Tag Archive | dreams

Acoustic #3

A week ago, I hopped in the car and set off for New Jersey to retrieve more things from storage. I had a list of things I absolutely wanted to liberate from the storage unit, some things that would be nice but not needed, and even a really short list of things I would need to take with me when I headed down there (because I probably would have forgotten the GPS device without reminding myself to take it).

My number one priority was to grab my Mom’s acoustic guitar, a Fender Classic, model FC-10. Beneath the strings, there’s a label bearing my Mom’s name and the address I lived at until I was 8, a reminder of where it’s been and how old it is. As I write this, I looked up information on the FC-10 and found out they were made until 1981, which means the guitar is older than I am. While it’s been very rarely played, my Dad being the last one I remember playing it, that guitar is one of the things that’s always been in my life.

I carefully loaded the guitar, enclosed in a soft leather-like case, into the back seat on top of everything else I had packed up. I told J to pray for my safe return, sending him a picture of the guitar as the reason why he should hope I return safely. And while my return trip started with a two-hour delay on route 80, and I spilled a bit of my Dairy Queen Blizzard after a mid-trip stop, I did make it home without too much of an issue. There were no Fender-benders to speak of.

I’ve slowly been unpacking the car over the past week, with the guitar… actually, plural, because I also grabbed the electric guitar I picked up at a garage sale in 2014, along with my Rock Band guitar controller for the Xbox 360… I unpacked all three guitars as soon as I got back. Yesterday, I unloaded one of the random bags of things I put in the car, which had two miniature model Fender guitars and one of the guitar-shaped pens I found in a bookstore.

Why does a girl who doesn’t play guitar have so many guitars?

Well, condensing much of my life into one statement, I wanted to be a singer. A famous singer. I wanted to be a pop vocalist. I wanted to be the one recording albums and performing on stage. As I got older, I realized I loved music, and that being a famous vocalist was more an expression of that passion, it was what I felt I wanted to be because that’s where my heart was drawn. It’s not the path I’m on because of parents who knew what was best for me, as the story usually goes. I can’t resent them for that, because I might have started chasing an unobtainable dream.

Eventually, I started acquiring things to represent my love for music. My parents gave me a music note pin when I was in the school choir. I bought a smoothie at the state fair, and chose the tall cup that had a guitar shape around the midsection instead of the plain one or the one with an alien. I bought guitar earrings and a couple necklaces, oh do I have a lot of guitar earrings! My favorite guitar necklace is one where the body of the acoustic guitar is glass or crystal or something, and the neck is gold-plated. And then there’s the guitar pens, and the little guitar models. And the Japanese guitar magazine, because Hyde’s guitar was featured in its pages.

The first guy who I thought was possibly interested in me romantically, was a guy who was half-Asian and played acoustic guitar. He played for me one time, without me asking. Well, he played in my presence, let’s just say that much. The vibrations of the strings, the notes echoing in my ears, made me feel as if I was in love or at least a rather euphoric state. At no time was I really ever on his mind, it seemed. I went into that whole thing not knowing what to do, what I should do, and as it ended I was left wondering what I did do, what I should’ve done, what I should be doing.

At one of my call center jobs, I met this guy from Hawaii who brought in a teal electric guitar a few times.  The plate on the back was autographed by one of the members of Dream Theater, a band with whom he had spent some time hanging out. While I liked Dream Theater, after a mention from the previous guitarist got me listening to their music, it didn’t matter to me if this guy had spent time with any of the members of the band or even if he was one of the members of the band. Things had gotten playful between us, until I started getting uncomfortable. My desk was moved from being down the row from J to being on the other side of the room from J, not that J mattered at the time. We’re still talking about the Hawaiian here, and how I was moved to a seat where walking past me meant going out of the way to do so.

J and I worked together at that job in the sense that we knew that the other person reported to work there. We barely spoke to each other, unless it was part of a conversation with other people. I left that job, and that was it. A couple years later, he found me on a social media site and said hi. One thing led to another, and I end up hanging out at his house and meeting the girlfriend he had then. I think he brought in his acoustic guitar to work once or twice, but as I paid as much attention to him as I felt he paid to me at that time (which wasn’t much), I don’t remember if he did or not. I do know, however, that the first night I hung out at his place, I learned that he played guitar. And that we got along really well, so well in fact that it made his girlfriend jealous. But that’s a story I’m sure I’ve already told, even if I limited the details. Alas, things ended on a sour note.

Or did they? Because I live here now, with J and at least five guitars between us both (two electric, three acoustic), not counting guitar peripherals for video games, or any of my knick-knacks. And while I wonder what would really go on in J’s mind when he sees I’ve got something else that looks like a guitar, I have to think it amuses him in some way.

Just the same, I wonder what he thinks or feels as he’s playing guitar, if he can hear the creaking of the floorboards as I move to where I can hear him play just a little bit better. I can just barely hear him from my bedroom when he plays, so if I wake up and hear something, I can listen to him while I’m in the upstairs bathroom. I’ve gone from the bedroom to the windowsill at the lower landing of the stairs just to listen to him play. I wonder if he delights in knowing he summoned me. I wonder if we share the same smile, the same warmth. For me, it’s like Christmas morning, as there’s a gift to be enjoyed if I get out of bed, so I want to imagine him as the parent who gave a gift of themselves, knowing it’s nothing much but still appreciated. At no point do I remember thinking, “I would like to be awoken to the sound of an acoustic guitar playing softly in the distance,” but I have that now and I really don’t want to leave or lose that.

I share a birthday with Eric Clapton. I have no problem having a guitar collection… or collecting guitarists, whatever. Their expression through music is my passion, and I enjoy expressing that passion however I can.

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I’m Not Fine That You’re Not Fine With Me Being Fine

“You say you’re fine, but you’re not fine.”

Those words have echoed in my mind for over a week now, uttered in regards to my emotional trauma and grief that I’ve been dealing with for the past few months… couple of years… few years…

I refuse to believe it.

As I get nearer to the nine-month mark of living with my friend, things are changing drastically. I’ve started a new job that seems to be more than temporary, and at the same time I’ve received a notice to vacate from my friend. I have a negative bank balance, and a cell phone bill that’s been unpaid for a couple of months. With all of this on my plate, somehow it all seems easy to deal with.

She mentioned to me that I’ve been dealing with trauma. I couldn’t believe that, as my idea of trauma is associated with having to be rushed to the hospital while in the back of an ambulance, it’s bloodshed and adrenaline at the same time, but it isn’t all the things that got me where I am now.

But, not one to just take anyone’s words at face value these days, I searched online for “emotional trauma,” and found there was such a thing. And when I was looking at the signs of emotional trauma, I noticed I had many of them. So it was true, I was dealing with emotional trauma. For how long? Well, I noticed the signs were more present after returning to New York State than before I left the state or even when I was in New Jersey. My worst anxiety came while I was running out of money up here, because I still had some money before but I managed to stretch it. I lost more around the time that my fiancé ended our relationship and all, compared to losing Mom but having the financial and emotional freedom to go and do whatever I wanted.

“No, you’ve had emotional trauma since your Mom passed away… no, since your Dad passed.”

No, I didn’t. I had grief.

When Dad passed, I still had Mom, I still had a roof over my head regardless of how much I failed in life. I still had food in my stomach, a bed to rest at night, and just enough clothes to wear no matter what the occasion. But I was awakened to the fact that, hey, my parents aren’t actually immortal, they can be taken from me no matter how young I am. I was 23 when I lost Dad, the ink on my driver’s license and associates degree just barely being dried by that time. But I told myself, I had reached my adult years and maybe I didn’t need a fatherly figure anymore.

I told Mom that if she remarried, I’d never call her new husband “Dad.” She replied that women don’t usually need to be with someone, that they can do fine on their own, that it’s the men who need to find someone to replace the lost love of their life. Within a year of her passing, she kinda dated again, if you want to call it that. She met some old male friends down in North Carolina, and stayed in the same house as one of them while she was down there. When she came back, she had war stories to tell about her time spent with this guy, and I feel like she appreciated her marriage to Dad even more after that experience.

Then after Mom passed, I grieved her passing as well. But I had dreams about each of my parents soon after their respective passings, with at least one dream having both parents together after Mom’s passing. They were packing the minivan for a road trip to some unknown destination, and I remember saying to them, “I can’t go with you.” I really feel like I saw them in my dream, not some mental projection based on my memories but rather their spirits. I feel like they were crossing over together, and I knew it wasn’t my time to go. Not that I’d want to go with them, even though I would have joined them, but they needed to catch up on lost time together.

And I’m fine with that.

I’m still fine with that.

But if you haven’t lost a parent, especially if you’ve had a good relationship with that parent, then you don’t know what it’s like. And my friend neither has the relationship I had with my parents, nor has she lost either of them.

Once you reach the acceptance stage of grief, once you’ve accepted that your parent has passed, you’ve managed to make peace with your new reality. However, I feel that you’re still allowed to react when Mother’s Day and Father’s Day come around, because it’s hard to ignore. As for people, I feel like people expect that you’re going to start crying on the inside when they accidentally mention your lost parent, or they will think you didn’t care for your lost parent if you don’t even talk about them anymore. I’d rather not let people tell you how you should feel. I mean, you should be able to talk about your parents after they’ve passed, end of sentence. If something you said or thought of makes you cry, you’re allowed to cry. If you remember something funny, you’re allowed to laugh. Talk about your parents, just do it, remember and embrace the good times as well as the not-so-good times.

In my opinion, you are always allowed to miss your parents after they’ve passed.

And you can still be fine about it, just the same.

What is “being fine?” You know what? That’s up to you. If you’re fine with not talking about your parents, you’re allowed. If you’re fine with not thinking of them, if possible, that’s on you. I will say, if you start hoarding your parent’s possessions, or you become agoraphobic because the outside world is going to trigger your memories, or you do something else that’s obviously not healthy, then you’re not fine by any means.

I didn’t keep everything from the house after moving out; I couldn’t. I did keep some of Mom’s clothes, as I could wear them and I thought I might. But I’ve been able to part with a few things that she held onto, even in the time since so many things went into dumpsters.

And I can talk about my parents. I don’t shy away from thinking about them. I usually don’t cry as I talk about them. That doesn’t mean that I won’t cry, and it’s not like I’m forbidding myself from doing so, it’s just that I don’t have a reason to cry.

But am I “not fine” at all? I guess, but not to the point where I need a safe space and coping mechanisms to deal with my thoughts. It’s not fine that I don’t have my best friend, my Mom, in my life anymore. It’s not fine that the two most important people to me won’t be at my wedding, if and when I get married, and I somehow have to adjust for their absence. But, I can adjust to the changes. Like, I don’t need a big wedding, I just need to marry someone who makes me happy, and I truly believe that’s what my parents would have preferred overall (especially if it’s tradition for them to foot the bill). And I need to find someone who wants me to call or send a text message to let them know I’m on my way back or that I’ve reached my destination safely, someone who cares that much about making sure I’m… that I’m fine.

So, I’m fine with the loss of my parents. I’m not fine with my current financial situation. But if I hadn’t lost either of my parents, I wouldn’t be having my current financial situation. That’s not to say I wish they weren’t gone, but instead, their absence forces me to try harder to keep what’s important to me, like having a roof over my head and all of those other basic needs.

But, I’m not fine that you’re not fine with the fact that I’m fine. I’m fine, and you should be fine with that, but if it’s not fine to you then you should be fine with doing something about it.

Fin.

The Long And Short Of Why I Want To Travel Far And Wide

There are some things in this world that I shouldn’t have to explain.

Maybe I should rephrase that. There are things in this world that can go without an explanation.

No, that’s still not quite right. What about, once a person has made a few mistakes in life, they start to learn from them and can probably make better-informed decisions later on?

Well, I’ve made enough mistakes with this introduction. I guess all that’s left is to explain a few things. It seems counterproductive compared to the intro I was going for. Or, did I do everything as I wanted to do, and it’s now exactly what I was thinking?

Plotting and scheming aside, the point I’m trying to make is that I sometimes feel criticized for wanting to go to Japan. While it hasn’t been said in so few words, the statements come down to things like, “you should give up on going, I can’t understand why you would want to go to Japan, you will be disappointed when you get there.” I usually hear, “do you have to go now? Can you wait 10, 15, 20 years?” Why should I wait? I’m not getting any younger, my body isn’t becoming any more capable. I already have to wait until I get enough money put aside, and that wait will be long enough. But when I hear people ask why I can’t put off the dream of going, I feel like they’re really asking why I can’t give up on going altogether.

Clearly, I need new friends. Or I’m overthinking things.

The short answer is, Japan makes me happy. I feel like people who care about me should want me to be happy.

Why does Japan make me happy? It just does. I can’t really explain it, and I know if I try to explain it, I might lose the magic. But of course, I apparently need to explain the whole thing.

It didn’t start with Wakkanai.

My Dad was stationed in Wakkanai while he was in the Air Force. I don’t remember if there were slides. For you kiddies out there, slides are basically physical photos that you can shine light through, and you put a tray of them on a special projector to help a room full of people fall asleep quickly. Anyway, that’s not important right now. He was in the Air Force as a Russian linguist. For you kiddies, the United States had a grudge against Russia for a number of years, and it was called the Cold War. My Dad basically translated radio transmissions.

When his time had ended over there, he brought home some stereo equipment that probably still works to this day. I was raised with the knowledge that Japanese electronics were superiorly made in comparison to American electronics. I watched the movie Gung Ho, and admired the Japanese work ethic. I think I watched Big Bird Goes To Japan as a child. But, I barely knew anything about Japan, I barely had an interest in Japan.

I had an interest in the Moon.

By the time I became a teenager, I loved looking up at the moon and stars. Astrology interested me, and I learned that my sign, Aries, was a fire sign. And then I was flipping through the channels on TV one afternoon and saw a cartoon with these girls who defended Earth in the name of the name of the moon or one of the planets. I saw a bit of myself in the title character, Sailor Moon, but my favorite character soon became the one who’s a fellow Aries, Sailor Mars. When they weren’t saving the day, they were living their lives in and around Tokyo.

I started watching Tenchi Muyo as well, and even a bit of Yu Yu Hakusho. Eventually I watched Fullmetal Alchemist.

One time, I was near the comic and gaming store and decided to drop in. I found manga, and bought one book as that was all I could afford at the time. But after I started working and driving, one volume of manga turned into over one hundred. I was a bit addicted.

When I was still in college, though, I started getting into L’arc en Ciel. I remember looking up song lyrics and translations in the computer rooms while I was between classes or after I had finished up whatever I was working on. After I graduated, I bought an iPod while working at my first job, and I had some Sowelu and Utada Hikaru songs along with some L’arc on there.

It wasn’t an interest in Japan, just in Japanese media, but I was happy. Life seemed to be going well for me, I had both of my parents, I had started working and had a car to get around.

And then I met a guy.

When I first met him, he kind of had a significant other. She didn’t really want him, and had ended things with him by the time I saw him again. They were both at a party that one of my friends was hosting, and I was there as well for no reason other than I was invited to a party. He was there because his now-ex was going to be there, but he felt a need to heal his wounds by getting drunk and crying on the sofa. I had knelt down next to the sofa, the armrest being all that separated me from his feet. I wanted to help, I wanted to be supportive. He ended up calling one of his friends who drove over and picked him up to bring him home.

This guy’s life was a bit of a wreck. Someone broke into his station wagon and stole things from him. He was driving a station wagon because that’s all he could afford at the time, and it was already falling apart. He was also living with his brother, who looked Korean. He actually looked Japanese to me, but was apparently half Irish and half Korean. His brother had a different father and was full Korean, if memory serves me correctly.

Not that it mattered what he was, because to me he looked pretty good. I really didn’t feel worthy of being around him. Oh, I should mention that after checking up on him the next day, one thing led to another and I started going over to his place nearly every day. I thought things were going somewhere, but I had never had a boyfriend before and I had nothing to base my experiences on.

One day, he started talking about looking at newer cars, and had his heart set on one at a local dealership. Knowing his struggles, I did what any foolish girl would do. Well, because I felt a bit guilty for enjoying Japanese stuff while I had an interest in an Asian guy, I sold the manga and gave him the money to put towards the car.

After about a month, he didn’t want to see me anymore. I learned a lot in that one month, more than I really care to explain. But I lost my interest in manga, and my interest in everything else waned as well.

The second time wasn’t as good.

Eventually, I bought more manga, though my collection wasn’t as impressive as it originally had been. I didn’t read the volumes as often or as quickly. But I met a guy at work who became a bit of a friend, nothing more. To some degree, he got me back into anime, but I wasn’t as interested as before.

I went to an anime convention with him, my second ever anime convention. I remember feeling like I had outgrown anime. I was surrounded by people cosplaying characters that I didn’t recognize. There were anime titles I had never heard of. The finest moment was meeting Vic Mignogna, voice actor extraordinaire (seriously, look him up on IMDB or something, he’s in nearly every English-dubbed anime you can think of). Aside from that, the day was a bit of a waste.

Eventually, I was rescued…  by food.

While working at a well-known grocery store, I bought The Manga Cookbook. Unfortunately my ingredients were limited, and I could barely make anything in the book despite the grocery store having an Asian food section with imported goods. I did try my hand at making udon noodles, though, which turned out alright.

While working that job, I lost my Mom, which caused me to move to New Jersey. Okay, a lot of things caused me to move to New Jersey, most of which were bad decisions. While I was living in New Jersey, my boyfriend at the time introduced me to Mitsuwa Marketplace. At first I was interested in going, but after going I was in ecstasy! All the ingredients I couldn’t find before, I could find at Mitsuwa! And there was a bookstore nearby where I could buy manga in the original Japanese! And I spent more money than I should have, but it was necessary.

I returned a few more times after that. I always made sure that I ate something from the food court, because there was no way I’d be able to make anything that tasted quite like it should. I loved the feeling I had while I was there. I came home after my first visit, and realized that I didn’t have any L’arc songs in iTunes, just a couple of Hyde’s songs. I started tracking down all of L’arc’s albums on Amazon and eBay, which gave me a bit of an endorphin rush when I bought another album and when it finally arrived.

I had forgotten how happy I once was to listen to Japanese rock and pop music. I listened to Horizon, and it reminded me of a dream I once had. But the food also made me happy, because everything was new, and everything I tried was amazing.

Japan was where I needed to be.

The search for a job can make anyone go a bit insane. The thought eventually popped into my head that I could move to and work in Japan, so that became the plan before I even knew what I was getting myself into. But a plan like that is good to have when you think of all the angles, and in my case I realized that my then-fiance and I were two entirely different people. Ignoring what I had to consider for myself, I realized I couldn’t have my fiancé travel with me to Japan because the flight would be too lengthy for him to deal with his disability, and then he probably wouldn’t want to go out and do anything with me once we were there. Not only that, but leaving him behind meant that we were back to having a long-distance relationship.

I like to think that the entirety of that discussion was one of the many factors why we broke up. Our relationship left me broke, but it also left me with the freedom to go and do what I want to do once I’m not poor. Since I put more thought into going to Japan, I know what I need to do to go, and I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t go.

So what else?

I’d like to think I’ll eventually meet someone while I’m in Japan, and maybe I’ll give in and have children, thereby helping out their birth rate and keep it from declining further.

If I’m in Japan before the Olympics, maybe I can get into hospitality and be of some use when the place is mobbed by tourists who speak more English than Japanese. Otherwise, I could always just assist in teaching the language.

My interest in Japan isn’t anime and manga. I might go to a concert, if time and finances allow. I might do some video gaming-related things. Or I might decide to be boring and check out as many temples and shrines as I can. If I lose interest in Japan, I could go elsewhere.

I’ll have to go over on a student visa and go to a language school, then work part time to make a living. I can’t get on a work visa because I don’t have the right credentials, and it would be cheaper to get my bachelors degree in Japan. But it is possible for me to go to Japan, I just need to get my finances in order before I can go.

Tomorrow, I think I’m going to make a PowerPoint presentation of this entry, then save it onto my phone so I can make the argument at a moment’s notice. Basically, the Japanese stuff makes me happy, and so I’d like to go to Japan and live there for a while. I know what I need to do to get there, and unless you’ve travelled abroad, you can’t say that I don’t know what I’m doing. But there are things I can’t plan for just yet, because airline tickets change prices, tuition costs increase, rent goes up, so those things will have to wait until I’m at a point where I have to consider such things.

This is what I want. This makes me happy.

I’ve spent enough time trying to make others happy. Now I want to do something for myself.

Alone With My Supervisor And Coffee

One of my supervisors at work is a lot of fun to be around. At first, I knew I was just more comfortable around him but didn’t seem to have a reason why, nor did I need a reason. When I noticed his computer wallpaper was of the Pokemon Mew, and he talked about some of his geeky interests, I realized we had similar interests, and that was probably one of the reasons why I got along well with him.

When he was building interest for a project that was based on the west coast, I volunteered to be one of the people to work on that project. It guaranteed that I would have something to do with the company beyond the project I was hired to work on, so my motivation was that job security. Not to mention, because of the difference in time zones, I would be working later hours, which didn’t bother me because I was usually awake during that time anyway.

That project had five people volunteer to work on it, four people who could commit to the schedule, and three of us who did most of the work. It wasn’t as large of a project as the two other projects I’ve been working on, with about a third of the number of call lists, and each list being about one-seventh as long as the other lists I was used to working with. Even with two or three of us making the calls per night, we breezed through the lists of phone numbers, and my supervisor was able to get more lists from the client as a result of that. However, one cause of our speediness has been the fact that so many people have hung up on us or not even answered the phone. Because of that, I developed a habit of wasting even less time on those calls because I can tell what the resolution will be, I know the tones for a number that’s not in service, I can tell when an answering machine or a voice mail service is starting.

For whatever reason, either because of scheduling and availability or because of how awesome I am at making at least 60 calls per hour on this project and overcoming objections, I managed to be the only one scheduled for the project last night.

Just me… and my supervisor.

And a pot of coffee.

This is how things start, isn’t it? You get a man and a woman alone in the same room, two people who get along well, have similar interests, all of that. It starts getting late. One thing leads to another. Before you know it, I’m telling you how I’m not his type, and you’re wondering how I know I’m not his type and telling me that I shouldn’t say things like that, that I should be confident. Well, I’m not his type, because before last night, he had already casually remarked that he was gay in front of the whole call center.

It wasn’t even much of a surprise for me. He speaks in that effeminate manner that is usually associated with gay men, but it’s rather subtle and not backed up with flamboyant hand gestures or slang. But it’s not like he figuratively wears his sexuality on a frilly sleeve; he actually dresses like any guy would, wearing plaid button-down shirts when he has to dress more professionally and athletic hoodies when he’s cold or is just dressed more casually. I don’t mean to resort to any stereotypes, however I do know that some people base their “gaydar” on superficial things, like a man’s interest in musicals. And, my supervisor actually prefers the non-musical Disney animated movies like Finding Nemo, if you must know.

It’s not like his sexuality even mattered to me, because it wasn’t something I thought about. It did help, in a sense, to know his sexuality prior to last night, because then I can talk about last night and say, “I know how this sounds, but nothing happened and nothing would have happened.”

But oh, I’m making a big deal out of this, aren’t I?

In a dream I had last night, the earlier events now being a forgotten haze, I was listening to a phone call directed at me, and it was as if I was listening to a voice mail as it was being recorded. I don’t remember everything that was said, but one of the last things that was said that I do remember was something like, “… and I saved that voice mail of you and play it back just to hear your voice.” As that’s being said, my supervisor is ascending the stairs in a stairwell, and he’s the one saying these things as I hear them over the phone. When I see him and he sees me, I’m smiling because it’s so romantic to me to have someone admit the silly things they do because they’ve fallen for a person, and in this case it’s someone who has fallen for me. Once he has climbed the stairs and is in front of me, he kisses me softly on the lips. The rest of the dream was spent not far from him. I was giddy over the idea of having a significant other again. He slightly evolved into Giovanni Ribisi by the time I woke up, but in my defense I was watching Lost In Translation before going to sleep, and they’re both similarly-dressed skinny white boys.

Upon waking, I had to remind myself that my supervisor is gay, that none of that would happen. And yet, it’s something I want to have happen, maybe not with my supervisor, but I like thinking that someone can’t quite get enough of me. It silences the thoughts that are in direct opposition, suggesting that I might be bothering people or they’re really not interested in spending time with me. It reminds me that I’m not the only one who does silly things when the relationship is new, or barely budding, or even just to think that a person might be someone worth keeping around for a while.

So now it seems awkward to do so, but I want to ask for my supervisor’s phone number. I sincerely hope you understand why I would ask for his number, and why my own mind has sabotaged the retrieval of an important bit of information, before I even explain. I want to ask for his phone number as a future reference for job applications, nothing more. Unfortunately I feel like I’m going to overly explain myself upon asking, when even I know I’d question someone’s motives if they had to explain that, “I won’t call or text you, ever, it’s just to use you as a reference for future job applications.”

Special thanks to my mind, for taking a completely innocent, professional experience, and turning it into an awkward situation that I have to deal with in the real world. The idea to write about it all might not have been the most brilliant of ideas, as now it’s possible for my supervisor to find this and things can become even MORE awkward. However, I’m pretty sure that others have had similar experiences, so I have to remind myself that I’m only human and that I need to roll with it. After all, the worst that could happen still isn’t that bad.

Self-Awareness Exercises, Question One

It seems strange to think that I feel a little better than yesterday, when I started the self-awareness exercises and only needed to list things that made me feel comfortable and safe. Maybe there’s something about the realization of safety and comfort, no longer overlooking what I actually have, that made all the difference.

So I must press on, and see what challenges await me!

Here’s the introduction I was given:

“We each write our own story for our life.  What story are you writing for yours?  Set a timer (there should be one on your phone if no where else) for 5 minutes for each prompt and write as fast as you can for those five minutes.  If it goes off mid sentence, finish your sentence and stop.  You can always go back and do them again.  And if nothing come out at first, just start writing random words, and free write even if it seems like gibberish.  Remember to give yourself at least a little time to digest everything that comes to the surface for each prompt.  It may not hit all at once, or it may do so and it may even possibly overwhelm you.  Let it out and let it go.  There are no right or wrong answers here, only your deepest truths.  If it helps, look at these exercises as writing prompts for a novel, with you as the hero/heroine and write your story.”

Okay, sounds easy enough. So what’s the first question?

1.  I am afraid to move forward in life because . . .  (I find this one works better in list form.)

You’re kidding me, right? Okay, here goes.

I’m afraid to move forward in life because I’m afraid of losing everything I’ve established. I’m afraid of moving forward in life because I’m afraid I’ll get in over my head with challenges, and they’ll be things that other people like me should be able to accomplish. I’m afraid to move forward in life because I’ll have to change and be boring. I’m afraid to move forward in life because I’ll fail. I’m afraid to move forward in life because I’ve always been told that my ideas are wrong, so I’ll do something wrong. I’m afraid to move forward in life because what if my efforts get me nowhere, and I’m stuck in a perpetual cycle of dreaming things that are always out of reach?

That was my five minutes, and I have tears welling up.

I’m not sure what I meant by “losing everything I established.” It was the first thing that came to mind.

Despite being an Aries who likes a challenge from time to time, I am actually scared that I haven’t “adulted” as well as I should have, and I’m going to face something that I can’t tackle. I feel like I should already have a certain skill set when it comes to working and having a job, and that I just don’t have those skills though I don’t know where I’m lacking.

I am absolutely afraid of change and becoming boring. I don’t consider myself to be immature, for one thing. I’ve been told that I don’t have any adult interests. However, I abhor flatulence humor but favor puns, and I can’t stand to watch anything on television that seems to cater to less intelligent individuals. But people have said that I should act more my age, yet that’s not where my interests lie.

Of course I’m afraid of failure. If I have to risk something at a time when I can’t afford to lose it, then I’m not going to advance at all. That’s why I considered having friends and family fund a trip to Japan for me, because I don’t even have enough to risk on that venture. But then, if I do fail, at least I tried. I might be deeper into a hole, but there would be another lesson learned. Then again, if there’s nothing to catch me once I’ve fallen, it’s going to be worse than, “ho hum, I failed, back to the drawing board to try this again.” I mean, I make it sound like failure is scraping my knees, when it’s more like the bike has fallen apart and I’m too badly injured to try riding again.

I usually am told that my ideas are wrong. I wanted to be a famous singer when I grew up, so I was in the school choir to learn a few things. When I finally managed to make my parents realize that it wasn’t six-year-old me cutely dreaming about life as a singer, but rather sixteen-year-old me using the internet to research things such as million dollar contracts and contemplating the best way to get to NYC to get discovered, my parents told me to join the church choir. Singing in the church choir, in a small town, would never work towards my dream. At least vocal lessons would help, but they never invested my time or their money into such things. It wasn’t even, “go to college and have a backup plan,” it was “don’t even consider it, your backup plan should be your main plan.” So I’m seeing a repeat of that time in my life, as I have friends who think I should learn Japanese before I even consider going to Japan, while I think I’d do better by immersing myself in the language while working a job where I don’t even need to know Japanese. There’s more to my plan than that, but apparently it’s wrong and makes no sense, and that’s coming from someone who has done less research than I have on being in Japan.

That also brings me to the part where I said that my dreams might constantly be out of reach. What if I become a wage slave and can never make or save enough money to get to Japan? Do I give up on the dream, or do I insist that it’s possible and work myself to death trying to achieve that dream?

I also happened to think just now, moving forward in life can also relate to loved ones.

Am I afraid to move forward in my love life? Yes? I mean, I jumped back on OKCupid after a week of being single again, because I really didn’t want to waste any time. It’s been about six months since I met someone on there who I’m still chatting with. I’m at the point where I just want to know all of a person’s flaws so I don’t get too attached, and that way I’m not wasting any time on someone who’s going to ruin my life. As for my ex, I talk about him less and less as time goes on. I need someone to step up and be so awesome that I can’t help but talk about them instead of my ex.

Am I afraid to move forward in regards to the passing of loved ones? Well, they’re not really holding me back from anything. I don’t feel tethered to any one place right now, though, and having my Mom in my life gave me a reason to be in a particular place in the world. I’m always going to think of the loved ones I’ve lost, especially my parents, but I don’t feel like I need to stay near my hometown or to do certain things because I don’t feel like they really expect me to stay in one place and not live my life in a way that would make me happy. I believe they would want me to do what would make me successful and happy in life, and that means putting one foot ahead of the other and going where my heart kind of leads me. Besides, I don’t think I can really “move on,” because no one can replace my parents. I can’t even imagine having in-laws who I would consider to be parental substitutes.  Maybe I don’t need to move on, since I’m rather functional despite the losses.

And that was the first question, plus my analysis. Just a reminder, if you want to participate, you can post a comment here or answer the question in your own journal of some sort (digital or paper). Check the “self-awareness questions” tag for more of these questions and how I’ve answered them.

Dreaming Of Japan

About two nights ago, I dreamed I was at an airport, or at least what my mind considered to be an airport while in my dreamlike state. I tried to get a flight to Japan, nowhere specifically in Japan, I just wanted to be in Japan. And then, I happened to remember that I didn’t have a passport. My mind could have kept reality separate from my dream, but no, I had to give up a wonderful dream for the sake of reality. Oddly enough, the bit of reality didn’t snap me out of the dream, it just kind of ended sometime after that.

About three or four nights ago, I dreamed I was sitting down to eat something, when I asked for help with using chopsticks. Some guy who vaguely looked like my Japanese friend, though it could have been anyone remotely Japanese in my mind, forced a pair of chopsticks into my hand, pushing the sticks into the padded parts between my fingers to the point where it was slightly painful. I do need to work on my chopstick usage, but I don’t think I learned anything from my dream other than the further realization that I have rather petite hands.

About a year ago or so, I had a dream I was in some kind of Japanese discount store. I suppose that’s a stretch, as it could have been an Asian-owned discount store in America. It had that kind of a feel to it, that’s all I recall. I remember thinking I was in Japan.

I still haven’t been to Japan, of course.

I miss the days when I was just an American otaku. I feel I have to specify the nationality, because in Japan, being an otaku means you isolate yourself to your domicile and surround yourself with anime and manga, the only person you love is a fictional character, and your hygiene is questionable at best. In other words, it’s a pejorative term. At least in America, being an otaku means you probably go to conventions, you seek out others like you and watch anime together when you’re not raiding the local Pocky and Ramune suppliers. If you’re an American otaku, you might even work on your hygiene because damn it if that other person doesn’t look sexy in cosplay and you want their phone number if not more than that.

It’s debatable, but I think people could call me a weeaboo. That’s the American pejorative. And yet, it’s not really a bad thing. You’re labeled a weeaboo if you talk like, “OMG Japan is the best country ever and they have all these awesome things and they’re way better than the United States!” In my opinion, Japan isn’t the only country that’s better than the United States, but that could just be me seeing some greener grass on the other side.

Pejoratives aside, it’s no secret that I want to go to Japan. It just never dawned on me that I could work in Japan; for some reason, I always thought the only way to visit Japan was to take a vacation and go there. If I knew such options existed, I might have attended a regular university or college so I could be in Japan already.

Then again, I was into anime in high school, and started getting into Japanese rock and pup music while in college. I don’t quite think I was in the mindset of wanting to actually go to Japan just then. It wasn’t until after college when I asked a half-Asian guy about how he adds an egg to his ramen, when ramen and sushi were about all I knew of Japanese cuisine. It wasn’t until that guy when I killed a part of myself, the part that liked anime and manga, because I sold all of my manga to help him out financially.

I made a friend at work one time, and he invited me over to his place after our shifts ended. He was into Gundam everything as well as cute two-dimensional girls, and didn’t think to hide the lotion and tissues that happened to be near his computer setup. I was never seen as a girl to him, and yet he didn’t need me to hang out during the times when he did have a girlfriend. That was fine by me, as my interest in anime and manga was nowhere near his interest and I couldn’t get back into it. I went to an anime convention with him one time, and I met a well-known voice actor while I was there, but there were so many cosplay costumes that I didn’t recognize and I felt like I grew out of anime altogether.

It wasn’t until my ex fiancé took me to Mitsuwa, a Japanese supermarket in New Jersey, that I realized my love of Japan hadn’t died, or if it did it was a phoenix that rose out of its own ashes that day. That was the day I realized I had stopped playing L’arc en Ciel in iTunes. That was the day I remembered I had The Manga Cookbook and couldn’t do some of the recipes because I lacked some of the ingredients that couldn’t be found at Wegmans. That day was one of the happiest in my life, all because I went to a grocery store.

After that day, I started importing as many L’arc en Ciel albums and singles as I could find, as well as albums from Hyde and Tetsuya, not to mention Gackt, Sowelu, Ayumi Hamasaki, and a few others who had interested me. I saw that Hyde’s band Vamps was playing in NYC, and I went. A few months would pass and I would go to Mitsuwa again, and then a few more months and I went yet again, each time I would try something different.

Eventually, a desperate job search got me down, and I was trying to figure out what skills I had which would be worthwhile. Well, I’m not bilingual, so I’m nothing special around these parts. However, where could I go where speaking English could be seen as a beneficial skill? That’s when it hit me: I could work in Japan, because most people do speak English as well as Japanese.

Facebook reminded me of the research I had done, which devolved into finding fun reasons which, by the end of the day, made me want to go to Japan in the worst way.

It was this burning desire to go to Japan which ended my relationship with my ex fiancé, though I can’t complain. I didn’t think he would want to go with me to Japan, or if he did go, I couldn’t see him wanting to do anything or go anywhere when I wanted to go somewhere and do something. I figured it would be easier for both of us if he stayed back in the States, that was my plan. In hindsight, it just pointed out that we were two very different people.

Which brings us to 2017. I’ve added to my collection of Japanese music, albeit digitally. I’ve been presented with songs that wrap around my heart in such a loving and painful way. I watch Japanese stuff on YouTube. I play Yakuza 0, a video game set in Tokyo and Osaka. And I have a Japanese friend. I’m still buying and making Japanese food in addition to my normal food.

And I still don’t have a passport.

I tell myself that I’m trying to see if I could find enough things to eat without becoming bored or searching for American food, if I had to survive over there. I tell myself that I’m learning Japanese, even if I’m just listening for words I already know, when I watch Japanese-language shows or play video games in Japanese. I tell myself I’m trying to avoid culture shock. Maybe it’s all true.

Meanwhile, I’m forcing my mind to think about going to Japan, that’s ultimately what’s happening. I’d like to think of it as motivation, but let’s face it, I’m just making myself think of Japan even while I sleep. I’m waking up to the sadness that I can’t just hop on a plane and go.

But I can’t just give it all up. It’s something that makes me happy. It’s my motivation beyond just surviving in this world. So if I must dream of Japan, then that’s what I must do.

Creepin’ Up On You

Last night, I dreamed that I met Lewis from Unbox Therapy. It was at a convention, or maybe we were in his new studio but around a lot of people and tables and such, because it was inside of a large, open room. I don’t remember what I said to him now, I just remember that he got away from me and I received a note from him that was given to me by someone else. The note was written in Elizabethan, like it was from someone who was in a Renaissance Faire. The message was very clearly saying that I was being creepy, and that’s why he distanced himself from me.

When I woke up, I couldn’t believe that someone like him would even send along a message in anything other than plain English, that was my first thought. Secondly, he lives in Canada, and I’m not getting a passport to properly stalk him because that would be stupid. And finally, I was in disbelief that I was considered to be creepy, but then again I think we all have our moments.

Friday night, I went out for karaoke and met up with a cousin of mine. She recently lost her mom, and as she had already lost her father years before my dad passed, we were in the same boat in regards to grieving. Although she was her normal self on the outside, I did have to ask how she was holding up on the inside. The whole time I was at the karaoke club, she was holding up rather well, and she especially held her alcohol.

I left the place sometime after midnight, because I didn’t have a key to get back into the house where I’m staying, I didn’t want to keep anyone up too late while waiting for me, and I was likely to be woken up early the next morning by young boys who forget that they should be quiet when someone is sleeping.

The nest morning, I woke up to two young boys who wanted to play Xbox downstairs where I was sleeping, because their Xbox One upstairs has two controllers needing to be recharged, plus one of the user accounts is locked out and needs a password. I turned the volume down while they played, but turned off the television when they were consistently being loud. They weren’t playing fair with each other, and I wasn’t going to tolerate it.

It was a morning for coffee, that was certain. I felt like I was a splitting headache short of a hangover, which would be pathetic if the one alcoholic drink I had all evening had that much of an effect on my system.

As the day carried on, I learned that someone was carried out. While I was still at the karaoke bar, a guy came up to my cousin and was totally getting hands-on with her waist every so often. He had a disgustingly annoying laugh, and all I could imagine was his laugh coming from a mound of sludge, an image which didn’t repulse me any less than being in his presence. He was slightly taller than me, with pale skin and dark hair covered by a baseball hat. I felt like he worked a blue collar job like construction or maybe in a junk yard or something similar, because it didn’t seem like his element was an office environment at all.

I said to my cousin’s friend that I found him to be creepy, and she agreed. Neither of us knew who he was, and didn’t know if my cousin knew him either. He bought drinks for us; my cousin had another beer, her friend had another shot of Fireball, and I had my second ginger ale for the night. When her friend questioned me about my choice, I told her that there was no alcohol so I was safe to drive home, and no caffeine so I could get to sleep once I got there.

I don’t know how many rounds he bought, but I’m guessing he felt like he was owed something. He apparently tried to separate my cousin from the bar and from her friend. I don’t know how much things escalated, but the bouncer removed the guy from the bar from what I was told. I wish I was there to see everything unfold, but I did need to sleep eventually and that would have kept me up much later, not to mention the adrenaline I’d have to come down from if I was actually there.

Perhaps life runs at a necessary pace, that is to say, sometimes you’re meant to be at a specific location and other times you’re meant to leave. I was there to see the guy and know he was creepy, but I didn’t need to be there as the night wore on. My cousin’s friend needed to be there to protect her because I couldn’t.

And maybe I needed to have that dream to become aware that I might even be seen as being creepy to some. So I was thinking, I should write to Lewis and tell him that I had that dream, that it meant a lot to me. That certainly wouldn’t be a creepy thing to do at all (but I am certainly being sarcastic and not serious about it).