Click

Today, something kind of clicked into place for me.  I don’t know what it was or quite how it happened, but things kind of just worked for me.  I moved myself to various tasks throughout the day, added in details to my activities that I had wanted for so long to include (like having classical music playing in the background most of the day), and even got myself outside for a bit with an umbrella, despite the extreme heat.

I am not fully free of all of this recent stuff, but today was definitely a new day, a new experience of life – one much different from the past many weeks.

And I am grateful for it.

Post-a-day 2020

Something’s wrong, and that’s perfect

Every so often – read “almost every day, especially when I’m not doing so well” – I have thoughts of concern around the idea that there might be or that there is something wrong with me.

As I thought about this today and last night, it started to wonder, Well, so what?  So what if something’s wrong with me?  What does that even mean, anyway?  It had me consider that the whole concept of ‘something’s wrong’ is, in a way, utterly and totally made-up.  I think about the whole moth scenario, where the white moths all thrive in the snowy place, until the factory opens up, and soot is abundant, turning most of the snow gray…. at which point, the moth population slowly but surely turns almost entirely gray – the genetic mutation allowed for improved survival in the altered times, when snow was no longer white but gray.  By our standards, we could say that something was wrong with the gray moths, back when everything was white…, but none of them has a problem with that wrongness now, with everything being gray around them.

Basically, so something about me works differently than other people, or even than most people…, and, so what?  Why must I feel inferior or inadequate or lesser of a being because of it?  If my hormonal system doesn’t understand how to function superbly, does that make me a terrible human being, or a lame one, or even a non-human?  No.

For one thing, it is 100% in our nature as living beings to have mutations – differences, changes, seemingly inexplicable alterations – in our DNA and resulting bodies.  My body not working like the rest of humanity’s bodies is totally normal, scientifically speaking.  Female hormonal systems work this way, and mine just doesn’t – it works differently than the average female hormonal system.  It is statistically abnormal…, but abnormal statistics don’t make me a lesser being.

For a second thing, perhaps this is just a way of my DNA, my body, preparing for those unexpected factories to move into town and turn all the snow gray… perhaps they are preparing me for the unknown contingencies in life.  I have no idea what those scenarios would be to have any of these alterations from the average in my body’s function make sense…, but it somehow wouldn’t surprise me if, someday, whether I’m still alive then or not, these alterations all do make sense.

I’m still a bit nervous about the fact that, well, part of my body kind of seems to be screwing the rest of my body over, by not taking care of itself…, however, I like this idea of considering that it is merely a natural genetic mutation, a gray moth among the whites.  Plus, I have found various ways to help those struggling parts of my body to function better, and, though I don’t know quite how it all will look down the line, at least for now, I know what works best so far, and I can stick with doing that.

I certainly have had many a struggle and even a good handful of breakdowns around the fact that ‘my body isn’t normal’…, so I hope that this shift in perspective proves to be a powerful one.  I want to feel and be okay and comfortable with my altered-from-average body.  Anyway, plenty of people who had altered-from-average bodies ended up being spectacular at things other people couldn’t be spectacular at doing.  A woman with no arms can use her legs and feet like most people do hands.  A blind person can hear things most people don’t even notice.  Several genius-types couldn’t function socially or in schools very well, and some not at all.  I don’t know – not yet, anyway – for what my alteration from average allows in my life, but I am going to keep an eye out for it now, now that I’m thinking about it this way.  Perhaps there is something to this idea, even with my hormonal system’s situation…  I shall observe and consider, and hopefully see.  🙂

So, going forward, I shall remember – do what I can as I get adjusted to the idea, anyway – that something is wrong with me, and that that is totally perfect.  Seriously: perfect.  🙂

Post-a-day 2020

On my mind

I recently discussed the idea of not disregarding people’s good works simply due to their faults.

For example, DSK was known as being an amazing politician who would be good for the country… he had an incident of something akin to harassing or groping – I really don’t remember, because that really wasn’t the point of any of the talk in France at the time – a chambermaid while he was visiting the US.

The world disclaimed him and wrote him off… yet he still had done amazing things for his people and his country.

DSK has been awesome, and he also did some not good works.

Doing one bad thing doesn’t make him bad always or at the core.

Fast-forward to tonight, when I found myself discovering that I had never fully evaluated the opposite, the inverse.

Just because someone does something good does not make him or her good always or at the core…

Sadly, I have had terrible, terrible people do very nice and kind and good things…

Also, I have had amazingly wonderful and good people do some really bad things…

The few bad or few good do not determine the person.

I’m not exactly sure at the moment what does make the person, other than what’s on the inside, and we just have to be able to judge that from interaction and not individual actions on the person’s part…, but I know a few acts of good or bad do not do it.

Perhaps, even, a million actions of either good or bad do not make the person.

So, then, it would have to be a ‘what’s on the inside’ kind of conversation, I think…

Yeah.

I’ve actually always felt that way about it, but I’m not sure I had ever put it into words.

Yes, our actions speak louder than words, but who we are speaks loudest, and that is in our presence – it is in our whole being, it is the energy that we each bring to the table of the game of life.

(Great game, by the way.)

So, yeah… that’s what came up strongly tonight… 😛

P.S. Yet again, I am going to bed only three and a half hours before my alarm must sound in the ‘morning’… ugh(!)…

Post-a-day 2020

Good vs Evil vs Judgy People

I want to give more thought and writing thought and writing to this topic, but I just wanted to share briefly on it now, as it has been on my mind tonight.

At the opera tonight, I found myself wondering about how all the good things someone has done can be so easily disregarded the moment something bad shows up.

At least, when the bad is considered to be a high enough degree of bad, anyway, the good seems to be swept away.

People often declare a falseness to all the good – it could not be good, because it must have been motivated by something bad, since this bad we see now has happened…, because, it seems people are saying, the person is inherently bad.

Yet we are told that humans are inherently good – all the major religions seem to declare it, to some degree…, yet the crowd of accusations always seems to be filled with religious individuals belonging to those religions.

When someone does bad, do we not say it is often a cry for help, in some way or other?

If it is, then would we be not better placed helping the individual than condemning him or her?

And, even then, must we disregard all the good the person did separate from the bad the person did?

Having been the recipient of really bad, I threw this argument to myself tonight.

Can I (and do I) still accept and appreciate all the good the person contributed to my life, despite the extreme and intense bad the person thrust upon me in the end?

No, I do not like him or ever want to be around him again in my life, and I believe he is driven by a lot of pain that has led him to commit a lot of bad in the world around him.

But yes, I am grateful for the good acts I received from him.

… even if he had bad intentions behind them, I am still grateful for the benefits I received from the good.

And I know there were many times that bad drove the good acts from him…, but I also believe there were times that good drove his good acts… and I still appreciate all of the good acts, no matter the good will or ill intention behind them.

So, where does this leave me with society on this matter…?

I think as an outlier in my view…

Post-a-day 2020

Mount Tsukuba

Okay, I hiked another mountain yesterday!

As I was hiking, I realized why I never really had mountain climbing on my list of to-do things in life – I’m really not a mountain-climbing person.  I’m from Houston, Texas, where, in case you didn’t know, everything is flat.  Literally, we have overpasses (for vehicles) on the highways and ditches along roads.  That as much variation to the land gradient as we get.  There’s even a phrase for it: In Houston, an uphill climb is only a figure of speech.  I found that in the HIWI: Houston – It’s Worth It coffee-table book several years ago.  I always remembered it, because it was so beautifully and comically true.  Keep this fact in mind as you read onward here.

 

Our school had their fancy baseball game, where the entire school goes and cheers (mostly the same cheers as the other school) for the team.  We won the game, and it ended around noon.  The best part, though, was that we didn’t have to go back to school afterward.  Even the teachers were free to go home after the game.  So, I decided ahead of time that I would go hike the nearby mountain after the game.  Of course, I didn’t know that we officially had the day off after the game, but I planned to take my last few vacation hours if necessary.  Fortunately, that was not necessary.  So, yay!

As I told kids what I was off to do, they were amazed, concerned, excited, surprised, etc.  REALLY, Hannah-Sensei?!  Yes, really.  After a sandwich snack from a konbini (convenient store), I got some help from a few students and found the right bus to get me to the mountain.  It was about 45 minutes to the middle of nowhere without shade, where I had to wait 25 minutes to take the second bus up to the base of the mountain.  There’s a shrine, and it’s really pretty and nice, and it took me forever to find the path to hike up the mountain.  Eventually, I found a sign by the cable car entry, stating that the hiking trail began in that direction.  Turns out, the trail begins right next to the cable car entrance.

The trail was Miyukigahara Course (御幸ヶ原コース), and the mountain was Mount Tsukuba (筑波山).  The estimated trail time is 90 minutes upward.  With loads of pausing for photos, feeling lost, and sheee-it declarations, I made it in 77 minutes.  I was truly shocked at how quickly I had done it.

 

 

The trail began with some confusion, as it branched off toward the cable cars twice, but going straight got me in the right direction.  The terrain was spidery tree roots and rocks everywhere, and beautiful, green trees all round.  I was delighted.

 

 

Eventually, the gradient increased, and the easy trail became not-so-easy.  Then there were stairs.  I dislike stairs in Japan.  They drive my knees nuts, because they are in no way aligned to the size of my stride.

After what felt like far too much effort on a long series of stairs going what felt like straight upward (I couldn’t even take a good photo of them, without tilting the camera way upward or downward, they were so steep.), I finally reached a pause point in the trail.  At first, I thought the first sign I was seeing after almost half an hour might be informative.  Instead, it told me to take my trash home… so Japan…

 

Now, even though I am from Houston, and going upward is the thing at which I am kind of the worst, I still enjoyed the trek.  For one thing, it was cool seeing all the different cairn-like rock piles.  Some were really complex,

while others were incredibly simple.

Suffice to say, I enjoyed them all.  …as I was practically gasping for air the entire time, of course.

Around halfway, I came across the cable cars.  I heard the cables moving, and so thought the car was approaching.  After at least a five-minute wait, the car finally appeared (both did, actually), and I got a little photo of it, and hurried on my way.

 

As I have discovered to be the case with roads here in Japan, so was this trail: What appears to be a dead end is, in fact, not a dead end.  I actually struggled very briefly to find the path at this point, as it was hidden behind the trees, and the area opened up so nicely to the right.

The first half of the trail is rightly difficult.  It’ll turn around anyone unprepared for the trek within the first twenty minutes, for sure.  I kind of hated how difficult it was (again, remember the Houston factor), and had a sort of running commentary of ‘Uugghh,’ going on in my head, but it was alright.  After the halfway point, things got mostly easier.

Until, of course, I reached a totally sketchy point in the trail, where the guard ropes and steps and all seem to be falling to bits amid the rocks and trees, like giants scrambled through a couple decades ago, and no one has made it back through the area since.  But, I picked my way through the rubble-like terrain, and found myself wondering suddenly, as the trail was leading distinctly downward, if I hadn’t crossed onto another path, and were actually heading down to the base of the mountain again.

 

Eventually, a sign eased my concerns… somewhat.  Then the trail kept going downward.  I went Back to the sign, checking which direction the paths supposedly led, comparing it to a photo I’d taken of a similar sign farther down the mountain.  I even called a friend to check that the path did this – I So did not want to be doing double hiking here, and I was concerned about my timing (I had no idea how long it had been, as I was embarrassed to check, find I had been going super slowly, and risk losing all morale [or most of it, anyway].).

I then reached a bit that didn’t even look like a trail, but rather a big pile of boulders.

However, after climbing over the boulder pile, I came upon what I called the “Man Woman River”, which is really a pathetically-sized stream trickling down the side of the mountain.

 

At the river, however, there was an actual sign indicating that I was, indeed, still on my trail, and had only 600m to go.  A time and a half around a track.  I knew instantly that it wouldn’t be so easy as that, though.

After what felt like about 500m, I came to the stairs.  Honestly, if you ever do this, take the advice relating to fears of heights when up high somewhere, where you are told not to look down.  For these stairs, don’t look up.  They just keep going and going, and they curve and then keep going some more.  And they’re tiny little steps, too, where you have to figure out if it feels better to take two or three at a time, and neither is quite right, so you try doing just one at a time, and it ends up even worse than the two or three.

I knew these steps were like the home stretch, but I was wary.

 

Sure enough, I rounded the final corner of trees after these cutesy, painful, annoying steps, and actually cursed aloud.  This is actually the exact view of where I was spit out from the previous segment of the trail.  Right in the middle of the rocks, with even more, higher up stairs over to the side.

This, I practically cried inside, has Got to be the final stretch… Please.

And, indeed, it was.  At long last, I was at the end of the trail, and up on top of the mountain, on the little hump between the two peaks.

 

Tsukuba Mountain has two peaks on it, Nantai-San and Nyotai-San.  Mt. Nantai is the one whose name in kanji equates to ‘Man Mountain’, and Mt. Nyotai is the ‘Lady Mountain’ in its kanji.  I didn’t have much time before the last cable car down, so I picked the Lady Peak over the Man Peak.  It was a quick and easy 600m up (as opposed to the miserable last 600m of the trail I’d just taken), and the view was quite nice.  I enjoyed the space there, all on my own.

On the entire adventure up the mountain, I think I didn’t even pass ten people total.  It was marvelous.  Though not quiet – bugs are loud.

As I rode the cable car down the mountain at 5pm (the last car of the day), I began checking routes home.  Get this: The next bus out of that area to get me home was Tuesday morning at 9:06am.  Are you kidding me?  Nope.  Not at all.

So, I did some freaking out, even asked a local guy about how to get home, and he even passed concern to himself about whether there was still a bus running.  He told me, however, that buses ran, and just to follow the road until I reached the bus stop.  Suffice to say, there were no more buses running.  Fortunately, I was already mentally prepared by the time I reached the bus stop.

I had been looking around on my Google Maps app (which I love!), and found a bus leaving from a ways away that could get me to somewhere useful.  I then began my half-sprint descent to a nearby town’s bus station, slightly concerned about whether I would make it home that night.  After half an hour of running on a road in the middle of the forest, which is clearly not meant for pedestrians, I climbed aboard my desired bus with two minutes to spare.  I was too exhausted even really to appreciate my fortune in catching the bus.  I promptly sloughed onto the back seat, out of the sun, and relaxed for the upcoming long ride, as soon as I informed my friends that I had made it on the bus, and didn’t need anyone to come way out of the way to get me.

And, just to make the day better for my health, I went directly to ballet class when I got back to my town.  It was my last chance to go, and I hadn’t even known it – I’d just wanted to go to class, because I love the class.  Apparently there’s no class next week.  Even more good fortune.  I had a blast in the class, and it was a really good way to send myself off from the group I’d come to love.

Hmm… this didn’t turn out at all as I had hoped.  Perhaps, I’ll revisit it some time, when I actually feel like writing, as opposed to going home to sleep… or do anything but sit in this warm room at work, with a chair and desk that are too small for me…  We’ll see.

 

Post-a-day 2017