Talk about confidence

Why do I end up in many scenarios where I feel so unnoticed that I feel I do not belong, so in the background that I feel unloved, unworthy, unwanted?

I think a big part of it is that I purposely hold myself back. If I stay neutral, in the background, people will have the time to grow accustomed to my presences, however meager it may be, before they have a chance to know me for who I actually am. Thereby decreasing the likelihood of rejection when they face me, the unlike-anyone-I’ve-ever-known powerhouse of a person. A person we never would expect to find hiding uncomfortably in the background. Yet, there I cower oh, so often.

It’s like how I cowered at my gym, feeling I didn’t really belong, because I wasn’t monetarily wealthy or super fit or super strong. Yet, one night, I attended the class of people who weren’t exactly in those categories (bough most of the gym was in one or both), and I saw how I was just…, well, myself. I was talking freely and comfortably, and we were all smiling and laughing and having a really great casual time together… like we all belonged and we all wanted everyone there to be there, exactly as they were. At the time, noticing this helped me learn to talk to ‘the cool guys’ more comfortably and confidently, including the guy on whom I had an undeniable an unrealistic crush. It helped me to remember to treat them like people, not unreachable people. And then the world closed up business shop, and I haven’t seen any of them since. And the gym is now closed permanently, and I’m not sure I’ll ever see them all again, and definitely not all together again.

Now, I find myself looking deeper into that whole experience. It wasn’t that I had a crush on the one guy, nor that I felt I wasn’t supposed to talk o them because I wasn’t strong enough or rich enough. It was because I saw them in a position of power over me, and I saw myself as below and indebted to them. I could not talk truly with them, because it would have been interesting the master’s business, and I would have been possibly beaten and then dismissed from my post. Talk about ridiculous, right? But that’s how it was for me. That’s how it is for me in so many situations in life.

Here, I will help someone and genuinely expect nothing more than some expression of gratitude in return, yet I expect that, in order for anyone to help me, I would have to be indebted to that person for all time, always below a new master, to serve his every whim and demand. In jobs, I submit to the people in charge the same way, like I am an unworthy worm (thinking Hercules quote here) that they might crush at any moment if I do not do exactly as they wish – if they find out who I truly am.

But who am I truly?

I am a child and beautiful creation of God, who loves dearly and with all her being; who wants to do the best job possible, because she cares truly about the results and outcome of her labors; who wants to make the world a better place with every step she takes; who sacrifices with ease, when another is to benefit; who can get any job done, and done quite well; who is honest; who is an inspiration to almost anyone who really gets to know her for real; who blows me away so much that I struggle to believe I really am she, being this amazing and wonderful and awe-inspiring, especially in the midst of each of my life’s struggles… I am a person worth having around, no matter who you are or what you believe. I can make it happen, whatever it is.

And, somehow, I force myself to forget that, and to put myself beneath others, as though I am not even worth a second glance, let alone love and praise and friendship and reliance.

Okay

I am working on this now. I am worth so much more Han hiding in the background, even if I am at the mercy of someone’s whims as to whether I get or keep a job. I can always find another – I know that now. And the universe will help me, if I am being my true self. And it will send me to better and better places every step of the way forward…, because those are the places I belong, where I get to be myself. And nowhere else.

Perhaps that is why I have felt so out of place so often… perhaps I am out of place, and something better awaits my noticing.

Post-a-day 2020

Do I belong here?

I sometimes forget that I belong with my family.

I aim to find other people in my life, to surround myself with people who get me and love me just about no matter what…, and I always seem to be failing at it, at least in terms of life in the daily.

And then I spend some time with my close family, and it is only upon consideration afterward that I notice how I have experienced entirely “belonging” and “being loved”.

This family is good for me, and they are the ideal that many people dream of finding in their own families… and I have them in my own family.

Friends all seem to pale in comparison, because my family is already everything I’ve been looking for in friends – the bar and standard are too high for new people to reach.

And, perhaps, one day, someone will meet or surpass that bar…, but only a few have so far, and they don’t live even in the state, so it hardly affects my day-to-day.

For now, though, I still have my family, and they still have me, and we all can love and spend time with one another, as we still seem to do, even though we are in our adult lives and have little ease in arranging simultaneous visits to the same spot.

But we do it, and the time together is always great…, just like this week, and how I was supposed to go back home Thursday afternoon…, but am currently, as of tonight, actually scheduled to leave tomorrow, Saturday, morning around 9am.

What a time, heh? ūüėõ

Post-a-day 2019

the outsider view of a culture, viewed by an insider

Walking around the Japanese garden, I stop when I come to the¬†take. ¬†I stop of just a moment, envisioning myself in Japan, in the real Japanese gardens of the world. ¬†Tears come to my eyes, and I wonder¬†Why? ¬†What’s going on? ¬†Why am I suddenly crying? ¬†Why am I shaking inside from my¬†sternum, as though panic is coming up?

And I realize: I miss Japan. ¬†Not so much for the whole experience, but for some of the experience, and, especially, for the part where I fit in appropriately, in the¬†right way. ¬†I was expected to stand out and not to do exactly as others did. ¬†I was expected to turn heads and to surprise and shock those around me. ¬†And I did. ¬†And I was comforted by the feeling of ‘fitting in’ in that odd sense of it, fitting into the expectations my surroundings had of me.

But it is different being here, where I am expected to fit in one way, but I don’t fit in that way. ¬†I am American, but I am multi-cultural. ¬†I used to think those two a little more synonymous with one another. ¬†But, based on how I look on the outside, – my skin and hair and eyes – I am expected to be on a similar ground with those around me here. ¬†Perhaps we have visited other countries, but that was for vacation. ¬†Living there, being truly part of the culture, is not in the books for most of those around me, unless they specifically came from that country directly, through their heritage, and moved here after having lived there in the earliest years of their lives (as is the case with one in four people in Houston, actually). ¬†However, I am not expected to know how to dress someone in a¬†kimono or¬†yukata better than someone my own age back in Japan. ¬†I’m not even expected to know the difference, unless I am what would be considered a sort of geek of Anime and Manga (at which point one still might not know the difference between them, but it is less surprising for them to know such things). ¬†I don’t fit into that category, and yet I know so much about Japanese culture and life in Japan, and I have experienced so much of it, that I often find no need to talk about it – it’s become so a part of me and my life, it is similar to putting on shoes or brushing teeth. ¬†Sure, we do them both all the time, but hardly ever do we consciously ponder on them and share about them with others. ¬†They’re just part of our subconscious and our mostly-daily lives.

Anyway, that was what I was feeling today at the festival in town celebrating Japan and Japanese culture. ¬†When I ran into a friend who had spent even more time than I had in Japan, I mentioned to him how I wasn’t quite sure what I was feeling, but I felt as though I was about to cry. ¬†Something about feeling like I belong, but then not belonging after all. ¬†‘It’s your first “Japanese culture” experience post-Japan.’ ¬†I confirmed his questioning declaration. ¬†It was, in fact, the first time I had experienced something that was all about Japan from this country’s perspective since I had actually spent time in Japan. ¬†If I had attended the same festival before going, I likely would have felt quite wonderfully walking around the festival. ¬†I had a different view of Japanese culture in Japan back then.

This was something like seeing a “Mexican Restaurant” in northern France that time, and feeling a giddy sense of hilarity at what kind of food could possibly be served in there. ¬†Or the “American Restaurant” (that was it’s name) in northern Spain, where the “american hamburgers” were nothing like our actual hamburgers. ¬†(Think meatloaf, with a slice of thin ham, on fluffy, dense bread.) ¬†But now, instead of it being Texas and US culture, it is Japanese culture. ¬†And so it was also weird to be relating to Japanese culture – a culture with which I struggled greatly at times, and still do – in the same sort of protective way as I traditionally have related to my original home culture. ¬†It kind of added this whole extra layer to my identity semi-crisis. ¬†And all that just because I went to a festival.

Post-a-day 2018