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

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

Apps, again

You know, I sent him another message in our conversation a couple days ago, and he still hasn’t responded. We usually each send something every day or day and a half. And it has been longer than that, by at least double now.

And, you know what?

I’m completely okay about it. I keep revisiting the situation in my head, wondering if I really am okay, or if I’m secretly obsessive and borderline about to break down an swear off dating apps from anger and frustration of rejection and how crap guys can be. But it is the same every time: I’m genuinely okay that he didn’t respond. Sure, I would love a response from him. But I only want one if it is for the better. If it isn’t, I don’t want a reply from him. And, at the very least, this is a very good experience for me to evaluate and improve upon how I handle such a situation. (So far, I am grateful and proud of myself of being so comfortable in who and how I am that I am comfortable, whether this guy responds ever again or not.)

So, yeah… that’s some surprisingly delightful news for my life these past couple days or so. Totally cool, but also totally odd circumstances for finding something to be cool and delightful. 😛

Post-a-day 2021

^I was thinking about it ahead of time!

Value in being valued

On a walk the other day with my mom, we met these nice old people who live on her street, just after we picked up some ujukitsu off the ground in their backyard/the abandoned small golf course. Turns out that they met one another while teaching for a year in Japan on a military base (that is no longer in existence) near Tokyo. I am familiar with the train line that led to it, according to them. Before Japan, they each had taught a year or two in Hawai (he) and the Philippines (she), and then they met and married and moved to teach on a base in Germany together. They were part of the foreign service teaching for 14 years altogether, I believe they had said. Then they moved to Houston and taught in elementary schools here until they retired. It was adorable to hear.

Considering my frustrations in this part-time job I am now working, I have wondered if something in school teaching is still calling to me. I miss having classes of kids, and teaching something – and something valuable – each and every day I go to work, and being loved and trusted and valued by those around me, in immediate interaction with me every day. Though, perhaps it is less about the classroom and more about the respect and valuing and love that comes to me in a classroom, but that has seemed nearly nonexistent in this position. I have even felt disrespected and incredibly undervalued and unappreciated here.

I wonder what there is for me to do about that.

I know one thing for sure: I’m tired of relying on the way I am told things work. Word-of-mouth information is faulty, and it has proven itself to be so over and over again in this job. I am tired of it. I will do my research for all of my questions, and clock the hours and expect no pay for them, and I will be prepared for all the stuff at this job that will pop up at some time or other – the crazy situations all seem to be inevitable, and I prefer to be prepared and to know what on Earth is going on. So, I will prepare myself, and I will not rely any longer on anyone else to teach me what I need to know or what they all think I need to know – that has been terrible so far, and I am done with it.

In doing that, I will be prepared as I want to be prepared, and as I always prepare myself when I care about something. The system is faulty, and I do not have to follow it – I can do better than it, and I shall, especially in this part of it.

Separately, I am doing more photos tomorrow morning, and I am nervous. I have been doubting and stressed since that bad photo shoot where I didn’t trust myself the other week. I know I need to take photos to move past this, but that doesn’t make it less scary for me. Someone will be relying on me, and I will be relying on a camera… and myself. Now, I just need to trust myself, and do what is needed to be done. Even if that seems like a ridiculous something. You can do this, Banana. Trust yourself and have faith in yourself – Jishin to Kokoro.

Post-a-day 2020

Home is where we are at ease

I guess one of the measures of knowing we feel truly at home somewhere is when we feel any sense of annoyance at having to stay the night away from that somewhere. My mom and I have to go out of town for the day tomorrow, and we are leaving around seven AM, so she convinced me to come stay at her house to get. It felt absurd to drive separately, and I didn’t want to deal with her constant complaints at ha but to drive an extra fifteen minutes to pick me up and drop me off on the way. (So, instead, I drove half an hour out here, to ride with her tomorrow an extra fifteen to twenty minutes each way, and then to drive myself the half hour home afterward… right?! And I’m the one who lives in the “inconvenient” place in town… closer to everything…)

Anyway, so I’m at my mom’s house… and I really just wish I were at home, in my own space and my own bed with my own decorations and systems and energy. I had a time this summer where I was very uncomfortable being alone at my place. This is the first time since then that I have noticed a distinct feeling of annoyance and disdain for having to stay at my mom’s instead of my place. Her house was my safe refuge before. Now, my space is my safe space, my oasis of calm, where I feel I belong.

And that is a very beautiful thing to discover for myself. I am extremely grateful.

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

Tonight

I’m not sure what to share tonight.  I’m sitting in bed, propped up poorly by a couple – actually, it’s three – pillows, my lower back aching something wicked for the third or fifth day in a row.  I mean, it’s loads better than it was a couple days ago, but it is still very uncomfortable, and I’m concerned I’ll have trouble sleeping again.  It’s kind of funny, the irony of physical aches and pains.  Oftentimes, what we need most in such situations, is rest.  Yet, the pain is such that we have a hard time resting or sleeping.  So, we don’t really end up recuperating very well or very quickly.

I started working on a song just a bit ago, because a friend asked  – well, not technically, but I know he intended to make the request – me to create something I found beautiful.  He said that there doesn’t seem to be enough of that in the world right now.  So, I’m working on a song of things I find beautiful in life.  I kind of hated it for a while, but I evaluated why I kind of hated it, saw that it was because I was trying to make it something that wasn’t true to who I really am and how I really feel about the matter, and switched into the proper gear for myself.  I think it is going to turn out spectacular now.  I’m even excited about it for myself, and not just for the friend to enjoy it.  😀

Anyway, I’m wiped, so I’m going to aim for intense, helpful, healing, deep, long sleep tonight, with a wake-up that is completely ready to take on the stormy day tomorrow.  😀

Post-a-day 2020

Hormones and brain cells aligning once more

I feel that I am very close to being back to normal again… almost there…

It was actually really cool and then funny when, earlier today, I had completely forgotten that I hadn’t been normal lately – I was just so normal, and didn’t even consider that this normal hadn’t been my normal until the past couple days.

When something a little odd happened, as I considered how I hadn’t yet done something on the mental list of today’s tasks, and whether I would do it at all, it suddenly occurred to me that, until that moment, I had been being completely normal for myself… and it was a fabulous realization.

Sure, I was noticing it because I was entering into a tiny state of my miserable not-normal from the past few weeks, but that didn’t even bother me… which shows how close to normal I have come as of today.

I voluntarily worked on and almost completed (I genuinely didn’t know three clues) a Tuesday crossword puzzle, I did the extra assignment before an online workshop, I helped multiple people over the phone, I exercised without prompting from my friend (and she apparently skipped her workout today), and I even went out walking for a bit, despite the rain.

As I mentioned, I certainly had some struggle points today, but most of the day was not struggle…, and that was and is an immense relief for me.

I’m a few more days, I am hoping, I will be completely comfortable in my skin and life again…, and I am comfortably looking forward to it.

As for now, gotta sleep ASAP, as I volunteered myself to drive my grandma around for errands… starting at seven AM… what’s with me, you wonder?

We all know I’m a late night person, a night owl more so than the early bird… Well…,

I am with me… at last.

Post-a-day 2020

Home now; bed wow

I must admit that one of the greatest feelings is stretching out on my back on a freshly fitted-sheet-made bed (meaning not the pillow or top sheet or comforter yet) directly after a fresh and cool shower… and it gets even better if it is just after a long car trip, as I have just done today/tonight.

I have my feet up at the head of the bed, and my head it at the foot… I’m not entirely sure if it is better with or without my pajamas on me… (I say pajamas, but I really just mean underwear and a loose t-shirt.)

It feels amazing…

And there is that special feeling of the freshly made bed, combining with the feeling of doing something very uncommon and, almost, forbidden, lying upside down on a bed that is missing its pillow and top sheet and comforter… I probably would have gotten in a bit of trouble, if I’d done this as a kid…

Haha

Actually, come to think of it, I regularly lie down on my fully made bed right after a shower, towel wrapped around my hair, pajamas not yet on… it is one of the few times I don’t immediately make sure my body is properly clothed.

Well, possibly the only time I go without clothes, aside from showering itself.

But, for some reason, I somewhat purposefully and somewhat passively allow myself to experience nudity, and in a comfortable and safe and easy setting in this time right after showering.

Some nights, it lasts only a minute or so, and some last half an hour or more… the majority are somewhere in the middle of the two ends.

It started out as mirror time, like my best friend told me that she does every day: to take in, accept, embrace, and love all of my body, as it is now.

It eventually turned into an opportunity for me to learn to be physically comfortable in nudity, and not just mentally so.

Now, I think hardly anything of it… one of my favorite moments of the day sometimes is plopping down sideways on my bed, with only a towel wrapped around my wet, clean hair, and the a/c blowing lightly on my still damp skin right after a shower…

And it usually is with my head to the foot of the bed…

Hmm… I’ve actually been wondering about this lately, if it mightn’t be a good idea for me to switch the direction I sleep.

But I keep not changing it, because I always remember how this has been a hint for me as far back as I can remember, lying the opposite direction on my bed when it is made versus when I go to sleep in it.

I wonder what the deal is with my doing that all the time… hmm…

Okay, tangents are over for the night… I am back home, I had a miniature breakdown sort of incident when I first arrived and found that people had been here, had moved my puzzle and messed it up, and had used the kitchen and left lots of evidence of their having been here (and they left the toilet open[!!!!!!!!!!!!])… I am hoping that sleep will heal me fully, though I am already proud of myself for being so extremely sleepy and exhausted (on multiple levels), and for being out of a lot of my regular supplements that help me so well, yet only having the breakdown for about thirty seconds, if even that long… and it wasn’t even very intense, and I handled everything I needed to handle in order to have everything clean for the potential of more people tomorrow (even though the city said not to leave homes unless absolutely necessary, and this studio is not actually open again yet… but anyway…), and I didn’t cry or anything when various other issues arose, like being tired and still having to carry heavy stuff up two flights of stairs, with one being a narrow, turning staircase, or when the shower wouldn’t switch from the bathtub full faucet to the shower head with more than a tiny drizzle of water, much like it did for a while after I was in Japan and the Philippines, but even worse this time…

Anyway, I am exhausted on many levels, and I need to work out tomorrow and Sunday to stay on track for this week, and still make up two more workouts (I believe – got to check the list) from the other week’s stress-y break.

Goodnight!

Post-a-day 2020

Shall we sleep?

Some days, without explanation or understanding, I find myself wanting just to curl up on my side, snuggle in my arms and elbows, with no sheets over me, and fall asleep with the light still on.

I think it tends to happen on nights that preceded days to which I am not exactly looking forward…, but that’s not for sure… just a guess, at this point, but a decently educated one, anyway.

Well, getting even less sleep won’t help me here, so I’ll get to sleep, instead of avoiding it, and in a way that I know I’ll be actually able to fall asleep and stay asleep comfortably (as opposed to waking up all achy after a short while, because I wasn’t actually very comfortable in that sideways ball).

God, guide my day tomorrow, please, that I live love and joy, and I be happy, healthy, holy… Amen. ❤

Post-a-day 2020