Our Stories

“Share your story here…”. Share your story here.  Share your story here?  What is my story?

Tonight, my story is that I am like Rapunzel, locked on my own in a tower, merely dreaming of what life could be if only I weren’t stuck in this tower.  I want to cuddle up and cry with my despair and loneliness.  The earth just shook long and low beneath me, deepening my unease for a handful of seconds.  I don’t want to turn off the light – there seems to be a certain power in its being illuminated (and I do not mean the electricity), a power to keep me safe and okay and able to handle things.

Tonight, my story is that I am lonely and alone, and, though I am so close to being in a place I could and do call home, I feel as though I am in the point A to point B race where you constantly only go half the distance, thereby making progress toward the desired destination, but never actually arriving there.

Also, that just reminded me of how much I love Patrick Swayze.  I wish I could have been in the film “Dirty Dancing”.

Anyway… I want to cry tonight, and to let it all go, leaving me to wake up refreshed and excited and capable in the morning.
Post-a-day 2017

The power of words

Today, I was told that something I had done was “really scummy”.  The truly unfortunate parts of this statement were the actions it was describing and the fact that they were falsely linked to me.  Put another way, I did not do what the person claimed that I had done (the action that was then, by that same person, declared to be “really scummy”).

As I absorbed the words, I felt a sort of shock and denial.  No, this person couldn’t be thinking straight – this must be coming from a state of panic of some sort.  It makes no sense otherwise.

And yet, here I am, hours and hours later, still with an underlying desire to cry desperately.  I did not do it.  I did not do it.  And I even took extra efforts ahead of time for the situation to go across as the exact opposite – I asked for help from all over to make sure what I would do would be fair and reasonable in every way possible.  I did not behave in a “scummy” fashion, and I did not do what I was declared to have done.

That person’s words affect me nonetheless.  To my dearest insides am I filled with a sense of desperation, sadness, shock, smallness.  I was helping freely, voluntarily in a situation that desperately could use some help from me in particular, and the one being helped spat on me.

I do not know if I will remove the help from the table.  Perhaps.  I merely know that those words hurt and were inaccurate, making them hurt even more, making their effect last.

I already cried on the phone to my mom, which was a somewhat unexpected occurrence.  While that cry was helpful, I still have an uneasy tightness within me, welling up, and dripping on my pillow in the form of salty water droplets.
***Oddly enough, this was in my bedtime reading tonight.  How coincidental, right? ūüėõ
Post-a-day 2017

Tears for Art

Today, I cried a decent number of times.  I was exhausted, and still am (Therefore, I will keep this short.).  However, I only want to reference one of the cryings right now.

A student gave me her small piece of art today, after I complimented it to her.  As I was gazing at my newly acquired work of art, looking into the face of the person in it, I noticed that tears were starting to brim, and there was nothing to be done about it.  It was beautiful, and I was responding in a way I usually do not respond to beauty, though understand and accept fully.

Now, I want that student to do a portrait of me, color and all.
Post-a-day 2017

Workouts, Teachers, Tears, & Careers

I honestly don’t know how to describe today. It was good and bad and wonderful and horrible and surprising and loads of other stuff, too. I’m not sure there’re real words for it, even. And not in a bad way, of course. Just in an indescribable way. You know?

I guess the best way to describe it is by saying that today was filled with love.

I found out on Tuesday, that one of the teachers at my gym was leaving at the end of the month (i.e. this Friday).  I was rather distraught upon learning the news.  However, I wasn’t too surprised about it – she had always seemed like a superstar in our kind of gym.  We are casual, everyday family, exercising together and having fun.  She is one of the most fit, beautiful, sexy women I have ever known.  And her enthusiasm and real-ness are both top notch.

She has this one class that is insanely difficult, though totally simple, and today was the last time that she she would be teaching it.  Afterward, she kind got a little red-eyed after one lady hugged her after our high fives (she always starts and ends that particular class with enthusiastic hang tens).  When she was saying a thank-you to everyone, I started to redden around the eyes, too.  And, when she started to talk to me while I was finishing putting away my weights and bands, I just went full-out crying, and we hugged multiple times, both crying and saying thank you (in Japanese, of course) to each other.

The gym won’t and can’t be the same without her, though I know it will still be good.  In the midst of my depression, this gym, and especially this teacher’s classes, were the main thing that started me on my road to becoming myself again, and they now have been a fixture in my life.  I have never before scheduled activities around a gym schedule, nor preferred to spend hours at the gym on my own instead of, well, doing anything else.  The gym was my life for a while, and it was what helped me to be healthy enough to find more to be part of my life.  And, now that this teacher and her classes are going to be gone, I can now spend more time doing those other things that I want to be part of my life (because, up to now, I have tended to cancel other activities when they coincided with her classes, because I so loved her classes).

Plus, at some point, I am going to be leaving myself, so I needn’t be too upset at her leaving first.  But that isn’t exactly the point.  Tangent-ish.  Anyway…

The group gave her flowers, and we took a group photo with her, and various folks were crying (or perhaps it was just she and I), and it was super sweet.  

When I asked for the group photo, I got to find out that she is going to be studying instead now – she wants to study physical training and English, and working here keeps her from having the time to do that.  So she’s giving up one love for a greater one. And, when she asked about when I’m leaving Japan, she was all surprised and distraught that it’s so soon (four-ish months), but was really excited for my own plans for what’s next in my life.  She could relate to how I felt about wanting to pursue the things most important to me, even if they seem a bit abnormal or crazy.

Then we took a few selfies together, at her request, even finding better lighting to make sure they were good ones, and then we hugged some more before a final goodbye.  She didn’t ask for solo pictures with anyone else – just the one big group picture.

All in all, it was awesome.  And, possibly the best part, is how much love I felt.  From me to her and from her to me, there was so much love.  I don’t know lots of Japanese (though I understand a good amount), so I don’t typically start much chit-chat with people, simply because I don’t have the words.  I always would find ways to talk with her – often using English, which often resulted in a fun befuddlement on both sides of the conversation.  She was always hesitant to use English herself, but she usually understood me, and I usually could understand her, so it worked.  However, her hesitation with English made me wonder if it were the English or the Hannah that had her be hesitant.  I always suspected it to be the English, but it wasn’t until today that I really discovered that for sure.  She loves me and I love her.  And I believe I have never cried over any kind of teacher the way I cried over her today after our last class with her.
Post-a-day 2017

 

Pork Buns and Handkerchiefs

Today, at the train station, my brother and I were looking for a place to sit down and eat our lunch. ¬†We found a single spot on this rounded bench, and went for it. ¬†I originally attempted sitting on my bag, but was uncertain as to its ability to withstand the weight, so ended up sitting on the bench (at my brother’s insistence), with my brother squatting in front of me. ¬†We were chitchatting about the food as he opened up the bags (it was some dumplings and pork buns from this famous local bun shop, 551), and the old lady next to me readjusted her belongings a bit, and scooted to her left enough of army brother to sit down next to me.

He thanked her in a fabulous Japanese fashion (so proud!), and took the seat.  As he had the box of buns in his hands, when he opened it up, he offered one of them to the lady.  After some coercing, she finally accepted a half, and even one of the shrimp dumplings, as well (she seemed to perk up a bit when she saw the dumplings, and had no hesitation in the offer of one of those).

She and my brother continued a bit of chitchat about the fact that the buns were from the famous shop, as well as why each of them was there (This was all in Japanese, of course, so I understood the bulk, but couldn’t quite jump into the conversation due to the Japanese and the fact that we were on a rounded bench, so I couldn’t quite see the lady, unless I leaned way forward.). ¬†Eventually, after she learned that I was his younger sister, I heard the same comment I always seem to get here in Japan: that I am “cute”. ¬†While it is not exactly something we love to be called back in the US, it is actually a quite nice compliment here in Japan.

Then, as my brother explained about my living in Japan, she asked me how I liked it. ¬†I gave a half smile and wobbled my head a bit, but couldn’t bring myself to spit out any words – I truly had no idea how to answer, and I could feel something uncomfortable rising inside me already. ¬†Fortunately, my brother, perhaps sensing my hesitation-slash-unwillingness-to-answer, took over answering the question for me.

His answer, however, surprised me Рhe was quite open and honest with the woman.  I, just in thinking about it all was already starting to tear up, but I felt a small sense of relaxation and relief as I listened to my brother share with the lady how I was not having too easy or good a time (and that that was part of why I had come down to visit him for the weekend).  I had finished eating what I was going to eat, so I excused myself, saying it would be good to jump in the line for the bathroom before I had to go get on my train.

Once I reached the bathroom line, I couldn’t help it, the feeling was so overpowering: tears started pouring down my burning eyes, as I gasped quietly for air. ¬†I couldn’t quite understand what was happening with me. ¬†I had noticed that I was a bit borderline already earlier in the day (borderline tears, that is), but I hadn’t known why, nor had I expected something like this to send me into such a state as I was now.

I used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and went back out to my brother, who was standing ready by my bag. ¬†I broke right back into tears when he asked if I was alright, and he just held me in a big brother hug for a bit, soothing me, before gently telling me that I had about 8 minutes before my train, so we’d do well to head toward the gate now.

He was holding a marigold handkerchief in a little clear plastic bag, and he proffered it to me, explaining that it was dyed with actual marigold, and the old lady and her sister (the one whose son is a pianist, and whose concert the old lady was coming to see) had wanted me to have it.  They said that they wanted me to enjoy my time in Japan, and that they hoped things improved for me.  They had wanted to talk to me, too, but had had to leave, so they left the well-wishes and the handkerchief with my brother to pass on to me.

Naturally, there were even more tears at this point, but with a slightly different edge to them.  : )

As we hurried off toward my train, I expressed how my visit to my brother and his girlfriend was so wonderful, that, now that it was at an end, it was difficult for me to think about going back to my life, my town. ¬†I had gotten a taste of so much of what I had been missing these past seven-ish months, and I didn’t want to go back. ¬†Not that I had any intention of not going back – there was just a taste of dislike for what awaited me. ¬†I had finally started to be accustomed with my circumstances, it was hard being reminded of what had been wanting from my life. ¬†I know that I’ll be okay, and that I likely will very much enjoy these next few months – it’s just never so easy to go back to plain white bread when you’ve had all your favorites available to you. ¬†(That sort of idea, anyway)

Yeah… that’s all I have to say about that. ¬†: )

 

Post-a-day 2017

 

 

Dreams that inspire tears

This morning, I woke up in such comfort as I had not known in months.  As I began to come to, though, confusion roused within me.  When I finally discovered where and when and what I was, I pitifully crunched myself under the blankets, smashing my face into the mattress, and resisting the intense, despairing urge to cry.

Why all of this, just from waking today?  My dreams.  I cannot say how many times this has happened, but I do know that it is incredibly rare for me Рwhen I awoke this morning, I initially believed that what had just been my dreams were, in fact, memories from actual events.  They, of course, were only dreams.

On this occasion of dreaming, I was wandering around a warm, beautiful place (beautiful in the sense of the space, as opposed to scenery)¬†with a friend of mine. ¬†His parents were in and out of the events, too. ¬†At one point, we were all participating in a¬†fun effort to help a group play fabulous music (It was like a modern-day version of pumping the organ, but for the musical ensemble as one large unit in need of this pumping.). ¬†We all sighed happily¬†from the effort when the music was finished, and walked separate ways from the band’s setup to relax after the sort of workout. ¬†My friend handed me a local coin, mentioning the nickname people have for it, and thus his reason for giving it to me. ¬†We both laughed as he passed it to me with a slight flourish-esque bow (think old-timey British servants presenting something to the master), and then he gave me a kiss on my forehead, rather casually.

I smiled, and even gave a small chuckle at the gesture, both via the sweet joke about the coin and comparing it to me and the loving kiss. ¬†We each briefly said something else, immediately after which, he casually lifted my chin and gave me a full, brief, and, again, casual kiss, this time on the lips. ¬†I was surprised, though not opposed, and even had willingly accepted/participated in the act. ¬†We both turned to resume whatever it was we were doing before these two kisses, but glanced back at one another¬†as¬†his eyes went wide and he made a face of “Uh-oh.”

  1. He’s not one for public displays of affection. ¬†2. ¬†His parents were nearby.

Naturally, his mother, though across the room, had noticed, as we could tell by her loud and calmly delighted, “Aaaaaaaaah, whaaaat is thaat, exactly, hmmm?” ¬†And his dad expressed a chuckled agreement to the question.

I replied quickly and with honesty and ease, “Oh, we don’t even know, really. ¬†He can’t seem to make up his mind about it, and I’m too lazy to do anything about it.”

And we were all, in a semi-silly way, happy and together and lovingly content.  My friend slipped his arm around my waist, and pulled me into a big sideways hug as I said the words to his mother, and everyone had a nice laugh or chuckle of true and easy contentment.

 

And that was it, really.

And it was all so believable, because of the experience of being there. ¬†It was real joy and caring for one another (all of us) and ease – life was easy with all of us together, where we were, just like it is when I am with family and my closest friend (a different friend from this one). ¬†So, when I awoke this morning, I was going from perfection (you know, the goofy ‘life is perfectly imperfect’ kind of perfection) and the bliss that followed after such an experience, to a cold (literally) realization that my circumstances are actually the opposite from how it felt they were…

How’s that for a start to a Friday, huh? ¬†Though, I do recall how our dreams help us handle all sorts of psychological struggles, it kind of makes me even sadder. ¬†How bad off am I right now that my sub-conscience decided I needed that kind of and that specific dream? ¬†Kind of made me hope for it to have been an accident that I’d had such a dream, as opposed to intentional in any way.

But, after the rough day that has been today, I’d be quite happy to continue these dreams tonight. ¬†Even though they have a¬†near¬†zero percent chance of coming true, I’ll be able at least to go back to sleep in the morning, free and at ease, because it will be Saturday, and one with no specific daytime plans but to sleep in. ¬†And everything feels better when you get to sleep in. ¬†ūüôā

 

Post-a-day 2017

“Cheer up, Charlie”

Today I continued with my breakdown, in search of what is in the way for my having a breakthrough.

I sat on the stairwell as a sort of escape, and a fabulous English-speaker found me and chatted me up for the whole first period… I managed to find some things behind a lot of my stress, and it allowed me to let go of a Lot of my struggles; I even made jokes about how ridiculous I was seeing things, and I meant them with a happy, goofy, joking heart.  I mean, I totally cried my eyes out, as well, but the conversation created this beautiful clearing for me, and the person talking with me was just incredible at accepting me where I was, and letting me be however I needed to be.

At the end of it, she said, somewhat singsong-y, “Cheer up.” I added, “Charlie…” to finish the tune it sounded like she was carrying, and ended up laughing and crying a bit more.

I went and found the song, and listened to it before I had to do anything else, and it became my personal heart song around the whole situation (I kind of made up that term, but it seems to give the right experience). I plan to listen to it every day that I find myself stressed about my job again.

So, these are good things, of course.  However, the thing I most want to share is what happened this afternoon.

I went ahead and sent the YouTube link to that person from the stairwell (I had her e-mail as of or conversation, you see), so that she could hear the song (since she had never seen the film (only the Johnny Depp “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”)). This was during the morning.  Around two or three p.m., she comes by my desk and tells me with a smile, ‘I received the song you sent to me, and I just listened to it in the bathroom. It is quite nice. Thank you for sending it to me.’

‘In the BATHroom? Just now? Really??’

Chuckling quietly, ‘Yes… it was the only place that is out of the way, so it would not bother anyone.’

I was delighted. And still am. ūüėÄ
I'm part of Post A Day 2016