Lessons and Tears

Today, I learned a lot about guns. I’ve wanted to learn as much as I could for many years now, but I never really had anyone nearby who was reliable in helping me to that. However, my man is of the hunting variety, and has connections with people who’s re very much in the know about guns. So, today, I took a class on guns.

It was, basically, all day, but it included lessons on the guns and things about and around them, as well as actual time shooting guns at a gun range. I was mostly totally okay for the lesson parts in the classroom. I had, obviously, some research ahead of time to familiarize myself with the general information that might be covered. I had studied more than we covered specifically, but it was a perfect foundation for understanding what was taught in the lesson.

We had a little quiz/test at the end of the lessons to test our grasp of the material. Without using any notes at all, I scored confidently a 100% on the test. I like to know my material, and I did.

However, things took a turn once we were at the range itself. As the others started taking out handgun after handgun, picking them up and setting them down again on this wooden table at our area – all unloaded and taken apart, of course – I started to grow increasingly nervous. Within maybe five to seven minutes, I was standing back from the group, full-on crying. Quietly, but crying, nonetheless.

My man tried to comfort me physically with touch, which is usually the go-to way to comfort me. However, something about the whole situation had me not want to be touched… at all. It doesn’t happen often, but, when it does, I seriously do not want to be touched or crowded in any way. I feel almost claustrophobic if anyone tried to touch me or get too close to me in these times. Today was one of these times. My man asked how he could support me – great job, honey! – and I told him just not to touch me and to let me be, away from abetting, him included. He allowed it, though clearly still concerned for me, and went back to the gun table fun. (Think little kids all showing off their cool TechDecks or Hot Wheels…)

When the instructor saw me, he very easily and, obviously, knowledgeably stated that I was nervous, with the edge of a question on the end. I nodded. “Okay, you and I are gonna go work on this together, all on our own, away from everyone else, okay?” I nodded, as a new wave of tears began to pour out freely. He told me he’d do the one thing with the first group first, then would work one-on-one with me. I nodded more.

Once the tears started, I just allowed myself to feel the feelings coursing through my veins. I never fought it, tried to hold it back. I just let it be, allowed it to express itself.

The instructor had me help load magazines for the guns, using this cool little tool that makes it a million times easier than doing it just with one’s fingers alone. That way, I got to be nearby for the shooting, and could see the drill he was having us all do, but didn’t have to do it myself yet. And I got to grow more comfortable with the guns simply by doing the simple activity of loading the magazines.

I had to step away, though, when the firing started. It amazed me how freaked out and panicked I was. I looked into the panic.

It was an outdoor range without any dividers in our specific area – just single barrels to ‘define’ the lanes. Was it that?

A little bit. But it wasn’t enough for my level of panic. So, what else?

Eventually, a thought popped up, and I began to see very clearly what was going on for me.

*****Warning: very sad material is about to follow. I am safe and well, but this is sadness from my past. You have been warned.*****

On Christmas Eve, many years ago, my uncle shot and killed himself, intentionally. It was unexpected on every level for me, and the delivery method and manner of the news didn’t help anything for me. This uncle was my godfather. Yes, he had been dealing with alcoholism in a bad way lately, the previous few years or so, and had even divorced because of it. But he was still a man whom I loved and respected, who had taught me many things and whom I had always longed to impress with all I learned. He never needed to be impressed, which was probably why I so wanted to do it. He was great… when he was himself. Alcoholism can truly remove a person from the world, however, long before his or her conscious body leaves this world. He was certainly progressing on that path. But I still loved him.

Now, back to the class.

Seeing the guns, seeing so many moving hands and parts all at once – despite it all being done to the book and as safely as possible – really got me thinking about that incident for my uncle. I got a little lost in the swirl of thoughts and brain patterns that could lead a person to choosing that as a path, as well as the ones that then actually pursued such a path. Even now, it hurts so much just to say this, though I’m somewhat avoiding going any deeper than my words right now. Anyway, it really got to me there at the range.

When a rifle was pulled out, I noticed that I felt little fear, almost a feeling of ease around it. Okay, I thought, so guns don’t necessarily terrify me into a panic by being guns. Handguns, however, do.

When I talked with my mom about it later, I was describing the different feeling between using two different handguns. One was heavy and reliably helped people hit their target consistently. The other was smaller and lighter, but still roughly the average size of a handgun. The smaller, I told her, filled me with much more ease when I used it, though it was quite so easy to hit the target precisely. It felt like a gun to me. The larger, however, could only be described by my head as, “a (definitive) killing device”. It was funny how the thoughts were so different, and the corresponding feelings were so strong yet clear. Guns themselves aren’t petrifying for me. But certain ones – the killing device-type ones – are.

Our instructor mentioned a man who has a pink handgun. Perhaps, if I ever want to get a gun, I might get something like that. The typical black handgun can be really rough for me…

And so, after trying the both handguns with a lot of coaching and near-constant crying, I used the smaller one to do the actual exercise he’d intended for us all to do.

For one thing, I cried almost the whole time. For another, I somehow got the crazy luck of the draw today that the casings from the person to my left kept hitting me. Never hard or anything, but, boy, were they a definite surprise while I was aiming on focusing my breathing to shoot effectively myself. In addition to those two factors, my hands were shaking almost constantly.

What’s more, my eyes, as they cried a bunch, struggled to hold focus. They kept doing their, ‘Hey, I don’t really feel like working right now,’ thing, making me have to work extra hard to get them to focus back. Usually, it takes a second or two to get them back focused when they decide to relax. However, the exercise was intended to be with time limits on each round or set of rounds. It took a lot in the pre-practice I did with the instructor just to fire more than once in a row without putting down the gun and shaking all over while crying some more.

And, finally, my hands kept sweating up a storm, and my glasses would fog in if I had them too far against my face.

Despite all of this, the instructor said afterward that I didn’t an amazing job. And he wasn’t being generous. I have a whole – there were two, both very much alike with their hole locations, but I only kept the second – target sheet of a person who had clearly been gutted and shattered in the center torso by my shots. I had a total of four shots that didn’t hit right in the center area, and they were when I moved back to farther distances to shoot. Out of roughly a hundred+ rounds fired, only four weren’t in the target tires area. Even the other four, though, were still very clearly on the target’s body, just not properly centered like the rest.

I’d say I was blown away by how well I did, but I guess that was more the targets… 😛

The final gun I shot was a really cool, really light one, and it had much smaller bullets than the 9mm guns had used. I actually really enjoyed shooting that one. The kickback wasn’t so scary, nor was the bang, and it was great. Granted, this one actually burned my finger. However, it was pennies compared to how great and comfortable I felt using it as a whole. Plus, this one was green(!). I shot well with that one, too, but I didn’t have an official target, and so attacked one of the extra backstop signs, the letter O, using it as a target, as well as a small bit of bluebonnets on the sign. It was great. I kind of destroyed them both, really.

The instructor told me that it happens every so often, that someone will cry when learning to shoot. It he was proud of me for how I stayed calm and just kept going. He also commended me for the fact that, even though casings kept flying on my way, even hitting me multiple times while shooting, I never once reacted dangerously. I always remained calm – shaking and crying aside, of course – and stayed focused on what I was doing. Any time I had to pause my shooting, from getting hit in the face or hand or whatever, I always kept the gun pointed perfectly down-range and downward – I never turned it in a dangerous direction… not even a little bit.

So, suffice it to say that I am so glad and grateful that I went to this today and that my man got me connected there. The instructor invited us to go shooting with him and his daughter when they go monthly to a certain range, and I accepted the offer. I told him that I am still terrified, but that I want to keep going with it all.

Yes, it was a very good day, tears and all.

Thank you, God. And thank you for the blessing in my childhood that was Uncle B—. Thank you for that love, for exactly as much as it lasted. And thank you for helping me grow through the pains. Please, bless those who helped us in the class today. Give them comfort, grace, and ease, through your love. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

Vroom, vroom

It took having to meet a friend out for dinner at a very popular place for me to get my scooter back into shape, at last. I do not risk stressful parking situations (which include valet parking), and so used to use the Vespa whenever parking might be difficult. It fits almost anywhere, and usually gets to park right up front, because it can’t really go in a parking spot and ‘waste the space’. Tonight, of course, was no different. They let me park right in front of the front door of the place.

Anyway, that got me going. I called the place down the street to see if they had an air option for tires. They did not, but the car wash across the street from them did for free, he told me. So, I headed on over. As I looked for the air location, the owner of the car wash found me and asked if I was looking for air. We got into conversation about riding frequency and how things have been weird the past several months, and so I never got the bike back into running shape after the freeze in February. He shared about the bike he recently ordered from Italy. He asked if I had ever washed the Vespa. I said how I hadn’t but that I had just been considering it, given the style of car wash place it was, and how it would be just right for washing a bike.

And so, he gave me my first wash for free, and helped me with the air in the tires himself. There felt like 15 different steps in the washing and priming and foaming and scrubbing and special water and wax and tire shine and all…., and it took a while. But it was a great feeling and a great result, cleaning that bike. It has wanted a good scrub and clean for some time now, especially since the cover was destroyed by the freeze with ice and snow.

I then immediately got much-needed gasoline, before going home.

And you know what?

I had been considering getting rid of the scooter, as I hadn’t been using it, and I had started to grow afraid of the dangers of it.

But riding on it this afternoon, after the air and wash…, it was spectacular, and it reminded me of why I loved having the thing in the first place.

Going out tonight with it, I was delighted to be riding again. I am grateful that I did this today, instead of letting it sit until I felt it just had to go.

Anywhere it goes, I hope it carries me safely on top of it – I love riding this scooter.

Post-a-day 2021

Election Day

I just want to say that, despite the qualms of the official leaders in this country, the fact that there is concern for rioting and people’s safety in the cities tonight, election night, suggests not that the elected leader is the real issue at hand, but that the people who cannot manage themselves are the issue. If people cannot be trusted to act appropriately, how can they expect anything better from anyone else in this culture and society?

I have always maintained that education – and more than mere math and science – real education is one of the most impactful and important things for a culture and society. Goodness, we could use some work on that right now and in the immediate future, for both children and adults.

This recent political arguing just seems so double-edged, so double-standard-y to me. That one could be forcefully attacked – and also constantly verbally attacked – for supporting one candidate over another just seems so unbelievably absurd to me… and yet it has happened over and over again, and from both sides.

We all know that change comes within, both on an individual and a group basis. So, perhaps, we would do better to focus our efforts within ourselves and within our immediate communities, than to be nasty and upset about the elected officials thousands of miles away.

Just an idea that has been remembering itself to me almost constantly, these past few years, and increasingly often these past few months and weeks.

Big siiiiggggghhhhhh

Post-a-day 2020

Achy Faith

My body has been sore the past several days, and I am extremely grateful for it.

I have finally begun to do exercises again, thanks to my having reached out to a friend for help with accountability and support, and her acceptance of the request… It seems only fitting, because we used to go to the gym together in the first place, before everything closed, and then she moved.

Now, for the time being, anyway, neither of us is in Houston.

But we work out st the same time together, she at 5:30pm after work, and I at 4:30pm, the time I used to attend in-person classes…, and it works, because she is on the East coast now, so we actually exercise at the exact same time.

It still sucks to be paying for a gym membership to a gym that medicine and society tell me not to attend, but I would rather be safe than yelled at or blamed or sorry (or, even, sick)…, so, I stay away from the one place I ever really feel called to be on a daily basis, the one place I miss most…

But I am, at last, doing workouts at home again, using the workouts the owner originally made for us back when the gym closed for a while, and everyone had to work out at home together.

So, I could technically just cancel my membership, and do these workouts on repeat for the rest of my life, if I wanted… but I don’t want to do that.

I am using this gym’s workouts, even if they are old, and so I will maintain my membership.

It feels absurd, but right – I have thought on it many times, and I feel incredibly uncomfortable at the idea of canceling my membership…, so, I have let it go – I’ll stay a member and just suck it up… something about this will balance out, and it all will be beautiful and perfect.

I have faith in this.

P.S. A family friend – he’s our personal car and motorcycle expert – wants me to buy this great quality vehicle off of him, since they never use it anymore… it’s a Porsche Cayenne… what on Earth???… So, I might be upgrading from an old, crank window, semi-falling-apart Hyundai Accent, that was ranked as being worth $245 two and a half years ago on Kelley Blue Book, and that is not very reliable beyond an easy ten- or fifteen-minute drive… to a Porsche… Woah

Post-a-day 2020

Time to Drive

I will remain present, and I will listen to my true guide, and I will follow through with what the fibers of my being already understand to be my truest path.

This is my intention in the coming days; may I succeed in it beautifully, thereby helping the world around me to be a loving and beautiful place.

God, guide me, please, and keep me safe, that I be happy, healthy, holy… Amen.

Here’s to safe travels these next few days(!): Cheers! 😉

Post-a-day 2020

Nerds

We research in my family.

When we are interested in something, we start learning about it, and we tend to do lots of research on it.

Presently, I am preparing to use a used Prius for a while.

Someone was very upset and expressed concerns of my sanity and logic in doing this.

So, to satisfy my initial belief that it was a reasonable idea, and not just plain crazy, I started looking up important things about Priuses, in order to learn more about them… whatever might be important to know, you know?

In sharing a small bit of what I’m learning with my cousin, she replies, “You will now be well versed on the Prius. I’m imagining you building a PowerPoint presentation”.

And, while I chucked inwardly at the intended joke, I also totally saw the seriousness of her statement, and had to agree: I could so see myself doing that.

In fact, I kind of did for physics class in high school at one point… we researched various hybrid cars and their overall effects on the planet…. let’s just say that, fortunately, things have improved in the hybrid world since then…

Anyway… I think I already have enough information to give a really good ten-minute presentation on using used Priuses…

Total nerd, right?

And I love being it. 😉

Post-a-day 2020

Prayers of Gratitude

I have been thinking lately more and more about prayers of gratitude.

In my daily e-mails, one mentioned a short while back how we are always quick to flood the universe with our prayers in times of need – Oh, please help me with this – but that we often miss out on the opportunity to express prayers of gratitude – Thank you for the flowers, the air, the people around me…, for my life, my health, my home, my hearing…, for that act of kindness shown to me, for my ability to show love just now, for my ability to accept love from myself And others

And so, I have been somewhat focusing on prayers of gratitude lately.

Tonight, as I drive myself the remainder of my journey home, I was delighted and relieved that my prayers were clear and of gratitude:

Thank you for showing me safely but clearly to trust myself.

Thank you for putting someone behind me who cares so much and is helping to take care of me.

Thank you for keeping me safe.

Thank you for putting someone behind me who stopped and was paying attention.

Thank you for helping me do what needed to be done.

Thank you for keeping us both – the bike and me – safe, despite our scratches.

Thank you that we received only scratches.

Thank you for the love that is following me right now.

Thank you for letting this terrifying event be in such safe, love-filled circumstances.

Thank you for keeping me alive and well, both for my sake, and for hers.

And for those in my life.

Thank you for my life.

There likely were others in there, too, but that was the main flow of my thoughts (along with the occasional, Man that was ….::hefty-shaky exhale…).

I am grateful for the angel who was driving behind me, and who, though she repeatedly expressed that she didn’t know what to do to help, did exactly what was needed to help – and, aside from all of the conscious efforts to help, her attentiveness quite definitely assured my safety.

Had she not been the one behind me, someone paying attention, I might not be here right now… it was a simple and small accident, but her attentiveness kept it so.

Thank you, God.

And thank you, R.

P.S. All my gear took perfect care of me – I rolled probably three times, without ever touching anything with my head, and lots of parts of me hurt right now, but my skin looks impeccable, because my clothes did exactly what they were worn to do… (minus one tiny spot that, through the jeans, still broke the skin and bled a little bit, but it is a tiny spot that looks more like I tripped and scraped my knee than that I fell around 30-35mph and went rolling across the road)…

P.P.S. Icing has been helping with pain and swelling, and the hot shower just now helped immensely with the pain everywhere.

P.P.P.S. And no, I was not on my phone – not at all… I am just glad that the girl behind me was not on her phone.

Post-a-day 2019

Riding the bus with my mother

There are three lots on my block which recently have had their houses demolished.

Two of the lots are nearing the end of construction on their new houses, and the third has, so far, sat empty for a while.

Just about every morning, around 7:30, workers arrive and get to making noise on this, that, or the other part of construction for the two houses.

I have noticed a certain inattention to caution regarding trash and scraps, and so have been quite careful not ever to walk over by either of the houses, as there is an ever-changing blanket of glass, nails, wood pieces, and other sharp objects on the ground by them both.

Today, in an effort to dodge some potholes, my mother drove directly in front of these two houses…

A few hours, a free concert, and almost five hundred dollars later, she had two new rear tires on her car, out of necessity, not desire.

You see, she was picking me up to go to an opera performance, thus her being on my street in the first place.

She had dropped me off to allow me to go use the bathroom and to pick up our tickets at will-call, and gone to park her car, only to discover that the tire pressure, whose warning light had signaled on our way to the performance, was decreasing at an alarming pace, and so needed to be handled immediately.

She told me to leave her ticket at will-call for her, and that she would join me when she could, and then took her car to the one place she found open on a Sunday to handle such issues as her current tire predicament (which, fortunately, was only about a mile away from where we were).

At intermission, she joined me at our seats, her having sat at the back for the first part, due to her having arrived late.

She informed me that she had made it to the performance by asking a woman to drop her off, since it was only about a mile away from where she had had to bring her car.

We laughed at the slight absurdity of it all, and discussed how to get back to the car after the performance ended.

Yes, it was close, but the place would close only half an hour after the performance ended, and my mom wasn’t in running shoes (nor was I).

So, I offered the idea of my spare bus card.

At first, she aimed to find someone we knew after the performance ended, so as to ask for a ride.

Then, she considered Uber (but I was opposed for the cost of it, and the fact that my account isn’t set up properly anymore for here [remember how I lived in Japan]), before reconsidering just asking someone else from the performance whom we didn’t know.

We were running short on time, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking for help, when I had means to handle the situation myself – I’m always rather like that… if I can do it myself, even if it is more difficult, I typically still will handle it myself, so that I only ask for help when I truly need it.

So, I looked up the bus route options, and started walking to the bus stop, which was enough encouragement for my mom to give up her idea and go with mine.

I knew her main opposition was simply the same as most people’s in Houston – most people do not use the busses here, unless they financially have no other means of getting around, making the bulk of bus patronage poor laborers, cleaners, minimum wage people in rough situations, and homeless people…, and that can be an uncomfortable, and almost dangerous-feeling experience for those who do not belong to those groups of individuals…, and it can somewhat easily create a feeling of being somewhere dirty, at times…, so no one wants to ride the busses in Houston…, not really, anyway.

I, myself, struggle with it, despite the fact that I use the busses here… I want to promote public transit as much as possible, but I also prefer feeling safe and clean than the opposite, you know?

Nonetheless, it was our most logical option today (in my head, anyway), so we went for the bus.

Another lady coming from a similar downtown performance also joined us in waiting for the bus, and it was quite cool to me to see another ‘normal’ person, so to speak, taking the bus.

My mom, while waiting, mentioned how she had never ridden the bus here, and that she was a bit excited for it.

I smiled and was glad, and told her how it all worked, and that it was mostly just like any other public transit she had ridden elsewhere (except in Vienna, which has one of the best public transit systems ever, and in all aspects of it).

While riding, she asked about how to signal for our stop, and I explained her two options, however, another woman clicked for our stop first.

I told my mom that she could push the tape anyway, just to have the experience and to know what it’s like, pushing the tape on our busses, and she replied coolly and smiling, “I’m touching enough.”

We had seen a whole range of riders come aboard, including all of the stereotypes, smells and all, but also a few other ‘normal’-esque individuals.

Nonetheless, I understood entirely why she had no interest in touching anything more than was necessary at this point.

When we exited the bus, I rushed off in one direction on my predetermined path to the car place, while covering my gaze to the right hand side, and ignoring my mom’s questioning as to why I was going that particular direction, knowing that she would follow me because of my quick pace.

When we were walking into the driveway of the car place, I slowed and dropped my hand, turning toward my mom and informing her of how I had been avoiding any sort of interaction with the man who had been urinating in the trash can that was next to the bus stop.

No, I had not been certain of that being his task, but it looked to be enough so, and I had no interest in discovering anything further on the matter, and so I blocked it from my view, and headed off with the intention of getting away as soon as was possible.

It is funny to me a bit – perhaps ironic – that my mom has told me so much since I’ve moved back to Houston (from Japan) that I need to be careful here, and that it is not like Japan, and yet she does not herself seem to understand how to be careful when in Houston.

She asked why I hadn’t gone the other way around the block, and I, at first, didn’t understand why she was asking – was it not obvious?

And, of course, it wasn’t obvious, I realized… she had no idea the type of hangout that the area was, nor that more people tended to hang out over by that underpass all along its length, and that it was a better idea for us to avoid it altogether, always.

So, while being a bit nervous at my mother’s lack of understanding as to how to be safe in Downtown Houston, I also was consoled in my own ability to be safe here – without realizing it, I had developed my own appropriate way to keep myself safe here in Houston – that’s part of why I tend not to go out at night.

I typically ride my bicycle or scooter, or even take the bus or walk for getting around anywhere near me, and none of those is a very good idea at night…., so I usually just don’t go.

I had begun to think it was merely because of my anti-social emotional side lately, and my dislike for drunk people, but this had me recall that it is more than just an aversion for stupid people that keeps me in most nights. 😛

Anyway, my mom picked up her car and was bummed about having to spend the money, as was I, but we were grateful for the bit of time we had been able to spend letting my mom experience a Houston Metro bus, and that, at the very least, the concert itself had been free.

But this did remind me of that time we drove way up north to a special spring to get some free, natural spring sulfurous water straight from the source – the city had it posted that anyone could come have water from it, so long as the sun is up – and then drive back home an hour and a half, during which time my mom commented, “Well, that was the most expensive free water I’ve ever gotten,” referring to the gasoline cost and the tolls crossed for the journey. 😛

It’s been a bit of a joke of ours ever since then.

And so, today’s performance, one could say, was the most expensive free concert we’ve ever attended. 😛

(Actually, my mom did say that… haha… I’d forgotten that it wasn’t just something I’d thought, but that seems actually said aloud. 😂)

Post-a-day 2019

Rules

There is a school zone that has been illuminated on my way home from school (which is work) every afternoon so far this week.

The school is clearly not in session, because there is no one visible on the campus, but I also know that schools are just not yet in session again for the year.

However, the flashing lights flash, making the speed limit 20 miles per hour.

And everyone except for me ignores it.

Fortunately, there aren’t too many cars at the time I’m heading home, so they avoid me easily enough.

I on my Vespa putz alone at 20mph, while everyone zips by at their standard 38-40mph (the regular speed limit is 35mph)…

I follow the rules.

Plus, I really would like to steer clear of anything but good things, when it comes to driving and safety.

But yeah… that’s a bit annoying and troublesome, how people handle the school zone…. also that it isn’t turned off while the school is clearly still on break…

Anyway…

Post-a-day 2019

::Sigh…

Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t just be better to get a high-paying job in an office, and start saving up.  Then, after a couple or few years, start the process for adoption.  The only work so far that I have loved doing, without almost any question ever, is doing things with other people’s kids (nannying).  Maybe having a somewhat terrible corporate job in suits is worth it for having a kid…

I just don’t see myself happy each morning and each bedtime in a job like that, and that means bad sleep each night and a tough start to the day each morning.

I don’t know… sometimes I get depressive, and then desperate, and start calculating what ‘makes sense’ for life, as opposed to ‘listening to my heart’.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve even asked my heart what I/it want/wants to do with my life and time…

Now is as good a time as ever, I suppose.  🙂

 

P.S.  I’ve noticed that, whenever I get upset in the depressed, my life is going nowhere experience, I have an almost panicked desire to move to Europe, and it is most often France.  It’s not like I have any idea whatsoever what I would do there, or how that would solve any of my current issues.  Plus, it would create the issue of being away from almost everyone I know and love and who loves me, since most of them are in the US.  However, there’s just this feeling that arises that living in Europe somehow would just make everything okay, and in a good way (not just tolerable okay, but good okay).  Anyway, just something I noticed tonight.

Post-a-day 2018