If we met a guy like Gaston today, how would we respond?
How would we like to respond?
Think on that for a while.
If we met a guy like Gaston today, how would we respond?
How would we like to respond?
Think on that for a while.
Here, I will paraphrase a piece of a conversation I had with my mother this evening.
Mom: You are living in a culture that doesn’t see that as normal.
Hannah: And I am simply one of the frontrunners of the movement, actively working to have it be something that is seen as normal.
It was a conversation we had while dancing at the food truck event in a neighborhood. It was casual and fun, and we both chuckled during the conversation. And we both meant what we said. It felt good to state definitely that I am part of a movement. It sounds silly to me now, but the fact that it sounds silly is kind of exactly why I am part of it. And it is not only a powerful statement, but it is fun.
Pictures to come in the future, and hopefully in the very near future. 🙂
I feel like pieces of my life – almost every day – could be parts of a Sophie Kinsella novel. Perhaps that is how she writes her novels; she combines all the ridiculous bits of her own life, with the plot of a made-up person’s life. Even if she doesn’t do that, I think this is good enough validation for me to do that myself. I mean, let’s be real here: I’m wearing a would-be engagement ring around these days, as though it’s no big deal, and I’m about to start telling people about how amazing it actually is, and how I think it’s a great thing for women to try at some point when they aren’t actually engaged. How is that standard white bread normal? Plus, wouldn’t that be a great part of a book about smart yet silly, somewhat crazy girl in her mid-twenties? Exactly. I need to start writing my own Sophie Kinsella novels. She has inspired me and shown me that my life has just enough ridiculous for such a story.
A sort of short story about a girl’s casual, 30-second train of thought.
“…I go on a job interview there, and that’s how we finally meet up, and discover that we really do like one another in a dating capacity. And so, I start working over there, and we start dating. That’s easy enough, you see,” says Eliza.
“Okay…” replies Karen speculatively. “And then?”
“Well, and then we realize that we totally love one another,” continues Eliza, “and we’re ready to get married. But the question is whether we get married here or over there. If we got married there, it would be totally classy and cool, but then all of my family and friends here likely would miss out. But then, I think, what people here do I really care about having at my wedding? Most of them would be invited only so I could show off my amazing husband and wedding to them, anyway. And wouldn’t it be accomplishing the same thing by getting married in Europe instead, where my husband is from? It shows how he’s exotic, and so am I, getting married over there. Plus, then all the ladies could wear their fabulous hats and everything would be so chic and practically straight out of some fashion magazine.
“I would have a dress that is inspired from the princesses’ wedding dresses in London over the years, with a hint of French flare and loads of my own personality, all tied together beautifully and stunningly.”
Karen cuts her off, “You have the dress planned already?”
“Well, I’m not sure about the whole thing exactly, but I know how the sleeves would look, and they’re spectacular and classy. And YES, they do exist, despite all this recent fashion of sleeveless wedding dresses. So not my style.”
Karen shakes her head, and takes a sip of tea as Eliza continues.
“Anyway, so that could be cool. And we’d have a super-fab old Church for the wedding, and that would be amazing and not cliché, because it’s actually just normal in Europe. But then, we’d have to have some kind of something here in the US afterward. I’m not sure what, exactly, but something to celebrate specifically with everyone here who couldn’t make the trip. But nothing lame. Too many people do a lame ‘Oh, we couldn’t invite all of you to the wedding, but we still want to celebrate with you’. Aka ‘Give us presents, even though you weren’t good enough to be invited to the wedding.’ Not to be harsh, but you get the point…”
“Who’s she talking about?” whispers Lorena, who has just returned from flirting at the tea bar.
“The guy from the photo I showed you yesterday,” replies Karen, sighing. Lorena accepts this, and begins to process what Eliza is saying.
“Then we’d continue living over there, and it’d be perfect, because it lines up with my wanting to live over there, and we’d be so close for an easy trip up to visit Christine and her husband whenever we wanted for a long weekend or whatever. Or I could go alone super easily.”
Astounded, Lorena cuts in, “You mean you’ve already decided on wedding plans with this guy?! You haven’t even gone on a date, yet!”
“He hasn’t even asked her out,” chuckles Karen.
Only slightly defensively, Eliza replies cooly, “Well, if we can’t agree on a wedding location and place to live, then it isn’t really worth bothering dating in the first place, now is it? We’d be wasting our time if we knew so soon that it never would work out, yet went forward with it all, anyway.”
“She has a point,” allows Karen, raising her eyebrows.
After a pause, Lorena replies, “True… I still hold that you’re nuts, Eliza.”
“I’ll second that,” throws in Karen.
“Third it!” laughs Eliza. “Oh, I know I’m totally nuts. That’s why it’s so important that a guy and I be compatible through and through before we bother starting anything.”
They erupt in giggles and laughter, enjoying the ridiculousness of the conversation, and knowing how true Eliza’s statement really is.
“Weirdo,” says Lorena, playfully. “Okay, let’s have some lunch. I’m hungry, and now all I can think about is smoked salmon…”
The other two frown questioningly at her.
“What? You were talking about weddings. Weddings always make me think of smoked salmon.”
Lorena laughs, “Whatever.”
I think that I am afraid of being sexy, due to the risk of falling under the description of “sexual”. I believe that there is a time and a place for sexy, and that it is an appropriate way to present oneself in the world… just not myself. Or do I believe it acceptable? …Yes, I do. Sexy, not sexual, is entirely acceptable in my book, given the appropriate time and place. As a teacher at school, no. As someone at a dinner event, yes. Being “hot” is not off limits to me, and yet I believe there is something deep inside of me that is terrified of it. Of being it, I mean.
Perhaps I merely fear that it would be interpreted as a call for sexual intercourse, therefore not only labelling me as “slutty”, but also attracting unwanted advances by men toward that unintended message. I want to be sexy, because I can be sexy, not because I want sex. I want to have the body, because I can have the body, and I find the body entrancingly beautiful. I don’t want it for some man, but for myself and for myself alone. However, I do not want to have to hide it, to keep it only to myself and to avoid allowing others to notice. I want to be able to go into public with it, because it is part of who I am, and I need not be ashamed of it. Just as I have gone into public in my pajamas or with a towel in my hair, I want to be able to go out dressed in “sexy”: comfortably.
Yet where is that distinction between sexy and sexual for me? i would say that it is intention, but I do not feel safe in such a distinction. I do not want to have sex with the people around me, and I do not want them to attempt to or want to have sex with me. But I am still terrified that I will come across that way. Really, though, I must be kidding myself a bit here – I fear this regularly, not just when I dress up or want to dress up. I have this fear present simply in the way I walk or the clothes I wear daily. I envy the way some women dress, and cannot consider my actually wearing the same outfit… even though it is beautiful on them, and likely would be on me, too. Why? Because of this inner terror of coming across as sexual and desiring something specific (i.e. sex) from those around me.
What’s with me? Is this really all just tied to one incident of things been utterly misunderstood about me? I’d like to think that the one incident doesn’t have such power, if any, over me still today. I’m not so sure, though. I will consider this actively over the coming days and weeks…
As though in response to this post from last night, the world presented me with this article tonight, from a pile of my old papers through which I was sorting.
Today was/is (depending on where one is in the world right now) my birthday. Thank you to my mother and to my father for having and making me.
Now, people at school totally forgot about my birthday, and that’s okay. A friend was even giving me a hard time about details for an upcoming trip while I was in the middle of my birthday lunch at a nice little Nepalese restaurant, and that’s okay, too. I wasn’t looking too forward to all of that.
I have been working on my mental and physical health lately, and one part of that has been going to my gym more often. Instead of once or twice or zero times a week, and only for, perhaps, an hour, I have been going more like five to ten hours a week, attending all sorts of fun classes (boxing to ballet, angels training [a misleading name for the crazy-hard workout that comes with it] to yoga [yes, normal yoga]). The gym is all women, and we all have to have nicknames, so as to create a close-knit space (instead of the formality of Japanese culture and always using last names), so it makes for a really great environment.
That being said, I was really looking forward to getting to my gym today. Dinner with a friend was something great on the list, too, but the gym had the extra excitement of helping out my physical health while I enjoyed its being my birthday.
I knew that some of the ladies knew that today was my birthday, and so I was excited to be going somewhere where I could feel the love, so to speak, for my birthday. Just after I walked in the front door, the lady at the desk wished me a tentative English, “Happy Birthday…?” A huge grin and verbal thanks assured her of the success of her endeavor.
As I was changing for class, I heard some English being practiced in the common area, “How old are you?” So, I suspected I was about to be asked this question when I got into class a few minutes later.
What I did not expect, however, was to walk into my step class of older Japanese ladies, and for them to break into song, singing me “Happy Birthday”. And in English! I actually started tearing up a bit, it was so wonderful. If I had been hoping for some welcoming love here, I certainly found it, I found myself thinking. Essentially, it was perfect.
After class, a number of people kept wishing me a happy birthday and talking to me about this and that. Before the next class began (yoga), I made a point to interrupt the delighted chatter of the older ladies from step class, and to thank them especially for their singing and well-wishes. And I did it all in Japanese, and successfully. They were just so wonderful.
And then they all started asking me how to say the name of a bicycle that has a motor attached to it. Amidst all the Japanese, I declared that I’d have to do some research, because I could only think of electric bicycle and motorized bicycle.
But that’s not quite the point. The point is, I suppose, that step class is amazing – you could do yourself quite well by joining one wholeheartedly today. 🙂
Also, all of my thanks to all who played a part in my coming to be. 🙂
Happy Birthday to me. Watch out, World! 😀
I declared that I would buy season tickets for my mom and me to the musical theatre whenever I got my first full-time, normal-ish job. So, when I had my first contracted teaching job, I got season tickets. For two years, we stayed with it, and it was great. But then I moved here (Japan), and so we stopped the tickets for this current season.
However, I want to speak to two of the shows from those two seasons. The two shows to which I looked the most forward were The Little Mermaid and Evita. I quite likely know (or at least knew at some point) all the words to all of the songs in both of these two musicals, I love them so much. Until these past two years, though, I had never seen either performance (just the movies).
When we finally made it to the performance of each show, rather than being overwhelmed with delight, I was actually rather let-down. Why? Because my favorite songs were cut. Yup. Really.
In The Little Mermaid, the US theatre folk decided to make a different song for Ursula, even declaring it better for children. Except that this new song was significantly less exciting musically, and it had a terrible message being sent loud and clear, so to speak – I was hated, because I was ugly, so I killed my sisters in order to win my father’s favor. The whole reason I had ever wanted to see the stage production of The Little Mermaid was for Ursula’s song (“I Want the Good Times Back“). And it had suddenly disappeared. My excitement for the show went with it – it just became some average show at that point. Not that I don’t find the performers to be totally talented – because I do find them talented – I was just not so thrilled about the show itself at that point.
The story of Evita was similar, but not so distressing. Rather than replacing one of my favorite songs, the song just disappeared. (“The Lady’s Got Potential“) Also, I think one of my preferred verses of another song was missing, but I’m not sure. I just remember the rock song with the fabulous words, “Ka-pow, die!” was missing. 😛 Naturally, I was disappointed in the missing chunk of the show. Performers were still talented; the show itself was just lacking.
I’m not sure why I decided to share this in particular, instead of the silly afternoon and evening I spent at the gym, doing yoga classes and boxing classes, and what might have been a tai-chi class; chatting with all the ladies afterward; running into one of the ladies afterward at the supermarket; her asking if I’d bought my vegetables; my explaining how I hadn’t bought any vegetables, because I couldn’t until tomorrow, since the ATMs were already closed and I had no cash (jolly dreadful bit of living in Japan, really), so I had just bought a snack with the 100-yen coin I’d found in my bag; ending up having a fabulous Nepalese dinner with her (at her total insistence); rushing out as smoking was allowed just after 8pm in the restaurant; and then, again at her total insistence, being driven home the short distance from the restaurant by the wonderful lady. And I even remember her name still. Anyway, I guess the outline is all you get. Have a great one, world!