And some days, you must be extra-cautious, or you just might fall off this tiny road and into the rice fields filled with water…
Sometimes it is terrifying, and yet the most relieving thing is to trust God and the World, and to feel for their pull along the path of Life.
Sometimes it really is the little things that count the most. Today, I did some wonderfully awesome things. I attended art class and mused over some amazing charcoal and pencil still-lifes coming to life; I taught traditionally silent and impassive kids to play charades, and to enjoy it; I played a bit of charades with some of those kids; I had lunch with a happy group of girls, while sitting barefoot in the wonderful and warm sunlight outdoors; I attended a master class on operatic vocal performance; I was given a private lesson in my first round of drawing with charcoal, and I did a decent job drawing; I had another personal lesson on how properly to put on a yukata and a kimono, and then did the yukata all by myself; I had tea and dinner with friends and acquaintances, and was given free amazing stuff to take home with me.
And yet, with all of that, the part f the day that stands out most to me, possibly as most fulfilling, even, was when I found myself spontaneously sitting on the floor with the two girls who had been teaching me to draw with charcoal, literally breaking bread together. We were sitting and chatting and munching on a shared loaf of bread that we occasionally dipped in a bit of Bonne Mamman, enjoying ourselves completely. We were silly and exhausted, and entirely content in one another’s company. We knew we only had a short time for this little pause in the ever-forward movement of the day and its activities, and it was beautiful and blissful. (And, funnily enough, it all happened, because the one girl had shown me her moldy bread earlier that she was using as a sort of eraser on her charcoal drawing, and I realized that I happened to have a fresh loaf of bread in my bag later on.)
I walked into class today, and a kid I didn’t even recognize looked up from his origami, and called out loudly, “Haaannnaaaaaaah!” 😀
Later, when talking to a teacher whose classes I no longer teach, I was informed that her male students miss seeing me and my amazing fashion sense in their class.
There are some parts of my job that really are amazing and filled with love, and that I definitely will miss. 😀 ❤ ❤ ❤
The trouble with traveling the world, is that you get to meet so many amazing people, whom you know you likely never will get to see again, no matter how much you wish they could become part of your regular, and perhaps daily, life, that you almost don’t want to bother either going or else meeting anyone along the road anymore.
I have been to visit the Kyudo (Japanese traditional archery) club a few times now, each time for multiple hours. Today, at long last, the students in the club related to and interacted with me with a sense of ease. It was as if they suddenly knew me and trusted me, knew me as a friend instead of foe. They are – along with most of Japanese culture that I have encountered – just like cats.
The first several hours and visits, they were truly skittish, and utterly nervous whenever they had to pass near to me. It was like they were terrified that I might, dear goodness, speak to them or something. And today, from the moment I arrived, they were warm and welcoming to me – I could almost feel the cats rubbing a quick greeting on my leg. No, they weren’t entirely comfortable with me, – they weren’t ready to play and hang about with me constantly – but they were comfortable enough to go about their business without having caution around me; though I was not yet a good friend, I was no longer a potential threat, and the alteration was palpable and delicious.
Have you ever finally realized how you feel about something, – something kind of big – and, rather than be shocked about it, notice that you already knew how you felt deep down, but it was really just a matter of being unwilling to admit it to yourself? I feel like I have been a boy who loves the color pink, and, resisting the color for years for the social construct’s idea of what colors boys are meant to like best, depriving myself of something I love, becoming so good at making excuses not to love pink, that I even began believing my own made-up excuses (and had other people reminding me of the regularly, as though it had been their ideas in the first place, instead of given to them over and over again by me).
Anyway, I’m not actually a boy, and I don’t particularly like the color pink (oddly enough), but I feel as though my situation is similar. I have resisted the dance world for “reasons” of practicality. If you get injured, people’s preferences change, you offend someone, you get sick, you take vacation, or any number of about a bajillion* other things that do not endanger typical job-holders, then you do not make money. Being a professional dancer (of any kind, though I am mostly referencing partner dances, as opposed to the common understanding that being a dancer is synonymous with being an exotic dancer or stripper) is simply dangerously impractical. And so I easily brushed it aside when I was younger, seeing how it clearly is a terrible idea, and so there was no point even to consider it.
In doing that, though, I eventually let my reasoning take over as an excuse for not improving in my dancing, as well as for giving in to my fears, and not speaking up enough or demanding enough that actually would have made a difference in my dance opportunities. But after all, I’m not aiming at a career in this, so why invest more time and money than necessary for a simple pastime or hobby, hmm? A thought which, of course, led me to a sad state of affairs both mentally and performance-wise with dancing. I not only want to be good enough to be one of the professionals, I actually want to be one of them. Period.
And I’ve never actually said that before. It’s kind of terrifying, really, even just considering how much I just might mean all of that. Deep down, I know I mean it. And that in no way changes my surface level of resistance. Well, a tad, but not much – I still don’t want to accept it, because of what all that would mean regarding my past with dance. Granted, I realize that I am the one interpreting things in this way, making them mean this or that. Even still… if I truly want to be a professional dancer, and truly be good enough to be one, as well, then I have spent a good amount of time doing a lot of nothingness, when I could have been actively seeking and working toward my absolutely achievable dance dream. It’ll take a good amount of high quality work, for sure, but that in no way alters the achievability of it.
So then, where does that leave me now, and what steps do I take next and next and next to achieve my dream?
*I have spent most of my life believing that word to be spelled with a g.
Tonight, at the airport’s immigration and customs check, I was chatting casually with the girl working my counter. When my passport scanned, and my picture appeared on the screen, she commented that I had had short hair back then, and, after a comment from me, she asked about the reasoning behind the short hair.
I told her that I had shaved it as part of a fundraiser for pediatric cancer, and we both marveled at the idea of having no hair at all. She asked about people’s reactions to it, and I shared of the regular misconceptions people had – first, when it was very short, that I had cancer, then, as it grew longer a bit, that I was either making a political statement or was a homosexual or gender fluid individual. At her request, I told of the oddities that come with growing one’s hair long again, after having it be short for so long (it takes a long while to grow out long hair from a bald scalp), and how I regularly am surprised still today when my hair whacks a guy in the face while dancing, or gets stuck as I roll up the window in the car.
She told me of a time that she had complimented a woman’s hair style, which happened to be quite short but super flattering on the woman. The woman had replied that she had only just recently been free of her cancer, and so this was her first hair growing back in, and she was utterly flattered and touched at the simple compliment from this sweet immigration and customs worker, who, in turn, complimented me on my fundraising efforts, my confidence, and my general desire to do good in the works.
As we parted, I had tears in my eyes. I think that might be the best airport staff conversation I’ve ever had and ever will have.
Some people have a sort of surprising beauty, I swear. Not that I find myself surprised to find someone beautiful, as though he or she ought not to be, or anything like that. But that the beauty is so subtle that it takes a little while to be fully observed – that, the longer you look, the more beauty you see.
At first glance, the person just seems like a nice-looking person. But then, upon closer inspection (especially via conversation and direct interaction), something that begins in the eyes seems to spread slowly and powerfully outward, almost like a flower comes into bloom. But this flower was already in bloom – it’s merely the viewer’s perspective that is suddenly adjusting to this particular kind bloom, discovering suddenly it’s true beauty.
I’m not sure how else to explain this, really, but I find it a very powerful thing, this beauty, and I wanted to share about it. I met someone tonight who is like this. I had seen him various times already, but only from a distance. After a very brief minute or two in conversation, – looking into his eyes, seeing his smile up close – I was staggered. Books talk about people having these “bright eyes” that don’t actually have much to do with their hue or shade, but I had never encountered such a set of eyes until tonight. Though these eyes were not particularly bright in color, there was a sort of deep light exuding from them, creating a sense of grounding and peace with their gaze. From these eyes, the other facial features slowly came to life in a whole new way – in a way that made it almost impossible not to stare. It is just that kind of beauty. And the unexpectedness of this sudden release of such beauty made it all the more powerful. Societal standards of being well-behaved prevented me from simply gazing openly at him, even though this was not in a sexual way, but as though observing reverently a piece of magnificent art. However, I certainly looked forward to every opportunity I reasonably had to experience the delight of viewing such beauty again.
Today, I was granted the opportunity I have so greatly desire these past few years to compete in a certain category of dancing. Years ago, it was only normal for me to compete in this category, but then some mental things happened, I didn’t like where I stood with the category, and so I stopped. Until I had a new perspective and relationship with it all, it was best that I not participate…, though I am only just now realizing the truth to this – at the time, I was just tired of my fear of rejection, and especially the seemingly constant unfortunate partnerships in which I ended up being.
So today, I had a beautiful and brief and clearly god-given chat with someone who gave me my new perspective. There was barely ten minutes remaining for sign-ups for all competitions, though everyone was pretty much all signed up for everything desired at this point, and a guy near me suddenly turned to me and asked me if I were competing this weekend.
We talked about it. I explained where I stood with perspective, including my desire for a new one, and he gave me his own perspective, and well as some on-the-spot thought-out ideas. I was nervous, yet excited, as he accompanied me to the registration desk, and I registered myself for one category, and asked for help in finding a partner for the other category.
Thirty minutes later, I had my partner (who had already signed up, but just without a name for the parent, so we just added my name onto his registration), and I was even excited about competing.
When it came time for competition tonight, he and I had danced maybe four songs together total. So our fifth ever song was in competition (and sixth and seventh). I felt a bit meh about our performance, but I was okay with it – we had only just met, and I hadn’t really known the songs too well or at all, not was I in the habit any longer of competitive dancing. So there were a million improvements to be made to meet just my own standards for making finals in a contest of this caliber.
Sure enough, my sentiments were validate when I watched the videos of our dances – not bad, but not great either. Just meh – average whatever mixed with good spurts here and there. And so I didn’t much expect to make finals, leaving me comfortable with the resulting non-finals-making. Yeah, it’s a bummer not to make finals. And I want to be confidently in finals whenever I am in them, instead of being in them by surprise. You know what I mean? I want to deserve it without a doubt, as opposed to being mediocre and that being enough.
And so, I am happy that I competed. And tomorrow, I might not make finals either. That one has been mentally harder for me on the past. However, I think this is the perfect time and place for me to try it out, give it a go, and keep my head held high, all in preparation for future dancing events. I want perfection of myself, and competition is a darn good way to work towards that. I was reminded of that today. Both parts of it. So I no longer have to compete to win the competition, but can compete in an aim for my own perfection. I mean, come on – who doesn’t want perfection when hundreds of people are quite obviously watching? Hmm?? 🙂