Monthly Archives: January 2013

real love, and haters

My little nephew is in first grade, but he’s had this girl he’s liked since kindergarten (I think she kind of favors his mom). And he is devoted to this little girl. One time, we were in the car and he was telling me and one of my guy friends (J) about her. He was saying how he loved giving her gifts.

My guy friend, J, being a guy, asked “and what does she give you back for these gifts?” (I wouldn’t ask him something like that because i don’t want to encourage the idea as giving as a means to getting…)

But my little nephew, special and devoted and pure as he is, just laughed at my friend like he had just asked what if a flying squirrel was in orbit around the moon singing “twinkle twinkle little star.”

Like J had just asked him something completely ridiculous. “What do you mean? She just lets me keep giving her stuff.”

Obviously I think my nephew is just the sweetest kid to ever walk the face of this earth.

 My mom and I go back and forth on how we feel about this, however, because we’re adults. On the one hand, as stated before, his devotion to this little girl is just the cutest and sweetest thing ever. It just warms my heart to see affection that sweet, pure and unbridled. Today my nephew told me that there was nothing wrong with liking somebody, and that it was nothing to be embarrassed about. 

He’s six.

Oh, I pray he stays so wise.

On the other hand, though, he’s six. My mom and I know the experiences that could be in store for someone so genuinely sweet. We want to protect him. 

But you know, my nephew is a really strong kid, I think. The last time we got him, he made a book for this girl. It was all about the things he likes in life. He wrote it in his own handwriting and decorated it with stickers. “I like to play wii, I like to play outside, I like to go to school.” And on the last page, it was how he liked that girl, all decorated with stickers. Then he had me and my mom wrap it with leftover Christmas wrapping paper and he took it to school and gave it to her the next day.

How many of us could be so brave? For him it wasn’t even bravery though. It was as natural as breathing.

I asked him later if she liked it and he kind of wrinkled his nose and said stiffly that she liked it. But that he didn’t like the little girl’s friend. He said the friend was teasing him, saying that his handwriting is bad, etc.

And I thought how sad that even in first grade there are the hater-ass girl friends poisoning the minds of good little girls and boys who have something in their hearts as innocent and pure as what my nephew’s got.

I told him to ignore that girl because she’s nothing but a grade-A hater. I told him some people are mean because they’re jealous–she sees that there is a little boy who treats one little girl so sweet, and it makes her aware that nobody’s being sweet to her.

I told him brush it off, cuz haters gonna hate. That’s their job.

He told me the little hater moved on January 25 anyway.

I was so relieved.

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The oxymoron of strength

I have been thinking a lot about strength, true strength, and what it means to be a strong person. It seems like strength is often equated with being tough, We’re taught to “toughen up;” to harden ourselves when we’re teased, to shake it off when we’re hurt. And strength then becomes equated with not showing weakness–weakness of course being tears. Cracks.

Weakness, then, is associated with hurt feelings. With saying “ouch.” With showing that something hurt. 

Gradually we lock these things away, or we’re told to lock these things away, or maybe I am the only person who somehow took from life and the messages around me that I was supposed to toughen up or shake it off and to not let things get to me.

But me,

I….am emotional. I just am. I have been for 26 years. And you know what? Things get to me.

And although I’ve been living, I’ve also been watching, observing, thinking, feeling,asking, knowing, and one of the things I’ve realized is how strong a person you have to be in order to make it through life and remain sensitive.

You have to be ferocious to make it through life as a sensitive person, because you will encounter a lot of life experiences and you will have no clue how to handle some of the things you encounter and it will seem like the easiest way to stop the hurt and prevent future hurt is to go numb and close yourself off.

Well I don’t know what my deal is, maybe it’s my artistic temperment, because I have tried to go numb over and over but I just can’t stop feeling. And then I read something Osho wrote, which was that in the dichotomy of life and death, feeling–sensitivity–is alive. Numb is how you deaden yourself. It takes a supremely sensitive person to experience the wonder of every moment, and when you’re experiencing the wonder of every moment you’re not just breathing. You’re living.

But it’s hard, because when you’re sensitive you feel, and (for a while at least, until you achieve mastery [he says]) those feelings include pain.

And this is where people get lost, because pain sucks and is hard. People don’t generally want to walk through hot coals–they walk around hot coals. Or else they scuff up the bottoms of their feet to the point where they’re deadened with calluses and dirt and whatnot–then they give this seeming show of strength, but they’ve destroyed their mode of transport through life in the process. And then reviving them is even more painful.

It takes truly rare, truly enlightened person to experience those coals, to embrace them, and to eventually transcend them. It is achieving the impossible. And only the strongest of the strong achieve the impossible.

Quote

Rx…

Rx

repeat these words twice daily, and whenever necessary: brave does not mean being unafraid. brave means doing it anyway.

Arms out

Yesterday I had a talk with my dear friend K, who is off living her dreams and conquering the world. She was asking me about when I was going to live my dreams and conquer the world. My answer was of course 

“I dunno, I dunno, I dunno. Soon? I think I may have to wait.”

But one of my favorite things about K is that she is really really good at knocking down excuses, and really good at encouraging you to just cut the crap and follow your dreams.

So I just sucked it up and promised that I would be in Asia in no more than three weeks. Then I put my car for sale on Craigslist.

It was hard. I have been hesitant to do it because…I don’t know. It’s…it’s just mine. It’s my last vestige of…I don’t know. Being independent. Once I sell that car then I am fully trusting….really, my mom to let me borrow her car. But also…how do I articulate it? After that, I quite concretely have no way out. No transportation. I’m stripped bare and am totally out there, fully committed to making this travel dream come true.

Because why else would I sell it, except to get the money to spend on travel?

I’ve had a rough history with cars–this is really the first one I’ve owned that’s just been everything that I’ve ever wanted in a car, and that has afforded me just so much peace of mind. And freedom. Not owning a car shrinks your world to places you can walk/bike to, or else you’re dependent on somebody else. I’m already swallowing my pride by moving back in with my mom–I really don’t want to have to depend on folks for driving. 

But, you know what they say.

When you’re refusing to let something out, that means you’re blocking something from coming in.

When you’ve got your hand closed around something, no one can put anything in it.

I promised K that I would be in Asia in no more than three weeks, and I put my car on Craigslist. And about two hours later, I got my Notice of Appointment.

And in the span of about a day, I’ve had about 10 people contact me about this car.

And then I got my heavy jacket that I ordered especially for Korea–the one that I have been waiting to arrive the entire month.

It all came snowballing in during the course of one day, and the only thing I can think is that when I surrendered, when I let that last bit go, it opened me up to receive.

Of course some can argue for coincidence,

but I prefer that freaky space $#*t

An open letter to the last one who broke my heart

Dear You,

Although I have no reason  to believe you read this blog, I hope you see this. C’me on universe.

Last night, I was talking to someone. It was hushed tones, late-night, that talk you talk when you’re getting to know someone who might be someone new. I was intoxicated from a night spent jumping, laughing, dancing, and hyperventilating from the crowd. He was just intoxicated.

I told him about my past, and now my past includes you, and I told him about my past and you in a way that surprised myself. I have struggled to make the best of my past experiences, but for the most part I have straddled the line between bitter and ashamed. Bitter at the external, ashamed at/of myself. This time, though, I told him of my things and I told him about you, and I surprised myself. I told him that with you, it hurt so badly that I had to heal, and as I said it, I realized it was true.

Like a young daredevil, I was careless with my heart, and it got broken a few times. Like a leg that was never set, it healed enough to function, but it still hurt when I walked on it. Or when it rained. Then came you. You were the one who broke my heart again, only this time it got set, it got put in a cast, and it is well on its way to healing properly.

I know that I loved you, short time that we were, inappropriate that it was, speeding bullet, oncoming train, clear and beautiful disaster that it all turned out to be, because it rocked me to my core. I am not the same after you.

Before you, I was angry. I was bitter. I felt stupid. I was lost. I was careless with my heart because I was unaware of how precious it was. If this was a different type of letter, here is where I would add the “hence why I gave it to you” clause, but that is not this. Some things you just can’t control. You were my force of nature.

But when it ended between us, it hurt. It hurt so badly that I had no choice but to go to the places I was most afraid to explore within, to say to myself the things that I was burying, hiding from, talking over. It forced me to look at myself, to listen, and to be honest with myself. I slowly learned to trust myself.

I don’t understand why my spirit recognized itself in yours, but I do know that what that gave me was so pure and utterly good that nothing could fill the space your absence created except for all of my wildest dreams, and so I fulfilled them. I chased them relentlessly after you, and now I’m on my way to teach English in Korea, something I have been scared of for years. But I can do it, because I backpacked in Guatemala. And I went after that experience as a part of filling that space that your absence created.

A psychic told me you realized you made a mistake in leaving me. My ego hopes that’s true. She also told me that you would never be happy in a relationship because you didn’t know how. The very best part of me hopes that’s not. You helped to reinvigorate me. My experience with you showed me how truly beautiful being happy with someone is, however brief. I hope that you find that again one day. It is worth the risk, a thousand times over. The only thing I would change about you and me is that if I could do it again, I would be more honest. Something like that deserves to be experienced fully, because it can never truly be denied.

sincerely,

bravely,

bryoneyh

p.s.: I am also equally OK with you not reading this letter

 

Self Control

Sarah started by wanting to control herself, and so she did everything in her power to prevent emotional disruption to her stasis. This meant whittling down her contacts to only those who were neither upsetting, nor surprising, because even a surprise results in a blip.

Sarah soon found that simply asking unpredictable folks not to call her wasn’t enough, so she blocked all whom she found to be disruptive from facebook, from her cell, from gchat, from her life, until finally all who called were those whom she could count on to not called,

And that was fine with her.

But soon Sarah realized that leaving the house could be disruptive, because every time she left to run an errand, something happened that she couldn’t control. There was the medical emergency on the metro rails that set her train 10 minutes behind and caused her to miss yoga; Sarah found this to be very upsetting, and so yoga soon had to go. There was the traffic jam at the outside rush-hour time that caused Sarah to have to wait to get to the restaurant to pick up dinner and get back, which Sarah found to be the source of a spike in her blood pressure and a drop in her blood sugar, both of which could lead to long-term chronic illness, and so they had to go.

And that was fine with her.

Sarah spent her time in her house from that point on, as the fear of life outside took over. Car accidents, muggers, sudden snowstorms, new people—all of these became things that Sarah couldn’t control, causes for blips, cases for her to stay inside, and Sarah lived inside of them, using them as reasons to cling to the center of her carefully-cultivated life.

And that was fine with her.

One day, while Sarah was carrying her laptop downstairs, she lost her footing and fell down the last three steps. She dropped her laptop, and the screen cracked when it crashed to the ground, and she fell on her butt, which caused a massive bruise.

Sarah realized that even in her home, there were things she could not control, and that stairs were a massive liability. And so she decided to stay only upstairs, as this would be the greatest protection against a staircase’s unpredictable agenda.

And that was fine with her.

Sarah spent her time between her bedroom and bathroom, until one day she slipped in the shower. This time when she crashed to the bottom of the tub, she felt foolish. Water, ceramic, soap. How could she not have seen such a slippery combination coming? She knew there was only one solution, and that was to stay in her room.

And that was fine with her.

But even in her room, Sarah found that there were dangers—pizza boxes, dirty laundry, phone chargers and laptop cords were a veritable landmine in what was supposed to be her safe haven. And so she realized that the only safe place was in her bed.

And that was fine with her.

 

The Silent Period

In language acquisition, before you begin to speak in your new language, you go through a period where you just listen.

This is called a silent period, and it is a very real thing (at least according to high school students and Krashen). During this period, you are absorbing the language; you are absorbing its grammar and vocabulary, and your mind is putting it together.

Eventually,

speech will emerge.

That’s what this period in my life feels like. A silent period.

Quite literally.

My documents are in for Korea. There is nothing for me to do regarding that particular avenue but watch, and wait.

Now is not the time for speech.

I was asked this weekend whether I’d received my Master’s Degree (the physical paper copy) yet, and my answer was no. There, too, I am waiting. I thought to myself in that moment that January 2013 would come to be known as the Lost Month for me, because I have done nothing but watch,

and wait.

This weekend I got my tarot read and the lady basically told me that all of my hopes and dreams would soon come to fruition. I know that it’s tarot and not a signed check, but the things she said echoed what I feel in my gut pretty strongly. Still, tonight as I was putting dishes away, I multitasked by going through what she told me and finding reasons to doubt her. And my gut. 

That’s when it occurred to me that maybe January 2013 is not the Lost Month, but the month where I finally learn how to have some real faith. When you’re learning a new language it is frustrating, and it is slow, and you doubt that you’re learning. And then there is this entire period (according to some theorists, anyway) where it seems like nothing is happening. You’re memorizing cards and you’re reading second-language newspapers and watching second-language movies, but you still can’t hold a conversation. 

So what do you do?

Some people get frustrated and give up and they never acquire their second language. Others keep pushing through their frustration,

And eventually speech emerges.

Maybe January 2013 is my silent period. Maybe now is the time to stay faithful because very soon my dreams will emerge.