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

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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

Getting to the airport

So, I still hate living in Japan, and it reminded me of this fact on my way to the airport this morning.  However, I also still truly love parts of this place and culture.  My trip to the airport reminded me of this fact, too.

As I struggled with three rolling bags and a guitar (I know, I know – stupid.  But it was unavoidable.), the terrible signage and lack of findable elevators was driving me insane, along with the constant rumble strips for hard-of-seeing individuals (I don’t blame anyone for that – it merely added to my struggle, is all, with the suitcase wheels constantly getting stuck in them.).  

So, rather than just being able to take an elevator to the right level, and walk flat to my airport train, and then take a second elevator down, I took what felt like an insane route, due to poor signage.  Struggling to exit the final tiny escalator (width-wise tiny), and get my stuff out of the way for the people behind me, I was totally I surprised to find myself outside with rain.  Yes, the whole station connects in a covered and underground area.  But this was the only path I could take, based on signs (which I know is false information, because I’ve been to the same area before, just from a different direction).  I finally gave up attempting to pull both big bags at once (one had the smaller rolling bag on top of it, and was somewhat impossible to manage off smooth, flat terrain), and just left one sitting near the escalator.  I trudged through the rain with the two bags, and wasn’t even sure how far I would go before turning back for the other bag.  I was unconcerned about leaving my bag, though, because 1) this is Japan, 2) it’s freakin’ heavy and hard to move, and 3) some station staff were standing right near it, and they saw me leave it there in my struggle.

I could tell the station staff guys were a bit concerned about my bag, so, when I found a spot covered from the rain, just around the corner, I propped my two bags against the wall, and started heading back for the other bag.  Of course, there were no signs for the train line I wanted, but that was no surprise – this is Japan.

As I came around the corner, however, one of the old men station workers was heading my way with my bag.  I thanked him in Japanese, and started to go to take the bag from him, but he asked in adorable English (meaning I understood, but it was not really correct at all) if I were taking the Narita Express.  I said that I was, and he just nodded, kept walking, and pointed up the escalator to the left.  I quickly grabbed my other bags and followed.

The big bags barely fit on the even smaller escalator we were using, but we managed.  At the top, I expected he might return my bag to me, but he again kept walking ahead of me, showing me the way to a train whose signs I still couldn’t find.

Remember that this is Japan (as if you could forget), so, of course, we came to a staircase now.  No alternate route.  None.  But we took an escalator to where we were, so it makes perfect sense for only stairs to follow.  But then, the upside of Japan came again, and a young-ish guy helped us carry the bags up the stairs, once he saw the station worker attempting to pick up one of my bags, as I carried another up with the guitar.  I heard the station worker comment to the guy that I was alone and carrying all three suitcases, and I smiled – people really can be super sweet here.  I in no way deny that.

So we continued on, and found our ticket barrier for the train.  I still had to buy a ticket, so he asked the window worker, and she sent me to the machines.  Unfortunately, the 7:13 train that was about to leave didn’t have any tickets available on the machine.  The next was at 8:00-ish, which started to put me into a panic.  I quickly asked about the 7:13 train, and my old man asked the window people for me.  Yet another station worker came from the window, and started tapping at the machine screen for me a few moments later.  Eventually, despite various issues, I got a ticket for the 7:13.  At least, it would let me on the 7:13.

Again, I heard the conversation happening about my being hitori desu! and mitsu desu ne.  The worker who helped me get my ticket then took over for the old man from the other section of the station, and took one of my big bags for me.  I thanked the old man profusely, and marveled one last time at his light blue eyes.  He wished me luck and courage.

I got stuck in the ticket barrier.  Yes, literally, because the one bag was too wide, and so the lady let me go back and bring my bag through the side area.  However, that meant that my ticket was eaten by the machine, since I didn’t make it all the way through the barrier.  And I only had so many minutes before the train.

The lady rushed over and opened up the ticket barrier, pulled out my ticket from a bin, and handed it to me, wishing me luck and courage, as well.  I thanked her greatly, and started rushing after the worker who’d taken my other bag.

We had just barely five minutes, and I could  tell we had far to go, simply by the fact that he was checking his watch and hurrying along so quickly.  The long corridor that greeted us as we rounded a corner made me a bit more nervous.  We rushed down the walkway, though, and he eventually declared that it would be okay.  He led me to an elevator (phew!), and we went down to the track.  The whole time, he had been talking with me, chatting about my stay and whatnot, and then telling me about where I could sit on the train.  Some good final practice for my Japanese, I suppose.  It was really nice to have someone to chat with me casually, though, especially with the physical stress and mental workout that had been going on so far today (and that still awaited).

He helped me on the train, showed me the secret seats in the wall, and wished me safety and good health.  After a few minutes on the train, the ticket checker guy who’d seen us get on came out of his little room and smiled at me as he walked past.  A few moments later, he came back and summoned me silently with the Japanese wave.  I followed, and he offered me a real seat in the cabin.  I thanked him, and collapsed into the seat.

Now, a bit of snacking and a bathroom break later, I am almost to the airport.  I don’t know how much my bags weigh.  One is for sure okay, the other concerns me a bit.  I’ve never measured 70lbs before, so I don’t know how that feels.  I’m a rather good judge for 50lbs, though, and my second checked bag is right close to 50.  My carry-on is way heavy.  But it might still be okay.  We shall see…

I still have to cancel my phone contract at the store, too.  And get through security with my Fuji-San hiking stick.  And make it on the plane, of course.  So, let’s hope for the best here, eh?

Fingers crossed!
P.S.  Oh.  And, as a side note, I happen to be sick right now, too.  It all started with the whole smoking at dinner the other night. My throat started burning then, and hasn’t stopped since.  :/

Post-a-day 2017

City Surprises

Making my way through the nonsense that is the Shibuya Crossing on a holiday afternoon, I am feeling almost desperate to be on a train home.  There are just so many people in my way, with no respect for my desire to be not here. Not that I actually expect them to know I want not to be here – I am merely noting their ignorance to the matter.  I am almost to the station, when a small but clear opening appears right ahead of me in the shuffling crowd.

I hardly have to think – in fact, I think I know what it is without thinking – to recognize the colorful lettering on the page of that folded-open notebook being held just above people’s heads.

FREE HUGS

I hesitate a moment, verifying that the holder of the sign is respectable/huggable.  Despite my being in Japan, I accept that this young Japanese guy is holding the sign, and trust that he knows what it means.  Perhaps especially because I am in Japan, actually.  

He’s young and Japanese, and he looks trustworthy.  I throw open my arms, and instantly see his face light up, as he says an adorable “Sahn kyuu!” (How the average Japanese pronunciation goes for ‘Thank you.’)  We embrace, and it is solid and long and wonderfully perfect.  I return the verbal thanks, with emphasis on thanking him for the hug (as opposed to his thanking my willingness or whatever on my end), give a gloriously contended smile, and go on my merry way the last few yards to the station.

I savor the experience, and especially the loving hug, as I wander goofily through the crowds up to the tracks.  Thank you, God.  You gave me just what I needed in order to feel I was heading the right way just now.  I am in the right place right now, and it is perfect.  Thank you.

Post-a-day 2017

The Body Talks

Let’s talk about sex, baby.

Well, sort of… That’s what my body kept saying to me today.

Today was a day in which my body felt like it was in a state of panic.  In a way, it was in a state of panic (or bordering on panic, anyway).  To my body, this panic was expressed as a painful desire, né need to procreate.  

“Hannah, I need to reproduce – it is what I am designed so well to do, and I’ve waited so long already… let me go!!”  

Sigh.

Such was the sort of conversation my body and I had today.  It complained and begged and reasoned, and I sighed and just accepted the complaints.

Now, the kicker to all of this is that I am almost entirely comfortable and at ease now (despite being quite sleepy).  Why is that?  The same reason (-ish) that my body has been panicky lately – I need physical contact in my life.  Good, real, physical contact, corporal contact, person-to-person skin-to-skin touch is an absolute necessity for me.

And living in Japan has given me almost none of that.  It has quite truly driven my body into a state of panic, in fact.  

How did I go from freak-out to calm?  I hung out with friends and went dancing with them.  In this time, I leaned on them, they leaned on me, we rubbed backs, hugged (the real kind), held hands, stood with our arms draped on one another’s shoulders or around the waist or hips, touched this or that spot on someone to get his/her attention.  In short, we had a nice amount of physical contact with one another.  No, it was not anything compared to what I am accustomed to having back in the US, – we are So touchy-touchy in Texas, and especially at dance there – however it was tremendous when compared to my average day and week of zero physical contact here in Japan.

I went to a dance event in Korea just a couple weekends ago.  I danced like crazy there, and I hugged people and had lots of physical contact with people who love me and whom I love.  I think that going from a weekend jammed full of corporal contact and love, back to the solitude and non-touching life I have here right now, my body had a sort of shock.  After having gone so many months with only a bit of physical contact here and there in a month, I was accustomed to it.  But, after spending a weekend filled with physical contact, it has been difficult to go back to the zero-touching lifestyle.

And so my body cried for a while, until it at last had some loving physical contact this afternoon and tonight, at which point it is ready to take on this next week (until I head to the beach next weekend, at which point the physical contact occasions will resume). 

So, instead of listening to the crybaby body make excuses about its evolution and its original design for existence, I just get myself some physical contact, some hugs and snuggles and such, and things work out beautifully.

Cheers to loving physical contact! ❤

Post-a-day 2017

The Shinkansen

There is a general air of ‘nothing special’ as people mill about the car, taking their time sitting down.  Suddenly, though nothing inside has changed, everything has changed – the train is moving.  It began without a start, reminding me of the ever-odd sense of perspective in 1984, where they are now at war with whomever, and, therefore, have always been at war with that same whomever – the train is now moving so smoothly along, it feels as though it has always been moving, never having been stopped in the first place.

And, for some currently-unknown reason, I find myself looking out the window, listening to my wonderful Spanish music (Mexico), and crying.  As in the case of my seeing Le Roi Lion (The Lion King) musical in Paris, I am suddenly overwhelmed with some emotion expressed with intense tears and a heavy tremble of breathing, deep in my chest.  I don’t know what emotion this is, but something is saying to me, “It’s okay, honey.  It’s okay,” and meaning it.  Everything is all right, and I can be at ease.

That’s when I notice that I have a joint experience of joy and terror.  

I have joy for the excitement of being on such a train.  I am, after all, on a Shinkansen, one of the world-renowned bullet trains of Japan.  Something I learned existed when I was a child, and never considered my ever having the opportunity to see, let alone having it becoming an easy weekend thing for me to ride on a whim.  Being here, right now, on this train, is like I am living in the middle  of the history I once studied in a book.  Like when I wandered around Spain with my class, like it was no big deal, seeing the places where all of these people and things once were making history.  I’ve been to so many places like that, I don’t even remember where all I have been.  How crazy is that?!  And here I am, doing just that sort of thing all over again.  And like it’s no big deal – it’s just part of normal life.  Insane.  Joy.  : )

But recall this terror, this fear that also finds itself within me as the train begins its southward journey.  What is this terror?  Why did someone inside have to tell me that things really were all right, when they seemed to be obviously so?  

I think this ties into what I was considering last night about dreams and such, though it isn’t just that.  I think I am somewhat afraid of living my life to the fullest on my own, because why would I want or need anyone else, if my life is already amazing solo?  (By the way, this is huge for me right now.)  If I am 100% content and delighted with my life, then why would I want anything to change?  Why would I want someone else to come into it and to join me in all of my endeavors?  It sounds silly to me, but I think it has some truth to it for me and how I live my life.  I think I am terrified right now on this wonderful train experience, because I am not with my future partner (or anyone else of particular importance to me), yet this is still something amazing.  It is as though a part of me was asking if it were okay to enjoy the experience, even though I’m all on my own.  Even though this might always be something that stays shared with only ‘me, myself, and I’.  

Is that why I was so afraid, so worried and concerned?  I don’t know.  But it feels more and more the case by the moment.  

I have all of these absolutely amazing things in my life, happening all the time.  Just take the fact that I am listening to this Spanish music for example.  (As a side note, I found some old headphones!!)  Much of why I live the artist is that I understand and can sing along to the songs.  I can sing along, because I have studied in Spain, I have visited Mexico, and I have various ties to Spanish native speakers.  And Spanish wasn’t even anything to do with my major in college or anything – it was just a sort of passive hobby for me, and it still is.  Just one of the many amazing things that have happened and continue to happen in my life.

The thing about these amazing things is, they never seem to me to be much of anything special, abnormal.  I’m not living in a hut in the middle of Africa, hunting baboons at night with spears and rocks, so my life isn’t really crazy or unique or anything special, right?  I think I expect to be doing things closer and closer to that sort of life once I’ve found a partner to share in it all with me.  But, until that time, I feel like my life is just a matter of this and thats, a feeling of ‘just hang on until your real life begins’ in the air.

Interesting, huh?  : )
Post-a-day 2017

 

Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day.  And what did I do?  Did I make personalized valentines, either digital or hard copy?  Did I bring candies or sweets or something homemade for anyone?  Did I do much of anything at all to celebrate the day?  No.  I 100% didn’t care about its being Valentine’s Day, and then worried about the fact that I somehow didn’t care.  It’s just not me*.

And what did I actually do?  I asked if someone would be able to replace me in two months, should I decide I needed to go ahead and leave my job at the end of the school year (four months earlier than the end of my contract).

And, you know what?  I was terrified asking, I mentioned that in the asking, as well as my reasoning, and then, afterward, I suddenly feel a sense of liberation.  A tightness has disappeared from my disposition.  I don’t know what the response will be, but I asked.  So now, I will have the choice to make for myself, being fully informed of options, as opposed to just rolling with the current terms of things, which I so utterly dislike.  (I mostly just dislike the person I am being and am currently on a path to become.)

Anyway, here’s to new beginnings and speaking up and everything that we struggle with doing, but that is necessary for us to live with intention, power, and integrity.  🙂

 

*I, I know.

Post-a-day 2017

Update:  She said no.  No one can come replace me in April.  So, now I know.  Now I just have to look and see what I want to do with what’s in front of me!  I think a lot of unreasonable requests are about to happen, so that I can find a way to make this all work.  🙂