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.)

Birthdays and bad days

I remember attending my childhood best friend’s birthday party at Skate Central, an indoor roller skating rink, own time when we were little. I had gotten her a Bop-It (probably a Bop-It Extreme). As is usual for my family – my mom is very good at thinking things through practically, and so trained us even as young children to do the same – we had taped the necessary batteries (the ones “not included” with the toy itself) to the present. Therefore, whenever the recipient – in this case, my best friend – wanted to get set up with playing with the toy, all the necessary tools were on hand. And no, it didn’t require any other tools, or we likely would have brought them along, too.

Anyway, that was the present that I was very excited to give to her. Someone else at the party also have her a Bop-It. The same kind, yes. That person did not include batteries in her gift-giving.

So, what happens? My friend and her mom take the batteries from my Bop-It and open up the other friend’s Bop-It to use. Mine will be given away at a later time to someone else, but the batteries were nonetheless useful.

…..

I am not sure that I can appropriately express how distraught and useless I felt at that moment. I only saw myself as useful in filling in where others had failed. I was no main focus in any way. I was merely there to fill in the gaps, as needed… to provide the batteries that no one ha smothered to remember or would consider again until they ran out of power and needed replacing. I was forgetful and a convenient helping hand. Nothing else.

Can you believe I got all that from a single event like that? Yes, it was ridiculous what they did. And yes, they did it without even thinking – they needed batteries to open this other one, and saw batteries on the first Bop-It – problem solved.

This is now something for me to contemplate and consider for a bit. I imagine I have some strong opinions about myself deep down because of that incident. It really hurt me at the time, and we human beings tend to do rash things when we are hurt unexpectedly.

Yeah…

By the way, I loved playing Bop-It Extreme as a kid. I would spend hours walking around – pacing around – my dad’s house upstairs, playing on my own. Everyone said the sound-only game was the hardest. (Psychologically speaking, it’s actually easier, but whatever…) Most people, even with practice, never made it far past the twenties and thirties. I grew accustomed to challenging myself with that one, and ended up with a ridiculous high score of around three hundred something. I averaged a hundred or so for any given play. And that started after only a matter of days of playing it. It was just very natural for me, and also quite fun. I truly enjoyed it, and I loved spending my time playing Bop-It Extreme.

My mom found my one from her house recently. I had gotten a second one, because I missed it when I wasn’t at my dad’s house, which was the majority of the time. When she found it, she replaced the batteries in preparation of showing it to me. I convinced her to play a few rounds with me in the multiplayer version, and we had a blast. When I did the solo player version, I ended up stopping because I wanted to get back to what I had been doing beforehand, not because I made an error. In other words, it was still easy peasy for me, and I was awesome at it.

I really loved playing Bop-It Extreme. 🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Money, money

$500 later, I expect next week will feel like childhood Christmas for me – lots of things ordered online last night and today, and all of them with a expectation of intense delight. I do not regret any of my purchases – not in the least. It is certainly more money than I typically spend… on anything. But I see great value in having all the items I purchased, they all bring me joy, and they handle my need to keep checking for things all the time (either online or in a store) anymore – I have them and it is all handled. I am both delighted at their future arrival, and relieved at having them all ordered and on the way. I am quite practical when it comes to things I buy and do not buy, so it is nice to be able to be so practical with all of this and have it handled already.

One odd part is that, likely due to the fact that they are all doing from different places, they are each being sent separately… so, not great in terms of packaging, but great in terms of t feeling even more like childhood Christmas! I won’t know what is in what. I have to wait almost a week for it all to arrive at my mom’s house, then go over there and have a present party. And I get to play with my new toys right when I open them, and forever afterward! Super excited. Happy Early Celebration to me. 😉

Post-a-day 2020

Stuffed Love

Which is very unlike a stuffed shirt, by the way…  😛

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

Soapy dopey

Hmm… I may have just swallowed some soap….

Not altogether unpleasant… not physically, anyway…

I wouldn’t say that I like it…, but that honey flavor on the edge isn’t too bad… C’est pas terrible

Mentally, however, it is more of an issue… I don’t actually know the guidelines for health and safety regarding soap consumption.

Though, I can’t imagine it being all that bad, seeing as how the parentals’ generation had their mouths washed out with soap all the time as children, and they seem to be reasonably okay, unaffected by it physically…

Even still… a bit odd of an experience. 😛

My mom said that they were given that pumice soap, whenever they were bad… it sounds terrible, but then it almost sounds better than a regular bar of soap, because the pumice could provide a bit of a buffer between most of the soap and the tongue – the texture would be weird, but at least less soap would be in direct contact with the mouth, and the tongue, especially…

Huh.

Gross.

I’m really glad I never had to go through any of that, though I can only imagine that I will stick a bar of soap in my mouth one day to see what it’s like – and I’ll probably try the pumice and the regular both, so I can compare and give an accurate opinion as to which is the worse option… got to be ready with such information, in case of emergency!

😛

Total dork, I know…, but I want to know which is actually worse.

Haha

Perhaps I will dream of soap tonight…

There is no soap, no soap like Zazz; no detergent, lotion, or oil with such power… in the shower… It’s the mother and father of luxury lather, the talk of the bath, the great ointment… One little frolic with new Zazz Carbolic, you’re scented, you’ll be sent!*

*Bonus points by the dozen, if you know the reference 😉 ❤

Post-a-day 2020

Showering

******Beware of bodily functions in this one******

As I prepared to get into the shower tonight, I suddenly found myself remembering certain silly instances in my childhood in which I would find myself jumping out of the shower to use the bathroom.

I remember how I would skip like crazy on the toilet seat, because I was soaking wet and hadn’t dried myself at all in those two steps it took to get from shower to toilet – I just had to poop so badly and so suddenly that it couldn’t wait another few minutes for me to finish showering.

It didn’t happen all that often, but it was definitely a regular occurrence for me – I remember it all so clearly, the times of being wet and on the toilet seat… and then having to figure out how to manage toilet paper when, again, my body was all wet…. I couldn’t even get it off the roll, because my hands were dripping with water!

I eventually learned to hop back and forth from foot to foot while drying the backs of my thighs and my hands, and then would turn to the toilet ASAP, still not always dry, but dry enough.

There was a definite art and timing to it all… and I have no idea why I couldn’t just go before I got in the shower…, but it is what it is, I guess… it was what it was, at any rate. 😛

Haha

Children are silly, I swear… 😀

And yes, I am fully aware that I am referring to myself, too, on this occasion… derr… haha

Post-a-day 2020

Wannabe who?

Growing up, I believe, we all have people we cross, both in real life and in fictional ways (e.g. book characters and movies characters), who we want to be (or else more like who we want to be).

We declare, at least to ourselves, “I want to be like that(!),” and then we take on new ways with determination.

We do our best in the moment to stick with these new ways of being or living, in order to be more like the desired individual – sometimes we stick with our new ways, and sometimes we drift back into whatever we were doing beforehand, and forget all about our determined declaration to be different than we had been.

I have found, though, that, in many cases, I have forgotten that I wanted to be like a particular individual, but still stuck with the new ways of being.

It is only years and years later that I rediscover my desire.

Sometimes I merely remember that I wanted to be like a certain someone.

Other times, I rediscover that want, thereby uncovering why I am doing a certain something.

The first I realized was Sailor Moon.

I am not sure I ever really watched the show, but I remember for sure seeing at least pieces of episodes, specifically the scenes where she transforms from her school uniform self into her battle-ready self.

I have always wanted a gold tattoo somewhere on me, because of the cats, but I have not pursued that one.

What I did pursue, however, was her hair.

In that scene where she transforms her outfit, her pigtails spiral around her body as her body turns, they are so long and blonde and perfect… and I wanted to have hair just like that, just like hers.

So, until junior year of high school, I had the longest hair I possibly could have.

I hated going to the hair dresser, because my sisters always lied to me, saying only an inch or two would come off – it was always a minimum of 4-6 inches, and not merely due to split ends… they just didn’t like the idea of my having such long hair.

And so, I left almost every appointment of my childhood haircuts balling.

Junior year of high school, I had been teased and taunted enough that, combined with my desire to try something different, I was ready to let the hair go.

I had a fun and silly summer with kids my age who joked about my hair in just the right way that I was delighted to allow them to go ahead and cut it for me (It was a whole huge fun and utterly silly ordeal, actually, and in an iconic spot in northern Spain.).

It was not until another few years later that, upon mentioning Sailor Moon to someone and talking about the show, that I suddenly remembered my childhood desire…, and that I suddenly understood why I always wanted my hair to be long.

People always were asking me, but I never had an answer that convinced myself… it was just some lame because I prefer long hair kind of answer… and now I knew.

And I never got those pigtails that swirled around me (because they’re actually probably impossible with natural hair)…, but I did have a lot of fun with my hair that summer, swinging it around like a helicopter to hit people nearby and all that jazz… it was great.

And it was all because I wanted swirling blonde pigtails like Sailor Moon had.

Fast forward into my adult life now.

In a conversation last night, my cousins says to me, “You’re essentially living the Dharma & Greg life right now.”

In so many ways, I am.

And it was super exciting that she said that to me, because I had always wanted to be like Dharma.

But I had never expected that it actually would happen.

However, here I am, living my own honest version of Dharma, and without even consciously doing it – it all kind of just fell into place in its own way in my life.

I am a yoga teacher; I live in an Ashram above a yoga studio; I have many odd and awesome jobs that come and go; I take spontaneous trips; I’ve done a boatload of what the average person would call absurd things; I’ve lived around the world with somewhat absurd circumstances; I speak honestly and openly, and it blows people’s minds regularly; I do the craziest of things; I surprise people with fabulous surprises; and I genuinely care about everyone in my life, and I make efforts for them to experience that love, no matter how loose the connection is between us; and there are a few others I’ll not mention just now… ;P

Nonetheless, I am very much like Dharma now, in my own way, and I hadn’t even remembered my desire to be like Dharma until just recently.

A third was Janie from the The Face on the Milk Carton young adult book series.

So many things she did, big and small – outfits, mannerisms, topics contemplated – have been around my life for years…, and I believe they were directly inspired by her in my elementary school self.

There’s actually a reminder on my phone right now to go get a certain outfit like what she had in one particular scene in the book – I loved it so much as a child, and, upon rereading it (and thereby rediscovering all of these things), I found I still loved it and wanted to make it happen, now that I really could(!).

I never would have remembered how badly I wanted to be like Janie, if I hadn’t reread those books recently.

The same would have been the case with Dharma, if I hadn’t started rewatching the show as an adult living in Japan a few years ago.

The same is so with Sailor Moon (and watching it recently).

And the same would have been true with a fourth person, if not for some meditations this afternoon on this particular person and my childhood.

This fourth individual is my cousin S—–.

As a child, I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible, and I wanted to be as much like she was as possible.

I loved having hand-me-downs from her, but I rarely got them, because she was the top of the cousin chain, and I was the bottom – they had a long way to go to make it all the way down to me.

When she returned from having studied in Spain, she spoke easily with my stepfather in Spanish, and I envied her for it.

I wanted to do that, to be that way, studying abroad and speaking a new language comfortably and communicably, like it was no big deal, full of excitement.

Plus, just like all the others, she was beautiful.

And I wanted to be beautiful like that, too.

Here I am, years and years later, and I see how many things have spurred me on via my desires to be more like she was or is.

I not only studied abroad, but I did it many times; I speak more than just a few languages, and all of them rather comfortably; I have classy, chic outfits that I know something inside me calls “S——- outfits”; and my body is finally showing up to me like I have always wanted it to be…. which is surprisingly (or not surprisingly) similar to the body of the woman who stood before me tonight for the first time in a long time…, my cousin.

If we hadn’t been coming to see her tonight, I’m not sure I would have thought back to childhood with her in mind at all, and I doubt I would have remembered consciously that I had always been inspired by her and that I had wanted to be more like she was…

No, I haven’t become an awesome lawyer like she did, but that hasn’t changed the fact that something inside me keeps considering law school… I wouldn’t put it past being inspired entirely by my childhood love of her

Anyway…, this has been fun, reminiscing on my childhood dreams for myself, but I’m not sure I did a very good job sharing about it all, so I’ll just leave it and get to sleep.

Goodnight, World… hasta mañana. ❤

Post-a-day 2020

Weird Dreams

I had a dream last night in which I attended an odd sort of reunion for my elementary school.

There were really only about ten people in attendance, and it took place at my elementary school.

However, I haven’t actually been inside my elementary school since it was torn down and rebuilt years and years ago, so, I was a little lost in finding the right room at the reunion… I even came across a room for another reunion first and said hi to a kid I knew from middle school and who didn’t go to my elementary school, but that didn’t stop my brain’s having him be attending his own reunion in that particular classroom at my elementary school…

My mom had dropped me off, and given me a kiss and wished me a good time, and I was slightly nervous but also oddly comfortable – I haven’t seen these people in almost fifteen years, but that didn’t seem to matter (or, perhaps, it helped)…

In the actual hangout, we were all sitting at some tables at one point, talking as a group, when the guy next to me makes an executive decision, and full-on kisses the guy next to him on the mouth.

Immediately following, he declares that ‘well, now he knows’ what that’s like, at which point I notice distinctly who the two of them are: tall Kevin W. kissed little Ryan S.

(Mind you, this is how they were as kids, and so my brain decided to mature them while maintaining the relative heights.)

And no one had a problem with it.

One guy made a comment jokingly, kind of in remembrance of something stupid he would have said back in the day, but, now that none of us cares about homosexuality, he wouldn’t have even thought of being uncomfortable or if making a stupid comment… actually, that was why Kevin kissed Ryan – because we were talking about how we and thins had changed and that homosexuality wasn’t something anyone teased about or was uncomfortable about… if a guy kissed a guy, gay or not, we wouldn’t care…

And so then Kevin kissed Ryan, even though neither of them is it was gay, and our point was proven that none of us minded, and Kevin and Ryan got to see what kissing one another was like.

And then it all shifted and there was somehow a pool and people and we were participating in a swimming party for our reunion gathering… my mom dropped something off to me at some point – perhaps it was a swimsuit…. – and I’m not remembering much else in enough detail to describe now, so I’ll leave it at that.

It was a fun gathering and idea, and an even more fun dream – I kind of wish we could do a real one (and I wouldn’t mind if Kevin decided to kiss Ryan at this one, too!)… it would be nice to see everyone again and to see how our lives led us forward… I think I would like that very much. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Brushin’ my teeth…

I think it’s a bit funny that we never much talk about brushing our teeth.

It is something that, supposedly, anyway, we all do every day, multiple times a day…, it has a huge role in our life, when you consider that it is 1)here throughout almost our entire life, and 2)extremely beneficial to our oral health and, therefore, ability to eat and smile and feel good on the daily… it’s kind of a necessity that provides amazing benefits.

One might think that we would want to do it the best we possibly can…, right?

And yet, when was the last time you conferred with your family or friends (or anybody) about best teeth-brushing practices?… How often do you ask opinions on flossing versus brushing first?… When do you share back and forth about preferred tooth brushes and toothpastes (or tooth powders) with others?

The answer to all of these questions, though they might be “Once or twice ever,” are most likely to be “Never, really.”

Sure, I’ve talked about it all with a dental hygienist or the dentist when I’m having a cleaning, and they compliment how well I take care of my teeth…, but that isn’t exactly the same thing – it happens to be their job to talk to me about my oral health habits and practices.

I think it would be valuable for us to discuss all of this… different perspectives are part of how we can develop things to perfection.

I mean, most of us established our teeth-brushing habits and patterns as little kids… were we really that smart that we as adults are doing best to follow what that six-year-old determined was the best way to brush teeth?

Yeah… let’s not.

So, I’ll share a few basics here, and consider how to strike up regular discussions about all of this with friends in the near future:

I have a preferred dental floss for its thinness and the fact that its container is paper that can be easily recycled… I have a preferred toothbrush that is made out of recycled yogurt cups (my razor is, too) and is bent in a way that almost no toothbrushes are, and which makes it loads easier to reach all of my teeth from all sides… I dislike minty or fruity toothpastes… frankly, I like the Indian ones that tend to taste like they must have dirt in them, if not just a handful of herbs and spices… I don’t even like the candy peppermints, and I don’t want my toothpaste to be like them… minty fresh is not my fav… I switch around my toothpastes, somewhat based on which one or ones are on sale, usually at Whole Foods – I like the natural, hippy-like ones… especially clove and neem ones, but sometimes certain tea tree or cinnamon (natural and pure, not some fake flavouring) ones…, but I also like the tooth powders… I first discovered them at a health foods shop in France, and I stocked up, because I didn’t know that we had any in the US… since then, I’ve found ones I love so much better(!) (the dirt-like ones)… I change my toothbrush at the end of every tube or container of toothpaste or tooth powder…, and I usually switch to a new color of toothbrush, which I sometimes select at random from the store… I have a long and practiced and well thought-out method of brushing my teeth, and I end up brushing parts multiple times, just to be safe, if I somehow go out of order… I wet my toothbrush before brushing, and I turn the water off while brushing… If I can hear my toothbrush with my ears (instead of from inside my head), I apply less pressure – a dental somebody once told me that someone else in the room should not be able to hear me brushing my teeth, because that would mean that I am brushing too hard… In the US, we supposedly have so much fluoride added to our water that we don’t exactly need fluoride toothpaste… I haven’t used fluoride toothpaste since I was, maybe, seven, and the dentist still isn’t concerned for me (so, yay!)…, though I wonder sometimes about looking into this, I haven’t done it yet – that Erin Brockovich interview by Jonathan Van Ness (yes, from Queer Eye!!) shows almost exactly why I haven’t looked into this yet… I don’t use mouthwash, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem…, does it?

Anyway, those are a small glimpse of things I want to discuss and share with people regarding teeth brushing and oral hygiene in my life… Also, I occasionally imagine (especially recently, with my current bedtime book being Jaws) how it might be to have to brush the teeth of a beloved pet shark who totally would not bite me or anything… I’d be brushing for hours, let alone figuring out flossing – could we use leather strips as floss, so it wouldn’t shred instantly???… Or some other material we could rinse and re-use?… (On that note, when are we getting reusable floss, hmmmm???) So many thoughts… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Cultural Villainy

This afternoon/evening, I found myself discussing various voice and talking style stereotypes in American English and in Japanese (from Japan, of course*).

It all started with seeing the film “Aladdin” in the cinema this afternoon, and then, over ice cream afterward, we veered onto Disney music and its composers a lyricists (and how amazing some of the greats are[!!!]).

Then we branched into the Japanese versions of this music, as the friend with me is Japanese, and she grew up only hearing the Japanese language versions of the songs.

We discussed differences I had found in the music, and why I thought each one was so… now that she has been living in the US for about a year, she saw exactly what I meant and genuinely understood.

“Colors of the Wind” sounds somewhat stressed and so compounded and busy in Japanese, yet the English sounds so open and contemplative, filled with deep breaths and space through the notes and the words… there are just too many syllables in the Japanese, and too many consonants in between all the vowels…

An American likely would be appalled at hearing the Japanese version of Scar’s voice, because the voice doesn’t match the type of villain that he is… it is not entitled and brooding and, almost like serial killer style, the voice of someone who is biding his time until his plot can unfurl perfectly to his advantage – until, at last, he is granted his dues, as Scar says.

To American ears, the Japanese Scar in pathetic and angry and holds no weight behind his short-man angry yelling of a voice, desperately hoping someone will listen to him and do what he wants others to do.

And yet, to Japanese ears, the Japanese Scar is exactly right: He is the stereotypical ‘bad guy’ voice and has that same ‘bad guy’ and ‘villain’ manner of speaking… the English version would sound just ‘American’, and have nothing special tied to it for Japanese ears.

And my friend was able to see and hear just these things, and mainly because she has become accustomed to hearing so many different ways of speaking that people have here in English (unlike Japanese English in Japan, which is pretty much always the same).

And, somehow, I found the whole situation to be fascinating and utterly fulfilling… I had never really thought quite so much and quite so pointedly about the translations and the voices of actors until today, though it certainly was not my first or, even, tenth time considering it all.

It had me feel an almost silly passion for Disney and, in particular, “The Lion King”, and yet I couldn’t find a reason not to care so much about it all – I love languages and music and seeing things in new ways, and these Disney movies had huge impacts on my childhood and, therefore, my life as a whole… they are a part of me… and I care about and love myself.

So, I guess I get to love those Disney films, too, silly little perfect details and all. 🙂

By the way, I went into “Aladdin” with an attitude of its being a different film and perspective of the same story as the animated version…, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film – it was wonderful(!).

And it was filmed in Jordan(!)… how cool is that?!

I don’t often go to cinemas these days (in the US, anyway), but I am glad I went today – it was a lovely experience. 🙂

*Does Japanese have a culture of native speakers anywhere else in the world?

Post-a-day 2019