Easy A

Have you seen it?

That moment when she buys herself the new wardrobe – remember it?

Well, I want just about all of those outfits.

And I want to wear them.

And confidently so…

And I think I am almost to the point of being totally okay to do it… (currently lacking the funds for the outfits, but that is a different part of the story)… In terms of body image, woman self-confidence, and actual body, I’m purty darn close…

And that’s really exciting for me…

On what feels like a million levels.

πŸ˜€

Post-a-day 2020

I’ve never landed on snow…*

Well, here we go!

Ich freue mich so sehr.

Ich habe aber doch ein bisschen Angst.

Ich gehe trotzdem, und vielleicht weil ich diesen Angst habe.

I guess I’m still reasonably tired right now – German was all I had to express myself right there…

It has been fun visiting MontrΓ©al these past hours.

It seems like a lovely place – not by the sights so much as by the lifestyle and the people I have crossed and noticed.

I’ve used almost no English while here, had not even considered that it was French-speaking Canada – mostly because my friend who lives here is from Houston and is not someone I would consider “French-speaking”, so it didn’t even occur to me that it would be in this part of Canada, wherever he happened to live – and have loved every bit.

I always wonder when I go to the Mexican parts of our Houston culture – the tamale places, the panaderΓ­as, Fiesta – how the workers know which language to use, Spanish or English.

Do they judge people by their covers, as we were always told not to do?

And yet, I think they must.

And I think that is exactly what is great about a successful business like that (cross-cultural business, I mean): their being able to identify appropriately the customers’ culture, and then interact accordingly with the customers.

When I entered the plane yesterday, to go from Houston to MontrΓ©al on Air Canada, I knew they would be operating in bother French and in English.

I also considered briefly how any American airline likely would not do such a thing, and would use exclusively English, just about always, no matter the destination…

(When I interviewed with an airline once as a multilingual flight attendant, they made it sound terrible: the multilingual flight attendants are only ever one individual on any given plane, used to act as translator, and only when needed… it wasn’t about greeting people’s home cultures at all, or serving… it was just about putting out fires, essentially…)

And I wondered how the airline workers would judge.

At baggage check-in, the man greeted me easily and mid-conversation style in English, and I thought nothing of it.

But, at boarding time, as I was surrounded by passengers speaking a mix of French and English, I wondered how the flight attendants would handle it.

Sure enough, as we were stepping into the plane, the greeting post was using one language or the other, depending on how she judged each individual.

And she always had a happy passenger, so she was judging correctly.

My mother and I have discussed how I am rather European, at least for an American – I have many contrasting aspects of the two cultures that kind of go back and forth for me (I’ll give an example in a moment.).

As I took my own steps onto the plane, the greeter gave me the direct-look evaluation, considered, and then said, “Bonjour.”

I automatically respond in kind.

And I was elated.

I was taken for a French speaker, likely due to the European style of my outfit for the day – fitted half-collar long-sleeved black shirt, scarf, snug – but not tight – jeans, and fashionable winter boots.

People from Texas just don’t dress like that. πŸ˜›

Today, in contrast, I am very American in my dress: oversized purple long-sleeved t-shirt, same boots and jeans and scarf, and a beret… an odd combination of the two cultures.

But I don’t have to worry about what language people will use with me today – everyone uses both automatically at the airport.

‘Bonjour, Hello,’ they always say.

And the response determines the language used.

But they always say the French first…, and so I automatically am responding before they are finished with the English greeting…, and so they end up using French with me…, which I like very much.

I don’t often have such an opportunity, and I am grateful that I am embracing it.

Anywho… MontrΓ©al is nice, is really, really cold, and is beautiful with the snow everywhere (and gives a new experience for me with everyone acting like the snow is normal and nothing big deal [because it is normal here]).

Snow:

*This first was the airport last night, when we had landed on a boatload of snow… snow was everywhere, including where the planes were driving…(!!!)

Including when I picked up my bags at baggage claim:

Now I am off to Japan.

See you on the other side (literally)!

P.S. This flight is to Japan, now, so they will be using all three languages, and I am delighted. πŸ™‚

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

Three things:

1) I burn a couple tissues together that have old oil all over them (peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, and Texas cedarwood, not olive or petrol), and all is well, and my room smells amazing.

I take a hot shower on this same really cold night, and, upon opening the bathroom door afterward, the steam sets off the fire alarms on both the second and third floor, leaving me to run around, fanning the alarms with the towel that had just been wrapped around me to dry me and keep me warm as I entered the cold, cold rest of the house…

::face palm

………

2) I actually am totally spacing on what the other thing was that I had wanted to share here tonight… hmm…

………

3) This conversation happened just as we were leaving my friend’s apartment tonight to go to Target before she drove me home:

Friend: Okay, are we good? [turns toward me] Hannah, your outfit is throwing me off… It’s cold out – do you want some pants?

All laugh, as we take in my wool beret, thick scarf, leather jacket, leg warmers, and short shorts.

Basically, I am cold-weather-dressed up top and summertime dressed in the bottom, with the leg warmers just thrown into the summer bit.

Friend: I mean, your legs look great. But are you sure you don’t want some pants? ‘Cause you can borrow some.

I assure them that I really am okay, and that I actually had been wearing pants earlier, but that it was just too darn hot… shorts were what I needed, if I wanted to keep the top half on (and I had wanted to change as little as possible earlier, when I was adjusting my outfit for the weather for the rest of the day – because pants and a long and heavy skirt had gotten to be just too much by early afternoon), and so shorts were what I was wearing.

Plus, the scarf really warms the whole body rather well – I was really surprised when I first learned how amazingly scarves work… now I wear them all the time for warmth, much more often than sweaters or jackets.

Anyway, we all laughed about my unbalanced outfit, and then three of us continued happily on to Target. πŸ˜›

We decided that I was, in a way, a perfect representation of our Texas and Houston weather. πŸ˜›

The white converse-style tennis shoes

Post-a-day 2019

Dressed for Work

Tonight, I attended with my mom a sake mini-course and tasting event.

As predicted, every Japanese man was in a dark suit with a white shirt… however, the slight touch of color was found in a tie or pocket square in the Americanized men.

Also as predicted, there was a fabulous array of Japanese foods, the presentation was brief but extremely informative, and the tasting was hilariously wonderful.

While there, I considered strongly at one point what everyone else was wearing.

Beforehand, I had asked my mom, a person who is usually quite particular about dressing to the appropriate level for things, if I needed to change into a different dress than what I had on… I showed her the dress, which was a much nicer and more business-y version of what I already was wearing, and she didn’t think the change was needed…. she pointed out that she was wearing something quite similar, albeit slightly nicer-looking (same color scheme, different pieces).

We had been at an art film showing earlier on, and I had worn my current outfit for that and felt totally comfortable in my choice, but I figured it was best to check with her regarding the Japanese event.

Sure enough, once there, she commented that we should have known everyone would be in business suits and the likes, since it was a Japanese event… I reminded her that that was precisely why I had asked about my outfit ahead of time, and she rather shrugged her shoulders unconcernedly at this with an Oh, well…, and we moved on to enjoy ourselves, anyway.

At this point, I thought about how everyone was probably just coming straight from work, anyway, and so they were all just in work clothes… and then I realized that I, too, was coming straight from work and that I, too, was just in work clothes…

I don’t have a corporate job in an office with a cubicle on a floor in a big building… or anything like it… I’m a writer and photographer… and, today, I was editing photos, and then sent them off to a client – much work accomplished for a single afternoon, actually… and this cotton dress and summer sandals are what I wore to do that… casual and cute, but not office business…

In “Hannah’s Life, Created”, a notebook I compiled a couple years back, while living in Japan, I have a brief description of what I want my work attire to be… tonight was a beautiful acknowledgement of my having achieved that desire, and, in that instant of noticing this, I was filled with a sense of calm confidence in regards to my life – I am doin a beautiful job of pursuing my goals and dreams and of becoming and being the person I want to be.

I’m not all the way there yet… I am there with some things, though, and I am well on my way to more and more at any moment(!!!)…. and I love it.

I really do love it.

Yes, it would have made sense to wear the nicer dress tonight… no, it didn’t ultimately matter for what tonight specifically was…, yes, it was amazing to notice what I did about being in my ‘work clothes’, and so was totally worth it this time to be a bit under-dressed…, and no, I never really quite fit in at Japanese events, anyway – Gaijin Smash to the max!**

So yeah… we had an awesome time at the event, learned loads about sake. – and yes, I am fully aware of how odd it is that I take such an interest in sake, when I drink just about no alcohol in the average month – and ate wonderful foods over wonderful conversations.

And I had a lovely discovery about my current status in life, and it tickles and overjoys me even now, hours later. πŸ™‚

Yay, life!

And thank you, God, for entrusting me with this piece of the path – I love this part, and I trust you fully, as I throw myself fully into this lovely hard work!

Peace

Hannah

**Man, do I miss my store Mister Maxx in Toride, Ibaraki!… like a cross between Target, Petsmart, and a bakery!

Post-a-day 2019