and stamp your feet furiously and fervently. ¬†Sometimes those days do happen. ¬† Sometimes those days are today.

One of the best parts about having those days, I just noticed, though, is learning how to be okay with them Рbeing able to be with people and share with them in the middle of it all.  If I can be clear that the unrealistic physical responses are just physical responses, and be okay with the fact that some people might not understand, while others will understand perfectly when I share with them about it, then the whole experience alters itself.

As I stood¬†there just now, balling, I said, “I am rather exhausted right now, so my emotional responses are quite exaggerated and somewhat uncontrolled. ¬†Yes, I know what just happened sucks, but there is no need for me to have such an extreme emotional and physical response as I am right now.” ¬†I no longer felt¬†embarrassed about the public display of red-eyed rain (and over a ‘nothing’ sort of problem). ¬†It’s almost a similar experience to having sneezed or shivered – it was suddenly just a bodily response, as opposed to a meaning-filled event, where clearly something is terribly wrong (or else just wrong with me).

So from now on, when it inevitably happens that I do not get enough sleep in life (because we can be real here), and my emotions seem to be on sadness steroids, rather than growing more upset at not being able to ‘manage myself’ and being embarrassed about crying over nothing in front of people I may or may not know too well, I can be at ease. ¬†Rather than wanting to cry more over the fact that I am crying, I can just breathe and communicate. ¬†I will be, almost instantly, just a girl again, instead of that poor, crying girl.

And that sounds loads better than the alternative.  ;P