โ€œLoveโ€

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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Southern work

I have worked in private Catholic schools, and so prayer and Bible verses aren’t entirely uncommon here and there slash every morning.

However, any work that I have had outside of these private schools usually has little to do with religion or God.

Sometimes, a prayer or invocation will happen at some event or other, because, well, this is Texas – there is a certain wholesome Christian-ness toy the culture, and so prayer before their performances was entirely normal and acceptable for the theatre kids at my cousins’ public high school in small-town Texas.

Houston is a whole ‘nother story – big city here means a certain amount of he open Christianity is lost – we have people from all over the world living here, and I’m not so sure Christianity has the majority hold here, even.

Therefore, it is uncommon for me to have strongly open Christianity show up at work here – leave Houston and enter smaller towns, and it absolutely is the norm… but not here.

And so, it was extremely odd for me to have the Bible quotes to me as part of my internship training the other day.

Yes, it was totally relevant to what I was being taught, (the quote, I mean), but the assumed foundation of Christianity was never discussed and was somewhat irrelevant to the topic of discussion at the time.

However, it reminded me that, well, I am in Texas and I am in the South, and I’m working with someone who is not Houston…, so of course Christianity is the standard foundation for anyone around – being not-Christian is rather abnormal and extremely uncommon.

And something about it was beautiful to me – no one was aiming to convert or preach or anything like that at all… it was merely a matter of, ‘Well, it is our task, given even by God, to do this and that, so it brings everything full-circle,’ having it make even more sense that we would do something a specific way in this job I’m learning (which, recall, is not a job about religion, but about caring for animals).

In any city-like job, I think I would have been uneasy about the comment, concerned that it was a radical Christian trying to convert me from my sinful ways without even getting to know almost anything about me, let alone the fact that I am Catholic – yes, we have these radicals here from time to time, too – but in the somewhat countryside, working with horses, it was utterly normal and acceptable, and it even surprised me that I wasn’t expecting it.

I guess I was thinking more about how this is a ‘work situation’, which I relate to big city, as opposed to that it is a ‘country work situation’.

Because if I had put in the word ‘country’, I’d have been ready and waiting for all sorts of Bible and God tidbits to show up – countryside in the south equals God-fearing and God-loving brings who are grateful for the gifts that God has granted them in their lives… for men, it means Christian cowboys through and through.

Traditionally, anyway… I guess we’ll just have to see how things go for the future of our Southern countryside, but I do kind of like it – the kindness and love that is always there really is wonderful.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that right now.

Goodnight! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

Music tonight

I pulled out my guitar tonight and played.

I had thought that it had been maybe a month or so since I last played, and then another couple weeks or few since I had been playing regularly.

However…, I did some calculations and checking (mainly here), and discovered that I have played my guitar a maximum of a handful of times since September, the most recent one being in December…

It’s mid-March right now.

That means that I was absurdly off on my passive calculations, and it has actually been almost half a year since I played guitar regularly, and only a max of five occasions in there – though, probably more like three – have found me playing it for, say, ten minutes.

Granted, I have played a bit of ukulele since then, but that has been rather sparse, too… and my last regular playing of ukulele on the daily was actually a year ago.

I did a while of playing/making music every day for myself, no matter what, back in early Fall, but I somehow stopped…, which I usually don’t do, when I come up with something like that… (I’m thinking I reached my goal of 40 days, or else I hit moving and the absurdity that was involved with that, and so I didn’t have any instruments with me for a while, and was too distracted and exhausted by everything else either to notice or to bother with it, if I did notice.)

Part of it is as I have known for years: If I don’t have the guitar out (e.g. on a stand, from which I need only to pick up the waiting guitar in order to play it), I end up rarely playing, with the reverse being true, also – if the guitar is out, I will play it often.

Another part of it is that I miss my other guitars, and somehow feel something like being unfair to them, or like I have abandoned them, and therefore am cautious about spending too much time and energy with the Japan guitar I have with me.

Granted, the idea is totally absurd… however, that in no way changes the fact that I am experiencing it.

So, I sent a message a bit ago to the person who took temporary charge of my guitars when I moved to Japan.

He lives here in Houston, but is gone during the school year, so I might have to wait for summer… hopefully, though, his spring break will be the same as mine, and we’ll get to have coffee and then go pick up my guitars from his home, to take them to my new home.

And maybe I’ll get to pet his family cat then, too.

(On a related note, I have been missing my cat all evening, yet also totally not missing having a cat – I love animals; I just don’t want to live with any right now. I mean, let’s be real, I think this raccoon is enough for the time being.) ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway… I played parts of two Shake Russell songs tonight, and they both were awesome.

The guitar totally needs new strings, but that is for another day’s/night’s tasks – for now, it has done its job of getting me strumming around and creating music again. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m hoping that, while with family tomorrow, my uncle will play some Shake Russell songs with me, since we often all end up doing music stuff, anyway, when together, and our families (my mom’s and her sister’s) love Shake Russell music.

Okay, I’m stopping now, before I continue on to talk about how I love Shake Russell’s concerts, where here are only sixty-ish people, and how that’s my kind of concert, and how Japan was like that at times, too, and now I’m suddenly super sentimental, and tears this and tears that, another hour has passed, and I’m still not asleep in bed. ๐Ÿ˜›

Therefore, I bid you wonderful nights and days and mornings and evenings and everything in between. โค

Peace

Hannah

P.S. (Aha!) I’ve remembered: I stopped the daily music because it was something I was aiming to do daily, but not something I’d committed to doing daily… it is a small distinction between the two, but it is important to note – life got busy, and I opted for sleep over music… :/ …, but I didn’t break my word on anything there. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Phew!)

Post-a-day 2019

My western hat and inner self

‘Do you like my hat?’

‘No, I do not like your hat.’

‘Goodbye.’

‘Goodbye.’

Today, I remained calm and present, and I constantly re-evaluated to establish that I was remaining as such and that I also was remaining myself… and then I told the hat guys exactly what my predicament was, using the words that were my own and not borrowed or copied or made to look like others – all my own words, and honestly expressed.

They chuckled at my chosen words, but proved easily that my concern and desire were understood , and then, beautifully, they resolved my concern and fulfilled my desire… that is, I am happy and comfortable to put on my black hat now, because it is shaped properly to look good on me.

It may sound silly, but imagine wearing a vest that is designed for huge breasts on a big person, and has just been incorrectly sized down to a small, and so no part of it actually fits properly, and there are buckles and bulges everywhere (despite the fact that there aren’t such buckles and bulges on my actual body), making me look totally misshapen from a reasonably healthy and fit adult female.

Add to that horrendous vest that engulfs me oddly, a hat that just looks hideous on me.

Now imagine how difficult it is to feel beautiful and confident and proud walking around in these, crossing thousands upon thousands of people while wearing it.

It’s quite terrible, really.

If you want to use modern lingo borrowed from Japan/Japanese, we can say easily in the KonMari method’s words that this outfit does not spark joy… not one bit.

So, now let’s look at my request of the hat guys to ‘make my hat not look terrible on me, because I would really like not to be so upset every time I see myself in the mirror and discover again how bad this hat looks on me’z

Not a traditional request, but a clear-communicating and honest one to boot… and they delivered.

It was a unique yet delightful – and not in a vain way but in an appreciative way – experience to have these two young guys over and over again look at me and my face, and evaluate how I come across… he would do some shaping on the hat, have me set it on my head for a minute, and examine critically.

At the end, their critical eyes announced that I looked really good.

Of course, the conversation was founded in the hat’s presence being what we wanted to look good, however, it was fun and odd and good to have the additional communication of ‘you look good’, and without any aims at getting into my pants – they genuinely love working with hats and helping people love their own hats.

It was really a beautiful experience all around.

(Including the part where my mom didn’t like the pointed curve pieces, and so I went back and told the guys such, and so he smoothed out the pointy bends and re-evaluated, honestly declaring that it actually did look even better without them now.)

While waiting for all of this to happen, I watched the guys work, shaping hats both newly and as reshaping… and it was totally beautiful – I found myself longing to take photos of their working hands…

… and so I told them so…

… and now I am anxiously awaited to return to do just that… I almost couldn’t believe it, but they were delighted at the idea of my photographing them working, and happily invited me to come any time throughout the rest of the rodeo to do so.

When I went back for the pointedness fix, I restarted that I would see them again soon, so that I could take photos, and they both stood a bit taller and opened their eyes and smiles lots wider, delight shining clearly outward.

And that gave me an awesome feeling… I can hardly wait to have that be a norm for me and my life. ๐Ÿ™‚

All of this from trusting God and being true to myself and my intentions and goals… wonderful day.

Now do you like my hat?’

‘Yes!’

P.S. Bonus points for knowing where my mom and I got the conversations up at the top and down at the bottom, one which we actually had after the first round of hat shaping, when she said she didn’t like the corners.

Post-a-day 2019

Always be humble and kind

Tonight, I bought my own real pair of western boots that not only can I wear to help work on my brother’s property, but that look amazing and totally beautiful;

my mom ended up not being able to come to the rodeo with me and our family friend, and a different friend’s cousin canceled on coming with her and her mom;

the family friend and I met up, therefore, with my friend and her mom;

the two adults (because my friend and I are the children of the group) really hit it off, like old pals;

we all four got to ride in the Grand Entry at the rodeo, on two separate wagons;

I checked for tickets to the concert one last time, and found that there were exactly two available, and right where I wanted, so I bought them;

we discovered that our seats were an error, just as I registered a text message from the ticket office telling me the same thing;

the ticket office e-mailed me even better seats in exchange and kind of as compensation (like way, way better seats);

the two seats next to the two I’d bought ended up being open, and so my friend and her mom didn’t have to split up from us after all (to go to their own two seats elsewhere in the stadium);

Tim McGraw was lovely, as ever, and shows signs only of continuing to be fabulous all around as a human being, as a musician, and as a man (a side I have come to appreciate more and more as I have grown up, especially considering the previous two parts);

Clay Walker just casually showed up to duet with Tim McGraw on one of my childhood absolute favorites (Did you know that Clay Walker is from Texas?);

we had a wonderfully easy time exiting the stadium, grounds, and parking lot, as well as getting home;

and I was lent a truck to be able to visit family next week.

All in all, it was an absolutely magnificent evening.

All week, I wondered about tonight and what to do, because I realized that this concert actually was important to me, due to my deep childhood connection to the artist and his music from back then… and, at every worry, I chose to trust God, and let go of the concern, instead evaluating my present options and doing what I felt encouraged and pulled toward when I asked God.

And then, here was tonight, like Christmas for a small child, with everything landing wonderfully into places I had never quite expected.

Nothing could have worked so well, if things had gone as planned – they still could have been quite good, but nowhere near how they turned out.

In a way, this all goes to show how life can be so much better than we anticipate or think up ourselves – perhaps some divine inspiration in more parts of my life could be just the right thing right now…

Thank you, God.

Hallelujah(!)

โค

Post-a-day 2019

Canโ€™t touch this

My aunt somewhat recently commented that so long as no one touches me, I’m good to go… ready for the world and taking it on, full power.

When I was younger, there seemed to be something for me about people being categorized in my head as either “clean” or “dirty”.

It didn’t mean they actually were clean or dirty, but my brain’s inner workings qualified them with these terms, and permitted the clean people to make contact with me without my being concerned…. and, if a “dirty” person touched me, I could survive, but would be bothered, though that person could not, under any circumstances, touch my hair – I would freak (even to the point of tears in my eyes, ready to cry from the upset and the sudden desire to get away and shower as soon as possible).

Nowadays, I don’t so much notice this specific categorization happening… it seems to be more of a “close people”, “people”, and “people who are not supposed to touch me”, with the “people” category being the standard person I know and around whom I am comfortable, meaning that this person is probably fine to touch me as needed – tap my shoulder or arm, fingers touch when handing me something, possibly even hug, etc.

The “close people” are the people with whom I feel emotionally/psychologically close, and with whom I also like being physically close and in contact – like a dog always wanting to be touching at least some part of its loving owner… sometimes we wrestle to sit on top of one another, sometimes we hold hands or pinkies, and sometimes we just lean on one another while hanging or and sitting around (or not touch at all at times) – the physical contact is mutually comfortable and hardly considered, because it just happens almost automatically when we are together; it is part of how we express our love.

The third category is less acknowledge in my head, unless a person from it actually acts to touch me or touches me – then I am suddenly acutely aware of their being in that category.

Typically, though, I hardly notice the categories consciously, and just act accordingly with people from each category, pretty much behaving toward them as I’d like them to behave toward me (excluding, of course, people who, I notice, don’t want to be touched, in which case, I don’t touch them, even if I would have been comfortable with their touching me).

And, when I say ‘touching’, I mean, of course, touching my skin or hair, but also touching my clothes, anything on my person, and, depending on the situation, anything that belongs to me – it isn’t merely about skin-to-skin contact.

These categorizations today seem to be less connected to physical traits – extreme acne or oily faces, something usually stuck in one’s teeth, etc. – and more wholistic, looking at how I feel emotionally and psychologically with the individuals… if I am emotionally at ease, I also am physically, which includes touching me… if I am not entirely at ease with the person, I am not ready for that person to touch me.

Sometimes, I can handle touching someone who has yet to reach the “people” category, but it has to be that I‘ve initiated the contact – if it is spontaneous and started by the other person, we’ve got some very disturbed moments to follow for me.

So, then, how do I express to someone who has not yet reached the “people” stage that I don’t want to be touched?

For me, my lack of physical contact toward others has always seemed an appropriate way to express this – neither rude nor mean, but showing that I am not interested in physical contact of any kind.

However, this doesn’t always work.

I acknowledge that I’m the one who has this seemingly uncommon trait of wanting specifically to be not touched, and I don’t want the other person to feel rejected or hated or anything of the sort – it is merely that we are not on an emotional/psychological level of comfort that works for me to have physical contact with one another.

Perhaps it is best just to explain it this way… perhaps the person won’t like being around me so much… perhaps that’s best, because this is part of my package in life, and perhaps I will be surrounded by the people who are instant “people”, when I am honest about my physical comfort around people… perhaps not…

Perhaps… perhaps… perhaps…

I’m not sure if I ever will have a clear answer for this inquiry, but it is definitely on my mind – how does one approach a socially uncommon uncomfortable situation within traditional social settings…? ๐Ÿ˜›

That is the question.

Post-a-day 2019

How far weโ€™ve come

I saw the light
I’ve been baptized
By the fire in your touch
And the flame in your eyes
I’m born to love again
I’m a brand new man

As these words rang out across the stadium – quite clearly, surprisingly, seeing as where we were – my lips were already moving in synch, silently matching every word since the initial “I”… and tears welled in my eyes, beginning almost immediately to overflow.

I was attending the Brooks and Dunn concert at the rodeo tonight in Houston, kind of as a celebration of my life, for my birthday – something for me, on my own.

I’d asked my mom to stick around with me, but she was ready to head home, so I was okay hanging on my own for the musicians and their music.

When I was about eight years old, I attended the Brooks and Dunn performance at the Astrodome, also for the rodeo.

During their performance, when walking around on the dirt, they pulled two ladies out from the audience to dance with them.

I remember distinctly being upset and embarrassed as the one lady proved, after two quick but failed attempts, that she could not do any sort of partner dancing, let alone the by of two-stepping one of them wanted to do with her.

Rather than rejecting the lady, reading her out for a better model – that’s actually how my brain analyzed it at the time – he just grabbed her around her waist/hips area, and swung her around in a circle or few.

My frustration at this lady for having been unprepared for such a monumental opportunity – dancing with Brooks and Dunn – was not only projected blindly, but had me consider how I would have done, if I’d been the one pulled out onto the floor…

I was rather confident that I would have been able to manage it.

However, I fully acknowledged that I was not certain.

And so I made it my business immediately after this event to make certain that I knew how to two-step and could do it with just about anybody on demand.

Fast-forward a couple decades, and see me at the concert tonight… I found it almost ironic that, though I never anticipated to be pulled out to dance with Brooks and Dunn, here I was, two decades later, likely one of the best country western dancers in the entire stadium, knowledge, ability, and a world title to prove it.

Isn’t that at least a little bit totally crazy?(!!!)?

Anyway, so I can dance, and extremely well, but that’s only part of my mentioning all of this.

When the guys began playing and singing tonight, I was in instant and somewhat constant tears (even throughout the whole show!), right?

Right.

And it occurred quickly to me, This is the power of music.

I was somehow transported to my life when I listed probably daily to Brooks and Dunn music, as I simultaneously saw all that had happened between them and now, how what felt like a lifetime and ten different people ago had somehow led me to today, to who I am today.

There was a lot of good and a decent amount of bad in there, especially early on, and it was a very, very full time all throughout.

And, somehow, here I am, experiencing it all again, while feeling empowered by the open bliss and joy for life I felt back then, reminded of the sadness of what I went through off and on, and encouraged by the fact that I have made it to here so far, and I’ve plenty more wonderful expansion and beautiful growth yet to come for myself in my life.

All of this from music, specific songs and notes and voices and instruments all put together in a certain way, as though, almost, specifically and intentionally with me in mind.

It was of the best kind of medicine.

And this reminds me of how my high school band director always used to tell us that music is a language… tonight, their music spoke directly to me, throughout every place within me.

Post-a-day 2019