CrossFit Games

I don’t even do CrossFit, but I watched the end of the 2018 CrossFit Games today, because my brother was super excited about it, and he attended it all weekend in Madison, Wisconsin.  Not even four minutes into it, I was balling.  And, from that point onward, I continued having bouts of extreme tears all over the place until the very end of the Games.  It’s just that kind of thing.  I’ve done and been part of plenty of sports to be able to relate to so many of the feelings and situations and emotions, that I felt as though I could feel their struggles and successes.  Add the comments about how the whole goal of doing CrossFit is to be better as a person than one was yesterday, and it’s just a total tear fest.

I’m still not sure that I want to do CrossFit myself, but it was really neat to watch the nonsense that was the final round of the 2018 CrossFit Games.

Post-a-day 2018

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Release leads to giddy joy

I received some delightful news today, but I wasn’t jumping for joy at learning it.

However, I have, since learning about that, been giddily delighted about something else entirely…

I think that the news today gave my whole being such a sense of relief that I suddenly was able to enjoy fully the something else I’ve been pondering lately (but hadn’t really been able to enjoy yet).

Funny how that happens. 🙂

Post-a-day 2018

the outsider view of a culture, viewed by an insider

Walking around the Japanese garden, I stop when I come to the take.  I stop of just a moment, envisioning myself in Japan, in the real Japanese gardens of the world.  Tears come to my eyes, and I wonder Why?  What’s going on?  Why am I suddenly crying?  Why am I shaking inside from my sternum, as though panic is coming up?

And I realize: I miss Japan.  Not so much for the whole experience, but for some of the experience, and, especially, for the part where I fit in appropriately, in the right way.  I was expected to stand out and not to do exactly as others did.  I was expected to turn heads and to surprise and shock those around me.  And I did.  And I was comforted by the feeling of ‘fitting in’ in that odd sense of it, fitting into the expectations my surroundings had of me.

But it is different being here, where I am expected to fit in one way, but I don’t fit in that way.  I am American, but I am multi-cultural.  I used to think those two a little more synonymous with one another.  But, based on how I look on the outside, – my skin and hair and eyes – I am expected to be on a similar ground with those around me here.  Perhaps we have visited other countries, but that was for vacation.  Living there, being truly part of the culture, is not in the books for most of those around me, unless they specifically came from that country directly, through their heritage, and moved here after having lived there in the earliest years of their lives (as is the case with one in four people in Houston, actually).  However, I am not expected to know how to dress someone in a kimono or yukata better than someone my own age back in Japan.  I’m not even expected to know the difference, unless I am what would be considered a sort of geek of Anime and Manga (at which point one still might not know the difference between them, but it is less surprising for them to know such things).  I don’t fit into that category, and yet I know so much about Japanese culture and life in Japan, and I have experienced so much of it, that I often find no need to talk about it – it’s become so a part of me and my life, it is similar to putting on shoes or brushing teeth.  Sure, we do them both all the time, but hardly ever do we consciously ponder on them and share about them with others.  They’re just part of our subconscious and our mostly-daily lives.

Anyway, that was what I was feeling today at the festival in town celebrating Japan and Japanese culture.  When I ran into a friend who had spent even more time than I had in Japan, I mentioned to him how I wasn’t quite sure what I was feeling, but I felt as though I was about to cry.  Something about feeling like I belong, but then not belonging after all.  ‘It’s your first “Japanese culture” experience post-Japan.’  I confirmed his questioning declaration.  It was, in fact, the first time I had experienced something that was all about Japan from this country’s perspective since I had actually spent time in Japan.  If I had attended the same festival before going, I likely would have felt quite wonderfully walking around the festival.  I had a different view of Japanese culture in Japan back then.

This was something like seeing a “Mexican Restaurant” in northern France that time, and feeling a giddy sense of hilarity at what kind of food could possibly be served in there.  Or the “American Restaurant” (that was it’s name) in northern Spain, where the “american hamburgers” were nothing like our actual hamburgers.  (Think meatloaf, with a slice of thin ham, on fluffy, dense bread.)  But now, instead of it being Texas and US culture, it is Japanese culture.  And so it was also weird to be relating to Japanese culture – a culture with which I struggled greatly at times, and still do – in the same sort of protective way as I traditionally have related to my original home culture.  It kind of added this whole extra layer to my identity semi-crisis.  And all that just because I went to a festival.

Post-a-day 2018

Effective Toilets

One thing I love about the Europe in which I lived is the practicality of concepts and mentalities.  The main example of this which comes to mind right now is that of toilets.  Public toilets, specifically, I mean.

At my campus in Toulouse, France, was my first experience of the idea of one set of sinks for toilets of both genders.  There were the individual stalls, as in any US bathroom, though with doors and walls that closed off each stall more effectively from outsiders’ views.  However, each stall was labelled as for male or female users. Then, over to the side, was the countertop sink area.  Just one sink area for everyone to use.  It was practical, efficient, and sufficient.  It was odd, at first, walking into the same bathroom as the guys, and even talking with them while in line in the bathroom and at the sinks.  But I never felt uncomfortable, because I still got my own, private little space to do my private business.  The privacy part was kept even more private than the stalls in the US, where we have nonsense structures that require us to avert our eyes whenever we enter the bathroom, because we get that one-inch-wide view all along the length of either side of every stall door, and, whether we like it or not, leaves us knowledgeable of the color of everyone’s underwear.  (No joke here.  We totally have trained ourselves to look away as fast as possible, and also not to remember what we see, but it doesn’t change the fact that we totally see it and on a regular basis.)  (Also, the urinals were still kept for the men, the  private trash bins by the toilet were kept for the women’s stalls, and girls didn’t have to worry about guys urinating on the seats or floors around where we’re dropping our pants.)

When I was in Germany most recently, I was using the toilet in the airport just before my flight.  When I walked out of the stall to go to the sink (in the women’s bathroom), a male cleaner walked into the bathroom with an indifference nonchalance.  He walked to the trash bin and emptied it to his cart outside the bathroom, and refreshed the bag.  Then he swept the floor a bit and wiped down the sinks, checking the soap and paper towels.  Not one person flinched during this process.  No one was embarrassed.  But there were other women in the bathroom, coming and going as though all was well and normal.  And, for some reason, I was delighted and warmed at that fact.  I think I even giggled when I left the bathroom, because I was imagining how people back in the US might have responded (and, potentially, panicked like no other).  Again, just like in France, he wasn’t in the actual privacy portion of the bathroom, so it didn’t really matter so much that he was there.  He was only passing through – it wasn’t like he was hanging out in there all day or anything.  He cleaned up and got out, just as he probably did in the men’s restroom.  So what that he was a man?

In the US, our restrooms are shut down from use whenever someone of the opposite gender cleans them.  And that really sucks at times.  Really.  Because, sometimes, you’ve just got to go.

However, one restaurant in Houston gives me hope for our city (if not quite our country yet).  It has regular-looking entrances for the men’s and women’s restrooms, on opposite ends of this one wall.  Upon entering either of those doors, one will discover a beautiful wall of sinks between those two entrance doors.  That is, both doors lead to the same room of sinks.  From that room, continuing in the initial direction, there is a second door, which will lead into the separate-gendered toilet rooms (men’s and women’s).  And, in those, the individual stalls are like their own little rooms, with real privacy to handle one’s business.  (None of that eye-averting necessary.)  It’s wonderful.  I ate at this restaurant with my dad once, and he and I specifically left the restroom from the opposite doors – he went through the women’s and I through the men’s – so that we might surprise the person with us at dinner.  She didn’t notice, of course, but we had fun being rebellious in a way that didn’t actually matter.  😛

Anyway, I really like that kind of bathroom, and I really like the general mentality of efficiency I have found wherever I have lived (and visited) in Europe.

Post-a-day 2018

 

Sharing the Beauty

I did it!  Officially turned an idea into a photo shoot and into a means of sharing it with the world!  Check it out!

Kimono = something to wear ❤

A post shared by Hannah Leigh (@miss.kimono) on

 

 

You can also check out https://kimonomiss.wordpress.com for the website I made.  It’s not great yet, but I’m working on it!

Post-a-day 2018

Fear of something, but what?

I did it.  I accomplished exactly what I’d wanted for today (and then some), and I cleaned out and cleared out that big box and its last 8%.  And as nervous as I might have been about doing that – trust me, this getting rid of things I’ve had forever and resisted getting rid of for at least a decade has been an incredible strain on me.  I mean, having all this stuff, exactly how it has been stored (a total mess), has been a huge part of my identity.  I guess it was a big part of myself of which I wasn’t really proud, but that doesn’t make it any easier to clean it up and let it all go.  I’ve never done anything so intense for myself as I am doing right now.  (Not actively, anyway… Japan was tough, but I wasn’t actively seeking out all of that.  I had no idea what was in store for me when I signed on for that job.)

That being said, I find that I’m almost more concerned about tomorrow’s events than any of this cleaning up and out stuff.  I’m going to a sort of luncheon for people in the Texas and Oklahoma area who returned this past year from the same program in which I participated, the returnees.  Something about it kind of terrifies me.

And I’m really not sure what it is…

 

Anyway, I’m going to do my meditation and painting I had planned for tonight.  Sweet dreams, this half of the world (and good morning and afternoon to the other half).  🙂

Post-a-day 2018