Just…oh, man…

Today, I have been in an area that feels like the end of my whits in terms of toleration of things.  Even the little things, the ones that usually are very oh, well, whatever to me, evoked strong reactions from me today.  To be fair, I did have a good amount of nonsense and frustration today with school.  And I am quite tired.  I struggled driving home tonight, and it was hardly after 8:30.  By 9:00, I was sort of an angry emotional wreck, desperately prepping and eating some food, in a state of distress.  Now, showered and sitting on my bed, I have tears edging their way out of me, though I haven’t felt any in waiting all day.  (Except for during the really good bits of the opera, of course, but that’s totally different from the rest of the day’s events and emotions.)

I am angry, to at least frustrated, and I’m not sure why… and I worry that it is for health reasons that I am so stressed.  Part of me wants to be right, but I think more of me wants to be wrong… and I worry that I am right, anyway.

I’m hardly making sense, I think, so I’ll just go to sleep, possibly sobbing a bit to relieve whatever this is coming up right now.  I had a similarly-strong-emotion day this past weekend, and I wonder if they are related to the same underlying concern to which I have considered attributing today’s emotional state.

Anyway… goodnight, please.

Post-a-day 2017

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Missing…

I miss my bed in Japan. My bedroom, especially, is one thing I miss most these days. It was a haven for me. No matter what kind of chaos or boredom lurked in my life, every night, my bedroom awaited me in calm, open, and empty space… in beauty. I shut my doors, and was safe in my retreat from everything else. Only love and blessings were ever allowed into my bedroom. I wasn’t even allowed to walk in it if I hadn’t recently showered. Clean clothes, my ukulele and ukulele music, my nighttime books, and water and tissues were just about all that ever went in there, aside from a clean me and my bed.

My bedroom now is slightly larger, but filled with boxes and stuff… a sentimentality to which I am not so sure I still want to cling. I think I am afraid that I will forget the memories, if I get rid of the objects. I do not, for the most part, want the objects, but the memories and the ways I felt. Without the objects, what will remind me?

Post-a-day 2017

Opera, Veterans, and Travel

I have two things on my mind right now: opera and emotions.

Tonight, due to the gracious encouragement of a new acquaintance, I found myself attending a unique performance, called “Glory Denied” and put on by Houston Grand Opera and HGOco.  The main character is a man in the Vietnam War, who becomes a prisoner of war for nine years, and then eventually returns to the USA.  The story, essentially, is how his life falls apart throughout it all.  It is sad and tragic, and the music only makes it more so.  The setting of the performance being an old airplane hangar that has turned into a museum added to the show itself.  The comedic and especially unique bit of the night was the fact that directions to the bathrooms included going “around the helicopter tail.”

Now, this opera was sad.  Period.  And I knew it was sad beforehand, so I made an effort to stay detached from it.  I have a history of becoming too engulfed by something to be able to separate myself from it fully.  When I read books, it is so easy for me to fall into the narrator’s experiences, that I find myself being agitated in life, if the narrator was agitated wherever I left off in my reading, or giddy and joyful, if that was his/her mood.  I even take on phrases and mannerisms of the characters, and ask myself questions that I am accustomed to reading (or hearing, if it is an audiobook) from them.  I’m not sure that I’ve been ever as on-edge, frown-y, tense, and distrusting as I was while listening to the Hunger Games audiobooks.  Life was intense during that one.  That is why I wanted to keep my distance tonight, because I know people have very intense experiences when it comes to war.

As I watched the opera, I found myself wondering if these people, the performers, ever have to deal with such a thing as I do.  Do they have repercussions in their daily lives, due to the effect playing that particular character had on their mental state?  Do they find themselves questioning their sanity, when they have been playing a character whose scale leans too far toward the insane?  I wonder.

And I almost succeeded in staying separate from the emotions of the characters.  I made it through most of the show safely, but then a surprising part hit me hard.  As the main character begins pouring out the shattering sorrows of adjusting to a changed world, back in the USA after nine years of imprisonment, I was dragged into his experience.  Tears rolled slowly down my face, unbidden.  No, I have never been a POW nor even been in a war, but I have been in my own version of that same homecoming.  No parades, no parties, no photos nor celebrations.  Life around me is unchanged by my silent arrival to the country I call home.  Did they even notice my return?  The characters sang of the expectations a returning veteran might have of his family and friends, – that they be as loving and excited about him as they were when he left, and that they were missing and thinking of him as much as he was of them during his absence – and of the unstable feeling of returning to a physical world – one in which he had always felt stability – that has altered dramatically, and even unrecognizably in places.

I know this experience.  Again, not the whole war and POW stuff.  Certainly not that.  Living abroad several times, I have been in my own version of this veteran’s experience after the war.  I have learned and improved each time, and I have done my best in more recent years to prepare myself for how people will have changed by the time I return to Houston.  No matter what I do, though, there is always a sort of anticipation, a hopeful expectation of how they will be.  They will be the best versions of themselves with me, and their love will fill me constantly.  They will be patient with me, and gentle.  They will be interested in my experience since I have been gone.  All of this, because they have missed me and thought longingly of me as I have of them, throughout all of my new struggles in this new life I was living temporarily.  And then, when I arrive, finding that this is not the case, they are not as I had unconsciously expected, it is confusing.  I recognize the place and the people, but they are both different from what I left, and I cannot quite see how or why.  They have not been through what I have.  They have not had my struggles.  So why do they not comfort me and love me as I have so needed during my absence, as I so need now?  They are different from how I remember them, from how they have existed in my mind while we have been apart.  But so am I, and I see that they have mistaken who I am now, for an image they have built of me inside their own minds.  They can see that I have changed, and I can see that they have changed, but we don’t understand one another’s change, and it is difficult to cope, to fathom, even.  And there is always that extra edge of my experiences having been good reason for me to have changed, but theirs were not.

I have not been in the military nor in a war, but I know this small, unsettling, and somewhat worldview-shattering experience of coming home to a now-foreign home.  As the lead character raged about his home being so not like the home he once knew, I was dragged into the pain, feeling my own current struggles of readjustment coming forth from deep inside.  I am still living in his pain today, though I have been back for a few months.  And it hurt even more still, as I saw that my own experience of struggle has lasted so long, although I was only gone for a year this time.  How terribly long this period of struggle must have been for this man, must still be for veterans returning today.  I went from peaceful times to peaceful times, and my pain still lingers.  They likely did not and still do not have such peace on both ends.

I am forever grateful that veterans have made that sacrifice of ease, in order to do what they believed best to help the world at large.  I am concerned that we do not do enough to help them with the latter end of their tours, with their returns and readjustments.  It is difficult enough altering a regular lifestyle in one culture to a regular one in another culture, like what I have done so often.  It is practically unfathomable to go from comfort to a war zone lifestyle, and then back to a house in a safe, city life lifestyle – is the brain ever ready to cope with a change so drastic and so quick?  I found myself wanting to hug and hold the characters in the show all tightly to my chest, and to fill them all with love and acceptance of whoever they are and in whatever place they are mentally/emotionally/psychologically.  ‘You are safe here, you are important here, and you are perfect as you are.’  I know it was only a show, but it exists only because the story itself is real, and all too common, I believe.

Post-a-day 2017

 

 

Good morning… fancy an earthquake?

This morning, I woke up around five in an extreme panic.  My bed was shaking, and my subconscience was sure that the building soon would be tumbling down – this was a massive earthquake, and it was lasting… already almost a minute before I could get my bearings and turn on a light.

And then, as I discovered where exactly I was, – in the USA, and specifically Texas – it took me another moment to discover what was happening.  I knew that it was not an earthquake.  It was not the gymnasium over my head, either, as it was in a place where I briefly worked immediately after arriving to the US.  So, what was it?  ‘What is going on?!’ my insides demanded to know.

And then I heard it: a wind-filled noise, accompanied by a soft chugging sound of deep iron.  It was a train.  While the sounds of trains have never much bothered me, even when I lived beside tracks in the past, I’m not sure that I ever noticed a shaking tied to the passing of one.  Nonetheless, I experienced it in full force this morning.

After I realized that it was simply a passing train, – though, I was still surprised at how much it shook the house and its contents – and not an earthquake, I mentally noted that I didn’t even have to start panicking.  A few seconds after this noting, my body finally began to respond to the threat of the earthquake.  It had been as though I were in a fight or flight mode, and so hadn’t had the various responses tied to the fear in the perceived situation.  Once I was safe, they all kicked into action, and I began shaking all by my self.  I was physically panicking now.  My breathing tighted to a near non-existence, and my heart raced.  My skin prickled all over, and I had to force myself to swallow and then take slow, deep breaths.

I wonder if it will happen again this morning…

Post-a-day 2017

My real voice

In college, I spent a summer studying in Germany.  It was a language school setup, filled with foreigners, but in such a small town that everyone knew that we were studying German, and so everyone always spoke to us all in German.  I had already studied abroad a few times before this adventure, and I had learned firsthand about what works and what doesn’t work, in terms of language immersion.  I was dedicated to learning German, and so I made sure that I only spoke in German with others, even if they spoke to me in English.  This made friendships hard among the people in my program’s group, since they all used English together; I came across a bit snobby, but I was just really committed to learning German.

I made friends with other foreigners rather easily, though, and especially ones in higher levels of German, which was even better for me.  My German was improving immensely.  But this led to a unique situation one day.

One day, near the end of either my time at the school or my friend Paul’s time there (he’s British), I found myself faced with a desperate Paul, actually begging me to speak English.  Why?! was my repeated question to his pleas.

“Because I want to hear what you sound like!”

I don’t know if he was pleased or not by how I sound in English, but I spoke a little for him.  And it was way weird, using English with him, despite the fact that I’d heard him speak English loads, and that it’s our common native language.  I had just never used it with him.

And then this brought up a unique and interesting sentiment.  He wanted to hear me, and that meant speaking English.  I can guess that my native tongue was the one in which Paul believed my identity to lie.  I know that it felt like I was setting aside a sort of mask when I switched to English with him.  I even felt a little called-out… as though I had been hiding somehow, and it had been behind German.  The real me (I) lay in English, in the English part of me.

Yet, years later, here I am, missing the parts of me that belong to these different languages in which I have lived.  A part of me, true me (I), exists only on German, and others in French, in Spanish, and in Japanese. So much so that the real me (I) is this whole combination of languages – I feel a huge emptiness and feel not myself when I am using only English in my daily life.  I listen to Spanish-speaking radio when I’m in Houston, mostly because I don’t get to use Spanish often enough.  I read every night in French, and trade off an English book for a German one at times for my evening reading, too.  I regularly pull out a Spanish book to read, or my German audiobooks.  And I have noticed that I have been searching for a tolerably satisfying way to have Japanese in my near-daily life, too.  (For now, it has just been the occasional music, and a perpetual repeat of a certain song being stuck in my head.)  When I don’t have them all, it is as though a part of me is missing, and suddenly getting to speak with someone in them, almost reminds me of that mask I was setting aside in Germany with Paul… like I am again setting aside some mask I have been wearing.

Perhaps it is now a mask of monolingualism, pretending that I only speak English, while I long for the world to talk to me in several languages, all the time.

Anyway… I’m exhausted.  And I miss Paul.  He was studying opera, and was a really great guy.  I wonder if he’s been really successful with opera these past several years.  Maybe I can go see him perform one day.  That would be awesome.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

a place in our world

Sometimes I wonder about whether there really will be a place for me in our modern, developing world.  There so many things that are becoming commonplace that go against so much of who I am.   From the simplest tiny things to morals to lifestyle to core beliefs and thinking patterns, I notice a difference between so much of how the society functions around me and what is in me, myself.  I realize that, somehow, I will have a place in the world, but I wonder if it is in the part of the world I already know, or if I will find myself in an entirely different society, somewhere else in the world… not in what I consider my home.

I just wonder…

Post-a-day 2017

Mr. Right

I’ve been thinking tonight about my Prince Charming, my personal one, my desired future.  It all started with thinking about musical theater as I showered.  As most shower stream-thoughts go, I ended up on a very loosely connected tangent.  Do you know the song by Chris August called “Stranger”?  It’s a beautiful song, and I fell in love with it several years ago.  A lot happened related to that song, but let’s not go there now.  While some specific lyrics rolled through my head over and over again, as song lyrics so often do, something struck me.

I dreamed you.  
Now, I’ve found you.  
Call off the search, 
’cause I found my stranger.

Those were the specifically inspiring words tonight.  Though I have listened to the song more times than I know, and I know every word still, despite having stopped listening to it years ago (for reasons I won’t mention just yet), I have never had the thought that followed those words as they repeated in my head tonight.

“I have never dreamt you.”

Though I have wished and wished, and even hoped and prayed and asked for my partner in life, I have never dreamed him up.  I have begun ideas before, but I have never come up with what my partner in life actually is.  You could ask me now, and I would have no idea what to tell you about the partner I want.  Sure, there are plenty of things I know that I don’t want, but everything else seems to change with how I feel each day, each time someone asks me about it.

Now, I don’t exactly see this as a bad thing.  I just happened to realize that I have never dreamed him up.  So, I can never have Chris August’s song become a reality for me – I can’t find my stranger.  I don’t even have a vision in my head of what it looks like being with someone.  Every time I have dreams where there seems to be a sort of partnership, I always seem to be the one taking care of someone else – the traditionally male role.  Or, perhaps it is the mother role I play.  I already seem to do that all over the place in life.  It’s the reason I have always wondered if I can ever find someone to take care of me.  But I digress…

I realized in the shower that I have no image of a person.  I don’t know if I’m looking for someone tall, dark, and handsome.  I don’t know if he is foreign or domestic made.  I don’t even know what kind of skin he has.  Again, I don’t necessarily see this as bad.  I am just noticing it.  I also notice how so many others seem to have dreamed up their partners years before they even have begun dating others.  I mean, they seem to know what they want.  By having that idea of what they want, they are able to seek it out.  Sometimes, when they find it, they realize they didn’t want it after all.  And sometimes they find something better along the way.  But they have something to pursue.  I don’t even have an idea to seek out, a type of someone or something to pursue.  Perhaps that is an issue with being so open to the world and to new ideas, and for knowing that what I see or think isn’t always the best that the universe has to offer.

Post-a-day 2017