Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Writing can be a way of healing

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/overcoming-child-abuse/201103/writing-and-healing

A couple nights ago, my daughter told me that she has started writing a story, using my old MacBook pro. I set it up on her desk in her room the night before when she asked me if she could borrow my old mac.  Her little confession was a bit of surprise for me because I thought she wanted to use the Mac for net surfing or something.  She used to read a lot and at one point she wanted to be a writer.  It is funny how my wish passed on to her - I once wanted to be a writer, a published writer. But recently her future plan often alters. One day she wants to be a dancer and next day she wants to be a singer. Then the next day, she wants to be a student for the rest of her life. I am glad that she finds potential in herself every day!

This time, I do not think her motivation to start writing is not to be a writer. I suspect it might be similar to what I am doing. Writing has a healing effect. I am not talking about writing a literature or academic research paper which generally add more stress. I am talking about personal narratives like a diary or a blog that do not require a high level of storyline or coherency. Perhaps blogs serve various purposes depending on the author of the blog. In fact, my blog is mainly for my daughter and myself to read in our future, especially when we feel lost. If there are anyone who shares our sentiments and findings, that would be my extreme pleasure. Yet, it is just an extra goody. I am not a professional writer nor talented. When I think of readers in general, I get intimidated and my pen will be frozen. I try not to be as self-conscious as possible here. I just imagine myself in a small cosy study, writing my diary or more like a letter to my daughter from time to time.

Anyway, if she finds a healing effect in writing, it is definitely a good news for her because she is at one of the most challenging periods of her life. She is n the senior year in her high school which means she has to deal with the notorious entrance exam for university. The peer and social pressure gets the highest in the last year in high school. I vividly remember the period. It was awful. Can you imagine a classroom with full of insecure teenagers under extreme stress? I could not take the stress and started skipping classes in my final year which was one of the worst mistakes. I learned there was no short cut nor an easier way to pursue your goal. You think you can dodge your fear or stress, yet you can't escape from your disappointments forever. It will haunt you until you really face it. Once you face your fear, pressure, self-consciousness, ego or whatever caused the setback, you will be on the path of liberation. The liberation from your own guilts, regrets, fear, and even self-consciousness. The acceptance, compassion, and even self-love won't be achieved without reconciling with these notorious sentiments. Writing generally support the path of liberation.

Well, I am in a bit pensive mood this morning. Perhaps I've got a bit of serious tone. But I wish that she could enjoy the process of writing and keep on doing to get through one of the most notorious periods of her life.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

2017 New year resolution

On the first day in 2017, I was going to write my new year resolution. But my relatives came unexpectedly earlier than I expected, so my busy day started without finishing the first blog on the first day. Since then it's been more than a week and today is the last day of the winter holiday, which means busy days will begin from tomorrow. What have I done during the winter holiday? Chatting with my daughter, shopping, checking SNS, posting some pics on Facebook, partying with some friends and my family, cooking for my family, doing trampoline, jogging, reading a bit, cleaning, planning for some new projects, writing an abstract for a research project, discussing about the potential projects, watching some movies and TV shows and scratching my head a lot (as usual). From the list of things I've done, I can say it was a peaceful, joyful and a bit fruitful holiday except the first medical check-up which was unbelievably painless and easy. But the possibility of having a seriously bad result got me concerned and very philosophical on the previous night. I seriously tried to figure out what to do if I won't be allowed to run like a headless chicken (this was how I felt last year) anymore. I really don't mind working since I was on a long vacation as a student. I, of course, worked a bit, but only one third or fourth of what I did last year. Last year, I didn't have time to go crazy except some moments of absolute irritation towards my own incapacity to handle everything gracefully. Like I said, I looked and acted like a headless chicken, running around the campuses and home with something in my hand - mainly a pen or a spatula. What really irritated me was this image of myself in a panic state without any grace at all. The slow lifestyle I had in the last couple of decades spoiled my mind and I need to train it to be sharper and faster to deal with multitasks at hand. My strategy to tackle this sluggish and forgetful mind issue is to work something with other brilliant minds. It is said, "Two heads are better than one." But collaboration has its own challenges as it requires more communications and compromises. If you are not a team-worker, it might cause you a lot of stress. I see myself as an individual worker like my education and occupation shows- I am a school owner / a part-time lecturer-researcher and took a distance-learning course for my B.A. & M.A. But having worked with other teachers, I realized how empowering teamwork can be. So, it is my resolution: Collaborate with others. Fortunately, there are so many generous people in this world who do not mind working with this headless chicken with no grace. They kindly think I am a unique individual with potential. Ten years ago, I would hesitate to depend on those people's kindness, generosity and talents, but having lived a half century with some minor yet numerous health issues, I feel I can't afford to hesitate anymore. I don't know much, but I know one thing: Every moment creates my future. If I'd like to imagine myself working and living among those who live wholeheartedly pursuing their own life purpose a decade later, I've got to start to live like them NOW. 

Thanks for reading this far. May this year be harmonious and adventurous for you!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Momo

She is the loudest kid in your school. She is often late for the first-period class and came into your class with sleepy eyes and messy hair. She sometimes got some bread crumbs around her mouth. She is so clumsy that she hits against tables, chairs and sometimes even doors and gets little bruises all over her body. She laughs a lot, but she does not like showing her tears. She gets cranky when she faces something heartbreaking incidents. She always ends up taking jobs or responsibilities that nobody wants to take, but she does her best for the others. She always the one who raises her hand when nobody else does in class because the teacher looks troubled. Yet she does not turn in her homework on time unless the teacher forced her to do.  She forgets all the important notifications from school. She is a pain in the neck when it comes to organising. Her room and mind are always messy. She is so forgetful that she always forget helps she offered and the money that she lends to her friends. But she never forgets the helps her friends gave her and hates to borrow any money from her friends. If she does not have enough money to take a train, she will walk even it takes more than an hour. She gets carried away like a little child and her laughter can be annoying. But she is the one who stays with you when you are in trouble. She also listens to her friends even when she is extremely busy. She might look aloof from time to time because she is also a teenager and got some problems that she can't solve. She might look a terrible student with attitude in class because she sees something unfair and unreasonable in her eyes. She is Not perfect at all, but she has a warm heart which adores others and always tries to see things in your perspectives. She is quite slow and makes you upset when she replies to your question so late. But she often has sleepless night trying to find the best answer for you. She often stays up all night thinking the best birthday present for her friends and her family. She keeps all the letters and postcards she has ever gotten. Her desk drawers are filled with those old photos, letters, postcards and even notes. She still sleeps with the stuffed animals and dolls she got when she was little. She packed a hair dryer, irons and other "essentials" (cosmetics) for girls to her school trip leaving no room for her underwears. She spent all of her first salary from the part-time job to buy presents for her family. She enjoys giving Christmas presents to her family. She never forgets birthdays of her family even her dad she has not met for 15 years. She never stops thinking about his happiness. Yes, she is the one who stands in front of the classroom with beaming smile on her face and sits at the back of the room with watery eyes when unfortunate events take place on her classmates.

Her name is Momo. She always wishes to get to know you and become your friend. Your smiles and appreciations fill her heart and keep her going forward when she is in trouble. Your presence comforts her heart when she misses her dad who left her 15 years ago. She has no brothers or sisters. She is a warmhearted girl who can make a best and loyal friend. She deserves love like you do. She deserves to be loved not only by her mum but also by so many of you. She really does.


Friday, 16 September 2016

Surreal

On my first day in Fall semester, I felt refreshed and ready to go back to work. I looked forward to seeing the familiar faces of students. But something was different in me. Suddenly, the familiar views on the street, in the train, teacher's room, and classroom looked surreal. Then I realised it happened again. It is a recurrent weird experience I have from time to time. As a child, I often had this surreal feeling and got so scared on the way back home or on the way to school. The sky, the air, and the whole familiar neighbourhood looked somehow different and foreign to me when it happened. It was nothing but surreal. I loved it when I could view the whole town in a dreamy perspective, but then I got scared because of the confusion I felt when I tried to make sense out of it. It never made sense at all. I have no idea where this strange view coming from. I can function as whoever I am supposed to be while it is happening. I can walk, talk, and act like myself while it is happening as if the interactions with familiar people bring me back to the reality. But when I am surrounded by unfamiliar faces or alone, everything looked unreal and foreign. The shapes are the same, yet the sizes and colors look different. Everything looks wider and vague as if I am dreaming while it is happening.

After the surreal day, I was exhausted and desperate to see the familiar faces, my partner and daughter. I know when I see their faces everything makes sense to me again. The anchor used to be the face of my grandma. I used to feel so relieved and safe when I saw her face and the big smile with the "Okaeri" (Welcome back home). At the exit of the station, I looked for the familiar face which was supposed to meet me there. But I was a little bit earlier than he got to the station. 

"Oh-oh." 

I needed to calm myself down because of the intense anxiety this surreal day brought to me. 

"Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. He will be here in a second."

I tried to go into the bakery I usually go at the station, but the freshly baked awesome smell of bread could not be the anchor. So, I rushed out of the bakery and found the familiar face in the England shirt, hesitantly smiling and waving at me. 

"Phew"

Everything looked familiar and real again. The same shape, size, colour and smell. 

"Home again."





Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Mama challenge on my 50th birthday


Yup. I won't hide it. In fact, I tell ya with a certain pride. I am officially 50! Half century I have survived. In the 60s when I was born, the life expectancy was about 50 years old according to Wikipedia. So, the rest of my life is like an extra gift. This thought liberates me more than ever. Of course, I need to survive for at least 3 years until my daughter officially becomes 20. 

Anyway, when my daughter was in a primary school, I read this book about homeschooling and learned Jewish wisdom. Master another language, one sport and one music instrument to lead a fulfilling life. It sounded convincing. I haven't mastered, but English is my second language. Yoga can be considered as a sport. I used to play the piano as a kid, but I failed to continue and I am not interested in starting to play again. the guitar has been the one I wish I could play and tried numerous times to learn how to play. But my life has been way too interesting than learning how to play the guitar so far. Learning a new trick like that takes time and perseverance. I did not have what it takes before. But now, I started seeking how to entertain myself on my own and I believe it is time to try that again. 

After hours of research, I found this ideal model for this inpatient absolute beginner. This guitar was specifically designed for a person like me. I truly hope this will be a lifetime friendship with acoustic guitar, one of my favourite musical instruments. With all the tools, I gotta set up a stage for myself to keep my motivation. I've got some ideas right now, but this idea will be another story to tell. 

Monday, 12 September 2016

At the end of summer 2016

Summer 2016, for the first time in years, I took a full month off from work, except Mama duties. Mama duties are usually housework including preparing bento lunch for my daughter. But this summer I had to drive her to the nearby station and pick her up around midnight a few times a week for her dance gig rehearsals. Oh, boy! It was physically and financially demanding. I am so glad that I've got a job that can support her doing what she really loves. In Tokyo, you can get pretty much every product, but nothing is free of charge. Even maternal love can cost a high expectation. I have no question about the value of my daughter's presence on this planet. I believe she's got some missions to complete like I do. Not so many people are aware of their missions and she has not found it yet. But I have no question about she's here to share her precious life with people she loves. I'm not sure how big her mission is, but it is something unique and something Momo will love doing. When she does it, she would feel fulfilled and right. As a mum, my ultimate goal is to support her when she needs in order to find it, her mission or a purpose of her life if you like. But I admit I expect too much sometimes. I sometimes forget she is who she is. She is a unique individual. She is not me. We share so many common traits as human, yet she is not me. Especially when thigs are heck tick, I get stressed out and forget one of my essential missions in this life: Momo's mum. Someone who loves her unconditionally no matter what. I do love her but sometimes unconditional part can be distracted by my own ego or unreasonable expectations. I remember as a teen, wondering how come my own mum loves me unconditionally like my grandma did. Perhaps she did but she was worried about me and thus tried to overprotect me. This kind of behaviour can be mistaken as denial. It took me quite a while to get over or realise she does not deny my existence. So, for my daughter, I try to support her as much as possible without overprotecting her. I admit, I have not found the best middle ground between protections and freedom. All I can do is to hope that she will understand my intention. Perhaps she does and the birthday present she bought for me was a token that she understands my struggles and appreciate my presence in her life as well. Let me believe that. Let me indulge in the thought for a while since it is the end of summer.

Being a mum is such a challenging experience for me because I was spoilt as a kid and became very self-conscious, self-absorbed and self-destructive. Especially, the last trait got me in so many troubles and took me so long time to realise what my mission might be. Thanks to influential people in my earlier life, I became aware of the negative traits and tried to overcome them. I still have a lot of faults, yet a bit better than I used to be. On top of my personal struggles to be better, fulfilling mum's role is not so easy. I am far from my ideal mum who is so understanding and compassionate, yet fun to be around. The failure to be the ideal mum got me irritated and stressed out from time to time and ironically say and do something mean-spirited to my beloved daughter. I wish I could take a deep breath before I cast such words. Well, in spite of my faults, she is becoming a person who is capable of seeking the purpose of her life and doing her best to get it done. I am sure about this much more than before now.

Last night, in my car, as I drove her back home from her dance practice around midnight, I heard her mumbling, "Ah, it was a great summer." At the moment, I felt fulfilled. Such a moment empowers this silly mum to be the best she can.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Mary and Tooth Fairy

Once upon a time there was a girl, not so little anymore. She was rather big. More like very big in terms of her age. In fact, she had lived more than a half-century. More like she was in her seventies. But she was a girl at heart and thought, "Finally, I am in my luckiest age. 70's! I wonder what is going to happen! What shall I do? "

When other people in her age talked about illness, forgetfulness, hopelessness, depressions, and other issues they had on a daily basis, she did not say a word but thought to herself, "My teeth are getting loose and my memory is getting more selective. But I still have heaps of wishes." With the thought, she could not help smiling. People looked at her, saying nothing but as soon as she left, they went, "Did you see her smiling? She is a nut case, isn't she? She needs to be checked. She has been a bit awkward, but now she is really out there."  and laughed so hard that she could hear them. Guess what she thought? She thought, "How sweet! They are laughing. They must have found something amusing to talk about."

Oh, yes! She was a happy girl. I mean she was a jolly ol' girl. In fact, she never had a question about fairies. For her, they were one of those "normal" things that others talked about. They were as real as things like the air, water, the sun, the moon and love. You may not see or feel all the time, but you don't question about their presence, do you? I am not certain about the fairies, to be honest. Well, this is a story about this big girl, not me. She believed the presence of fairies so much so she could see and feel them. When others called her a liar, she didn't say a thing, but thought to herself, "Poor things. They can't see the fairies, can they? I am a lucky one." and smiled. They looked at her, saying nothing, but as soon as she left, they went, "Did you see her smiling? She is a nut case, isn't she? She needs to be checked. She has been a bit awkward, but now she is really out there."  and laughed so hard that she could hear them. Now you, the smart readers know what she thought. Indeed, she thought, "How sweet! They are laughing. They must have found something amusing to talk about."

One day, she had mixed nuts for her after-dinner nibble. She loved nuts and often thought she could live only with nuts. But then the list of her favourite food went on and on. "Oops, I should not forget the ice cream...oh...chocolate...veggies...cereals...oh!!!cheese! I can't live without cheese. And curry, fruits..." Yes, she was a big fan of food. Anyway, as she nibbled on her, more accurately, one of the favorites, she felt something strange in her mouth. She touched one of her teeth and it was loose. She got annoyed by the change and touched it again. That was when it came out. "Oh-oh," said she. "I gotta tell this to the tooth fairy."

She became forgetful, but she still remembered what her mum had told her when she was a little girl.
She knew all it takes to call tooth fairy was to call. "Hi, Tooth fairy. I know it's been a quite long time since I talked to you last time. I hope you remember me. Ummm...one of my big teeth came out tonight. Not those baby teeth. Would you please tell me what to do with it? Shall I put it underneath of my pillow like I did when my baby teeth came out?" said she and waited for the tooth fairy. She waited for a couple of minutes, but nothing happened. That's when she realised one thing, "Oh, I don't mean to ask you for a coin. I have my pension coming in monthly and got a small and cosy house. I've got my little garden and books to read. I got some lovely friends. I've got everything I need. So, I don't need a coin from you anymore. I don't mean to upset you with my demand or anything. " said she and waited for another minute. But she heard nothing and at the moment she gave up on talking to the tooth fairy, she heard this little bump and a little voice, "Auch!" from her bedroom. She rushed in there and there she found the fairy under the bedside lamp. The tooth fairy was stroking her head. "Are you okay?" asked she.
"Oh, hi, Mary. Long time, no see." smiled the fairy.
"Oh, you even remember my name? How sweet of you!"
"How can I forget my favourite little girl who always tell me a story of each baby tooth you lost!"
"Did I? ummm...I don't remember telling you stories at all."
"Of course, you don't. You were a little girl." giggled the fairy.
"Could you remind me of the stories?"
"Well, that's the thing. I am getting forgetful as well and I don't know if I remember all the stories correctly. But I can tell you the one. Poo poo one because it was so cute and funny that I laughed all night long."
"Emm...poo poo one? Well... I think I will skip it. Thanks."
The fairy was a bit cheekier than she expected.
"Ok. Then, I will tell you what you can do with the tooth you lost today. " The fairy stretched her back and said more formally in a good ol' fairy tone.
"Sweet!" smiled she.
"Well, first of all...ah...wait a sec...first of all...what was it?"
The tooth fairy looked up in the air and mumbled some phrases as she shook her head in disbelief.
"Something wrong, Tooth fairy?"
"Well, I become forgetful about things like what to do with the big tooth. People hardly ask me this question. Perhaps a century ago, a big girl like you asked me. So, I haven't thought about it for a long time." said the fairy and looked up in the air for a while.
"Aha!" screamed the fairy and went, "Ok. A big girl like you can make a wish. You are not so unreasonable like those little ones. You can wish something reasonable thing. "

Well, the readers, I did not know if even fairies get forgetful. But I guess living centuries, they also need to get rid of some memories.

"A wish!" she thought, "What do I wish? I have everything I want..."
She thought about it for a while and said to the fairy,
"May I think about it for a while? I will let you know when I have a wish. Is that ok?"
"Of course, girl. Let me know when you have a wish." answered the fairy and went out.

She thought about a wish for days and months. The fairy was right. It was not an easy task to have a wish when you were happy with what you had. She thought about it every single day and when she met others at the market, she asked, "Do you have a wish?"
"A wish? well, I got heaps of WISHES. I'd like to have my health and youth back. I'd like to go travelling around the world with this gorgeous ship. "
The wishes seemed endless and she thought to herself, "The fairy was wrong in this matter. Big girls got unreasonable wishes as well." and smiled. People looked at her, saying nothing but as soon as she left, they went, "Did you see her smiling? She is a nut case, isn't she? She needs to be checked. She has been a bit awkward, but now she is really out there."  and laughed so hard that she could hear them. My smart readers should know by now what she thought.

Yes, Indeed. She thought, "How sweet! They are laughing. They must have found something amusing to talk about." Then "Aha!" screamed she, "I wish others found something amusing to talk about!"

then she called the fairy, "Tooth fairy, I got my wish! I wish my neighbours got amusing topics to talk about! I love their laughter. It would be  nice to hear that more often!"
"Oh dear, girl. You don't change. You are always my sweet girl. Please stay who you are. You will have your wish, girl."
She heard the words of the fairy and smiled, "Thank you so much!"
"My pleasure as always."

Well, my lovely readers. Probably you are thinking like me. I would have asked the fair a world travel by a gorgeous ship or something. But you know that's why I may have lost contact with the fairies now. If I can ever think and look at the world like the big girl did, I might be able to find the fairies again. Wouldn't that be nice to see them?