Love Reading

It turns out that, when I really love a book, I can get through it in two days.

And that’s without necessarily changing around my life almost at all – I just read it during every single spare moment, and I stretch a little longer and go for an extra walk, just to be sure I get my reading in, but get to feel extra productive while doing it.

(Because reading isn’t productive enough itself, apparently… my cousin happens to be the same way, too, and we are both working on it.)

And man, did I love this book.

The only down side is that I thought the second book in the series would be a continuation of it…, but it turns out that the book is just another story altogether, only it is written and put together in a similar style as the first (i.e. it is also about young love being discovered in a lovely foreign land).

So, bummer that the story I love won’t continue, but yay that I have another story that I am almost guaranteed to love. (Because sequels risk being total bummers, but separate sequentially-written novels by the same author tend to be delightful more often… in my experience, anyway.)

Anyway, since that is the case, I don’t need to stay up late to listen to more of the story… I am not so invested in this new story yet, so I can just go to sleep instead.

So, yay for that. ;D

Post-a-day 2020

Okay, I think I need to go to Italy.

At this point, the only thing left would be for someone to meet me and offer me a place to stay in Italy, in order for my trip to be made certain.

(That, or someone offering me passage to Italy…, though I had kind of planned on managing that one myself, I don’t mind letting someone else handle it… again…[I just remembered that I actually did have a free trip to Italy that one time I went for a long weekend…yes… anyway…])

Italy just keeps popping up around me: in conversations unbidden, in my calendar (it is a page-a-day with Italian phrases and culture, and it genuinely was the only one on Amazon that seemed even remotely interesting… I mean seriously, Amazon?), in a whole handful of conversation partners reaching out, in comments from others, and even in the book I spontaneously started reading today (It’s the first in a series and it has “gelato” in the title, but the second book has nothing Italian about the title, and that‘s the one that got me interested in reading the series!), where the girl up and moves to Italy from the US… I mean…. wow… the world really wants Italia to be on my mind right now.

And so, I am letting it.

I am embracing all the Italia I can, and am beginning to look for more around me.

I have a friend to whom I plan to reach out (not in the middle of the night) about finding a conversation partner/tutor here in town, I have begun a challenge on Duolingo, I am reaching out to the online conversation partner offers, and I have a whole plan for how to practice my Italian.

What’s funny is that, whenever I ask the whole “Why now?” to the world, though I get no distinct answer, I suddenly start thinking of what it might be like there, and I think of all the Italian men, and I suddenly have an almost overwhelming thought of, “Well, I can probably handle the Italian men now,” and I suddenly have my answer.

I just wasn’t ready for Italian men before.

Now, I actually am ready to take them on and run my own way.

If you don’t know anything about Italian men, I don’t have the words to teach you much about them, nor can I fully speak on them, for I have not truly spent time with them in Italy.

However, everything I have been told about them from others has proven exactly true with the Italian men I’ve come to know here… even just the Italian heritage ones… oof… anyway.

So, now, I think I’m about ready to take them on, and, by the time I actually get there, I’ll have had enough mental prep (and physical prep from the gym) to take them with a grain of salt, and to smile about it. πŸ˜‰

This is going to be fun and absolutely amazing – I can feel it in the humidity around me… yes…

Italia awaits… me. πŸ˜€

P.S. And I don’t mean just for a short visit – we’re talking a month plus here…. just FYI.

Post-a-day 2020

Hercules

I have often dreamed

of a far-off place

where a great, warm welcome

will be waiting for me;

where the crowds will cheer

when they see my face,

and a voice keeps saying,

“This is where I meant to be.”

Tonight’s theme is “where I’m meant to be”.

I had a brief but important conversation with an old friend tonight… And it was scary, but necessary, if I am to be true to myself and to speak up for myself.

I shared how my reasoning for being so aloof with him lay in my experience of being unwanted, of not belonging in the crowd with him and the friends that surround him.

I shared how I am working on being the best and truest possible version of myself, and all that that entails in my life – that I want to share myself, my gifts, and my love with the world to the best of my ability.

I also shared that I kind of always assume that people don’t want me around – and I shared that that is something I’m working on for myself, to see myself as worthy of being wanted around – and that I have noticed in the past several years that, though people usually are totally okay with my being around, and they even enjoy it oftentimes, they never seem to call me first to go do something, to participate… or at all.

He understood what I meant, both logically and from experience for himself, his having been in a similar situation.

And he surprised me with the question of where do I feel wanted, that I belong and I’m loved?

Immediately, I thought of my mom, and then of my best friend….

As I searched my life, I realized that I feel that loving and safe and wanted space in the classroom, with my students.

And then, in a slightly different sense, at the gym where I go… there are groups of long-time friends there, so I don’t feel a part of those friendships, but I do feel a part of the gym community itself, and the friendship that that is – each one of us belongs there, we are happy to be there, and we are happy that everyone else is there.

Beyond that, I wasn’t too sure, and still am not.

I don’t have very many places where I feel fully wanted and loved, like I truly belong.

However, I noticed that it is nice that I spend a lot of time in those places where I do feel the love… I go to the gym up to six times a week, and I see my mom or talk with my mom almost every single day.

I am not teaching classes right now, and my best friend lives abroad and has been really busy with things, as have I, so those two don’t happen very often right now, but they are still incredibly valuable in my life.

Nonetheless, I do get to experience being wanted in someway every week… However, I am working on filling my life with people and places that help me be the best person I can be, which includes being wanted and loved by them.

And it is amazing how ever so slowly, but surely, more and more of those people keep coming into my life… Without my doing anything special – so it seems to me, anyway – these people seem attracted to me – to me – and they want to be around me, and they ask to be around me… They are the people who call me, and not someone else first.

And it is beautiful.

And I truly believe that it keeps happening more and more, because I am being more and more my true self, the person I meant to be.

πŸ™‚

All that being said, I almost didn’t share about this at all.

But, reading my book before going to sleep just now, I crossed a line in the book that expressed exactly the same thoughts as my conversation today, which is also something I was thinking about a lot yesterday… So it is a current theme in my life.

I wonder what it would be like to be embraced like that. To actually have a place where you belong.

And I totally get what she means. πŸ™‚

Here’s to becoming each our own Hercules!

Cheers!

***First quote is from the song “Go the Distance” in the Disney film Hercules, and the second quote is from the book Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi.***

Post-a-day 2020

Nakey-Nakey

I have two things I want to discuss tonight: getting naked and, well, getting naked.

I hadn’t really realized this seemingly blatantly obvious link between the two, until just now…

***Note: These are not standard nothings tonight, but actual open thoughts and descriptions of two separate scenarios involving human nudity… so, be forewarned that it isn’t exactly PG13 material tonight… ***

Anyway, so the first getting naked…

I had my final appointment today at the laser hair removal place.

It was for laser hair removal on my bikini line.

—— Side note: The appointment was actually for tomorrow, but I somehow got it wrong in my calendar… the girl who showed up while we were sorting it at the counter turned out to be the same girl who had been behind me and had helped me after my fall on the road the other week(!)… we had a fun time of evaluating the crazy odds of our meeting like this, mere blocks from where we had first met, though under entirely different circumstances – actually for both of us, as she worded it, to ‘have our pubes lasered off’… ——-

So, anyway… laser hair removal…. bikini line…. final treatment…. As usual, the technician asked during my lasering session whether I had considered doing a full Brazilian.

First off, Ouch!(!!!).

Second off, mmm, I want to keep a semblance of natural to my body, thank you…. plus, no offense intended here, but it kind of freaks me out to see no pelvic hair on adult bodies…. it reminds me too much of children’s lack of pubic hair, and is in no way attractive to me… and makes me not even want to consider for too long, because it starts freaking me out having sexual attraction and children be in the same line of thinking, despite their being technically separated in the thoughts…. anyway…

However, I didn’t say all of this – it was just my regular thoughts that arose at the idea of having a Brazilian lasering session done to remove all of that hair.

I did tell her, though, that I had considered it, that I wouldn’t mind having the hair in the back be gone – I mean, who likes butt crack hair?… eww… – but that I wanted to keep the hair in the front.

‘We can do that,’ she tells me, ‘just the back strip.’

‘Really?’ I ask, surprised that it is an option, since I have never seen it listed among the many area options these laser hair removal places all offer.

She gives me some details, and I follow up with the girl at the counter, after we finish with the session.

It is extremely affordable to do the ‘add-on’, as they call it, and so I sign myself up for it.

(Then, they get me in on the other part of the last day of their Black Friday sale, and I go ahead and sign myself up for the final area I had been considering to have lasered for quite some time now… and the price is so good, I know it won’t happen again before I’m ready to seek out doing it later on, so I accept, and gladly so…, but that is beside the point here… moving on…)

Rather than wait for my next appointment – turns it I had one more I could do for bikini line, so we scheduled me for that, and just included the others in that future appointment – in January to start the two new areas, they gave me a razor, I went and shaved myself freshly, and the same technician and I went back into the room together, and quickly did the other two areas.

Now, I was mentally prepared for this back strip of Brazilian, because a friend and I had just been discussing her Brazilian waxing seasons of the past and laser hair removal of the present last night.

She was comfortable with someone touching her buttocks in that context, because she had been doing it for so long, and, well, that’s why she’s there – it involves being handled in private areas.

We got into talking about how context allows for lots of things in one situation that would be absurd in another.

For example, I shared about how I was on a topless beach in Barcelona with or mutual acquaintance Bryan.

“You did not go topless on a beach with Bryan,” she says, almost panicked, eyes wide, turning to face me directly.

“No, I didn’t,” I laugh, “but, once he left, I was totally fine going topless.”

Because the context of topless beaches in Barcelona had it be totally normal for the Spaniards around me.

e.g. The family of Mom, Dad, and two boys, aged about 12 and 8, in which even Mom was topless as they sat together on their blanket.

But it is not normal in our home culture, so there was basically no chance I was going to be topless around Bryan.

Fast-forward to my second session within my laser hair removal appointment today.

In the first session, I was lying on the table in my t-shirt and underwear, when the technician, clicking at buttons on the machine, says to hang on, it’s not working.

She then tells me that I can relax, because it’ll be a minute.

And then, quite casually, ‘We’ll have to go to another room – this one’s not working.’

She asks while standing at the door, almost as an afterthought, but not quite, if I want to put my own clothes back on, or if I want her to grab me a robe.

I quickly remove the sheet covering me, as I tell her that I can just put on my shorts, and then do so.

I leave my belongings there, and go with her to a different room next door.

Without giving her a chance to leave – they always leave, even though I am keeping on my underwear, per their recommendation, but the way, and they are going to see me without the sheet anyway as soon as they start doing the treatment… – I drop my shorts on the floor, and plop on the bed.

She seems unconcerned in every way.

As she talks to me, she is so casual and blasΓ©e, and says everything like an almost afterthought, as though she had just caught herself daydreaming, and realized that she was supposed to be talking pleasantly to the client.

Her lumbering drawl, at such a slowed rate from the traditional, “Hi! I’m Kimberley!” waitress or general service industry young female, ready to serve You! way of high-energy speaking, is soothing, but also almost comical.

Compared to Kimberly!, she seems to be drugged with super-chill pills…

(But not actually drugged.)

I personally am very comfortable with silence, so I didn’t mind her lack of conversation, but I can imagine that their training tells them to talk to the clients, and so I accept her after-thought-ish comments with sense of wry humor.

– It’s funny having a conversation with someone when you both know that you definitely are okay not talking with one another, but that also the conversation is necessarily by royal decree, so to speak. –

So her comments always seem to be ever so slightly delayed, giving her a very laid-back and chill vibe, though differently so from typical laid-backedness and chillness…

Now, as mentioned, we go back in the room for our second session together, after I talk with and pay the girl at the front desk.

I am expecting, in the room, to be put on my belly or something, and to have her move my cheeks to the sides – since that was something specifically mentioned by my friend about her Brazilians, and she is the only ‘experience’ I have with them – but that, of course, does not happen.

She tells me, still in her passive and casual, slow meter, “Okay, so, for the butt, you’re just gonna pull both your knees up to your chest and hold them there with your arms.”

I have a moment to process the words and what they mean, and then another to verify with myself that I’m okay with fulfilling the suggested request, and then I do it.

And she, as with all the rest, casually, as though she’s barely even aware of what actually is in front of her, but is instead thinking about that blue and purple drink she saw in the store yesterday and what was it made of?…, lasers the back strip of a Brazilian, and I consider laughing at the whole thing, as I recall Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number comment of, “Mind your own Brazilian!!”*

But I was totally comfortable.

The context of the situation – a laser hair removal place where getting Brazilians is totally normal in the first place – combined with the oh-so-blasΓ©e way of the technician allowed me to be super comfortable, despite the fact that I was lying on my back on a table, wearing only a bra, hugging my knees, and showing all my lower parts to a woman I don’t even know…

I am still grateful for her.

And I am grateful for all that has transformed in me, which has allowed me to enjoy and participate in such a scenario, as opposed to long for it but be too terrified of it even to consider doing it.

Okay, nakey situation number two time!

I’ve begun reading the book To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, after falling little girl in love with the Netflix original film by the same name, which is based on the book.

So far, as usual, some is exactly the same and some it totally different, but I am enjoying the book, nonetheless.

Tonight, I read the following passage, which really had me start thinking:

I wonder, though: What would it be like? To be that close to a boy, and have him see all of you… no holding back. Would it be scary only for a second or two, or would it be scary the whole time?

There is more to the thought that the character is having, but this was the part that stuck out for me.

What would it be like to be naked with someone we love wholly and who wholly loves us?

Would there be embarrassment at all -even if we both are totally for, let’s say – or would we be shy, at least on the inside, concerned by the exposure and the prospect of… of what exactly?

Of being hurt?

Being naked doesn’t mean we’ll be hurt, but being exposed emotionally always seems to carry with it a fear of being hurt, and so does our physical nakedness and exposure somehow also carry that same fear and discomfort?

Is that why we struggle to be naked in front of people Period?

Are we so afraid of being hurt?

And I don’t mean physical hurt… purely emotional, psychological, stuff with the head.

Are we so afraid in our heads that we would be afraid to show everything openly and comfortably to the one we love most?

How often do couples just be naked together, without it being sex?

Do they take the time to explore the physical beauty of one another’s bodies without haste and without avoidance or hiding anything?

As Sophie Kinsella’s same book says, “including the dodgy bits.”

But, even then, she only mentions that her man has seen them, not that he has embraced them, nor that she has.

Does the comfort of being seen fully and embraced naked by another stem first from our being able to see ourselves naked and to embrace all parts of our naked selves?

I think so.

And I think it would be a wonderful and powerful experience for couples to take the time just to see fully on another’s bodies, and to learn to embrace them just as they are.

Like how we can take the time just to sit and to gaze into one another’s eyes and be with one another fully – what if we did that with our whole bodies?

I think it would be not only beautiful but beneficial – for the individuals, for the couple, and for the world as a whole.

Expanding our love in such a way could only be a good thing for the world around us…

So, yeah… those are my two things about getting naked tonight… I think I went a little off the trail here and there, and I might have used some poor wording – I definitely did – but I hope the points made it across, anyway. πŸ™‚

Sweet dreams, World.

*Look it up… it’s a great book and an awesome scenario around the comment. ;D

Beware, dearest reader

Is it empathy that connects me so strongly to the books I read?…. that has me suffer when Ender and Valentine suffer, be on edge and in a near-constant state of jumpy panic while reading about Katniss, and be giddy with delight while I read yet again Elizabeth’s interactions with Darcy?

If it is, I feel a sense of needing to take care to pay attention in life right now, as I have just begun reading Anna Karenina (in English, of course), and, based on what I saw in the film, it is not a state of mind I want to share for long, Anna’s (nor is Vronsky’s, for that matter), and I am almost concerned that I will find myself siding with her along the way, which, somehow, makes me nervous.

Although, on the other hand, perhaps it is a perspective I need to learn, not for direct use but for helpful application of knowledge and ‘experience’ for those in need of guidance… hmm…

Anyway, I’m totally loving the book so far – the mood alone is quite delightful, but so are the grammar and descriptions and comments and the story as a whole so far(!).

Post-a-day 2019

Ready Player One

I just finished the audiobook of Ready Player One… and it was awesome.

I almost couldn’t believe that I was nerding out so much over a story of someone playing a video game, I was so into it…, but then I realized that I actually grew up watching one of my brothers play video games, almost on the daily, and I always really liked it, and I loved learning all about his quests and everything within each of the games, and having him tell me about this or that piece…., and then it made sense.

Essentially, this audiobook was a newer version of one of my favorite childhood pastimes of watching my brother – who was very good, by the way – play video games.

I always had so many questions, that my brother would limit how much I could talk, at times… when he hit a difficult part of a game, it was normal for him to tell me that I needed to stop talking or else leave (but he wasn’t mean about it or anything – just honest and straightforward)… of course, I silenced myself, because I totally loved watching how awesome he was at playing the games, and it wasn’t worth being deprived of that opportunity, simply because I had more questions…

To this day, that particular brother is the best video game player I’ve ever seen in person… he’s not the best in the world, of course, but he is darn good… I actually grow not only bored but annoyed when I watch other people play video games, because I can never seem to understand why they are so bad at whatever the game happens to be (at which they comment that the game is difficult, and they are one of the better players of it…, and I just mentally clock them as terrible in comparison to my brother…)…

I mean, I know it isn’t exactly the best quality for my brother to be so highly ranked, but it’s a fun one, nonetheless.

So, anyway, I loved reading the book, and I could hardly stand having to stop, whenever life requires for me to participate fully. πŸ˜›

Also, Wil Wheaton narrates the book, and I find it gloriously hilarious that Wil Wheaton is actually mentioned by name in the book itself… so, Wil Wheaton mentions himself in the third person, in a sense…., just via a famous book that he didn’t write…

Pretty fun, I think… and totally dorky/nerdy, too, of course… that’s pretty much what has me love it so much. πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2019

Badassery

“Chuck Norris can eat just one Lay’s potato chip.”

Since I finished reading Jaws, I picked a new book from my ‘to-read’ shelf to become my bedtime book.

I wasn’t seeing anything I particularly felt like having right before bed, and I grabbed a small-ish one whose title I couldn’t see… holding it in the light, I read the title of a book I pulled from my brother’s donation pile when he moved to Japan: The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World’s Greatest Human – The Unauthorized Parody, by Ian Spector.

And, somehow, it felt right, so I brought it to my reading spot on my bed and began with the preface.

I was bummed to discover that Chuck Norris, though he originally approved of the idea, ended up disapproving further down the road… however, I think I’ll be able to let that go well enough, and soon enough.

The book is filled with little ‘fun facts’ regarding Chuck Norris, none of which are actual, genuine facts about him, and all of which are made up by likely fans of Chuck Norris and his general awesomeness…

Yes, I love Chuck Norris and his awesomeness, thus the reason for my keeping the book for myself when my brother was having to give it (and most of his possessions) away.

I wasn’t sure how the book would do as my bedtime book, and I wondered about its getting boring, just being single line comments, and not an actual story…, but I figured the single lines would help me to get to sleep sooner on nights when I’m really exhausted, and I just need to get to sleep, so I want something short to read.

And so, I gave it a shot.

After the preface, I read just the first page, so I could have a taste.

The first two facts were okay, but the third and final fact on the first page, the one listed at the top here, – “Chuck Norris can eat just one Lay’s potato chip.” – just sent me into increasing levels of giggles – just what I need in my life right now, good giggles.

And so, this turns out to be exactly the perfect book for me to read right now, especially just before bed each night – I can make sure I get a laugh in every day, doing it this way. πŸ™‚

Yay, Chuck Norris(!) and yay, this book!

Thank you, Chuck and Ian.

Post-a-day 2019