Who I am

I am back home now (from my most recent traveling adventures to pursue and be with love and nature), and I am experiencing that odd yet familiar feeling I get whenever I live elsewhere and then come back to Houston… the one where it feels like all that time I spent away didn’t actually happen, and that that much time has my actually passed since I was last here… and that I, therefore, must not have changed in any way…

And, for a brief period of rising intensity of panic, I begin to wonder if I will go back to the person I was before I left, and my time and experiences elsewhere really will be erased from my life.

Then, somehow, I come to, and I take a stand for myself and how proud I am first to have accomplished all that I accomplished and second to be the person I am now.

There is stuff I do not like about being here in particular, and the concerns of ‘going back to how things were’ are real for me right now… I do not want to do that.

And so, I must and I will stand for myself and my goals and dreams in this life, and I will let these baller things sprout and flower in these coming days and weeks and months… and I can hardly wait for this garden I will have produced in the not-so-distant future in my life and in the world around me.

World, here we come. 🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Home now; bed wow

I must admit that one of the greatest feelings is stretching out on my back on a freshly fitted-sheet-made bed (meaning not the pillow or top sheet or comforter yet) directly after a fresh and cool shower… and it gets even better if it is just after a long car trip, as I have just done today/tonight.

I have my feet up at the head of the bed, and my head it at the foot… I’m not entirely sure if it is better with or without my pajamas on me… (I say pajamas, but I really just mean underwear and a loose t-shirt.)

It feels amazing…

And there is that special feeling of the freshly made bed, combining with the feeling of doing something very uncommon and, almost, forbidden, lying upside down on a bed that is missing its pillow and top sheet and comforter… I probably would have gotten in a bit of trouble, if I’d done this as a kid…

Haha

Actually, come to think of it, I regularly lie down on my fully made bed right after a shower, towel wrapped around my hair, pajamas not yet on… it is one of the few times I don’t immediately make sure my body is properly clothed.

Well, possibly the only time I go without clothes, aside from showering itself.

But, for some reason, I somewhat purposefully and somewhat passively allow myself to experience nudity, and in a comfortable and safe and easy setting in this time right after showering.

Some nights, it lasts only a minute or so, and some last half an hour or more… the majority are somewhere in the middle of the two ends.

It started out as mirror time, like my best friend told me that she does every day: to take in, accept, embrace, and love all of my body, as it is now.

It eventually turned into an opportunity for me to learn to be physically comfortable in nudity, and not just mentally so.

Now, I think hardly anything of it… one of my favorite moments of the day sometimes is plopping down sideways on my bed, with only a towel wrapped around my wet, clean hair, and the a/c blowing lightly on my still damp skin right after a shower…

And it usually is with my head to the foot of the bed…

Hmm… I’ve actually been wondering about this lately, if it mightn’t be a good idea for me to switch the direction I sleep.

But I keep not changing it, because I always remember how this has been a hint for me as far back as I can remember, lying the opposite direction on my bed when it is made versus when I go to sleep in it.

I wonder what the deal is with my doing that all the time… hmm…

Okay, tangents are over for the night… I am back home, I had a miniature breakdown sort of incident when I first arrived and found that people had been here, had moved my puzzle and messed it up, and had used the kitchen and left lots of evidence of their having been here (and they left the toilet open[!!!!!!!!!!!!])… I am hoping that sleep will heal me fully, though I am already proud of myself for being so extremely sleepy and exhausted (on multiple levels), and for being out of a lot of my regular supplements that help me so well, yet only having the breakdown for about thirty seconds, if even that long… and it wasn’t even very intense, and I handled everything I needed to handle in order to have everything clean for the potential of more people tomorrow (even though the city said not to leave homes unless absolutely necessary, and this studio is not actually open again yet… but anyway…), and I didn’t cry or anything when various other issues arose, like being tired and still having to carry heavy stuff up two flights of stairs, with one being a narrow, turning staircase, or when the shower wouldn’t switch from the bathtub full faucet to the shower head with more than a tiny drizzle of water, much like it did for a while after I was in Japan and the Philippines, but even worse this time…

Anyway, I am exhausted on many levels, and I need to work out tomorrow and Sunday to stay on track for this week, and still make up two more workouts (I believe – got to check the list) from the other week’s stress-y break.

Goodnight!

Post-a-day 2020

Music in the night

I have been playing music this weekend… and particularly to share with others…

When I put up the first song, my cousin sent the video to me almost immediately, asking if this had not been a goal of mine…

I was, at first, a bit confused, until she specified, saying that she believed I had mentioned a desire to share music publicly with people… yes, that has been a somewhat longtime wish for me, and a more recent determination (that has been very slow-moving, but moving).

The whole reason I wanted to be able to play guitar was to be able to be spending time with people, and sing songs together, thanks to my hands on the guitar… I never had specifically high hopes or goals of being an expert player – I just wanted to be able to make music communally and to share songs I love with people I love.

Now, I find myself interested in improving my performance skills, but it is not out of the same drive as the original reason for wanting to learn – it is merely for my own enjoyment.

As far as the original desire goes, I guess I am at that point already – that is, I can play casually plenty of songs and sing along with them…, but when do I actually share them with others in any way?

I am by no means a top musician or singer, but I love music and singing, and I love sharing them both with others…

Sure, the ideal scenario is something much like a campfire surrounded by many people I love dearly…, but two main parts of it all are my having the confidence to perform/play and my actually sharing with others.

This past week, I have been experiencing lots of feelings of loneliness… not overwhelming, help me, please! feelings, – they’ve all been quite manageable, and I have managed them mostly beautifully (yeah, I made some stumbles, but they’ve happened and I have let them go, so we need not Derek on those anymore) – but loneliness, nonetheless.

Whenever I feel lonely, I find myself wanting to turn, if not to people – meaning the people are unavailable – to music… music can express whatever I am feeling, usually, and then music can help me move into a different state of emotions, simply by my selecting the song and allowing myself to embrace it.

This past week, what I have probably wanted more than almost anything else has been someone to play music for me and to sing to me… I once shared online that I want a baritone to serenade me in my life, and a fabulous, incredibly sweet distant friend of mine saw the post, and promptly sent me two videos of him sitting around on a night shift at work, singing… just for me, in his baritone of a voice.

It warmed my heart so dearly, I think I shall remember it always.

Fast-forward to now, and I am approximately eight days into wanting just that in my life… but, under the circumstances, the only person at my disposal has been, well, myself…

And so, I started to play some ukulele (because I really need to change the guitar strings, and I only have strings for the two classical guitars that aren’t here right now [that’s another story for another day])…, but I quickly realized that it just wasn’t the same… my actively playing is not the same as being sung to… but, what if I recorded it?… then I could sit and listen to it afterward… for as long as I wish…

Recalling my wish to share music with others, evaluating that it would be a good way for me to make sure it is worth hearing more than once, and determining that it would be possible, I determined to make a recording to share with all my extended friends online… and all posterity… 😛

As I go to bed this Sunday night, I have listened multiple times to both of my songs that I shared this weekend, and I have loved them dearly… if anyone is able to enjoy them as I have, I am thrilled… and, even if no one has, I still am thrilled – I was confident enough to share them, I wanted to share them, I did share them, and I listened to and enjoyed them thoroughly… just lovely.

Yet another case of my kakizome coming to fruition in my life… self-trust/self-confidence and heart were definitely present in these small yet momentous tasks of the weekend.

Good job, Banana.

Now, bedtime, since you supposedly have to do this whole work thing in only a matter of hours… we’ll see how that all goes… 😛

Post-a-day 2020

Skin patrol

Let’s talk about clothes for just a minute.

In my life, I have often wondered with fascination at the girls and women who show skin other than arms and lower legs when in public (or even in private, but with others present!)… how could they do that?… how could they be comfortable with that, with people seeing so much of them, their bodies, their skin?… how could they even consider wearing such an outfit?…

And then, there was also, without fail, this tiny voice, afraid to speak, even in a whisper from the shadows, that cautiously murmured, ‘Could I ever do that?’

After going through a whole series of this and thats regarding negative experiences with my own body image, and with men as a whole, I was eventually certain that such clothing options were only for the harlots and hoes… at least, that’s what I would be, if I wore such things….

But then, fast-forward another few or couple years to today: I have really sorted through that stuff – intense stuff – and I am in no way in the same space as I was before… I am seemingly not even the same person l (though, who I am deep down is, of course, the same).

As I mentioned, the other day, I wore an outfit that I had dreamed of wearing in the past, but could not fathom its being truly possible that I could wear it…

(And yet, I had the dress… something within me wanted it badly enough, dreamt of it strongly enough, for me to own the dress… I just never really expected to wear it, I think… it was always just a dream…)

Yesterday, when dressing, I found myself wanting to wear this shirt I have had for years – it was in the same scenario with that lovely dress from last weekend – but have never worn… Without thinking much of it or about it, I pulled on the shorts I had planned, added the appropriate bra and the shirt, and continued on in my morning activities… and I knew that I would be seen by people throughout the day… I was fully aware…. including people I know.

It wasn’t until that night that it occurred to me what had happened… including the significance of it.

Today, I had to do the grocery store.

To dress for it, I dropped my PJs, grabbed clothes that had not yet been folded and that would be warm enough for this rainy day and the grocery store, but not hot or uncomfortable…

And this is what I went out wearing:

My lower belly – the skin all the way around – was visible to varying degrees, depending on how the sweater hung… the sweater is holy by design, and, though my skin tone blends with the brown of the sweater, it was totally showing all throughout the sweater, because I had only a light gray sports bra under it, no shirt… the leggings jeans pants things show every angle of my legs and butt… and my hair was pulled up and it of the way, allowing even more skin to show all around my neck, upper back, and the v-neck cut of the sweater on my chest…

And I didn’t… even… worry about it…

Not one bit.

Sure, I pulled my pants up a couple times after squatting or whatever, and they had been pulled down somewhat… but otherwise…, I was genuinely unconcerned about how much skin was visible on my body, how much my body was noticeable.

It all just felt so normal…

When I realized this all, I couldn’t help but smile with genuine delight.

I think I am free… of whatever this mind game was that held me so tightly and for so long… Finally…, I am myself, and I can breathe…

I don’t want to dress like this every day…., but I want to dress like this when I want to dress like this… and the free is finally released from me, and I can act comfortably and confidently in my dressing… at long last, and after so much hard work, I am free…

How lovely… 🙂 ❤

Post-a-day 2020

What a day(!!!)

Today was my cousin’s birthday, March 8th.

I spent it in one of my favorite places in life: inside a theatre during one of their final rehearsals.

I absolutely loved where I was.

I trusted myself to be myself, and I was myself.

And then(!) (And Thennnn, and, gentlemen, and Theeennnnnn!!!), I asked out one of the actors.

Yep.

I actually did that, asked someone to go out with me.

I met him over a year ago, and wanted to date him instantly, but he was unavailable.

I placed the desire and the somewhat intense, actually, longing way off to the back and side of my mind, and I moved onward in life, only just slightly and occasionally wondering a version of, ‘What if…?’ around him.

And then, this Friday, I learned that he was not in that committed relationship from over a year ago anymore.

And my heart and lungs did a sort of flex and surge simultaneously, and I suddenly couldn’t stop wondering if he were seeing anyone at all now…, if he might not be available…, if he might have the potential of being interested in me…

For I was clear that I was still interested in him.

I’m pretty sure I wrote about him on here, even, and I still would say the same points of interest again now – if not even more. (Yep, I totally did, though only briefly.)

And so, after rehearsal, I called him to the side, away from anyone else – because I was not having this conversation with anyone else around, but I could not let myself go another two days without knowing, without doing something about this possibly spectacular opportunity that had just presented itself to me – and I asked him if he was seeing anyone right now (“Nope”), and then asked him out (“Yeah. Definitely.”), and it was terrifying and relieving and totally lovely.

When my mom came walking past shortly afterward – I had been on-task for her, helping with props, when I had talked to him, and I still was working (not terribly distractedly) when she came by – I said to her only, “I asked him out,” and she chuckled slightly.

“And?” She knew whom I meant.

“Yeah. Definitely.” I couldn’t even try to hide the smile on my face, if I had wanted, it was so big. 😛

After we’d finished all of our tasks for the night, and my mom was accompanying me as I unlocked and readied the Vespa, she looked him up OnLine(!), and started telling me facts all about him… as if it weren’t already going to be hard enough for me not to think about him constantly for the next 48 hours until I see him again (and then, who knows how long after that, too), now she was feeding me all the stalker girl information I could want (and would have barred myself from researching myself, because I never research a person I actually like)!

So, that was nuts but delightful.

All of it, actually.

What’s more, I’m pretty sure he’s younger than I am (though not by much), so I’m kind of rocking the cougar train, I guess… makes it all the more fun, I dare say…, because it truly is fun…

For the first time, I feel like I am truly trusting and being myself fully in such a situation with a man – I have spent so much time being worried around men, for all sorts of reasons, and tonight, at last, I was comfortable with myself and confident in myself FULLY…, and I acted accordingly, and asked out what seems to me to be an amazing man.

At the very least, he keeps eye contact in conversation, and it melts your heart every time (well, mine, anyway).

Eat your heart out… 😛

(I mean that as an endearing phrase from a beloved film, and not as anything else, just so we’re clear.)

Man…, I am so freed for myself, and joyed at my being myself – go you, Banana.

I love you, and I am so proud of you for taking care of you today.

My kakizome for this year are 自信と心 jishin to kokoro Self-trust/Self-confidence and Heart… they are my intentions, my goals, my points of practice for the year, and I really experienced and emulated them today and tonight.

No matter what specifically happens with him, this is all going to be great, and it is definitely a beautiful step for me in being the person, the woman, I want to be. 😉

Bravery and Beauty, Banana… bravery and beauty… 🙂

Wow… what a day.

Happy Birthday to my Cousin, and Happy Day to Me!(!!!!!!!!!!!) ❤

Post-a-day 2020

Shower time(!!!)

Showers.

There are two things that have been on my mind regarding showers tonight.

Naturally, as is the case with all amazing ideas that arise in the shower, I’ve forgotten one or the other at least five times since they first came to me while I was showering half an hour ago…

Fortunately, though, I got them both back safely into my consciousness, and wrote them down before I could forget again.

The first: Shower buddies.

Whenever the idea of showering with someone is portrayed in film or television, in books, or even in conversation, it is almost exclusively approached as an erotic experience.

The same is true with physically exploring another’s body – it is never never anything but an arousing, erotic experience for both (or all) parties involved.

But why must they be so?

There is a photo – simultaneously dreadful and adorable – of me as a baby, climbing carefully into the shower to join my dad, my bum covered in you-know-what (Obviously, my mom had a sense of humor about it.)… we got to be shower buddies, sharing the space and showering simultaneously, my dad and I.

When I was older, but still a child, I had minimal space in the house that was ever granted to me entirely – that is to say, nowhere was guaranteed to be my own space for long.

This, of course, included the toilet and the shower. (Yes, I have this one terrible memory of sitting on the toilet while my sister showered, and my brother walked in and told me to scoot forward, because he needed to pee… I am proud of 7-year-old me for refusing…. but I digress…)

Whenever my sisters needed to shower, they got to shower.

If I was already preparing to shower, it was no matter, they just hopped on in with me and adjusted the water to their preferred temperature (quite hotter than I liked it, actually).

At first, they had me shower with them in order to make sure I was showering and to show me how to shower properly (I didn’t exactly love showering or bathing as a younger child).

Eventually, though, I turned into more of a coincidental affair that no one really minded, and that I actually found fun.

In one sense, I enjoyed learning how my older sisters showered and how their bodies were – though, to be fair, they already walked around in towels or half-naked or naked for an hour or so after every shower anyway – and, in another, I enjoyed the fun of sharing an event with someone and in such an intimate, one-on-one way.

It might sound a bit absurd, but it really was a fun event for me as a child.

At my mom’s house, it was only ever an exchange of space – she would finish and step out of the shower, and I would step directly into it, without turning anything off.

But, at my dad’s house, it was all too common that I would end up showering alongside at least one of my sisters… and I loved it.

Fast-forward to grown-up days.

I really would love to be able to have a shower buddy again.

Bathing at all the onsen in Japan, I learned to appreciate the human body even more than I had before, and especially to appreciate nudity not as something wrong or weird, but as something that is natural and that merely has a certain time and place in society.

I also learned to be comfortable with my own naked body… and to be comfortable with my own naked body around other people… and to be comfortable with my own body around my friends and their own naked bodies…

I guess, now that I’m really thinking about it, I actually did have showering/bathing buddies in Japan… it was silly at first, but it became rather fun for me.

‘Hey, what do you want to go do this weekend when we get together?’ a friend asks… ‘Onsen!’ was my delighted reply.

And it wasn’t so that we could go be naked together – that was always a way-after thought – but because I love having out in all the lovely baths in onsen… it’s one of my favorite pieces of Japanese culture, onsen.

I just became very comfortable with the whole showering and being naked with others – including friends – situation.

(Fun fact: I met my ukulele teacher in a bath at an onsen while on a snowboarding trip in Japan… we started lessons together a few months afterward.)

And so, I want to bring that back into my life, I guess.

Why would I love to have someone in my life?

Right now, because I want a shower buddy… 😛 (I am totally cracking up right now, but I really do mean it!)

It definitely teaches cooperation (and agility), it inspires a sense of childlike silliness, and it is just a little bit crazy…, all of which I think are wonderful things to have in our lives. 🙂

Also, in terms of exploring bodies physically, can we not learn to touch another’s body – say someone’s ripped abs or arms or legs, or beautifully shaped back, or even someone’s buttocks (Can you tell this one has happened to me??? Several times, actually…) – either clothed or not, with fascination and appreciation, and not have to make it an erotic affair?

Think of how a blind person might explore another’s face… it is not for erotic reasons but for getting to know the person.

Sure, a sighted person can see the other’s body, but how much do we really see?

I would love to explore my partner’s body, every bit of it, in a non-erotic sense… just as we get to know and to spend time with someone’s personality, I think it is important that we get to know someone’s bossy and spend time with it in its natural state (i.e. not aroused).

That isn’t to say that arousal need be denied always and forever – just that it has its own time and place, and isn’t always what’s called for (or best) at certain times.

So often, I hear people talk about wanting the lights to be dimmed or out when they are going to be naked in any way, even and especially around their partners, because they are ashamed or embarrassed about some or many parts of their bodies…

Would it not be better for everyone, if partners took the time to visit and explore and get to know one another’s bodies fully, in the light of day, so that they can be that much closer, more intimate and loving and accepting and appreciative of one another, more wholly so, after dark (and at all times)?

My opinion, of course, but I think it would be totally fabulous for both the individual relationships and for society at large.

……….

Okay, moving onward…

Second thing: Clothes.

One of my favorite things to do when showering is to enter the shower with clothes still on me.

It’s not something I do all the time – not by any means… it’s just something that I love, whenever I have the opportunity to do it.

When I was little/younger, I always had to do it because I had somehow gotten myself and my clothes absurdly dirty, such that the clothes could Not be put in the hamper in their present state – they needed to be rinsed off first.

Occasionally, it would be and still sometimes is because I have gotten myself caught in the cold, cold rain, and just want to get myself warm as quickly as possible… peeling the wet, gluey clothes off myself before entering the shower not only would have taken forever, but it would have frozen me even more, leaving my skin so exposed(!).

Most commonly, it was because I was in my swimsuit, and I needed to wash out the chlorine immediately, so as not to ruin they suit…, so I just got int he shower with the suit on, and then peeled it off and washed it quickly before washing myself.

These days, though, it is mostly just because I need to hand wash something that I am wearing (not necessarily a swimsuit)… a bra or underwear, sometimes socks or shorts, very occasionally a shirt or leggings or pants… and it’s sometimes because the items must be hand-washed, but most often because it is loads easier to do a quick hand wash in the shower than to do a whole load of laundry (that I may or may not have) just for the one item… also, if I need the one item soon or often, and I had only worn it just enough to be not fresh anymore, it really doesn’t need to go through such intense washing as the machine would do… a quick rinse and scrub is sufficient.

In fact, in winter, I have two of this particular shirt that I wear constantly, and so I always hand wash them in the shower.

Year-round, I wash almost all my sports bras in the shower… it started because I was required to hand wash my running bras, but continued because I have more work-out shirts than I do bras, and, as I have admitted before, I am not great with getting laundry done… I practically avoid it until I’ve been out of options for at least a few days*.

(I am getting loads better at it, actually, though I still have my moments of avoidance from time to time…)**

Anyway, I sometimes will hand wash something in the shower just because I want to experience the amazing feeling that is entering a warm shower, dressed.

If you haven’t ever tried it, naturally, I highly recommend it. 😉

Well, those are the two shower things that have been on my mind tonight…(!)

Happy bedtime, folks! 🙂

*In high school, we began “Swimsuit Day”, my best friend and I, because she loved wearing her swimsuit top better than a bra, and because I inevitably ran out of clean underwear, and didn’t necessarily notice until post-shower in the morning before school…, so I would grab a bikini bottom instead… and it became a thing that we did together for a day or two every time I needed to do laundry (obviously, I improved my awareness a bit, and so was able to give at least a day’s warning before “Swimsuit Day” was to take place… also, nobody ever really knew why we did it or how we determined when it would be, but plenty of people knew that it was “Swimsuit Day”, whenever it was… and some girlfriends actually started joining in, wearing swimsuits under their uniforms along with the two of us on “Swimsuit Day”…

**Did you lol at that unintended pun???… because I certainly did. 😛

Post-a-day 2020

When Hairy Met Sally…?

Happy Friday, Folks!  Get ready for an odd yet beautiful adventure of learning to be comfortable with one’s body.  😀

A dear friend of mine (check out her aMazing shop!, by the way) shared with me a few years ago a unique article she had found about female empowerment.  It was on coloring underarm hair, and argued that coloring one’s underarm hair was something every woman must do at least once in her life, and the author included her own adventure of growing out and dyeing her underarm hair.  I was a bit iffy on it, but I listened to my friend and eventually read the article myself.

The idea seemed funny, and ever so slightly scary to me at first.  I knew that society and culture would not approve of such behavior, and, therefore, by participating in such behavior, I might risk my experience of belonging to and being accepted by and being loved by many of those around me in life.  Certain people would be no big deal – like my mom and my best friend – but I know a lot of people would struggle with wanting to be around me, if I were to pursue such a thing.  Even my mom would accept me, I knew, but I also knew that she would dislike it and likely would complain to me about my hair on a regular basis.  People just don’t approve of women having underarm hair, so having it would be taboo.  Leg hair has been on the rise for women – think hipster generation – but the underarm hair situation is still too closely associated with dirtiness, uncleanliness.

Now, upon reading the article, these were the automatic thoughts I had, right?

Well, I had these thoughts, plus one other: I critiqued the way the author took on the task.  Somehow, I can’t seem to view almost anything in life without automatically looking for a way of improving upon it, whatever it is.  It is not that I disapprove of the person sharing or of the task or anything – I just have this inner aim always to do things in the best way possible… don’t do anything half-a****, you know?

So, anyway, my biggest qualm was that the author only suggested to grow out the underarm hair for a couple or few weeks, which isn’t very long for an area with such little hair.  And so, her hot-pink-dyed underarm hair, rather than looking crazy and cool, ended up looking just kind of patchy and not-so-vibrant – more like a child had drawn on her underarms spottily with a washable pink marker, than that she had hot pink hair under there.

If you’re going to do it, at least do it right, I thought.

Do it for real.

Now, I believe that I had read this article before I moved to Japan.  Fast-forward to my time in Japan.  While I was living in Japan, for various reasons, my already loose desire to bother with shaving decreased to a point of being almost non-existent.  It had all started in early, early Fall, after I’d had an accident at the beach, and gotten my legs all scratched up.  I had scabs on my shins, and so couldn’t really shave them anyway.  By the time I could shave them again, it was already winter weather out, and I wasn’t even seeing my legs very often (because it was so darn cold all the time), so I wasn’t exactly going to put forth the effort to shave, when I couldn’t even see the results more than in the shower…  After that, after winter, I was just so accustomed to not shaving that it was the new norm for me.  What’s more, my leg hair was light enough in the first place that most people couldn’t see it, except under certain circumstances (e.g. sitting with my leg within a foot or two of one’s face), and it was by propriety’s requirements that none of my work clothes exposed my underarms, no matter the time of year.  So it was easy not to bother with shaving, especially considering my lack of interest in it in the first place.  And so, in essence, I gave up shaving while living in Japan.  (A good friend of mine laughed at me one day when I commented casually, “I’ve kind of given up shaving,” as though it were a bad habit I had kicked.  But it was true, because I unintentionally had given up on bothering with it.)

(**Note: In high school, I asked my boyfriend if it bothered him that I didn’t shave my legs, and if he would prefer that I shave my legs – I did shave regularly my underarms back then, just fyi – and he told me that it didn’t bother him.  I think I gave him an appraising look at the time, but I let it go.  Eventually, of course, I uncovered this untruth when he said near summertime that he would shave his legs – something he had done usually for swim team every summer with his buddies, anyway – if I shaved mine…  Not a good feeling.  And not the only time he wasn’t open about seemingly small things that actually really bothered me… hmm… Anyway, that isn’t the point here.  The point is that I would be fine shaving my legs if someone important to me wanted me to shave, but I haven’t cared to do it for myself for years now…. and almost ever, actually, since that first time or two of doing it, once at around age 12, just out of interest, and then again for a second first time near the end of high school…  Anyway, moving onward…)

Before going to Japan, I had challenged my own fear of having underarm hair – I had wanted to be comfortable with my own body, and I knew that underarm hair was a point of extreme discomfort for me.  My best friend shared with me how she would be present with her own body every morning in the mirror, just experiencing and accepting what her raw, unclothed self was.  The idea stressed me, to say the least – I could barely consider how it might be to be so vulnerable, even to my own eyes.  And so, I knew I needed to do some work on my level of comfort with my own body, with my own nudity.

Slowly, but surely, I did this work… I learned to accept and to see my body, undressed, and even to embrace what my physical composition and presence were in this world.  And, one aspect of this work was allowing my underarm hair to grow – I absolutely did not want to have long underarm hair.  But it was almost from fear that I avoided having the hair, and so I knew it wasn’t a positive situation as it stood, and it needed to change, to transform.

At first, I did a few weeks at a time, and then shaved everything off, typically to wear some outfit with short or no sleeves, and to revel in my finally-smooth-again skin.  I always felt relieved when I had shaved my underarms, but it was less and less stressful every time the hair grew out again.  I wasn’t showing the hair off in any way, but I had to be with the hair.  I had to feel the hair and to see it and to know that it was there… all the time.  And that stressed me out less and less every week that passed.

Eventually, after several months of no shaving, I shared my project with a few friends.  After warnings that they might not be able to see me the same way, I showed them my underarm hair – a seemingly silly situation, but they genuinely cared about the mental, emotional, and psychological project I was doing for myself, and so I was comfortable being open with them about it, despite my still not particularly enjoying having all the hair.  They received it easily and well, and even found the humorous side of it all with me. 😛  They were enthralled at my project and empowered by my drive to pursue such an uncomfortable situation for myself.

After that, it was even easier for me.

By the time I moved to Japan, I already was past the project of testing, and instead just went through phases of shaving versus not, simply out of laziness.  I was comfortable going most places in a tank top, even when I had some hair that would be visible if I raised my arms.  I mostly didn’t wear tank tops, though – men could wear them and show their underarm hair, and so I felt it could be the same for me, but I also didn’t want to be dancing with a guy in a tank top who keeps lifting his arms in my face…, so I didn’t do that either, when circumstances would involve lots of arms being raised.  Basically, if I knew my arms would be in the air a lot, I didn’t go the tank top route.  Otherwise, on an average day, I was mostly okay with the tank top.  Plus, in Japan, anyway, I knew I wasn’t fitting in in the first place, and I likely wasn’t going to cross most any of these people again, so it was extra no big deal. All-in-all it was an easy happening in Japan for me to give up shaving, without even thinking much about it.

(My mother hated it, of course, and never stopped complaining about it, but she clearly still loved me, so I was okay with it.  She even teased me about it and made very funny jokes from time to time.)

Thus, months later, back in the US, these casual shots of me embracing my body and its natural occurrences (read hair):

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**Note the lack of brassiere here.  It was also a huge part of my learning to embrace my body and to be comfortable with it as it is naturally.

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And so, thinking about this article from my friend post-Japan, and how the author just hadn’t done it right, I considered how I might go about doing it, if I were to do it.

Several months later, when my hair had definitely hit its longest point and had, for the most part, plateaued, I pulled out my long-since selected color, and got to work.

The color I had selected was going to be bland on its own, I expected, because my underarm hair isn’t quite as light as my head hair, and so ends up looking more brown-ish than blonde, when it is so compacted together.  Seeing as how I was going for brightness by adding the color in the first place, I lightened the hair first, and then added the color, thereby allowing for a much brighter color than otherwise would have happened.  I wanted a bit of pop, not a bit of washable marker.

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And so, we have the results of a three-ish-year self-project gone silly:

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And that was already almost a year ago, now.  I did not stop working on myself and my body, and so have reached an even more beautiful point with things than I ever had imagined to be possible back then.

Where do things stand for me now?

I strongly encourage everyone to give it a go, men and women and + alike, both growing out the underarm hair past the point of comfort and then also coloring it.

I shave my underarms semi-regularly, because I end up going shirtless at the gym a lot, and, though I had toyed with the idea of laser hair removal for them for quite a while and didn’t actually expect ever to do it, when a super sale popped up a couple months ago at the laser hair removal place (bikini line and lower legs, you see), I accepted.  I don’t shave my legs, except for the night before my laser hair removal appointment every so many weeks.  It was the same with bikini line, but I’ve finished the treatments there, so I don’t even have that shaving to do anymore.

I am not afraid of my hair.  I have found, however, that I genuinely prefer the skin being smooth and soft, and wiry-hair-free… and I hold the same feeling for men.  I love admiring a man’s muscled yet shaved legs.  Same with his underarms – the underarm hair is a distraction, not a benefit.

I do not require shaving, and I am not afraid of the hair – I just prefer life without the hair.  Even on my own legs, I love running my hands on them when they are hair-free, be it for rubbing in lotion, rubbing sore muscles, or just for fun, and I love seeing the color of my skin clearly.  When I began the laser hair removal, I verified that only the darker, thicker hairs would go away – I was informed that the baby blonde hairs would stay always and forever, and that was the point that sold me on the treatments.

And so, here I stand today, covered in invisible hairs, and unafraid of the darker underarm hair that I grow out entirely out of laziness.  I am glad I won’t even have to consider it anymore, after the next year-ish, and I do not mind letting it go, now that it isn’t out of avoidance or fear, but out of preference.

I am comfortable in my body’s natural state, hair and fat and all.  Though I have preferences of how I want my body to be, I am at ease with what happens naturally in my body.  This does not mean that I don’t care for my body, because I very much do care for it and take care of it with exercise and wonderful eating.  I finally am starting to treat my body like the goddess and temple that it is.

And I am so grateful for the experiences that have led me to this point, and that remind me that I am perfect as I am, hair and all.

So, thanks for the hair, God, and thank you for the growth* that came with it directly, as well as the transformation that has sprouted out of my desire to pursue that specific area of discomfort.

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Yippee!  And Happy Growing!  ;D

*(pun and all) 😉

P.S.  Special thanks to my lovely cousins A—- and J—- for helping me with the photos, as well as my wonderful friend N—-!  Love you ladies!

Post-a-day 2019

And another thing…

Continuing on last night’s thoughts, I remember this morning another awesome quality about me:

I ride a Vespa.

And I ride a powerful Vespa.

And it is bright red.

And I ride it because I like it and because it helps save the planet and because it is cost efficient and quite inexpensive when compared to a car – actually, it is quite inexpensive period… even my insurance is about eight US dollars a month – and because I am a user of public transportation and used to use my bicycle to get around town, so it was a semi-natural step for me to have a Vespa…

Just another simple thing for the list of my super awesome qualities…

Just saying…

😉

Post-a-day 2020

“The oven looked awesome and so did I”

I asked him why he took the photo, and he replied honestly,

The oven looked awesome and so did I hahaha 🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

He, of course, corrected “oven” to “ocean”, but I knew what he meant.

He was not being conceited, nor was he being rude or nasty or macho or anything else negative… he was sharing truly with me, openly and honestly.

It was a gorgeous photo of a gorgeous swimsuit-donned, tanned, and tattooed man on a spectacular scene of two-toned blue ocean water and a blue sky of yet another blue, and the man was smiling with practically no eyes, so large and true was his grin.

I would have longed to have taken such a photo – I would be proud of it for him…, but I would be terrified of such a photo of myself.

To come across as sexual, even sexy, at times, has been ingrained in my mind to equate wrongness, shame, something terrible for myself and the world.

I have only recently begun to appreciate such images of others, and am working on valuing such an image of myself – in accepting it as appropriate as part of my human expression in this life.

My next step in that process, I feel, is being comfortable with a photo like the one I had discussed with this guy tonight.

As he mentioned in our conversation, the intention behind the photo was to show something beautiful – his father had declared the scene and the son as gorgeous, and so photographed what stood before him (as I gladly would have done)… he was not trying to catch anyone’s eye, or get anything out of it – he was just sharing the wonderful memory and scene with the world (for which I and everyone else I know who has seen the photo have been grateful).

So, I want to create some photos of me that are beautifully gorgeous and that I would want to share with the world for their beauty, and then I want to share them with the world.

Yes…, that is my next step. 😛

Let’s do this. 🙂

P.S. Our whole conversation began out of a conversation my friend and I had, regarding our shared experiences of body image (though from different backgrounds and for different reasons), after she posted this, which included a somewhat sultry photo of her posing on the beach.

She is still Christian, and more beautiful than ever in her confidence…, and I regularly use her as inspiration in my own life, to help me to challenge my own fears and struggles in life that I have yet to transform.

Post-a-day 2019

Stretchy

Yesterday, sitting on the floor, legs together straight out in front of me, I stretched forward with both arms, grabbed the bottoms of my shoes, dropped my head, and stretched a bit deeper…

… and my head touched my knees.

!!!!!

This was the first time in my adult life that I was able to touch my head to my knees.

And, you know what?

I just tested it again, just now, and it happened again(!).

Wow.

I started this ’30 Days to a Standing Split’ stretch plan a couple months back, and, though it totally failed on the standing split part, I felt the basic stretch routine was a good habit worth keeping in my daily life.

So, to this day, I stretch the same set of stretches every day, usually just before bed.

I’d been noticing general and overall improved flexibility and movability in myself already, like my arms going ‘farther back and up’ when I stretched them behind my back, hands clasped, but I hadn’t had anything clearly and distinctly different until this week.

At last, with this head to knees thing, I have a specific, measurable result from this stretching(!).

So, extra yay!

My teeth are straightening out their kinks, my muscles are rearranging and growing, and my flexibility is improving drastically… I feel like moving around a lot of the time, and I jump up rather easily from any resting period in my day or night… getting out of bed is, somehow, no big deal – I almost bounce on the balls of my feet every morning, as though preparing to do some jumps or something similar…

My body is finally showing up how I want it to be showing up in my life, and I can see quite clearly how it is the result of my taking genuine care of my body, and having true concern for its well-being… it still is not quite like a temple, but it is darn close, and is improving every week… (still working on the whole exfoliation and skin hydration side of things) 😛

Now, if I can just get my clothes and owned items organized and handled (i.e. Marie Kondo the rest of my living space) I think I’ll be set to meet the man of my dreams – I will be being exactly the person I want to be and to whom I want him to be attracted, you know?

And, somehow, that idea is kind of terrifying… like I never actually expected to become that person, that woman… she was always just a dream, and not one even to consider trying to achieve, let alone actually achieving…. but anything is possible.

Message to self:

So, let’s stick with it, Banana, and make things happen.

It is okay to be afraid… it is not okay to settle, even if it is due to fear… stand for your best life and your best self, Banana, in all ways, always.

I love you.

Have a wonderful and blessed and beloved night, World. 😉

P.S. I just realized that the stretching was actually Monday evening, not yesterday… anyway… 😛

Post-a-day 2019