A foreigner at home?

Have you ever felt out of place within your own culture?  As time passes, it happens to me more and more often.  Last night, I attended an event with coworkers.  The noise volume took me by slight surprise when I first arrived.  How can people be this loud? I thought.  And then I remembered almost before I finished asking the question: They’re americans (from the USA).

But I’m american from the US, too.  Wouldn’t I be used to this, then?

I quickly compared it to a drinking party at an izakaya (like a bar) with nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) in Japan.  Yes, the Japanese can get quite loud there.  It was never to the point of wanting to cover my ears, though, I hear myself thinking.  So, I am very much accustomed to a much quieter environment for parties, then.  I’m not just being a bit dramatic and overly sensitive to normal behavior and a normal situation.

Even still… I felt so oddly out of place, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with myself.  I ended up semi-hiding in the coatroom (it wasn’t a closet, but an actual room, I promise) to take a breather from all the people and the noise from time to time.  I also took extra-long any time I went to the bathroom, because it was cozy and quiet in there on my own. Yes, I could have just gone home.  However, I rarely spend time even around people who aren’t high schoolers right now, so I felt it was somewhat necessary – even if just for social practice – to spend time around adults, especially happy ones in a good, safe environment.

I definitely adjusted after a bit, but I still felt quite out of place for most of the event.  I guess I’m just not so USA american anymore… which doesn’t surprise me, really.  It’s just odd, not belonging in a place everyone calls my “home”.

Post-a-day 2017

Advertisements

Late-night shared delights

I remember the time I showed someone I love how to shift the gears in a manual car.  Actually, I remember all of the times I have done this.  However, one in particular came to mind tonight, and I smiled at the memory.

We had gotten secret donuts together on the way to drive her home.  She managed to do a good job shifting, as I drove and told her exactly what to do each time.  Afterward, the gear shifter was sticky.  I panicked at first, and then remembered the donuts.  Who’d have thunk that a sticky gear shifter could make me smile, as opposed to recoil in tears?  I cleaned it all off with little concern… something so rare for me.  It meant that I really loved her, as well as the experience.  I still treasure them both. 🙂

Post-a-day 2017

And the tears come rolling in

Today, I cried multiple times.  Some were at work, and some at home…, one even on the way home from work.  I am very tired right now, but the pains and hurts and strains of today, the ones that activated the crying, have reminded me of my time hiking Mt. Fuji.  It was painful, and annoyingly so, because I knew that I could do it, but so totally did not want to go through the hassle and pain that I knew would result by doing it.  And so were the various situations today – annoyingly painful, because I knew that I could (and still know that I can) deal with the various situations and circumstances, and they weren’t necessarily necessary for my life to move forward, so I just didn’t want to have to deal with them all (or any of them, really).  But I also knew/know that something useful awaits me, and will greet me upon my successful completion of dealing with the stuff.  So, I cried some today and now I will deal some more.

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

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

…holding out for a (anger) management position…

“The thing about giving yourself a pep talk is that secretly you know it’s all bullshit.”
That’s a quote from a Sophie Kinsella book (Remember Me?, I think).  Today has kind of been a day where I got to live it.  Though, since I already knew this, any effort to give myself a pep talk was dropped almost before I started.  It’s not that I actually think life as I know or want it is coming to an end – indeed, the good stuff has only just begun.  But knowing that has almost no effect on the feelings of total misery and hopelessness that arise when I hit places like my current one.  Sure, I accept then, thank the feelings for sharing, and then move on to what’s next, but they really do suck when they’re busy hanging around.

I have been experiencing another one of these odd feelings of waiting lately.  It is as though there is a set amount of time I must go before I find a job again, and then, after that time period, everything will fall into place perfectly, and the waiting will have been totally worth the misery.

However, when I get these feelings, I always have to take a first step, be proactive somehow, in order for things to fall into place.  As I see myself growing more angry and on-edge each day, I find it more and more difficult to do anything productive, anything that could help with that first step.  I even have some plans for that step, yet here I lie, miserable and without having taken any action for them today.  I guess I would have to give up the idea that this isn’t where I want to be right now, living at my mom’s.  I moved out years ago, intentionally, and had no intentions of returning for residency.  Not for desire to be independent or anything of the sort, but because I don’t want to live the lifestyle of this house… at all.  Nor do I want to be treated like a kid again, as my mother does automatically most of the time whenever I am here.  Any time she has visited me in my own home, or anywhere else when I’ve not been living with her, she has treated me differently.  Sure, she’s always still a mom, and fussed at me for this or that.  However, it is not like how a parent talks to a child, how it is now.

Anyway, I have some things to get started with doing.  I want to live elsewhere, and yet here I am – this is what is available to me currently.  I want a good job that I love, and here am I, without employment.  So, little by little, I guess I have some steps to take, including figuring out what they are.  I know I’ll be all right, I really do.  It has just been mentally rough lately, and I so want to be finished with this near-constant anger, annoyance, and sense of hopelessness.  Guess it’s well about time I chat with Jude, hmm?  (I’ll start there, and see what I can brainstorm in that mental conversation.)
P.S. Bonus points to you, if you know what movie helped to inspire the title of this post.  It’s a family favorite of ours.  My cat even watched it with me after I first got him.  And he really did watch it.  It was kind of weird that he did, really, but also totally cute.

Post-a-day 2017

The flood waters rise

Perhaps this is a temporary theme in my life right now.  Every year, right at this time, there is a sort of uncomfortable and somewhat scary experience with water.  Last year’s event had to do with the ocean and life, and this year’s is rain and houses.  Last year, I began a journey of self-discovery in the sense of never apologizing for who I am.  This is not to say that I shove things into people’s faces – by no means.  I must still be responsible for who and how I am, however, I need not change myself or my ways for fear of offense or even not fitting in.  In other words, I need not apologize via actual words (e.g. “I’m sorry.”) nor by altering my intended actions (e.g. Suddenly shaving my legs, because it is a cultural standard).  I have spent this past year truly learning how to live that in my daily life.  And the lesson is certainly not finished, as I continue in it every day.  I even fail sometimes, but it happens less and less often, and every instance empowers me, no matter the outcome.

This year, we have a hurricane-turned-tropical storm that has decided to cleanse the Greater Houston Area, and then some.  Hurricanes are typical around here at this time of year.  However, the amount of rain caused in five days by a particularly bad hurricane many years ago, has been dropped to the Earth in only two days this weekend.  And the rain clouds still have another three to five somewhat sedentary days of pouring before they are expected to move along.  We have breaks – there’s one right now – in the rain, so that helps with spirits considerably.  However, not all of the city is above the 100-year flood plane, as we are here.  My sister and her family live in a particularly terrible flooding area, and somehow hitched a ride on a canoe this afternoon, and ended up at a nearby church for safe shelter – her house had what looked like a foot of water inside it, despite its being several feet above the level of the road.  Supposedly, as they were all leaving (two other families were in their house, since they had still had power [the floor was still dry at the time], making it around, I’d guess, 13 people, five of them children aged five years and under), the water had reached the base of the stop sign at the corner by her house.

While my sister has done a good job of keeping spirits throughout the day, and even sent out an adorable photo of two of the kids in a super inflatable boat/raft that one might use for tubing, I have wondered what her thoughts are on all of her things in their house.  It is quite likely that they will lose a huge chunk of their possessions.  In the aforementioned photo, I saw family paintings on the walls, and wondered at them.  They have such a huge history with family arguments and disagreements and, I think, even some police involvement.  Not those particular paintings in her house necessarily, but paintings by that particular family member.  It just had me wonder about the point of it all.  Why did they all argue and share so much anger over things that now could disappear so easily from our lives?  And then I wonder, “Why do we do that with any material objects?”  Anything could be lost at any given moment for this or that reason.  Why do we care so much about these objects in the first place?

And so, I wonder if that is this year’s work.  It has already been on my mind off and one the past few weeks and couple or few months, and this past year’s topic was the same last year, being on my mind here and there already months before my water incident.  And, also like last year, I am granted the option to pursue the idea, to learn by will instead of by requirement or force of any kind.  My house and things are safe right now, and are likely to continue to be safe from this entire storm.  The question is simply one of how much I am willing to let go of the things that I own.  I am scared, but in a very good way.

Post-a-day 2017