Life in Japan | Begin Where You Are

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Mito, Ibaraki, Japan. Weather: Rainy.

I’m sitting in one of the many cafés I consider a second home, watching passersby struggling with or embracing the rain. It’s Sunday morning and early enough that the late night clubgoers are still heading home. I am in awe of the high schoolers heading off to club activities and the salarymen who are likely heading to work some more. An obaachan holds on to her umbrella for dear life, her hands look gnarled yet strong and her bent back has seen its fair share of field labour of potato and rice harvesting, I imagine. That’s right, I am imagining, imagining the lives of the many people who happen by and who will likely remain unaware of my observation. What about my own life?

Recently, I have taken another step, shifting away from simply observing to taking action. A life lived in limbo is a life left on pause. I decided it was time to press my play button and see what happens. It’s a wild yet freeing feeling. I am learning to make peace with who I am and where I am in my life. Beginning where I am as who I am…what a crazy notion, at least for me. And it all began with a simple question: who would I have been if [insert whatever traumatic experience] didn’t happen?

Upon waking, I thank the universe that I have another opportunity to continue on this interesting journey called life. I am grateful for my breathing because I know that I am here. I make my bed with pleasure. I stretch for a moment and then clean my apartment…and then stretch some more. My body still feels heavy because of old experiences and thought patterns. However, I am feeling lighter in my heart and body as each day passes. I make a simple breakfast and lunch–I am practicing letting go of greed. I am letting go of suffering.

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Actions taken without worry, without the nagging inner critic or concern for the outer critics. This is the type of life that I am creating…and it is empowering. I am learning how to listen to feedback, whether from self or others, nonjudgmentally, taking from it what I find necessary for self-improvement and letting go of the rest. Freeing myself from the suffering of shame, the feeling of being inherently wrong as a human being, is my work now. I have discovered that my mind left without self-compassion is a dark and seemingly unruly place. I have also discovered that I am not my mind, nor am I my body. I am who I am.

Understanding that I am and am not has been crucial to pressing the play button on my life. I can observe the parts of myself, my mind and my body, with curiosity and then with intention. How shall I shape my mind to think? How shall I shape my body to move? My mind is my canvas, and I am the painter. My body is my clay, and I am the sculptor. In this way, I am choosing to move forward with my life.

Recently, a friend shared with me her knowledge of kintsugi (金継ぎ) or kintsukuroi (金繕い), the Japanese art of mending broken pottery using gold, silver, or platinum. She said to me that she thought that it was a lovely metaphor for when we are feeling broken in our lives and trying to mend ourselves. That is, that we can choose how we mend those places in which we have experienced hurt, to make those places and our overall sense more beautiful and stronger in the process.

So, in letting go of suffering, taking action in our lives through acknowledging ourselves, not just as mind and body, we can begin where we are on our journey and heal those places in which we have experienced hurt. We can begin creating new paths to an authentic self.

Have a beautiful day today and every day.

D.

This morning I woke up

This morning I woke up. The sounds of the day seeped through my rain-streaked windows. My body, chilled by perimenopausal night sweats, ached. I am used to discomfort.

This morning I woke up. And a thought came while I was busying myself, making my bed, shelving books and listening to the ding of my phone:

what if this is it?

If we make it through arduous task of materializing our existence and passing through the narrow canal of our mothers, we say to this world,

“I am here.”

For some who come to meet us, our arrival is enough. That we are here. That we made the journey safely is enough.

“You are here.”

I woke up this morning, you see. I glanced at social media, which tries to inform me that my life should be valued by percentages of views.

Your views are up 5% from yesterday. Your views are down -17% from last week.

I wonder when it begins, this messaging that what you do and…

You are not enough.

Is it the silent thought burning in hearts and minds of some of those who come to greet us on our first day in this world?

Is it in comparisons heard at home and school as we move through childhood?

Is it now at work?

It’s still morning. And, as I wrote, I woke up, perhaps again. I wondered, what if this life that I have lived and am living were my entirety.

Is it enough?

It is. And it isn’t.

There is much that I would still like to do while I am here. Still, I am done with having to prove my value. I have arrived at this point, without uncertainty:

I am here. I am enough.

Poetry| This face.

Self-portrait, 2020
This face.
You don’t want to see my face.  This face.  
This face that I wear in delight, in sadness, in fear, and in madness.
This face that speaks of African roots so deep that the depth leaves you shaking.
This face that will not and cannot apologize for not blending in with your expectations.
  
You don’t want to see my face. This face.
This face that stares at you in bewilderment when you reach out to touch my hair,
when you reach out to share your advice of how to get rid of my unproductive nappy care. 
This face that wonders who the hell and where the hell you think you are, trying to trample on my space,
  
acting like I’m part of some petting zoo 
or some wild animal to tame and, of course, then later temporarily woo.
  
You don’t want to see my face. This face.
This face that has learned how to smile after years of shaming:
big lips, five-finger forehead, high cheek bones, and broad nose, but no collarbones.
Too thick, too thin, too dark, too light, sounds too white, but never too white enough, for whom?
  
Too aggressive, too talkative, too loud, 
too strong, too proud, too much, but not enough, but again for whom?
  
For whom? This face
  
is a reminder of historical shame, yours not mine. 
Be you White or Black, curious or well-meaning, ignorant or misguided,
Privileged or desiring to be, above the glass ceiling or below it, 
jumping on the diversity bandwagon or barely hanging off of it…
  
This face that is mine 
that wears upon its crown a halo of my ancestry, 
this face that is mine 
that wears upon its lines the wisdom of my struggle,
 
neither seeks nor needs approval, 
neither recognizes nor considers status,
neither looks to nor looks from behind you, 
neither looks up to nor even beside you. 

Another day, another step

Tokyo, view from express train, 2021

Forward.

Isn’t that the way we should go?

Nostalgia.

Isn’t that what we need to let go?

We cannot live in what has yet to be and can no longer stay in what has already been.

I am digging in yet resolving to keep moving…

forward.

I am confronting and honouring my scars.

Nostalgia,

when did it become so unpalatable?

– D

On silence, healing fibromyalgia, dealing with narcissism, and learning a whole heck of a lot about myself

First, thank you to my followers, both new and old, for continuing to bless me with your support.  I have not been around much, nor have I posted much of anything personal. Still, you continue to stick with me. Thank you!

 

“If you have nothing [nice] to say…”

Over the past year and a half, my life has changed dramatically. Some of those changes were good, others were not so good. Still, I try my best to take changes as they come, learn from them what I can and keep taking steps towards achieving my goals. In my opinion, that’s the most effective approach to living my life.

Part of the process of accepting change is observing change. And I truly believe that observation is a silent process. It’s hard to observe and act at the same time–at least it is to me.

So, I’ve been in observation mode, mostly observing myself and my reactions and actions in dealing with myself in my environment, as well as just the environment itself. I’ve spent a lot of time in my head and subsequently in my body, i.e. I’ve been sorting through my mental blocks (negative self-talk/thinking) and how they impact my health and prevent me from quickly reaching my most important goals.

On the subject of health: I’m glad to state that my health has been truly awesome, and that my fibromyalgia symptoms have diminished significantly. I’ve had fewer flares, fibrofog moments and have been getting enough normal/restful sleep (between 7-9 hours). Also, I’ve been walking for about 1 hour almost daily and have recently started the BeachBody On-Demand 30-Day Free Trial that has a great deal of exercise programs for people of all levels.  If you have fibromyalgia and are interested in starting or improving an exercise program, I would say check it out because it allows for you to select programs by type: cardio, muscle building, less than 30 minutes, slim and tone, dance, low impact, and yoga. Personally, I am sticking with less than 30 minutes, low impact, dance and yoga.

I think my greatest challenge is that I consume news and, as a person of colour, it stresses me out…then again, who isn’t stressed when watching the news. Still, it’s important to stay informed, and I try to do so without being inundated.

So, what have I learned during my silence? A whole heck of a lot. Here is a list:

So, that’s it. It’s good to be writing again.

Until Next Time,

D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #109-Hope&Up

When Now

Trees will remember

our failures, centuries

passing like seconds.

-db

Haiku Poetry Prompt Writing Challenge Useful Links. Thesaurus: Hope, Up. HowManySyllables.com Thesaurus.com   The Guidelines are simple. Take the two words and write a Haiku. I use Haiku in En…

Source: RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #109-Hope&Up

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #107 Pie&Dust

Blueberry Pie

There are certain things

that remain storybook art.

I have yet to taste.

-db

 

Remember to come back and visit the comments section during the week for your fellow poets entries! Haiku Poetry Prompt Writing Challenge Useful Links. Thesaurus: Pie, Dust. HowManySyllables.com Th…

Source: RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #107 Pie&Dust

Poetry: Black Drops

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Black drops

Cold black drops, rain now,

cry now, then sleep, dream not, cold

black drops, cold black drops.

-db

 

 

Flash Fiction: After the Convenience Store

 

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Sometimes you run without knowing why.

At least, that’s what I said while being interrogated. Hours must have passed already since I ran from the convenience store, smoked that final I-plan-to-quit cigarette, threw my bloodstained t-shirt in a random dumpster, and counted the cash that was now being called “evidence.”  The thing is, I’d stopped running a few times in between there and here.

-db

Word count: 64

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #104 Dazzle&Sky

 

Dream of nightfall

“Why bother to rise?”

I asked the sun, still smiling, 

drenched by summer’s heat.

 

I wander mind-fields,

pick thought-petals, have lunch, sleep

under the old oak

 

tree without worry,

with the sky protecting me,

I dream of nightfall.

 

-db

 

 

 

 

 

Prompt Words: Dazzle & Sky. 

Source: RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #104 Dazzle&Sky