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

Dancing and Dejection

I watched the 2011 version of “Footloose” tonight. ¬†I had seen it before, but I wanted to watch it again. ¬†Part of it was simply because I like the fun of the film, but I think a part of it was because I have been missing dancing so much in recent months. ¬†I had just determined to go out dancing, when the whole beginnings of the shutdowns were happening – I had even told people that I was excited about going dancing that weekend… I was quite bummed when it didn’t get to happen. ¬†Sure, I was excited that it meant I got to hang around the guy I liked longer, since the dancing wasn’t happening anymore…, but I was still bummed about the dancing’s being canceled… Besides, dancing is still part of my life, and it likely will be so for many, many years to come…, and the guy isn’t exactly on the road to be part of it, almost at all… so, anyway…

haha

It’s so funny to me how things can change rather easily, when circumstances change – we kind of just accept what changes and roll with it, as needed. ¬†But, when we want to have change, it always seems so difficult to make the change happen ourselves… even if it is changing something about ourselves, and it is something we truly want, it often seems to be difficult to make happen… but, throw in some crazy event, like a natural disaster, and we willingly and easily adjust to a totally different way of doing the daily… I’ve seen it so many times with hurricanes in my life so far, yet so few times with self-inflicted changed… because it always seems to be an inflicted change, not something truly wanted, even if we do want it.

Anyway…, I’m kind of rambling here, so I’ll let it go for the night, I think.

No, one last thing:

In college, my third year, I attended regularly events hosted by this one particular fraternity. ¬†I was not part of any Greek Life groups, but I went to things hosted by this particular fraternity because of what the activities were – they were things that actually interested me, like pick-up sports games and other silly stuff. ¬†I had been invited by people in the fraternity, so I had not barged in nor forced my way in to the activities. ¬†I had begun to build relationships with various members of the fraternity… I even considered, long and hard, how I rather likely would have joined the fraternity, had I only been male and not female. ¬†That was how much I enjoyed the activities and the company and the environment as a whole.

One day, though, I was told by a member, in private, that I kind of needed to stay away some – it was inappropriate that I was participating in so much. ¬†Now, these were open activities – open to all students. ¬†But, they were only so on paper. ¬†They were actually for recruiting purposes. ¬†The fraternity doesn’t recruit females, so they didn’t want girls hanging around who weren’t the little sisters of the fraternity. ***As a note here, the only little sisters they had were from a particular sorority, and almost none of them were even interested in these activities, let alone athletically inclined… only the occasional little sister showed up, and never for long, and she never played any of the sports.

I was heartbroken and embarrassed. ¬†I had been so cautious and careful, always verifying that I was allowed and invited by a fraternity member to each event and activity I attended. ¬†And yet I still was told that I shouldn’t have been there, and that it was inappropriate that I had attended so much. ¬†What else could I have done? ¬†I did everything I could to follow rules and all of Greek Life, yet it did me no good.

Suddenly, I had no interest in being part of the fraternity, even in the imaginary life where I am a male instead of a female.

I don’t remember what exactly happened after that conversation – that oh-so-miserable conversation – but I think it was actually the same day that the next conversation happened…

You see, I think there was some event happening that evening, and I was supposed to attend it Рseveral guys were expecting me and had personally invited or reminded me of it.  I think I was a puffy-eyed crumple near one of the quadrangles on campus, when a couple guys from the fraternity came across me.  They tried to figure out what was wrong with me, and encouraged me to come along with them to the event (to which they were at that time headed).  I explained Рwith struggle Рthe conversation I had had, the one in which I was told, essentially, to stay away from the fraternity for a while.

Frankly, they were appalled. ¬†I don’t remember their words exactly, but I remember how they worked to convince me that the person who had spoken privately to me had been out of line – I had, in fact, done everything appropriately. ¬†I had always been invited, they reminded me – I was¬†wanted at the activities I attended. ¬†And one guy’s opinion was not the opinion of everyone else. ¬†I loved them for their words…, but I think I didn’t entirely trust the fraternity again after that… I just remember feeling so¬†shaky, inside and out. ¬†My world had been shaken. ¬†I had followed the rules, and I had still been hit with an earthquake, and slightly shattered from it. ¬†These two guys were super sweet to me, but the hurt was never erased. ¬†I think that’s because I believed it, what the first guy had said to me. ¬†Yes, there were some guys who wanted me, but I fully believed that several were of the same belief of the one guy… and they didn’t want me around. ¬†And why didn’t they want me around? ¬†I was neither a guy nor a member of their unofficially linked sorority. ¬†Because I didn’t have the labels, I wasn’t good enough for them.

I think I established for myself that I was done with Greek Life after that. ¬†I had never liked it much in the first place, but now I had reason to¬†dislike it… and I did. ¬†The whole point of Greek Life was to bring people together (originally as drinking societies, but we won’t get into that right now)… and they had pointedly excluded me… me, a person who fit in beautifully to their events and activities, to their conversations and general atmosphere as a group… ¬†I had secretly hoped that I could become a little sister with them…, but they inevitably picked some girls who couldn’t have cared less about what the fraternity actually did, yet belonged to the right sorority and were besties with the current little sisters.

Anyway, that sucked… and I think I haven’t ever talked about that with anyone, aside from the two guys who tried to convince me that the one guy was being an a**hole, and that they really did want me around. ¬†I think it’s always been easier for me to believe that people want me¬†not around than that they want me around. ¬†So, this event didn’t exactly help me get over that.

Ugh…. big sigh just now…

Okay, that’s all I care to say about all of that… I think I’m okay with leaving it all there and being done with it for now. ¬†ūüôā

Post-a-day 2020

 

Yearbooks

***Update on the ant bite: My bicep still rocks, but the bite swelled and split open this morning, only to close up, turn green in the middle again, and start swelling again… we’ll see how it looks in the morning, now! (And the coach’s bites did not turn green, he said, but one was hurting a lot.)***

We now return to regular programming.

There is a guy working with me who graduated high school with my youngest brother.

I pulled out the yearbook from their senior year today, and had a brief look through the senior photos.

I enjoyed how much hair this guy and my brother both had in their photos, and how they both have almost none now, and both keep their heads shaved (though my brother uses a razor, and the other guy only seems to buzz it as short as possible).

One thing I noted was that their service work locations seemed almost stereotypical for each of them…. interesting, perhaps.

Something bigger, however, was the other people I found in the yearbook.

I crossed names of people whose faces I knew not, but whose names I knew well from my brother – how fun to put faces to the names, even almost two decades after the fact.

And then I realized that I finally had the opportunity to look up and remember my brother’s best friend’s full name – I forgot his middle name a few years back, and haven’t recalled it since…. I just always thought it was fascinating, because he was the fourth with the name, so he had a “, IV” at the end of his legal name.

And I use the past tense here, because he died at the start of their sophomore year of college.

It was drinking and a bit of drugs at a party, and everyone thought he’d simply fallen asleep, but, of course, he hadn’t… I’ve always remembered most that my brother was invited to that same party, but chose to work on his absurd amount of homework, instead (thank you, UT Architecture program [not for the first time]).

And so J—– died at the party, and my brother spoke at the funeral, at the request of J—-‘s family, and he did a wonderful job.

My mom and I also attended the funeral, along with a lot of people.

After the funeral, since J—- had always said that he wanted to go out with pinwheels and fireworks, we (a handful of select people that happened to include my mom and me) went to an open land area across from a movie theatre, and set off a bunch of little rockets and a few big shebang fireworks (the pinwheels had decorated the casket) – it was a true party and celebration to send off J—- and to say goodbye together.

When I came across his name today, I was delighted – I finally have it(!).

And then I gave his photo a good look.

And it was almost terrifying as an experience, though terrifying just is not quite the right word…

It suddenly occurred to me that this was the first time I’d seen a photo of J— since around the time of the funeral – I’d only had mental visions of him since then.

It was weird to think that, u like my brother and that other guy, J— had not aged from this photo… maybe two years’ worth of aging, but that was little different from the boy who sat in the frame that is in front of me now.

These were posed senior portraits for the yearbook, and so they each are looking directly at the camera…, directly at the viewer of the photograph… J—- was no exception…

And it was spooky, knowing that those eyes, so true and almost penetrating in this photo, were no longer here, no longer existed.

And then, it had me wonder how many people in this book, this yearbook are no longer around?

And that was perhaps even spookier…

I had to move on to other things then, both in terms of productivity and in terms of an emotional desire to step away from the increasing discomfort and potential sadness of what sat before me, visually and mentally, at that moment, and so I closed the book, put it back in its place, and walked away.

I soon had tears in my eyes, and the feeling of hollowness just behind the bottom of my ribs was growing.

Now, hours later and many tasks and conversations later, I feel less afraid, and more aware of the fleeting aspect of life, the circumstances that allow us a promise of a chance at everything, and at a chance of it all going away at any moment, in a moment’s time…

On my way up to the house where I am housesitting tonight, I passed their church, where J—-‘s funeral had been… I think of him every time I pass it (though that doesn’t happen too often), because it’s the only thing I’ve ever attended there…

……

I don’t have anything insightful about this… I just wanted to share…

Post-a-day 2019

Babies making babies

How many 18-year-olds do you cross, where you think to yourself, ‘Yes, this person is well on his/her way to being a wonderful parent!’?

And yet, just a generation or two ago, the 18-year-olds were just about to become parents.

I haven’t even considered the fact that I don’t have children of my own, though I’m very post-college-aged, and yet my mother started having children when she was college-aged, and then she had already finished having her children long before the time when she was the age I am now.

I mean, sure, our bodies are primed for making babies when we’re around 20, but our brains seem to be on a different planet at that age.

Just about every male aged eighteen years is a total idiot so far as I’ve experienced… (Remember that I teach high school)… and, while the girls aren’t total idiots, they definitely don’t strike me as the motherly type.

Just a thought.

Post-a-day 2018

Freshly Sliced

I am the epitome of sliced white bread, as I enter campus.  I have on my dance top and shorts and my hipster tie-dye Oakley sunglasses.  I am eating a Trader Joe’s snack bar and holding a large bottle of cold Trader Joe’s electrolyte water, and am walking with a cool green backpack on my back, and my dirty blonde hair in a messy bun on top of my head.

Two black guys are walking towards me.¬† The larger of the two, a very large and very dark guy, asks me how I‚Äôm doing and what I do here.¬† I tell him that I go to school.¬†¬†He asks if I do any sports or anything, because I look like I do long-distance running; I look very thin and fit.¬† I say that I did.¬† He says that ‚Äėyou see there, I was right – you look like it‚Äô.¬† I notice that I‚Äôm also wearing running shoes – the ones I used to wear for all my walking and bike riding at my Japan job – and that I haven‚Äôt just been doing exercise, despite my complete outfit for it.¬† He hands me a flyer while saying that they hope I can join them on the 20th, and then I continue onward.¬† Based on the flyer, it looks like some sort of DJ dance party with stereotypical black advertising and expected attendees.¬† Not that I’m opposed to the party, but I’m not exactly the target audience of the flyer, making it surprising that this guy would have stopped to invite me…I mean, did he see me? ¬†Again, not opposed to it. ¬†I’m in full support of it. ¬†I’m just a little surprised by it. ¬†However,¬†I recall that this is a college campus, so they’re probably inviting just about any girl they can find (who doesn’t look like a total nerd, that is), and my surprise lessens significantly.

After a few hundred yards of walking onward, I see what I originally think is a dead snake on the ground.  As I approach it, I see that it is a strand of weave, of false hair.  A gurgling chuckle rises within me.  This is definitely not my typical territory, and I feel as though my thoughts of being stereotypical white bread have just been proven by my surroundings of very much black culture  Рnot to mention the fact that almost everyone I can see is black to some degree Рshowing up in stark contrast to me.

And then I remember that I also am wearing a drape-y scarf, despite the fact that it is still technically summertime.  I’m even more white bread than I had thought.

Post-a-day 2018

Twenties to remember

As we discuss the concept of drinking alcohol, he says, “[…] What else do you do in your twenties?”

The irony of the statement misses neither of us, as we simultaneously recall that neither of us spent our own twenties drinking alcohol.

ūüėõ

I mean, it isn’t that I’m necessarily opposed to the drinking of alcohol, even for myself… I just kind of don’t do it… especially if I am going to be driving, because that, to me, requires a 0.0%.

My friends never mind it, of course, because this has made me a natural and willing designated driver, ever since my first year of college. ūüėõ

Post-a-day 2018

an absence of trust

I know it’s only a small amount of money for a transcript request, but I feel like the organization that feels that the individual applying and presenting his/her own information is not reliable enough¬†not to have altered his/her transcript, such that it wants a copy directly from the college or university the individual attended, ought to be the one to pay for the transcript to be sent. ¬†It is the one who feels that the student is unreliable, and yet the student is the one who has to pay for that? ¬†Just seems a little too ridiculous. ¬†If you don’t trust me, that’s okay. ¬†But do your own research – don’t have me do it for you, when I’m already presenting you with the truth. ¬†It’s along similar lines as saying someone doesn’t trust his girlfriend to be loyal, and so he has his girlfriend hire a private detective to follow herself around. ¬†Sure, it’s a little drastic, but it’s the same concept…

Post-a-day 2018

College

He had stayed home that night, because his program was intense – he had a lot of work to do. ¬†He had been invited, but he didn’t go, because he did work instead. ¬†His best friend went, though. ¬†He wasn’t in such an intense program, and could spare the night off easily enough. ¬†Everyone there had thought that the best friend had fallen asleep. ¬†Perhaps he had. ¬†Eventually, though, the combination of this and that and ecstasy had stopped the best friend’s heart and life. ¬†But everyone thought the best friend was asleep.

He had stayed home that night, but his best friend hadn’t.

Contemplating how things could have gone differently, if he had gone to the party that night, now that is one easy way to go crazy.

So, I don’t.

Post-a-day 2018

I am from…

Recently, in my cleaning out, I’ve come across loads of papers and files and folders and binders from almost all of my years of schooling. ¬†While, I’ve found things from that same school year (lots of them today, actually), I have yet to find the original¬†I am from poem that I wrote about myself in seventh grade. ¬†When I find it, I will share it, followed by the one I wrote about myself during college, as well as the two(three?) that my friends wrote about me from their own perspectives during, I believe, high school together.

For now, though, I share the one I wrote during college about myself.  If you do not know, an I am from poem is essentially a work where one inputs pieces of information related to certain topics.  For example, the format could be as follows:

[First Name]
I am from [three traits you like about yourself]
[three traits you want to improve about yourself]
lover of [two things you love]
believer in [two things in which you believe]
who fears [two things you fear]
who hopes for [two things for which you hope]
brother/sister to [list your siblings]
daughter/son to [list your parents’ names]
resident of [the street where you grew up living]
[your city and state]
[your country]
[Last Name]

The original one I did was longer than that, but the point was just to explain the general format, so I’ll leave it at that. ¬†The following, as mentioned already, is the version I wrote in college, which was following a rather free format that did not have distinct criteria other than being about ourselves (so far as I currently remember, anyway).

……………………………

4 Sept 2011 ED351

Hannah
I am from gentle, caring, lovable, wonderful
I am from sisterhood and subtle observations
from Music and Dance and Poetry
I am from contentedness with what one is given, blissfulness when around music, and the desire to do good
I am from hugs, laughs, and love, and recycling it all back
I am from giving harmony to life, consideration to call, and cheerfulness to one’s surroundings
I am from confidence: one so strong I fear only a loss of things or people whom I love and with whom I share my life
I am from Grace, in name and in action
I am from “How do you say ‘How do you say?'” in as many languages as possible
I am from connectedness and communication: be honest, be clear, be concise, lift up others with what you say, and mean it every time
I am from clarity: now inhale deeply and be with what is and what isn’t – identify the story and render it powerless in what happened
I am from when you’re on it, get off it; when you’re incomplete, get complete with yourself and with all those involved; and when you’re being inauthentic, be authentic about your being inauthentic
I am from live in the moment and remember what’s possible
AND
I am from the long time sun, may it always shine upon you
I am from love, may it always surround you
I am from Woman, the greatest power, and from the one pure light within us
I am from a world to be treated with care
I am from mother: Earth and the human
I am from understanding, consciousness, choices, and freedom of self-expression
I am from mother, all-encompassing, all-loving, and ever-present
I am from God, the World, and the stars
I am from Mother

…………………………..

Post-a-day 2018

A letter from my past self

The following is the transcription of a letter I found this week. ¬†(Yes, it was in one of the boxes of papers and folders and such.) ¬†I wish I had found it months ago, when I’d first returned from Japan. ¬†However, it still did me loads of good when I read it the other day. ¬†While I missed out on some bits it mentions, I actually did a really good job of fulfilling most of the tasks prescribed in it… a version of them, anyway.

Anyway, it is a letter I wrote to myself when I was still on my college campus, about to leave to study abroad in Germany and Austria. ¬†As per standards of our school’s study abroad program, we all had to write our future selves a letter, which would be mailed to us upon our return from our study abroad programs. ¬†I fully acknowledge that mine is full of grammatical errors, but that was part of why I was going abroad anyway – to improve my language skills. ¬†Also, the whole letter is written in cursive, because I do that. ¬†The third sentence actually caused me to tear up, and the fourth had me crying. ¬†It’s amazing how right I was, and I really didn’t know that I ever would be in the current situation in which I find myself.

……………………

10. April 2012
Dienstag

Hannah Leigh, chèrie,

Ich weiss nicht, was muss ich dir sagen. ¬†Ich kenne dich nicht, weil du so viel gechanged hast. ¬†Welcome home – may it still feel that way to you. ¬†You are forever welcome here, so remember that – you might need it some day. ¬†Okay, here’s what I want you to do:

1) Go record it.  Get on your computer, write up any questions
you would love for others to ask, & then record yourself
answering them.  Then you can do what you want with
it all, but you will have that satisfaction, that completeness,
wholeness of having shared what you needed, desired, wanted
to share.

2) Talk to people.  Make a quick list of what specifically you already
have wanted to share with whom.  Call each person & set up when
& where you will share what you have to share.  Share with them.

3) Talk to Opa.  No matter where he is, go visit him & talk with
him completely in German.

4) Find someone local with whom you can be open, close, & frank, & speak
only German (or completely German) together with ease.

5) Remember that it’s all right not to “know” who you are. ¬†Knowing
makes no difference, anyway, so no good reason to bother with it.
Look yourself in the mirror & see all that has passed, & be open to
all that will come.

6) You are woman & you create the universe with your being.  Your
power is endless, & it is selfless love that feels it.  Love your
mother & your Mother.  Love your self wholly, & your next
step will become available and visible to you.

7) Be at peace.  Even if it was &/or is hard, it is all relative.
Take it for the beneficial experience that it is, & enjoy every
bit you have gotten & will get from it all.

8) Now & every time you see that it just might possibly help,
take a deep breath & close your eyes, letting your thoughts
run around & then calm naturally as you breathe deeply.

I love you & I wish you all the best.  I am here with you always, though I will now be transformed from the time I wrote this letter.  My understanding & my love have only increased & expanded, I promise.  You are wonderful.  You are beautiful.  You are mine.

I love you.  Love me, too.
‚̧ Peace ¬† ¬† ¬† Hannah Leigh

 

P.S. Pretend I pressed a flower in here to give you a wholesome smile & kiss. ¬†ūüôā oxox

…………………………………………………..

Post-a-day 2018