The Quantum Leap Journal #8; 5/10/14
05/14/2014 § Leave a comment
I’m having trouble keeping up with this journal, so Im just going to write down a few of the highlights:
Stupid Letter from my Auntie! My Narci Moms twin sister; they’re both 84 going on 85. If my moms a narci, what does that make her? I dont know. Anyway, she keeps reaching out to me to come back into the fold, the whole dysfunctional mess, and when I say I dont want to she doesnt even hear it. Because she’s been pushing, I made the case in my last letter that knowing what I know about my mother, I’m carrying a burden and if she wants to keep reaching out to me she has to share it with me. Shes not having any of it. So it comes down to this, how do I ditch her? I can’t explain myself any better, she willfully doesnt want to understand my explanations, so I either have to drop something really offensive on her to scare her away, or just stop writing to her and not read her letters, without explanation. The latter way is best. But let me tell you, being reminded to what degree they all wash their hands of me is vexing. Vexing!
How I Let Off Steam: Heres how I usually find out that a letter from Auntie has gotten under my skin (theyre so good at that!) I go shopping at nearby supermarket, and of course I have to do all my transactions in Japanese, which can be stressful. Its a lot less stressful than it used to be, but every once in a while… So the cashier tells me the price in Japanese, Y1,514– thats pronounced Sen-go-hyaku-juu-yon-en. So I start to count out my coins, and I have Y1,500 in my purse, so I count my money out-loud, saying, “Sen-go-hyaku-……” and she interrupts me, finishing the amount she just said, “…juu-yon-en.” I was not repeating the amount she gave me, I was counting the money in my purse, which is not the same thing.
The thing is, they do this all the effin time! I mean it, every time I count out my money, they interrupt me to remind me of the amount they just gave me a moment ago. And it always interrupts my train of thought, because — Im counting money! I don’t want other numbers going on in my head. Especially because I’m counting in Japanese, not my native language, and I really need to concentrate. I guess that there is a kind of routine the Japanese have for exchanging money at the check-out line, the customers never count out-loud, and the cashiers see to it that the customers are well informed about what they owe them. Because this pattern is so rigid. I’ve taken to not counting out-loud, because it annoys me so much. But this time I forgot, and counted out loud as was my habit.
I tried it aloud several times, and each time she interrupted me with information I did not need. Finally, I lost it, and something inside me clicked, decided that the only way to get to her was to yell REALLY LOUD! I said in Japanese, pointing at the register, “this is Y1,514. But this,” holding up a wad of bills and coins, “is Y1,500. They’re different, arent they? Do you understand?” (Ko-reh-wa, sen-gohyaku-juuyonen desu! Shikashi, ko-re- wa sen-gohyakuen desu. Chigai desu, ne? Wakarimasuka?) The second time I screamed at her, she got it. Did I say I screamed really loud? I was mortally embarrassed. I could hear my voice echoing throughout the store. As always when this happens, the first thing I ask myself when I lose it is, have I been contacted by family recently? The answer is always yes!
I gotta admit, screaming in Japanese shows great progress.
Teeth, Body, Words On Friday I had to skip the job-hunt to go see the dentist, doctor, and take a Japanese lesson. I thought I was done with root canals, but I’m going through another. The technology must have changed because I just pops the cap off, scrapes around a little bit, puts in a filling with oil of clove, then told me to come back next week for two more visits.
My cholesterol levels are lower, my blood pressure and blood sugar too. The dietary changes I’m making now have to last me the rest of my life. No more fried chicken, no more Coca Cola. My father died of complications from diabetes. I’m poised to repeat him. This shall not happen. My overeating is caused by emotional factors, the way my family stuffed my feelings. Quantum Leap means overcoming this awful condition.
In the evening I went to Japanese class. Think of a lunchroom with tables occupied by volunteer Japanese teachers and foreigners practicing Japanese and going over textbooks together. About half the students are Chinese; Im currently the only American. Before the great Earthquake there were more Americans. There are a bunch of Nepalis, a Swiss, a Kiwi, some South Koreans there. My proficiency level is shared with two Chinese, Ryuu, and Jessica. Hes a big, garulous worker, shes a gorgeous high school student. I speak English, they speak Chinese, together we have to speak Japanese to understand each other.
Progress with my Therapist Friday night I slept fitfully, and woke up Saturday morning feeling endangered because I did not work to find a new visa sponsor all last week. I felt so nervous that I began meditating, and then there at 5:am did a full yoga set, which I hadn’t done in a while. As I did the relaxation at the end, a thought entered my mind as if it were channelled: my body is always in great physical pain, muscle-ligament-bone pain, and I take it so much for granted that I forget that Im dealing with it. But when I just cant make myself look over job lists, its because Im in physical pain. There are times when I can feel it, and there are times when theres like a plastic film separating me from my body when I cant feel the pain, its like Im medicated against it without realizing it. Thats when its hard. Yoga helps, aspirin helps, masturbation helps, running helps, meditation helps. The hardest part isnt when I know Im in pain, its when my body forgets it and I have to remind myself.
I was awake for many hours when I walked into her office at 9 am. This was maybe the first session with her where I really felt satisfied. She told me that I have to balance the pressure of needing to get my visa renewed against the efforts of changing a lifetime of bad habits, like the overeating and procrastination. She totally got it about the pain in my body and began to strategize with me about dealing with it. First, I must not criticize myself for procrastinating; I dont procrastinate, I negotiate great pain. Its a new ballgame.
Yoga-hama Bay So when I got home, a Filipina extreme-sports friend of mine, Anaqonda, had just finished an out-door yoga session in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo and posted it on Facebook. So I asked her when the next one would be. The next day it turned out, in Yokohama. It took so long to get there and back again, about 2 hours each way with all the train change-overs, that it essentially took up all day, but I felt like Tony the Tiger afterward: Grr-reat!
Photagraphs by Radiconda Abe