Stuffed Love

Which is very unlike a stuffed shirt, by the way… ¬†ūüėõ

Tonight, I snuggled up with several feather pillows and my extra-large white bear that was given to me by my paternal grandparents when I was probably only single-digits years old, and watched¬†Frozen, while sitting (or lying) on my bed. ¬†And it was delightful. ¬†I don’t know why people let go of stuffed animals and piles of pillows in their adulthood. ¬†Even in college, I had several stuffed animals with me at school.

The year I lived in an apartment with a friend of mine (still campus housing, but an apartment, nonetheless), we had full sized beds as part of the furnishings. ¬†A different friend was staying the night, and, as we were getting into bed to go to sleep, she thought it was hilarious yet adorably wonderful that I had stuffed animals in my bed, their having clearly been my nighttime snuggle buddies so far that year. ¬†She, delighted, declared it like “a jungle!”, and snapped a photo of me snuggling in with the animals. ¬†Of course, I made total room for her in the bed, and it wasn’t crowded for us or anything. ¬†But, when I didn’t have physical company in my bed, I preferred having stuffed company to being on my own with the sheets.

To this day, I like to feel that¬†something is around me when I sleep. ¬†When I get to sleep in a bed with a person, some small piece of me has to touch that person, in order for me to sleep fully at ease. ¬†When there isn’t a person, I just like having contact with something presence-marking. ¬†These days, that typically means a stuffed dog strewn across my thighs, and my arms casually relaxed across my rib cage, creating just enough pressure for comfort and subconscious reassurance… ¬†Perhaps it was because I grew up with siblings always around, older than I, and so I always wanted to sleep in¬†their beds with¬†them…, because they were my older siblings and I loved them and looked up to them. ¬†And then, when they weren’t around, I ended up sharing the bed with my mom or my dad, depending on in whose house I was staying that night. ¬†(Apparently, I wasn’t supposed to stay in my dad’s bed, because of the divorce stuff, but, with my active history of terrible nightmares as a child, I voluntarily would creep down to his bedroom and sneak onto the side of the California king. ¬†Sometimes he noticed before morning, but I made enough of a fuss about not wanting to be alone upstairs, and he was half asleep, anyway, so he let it go. ¬†Naturally, my mom was annoyed at this, so I kind of just stopped telling her about it. ¬†It wasn’t even an every night thing, either, but, when I needed it, I needed it, you know? ¬†And then it was just habit and comforting, even when I didn’t need it anymore.)

By the time it really didn’t bother me so much to sleep on my own, and the nightmares had mostly subsided, my sisters moved into my dad’s house. ¬†And, just as part of spending time together, I ended up often sleeping in the one sister’s bed, and then always sleeping in the other’s, once she moved in, too. ¬†We always had a habit of talking after the lights were out, kind of just chatting about anything or nothing – whatever we wanted or needed that night. ¬†It wasn’t usually for very long – maybe five or ten minutes at most – but it was always something I loved, and something I didn’t want to miss out on having by sleeping elsewhere. ¬†There were even the occasions where we all three shared a bed together… those were really great memories for me. ¬†I was literally surrounded by love for me.

Perhaps that’s really why I want stuffed animals in my bed, or pillows, or the touch of someone…, because that is one of the strongest memories I have of being loved and wanted and appreciated and cared for… surrounded by love as I went to sleep at night.

Ha… I’m noticing now how, even at dance events, when we occasionally have crammed three grown people into a queen sized bed, I’ve been totally okay and comfortable with it, and even delighted about it. ¬†The physical presence represents so strongly for me the experience of love, of being loved. ¬†I guess that all goes back to growing as a baby in the womb, huh? ¬†We turn to the fetal position in times of extreme need for love and help… that feeling of being held all around by a safe, loving, omnipotent source of life. ¬†So…, yeah… I’m beginning to think that stuffed animals are more than okay and acceptable – they’re actually a really good idea. ¬†They can help to provide the comfort that we can’t seem to provide on our own, when no one else is physically – or emotionally – around us…

Yeah…

Post-a-day 2020

Mental health and everyday love

Let’s talk briefly about a mental health oddity slash ironic circle of annoyance.

When I am struggling mentally, and I really just need some regular love from people, I start to reach out to people.

Say that I tell them that I am struggling, and could really use some love right now.

So, they start checking in, asking how I’m doing, and telling me they care about me…

Which is completely annoying and stressful, because 1) I only wanted some regular interaction and friendship love – nothing special or over-the-top emotional – and 2) it only reminds me of the fact that they weren’t interacting with me on the first place, showing me the regular love I so needed.

You see, when I feel the need to reach out for love, it usually doesn’t work to reach out… it, instead, only emphasizes the stress I was already feeling in my experience of being alone and unloved…, the experience that had me want to reach out for help.

And so, instead of asking for help when I am in need, I have, in a way, to trick people into interacting with me.

I’m not looking for any words of, ‘Hannah, you’re amazing,’ or anything of the sort… I’m just looking for those everyday expressions of love that we share with the people in our lives… the people with whom we interact on a regular basis… the kinds of relationships I tend not to find for myself very easily in adult life…

People just don’t with me… they don’t call me just to say hi, they don’t call me first for things, and they typically don’t reach out period… I am the one who reaches out, almost always in my life.

The only person who always checks in regularly with me is my mother.

I had one friend in town who did it, but she’s moved away now, so our lives don’t have our everyday hangout part anymore…, but I don’t blame anyone for that – we just don’t live in the same state anymore.

That one friend and my mom aside, though, I am the one who reaches out almost every single time in any relationship I have, friend or family.

And sometimes, it gets to me… when a whole bunch of other stuff kind of piles on top of one another all at once, the loneliness can hit me really hard… and I know that I need help…, yet asking for help in that case kind of defeats the whole purpose of asking for the help in the first place… thus the annoying circle of downward-spiraling irony…

Whenever someone calls attention to my need for love, be it be staying it directly or by saying how they wondered if I’m okay or if I needed anything, it just makes the whole things worse for me… it’s one area where talking about it doesn’t help, and actually makes things worse for me… it draws out my experience of being pathetic and unloved… it is embarrassing that I have to ask for signs of being loved…

So, I sometimes wonder if there’s a way to ask for help that says, ‘Hey, I need some love, but pretend I didn’t tell you this – pretend you just felt like talking with me, and so reached out to chat about nothing in particular…’

Does that all make sense?

Anyway, so that’s where I am tonight.

I could really use some love… love unsought, but nonetheless much needed.

Post-a-day 2020

Swiping bubbles

My cousin pulled a can of beer out of the garage the other night.

It apparently tasted like metal, and nobody liked it… it had been out there for a very long time… and it might have come out of a dumpster just before it ended up in the garage…

Since nobody liked it, I offered to use it.

For what?

For my hair.

I told them how I sometimes use beer as conditioner – it is great for hair, plus it always smells great!

“So, you don’t drink beer, but you put it in your hair…”

Exactly. ūüėČ

That was all yesterday.

Today, the beer was still on the counter, because I’d forgotten to use it last night in my shower.

The conversation somewhat repeats itself among the family who are gathered here today – and who happen to be all different from yesterday, except for my mom (and no, this is not our house).

In the middle of their doubt and unbelieving, my grandma confidently joins in, “Oh, yeah!… We used to sneak beers from my daddy’s, and use them… use them in our hair… oh, yeah,” she nods.

We all can’t help but to comment and ask her questions while she’s still talking, and she manages I answer our questions by the end of her two sentences.

Then my cousin says that, well, he, too, used to steal his daddy’s beers, but not for that, not for his hair…

We all laugh, processing the fact that Grandma user to steal beers… and that she poured them in her hair…

I mean, I‘m all about it, but I still think it’s a somewhat abnormal thing to do… too hipster for most these days, perhaps one could say…

‘I was stealing them for my hair, too… I was conditioning it from the inside… at the roots,’ my cousin adds.

Obviously, we love the nerdiness and the cleverness of the comment, and delight in our collective nerdiness.

Also, it felt nice to have my crazy idea actually sanctioned by someone considered not only sane but to be one in a place of authority within the whole family… that was great, and totally fun.

So, who knew that my grandma and I had ‘sneaking beers’ and ‘using beer in our hair’ in common?

Man, that’s cool.

Coffee and a smoke for the win (for once)

Driving one day, arriving at a red light, she noticed a woman walking on the sidewalk, drinking from a Starbucks cup in one hand, and then taking a drag on her cigarette in the other hand, preparing to cross the street.

She also noticed a man walking on the other side of the road who looked to have little or no money to his name, and who quite possibly was homeless.

When the light changed, and she was heading on her way again, she saw the possibly homeless man again: With a glint in his eye, he was now taking a drag on a cigarette in the one hand, while holding a Starbucks coffee cup in the other.

……

Yup… same cigarette and coffee…

ūüôā

Kinda makes you smile, doesn’t it?

People really can be quite silly yet sweet… let’s do more of that kind of silly love in life.

Post-a-day 2019

Prayer?

Just before showering tonight, I found myself contemplating a message I received a year or two ago from an old coworker.

He was telling me that he was moving, and he requested that I pray for all to go well for him throughout the moving process and in the new place.

That’s not too odd on its own, right?

Well, we hadn’t been in touch for quite some time, first off.

Secondly, he continued on to say that I was the only person he knew that was into that kind of thing, and so that was why he was reaching out to me in particular.

So, totally understandable, then, that he would reach out to me for the prayers.

Thinking about it tonight, though, something hit me that had only kind of brushed my conscience before now: What could that be like, knowing only one person who prays, who has anything to do with prayer?

I can’t even imagine…

Among my friends I have people of various faiths and non-faiths, all to various degrees, let alone among my acquaintances.

Being from Texas – yes, it is Houston, but much of it still holds true here – I am accustomed to the majority of the people around me being Christians, and especially ones who have no qualms at all with talking about it whenever and wherever – Christianity is part of the vernacular.

And so, it is surprising to me that someone would know only one person who prays.

We are filled with Christians, to be sure, but Christians are by no means they only people who pray…

And imagine someone knowing just about none of those people…

It is just too unusual for me to imagine…

It was a totally different context, but people offered prayers constantly in Japan – it was something I loved about Japan, actually, crossing all the shrines and temples, and seeing and sharing prayers with all the people visiting them.

Prayer had a context, but it was commonplace and regular, even in a culture so drastically different from that of my own origin.

I eventually went to check the message, just to see what specifically he had said, and it was actually that I was the one whom he knew, who knew how to pray best…

Nonetheless, it has me wonder about the world and the people in it: Who among them knows no one or only one person who prays? (Or, at least, who prays comfortably?)

The thought is somewhat saddening to me, really, and has me almost ready to dive into prayer for all the people who feel alone and in need of some love on the prayer front…

Post-a-day 2019

Toddler Time, it seems

May I just say, for one last time, that I am so tired of these papers?

I am¬†tired of these papers… I want to be done with them, but I don’t want to sit and write them anymore – I have lost my interest in them. ¬†I’ve already done all the research, proven my hypothesis for myself. ¬†Why do I now need to organize it all up for others to see? ¬†I really am okay that the world doesn’t get to experience my findings and ideas on this point. ¬†Although, to be fair, I think I would be quite annoyed, if someone else were to come up with a paper on the same topic, and I never finished this one… So, I guess I¬†do want to finish this paper, actually do the rest of it.

Yeah…

I’m just sleepy now, and so don’t really want to hassle with the whole mess that sits in front of me, mentally. ¬†I don’t want to sort it all out right now. ¬†I guess this is a perfect time for me to begin with the Dr.’s “Baby Steps” method again*… always gets me through whenever I hit this sort of panic or despondency in the face of the pile of ‘Oh-my-goodness’ that seems, somehow, almost endless.

Okay, baby steps it is, Doc… ¬†Here I go

*From the film “What About Bob?”, what I consider to be a fabulous and somewhat infuriating film.

Post-a-day 2018