“Love”

I really love when younger adult men (e.g. aged 20-40) call women “love”, “sweetheart”, “darlin'”, and the likes in an entirely and obviously non-romantic but loving way.

I mean like how the guy in the student ID photo-taking station wished me well as I left, by saying, “You, too, gorgeous,” or how this particular cashier at Trader Joe’s always calls me “love” – ‘You’re all set, love.’

The first was perhaps around 35, and the cashier possibly around 25… and neither gave off even the slightest hint of desire or sexual connotation to the use of the endearing terms… they were, simply, terms of endearment on a friendly, human-to-human level.

And I love that.

Today, after class, a coach said to me, “Great job today, sweetheart,” and waved me a goodbye… it was clear that he intended encouragement and care on a friendly level, and nothing at all on a romantic level… and it felt so good…

To be cared for by the opposite sex, without there being an alternate agenda of any kind, is really, really nice.

Certainly, when someone uses the same words in a derogatory or demeaning, looking-down-at-me sort of way, it is dreadful and, even, somewhat inappropriate.

In these contexts, however, it is clear that I am respected for who I am, and the word is used as an expression of human love and concern for one another…

(I’m not sure how else to put it right now, but I hope you can see what I mean with all of this.)

I just love that these men have started doing this again – it once was somewhat normal, here in the South, anyway, but has fallen away almost entirely in recent decades, leaving only the really old men to use the terms with women.

But these younger guys are somewhat bringing it back, and I love it.

Perhaps it can be a sort of step toward showing our love and concern for one another more openly in the world, like how I always told my Starbucks coworkers every time I left work, “Okay… love you guys… bye!”

Perhaps we are on the path to show one another and to share with one another our mutual love as human beings, who are together here on this Earth.

You know?

Post-a-day 2019

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More than just a physical workout

Today was my second day as a member of this CrossFit gym. My friend and I – we signed up together – have schedules that don’t align for workouts today and tomorrow, so we’re going to separate classes on both days, as will be the case going forward, whenever our schedules don’t align (that is, we both must and will go on the same day, at least three days a week, just not always at the same time… sure, there will be times where this doesn’t work out, but it is our strong intention to stick with it as absolutely best as is possible). Therefore, I went to the midday class on my own today. It was hot out, in the eighties, and I was tired… I had helped this same friend put together her new television stand and television last night after our late dinner together after class, and then I had to be up rather early this morning. Plus, of course, I had done the actual workout yesterday evening in the first place, and I was still a bit sore from the test class we’d done on Thursday evening. Altogether, I was hot, tired, and alone on my own. But I was there, and I knew it was exactly where I wanted and needed to be – everything was perfect in this. I was even nervous, because I’m new at it and don’t quite know how things work at least half the time; I’d even said we felt like lost puppies the other evening, as we tried figuring out what was going on in the middle of the class. 😛 Anyway, continuing onward…

So, I’m there on my own. I also happen to be rather un-strong right now – not that I’m weak, but I’m nowhere near as strong as I have been much accustomed to being throughout my life. And I have a good amount of fat on my body that I want to go away. In fact, I have wanted it to go away for years, but it has, instead, increased ever so slowly these past few years or so, with the occasional drop of most of it, and then the returning slow increase. You see, I can’t ever stick with it… I always hit a point where I can’t stand the fat an low fitness level, and so I do something about it. Whenever I hit a certain level of fitness and fat reduction, I always end up stopping… not from exhaustion or annoyance or anything, but from a thought that comes up of, “That’s (good) enough for now,” with a hint of something like fear behind it.

I shall return to this thought after explaining more from the class today (that is, you will figure out its relevance in just a bit).

Pushing through the workout, doing all that I could, my body shaking throughout about half of the workout, due to the struggle, I found myself in almost constant tears. I methodically reassured myself (when I was alone on the running section each time) both inside my head and aloud, that this is perfect that I am here… I can’t do this, and that is why I am here… I am meant to be here… This is perfect… This is exactly where I belong… This is where I need to be right now… This is where I need to be… This is perfect…

Over and over again, I repeated the varying versions of the idea that I was exactly where I needed to be, while acknowledging that it was difficult to do the workout (without degrading in any way), all the while crying.

When I finished the last bit, I stayed lying on the bench for about thirty seconds or so, because the tears were so strong, my body was even convulsing with a few hearty sobs as I rested my arms on top of me in a sort of relaxed hug… I let it out, so I could let it go.

And then I wiped off my tears, got up, and started cleaning up everything that I had used, reminding myself that this is perfect.

I didn’t talk to anyone initially… just the bare minimum of how long it took me, and then nods to say that I was, in fact, okay… avoiding the part where I didn’t know what I even could say, let alone would say, if talking were required.

As I put away the last thing, the bar I had used, the girl (lady) I’d met at the beginning said something to me. I don’t remember if it was a question about the workout, or merely encouragement, but there eventually came a point at which I went ahead and shared a little with her. Taking it slowly, and eventually having the tears start pouring out (but not as badly as they could have been had I not taken it slowly), I told her how a lot was coming up for me in this… My having always been one of the top performers in almost any and every sport I did growing up and as a younger adult, and suddenly being on the other end of it all, I felt like the fat kid – this workout was hard for me in places that things had never before been hard for me… My life direction and style and goals having begun and finally done a sort of plunge into a drastically different direction, terrifying me ever so slightly but intensely… The regular stresses of life, combined with the raccoons and the fleas… and, most importantly and intensely, that I am actually taking on for real getting my body to the physical fitness level and look I so long to have.

This last one may not seem like much, but it is. I told her how I had kind of hit a point of being afraid of being a beautiful female body, and that I started to shy away from the idea, aiming for the less feminine versions of clothing and such. She (appropriately) asked if something happened to me, and (appropriately) acknowledged that it wasn’t that something had to have happened to me – she just wondered if any incident had played a role in that, since it so often does, especially for women.

And, surprisingly, – but also not surprisingly, since I’ve been working on being my true self and being self-expressed truly – I told her that Yeah, I kind of did. It wasn’t exactly the catalyst of it all, – I had already started feeling uncomfortable with being womanly and all. But it did act as a strong encouragement that I was right, and that it is bad to be womanly and sexy. I even shared a bit of details that were relevant, remaining comfortable and confident in myself the whole time.

I recently had a long and tough and beautiful conversation with my best friend about my own incident, and I completed what I needed through that conversation – whatever I needed addressed or said or acknowledge, happened, and my feeling of being trapped by the incident was, after years of avoidance and mental pain and struggle hiding in the back of my mind, finally disappeared… I could see it as something that happened, and was able to talk about it fully at last. I don’t mean each and every detail, of course, but the experience itself and anything that was particularly heavy on me suddenly lost their power and weight in my mind. And my recent efforts to find the kind of exercise I want to do, and then finding the right gym to do it once I’d found the exercise, all came out of this conversation I’d had with my best friend near the end of last year.

And today, all on my own, knowing fully that I am in this at least through September – already paid of through then, essentially – and that I am guaranteed spectacular results by then (especially since it usually only takes about three months to see massive results, anyway, here), was a somewhat terrifying experience and feeling. I’ve spent so long, so many years, convinced to my core that I must avoid these exact results I am not actively seeking. I must not become an object that might be desired sexually… But my recent experiences of wanting to be able (eventually, anyway) to have that experience of not only wanting to desire a man, but of wanting that man to desire me… now those already have been huge, and were formerly unthinkable… but now they actually have a chance to happen one day soon…, and that is so scary to the terrified girl I had grown so accustomed to being inside my head.

But I want this. And I can finally see clearly enough to believe that it truly is okay for me to want it. I want my partner in life to want me in every way, and vice versa…and physically is one of those ways. And I shared this all with her.

And then she shared about her own miserable incident… and how she struggled to get to where she is today – happily married and comfortable with her body and going after amazing fitness, even showing off her body in her workout clothes (not inappropriately at all, but quite flatteringly and tastefully, I dare say) – and that she agrees with me that this is the perfect place for me to be with this. The community is wonderful at this gym – yes, there are physical beasts of men, but not one of them is anything less than a wonderful human being. And, by the way, ‘I didn’t dress like this when I first started coming here,’ she told me, smiling knowingly as I smiled and chuckled in my loose and somewhat baggy t-shirt and shorts. A hint of her midriff was showing, her top was sleeveless, and her shorts were mid-thigh and exercise style snug… it looked great and showed off her muscles modestly, but well.

As we were leaving, she told me that she regularly attends that class, clearly encouraging me to return and to see her as a willing friend of sorts. It felt good. And in a way I’m not sure I’ve known in quite a long time.

Post-a-day 2019

Some sort of workout

We did some CrossFit tonight – or, as I sometimes like to call it, XFactor.

I also started menstruation today.

Not that I initiated it or anything, of course… it just began.

Usually, if I have any pain, it is right at the beginning of menstruation, Day one or Day two.

And, naturally, Day one this time around opted to give me a bit of pain.

Not much, but some pain, nonetheless.

Add to this my significantly lowered energy level – yes, this is totally normal for menstruation, in case anyone was unsure – and the high humidity and heat of this afternoon, and you can imagine a tough workout ahead of me when I arrived for the class.

So, the sprints for the first fifteen-ish minutes were tough, but I made it.

And the weight stuff was okay – I was just generally weaker and shorter-winded than usual.

But the plank stuff at the end – by the way, plank is usually no big deal for me at all – was one of the oddest experiences I’ve ever had with all of this.

You see, plank was fine… it was when we continued from regular into what light have been called a marching plank, where you put one arm stretched in the air in front of you at a time, while keeping your back flat, legs wide, and butt still low, that I hit a tiny bit of trauma…

For that part, followed by mountain climbers (still with the butt low), a lot of the lower abdomen ends up being used.

… a part which had not clicked for me ahead of time…

And so, as I struggled through my second round of the plank combo, and was on the marching plank things, I actually had to stop – something I’ve never done in plank work – for the extreme and intense pain that felt like my ovaries and uterus were about to explode forward out of my lower abdomen… I skipped over the rest of the marching things and just finished the mountain climbers before stopping, but it was still enough to leave me almost rather paralyzed when I sat back, crying.

I’ve never cried in the middle of a workout before, but I did it about three times today.

Yes, the one cry could have been enough, but I had to make sure I wasn’t just being lazy, wanting to get out of the hard work simply because it was hard, and using the excuse of my menstruation to get out of it… and it turned out that it was a combination.

So, I did a few of the marching things and all of the mountain climber things each round afterward, thereby still putting in the work, but not putting myself in unnecessary and useless pain.

I know I have lower energy at these times, and so I have aimed recently to allow for that (and rather successfully for the most part).

Tonight was just the first time I had to factor that into my goals of becoming more fit – I always push hard when my fitness is on the line these days, and it was surprisingly hard to scale back tonight, despite the fact that it was necessary and good for me to scale back.

Anyway, speaking of all of this, nature calls, so I’m off.

Sweet dreams, World at large.

Post-a-day 2019

“Compliments”

I’m part of a ladies group for my former job in Japan, and someone recently posted about how these old ladies always compliment her nostrils as being proportionate to her nose, and so she wonders if anyone else gets funny compliments from other Japanese people.

In a quick think through, I came up with this for my own experience:

I’m dirty blonde and blue-eyed. Students often complimented my ‘beautiful’ hair, asked to touch it and my arm hair, constantly complemented my ‘amazing’ and ‘beautiful’ ‘high nose’, and even, on occasion, discussed how ‘amazing’ my ‘soft breasts’* were (which, by the way, are proportionate to my body and are a small B cup for US sizing)…

Also, I once had a new student, who had just learned that my eyes are blue, specially request to see my eyes… he then gazed into them for a full thirty seconds, and then thanked me and walked away. 😂

*Because, naturally, they discovered that I was not wearing push-up or padded bras, and so, from the outside, my breasts were ‘soft’ and not ‘hard’, like their extremely padded bras…, which they explained to me by tapping loudly on their own surprisingly solid bras…

Oh, Japan…

I do miss you… ❤

Post-a-day 2019

Grazingly uncomfortable

A few years ago, I was talking to a male friend of mine about one of the other guys at dance, and how I couldn’t figure out if he noticed that he would end up swiping the edge of my boob whenever we danced together (partner dancing).

He informed me and the other females present that a guy always knows when he has touched boob – it is like radar… whenever boob touches any part of a guy’s body, it immediately alerts, “BOOB!”

And so then we were all wondering if the occasional faces that the guy we’d been discussing would make – an almost embarrassed, pursed-lip, laughing expression, like a little boy who’s snuck ice cream before dinner, and his favorite aunt calls him out on it, but they both know she won’t tell Mommy (and probably just will steal a bite in exchange for her nonverbal agreed-upon silence in the matter) every so often while dancing with me were because he noticed that he’d touched boob, but hadn’t meant to do so, and so now didn’t know how to respond appropriately, but did his best to ignore the event (with his face totally betraying him).

Because we really couldn’t figure out why he always made those faces when dancing with me…., but this seemed like a reasonable and likely solution to our quandary.

The specific guy was an actual well-known friend, and so we all agreed easily that he was not at all intentionally malicious in any way with the boob grazing – he was just not that great with the body management while staying on beat and all in the dancing.

I don’t remember if I ever verified this theory – aka tested it time and time again, when dancing with the guy – but I have a sense of being rather convinced of that being the case, even now, years later, so I’m thinking I did check that he always made those faces just after what seemed like an unintentional boob graze.

Now, the reason this has come up tonight, is because of something that happened tonight.

When giving me a side hug tonight, a long-armed guy’s arm went a little too far around my back – about half an inch, I guess – and his fingertips, ever so slightly, grazed the outer edge of my breast.

When it happened, I naturally pulled strategically out of the hug, from years of practice in removing myself from any sort of uncomfortable situation, intended or accidental.

I didn’t say anything, though, because I found myself wondering first, Did he notice that?, which was almost immediately cut off by the memory of what my friend had told me years before: “BOOB!”

And then I wondered, Was that intentional?

????????????????

And then I didn’t know where to go with it.

He’s a tall guy, so misalignments can happen rather easily, as they happen with extreme height differences…, but he’s a tall guy, and he has been a tall guy for some time, and ought to know how to manage such things by this point in his life… but he’s also really not a ladies’ man, and so might not be too accustomed to hugging girls in the first place…

After the fact, I feel almost embarrassed that I was too embarrassed for him to bring it up, to tell him in some way that I disapprove of the behavior, whether it was intentional or not – I didn’t have to be mean to him at all, but I think it would have been valuable to inform him either way to be cautious in the future.

Yet, it was not so natural a thing to me that I even considered saying anything at the time… I just moved away from the incident altogether, for fear of discomfort.

I didn’t want to embarrass him over something he had neither intentionally done nor known about.

I was embarrassed for myself at the prospect of pointing out that he had touched me inappropriately, period.

This is something for me to work on for myself – I want to be comfortable to speak up and conscious enough to do so, whenever anything like this might happen.

And I want all people to be encouraged to do so themselves, too – I want us to be happy and comfortable in our own skins, and to be able to express, in a useful and beneficial way, what doesn’t work from other people’s behavior toward us.

Yeah.

Post-a-day 2019

Instant (Tickle Fight) Friends

In middle school, a friend of mine introduced me to a friend of hers one day, and I somehow ended up invited to that friend’s birthday party, which was, I believe, the upcoming weekend.

I knew very little about this girl, but I got her some kind of present and showed up to the party.

At the party, I knew few people, but really, really hit it off with the birthday girl – we created our own no-hands cake-eating contest (just the two of us, while everyone watched), and, because we were having such a good time together, turned the birthday party into a birthday slumber party, having girls call their parents (or check with them as they arrived originally to pick up their daughter) to request staying and having a change of clothes delivered.

During the slumber portion of the evening, when everyone was splayed across the TV room floor in sleeping bags and pallets, and the version of “When Harry Met Sally” that has the miniature interviews with old couples interspersed through the film (and therefore adds an extra hour or more to the run-time) was playing, the birthday girl and I were snuggled right next to one another.

I remember my hair being wet still, because we had also turned the party into a swimming party earlier on, and I had swum in borrowed clothes.

Anyway, she and I were watching the movie and chatting with one another off and on, when we came to the topic of being ticklish.

Neither one of us had much of any resistance to being tickled, but we both had the desire to be able to resist the way other people we knew could – mostly people with lots of siblings.

I had (and have) many siblings, so I felt like I was missing out on this special skill that people with siblings seem to have.

And so, by reasoning that it must be a matter of having been conditioned that allowed these people to resist, we agreed to test out our own conditioning.

Therefore, dozing off during the film, we both slowly and gently ran our fingers back and forth across one another’s feet bottoms (yes, the soles), so that we each could practice deep breathing and calming ourselves in the face of being tickled.

Fast forward to today, and I can tell you that our night of tickling practice paid off – most people have no idea that I am at all ticklish (this includes, of course, all the people who actually tickle me – I’m not just saying it because people don’t try or anything).

I can’t resist forever, but I still have a solid thirty seconds to a minute or so that I can resist quite well, even when the tickling is intense.

When the acrobats were hanging with us, we all had a tickle fight (because what’s the point of giving up tickle fights amongst friends, just because we’re adults?)… almost every attempt to send me into crying giggles failed, due to my power of resistance – vive la résistance! – but our fingers grew sore from jabbing at what felt like concrete or brick walls, because the extremely muscled abdomens of the acrobats were also extremely ticklish.

(This went in many different directions… now, back to my original concept with the instant friend in middle school.)

And so, years later, I still recall Sayrah, the girl who became my instant friend that one week in middle school, just about every time I consider and no-hands food-eating contest or event or when I consider my awesome skill at resisting being tickled.

***As a quick note, I totally can be tickled like crazy, and I willingly give in to it instantly when I’m in the mood for a good and deep laughing fit, but it’s nice to be able not to have those when I really just want to be a rock of calm. 😛

Anyway, I miss having that, instant friends… we even mentioned that tonight, missing the social aspect of school, where you get to be surrounded by people of similar age and intelligence at least five days a week, and friends kind of abound… adulting is tough in that respect…

Post-a-day 2019

Shaving

Oh, what a thing, shaving…

You know, it usually takes me two to three days to shave my legs effectively.

The first day happens when I 1) have decided to shave and 2) have remembered actually to bring my razor to the shower with me.

You see, I keep all of my things out of the shower, so that everything stays clean… I was already looking for a solution better than having to keep the water really low, so that it wouldn’t splash and get anything else wet while I showered, when I read Marie Kondo’s fabulous recommendation of just removing everything after each shower…, and I accepted.

Therefore, I must remember to bring a razor with me to the shower before I am in the shower and washing my body, suddenly recalling that I had intended to shave three days ago already…

So, that’s the first day of actual shaving – if we counted all the days I forget to bring the razor, we could get into months of waiting around, so we’re going with the days on which I actually do the shaving.

Now, I typically shower before bed.

I also typically have lower lighting on in the evenings and at night, as a sort of preparation for bed, allowing my eyes and mind and body to calm down in the lower, softer lighting that would be terrible for daytime hours but that is perfect for bed preparation.

Therefore, when I finish shaving the first day (night, really), what looks like a job well done, I can usually expect not to be so.

And so, the following day, in daylight (or, at least, daylight lighting), I examine my legs – it originally was on accident, and still usually is, but I occasionally remember and check intentionally – and almost always find hairs here and there, and occasionally even a whole chunk or strip of missed hair.

Oops… oh, well… I’ll fix it tonight.

And so, remembering where the missed areas and spots were, and also doing a bit of a close-up look under the lights before I get into the even darker shower, I shave a second night.

That’s the second day.

Usually, at this point, I’ve gotten all the hairs off my legs.

However, there are the occasions where I have yet again missed a hair or fifty.

And so, on the third day, upon discovering the again-missed hairs, I typically go directly to a razor and dry – extremely carefully, of course! – shave those missing hairs in the good lighting.

Thus concludes my monthly or quarterly or, on extremely rare occasions, weekly leg shave.

If I ever have forgotten too many days in a row, and I have an event that night or the next morning, the whole thing happens in fast forward: jump straight back into the shower (if I’m even showering, and not just shaving my legs directly from the side of the tub), and then do the cautious dry shave for the final stragglers I notice while dressing.

So, in a sense, shaving is quite the event in my life. 😛

Therefore, if I shave for you, you can know that you are really important in some way. 😉

Post-a-day 2019