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.)

Family movie night

Tonight, we watched “The Replacements”. It was delightful. Aside from the egg scene – well, both of them, really – I loved watching the film. I actually cried with laughter more than once. It was just that fun of a film. I had definitely seen scenes from it as a child, and probably in this same house, but I have now consciously watched it, and I am grateful for this opportunity. I very much enjoyed it.

Post-a-day 2020

Light Painting

Tonight, for the third time this week, I did some light painting.  However, this time I had some upgraded light fun. I found an awesome resource for some guidance on getting started with light painting of a certain sort, and so combined that with what I was already doing, and got a friend to come do some painting and posing with me.  The point was mostly just to test out the materials and the “moves”, so to speak, but also to do something fun and satisfying together.  I feel like the friend wasn’t super into it, but he was a total sport about it all, and I think he enjoyed the experience as a whole, nonetheless, even if it wasn’t his favorite of activities.  At the very least, he specifically requested – more than once – for me to send him the photos we took, so I take that as a positive sign. 🙂  I think he liked it.

I personally could have stayed out there probably at least an hour longer than we stayed.  But I didn’t want to push him too far on the effort when somewhat exhausted front.  I am quite grateful that he came, as I was able to learn lots from this session of playing with light painting together.

Gratitude, man… Gratitude… 🙂

Post-a-day 2020

What’s next, my dear Watson

I can feel it… my daily life… it is time for it to change.

I’m not sure yet how that is going to look, but I can tell with my whole being that something is about to change… and somewhat drastically so…

My life will not be quite the same as it has been lately…. and it will be a spectacular improvement, I can just tell…

What is it???

What are you, change???

This “What’s next” is slow to start, but will be big rather quickly, it seems…, and I am looking forward to it with delight…

Tomorrow morning, I will get myself to work on whatever this happens to be…, and we shall begin to discover what’s next.

P.S. Dearest World, would you kindly allow me to sleep really well tonight and to wake up refreshed in the morning?? These late-night storms have been waking me like crazy the past several nights, and I could really use a solid night’s sleep. 😉

Post-a-day 2020

Just do it

I did it!

I started work on creating my first book, and I started work on producing the first edition of the online women’s magazine I am starting!

I came up with ten (10) plot ideas for the book, as I said last night that I would do today, and I even really like certain ones of them… like really like them.

I got on the phone with a friend whom I want to be a secondary voice on moving the magazine forward with me, and she helped me organize out certain bits already for it.

I sent her the general outline I had of everything this evening, and she will look at it tomorrow, and get back to me on her response to it either tomorrow or Friday.

I compiled the contact list for the various contributors who are confirmed, and whom I am considering bringing on to the project.

I reached out on social media for contributors (without saying what specifically the reason was) in a couple areas that were lacking contributors.

And now, my brain is going almost nonstop, just chugging along with considerations regarding the magazine.

It is a good kind of busy in my brain right now, and I think it is definitely helping keep me away from thoughts of the intense citrus smell in my room right now – and the accidental addition of isopropyl alcohol to the steaming mix over the burning candle – due to not only the dying roach I found downstairs this morning, but the live one I found crossing on top of my swimsuit an hour ago in my bedroom… and that is currently trapped in my painting water jar downstairs…

Yeah, so, moving on…

My task for tomorrow with the book – I think I need to give myself a task every day for the book – will be to come up with five (5) more plot ideas that seem particularly crazy and out of my typical comfort zone of writing and style (think zombies and goth and erotic romance novels!… :P), and then to flesh out at least two of my plot ideas, including one of the crazy ones.

Yikes – tomorrow will be a silly one for the book! 😛 Haha

I’m excited, and I can hardly wait. 🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Rapunzel

It turns out that I have done and regularly do just about everything listed in the song “When will my life begin”, from the film Tangled.

Like… seriously…

I mentioned this to a friend this morning (her tonight*), and how I was considering doing a set of photos with the song lyrics as captions to them.

But she was determined that I make an actual video… especially since I live up on top of an old house, creating an extra layer of comparability to Rapunzel and the song.

After much deliberation and some concern on copyright concerns, I have almost determined to make a video that includes clips of me doing all of these different things, and with myself singing the song in the background… no copyright issues on a cover, and more interesting than just photos…

It could be quite fun, I dare say…

Though, I do not have chess, nor do I have darts (though I can play/do both reasonably well)…, so I am considering two different unique tasks to fill their places in the song… unsure yet what, though.

(How many times can one use “though” in a single sentence or idea??? Haha)

Lots up in the air right now, but the idea has definitely been planted well, so there’s a chance!

The hardest part will be to get back to making myself actually get up at 7am, and not just to use the bathroom and then go right back to bed (as I have been doing most days lately)… 😛

*If you don’t get it, ask around until you find someone who does. 😉

P.S. May the Fourth be with you 😉

Post-a-day 2020

I love my city

I really do love my city. I spent most of the day today out riding my bicycle around it, and taking photos of things I like, so that I could send them to my buddy in Italy, so that he could see some of the everyday and the beloved that are part of my life in Houston.

(What a sentence!)

What’s funny to me right now, though, is that, though I did that and I exercised and I made delicious food and healthy and delicious juices afterward, and I sent the photos on, and I chatted a long while with a good friend while winding down just now…, though I did all of these things, and I was incredibly satisfied by and fulfilled by my day…., I suddenly am filled – in my intense sleepiness, as I prep as quickly as is possible for bed – with an experience of loss regarding that guy… I almost want to cry, yet I couldn’t say why specifically… but it has to do with him, I know.

It is much like the song I wrote the other day about loving my city, yet not wanting to be in it right now…, because I wanted to be with him, instead… I was just going through all of these awesome photos, and it was on my mind how much I love my city…, and then, bam… some utterly unknown tangent busts in this old topic.

I know it was a tiny affair on paper, but it wasn’t tiny for me, for many reasons… and I understand that it isn’t just going to go away – it is going in small steps, with every day involving less and less brainpower and attention occupied by thoughts of him and that whole situation, and also less intense emotions connected to all of it… but, even still, it doesn’t feel good when, after a whole day of being in great spirits about it, my guards of logic and consciousness begin to close down for the night, and I am whooshed by a sudden sad reminder of something I really wanted – something I expressed wanting – didn’t work out, despite my going for it.

I’m just going to sit with that for now… perhaps it is what will do me best, not to resist it or disappear it right away… perhaps it still just needs to be felt at times…

So, I’ll feel it…

Post-a-day 2020

The time is now

There’s no time like the present, right?

Which, I guess, means that there’s no time like one in the morning! 😛

I had just completed a few hours of meditative work both for myself and for a friend – making a mala, and being very intentional about the whole thing and its entire process, thus taking hours to do it all, to meditate first on what to do, and then meditating by doing it – and, as I was packing up things, I acknowledged that the pull I had felt the past hour or so to play my second song (with the hopes of getting it recorded to share) was worth it… bed could wait a little longer – it wasn’t like I had to be anywhere early tomorrow, nor that I couldn’t nap as needed throughout the day (though I do have to start work at 9am, it is from home, and I don’t exactly have to talk to anyone first thing, possibly at all, so I’m okay to be a bit short on sleep…, even though I struggled with sleep last night…, but I’ll get back to that in a sec…).

Plus, this pull was more than just one to record a video or audio recording… there was something emotional pulling at me through it…

All these emotions that had gone into the song, they were ready to release, to be expressed, and to start to move onward… I had sat in them consciously for long enough – it was time.

Just to be sure, I played once just for myself, just to see how it went.

It was practically flawless.

So, then, yes, it was time.

I pulled up my computer, tested the sound and video and all, and then recorded…

And it was perfect.

And it was 1:12 in the morning, and that was perfect, somehow, too.

And now, without sharing the video, I will go get ready for bed and go to sleep, with hopes that, with these emotions out of me like this, I will find rest tonight, and can wake up refreshed tomorrow… unlike today.

And yet, even with these thoughts and feelings waking me while it was still dark outside, and not allowing but another short bit of respite – although, can we call it respite when we just end up inside stressy dreams with all the same thoughts and feelings that kept us up in the first place? – I still seem to be functioning at, now, almost two in the morning… I trust that I will be okay tomorrow, especially after resting for real… yes… I will sleep well tonight.

Thank you, God, for the music and the words… they are invaluable to me right now, and I am immensely grateful.

And I am ready for whatever is next : )

Post-a-day 2020

Stand up, and lose the pants

Yesterday, I was oxen the glorious opportunity of seeing a friend of mine complete an online challenge…

***Small tangent: You see, everyone has been – and by everyone, I mean a lot of people, not actually everyone – doing various challenges in their homes, and, upon completion, challenging someone else (often multiple someone elses) to complete the same challenge.

The ones I have seen have ranged all over the pace, including but not limited to juggling a toilet paper roll like a soccer ball, doing ten push-ups and nominating ten people to do them, doing 25 push-ups, singing a praise and worship song, chugging a beer, and doing specific hand motions to a fast song without being allowed to practice… to name one more than a few. ***End of small tangent

Today, I woke up focused and ready to complete my task, to complete this challenge with which my friend had presented me yesterday… hoping, at the very least, that I could complete it, for it was not an easy one…

Now, what was this challenge, you may wonder… I divulge:

The pants-less challenge: Either take off or put on a pair of pants, without using your hands, while holding a handstand.

Wow, right?

Of course, that’s the kind of challenge you get when you have acrobatic friends who find it funny that everyone is working from home in pajamas most days right now, and who imagine that a good chunk of everyone is at home with no pants on, since there is no one to see…

So, anyway, my friend did it with her onesie, which I found somehow hilarious, and so I elected to do the same with a onesie of my own.

Hers was a panda, and the one I selected for the task was a rainbow unicorn… equally suiting to our personalities, in a way…

It took many efforts – perhaps close to ten – for me to figure out how truly to make everything work and then actually to do what I had worked out to do… I can’t hold a handstand, – just pop up onto one and then come almost immediately back down – so I knew I would have to use a wall… behind that, though, all the rest of the strategy had to come from giving it a try and seeing what happened, finding out from trial and error a bit as to what works and what doesn’t.

Eventually, after lots of practice and a short break, I went all-out and got it(!!).

Woohoo.

Super silly, and I could hardly stop laughing, this challenge was so much fun.

I had been thinking at every challenge how unchallenging it really seemed to me to be, and how not-very-entertaining each one was…, ‘These are lame challenges,’ was a common thought from me… but not on this challenge – it was not only interesting, but kind of crazy, a tad scandalous, challenging, it made me think, and it was totally fun.

I loved it.

Feel free to give it a try in your own home – though no video is required, you might enjoy reminiscing immediately with what is likely to be some comical footage… and you might want to share it, anyway, even if you utterly fail… 😛

Wishing you loads of fun and silliness right now – laughter is, indeed, an amazing medicine. 😉

Post-a-day 2020

Are you game?

I am somewhat terrified (though not in any life-threatening way) for tomorrow and onward.

I don’t date people… I just don’t.

Men don’t ask me out, I don’t ask them out, and we don’t go out.

Yet, here I am, scheduled to meet a person for brunch – I also don’t go eat with people when I don’t know how they eat, physically (can’t stand smacking and all sorts of nonsense) – for, well, a date that, well, I asked him to go on with me.

Have I gone mad?

I am so particular, and also so panicky about all of this business…

We (meaning my friend) put me on the dating apps, and it stressed me out so much, I couldn’t take it.

And I didn’t even go on any dates from them(!), but I just needed to be removed from them.

And I think they scared me.

I have it in my head that things will be easy with the person meant for me, and that’s totally okay.

But I also have this desire to date people – like the concept of going on dates and being giddy and silly and flirty and having fun and learning all about someone else, and then also just having someone to go do something with me, to spend time with me.

One side of me wants to go date all over the place, but another wants to be reserved, to stay away, to wait with utter loyalty for the one meant for me…

The parable where the one guy goes and buries the money, while the other two invested their shares, and he returns just the original amount to the master, but the others return more, due to interest from their investments, and the master fusses at him for his poor judgement of what was best to do with the money… comes to mind…

If I sit quietly, safely, alone and underground, I will not improve upon myself and I will have significantly less to offer when that someone comes to retrieve me, so to speak – I would have so much less to offer my partner whenever we did get together.

So, it makes sense to invest myself, again, so to speak…

But I also am terrified of hurting the other person I date – I hate rejection, but I also hate rejecting… my usual tactic is to avoid the whole situation by figuring out ahead of any dating opportunity that the person and I are not meant for each other, and then making sure no date ever comes of it…

And I don’t want to be hurt myself… I don’t want to be rejected myself… as much as I don’t want to have to ‘let him down easy,’ as we say, I don’t want to be ‘let down’ at all… I’ve had enough of that experience in my life already, especially with guys… I don’t want any more of it.

But it is just like the job interview, as my mom and I always discuss before I have an interview… I want to get this, because I think it would be amazing, but I want to be true to myself and I want to get it because I am good for it – if I would not be good for it and would end up miserable in it, I want not to get it… if they do not want me, then it is good that they reject me, because it is not the place for me, and it is not a good place for me, either… If they accept me, it is because I am perfect for it, and things will be amazing… if they reject, it is because something better awaits me… I need not put any extra stress, emphasis, or meaning onto the interview (e.g. That I have to get this, or that it means I suck if I don’t get this, etc.)… however it turns out is perfect for me and my life, and I will be heading perfectly to where I need to be next in life.

This whole dating thing, I think can be like that for me… if we are meant to be together, we will be; if we are not, we won’t be…, either way is perfect.

We are on this date for some reason, and there is something wonderful to get out of it, including its being a wonderful opportunity to learn about and get to know another human being in the intimacy of a one-on-one experience (something of which we seem to do far too little in this life)… if nothing else, that is a good enough reason to go on this date.

I think that is actually why I wanted this date: He attracts me, and I want to see why, I want to learn about him, to satisfy the curiosity that called me so strongly to him as to want to spend one-on-one time with him.

Wanting to spend one-on-one time with someone doesn’t mean we have to kiss or have sex or anything at the end of it – it is truly just an opportunity to have uninterrupted interaction with one another… and I think that is one of the most important parts of this for me to get… I can go on a date and not have to kiss the guy at the end… and I can even talk about that with him, and even at the beginning.

It’s kind of like how I told this one friend-ish acquaintance straight up, “I’m not having sex with you,” and he understood and was not offended, and we still spent and spend time together, one-on-one, despite my clear declaration… hmm…

Wow… is it really an expectation of a kiss (etc.) that most stresses me about dating?… that I would be declared overly chaste and wuss and whatever afterward?

Hmm… I might have something there…

But what if I already do want to kiss him?… and I end up not wanting to kiss him later on, after we spend more time together?… is it okay to back away some, to remove the kissing from the table, while still being amicable, friends, even?

I guess that would be part of the conversation to be had to begin it all… establishing expectations, concerns, goals, and anything else that needed to be said before diving into the date fully…

Actually, I really like that idea… I had thought of it before, but not in such clarity and with such specific reasoning behind it… now I need to make sure this happens tomorrow, before our date begins fully…

Yes, I am game (and it seems like it will be very fun to play). 🙂

Post-a-day 2020