What scares you…

In college, I took on a challenge for a short while to do at least one things every day that scared me.  The goal was to challenge the box of my comfort zone, and to experience life more fully than I had been so far.  I learned that doing “something that scared me” didn’t mean that I had to do something dangerous or stupid, like climb the side of a tower.  Fear doesn’t exist only at its most extreme level.  Often, the scary task I took on was as simple as asking someone a question, or admitting that I do not know something people think I know or expect me to know.

One day, it was trying out a longboard.  I have tried skateboarding on my own several times.  Each time has been more advanced than the previous, but each time has ended in a very painful fall…, leaving me quite uninterested in the sport for at least a couple years.  However, I have always wanted to learn to be comfortable with skateboarding.  One day on campus, I was walking across one of the courtyards, and found myself watching someone longboard, and chatting with a couple people.  The longboard guy offered for me to try it out.  I was about to decline the offer, until I noticed that the reason was because I am afraid.  And so, I told him about my current daily goal, that I was terrified of the longboard and why (also something that was scary to express, because being afraid of a skateboard is not something I am exactly proud of declaring), and then I asked if he could help with that fear.

His response was perfect.  He was sweet and kind, and totally understanding.  His attitude alone eased most of my fear.  He gave me wonderful tips and advice for how to do the longboard, and even held onto me for a bit, so I could get the feel for it, before going at it alone.  It was fabulous.  Both the feelings of going beyond my fear and that of riding the longboard were spectacular, and I was incredibly grateful for the experience.

And I wouldn’t have had that experience if I hadn’t consciously taken on doing at least one thing every day that scared me.  I haven’t been doing it daily anymore, but I make a real effort to notice when fear is stopping me in my daily life activities.  Sometimes, I still do not succeed in doing that thing that scared me.  Oftentimes, however, I find myself pulling through, and it almost always turns out wonderfully.

Today was one of those times, where I did something that really scared me, and which embarrassed me just a bit that I was scared of it.  But I did it, and it turned out wonderfully… and it might get even better with time, too.  Today’s was a good one.  A really good one.  🙂

 

As my German teacher later quoted to us constantly, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” (Neale Donald Walsch, I believe)  It truly does.  It truly does.  🙂

 

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

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

Sometimes…

Sometimes, things fall apart, free from control or attempts to do anything else with them.

Sometimes, things come together, free from control or attempts to do anything else with them.

And sometimes, the difference between the former and the latter is that action was desperate and limited in the former, but honest and free in the latter.

Life sure is beautiful, ain’t it? 😉

Post-a-day 2017

Water on my mind

I am unnerved, and I don’t know what else to share.  I feel false even considering any other topic, as this is at the forefront of my mind.  This storm is scary.  Period.  The winds were so weak, it hardly felt like a hurricane as it flew above us, spinning along at its loping pace.  And the rain has reached such an amount that I might just forever be afraid of rain from here on out.  Water is powerful.  It is truly powerful.  Oh, how I would love to be the kid with the water ring from Captain Planet right now… or that guy from Twilight…

Post-a-day 2017

The weather continues

Electricity was restored only a few handfuls of minutes after it was lost here in our house last night.  However, the rain has off-and-on taken up temporary residence around us throughout last night, today, and this evening, giving us more water than anyone might ever want in such a short amount of time.  And tornadoes decided to show up with the rain in certain areas throughout the past 22-ish hours.

If we were just talking about rain and wind and thunder and lightning, I’d be quite all right.  But that last little addition to the standing hurricane (now tropical storm) has me nervous about going upstairs to shower or sleep.

It is never a good feeling when this is how your town’s winds look.


Again and still, I pray that we all be happy, healthy, holy.

Post-a-day 2017