Unbelievable life

Do you ever find yourself filled with this unexplainable feeling of joy and excitement regarding the general idea of what’s happening in your life, and then suddenly realize that the feeling isn’t actually about your own life, but about the character’s life from a movie or book that you were just watching or reading?

And then, at that realization, do you find yourself suddenly totally miserable, and already considering what movie or book would be a good remedy for your current state, while simultaneously wondering if that wouldn’t just put you back in the same position as you are right now?

Life is nuts, I tell you… or, at least, I am, anyway.

Post-a-day 2018

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A brief step behind the ocd and normalcy

Occasionally, I being to wonder if I might actually be a little crazy, or if it is all just in my head… and then I wonder if the two options aren’t one in the same…

I first saw the film “Girl, Interrupted” when I was little.  And I loved it.  But I have no specific reasoning as to why I loved it.  I just did, and so did one of my best friends at the time, Jennifer.  I even gave her the movie for her birthday one year, and she was exceedingly delighted.  We just loved the film.  For whatever reason, it was on my mind this week, and so I watched it today – day seven-ish of my illness-induced infirmity.  Today, possible over a decade after the last time I saw the film, I saw something new in it.  I watched the extras section on the making of the film, and it had, as I suspected to have been the case, the woman on whose life the film was based.  She had written a book about her time in a mental institution in the 1960s, and this director had found the book, turned it into a screenplay (over about two years), and then made the film.

The lead actress, Winona Ryder, spoke of how she wished she’d read the book while she was a teenager, because it had ideas that would have been extremely helpful for her at that time.  Having experienced genuine anxiety attacks, she’d had a glimpse of the sort of life the book described (but without the stay in the mental institution).  And that’s what really got me thinking today.

They mentioned how so much of what the main character suffered was normal for people, very common, even.  And I could relate to her.  For certain parts, not at all, but, for others… completely.  There are times when I look at myself as a sort of outsider, and I can say, ‘Oh, goodness.  Whatever.  Get over it.  It’s not actually anything real.  You’re fine.’  Today, I allowed myself to question myself after that statement.  Am I actually fine? Or are you just saying that? Is it because what feels to be wrong just doesn’t make sense?  Because I am better than this problem?  It kind of felt like a 50/50, really.

So, I forced myself into my 200-dollar vehicle.  After a few moments, I started it, and I drove to the store.  I drove the wrong way to get there, thinking it was the faster way.  And then I couldn’t figure out how I’d gone that way, because I’d known how to get to the store since before I could drive.  When I arrived, I drove at an elderly pace through the lot, and eventually halted in a spot.  It was the first spot, but I didn’t care and still don’t.  For minutes, I sat there, car off.  I looked around a little bit, and wondered what was wrong with me.  This wasn’t the first time I’d had such an experience.  Just recently, my mom had called me as I sat in the Target parking lot, and I was then wondering the same thing.  I couldn’t figure out why I was – was it afraid? – afraid to get out and go into the store.

I had driven to the store with two purposes in mind today (as is often the case when in similar situations): to get out of the house and to get food to eat.  But I couldn’t figure out what to buy, and I didn’t know how to get from where I was sitting to the successful completion of my errand.  And so I sat.  I wondered about getting out of my head, because I was clearly stuck in my head…, except that I didn’t have any specific thoughts going through my head at the time.  The only thought was about how I should probably get out of my head… but I couldn’t figure out what I’d been doing there, if I had been in my head, because there were no thoughts there.  I was just sitting, and I could feel how I was nervous about getting out of the car, but I had no thoughts or words to go with the feeling.  It was just a feeling.  When it finally hit the point of bordering on tears, I gave a big inhale-exhale and got out.

I went slowly into the store and got myself a basket.  I went to the Texas wines to distract myself.  (Not like I’d be buying any.  You see, the rodeo showcases wines, and I always like to check the Texas ones in the store afterward to compare the wine garden prices to grocery store prices.)  It worked.  I sent a photo of a 23-dollar bottle to a friend of mine, telling her how it had been $10 for a little cup of it in the wine garden.  I’d remembered the wine bottle.

And then I continued onward, found the smoothie thing I’d wanted, along with the noodle things I didn’t really want but felt I needed, because I wasn’t eating enough food otherwise (also part of the weirdness that made it difficult to go to the store in the first place).  I even gave myself two bananas and a special water (It’s a fancy, flower-infused water… oooh.).  (I worried about the bananas, but I got them anyway, because they are good for me.  Even now I worry that I might not eat them.)  By the time I passed the Easter candy and had sent various photos to some of my Japanese kids in Japan, I was doing rather well, feeling rather normal and not so shaky on the inside.  I played my audiobook on the way home, and it was splendid.  I felt very much normal by the time I was getting out of the car at home.

And it makes me wonder yet again if anything is actually wrong with me, or if it’s all in my head… or, of course, if it isn’t just both.

I’ve had this thing around going to the store for quite some time.  I don’t remember when it started, but today’s adventure was similar to the others.  Oftentimes, I don’t even go to the store if I’m doing it alone.  I scrounge for scraps of food, and make the unhealthiest of meals for myself in my desperate attempt to avoid going shopping on my own.  If, say, my mom is going, I’ll go along easily.  I even enjoy going along most of the time.  But going alone is a rarity.  I practically beg my mother to stop at the store on her way home some days, just so that I don’t have to go.  I do beg her to go with me regularly, and, when she declines, as she is apt to do, I usually end up not going.  This applies to restaurants, as well as the grocery store or almost any other store.

To me, this all just sounds like nonsense.  Like I’m just being dramatic, and Goodness, get over it.  That’s what my brain says to myself all the time.  Sometimes it works.  Yet this isn’t something that was around for just a little while, and has now disappeared.  It actually seems like a genuine problem at times.  I’ve actually not eaten multiple meals, because of it.  And I’m not talking about only a handful here…  doesn’t it just seem, well, crazy?

It certainly seems crazy to me.  But I’m not crazy.  I know that.  This is just exactly the kind of thing they were referencing about the struggles people have in life that, when viewed with a certain perspective, have us viewed as insane, or borderline.  If this were all someone knew about me, that person would have a completely different perspective than someone who has met me outside of this little pocket of craziness.  And, like the main character in the story, perhaps that first someone would want to put me in a mental facility ‘to rest’ for a while, and the second wouldn’t understand why I kind of agreed that it was okay for me to go.

Anyway… hope that didn’t freak anyone out too much…

Post-a-day 2018

ukulele and hula

I started ukulele lessons today.  It also included a reunion and a brief lesson on Hawaiian, the language, which were both a fabulous bonus.

I’ve always had a sort of passive affinity for Hawaiian culture – that wonderful island life, about which I knew almost nothing.  I was almost afraid to go to Hawaiʻi, for fear of finding that the wonderful world I’d imagined was no longer in existence.  After living in Japan, even being in the countryside, I have learned the sort of balance that likely exists in the culture today.  It is like cowboys in Texas.  We have our big buildings and fancy cars and billboards, but you can still find, here and there, the true tradition.  Sometimes, it is only seen in ceremonies.  And sometimes it is part of someone’s everyday life.

My brother, though he rides and owns no horses, spends his days working on his land.  Physical labor in jeans and surrounded by grass, trees, and animals is his life most days.  And he grew up in the city.  There are plenty of others who grew up living his kind of life, and who still do the ranching on horseback.  Inside our city limits, no one would guess that that kind of life is just beyond our little area.  The average person wouldn’t even cross it knowingly, if he went driving outside the city, either.  You have to know how to find it.  And that’s just how Japan was… When I think of Hawaiʻi now, that’s how I imagine it must be to a certain degree.

Anyway, ukulele is fun.  I started it back in Japan, because I was lonely and didn’t have music in my life.  Plus, Hawaiian culture seemed to be prominent in Japan (the reasons for which I hadn’t understood at first), so ukulele seemed an appropriate way to bring music into my life while in Japan.  I even took a few hula lessons.  (Yes, they were awesome.)

Actually, what really spawned my desire to learn hula and ukulele – not just the casual interest with which I first bought the ukulele, but the real desire that got me into lessons for hula and then, finally, for ukulele now – was a film.  It was based in Hawaiʻi, and the caucasian daughter, maybe about 14 years old (I forget), did hula.  The way she moved her arms in the dance had me gazing, melting, it was just so beautiful to me.  Watching her dance, I had something happen within me.  I guess, because she was not Japanese or Hawaiian, but like me went through me head… I was able to see hula differently.  It was, at last, something that it was acceptable for me to do.

I had seen Japanese friends perform wonderfully, and plenty of other Japanese women I don’t even know, too.  But their close ties to Hawaiʻi made it okay for them to do it.  It was regular and standard for them to be doing hula.  But what – it isn’t “right”, but something like that, “reason” perhaps – reason does a German-heritage girl from Texas have for doing hula, without an extreme, intense love for it?

Maybe this is just my own brain that had me stuck in this thought process, but it just didn’t make enough sense to me to feel comfortable with pursuing hula.  It felt to me like visiting a religious building for a region to which one does not belong and about which one knows very little.  It isn’t that the person is not allowed.  Not at all.  It is just that the person can feel a little lost and uncertain when visiting, and so it can be difficult to visit in the first place, without having a sort of invitation.  That’s kind of how I felt about hula.

And that movie helped alter that for me.  I started attending hula classes whenever I could, and began somewhat seeking out a ukulele teacher.

Eventually, nude in a hot spring bath in the mountains, I found one.  And now, almost a year later, we finally are in the same country and with the same currency (that was the issue before), so we can do lessons.  We aren’t anywhere near one another, of course, because I’m in Texas and she’s in Hawaiʻi, but it’s going well so far.  Playing together is a bit weird, because of the lag, but I’ve worked with it for years with other things, so I’m somewhat accustomed to being slightly ahead of the beat and to hearing the clash of notes and timing, so that it sounds good on the other side.  All-in-all, it was fun, and I look forward to the next lesson next week.  😀

So, go listen to a ukulele song today, and think of me, yeah?  😉

P.S.  Icicles were crashing outside my window during our lesson today.  And this is Houston.  How cool is that?!  Or warming, I guess…

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Post-a-day 2018

My very own “Pretty Woman” scene

You know the iconic shopping scene in “Pretty Woman”, where Julia Roberts tries on loads of fabulous outfits, and it just plain looks like a photo shoot?  Right, well, if you don’t, I suggest you get on that cultural tidbit, because it’s fabulous.  Anyway, so I remember a Cameron Diaz film having a sort of spoof on the scene, and, though I was somewhat unimpressed by the scene, I noticed a sense of something nigh to jealousy… envy with a little something more.  I want to do what they were doing.  I want to have my own BFF fake photo shoot at the clothing store, trying on amazing outfits, my subconscious cried.

And I’ve always remembered that, though I’ve never remember to do anything about the silent wish I’d had that day.  Tonight, as I was thinking of this one particular store where my family has shopped occasionally for most of my life, – it’s a discount outlet-type high-end clothing etc. store – I recalled a particular jacket that my cousin and I loved.  And then I remembered how we had both put one on in the store, and taken photos together. And then, like a rush of memory, I recalled a whoosh of different pieces we all had tried on together, and the loads of photos we took.  We had done our own “Pretty Woman” clothing store photo shoot, and I hadn’t even noticed.  Why?  Because we were just being ourselves.  We were attempting to recreate something we’d seen elsewhere.  We were just doing our own thing, being silly and fancy with high-end discount clothing etc. and having a wonderful time.

How cool is that?  I had hoped one day to copy the scene in my real life, but knew that it would be always that: a copy.  Instead, I got the real deal, and we had an actual spontaneous in-shop clothing photo shoot together.  Wicked.  I love life.  And family.  Especially family.

Post-a-day 2017

Washington

My mom is on a sort of artist retreat in Washington right now.  She called me up to show me the place where she’s staying for the retreat, and it’s gorgeous.  The barn-like house and other beautiful, wooden buildings on the plot of land look fabulous amongst the unfamiliar greenery.  I kept looking at it all, trying to place it.  It looked somehow familiar and yet totally not.  But I’ve never been to anywhere that has foliage like Washington, so it’s no wonder I couldn’t quite figure it out, place it all – it actually is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

The temperature was in the 50s, with humidity in the 80s, as it was early morning.  I found myself asking my mom how far she is from Forks.  I had to spell the name for her, as well as tell her that it’s a city in Washington.  She had no idea that I was semi needing out.  But that’s okay, because it turns out that she’s something like four and half hours away by ferry and car.  So there’s no chance she’d be able to pop by for a quick look and a photo for me.  (Aka I’m not missing out on a total nerd opportunity.)

So, that was fun, discovering that I’m a bit more of a nerd than I had expected. 😛  Gotta love nerds, though, right?  I know I do.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

Movies, oh, movies

When I was little, I saw the films “JAWS”, “Deep Blue Sea”, and “Lake Placid”.  They all sport a main character/predator who is an oversized water creature, the first two having a shark main character and the third an alligator.  (Though I now realize that it could have been a crocodile, I still believe that it was an alligator, because I do not remember its having a really long and narrow snout.)

Suffice to say that these movies succeeded in terrifying me of the ocean, of lakes, and of swimming in general.  Now, seeing as swimming was a large part of my family’s life, as was the beach, I learned to manage these fears (i.e. realize that, I just had to let it go if I wanted to swim, or at least accept the fear alongside the joys of swimming).  This mostly meant that I was typically initially hesitant to enter the water at the beach, and always preferred being with others in the water – not to be grimm, but the probability of being the one nabbed decreased, the more people who were out there with me in the water.  No, I didn’t want anyone to be nabbed, but I had a high sense of self-preservation.

Whenever I was on my own in the water, I occasionally would recall the possibility of sharks as I was walking toward the shore, and suddenly would find myself jumpily sprinting out of the water (jumpily, because it is easier to run through water, when you pick your legs all the way up out of it, doing a sort of hopping dance forward, which becomes more and more like normal running as you get closer to shore, and the water level goes lower and lower).

The interesting thing – to me, anyway – about this fear, is how it transferred to pools for me.  With others, I never had concerns (as I recall, anyway).  However, put me on my own in the backyard pool at my brothers’ dad’s house, and I’d occasionally start to freak.  It was a weird sort of freak-out, because I logically knew that I was totally fine and safe, but surface-level panicked and rushed out of the water suddenly anyway.

It would happen like this: I would be in the water, usually swimming casually toward one side or end of the pool, and suddenly have this thought that someone could have opened up a secret panel behind me on the pool wall, and released a shark.  At the point of this thought’s occurrence, I would put all my effort in swim sprinting to my aimed-for wall, and climb manically from the pool, panting.  I think I even scratched up my stomach and/or legs in my haste a handful of times.

It was illogical, and yet I completely understood why I had the bizarre fear, and I accepted it as a weird and unrealistic fear, even as a little kid.

Fast forward a good many years, and where do I stand?  The last time I was alone in a pool, about a year ago now, I still had to turn my head, just to check to make sure no panel had slid open behind me.  No, I wasn’t sent rushing to the walk and out of the pool, but I still had to respond to the thought and the sense of panic that was rising within me.  Essentially, the panic and fear is significantly lessened, but totally still there.  If I don’t think about it, I’m totally fine.  The moment I think about it, I’m slightly paranoid, and sinultaneously annoyed at my nonsensical paranoia.

Such is my life around pools (and also the earlier bits regarding my life with beaches).  I think this is why I just don’t want horror films.  Ever.  The few scary films I saw as a kid were enough for me*, and each had enough impact on me to cause me never to want to watch scary movies again.  So I think, anyway.
*”Scream”, “Scream 2”, and “Anaconda” still stick with me today, as well as the shark and gator movies.

Post-a-day 2017

Serendipitous Unknowing

Sometimes, I just have no idea where I am standing in the world.  Tonight, just now, actually, I went outside to see if I could see Cassiopeia, the constellation.  I just finished the film Serendipity, and realized that I had never looked up Cassiopeia, up above, I mean.  So I checked how it looks, and then went outside to find it.  After giving up once, and going back inside, I decided to look it up online again, though still briefly, and went back outside.  I felt almost desperate as I discovered that I likely would not be able to identify the constellation tonight.  I accepted my fate easily and with a respectable sense of calm.  However, there was a certain sense within me that was noticed deep within, a feeling of desperation, though I couldn’t say for what.  I headed back down the little street and turned the corner to my apartment, longing to fall-crawl into bed, snuggle up, and cry with my stuffed animals and blankets holding me closely and lovingly.

Walking up the stairs in my socks, sandals, and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan onesie, I asked myself and the world at large what I am resisting.  What is my life trying to show me right now, that I’m not seeing?  What am I afraid to accept and take on, that the world is setting forth for me?  What am I avoiding?  What is the question to ask right now?

I don’t know.

I’m going to find Cassiopeia, though, even though it isn’t happening tonight.  That is one thing I do know, and I thank God for that, in addition to my life, at the very least.

 

Post-a-day 2017