Stuffed Love

Which is very unlike a stuffed shirt, by the way…  😛

Tonight, I snuggled up with several feather pillows and my extra-large white bear that was given to me by my paternal grandparents when I was probably only single-digits years old, and watched Frozen, while sitting (or lying) on my bed.  And it was delightful.  I don’t know why people let go of stuffed animals and piles of pillows in their adulthood.  Even in college, I had several stuffed animals with me at school.

The year I lived in an apartment with a friend of mine (still campus housing, but an apartment, nonetheless), we had full sized beds as part of the furnishings.  A different friend was staying the night, and, as we were getting into bed to go to sleep, she thought it was hilarious yet adorably wonderful that I had stuffed animals in my bed, their having clearly been my nighttime snuggle buddies so far that year.  She, delighted, declared it like “a jungle!”, and snapped a photo of me snuggling in with the animals.  Of course, I made total room for her in the bed, and it wasn’t crowded for us or anything.  But, when I didn’t have physical company in my bed, I preferred having stuffed company to being on my own with the sheets.

To this day, I like to feel that something is around me when I sleep.  When I get to sleep in a bed with a person, some small piece of me has to touch that person, in order for me to sleep fully at ease.  When there isn’t a person, I just like having contact with something presence-marking.  These days, that typically means a stuffed dog strewn across my thighs, and my arms casually relaxed across my rib cage, creating just enough pressure for comfort and subconscious reassurance…  Perhaps it was because I grew up with siblings always around, older than I, and so I always wanted to sleep in their beds with them…, because they were my older siblings and I loved them and looked up to them.  And then, when they weren’t around, I ended up sharing the bed with my mom or my dad, depending on in whose house I was staying that night.  (Apparently, I wasn’t supposed to stay in my dad’s bed, because of the divorce stuff, but, with my active history of terrible nightmares as a child, I voluntarily would creep down to his bedroom and sneak onto the side of the California king.  Sometimes he noticed before morning, but I made enough of a fuss about not wanting to be alone upstairs, and he was half asleep, anyway, so he let it go.  Naturally, my mom was annoyed at this, so I kind of just stopped telling her about it.  It wasn’t even an every night thing, either, but, when I needed it, I needed it, you know?  And then it was just habit and comforting, even when I didn’t need it anymore.)

By the time it really didn’t bother me so much to sleep on my own, and the nightmares had mostly subsided, my sisters moved into my dad’s house.  And, just as part of spending time together, I ended up often sleeping in the one sister’s bed, and then always sleeping in the other’s, once she moved in, too.  We always had a habit of talking after the lights were out, kind of just chatting about anything or nothing – whatever we wanted or needed that night.  It wasn’t usually for very long – maybe five or ten minutes at most – but it was always something I loved, and something I didn’t want to miss out on having by sleeping elsewhere.  There were even the occasions where we all three shared a bed together… those were really great memories for me.  I was literally surrounded by love for me.

Perhaps that’s really why I want stuffed animals in my bed, or pillows, or the touch of someone…, because that is one of the strongest memories I have of being loved and wanted and appreciated and cared for… surrounded by love as I went to sleep at night.

Ha… I’m noticing now how, even at dance events, when we occasionally have crammed three grown people into a queen sized bed, I’ve been totally okay and comfortable with it, and even delighted about it.  The physical presence represents so strongly for me the experience of love, of being loved.  I guess that all goes back to growing as a baby in the womb, huh?  We turn to the fetal position in times of extreme need for love and help… that feeling of being held all around by a safe, loving, omnipotent source of life.  So…, yeah… I’m beginning to think that stuffed animals are more than okay and acceptable – they’re actually a really good idea.  They can help to provide the comfort that we can’t seem to provide on our own, when no one else is physically – or emotionally – around us…

Yeah…

Post-a-day 2020

Under the same roof

My mom and her two brothers are all staying in my aunt’s house tonight (aunt is out of town) with me.

I think this might be the first time they’re all staying together – and even without their spouses – under the same roof at once in decades… perhaps even since they lived in their childhood home together.

The dynamic is partly totally weird and partly totally easy… kind of like, ‘Why couldn’t we have done this dynamic years ago?’

Instead of the regular struggle they all seem to have around one another, getting on each other’s nerves and all.

Anyway… it’s neat, and I like it. 🙂

And it makes me think of how my brothers and I all get along so well together.

Post-a-day 2020

Movie night(mare)s

My siblings thought it was an acceptable idea to have me watch the original ”Scream” film when it came out. I was five. My mom was furious. But I survived. I even have a sort of affinity for the film, despite the many nightmares it produced throughout my childhood. 😂

Then, “I know what you did last summer” was another they shared with me, only a year later… yikes. Again, though, I survived.

The sequel was freaky but fun for me, because it was possibly the first sequel to release during my lifetime for something that I knew.

At some point, before age nine, they showed me “Jaws”. “Jaws” is actually one of my favorite films – I even read the book recently! – despite the nightmares… and general fear of the ocean… that still exists today… 😂

Frankly, seeing “The Sixth Sense” at my mom’s strong recommendation when I was eight was significantly more traumatizing than any of the others, and I, to this day, have bad dreams and spooky nights because of it…, but that’s for different reasons. “Scream” isn’t very practical or realistic for everyday life.

“Deep Blue Sea” and “Lake Placid”, at age eight, were probably the films that put me over the edge in terms of being comfortable swimming alone in any body of water… I just couldn’t do it – even in the pool at my brothers’ dad’s house, I was somehow convinced that, after I had started to swim away from the wall, someone had opened up a secret panel behind me, and released a shark into the water…., and so I would rush to the other side and wrench myself out of the water as fast as possible, breathing hard… always to find no shark, of course… fortunately, of course…

One of my brothers – one not involved in having me watch the scary movies – had mentioned to me, after his having seen “The Ring” in theatres, that the film was terribly funny due to the fakeness of so much of it… he was the only one laughing during the film, but he was laughing hard at times, he said.

The thought of a scary film’s being funny was new to me, and I considered that I might want to see this film…, but not badly enough to seek it out – I had already written away scary films from my life by that point.

One night, however, years later, I was drawn by a film that came on television, not knowing what film it was. I had an odd feeling that it was “The Ring”, however, and I turned out to be correct in that judgment. Keeping my brother’s idea of humor in mind, I stuck with the film. Frankly, I also found the film quite stupid in many ways, as my brother had suggested and described years beforehand. I was still haunted in dreams by certain aspects of the film, but I recovered much more easily than with any other scary film I had ever seen, and I attributed it to the mentality of laughing at the graphics and illogic of certain visual scenarios within the film – thereby distancing myself from the story itself.

I still stay firmly away from scary films, though, and horror films are a solid no for me, with no question of even discussing them and their subject matter…

I’m almost certain that almost all of my nighttime and dark-alley fears have come from films…, so, perhaps life could have been a lot easier not having the scary films in it…, but perhaps it is just those fears that have me be so prepared for just about anything in life…?

Anyway, the point is that I very much dislike and avoid scary movies (now that I have say and am not a little kid), but I was exposed to several as a young child, yet I survived.

So, if you are watching a film, and discover in the middle that it might be a bit too gory or freaky for a child in the room, don’t worry too much… you’ll probably traumatize them much more with other things in life than with that movie… I don’t encourage the scary films – not at all – but I recommend not panicking too badly, if they end up seeing something you think might be a bit much for them… they’ll survive. 😂

Stop, in the name of love

When I was around eight years old, a group of neighborhood kids and I were wandering around the streets – because that was the norm back then – and we came across a garage sale at a house across the creek.

It was not often that I was allowed to venture across the creek, so this was already an especially exciting day for me.

But then, this garage sale made it even more exciting… and something in the garage sale just set me on fire(!)…

It was… a gigantic stop sign…

A true and genuine, very large stop sign…

And I wanted it so badly..

We all looked around a bit, one person, I believe, buying something on the spot, due to his or her having a dollar in her pocket, but the rest of us had no money on us – that just wasn’t the thing to carry around then…

And so, we all calculated the amount of money we would need to gather from our respective moneys, and headed back across the creek together, dispersing to the various houses.

Now, I didn’t actually live on this street, due to a somewhat complicated scenario, so I didn’t have any money waiting in a house for me per se…, but my brothers and their dad lived there, and I was spending time at their house, as was usual for me, and they had money at home.

I raced to the house, and I went to my oldest brother as fast as I could… I asked him if I could have some money… I think it was ten or fifteen dollars (not a lot, but not nothing either for the time)… he asked me why, and I quickly explained everything to him, practically begging for the money at this point…

He said we would have to go check it out, and so grabbed about twenty dollars, and we were about to head out, when it was suddenly time for me to leave – my mother was there to pick me up.

My brother said he might still go check it out, but my mom said she and I could drive over to see it, because she likes things like garage sales, anyway, just to look at things.

When she and I arrived, everyone was already back, my brother among them this time, and some of the kids were already heading back home, new treasures in hand.

I showed my mom the other small something I had wanted, as well as the stop sign… she was not convinced on the stop sign…

I was sad, but not surprised – I had known my true chance of getting it lay in my brother’s letting me get it… kind of the whole, ‘Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission,’ idea, where my mom would have accepted a done deal, but wouldn’t make the deal herself.

And so, I believe we went home, my having a small treasure in hand, and grateful for it, but sad the opportunity that likely was never to present itself again had passed, un-seized…

Sigh……

The next time I was at my brothers’ dad’s house, upon entering my oldest brother’s room, I was struck: there against the wall, behind his speaker system, was a huge and red stop sign… very much like the one I had recently told him about…

Seriously?! I wondered and asked… he openly admitted that he knew I had wanted it, but that that was because it was cool…, and so he got it for himself…, because it really was cool.

….

So unfair, brother… so unfair.

😛

It was actually rather comical for me, as opposed to heartbreaking…, and my brother, I think, knew it would be.

For me, it was just something really cool that suddenly was available to me – it was not something that I had always wanted…, so I would be okay not having it… and I was.

Plus, as he mentioned, I still got to see it all the time, but I didn’t have to figure out how to rearrange my room to put it on the wall somewhere that looked right – for his rather bare walls, it was an easy task.

So, it was totally a cheater move…, but we both were very okay with it and found it quite funny in its irony.

I still do, decades+ later..

Haha

Ridiculous, right?

Ridiculous.

Post-a-day 2020

Little siblings

I never had little siblings, younger brothers or sisters… I was the baby of many, and by a bit.

My eldest sister would be mistaken as my mother whenever we would go out places… eleven and a half years difference can do that.

And so, I grew up learning loads of things not to do, loads of mistakes not to bother making, because at least one of my older siblings did that thing, made that mistake, and I learned the result long before I might have considered doing any of it myself.

Therefore, I’ve always struggled to understand what it could be like, having your younger sister in grammar school or still in high school… going to their terrible school performances or sports games… my siblings were all older by a good amount, so their performances and games were always awesome to me – in my child mind, they could have been pro compared to my own performances or games at the same time.

Tonight, I ran into two old classmates who were attending the art show of their little sister… and it reminded me that people actually do that, come back to the high school because of the younger sibling… I’d forgotten.

I’d thought people only really returned to visit for themselves, see old teachers and new buildings… that sort of thing… or to work there.

As I pondered how odd that idea feels, I suddenly recalled that I actually can relate a little bit.

You see, it’s almost like I have a borrowed younger sister.

My best friend lives in England, but her youngest sister lives in Houston, and she’s in high school right now.

Though I mostly am at the school for work purposes, I occasionally arrange my schedule around seeing her or spending time with her.

For the art show tonight, I had already planned to attend it, because it is always amazing.

However, I also knew that she would be performing in it, and so made sure to arrange accordingly to be there when she performed.

I always record her performance, and send it to her sister, who, naturally, is too far to make the trip for a short little performance every time.

So, in a way, I have a borrowed little sister: my best friend’s little sister.

It’s not exactly the same as her being my real sister, because I’d have attended loads more of her events and such…, but it has enough similarities for me to be able, ever so slightly, to relate to those who have younger siblings.

You know what I mean?

Post-a-day 2019

Memories

My cousin and I were talking tonight about old, old memories in our lives.

Growing up, I had a situation that was incredibly unique at the time (and that still is a bit unique nowadays), in which my parents each had children from a previous spouse, only had me together, married when I was three, and divorced one another when I was four.

My siblings on my mom’s side not only lived in the same neighborhood as I did, but my mom and I were regularly at their dad’s house, spending time with them and, even, their dad, who was my mom’s first husband, but with whom my mom was no longer involved in such a relationship.

My siblings on my dad’s side moved to Georgia (until they kind of moved back, off and on, one by one, starting when I was about nine), and so were only around for certain holidays and for what I guess to have been about a month each summer.

My cousin pointed out that she remembered being often at the place my mom and I lived for many years together after she split up from my dad, the one that was in the neighborhood with my brothers and their dad.

I, too, recalled that they often were there visiting us, and we often were at their house (two hours away, by the way) visiting them.

She then presented the interesting and confounding concept of accepting the idea of someone seeing one’s cousins more often than seeing one’s own siblings…, because that’s really how it was in the first decade and a half of my life, so far as my mom’s sister’s children and my dad’s children were concerned.

I have many more memories from earlier childhood with those cousins than I do with my siblings on my dad’s side.

Certainly, I saw my brothers from my mom all the time, almost daily…, but my cousins were, as I can pull up old school activities and projects to show, some of my favorite people in the world, and they were often on my mind, because I saw them often…, such was not the case with my siblings on my dad’s side.

Sure, I cared about them, and I had spectacular memories from the brief time we all spent in the same house when my parents were married to one another, but I really think we could say that I had more a relationship with and attitude towards them that people have with cousins, rather than one with siblings.

So, my half brothers were like my brothers, my cousins were like my half siblings, and my other half siblings were like my cousins… relationship- and attitude-wise, anyway.

Kind of crazy, huh?

I hadn’t really ever thought much about it, because, as my cousin also pointed out tonight, it can be amazing what kinds of things we just accept as children, not concerned in the least about whether they are uncommon or absurd.

I guess the absurdity doesn’t surprise me, of course, because, well, even now, absurd is normal in my life, as this same cousin so graciously pointed out to me a few years ago. 😛

Post-a-day 2019

My brother’s birthday

Today was the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.

Today also was my brother’s birthday.

It was wonderful – I got to devote almost my entire day to delighting, empowering, and loving someone else, and it happened to be someone who openly appreciated it all and who truly experienced the love from all of us around him.

I’m not so sure there is much of a better feeling to be had than that…

Perhaps this could be something I organize doing more often, and not merely for special occasions… it is just so wonderful.

Post-a-day 2018

Towels and Conversations

In my first year of college, whenever I’d have an evening shower, I usually would end up down the hall afterward.  The social and clearly labeled “extrovert” end of the hall was always booming when the girls were in, and I always would go down to check in when I heard the chatter.  (I had been assigned the introvert end of the hallway, and, somewhat ironically, I was the only one in the hallway who knew everyone else.  I just like to get to know the people around me, and so college was no exception to that.)  This meant that, come evening time on weekdays, I would spend some portion of the time down the hall, socializing, so to speak.

And, as mentioned, this included the time immediately following my evening showers.  And so, I would be hanging out down the hall, hair wrapped in one towel and body in another, both holding tightly, as though sewn into place.  Totally normal for me.

One night, one of the most outgoing girls asked me about how on Earth I can be so comfortable in just a towel… Wasn’t I worried it would fall off?… Or that I was naked underneath???  No, not at all, I told her.  And I explained why I wasn’t.  First, we were all girls, so I saw no issue anyway (though I had no intention of anyone seeing anything under the towel).  Secondly, I grew up with older sisters who had seemed to spend a third of their time at home (when in college) walking around in a towel or two, and so it was very normal for me.  And, from a very young age, I had learned their tricks of how to make the towel stay in place, and, naturally, I had mastered it by college.  So, it never seemed dangerous for me to be hanging out down the hall  – this was after the curfew when boys had already been kicked out, mind you – in a towel.  It was like hanging out in almost any other clothing.

She had trouble believing that the towel was stuck, and so I even did a little shaking around to show how it wouldn’t fall off.  Nevertheless, she still was terrified of ever doing such a thing herself, and I was amazed that this towel tying trick wasn’t common knowledge or part of common use.  I think I even showed them right then and there how I tied the towel (without opening it, of course).  These were the girls who talked about just about everything with one another, quite openly, and yet they were somehow terrified at the thought of showing their bodies to one another.  I still have a certain shyness about my body, but, in certain contexts, it’s very so what to me.  Like in onsen, the Japanese hot baths, it is absolutely no big deal to show my body and to see other women’s bodies.  And in theatre, for costume changes, it happens sometimes… oh, well… it’s no issue.  It just happens.

To this day – last time was Friday evening – I still walk around in my towel and chat comfortably with people after I shower.  My high school ‘big sister’ was known for always saying, in response to a compliment about her clothing, “I’m naked under this.”  The initial shock always wore away when, after a few moments of consideration, the listener realized that we all were naked underneath whatever outfit we were wearing – that’s kind of how it works when you put something on in the first place.  For me, there is little difference between clothing and a towel.  Plenty of people regularly don’t wear underwear, and men don’t wear bras, so we’re just as naked under a towel as we are under most clothing.  (It’s just what in our minds that messes with us and makes us uncomfortable.)  That’s why, even when I’d shower in college, and a guy would be in the hallway when I was heading back to my room in just a towel, I was unconcerned.  I’d even talk with them, if I knew them.  It seems that, if they were concerned about talking with me, they could always excuse themselves and leave.  That’s what my friends and I would do if we had an issue with a guy in only a towel.  (But that really isn’t much of an issue to me, mostly too due to my upbringing with older siblings.)

(I somehow feel harsh or demanding with all of that…, but I didn’t mean to be; not in the least.  People can always do as they prefer – I’m just sharing why I am so comfortable in such a silly situation, and why I see it a totally normal, despite its being totally awkward for plenty of people.  I mean, my ukulele teacher is someone I met when we both were bathing in an onsen, naked, of course.) 😛

Post-a-day 2018

What happened today

I got out of bed at 3:45am, and met my friend outside at about 4:10am to drive to the airport.

I flew in an airplane to Chicago, where I met my cousins and then drove to Wisconsin.

We met with my brother and his friend at Devil’s Lake, and then hiked about six miles together around the lake.

We admired willingly the spectacular and deep-breathing-inspiring colors of the Fall, and awed at a Bald Eagle who flew over the lake for a bit.

We checked into our joined suite rooms, and then dunes down the street at an all-you-can-eat Mongolian stir-fry place, each eating more than we’d intended.

We gathered in the joined living area of the suite rooms, sipped digestifs, chatted about nonsense, played ukulele, practiced/learned some yoga and some acro-yoga, talked about nerd stuff, joked about my brother’s classmates back in college who argued about some terms in calculus, cracked up when my cousins began to argue about those terms in calculus, and consciously enjoyed our collective company.

I chatted more with my brother as he prepared for bed and I, unknowingly, was locked out of my room.

We laughed, and, eventually, I gained access back into my room with my cousins.

My cousin and I listened to voicemails from our grandparents, filled with wholesome delight.

I took the first good shower I’ve had in months (since the one where I’m living has been quite the nonsensical mess since I moved in there), and reminisced about Japanese onsen while I untangled a crazy knot in my extremely long hair.

I earned another badge in my Fitbit, because I walked over 22,000 steps today.

I stayed awake and in a good mood for over 19 hours.

I breathed easily almost the entire day, for the first time in a long while (it has felt, anyway).

I was myself, and so were the others, and we were spectacular.

I and we did good today, both grammatically correctly and incorrectly. 😉

Post-a-day 2018

Work your nerd

I found out today that my brother had felt unease about his nerdy knowledge on various topics.  Quite frankly, I had always admired him for said nerdiness.  Whenever he was interested in a topic, he’d do what he could to learn as much as possible in a short period of time.  And then, if it was something that he really enjoyed, how continued to learn about it in the years that followed, becoming ever more the genius on the topic.  Possibly the best part of it to me was that these often were topics that had almost nothing to do with his work or schooling – it was purely things that interested him.  Nowadays, he is still the same about it all, though he definitely has certain topics on which he could be considered an expert after so many years and hours of study and work dedicated to them.

I guess, growing up, I just didn’t know his world of friends and classmates and, eventually, colleagues, because I was so much younger than he was.  I had no idea that they didn’t know about his nerdy areas in his life, too.  They apparently only knew about his cool, chic, sporty side (from what I understand now).  He, it seems, was afraid of being rejected for his knowledge and studies.  Now, though, he has begun to embrace his nerdiness, and publicly so (think social media, etc.), and he has been discovering how much respect exactly that aspect of him; especially since he is cool, chic, and sporty, but loves knowledge and nerding out over certain things.  He is discovering that he had no need to be insecure about his interests and knowledge.  Plus, despite the fact that the public has been responding really well to his nerd side’s being exposed, he already knew that it doesn’t really matter what other people think of him anyway – that’s their own business, not his.  What matters is what he thinks about himself.  If he is happy with who he is, then there is no reason not to express that in his life.  So, he started finally expressing himself, nerdiness included.  Now that he has been doing that, he has also found that people are grateful to him for sharing himself and his passions with the world.  Super duper win-win, I say.  And I am proud of him doubly, for keeping up the nerdy knowledge, and now for sharing it with the world.  🙂

Post-a-day 2018