Category Archives: #lifestories

Emotional openness

I have been lonely, and alone, most of my life. My family are the only people that I have ever felt comfortable enough with to let down the barriers keeping me sane in everyday life. Memories that are carried by strong emotions are indelible, and they swallow you in at every single glimpse of a connection to them.

Emotional openness is something that I learned to avoid at all costs within the first two years I was put in contact with a lot of people outside my parents’ immediate sphere of influence, i.e. school.

I was homeschooled for quite a while after a breakdown in the classroom where I was sobbing into my desk about too much information. The teacher, in an effort to keep me quiet in her class, supplied me with books and puzzles, and like the good little sponge that I was I started absorbing them.

I had not yet learned to pace myself; at home, my Mom would regulate the amount of concentrated information available to me, interspersing with relaxation or physical activity after she’d learned that I had migraines from the age of two onward due to my lack of filters for information.

I still remember the laughter, the jeering, the pain. Migraine sufferers know just how devastating the brain hurting can be, this one remains one of the worst attacks I’ve ever had, and all the other children had to say were taunts and laughter and “TMI! She said TMI!”. It was too much information, too much too fast, the web expanding outward.

I do not visualize a building or pathway for memory techniques. I hardly visualize at all, if ever, but if I do I have my memory web, where every strand consists of thousands of others that are all linked to one another, ever-growing and changing. Start adding too much too fast and the stability of the construct is threatened, shocks occur and strands unravel resulting in unpredictable flashbacks about mostly completely unrelated topics that vary in length (and that I can’t get out of most of the times).

I have learned all these things later. Back then, I knew I was in pain, I could surmise a cause for it and all I knew was that, emotionally, I had dared to open up and show that I was hurting and all I received for it was more hurt. That, on top of the taunting and bullying that had been going on before then, caused a complete shutdown.

I was lost for two days, jumping from one place to the other in memories, some that are still too vague to accurately recall and feel like dreams, others as clear and sharp as glass because they have been called up in more than one flashback since then (once flashed to, memories are harder to put in their places again).

I learned my lesson. I would love to be able to have the easy interaction I observe between my friends and their partners, the closeness, the reliance on one another yet I am too scared to even contemplate letting down some of my walls, creating indelible memories of pain and hurt. I can’t think of the good things, because they’re so much less strong than the bad ones.

But I want. I yearn. I observe.

One day, I’ll learn. Hopefully soon.

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I don’t wear women’s sportswear

No, not true- I DO wear bikinis when swimming. Other than that? Let me relay my shopping experience during my lunch break just now.

So I had some free time and went over to one of the major sports goods and apparel stores in central Hamburg. Some of my tennis shirts are getting threadbare (as in nipplegate threadbare), and my sweatpants are all stitched together so many times they look worse than a Raggedy Ann doll. New sportswear had to be found.

Being the goal-orientated little shopper that I am, I quickly located women’s wear on the second floor and went up there. Looking around, I was searching for the sports clothes.

Some notes about me:  I refuse to run around in public showing my underwear to all and sundry. I didn’t like leggings when they were ruling recess at school, and I don’t like them now, especially not if they’re half a foot too short to cover all of my legs. I need some give in the shoulders of my tees so I can serve with all the power of my body, or move around enough to kick heads in TKD.I need pockets to store tennis balls, pocket knives and extra stuff like bandages in. I don’t like pink, aqua or other bright pastel colors when exercising as they tend to NOT look so bright anymore after sweating through them and washing them a couple dozen times.

Women’s sportswear is skintight, has no pockets, is too short, too uncomfortable and way too revealing to ever be shown anywhere but on one of those stupid fashion shows where people expect to see this kind of thing on human clotheshangers. It is not designed to be moving around vigorously in (no matter HOW thin, leggings creep up and down when you really run. Don’t tell me they don’t!). It is not practical. It has zero appeal to anyone who really wants to actually DO sports instead of appearing like they’re doing so. EVERYTHING has some pink in it. Plus, those so-called tennis “dresses”? Like I said, I don’t want to flash the world every time I move.

I went over to the men’s section. Practical, loose sweatpants WITH POCKETS. Nice, breathy and roomy tees.  OK, so there were the full-body spandex condom suits for cyclists but they’re forgivable given the rest of the selection. Women’s running shorts are the lower-body version of these full-body condoms. Men’s running shorts are loose around the legs. Huh? Men’s sweatpants legs are long enough to cover my ankles while a women’s XL which I have to cinch to tight around my waist I look like the parody of a clown barely reaches the top of them. Huh? SOME brights in the golfing section but a merciful absence of pink everywhere else. YAY!

In the end? I bought men’s clothes, ignoring the strange looks the cashier girl gave me. It fits better into my model of being an active person. It’s a lot more comfortable. You can move around better in it. AND it’s NOT PINK.

Now when will they make sportswear for women that you can actually comfortably do sports in?

If it makes you feel better…

This week hasn’t been the best for me. I understand that there are several differences between the German and the American mind. I get that I should not be offended if you tell me something to my face that I wouldn’t even say to my best friend even though I barely know you as my coworker.

I get how I must sound like a hypocrite for supporting HAES and FA when I’m for all appearances a normal-weight person. I get how I must sound like a hypocrite for advocating self-made people when it seems like I don’t have to struggle for most achievements (I do, though. You people don’t see the amount of all-nighters I pull!).

Why do you have to hurt me to make you feel better, though? What is it in this country that has people sniping you down from every small high you manage to create for yourself?

Three situations over the past few days have made me want to cry… Continue reading

Breaked my finger

Sitting in the hospital waiting area is certainly a lot more entertaining when you have the benefit of pain medication, but even without there are a few things to take your mind off your own misery.

Like this little girl of no more than three who came up to me leaning back against the chair, eyes closed and cradling my right hand to my chest.

“What you do?”

“I don’t know yet. I’m waiting for my x-rays.”

“You speak funny.”

“It’s called an accent. And I’m sorry if I’m hard to understand.”

“My uncle funny-speaks. I know.”

“Ah, so you’ve had practice. That’s great!”

“He very nice. What you do?”

“I think I broke a couple fingers.”

“Why?”

“Because I was trying to hit a ball back to the opposing team.”

“Why?”

“So we would win.”

“Why?”

“Because I hate to lose.”

“Why?”

“Because it makes me feel useless.”

“What useless?”

“If you don’t know what to do with it.”

“If I don’t know what to do with it I breaked my finger?”

“NO!”

Thankfully, the girl’s mother (who’d needed stitches in a hand cut in the kitchen) came and rescued me. After getting x-rayed and splinted, I went to say goodbye but they had left before me. I don’t think I’d have been up for another round of the why-game anyway.

Gym-o-phobe?

I hate gyms.

No, seriously. I hate the smell, the noise of these stupid machines, the grunts of exertion resounding around the room. I hate weight training. I hate treadmills, steppers, stairmasters.

I love running outside. I love swimming. I love my martial arts (I’m doing more of a mixed martial arts style by now because I’m mixing TKD with ancient Korean martial arts, do Tai Chi in the classic Yang style, do iaido and just got started on fighting fans). I even like doing my forms with weights on my wrists, ankles, biceps and around my waist just because it’s not classic weight training (and let me tell you, some of them are harder than weight training can be. Ever tried doing a slow kick on waist height with a five-pound weight on your ankle? Ouch!).

I guess I’m a gym-o-phobe. My sports club here in Germany has a multitude of courses to chose from, not one of which is a classic gym workout. They keep me occupied during these cold winter months.

They also put up the tennis court cover halls this week, so I’m going to start on that next week or in two weeks depending on my partners. Can’t wait to go chasing that yellow ball again! My fencing trainer’s license should be coming through some time this month as well so I’m going to be coaching once more.

Hell, I still need to work. Dammit!

The funny thing is that though most of my sports put me in direct competition with everyone else in the class, none of them involve the kind of body-judging grunt-adjusting thing that goes on in the gym. You’re not competing about your bodies, you’re competing with your bodies.

I’ll never have a model’s figure (full thighs, butt, muscled arms, wide ribcage and shoulders), but dammit can I do a drop-kick on a model’s 6′-high head. Coming back from a workout, I always feel energized. I don’t feel down, or bad about myself because I didn’t compare. Even if I couldn’t do something (and yes, I’m looking at that fucking triple jump-kick combo thing I should be doing that has me landing on my butt all the time), I’m more fired up than anything else. Even if I lose a bout, I don’t feel like being a sore loser. I feel like I’ve learned something.

I guess that’s what irks me a lot about traditional gym workouts- the lack of learning progress. There’s only so many exercises you can do on those machines or with those weights after all, and your body offers limitless opportunities to play with it.

That said, I should be sleeping right now. Have to go to the office in five hours. Oh shit!

I’m… *hic*… OK

Alcohol. The main staple food of a herd of lawyers gathered together in a small space (or not-so-small).

Tonight, we had a celebration for a job well done- it was finicky and difficult, so I came fully prepared to savor the fruits of my labor.

If only there had been fruits. The fruit platter (a single, sad affair on a forgotten table by the door) was empty twenty seconds after the ravenous hordes arrived. From then on out, it was alcohol only.

There is nothing nastier than a bunch of overworked, underfed, dead-drunk people in close proximity. I don’t like being touched by most people. I don’t like off-key singing. I have sensitive hearing. I have a sensitive sense of smell and am easily offended if the person I’m talking to smells of beer and vomit.

Sooo… I refused any and all drinks. I don’t drink in public, period. One exception: a single cocktail when out for a night with the girls, at a bar we choose, with reason and thought. I was promptly labeled the party-pooper and avoided by the increasingly infantile congregation of drunkenness.

Here we are asking our teenagers to please not be stupid and drink, and as adults we can’t “have fun” unless we are drunk? Name one celebration among adults (who are not AA) that doesn’t include alcohol? I’m so sick of it all. Get a grip! If I didn’t know better, I’d say nearly all my colleagues are borderline alcoholics.

The hours are brutal in our job. It’s a rare day that I’m home before 10pm. You do need some form of escapism.

I chose my own kind of entertainment- ditching the drunk party and going for a nice midnight run along the canal. It’s started getting cold again, but I’m building up some nice speed right now so I don’t feel it all that much after the first 2k.

There’s been a change in runners, too- we now have a lot more students running where I do. Plus I’ve extended my route so I’m now up to a 10k three times a week, which is a lot more work than I thought it would be. I’m not a very good endurance runner… *sigh*

Anyway, back to the workplace tomorrow. Gonna be fun seeing all the bigshots nursing their hangovers 😛

TKD’s picking up once more, too. Going to be on the tournament circle this winter after all. At first I didn’t want to due to my weight, but I was convinced otherwise. Chubby person in the ring? That’s me!

Goodnight all!

I’d rather…

How often have I heard this phrase this week? Too often, that’s it!

“I’d rather be outside now!” “I’d rather live in the Caribbean!” “I’d rather my boyfriend weren’t there tonight.” “I’d rather…”

Many of those I’d-rather’s were the usual unattainable dreams, but there are a few instances where I’m furious people don’t just do something instead of complaining all the time.

“I’d rather not be freezing all the time,” is what I was thinking today. So I stepped up my exercise program which will help even if it won’t eliminate the problem.

“I’d rather be reading right now.” While sitting on the train to work. Guess what? Today I brought a book. I actually think I’m going to get into the habit of carrying around a book on my person at all times again.

“I’d rather my boss would stop making these sexist, annoying comments,” upon making the mistake of wearing a skirt suit (costume? Sounds wrong!) to work today. I talked to him telling him that I don’t believe that our attire should influence his attitude toward us as long as we kept to the business dress code.

“I’d rather be anywhere but here!” Researching in the library. So I left for an internet cafe and am perfectly happy right now.

By the way: I’ve always been skeptical of step aerobics as a sport due to the rather uninspiring classes I visited until now, which were a gossip club but not exercising. Colleague talked me into going to one yesterday. (“I’d rather be doing some real exercising,” I grumbled) TOTALLY different from anything before. I was out of breath one minute into the third power-sprint of the class. Hopping up and down a foot-high step makes the difference!

Do something about your I’d-rather’s! It’s a lot more fun than persistently complaining 😉