We hiked!

Yay!

We hiked today, my mom and I (and a small group of dance people I don’t know very well, and my mom didn’t know at all).

It was faster than my mom and I wanted to be hiking, leaving us almost no time to look at anything other than the be-knotted ground at our feet (to keep from falling), so we didn’t exactly like that part.

But it was still a nice activity, and the few times that we did purposefully stop to look around were great.

We found the cave where Ayla must have stayed when she visited the continent…

(And a closer view… I didn’t want to get too close and bother the spirits guarding it…)

… and Rafiki’s tree(!)…

… and lots of other great bits of water and wild-life.

Totally great, right?

Right.

And then, to finish out the day, we all converged from our various activities – not everyone is up for hiking, as we all know, so there were other outdoor activities for the afternoon – to watch the sun set from a balcony at a fancy brewery that overlooks a lake.

It was beautiful.

It all was great, and it was especially lovely that this was part of a dance event – doing something outside of the dance hall / hotel / ballroom for once, and enjoying the fabulous weather together, and just being people who share a passion yet are not overtaken by it (that is, we can go do something else from time to time, and enjoy the something else together, too).

So, yeah… good day today… good weekend overall…

Despite that panicked anger that sprung up on me when I thought the beginner dancers were supposed to be considered to be of my level. πŸ˜›

(I admit that I grew very judgy and angry in those moments of misinformation…)

But, yeah, it was a good weekend, and the first time my mom tied in to a dance event’s events with me – and that was really cool. πŸ™‚

P.S. Ayla is from the Earth’s Children books, and Rafiki is from “The Lion King”.

Post-a-day 2020

Wow

Today, I wanted to ask out a guy at the gym.

But then, I noticed, too, that I was potentially interested in going out with this other guy at the gym.

And then there was the one with whom I’d always been in teenager love…, though I was kind of over it due to his utter lack of availability and interest…

And, on that note, there’s this other guy who has some shared background but a totally different occurrence in the world than the first guy, and I kind of would be interested in going out with this guy…

So, I had had it in my head that I might ask out this one guy, if the opportunity presented itself – I even had the conversation ready.

I was ready, and over embarrassment.

But then, I got distracted in my other distractions.

If I want to date all of these guys, I just don’t see its being a good idea… when is it ever a good idea to make the rounds of dating guys in any place we go regularly?

I don’t need to be dating everyone at the gym.

And then, what’s more, there is the chance – slight but there, nonetheless – of the first guy becoming available and interested… I fear I would drop this guy I was planning to ask out immediately, if the huge crush guy were suddenly available…

if that is the case, then is it fair for me to date him at all, when I already know I would choose someone else, when given the opportunity?

It’s kind of like offering a cute guy, and then offering Brad Pitt… kind of hard to resist…, though this one is much more likely to happen than Brad Pitt to show up… anyway…

It just doesn’t seem fair, to me… it would be unfair to both guys, I think.

And so, I was relieved a bit when the opportunity did not present itself – i.e. I did not have the easy chance of speaking to him alone today – and I did not ask this guy out.

Tonight, telling my mom about the silliness of it, she mentioned something simple yet somewhat profound for me.

She said that, before, I was not complete about things with myself – physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and also in terms of comfort and what I might want in a relationship – nor was I complete about things that had happened to me… Now that I am complete about all of that, I am open to dating – emotionally, psychologically, physically, and mentally – and am interested in dating… that is I want to date.

Not just anyone, of course, but I am not opposed to it for some under-layered, hidden, or absurd reason anymore… Before, I think I probably couldn’t date… Now, I can.

And I want to do so.

And I’m okay with it not going anywhere long-term… which, by the way, is a huge deal for me to be thinking.

I’m happy to learn about one another by spending time together, and thereby evaluating if we want to pursue a relationship of some sort, be it friendship or a dating relationship.

I want to spend time with people, with men, even, one-on-one.

And I’m not afraid of admitting that – and it doesn’t feel like admitting anything, actually, because nothing is out of place in the want… all is well. πŸ™‚

So, perhaps, I will end up on a date (or million) in the near future…

Yes… maybe, let’s date, y’all. πŸ˜‰

Post-a-day 2020

Snuggle bug

The final night has arrived: I return to Texas tomorrow.

It is weird; I don’t feel like saying, “I’m going home…” it just doesn’t feel quite right.

For at least part of me, this is home – I am at home in Japan… in a way.

No, I do not want to stay permanently.

In dinner conversation, the idea came up of my working at an international school or special private school in Japan… and I almost felt a need to quell a rising panic…

But I reminded myself that I am safe and okay, and that I am perfect as I am, and I was able to remain calm easily and communicate nicely – aka I didn’t shout like a five-year-old, “Dame!” (No way!), but instead moved the conversation forward with a different route, so as not to offend.

(Because who wants to be told, “I kind of hate living full-time in your culture, thanks,”?)

Japan is a place for me to visit, that is for sure.

I even could see myself coming for slightly-extended-stays in the future, maybe for photography or something of the sort.

But not living here again.

I am sad to leave, but I am relieved to be going home to Houston, a place that always will hold a spirit of home for me.

I am nervous to go back to my low-budget life as a graduate student slash tutor slash up-and-coming photographer.

However, I actually am quite excited at the terror of what is to come next with all of it – classes and thesis, lots of graduation announcement photos, developing my editing skills, creating my kimono art show, teaching art & yoga (bilingually at that!), tutoring and teaching French and Spanish And Japanese, studying Japanese… maybe even watching some Olympic Games (I did buy some temporary tattoos and nail art to be a Japan fan during them…)…

Yes, I am looking forward to the next steps.

Especially getting even more fit… the gym has been something crazy for me this past month.

I have been totally fine without it, and even eating anything and everything delicious-tasting… and I have grown accustomed to being comfortable with myself more fully…

I am excited to return to the gym as my more-developed self that I now am… more true to myself than before (which was already purty darn good and true).

I am excited to see and to interact with my semi-crush-ish guy, and to be totally comfortable and okay with our being friends forever…

And to have that place be cleared up for something new and a bagillion times better to come into my life… I am ready to take on this life…

Thank you, Japan.

Thank you, Sara, my once-again snuggle buddy (now aged nine years).

Thank you, God.

Thank you, Texas – here I come. πŸ˜‰

Post-a-day 2020

Where is home?

I have been thinking lately more and more frequently about my upcoming trip to Japan.

It is now only two weeks away (not even, actually), and I am nervous but excited, and somewhat stressed.

But the stress isn’t about typical things, so much… not typical for most people, anyway.

It is about feeling a need to make plans for my trip.

Have you ever been busy and away from home for so long, that all you want to do is just go home and do nothing in particular other than be home?

Well, this is kind of how I am feeling about this trip to Japan.

I don’t really want to have to plan anything, because I feel like I am just going home and want to be home for a while before I start making any plans… plus, when we are home, we have time to figure out when to do things, because we live there…’we aren’t going anyway anytime soon.

But I am only visiting for a couple weeks…, about three weeks all together, I suppose… I don’t have all the time to schedule later.

Or do I?

I think I might just…

Anyway, I find it odd that going back to Japan feels like going home… like I’ve been off at college for the semester, and am finally returning home for the winter break…

But my semester has been two and a half years this time.

I wonder if it has to do with the fact that this was the first place where I was entirely on my own, as an adult.

I couldn’t go have lunch or tea with my mom, or ask her to help me do something or other, or go to her house for dinner and a movie… or anyone else who had become part of my staple people in life… I was on my own in my day-to-day.

And I built a home for myself, even though it became all too clear that the culture was not one in which I wanted to stay living and working long-term… I had said that I wouldn’t have to be paid a lot of money to go back to working in and living in Japan…, and that still stands.

However, a visit to Japan, as I always said, is a great idea.

And I am delighted.

I will test this idea of not scheduling anymore for now… I think it might help significantly for me… mhmm…

Post-a-day 2019

Why so blissful…?

Last night, I even slept quite blissfully – I didn’t wake up until well after seven this morning… not even to use the bathroom.

That’s kind of a big deal.

Anyway, so why was I so blissful and confident last night, going to bed?

Well, because of our lovely time at RenFest yesterday.

I told my mom a few months back that I wanted finally to take advantage of my age, and to wear an outfit for RenFest that showed a little (meaning a lot) more skin than I had always been accustomed to showing.

In essence, I wanted to share the beauty of my body with the world, I told her.

And so we strategized a bit, and planned out an outfit for me.

And then, due to her lack of making time for it, our plane changed entirely, I ended up buying some leather skins from a leather place – she did help me find them and pick them out – and then I made the outfit myself.

However, I very clearly told her that she needed to handle the cloak part, and so, very begrudgingly at first, she did.

And the outfit turned out great.

I even messed up entirely by using the top piece for the skirt, and so had to recreate the top out of a totally different piece of leather than originally intended (and planned out).

But, when I saw myself at RenFest, in one of their glorious massive bathroom mirrors, I discovered that I actually looked really cool.

I wanted people to see me and to think, “…Wow…”

As for myself, anyway, that’s exactly how I felt, seeing myself in the mirror in my outfit.

And so I smiled a lot, and was proud of myself for being comfortable in such an outfit, and delighted by my confidence.

Also, I took pictures with people and was in photos for people…, and was happy about it.

I overheard one girl saying quietly but fervently to her boyfriend, “I want that outfit,” indicating subtly me.

At one point, one of the workers thought I was a worker/actor, my outfit was so well done and worn… and that is cool (to me, anyway).

So, that was one part of the day.

Outfit shown here:

The second of the three main parts of my blissful confidence is connected to my outfit, though a different approach to the outfit: It is my gratitude for and acknowledgement of how far I have improved and developed mentally, emotionally, and even psychologically regarding my body in the past year.

When I had that conversation with my best friend just over a year ago, the one in which I let go (finally) the rest of what had been holding me back regarding some rough and tough and rather terrible past events in my life, I knew that, at long last, things were going to transform for me in terms of my relationship with my body, and my body’s relationship with the world.

Yesterday, I saw – actually, it was mostly last night, when I was reflecting on the day that I noticed the whole of it, including the part where I had been so comfortable during the day, I had hardly noticed that this was a new and formerly-terrifying-and-impossible scenario for me – how huge this was, how these two relationships had truly transformed over this past year.

And it brings me practically to tears every time I become present to that fact again… I finally am getting to be the woman I have wanted to be, body, confidence, love, and all.

(Okay, so I don’t have the partner yet, but I am being the person I want to be, even without him, and that’s a darn good start!) πŸ˜‰

Now, the third thing is something that branches off of the first two: because of my transformation and because of my awesome outfit, I was ready and able to admit my goal and to embrace it when it presented itself to me.

I have always wanted a kiss card, ever since I first learned of them at RenFest.

It is a simple paper business-card-like card that reads, “One free kids from any willing man, woman, or beast”.

I have remembered that ever since I first read one of the cards.

Yesterday, near the morning, I admitted to myself, “I really would like to get one of those cards today,” meaning the kiss card, of course.

And I left it in the air around me, and offered the World to present an opportunity to me, if it saw fit to do so.

I then forgot about the kiss card for the majority of the day.

That is until, just after sunset, my mom and I were heading up one row on the far side of the property, aiming to check out that set of shops before heading home.

Just as my mom is beginning to turn her gait to a shop we were already passing but that had suddenly caught her eye, I heard up ahead, someone coming towards us, announcing rather loudly, “Free kiss to any willing man, woman, or beast!”

With almost no hesitation whatsoever, I told my mom that I’d be right back, and I headed toward the voice of this yet to be seen individual.

As he came finally into view – remember that it is dark, since the sun has set, and so only a few feet ahead are visible at any time, thanks to the lights coming from the insides of shops – I asked, “Are you offering or asking?”

(Meaning, is he offering a card for someone simply to take, or is he wanting to cash in his card and receive a kiss?)

We both came to a halt, facing one another.

“Either,” he says, after a few moments of consideration.

I consider.

A man across the way announces to the guy and me that he thinks they have a taker (of the kiss offer, that is).

We turn back to one another.

“Either way, I accept,” I say, nervous with excitement, but calm and at ease as a whole, smiling calmly.

“Okay…, So?” he says in response, and raises his eyebrows and lifts his hands to the side, asking clearly which one I would like to select – he is allowing me to choose if I simply want the card, or if I want to accept the request of a kiss, and we both know this.

“The kiss, then,” I say, after full consideration and acknowledgment of the fact that this is what I genuinely want – to kiss this stranger.

He smiles, “On the cheek or on the lips,” he half says half questions.

Momentary pause… I shrug to my left shoulder, “Lips is good… on the lips,” I declare.

“Okay,” and he steps toward me, as I step toward him.

He is taller than I.

He also is younger than I.

But neither is a concern – just something I have noticed.

He leans down slightly and places his right hand behind my head – and unexpected gesture of intimacy – and we kiss.

As I felt the pressure of his lips and teeth against my own, I felt the same sort of feeling of positivity running through my body as I feel with hugs – I wondered in that moment if the brain reacted similarly to this lip pressure as it does to our chest pressure from hugs… happy hormones releasing and spreading in the body, taking care of the body in their own unique way.

As we comfortably step away again from one another, he hands me the card in ‘payment’, I thank him, and we both smile, before heading on our ways.

I Got my card – and I Earned it!

I find my mom in the shop that had grabbed her attention – an amazing shop with handmade instruments of many sorts, and feel my delight increasing…

That kiss was exactly what I had wanted… this was yet another of my life dreams-turned-goals come true.

It was only a dream at first – I longed to be a woman who would kiss a stranger like this, in a friendly and fun way…, but I didn’t really expect I ever could be that kind of person.

Yet, as I have developed over this past year, I have grown to be so comfortable with my body and my womanhood that I not only could accept such an offer, but that I was willing and able to seek it out.

Sure, he was offering the kiss, but I was the one who went out of my way to go ask him about it and accept it and embrace it.

And I could have just taken the card for myself, with no kiss – he allowed the option for me.

And I could have accepted giving a kiss on the cheek, if I’d wanted to be fair for the card, while still keeping myself safe (I think that’s what the concern had been in the past: safety in preservation and avoidance).

But I looked at it fully, honestly, and openly, and I saw very clearly that I wanted to kiss this stranger, and that I wanted to have the card for having earned it, not for having played one of the games and been given the card as my consolation prize (which is how people typically obtain them in the first place).

I wanted both parts of that, and the former much more than the latter.

So, with mutual agreement and desire determined clearly, I kissed him.

And I am incredibly grateful to myself for having not only been able to do it, but also for having done it.

Go, you, banana!

It was great.

πŸ™‚

And many people probably would have had no issue with such a situation, but it was big for me, because I was never one for such things – I don’t kiss people who aren’t family almost ever… I have only had one boyfriend, and only a small handful of non-family people I’ve kissed… it just hasn’t been a thing in my life.

I love physical contact, I love holding hands (even with friends and little kids, not necessarily with a boyfriend), and I love hugs…, but always and only from people I love and trust.

Otherwise, it has kind of turned out that I need to be not touched at all by the rest of the world (a fact of which I was not entirely conscious until my aunt commented on it a few years back, “As long as nobody touches you, you’re fine,” at which point I began to give much consideration to the matter.).

So, for someone to be allowed to touch me is kind of a big deal.

And for me to be willing to allow someone to kiss me is even bigger.

Even if it is just a single kiss on the lips.

πŸ™‚

Going to bed last night, this third point was what mostly was on my mind.

However, it was in gratitude and in celebration that I considered it, knowing how my development this past year was what allowed me to grab such an opportunity, as well as for me to be open to and even desiring such an opportunity.

Thank you… I am so proud of you… you are beautiful and amazing…

πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

Making clothes work

Well, I asked my mom to make me an outfit this year for RenFest.

She is a seamstress as one of her many roles, and so is very capable in the world of sewing and creating clothes.

She has made many outfits for me over the years, and they have all been great, if not always finished exactly…

I definitely have worn various outfits with safety pins all over their insides, holding together the parts that just didn’t get completed on the sewing machine or by the hand sewing.

And, usually, they keep the safety pins forever more, even after the initial use of the outfit.

Though, she always says that she’ll finish it for real afterward…

Tonight, I am going to bed well after midnight due to yet another of her ‘running out of time’ scenarios.

This outfit she agreed to make for me, when I asked her months ago, and for which we finally bought the fabric (read leather or skins) about a month or so ago, and for which I have asked her constantly about what she needs from me regarding measurements and/or fittings, has now been made by yours truly.

I am not a seamstress.

I can do basic hand sewing, and I know very little about what the best stitch for what is, or how to hide anything other than a straight seam.

Making outfits is not in my skill book at present.

But, she ended up not having the time (read my making the time or not arranging her schedule to be able) to make it, and instead told me “how” to do it.

Suffice it to say that I am not very pleased with the results at the present moment.

I was supposed to have an awesome, somewhat sexy but appropriate outfit that makes people go, “Wow…”

Instead, I have something that looks like I am a young girl practicing my hand for the first time at clothes making in the cave-people era… someone with a small hearth let me have his/her small extra skins, so I could begin to learn.

Hopefully, the cloak part that I told her I needed her to do will turn out well, and will make the piece come together beautifully.

I know the cloak can be great, but she pulled some nonsense about using wire threading to make loops to attach binder rings…. instead of finding a clasp…., so I’m not too sure… it could be another case of safety-pin-style nonsense that is utterly impractical…

I’m hoping dearly that it is beautiful and functional.

I will find out in the morning, and I, hopefully, will look awesome in my full outfit and even my partial outfit, without the cloak.

Well, we’ll see.

For now, let us pray I be blessed with beautifully fulfilling sleep tonight, so that I might be physically and mentally prepared for the long day that tomorrow will be.

If nothing else, my knees need the rest tonight to manage all the waking tomorrow.

Anyway…. bottoms up!

Or, as Aunt Sadie always said, Tally-Ho!

Post-a-day 2019

Packing like a kid

Every time I am preparing to go to my aunt’s house, I feel like a little kid all over again.

I end up with a practically overflowing suitcase, and at least one other bag, filled with something or other…

And why do I always pack so much stuff?

Because I want to bring everything awesome with me – I want to share all my best everythings with them all.

I love them and I love being with them, and I, therefore, love sharing all I have and can with them.

So, I want to bring my best, and to be able to share it with them all.

That’s why I practically want to pack up my whole room, plus my kitchen and pantry foods, and bring it all with me.

It’s like the little kid who first wants to wear all of his favorite clothes on one single day, with no concern for the fact that he is wearing two t-shirts, a jacket, a hat, shorts, shoes, and long socks… in the middle of summer…

Sigh…

And that really doesn’t work, when traveling by Vespa…

πŸ˜›

Fortunately, I had the forethought to have my mom bring my bag of clothes when she goes tomorrow to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday, so that I will have clothes once I arrive next week, a couple days ahead of my mom.

However, just about anything that doesn’t make it into her car tomorrow morning by 7am won’t be making the trip at all… fingers crossed that I have everything already in the suitcase! πŸ˜€

Post-a-day 2019