Karate and Confidence

Yes, this American Karate class is the right place for me the be. Sure, I felt like I nearly pulled a major muscle when I switched to kicks with my left side, and had to acknowledge that I am definitely older than before. However, even with that acknowledgement, I still felt perfect where I was.

I had actually been messaging with someone just before class tonight, discussing how odd the little things have all been regarding getting older. The awesome workout yesterday at the gym – 100 burpees, 50 cal assault bike, and 70 can ski, combined with EMOMs of box jumps and Russian kettle bell swings – left my knee really sore today, limiting what I could do in today’s workout. I have to rest more intentionally, and purposefully rub out certain muscles now, if I want not to fall apart. However, by doing those things intentionally, taking the necessary better care of my body, I have put myself in a position of being in better physical shape and function than I have ever been in life.

I’m not sure if that is ironic or not… avoid falling apart by taking better care, which results in better fitness than ever…

Whatever the case, in the karate class tonight, things were easy to do. They were easy in a way they had not been fifteen and twenty years ago, when last I was doing karate, doing these same movements. Sure, certain movements require additional stretching now, but I am better at them from the get-go. My efforts tonight for these kicks and leg strength practice were calm and easy for me. I knew I could use more stretching next time, so as to reach my true current abilities. And yet, even without that extra stretching, I was doing better than fifteen years ago, as a youth.

I am strong. Physically and mentally, I am very strong now, and in so many ways more than I was back then.

Even on the mental front, I used to be afraid of sparring. I still am now, but I can see it differently than I did back then. I was timid and afraid and ashamed when sparring as a child. I was not comfortable being assertive or aggressive in sparring. And so I almost always lost. And it was very jarring for me with every physical blow I received – they scared me, somehow, and it was more than just a physical blow each time. My cheeks would end up flaming hot with shame and embarrassment as they pulled the gear off my hands and head, and turned me from the square, so the next two kids could enter. I had known that I was better and could have won, but I had also known that my fear stopped me almost every time. And, for that, I was embarrassed.

Tonight, when the instructor mentioned that we would begin sparring next week, while I felt fear and nerves rise immediately within me, I also felt a challenge… a good challenge. Could I – who I am now – take this on with confidence? I understand that I am not aiming to hurt anyone now. No one is aiming to hurt me. It truly is a challenge, purely to see what I can make happen, what I can do when sparring. How much have I prepared myself for the unexpected moves and responses and style of the person facing me?

In dance, I will compete without a second thought in the category called “Jack and Jill”. It means that I will be given a random partner and song, and we will dance together, possibly for the first time ever, and usually in front of a whole ballroom full of people. When I did this in Korea a few years ago, I had only danced very briefly with the person I was assigned. I did not know the song that came on. We were the only couple dancing, with all the other couples seated in chairs behind us, the the ballroom packed with dancers in the front and on the sides, watching us and us alone. I merely looked into his eye, smiled, and had an amazing dance with him. I was scared of messing up, of disappointing everyone looking for a good dance and show, of looking stupid, of tripping, and of dozens of other things. But none of them held me back. My love for dancing guided me forward to put my best, confident, comfortable self forward. And the results were wonderful. We delivered. And we both had a blast doing it.

I am wondering now, if I can bring that same feeling forward into sparring. I am confident and comfortable in my self now. And also in my strength, both mentally and physically. I am in this class, because it fills me with joy and fulfillment, without my even having to ask anything of it. I like doing American karate. Period. I feels right right now. So, let’s bring forth those feelings to the sparring, and just see what I can do. Like the workout at the gym yesterday, I know I could have done more than I did, but I judged for safety and still gave it my best within those bounds. (My knees need care!) But I look forward to doing that same workout again in the future, so that my efforts between now and then can show me improvements that next time. Sparring can be exactly that for me: a benchmark workout. Go in with no idea how I’ll do. Develop baseline expectations after doing it a bit. Work outside of it to prepare for further bouts. Go into the next sparring opportunity with specific goals for improvement from the last time.

Yeah.

I can do this.

And I think I really will enjoy it, and very much.

Post-a-day 2021

Oh, dear

It is far too late for me to be awake right now. Especially considering that, not only do I have to get up at my regular time tomorrow, but I then have things back-to-back until 8:30 PM. Remember that my morning wake-up time is 4:20 AM, and my regular bedtime is 8:30 PM. It is currently 12:38 AM.

But I saw the nutritionist and chiropractor tonight, and it just happened to be a terrible week to have that happen. Today was already rather booked, from rising to 7:00 PM. But add onto that the sitting around and waiting in the office, until I finally have and finish my appointment just before midnight – I could have gone home after work, slept three hours, and then gone to the office, really. This is just a tad absurd.

Man.

Okay, deep breaths. Tomorrow will be beautiful. And I will sleep fantastically tomorrow night, for sure. Perhaps this is why I never signed up for be volunteering at the park for Wednesday morning – the Universe knew that I might need the rest then. Depending on how tomorrow goes, I might see about still signing up tomorrow night for Wednesday morning. But we shall see. Fingers crossed, and goddesses bless!! 😉

Post-a-day 2021

Just breathe

“I’m proud of you… everything that you do… Remember that.”

As far back as I can remember, it has been a bit difficult for me to be around very old people. If they are old and alone, that hurts me already, but , once they have reached a point that their bodies are beginning to fail them openly, it is as though a switch flips in my mind, and I suddenly struggle to breathe, to function, to focus.

My grandfather is at this point. Actually, he is much beyond it. As we talked today, I had to clear myself continuously in order to remain present with him. I have begun missing him more and more in recent years, as there has been less and less of him to see, with whom to speak and interact. I have seen him grow more and more frustrated with his own brain, his own body as a whole, as he has lost ability after ability… ones which he had is such intense abundance. Indeed, he was one of the smartest and most learned people I have ever known. And he didn’t even attend college. Nonetheless, he was the best resource we had growing up – even better than our teachers on most subjects, and more efficient and detailed in his answers than an encyclopedia. He was one of my greatest inspirations as a child and young adult, and I think so much of me longed to be most like he was. And he always made it so clear that we were loved by him. In almost very action, every phrase or look, every article or comic strip he saved for us or television program or clip he recorded for us, it was clear that he loved us.

He, every so often, would call me “Honah Lee” (from “Puff, the Magic Dragon”), and still does. He’s always played around with pronunciations of words, both of English nature and foreign (e.g. jalapeños with a hard j and firm n). So, it was an easy step to get to calling me Honah Lee. After I had learned German, and we had long since begun to use it with one another (college and onward for me), he called me one day, and said that he wanted to share what he’d figured out so far. He then sang to me “Puff, the Magin Dragon”… in German. He had done his best to translate the lyrics. I think I might actually have cried while he sang to me over the phone. There was just something about it, I was quite overwhelmed with the expression of pure delight and love in that act. Indeed, any time he used German, I always noticed how he sparked to life, as though becoming, just for a few moments or minutes, a young child, excited for the unexpected adventure that life could and would unfold. He hadn’t been allowed to use German in school as a boy – it was forbidden by the school. It was his language of home, fun, love, and self-expression. But he hadn’t used it much beyond his childhood. And, by the time I was born he had almost never used German at all; not until I had begun learning and using it with him. And so, every time we used German together, it was like I got to know him as a child, free from the many pressures and stresses that naturally arise from adulthood, from aging. I just got to be with him. And I reveled in that.

And I still do.

However, talking with him today, discussing how, though he is to turn 91 years old in a few months, he hopes yet is not sure he will make it there, it was somewhat terrifying how easy it was to be with him. He was 100% present as we spoke about that, though is isn’t always these days. He said that he has lived a wonderful life, that he is grateful, and that he is not afraid of dying (despite the fact, as he said, that people say not to say that). I merely nodded, and cried as I said that we very much would miss having him here with us. I held his hand for a bit, and we shared multiple kisses on the cheeks and I love yous and Hab’ dich lieb’s before I had to leave.

And then, just before I had to leave, he said to me, slowly and intentionally, looking me directly in the eyes, – something he has struggled to do lately – “I’m proud of you… everything that you do… Remember that.”

And I will.

And I would not be surprised if today was the last time the two of us see one another in his life. We might see one another again, but it is not very likely. He cannot seem to eat almost anything anymore, and his body is, frankly, falling apart and shutting down on him. A could be causing B, and B could be causing A, but both are contributing to the other, and the result is the same: he does not have much likelihood of living in his physical body on this Earth for much longer.

And it’s terrifying for me.

My paternal grandfather died when I was in middle school. It was expected and not. And it was difficult yet not. The same was true of my paternal grandmother. I was in college when she died, but I was still very much in the child mentality, much more so than the adult mentality. Now, I am very much more on the adult side of life than I am on the child side, and it is an entirely different kind of experience to have this happening now. I suppose that, since my maternal grandparents had survived my childhood, something in me had felt that they would be forever present in this life. They had made it to adulthood with me, so to speak, so they were here to stay.

But they aren’t. No one is, really. But they are more obviously likely not to be here for that much longer. A small part of me had felt disappointed in myself for not providing them with what feels like would have been some of the greatest gifts I could have given them. I do not have a stable career. I do not have a partner in life. I have no children. I don’t even have a pet. I know they do not need those things for me. But that is why they would be gifts.

However, when Opa said that to me today, that he is proud of me… of everything I do…, it reminded me of why those other things have always seemed to matter. They are most often expression of success in living one’s life fully. At least, they are mostly seen that way. But, when the ultimate goal is that we live life fully… that we be true to ourselves and fully self-expressed…, I cannot say that I have failed my grandparents or that I have let them down. Indeed, I have fulfilled every wish they could have for me in relation to success in my life. All the other stuff – the marriage, the children, the house, the career – are tiny details by comparison.

I do not say this lightly nor boastingly when I say that I am one of the most loving people I know. I do not do well with keeping people at the standard ‘comfortable distance’ in life. I do not chat about the weather easily. Either I do not know you at all, or I want to know you, embrace you fully. Like Ender Wiggin said, the moment I get to know you, I get to love you. And I love loving people. It is terribly difficult and stressful for me to ‘try to get to know someone’. Just be yourself with me, let go of whatever you are hiding, let me see you, be with you…. let me love you. That’s all I want from the people around me. And that’s how I want them to see me, too – see all of me now, so that you can love me for me. Let us not waste time on pleasantries and weather. Let us dive right in, and have an absolute blast together. Indeed, that is exactly why dating is so difficult for me, why I cannot seem to ‘figure out’ how to interact with this guy with whom I went on a date recently. I don’t do surface level. I do the real you, the real me. And when people avoid that, turn or step away from it, usually in fear, it is so hard for me… it only makes me want to come even closer, that I might love you even deeper. And though this might sound like I am socially awkward, I truly am not. I can be quite quiet in certain circumstances, but I probably am the only person at the party who will know everyone else by the end of it.

And I am grateful for that. So much of who I am is love. And I have no idea what comes next for me in life. (Like… genuinely, I have no idea… please, grasp that for a moment…) But I know exactly who I am stepping forward into that unknown. And I love her and I am grateful every moment for her and for all that she is and for all that she is not. And I learned today that, more than I ever saw, my Opa feels the same way about her. He knows I’m not married, not settled in any way, not career-stable or financially stable. But he knows that I am stable, and that I am ready for whatever is through that next threshold as I step forward into it. And he is proud of that, and all that it involves. He is proud of me, of who I am, of all that he knows I will create out of who I am in this life, even though he will not be here in person to see most of it with me.

I pray only that his love, his support, his guidance help me to move forward confidently and comfortably throughout the rest of my life. I am grateful for him always. And I love him dearly, deeply, truly. Thank you, God, for allowing us the opportunity to spend so much wonderful time together in this life.

In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Danke, Gott.

Post-a-day 2021

P.S. Frohe Ostern, folks!! Happy Easter, allen!! (Not to deny the weight of all of that ^, but it was because of Easter that I was able to spend the time with my Opa today at all. And I am grateful for that. And the Easter Egg Hunt in which I got to partake. Today really was a great day, filled with silliness and love and fun. But it also was very real one, in which, I believe, God was helping me to prepare for part of what comes next.)

Body Image

I intentionally look at myself in the mirror, nude – or almost entirely – every single day.  I look and I see all that there is to my body.  I fill myself with the experience of all that my body is, standing before that mirror.  And I love myself.  Through and through, from the tiniest hair to the German skin to the inherited bowels that are all too sensitive – I love my body for all that it is and for all that it is not.  This is my vessel, my space, my temple, my power, my source in this life.  And I am ever grateful for and in love with it.

That does not mean that I do not want to improve upon it.  One can love something and still want better for it.  Indeed, I believe part of loving something means always wanting better for it.  Such is the case with my body.  Every day, as I see the improvements from only a week ago or days ago, I am grateful that I have blessed it with such love… such love as it takes to get out of bed when I want to snuggle in deeper to the cozy covers, to get myself ready for bed early enough to have enough sleep, to choose these foods over those, to deny the casual pressure of those who do not have the same intentions with their food and drink and schedule, not to take the easy route, and just to accept the current and temporary convenience of eating this standard meal that I find before me, possibly even for free.

They mean no harm to me, I am sure, but such a meal is not free for me.  It has its costs.  Yes, it is utterly convenient, and significantly less socially odd and, sometimes, less embarrassing.  But, it is not blessing my body when I consume it.  Often, it causes my body actual pain, in some small way or other.  And, occasionally, it causes pain in some not-so-small ways… things I never noticed until I began to pay close attention.  I always thought eating meant one would feel ever so slightly ill afterward.  But that is only with certain foods, with the ones that do not serve my body, that I feel that way.  I have learned.

My food is my medicine – I take no other – and it is my daily blessing that gives me the energy for tomorrow.  It gives me my strength to exercise at 5:15 most mornings, as though it were a normal hour of the day.  It gives me the nutrition I need for my deep slumbers at night to restore and improve my strength and energy.

And it is not always easy.  Indeed, it often is difficult to manage getting myself the food I need, whenever I am doing things away from home, with others or alone.  Even at home, it takes effort.  And yet, after all this time, the effort seems like almost nothing.  Why?  Because it is so incredibly worth it.  I don’t even have to think about giving myself the right foods to serve me best, let alone thinking twice about it.  All because I love and want to take loving care of my body.

My body is merely the starting place.  If I am comfortable in my body, and it is ready and able for anything, then my spirit, too, with my body’s support, can take on whatever comes my way, and with a ready heart.  So, as I gaze at myself in the mirror each day, easily noticing the room for improvement, I also marvel at the beauty of all that I am, of all that I have become, and of all that I see I can become… all because I love myself for exactly who and how I am. I once was afraid to see myself naked – I couldn’t stand it.  Now, I look forward to that time of intimacy and being attuned to and connected in all ways with my physical self.  It is one of the most beloved times of my day, and it fills me always with love, joy, and gratitude for this life and for this current step within it.

Post-a-day 2021

Saturday, in the bar(??)

Okay, so it seems to be as I had thought already: the rash on my bum etc. is very likely due to the bit of virus I have going on inside my body right now. Kind of like how people can get rashes with, say, scarlet fever, this is the body’s reaction to whatever is going on inside in the waging battle. That was already the source of whatever was going on with my arm and the rest of my muscles, their being extremely and unexplainable tight (pre-virus idea). (Seriously, though, stretches I do every night before bed, I was struggling to do at all, let alone to the degree that I do them almost every night – I was unexplainably tight all over my body.) At least, that’s how everything seems according to the holistic nutritionist (aka holistic doctor), whom I saw for a quick check-up this evening. I am to let him know if the rash worsens at all or does not go away in the next week. That alone, knowing that someone more knowledgeable it available and willing to help me, gives me much ease around this. The treatment he gave me, as well, has eased my mind and body immensely, too. And so, I believe I will sleep very, very well tonight. (Thank you, God.)

Separately, we had a social for my gym this afternoon at an outdoor bar between me and the gym. It was incredibly nice weather, and the company was lovely, and I truly enjoyed my time. I didn’t talk to loads of people, but I did circle a touch and interact with many. I did not hold myself back, and I also allowed myself to interact only where and when I actually wanted to interact with people. And it was awesome.

When I first arrived, a guy asked for and then scammed my driver license on a handheld device. He explained to me about the icehouse’s(?) being in a dry part of town (that’s normal, by the way), and do it required a free membership in order to buy alcohol. I declined the membership, and told him that I don’t drink, and so don’t need it. He seemed extremely doubtful, and, though he said ‘okay,’ he proceeded to inform me that I would not be allowed to buy a drink, if I went to the bar and tried to get one.

…….

Uh, okay….? I don’t drink alcohol… my non-drinking is not going to disappear in thirty minutes or something… it’s kind of a standard by which I live every day of my life….

It had me wonder how many idiot college kids he got in there who tried not to have the membership and then buy alcoholic beverages after entering. Super facepalm…

Later, it had me thinking about AA-type people who don’t drink for intense reasons, but then I recalled that those people would be rather unlikely to be visiting a bar in the jest place. But then, here was I, one who dislikes bars and doesn’t drink alcohol (or probably anything else they would serve), walking into this outdoor bar for my gym social. I was there for the people and the water, not the alcohol etc. Who’s to say longer-time AA folks wouldn’t be capable of doing the same thing? Although, I do admit fully that it would not be common. Same with pregnant women.

Anyway, that was silly.

At the end of the social, a small group was going to eat, and I was invited to join them. I easily joined them for the food, and I had a lovely time talking with and spending time with all of them then (as we hadn’t talked much or at all at the earlier part). When they continued on to somewhere else for more drinking (still outdoors and all), I comfortably declined and wished them a lovely rest of their day and evening/night, as I headed out. It is lovely not having regrets after group interactions like that. And it is especially so for me, when the setting is one in which I previously have had those regrets. I was myself today, and I was comfortable in who I am. It was spectacular.

And a tiny fun bit to it all: We all got sunburned. And some of us badly…. But we are fit half-lobsters! 😛

Today was really great, and I am entirely grateful for it.

Gratitude, God. Thank you.

Post-a-day 2021

^Meh… had to consider

Hmm

Well, I still have the rash. I think the next step is to get baby diaper rash cream tomorrow. I will be in the same place as my mom at one point, so I’ll see if she will take a look at it to give her confirmation on the potential diagnosis of diaper rash. If she does confirm, I’ll move forward with that treatment pathway. If she finds it to be different than she expected, then I’ll use whatever knowledge she has to guide my next steps.

Fingers crossed!!

Post-a-day 2021

^Only a slight hesitation that time

Pluses and minuses

Okay, I exercised again today. I was very aware of my bottom throughout several parts of the workout, wondering if my rash was doing okay, or if it was worsening. So, I was a bit stressed about that, off and on. Plus, ditto regarding my arm/elbow muscle situation. Depending on how everything looks and feels tomorrow, that will determine my next steps with each. I am really, really hoping that they both clear up by tomorrow night.

Ugh… speaking of tomorrow night, I have to work at that part-time job. And it is for a very long time. And it is until very late. I go to bed by nine pm usually. My body wakes me up before five am each morning. It is already dreadful whenI have to work until eight pm once a week. Tomorrow, I have to work until eleven pm. I won’t be in bed until midnight, best case scenario, which means I won’t even get five hours of sleep. What’s extra annoying is that I am given a mandatory 30-minute “meal break”, because I am scheduled to work for so long tomorrow night. I don’t even eat after five pm, even on my latest of days eating. Usually, it is three pm.

Ugh. The lack of sleep is definitely not going to help my current physical state. Really, it just makes me so frustrated that I want to cry.

Post-a-day 2021

Seriously?!

****Body issues in the following text – be forewarned!!****

I have a ridiculous rash and a strained muscle, so I can’t exercise, and I’m quite stressed today. What is going on with my body right now?

?????!!!!!!!!!!

Ugh!

It’s like a diaper rash, and is along my bum crack. It is possibly from not showering right away after exercising Monday afternoon, but we really aren’t sure. I’ve spent most of the day on my side, letting the area air out and, hopefully, dry out enough. I put some remedy stuff on it all, but I very much dislike being without underwear or pants/shorts/bottoms of some sort, so that has added an extra layer of annoyance to my day. The one positive about it is that it doesn’t actually hurt or itch, the rash, which is a positive sign. However, it is still a rash, and that is not good.

Ugh…

Post-a-day 2021

Energy levels

What is it with our bodies that, whenever we sleep in and have a relaxed day, we end up just as if not more tired than the days when we get up early and exercise and do loads of things throughout the day? We still reach the bed at the end of the day exhausted. Today, I let myself fall back asleep after my regular body alarm wake-up, and I passed out immediately and hard. I got an extra two hours of solid sleep then. I did not exert myself almost at all throughout the day. Yet, here I am, barely able to keep my eyes open or sit up straight, and it’s only just after seven p.m. That’s only 13 hours of being awake today, and not even doing very much.

I really think that there is some kind of balance between being active and getting energy from that activity, and being restful and getting energy. If we do too much of either, the scale is tilted and we begin to lose energy. But, if we do just the right amount of each, we end up more energetic and able than ever.

So, while I would have said that today was possibly too restful, I must disagree now. I realize that I went to bed really late for me last night – 10:30. So, I only got just over seven hours of sleep. My body has shown me again and again that it needs more than that on any normal day, let alone when I am already behind on sleep. So, today, I think, was my body just being tired period – it would have been tired if I’d exercised, too, which is why I didn’t go today. I didn’t want to hurt myself. However, I do definitely have the days on occasion when the rest is too much, and tilts the scale the wrong way. Of course, I totally have the energetic days that tilt the scale too far, too, but those make the clearer sense.

Speaking of sense, I’m losing mine for the night, so I’m signing off now. 😉

Post-a-day 2021

Scritch-Scratch

*****Warning: True yet oddly explicit bodily discussion coming.*****

Okay, you know that feeling of scratching an itch really, really well, right? Where your whole body reacts positively, and you can definitely relate to a dog or cat leaning into it and thumping with pleasure during a good head scratch…. where you kind of must moan a bit, it feels so ridiculously satisfying…. that kind?

Yeah, those are rather rare but spectacular.

Now, you know the scratches that scratch an itch you didn’t even realize you had? They are like scratching your head after having your hair in a ponytail all day long, where you push the hair follicles all around while massaging and scratching the scalp all at once.

Those are rather spectacular, too.

Now, have you ever had a combination of the two? The unexpected absurdly satisfying scratch in a place you stumbled upon, where you hadn’t even considered you might need or even want a scratch…

If you haven’t, I wish you one in the near future, for sure. They are… well…, wow. 😛

Okay, now… have you ever had one of those, that combination scratch scenario, on/around your anus?

Trust me, I was partly shocked and partly appalled at first, myself. However, I realized that it doesn’t exactly have any reason not to be allowed a good scratch. When I shower and clean my body thoroughly – and yes, I clean my body thoroughly every shower – that includes my butt/anus. It is part of me and a part that needs cleaning, so of course I clean it. No question. And I have experienced in the past a few occasions where the final rinse/cleaning step for it results in a good little scratch for an itch I hadn’t known existed. However, tonight, it was on a’ whole ‘nother level.

It was that perfect combination of unexpectedness and utter satisfaction, forcing a moan/sigh of awesomeness from me. Of course, it surprised me, but I really didn’t care. It was such a good scratch.

Seriously.

I hope you, too, can one day experience something so spectacular all on your own. Not even joking on its ridiculous proximity to the category of sexual satisfaction. Not even joking.

Post-a-day 2021

^Slight hesitation