Tuesday, December 31, 2013
My Grandpa 10
Learn to accept it and say "Thank You"
Monday, December 30, 2013
100 Things That Happened This Year (part 2)
52) To my even greater surprise, I still managed to make new friends this year.
53) I received my first Rubik's cube.
54) I got out of Korean dramas (out of habit) and got back into Japanese ones (out of necessity).
55) I started cooking/baking for fun again!
62) I read the book of Psalms. I read a number of other Old Testament books this year, but Psalms was my favorite.
63) I finally visited the Eli Broad Museum, aka the Spaceship.
64) Ma and I took pictures in a photo booth on my birthday.
65) I got a first-hand look at the foster care system which increased my sympathy for foster kids and my respect for social workers. It also further convinced me that I'd never want to be a social worker.
67) I was introduced to the wonderful world of "performance studies" and "ethnomusicology".
68) I applied, interviewed, and got to the final round of considerations for a research assistantship translating French-language documents from post-WW2.
69) I tried out for an acapella group on campus.
70) Working at an animal shelter led me to discover that I'm probably allergic to cats.
74) Ma set the table for Thanksgiving and put up a wreath for Christmas, two things that haven't happened since I was a kid.
78) I considered auditioning for 'The Voice'.
79) I decided that if I ever did audition for 'The Voice', I would sing this song.
84) I read a children's book for the first time since... well, since I was a child myself.
86) I worked an art festival convincing strangers to let me take pictures of them in yoga poses.
87) A really nice young stranger stopped to tell me his life story, and even though I kind of dropped the ball, that experience was a really great lesson in humanity.
88) Ma and I went to the Detroit Jazz Festival for the first time!
89) I won the bidding for a picture of a Senegalese boy atop his camel at a student African photo exhibit.
90) I climbed one mountain, and attempted to climb a second one. Both of which were in Kyoto.
91) I met a very special person named "L".
92) I became friends with another very special person named "Ivy".
100) I spent a month trying to come up with a "100 Things" list, and it's helped me realize that even though I tend to think of my life as boring and static, I've actually had quite the colorful year.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my year. Best wishes to you all in 2014. Be Happy and God Bless!
100 Things That Happened This Year (part 1)
2) I started this blog.
3) I went to Arizona for a week.
4) I went to Japan for two months.
5) My dog turned 10.
6) I turned 21.
7) My mom decided to stop relaxing her hair.
8) I told a few people about this blog, and a few started reading it.
9) I took the JLPT.
10) I moved into a single room in my dorm, just me myself and I.
11) I went to a Christian conference that changed my life.
12) I joined an Asian Christian fellowship/bible study group and became acquainted with some pretty cool people.
13) I told my best friends about my secret, super embarrassing dream of becoming a singer-songwriter.
14) I started writing songs again.
15) Madiba passed away, and I cried.
16) I started seeing a therapist.
17) I participated in a Japanese-English blog project and got paid for it (my first time earning money in college!).
18) I became a volunteer at an animal shelter.
19) I changed churches.
20) I discovered Fela Kuti.
21) I read 3 French-language novels, 2 French-language plays, and 4 French-language short stories
22) I stopped calling my dad on the phone.
23) I decided that I definitely do not want to go to grad school anytime soon.
24) I auditioned for the Black Power Rally.
25) I joined YouTube and Instagram again.
26) I had a pretty spectacular karaoke night with my best friends for my birthday.
27) Ma, me, Madison, Ma's friend, and her daughter had an all-girls Thanksgiving together.
28) I started watching TV regularly again/keeping it on for background noise.
29) I went to a club for the first time, and met Talib Kweli!
30) My president started his second term.
31) I read over 20 books.
32) I developed a crush on a guy friend of mine, but got over it quickly.
33) I came to enjoy eating tomatoes.
34) People remembered my birthday.
35) I started planning out two of my life goals. (Ms. founder/CEO, here I come!)
36) I had a really terrible roommate experience. But it taught me a lot about myself and how to deal with difficult people/people in general.
37) I got a marketing internship but then gave it up because it didn't feel right to me, and I knew I couldn't commit to it like I'd thought.
38) Japanese/Asian-style karaoke!
39) Ma booked us a trip to San Francisco.
40) I was able to spend time with my friends from elementary/middle/high school in between returning from Japan and heading back to school.
41) I didn't have to pull an all-nighter (never have).
42) Milk tea, Japanese curry, green-tea flavored snacks, and takoyaki!
43) I finally got up the courage to go to French conversation tables at my school.
44) The University of Loo-uh-vuhl won the NCAA Championship and I made sure folks knew about it.
45) Summer Skype dates with Ma every Thursday, 7 PM Japan Time.
46) I got a video camera and actually used it for a little while.
47) I developed a strange fondness for public transportation (thanks to JR trains, subways, the Shinkansen).
48) My family did a collective fast.
49) I got my first parking ticket.
50) I started keeping a daily journal because Sue told me to, and it's turning out to less of a task than I thought it would be.
Check out part 2 to find out what else has happened for me in 2013!
Disney's Strategy: Scare some sense into them
Thursday, December 26, 2013
My Grandpa 9
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
On Repeat: "Doin' It Right"
"Doin' It Right" came on while I was at the mall yesterday, and as it played I couldn't help bobbing my head along with it. I kept thinking, Hmm, this is different. I like it. But I couldn't figure out who was singing it. When I looked it up, I found out that it was Daft Punk featuring a musician who calls himself Panda Bear.
At first, I misheard part of the lyrics as:
If you lose your way tonight that's how you know your path is bright
When really, it goes:
If you lose your way tonight that's how you know the magic's right
But it's the same sort of message, so I wasn't too far off. This song is on Daft Punk's 2013 album Random Access Memories. And as to be expected from them, it's a groovy tune that encourages listeners to just let go and see what happens. What a great message to consider as we close out this year and prepare for the new one.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
My Grandpa 8
Ma: Now your gift this year is eclectic. Everything in that box don't go together.
Grandpa (pauses unwrapping his present and stares at Ma): Is that how life is now?
My Grandpa 7
My Grandpa 6
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
My Grandpa 5
My Grandpa 4
My Grandpa 3
My Grandpa 2
My Grandpa 1
Sunday, December 22, 2013
"Let your words be anything but empty"
Hers are the words that I sometimes wish someone would stop me on the street and say. I tear a little every time I hear this song. Thank you, Sara.
"I love you just because you exist." - Dark Girls (2012)
Thursday, December 19, 2013
ドラマ (Dorama) Time! 3
The following are dramas that I started either toward the end of summer or during this semester. This time around is going to be a little different, because I've already finished all the dramas below. I'll select the "winner" at the end.
Woman - NTV/2013
Summer Nude - Fuji TV/2013
Legal High (リーガルハイ) - Fuji TV/2012
It's tough to pick my favorite this time around because all of these shows were wonderful in their own way. In terms of which drama held my attention most, I'd have to go with 'Legal High'. But because it reminded me of my mom and her struggles as a single mom, 'Woman' comes at a close second.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
BOOKS! (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea)
"...essentially he belonged neither to the land nor to the sea. Possibly a man who hates the land should dwell on shore forever. Alienation and the long voyages at sea will compel him once again to dream of it, torment him with the absurdity of longing for something that he loathes. Ryuji hated the immobility of the land, the eternally unchanging surfaces. But a ship was another kind of prison" (p. 16).
"[Fathers] stand in the way of our progress while they try to burden us with their inferiority complexes, and their unrealized aspirations, and their resentments, and their ideals, and the weaknesses they've never told anyone about, and their sins, and their sweeter-than-honey dreams, and the maxims they've never had the courage to live by─they'd like to unload all that silly crap on us, all of it!" (p. 136-137).
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Sessions with Sue 3
- Need to build trust in yourself, to know that what you believe in won't be taken from you so easily.
- All you need to know is "I want to sing." Own it. You're not an imposter or faking it. It belongs to you. Put it out there, and the universe will open up for you.
- PLANT THE SEED! (And don't make excuses.)
- If you could internalize "I'm smart, I'm a good student," why can't you internalize "I love to sing, I'm a good singer"?
- One day, you'll get to a place where you're not afraid of your father's anger.
- Great artists take pain and turn it into something that's manageable.
- Maybe you're not as fragile as you think you are.
- You deserve more than one tissue; that's what therapy's about.
Deck the Door
Whaa? The lady who never decorates for Christmas got a wreath?? With baubles? AND bells?? Ma's moving on up!
Took me aaaall the way back!
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Or spotless, clear, pretty, perfect, beautiful, right... whatever adjective that just doesn't seem to describe you or your life no matter how hard you try.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Sessions with Sue 2
On Thursday I went to ACIV's last meeting for the semester, and the guest speaker was a hilarious and intelligent young black Texan named Sean. Speaking from the theme of "faking it", he discussed 3 main masks that people hide behind on a daily basis.
People use the "Fine Mask" when something is wrong or has changed, but they don't want to acknowledge it. (Consider the daily American conversation: "Hi, how are you?" "I'm fine, how are you?" "I'm fine".) These people are isolated and do not allow themselves to be honest with others. This is me. On the other hand, perhaps people do acknowledge something's wrong, but don't know how to fix it. They might employ the "New Mask", going from one new thing to the next new thing, trying to fill their emptiness (Consider friend-hopping, mate-hopping, trend-hopping, always coming up with a new hobby or career, going to conference after conference, reading every self-help book under the sun. This list isn't exhaustive). These people often feel empty or like a lost cause, because nothing seems to be working. People are also known to use a "Good Mask", by which they try to demonstrate that they are good people or are better than others. (Consider attending church, having morals). These people often judge others based on what they personally choose not to do. I am ashamed to say that this is also me.
At the end of his message, Sean passed out green paper masks to each of us in attendance. He told us to prayerfully reflect on what our individual masks were and then write them down on the green ones in front of us. I was too embarrassed to write mine down, so I took my notes form Sean's message and the green paper mask to my appointment with Sue yesterday, and she had me do the exercise then. I found that my main masks are:
- Outward positivity/being positive for others
- Good grades/achievement
- Being okay with everything and everybody
So yeah, that's where I am right now. Sue had mentioned me developing a personal wellness plan, and to start she wants me to write a journal everyday about how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking about my behavior, particularly in regard to ways that I estrange myself from others. We'll see how this goes.
I have friends, and they love me!
Last night/this morning I had a wonderful time laughing and singing and yelling at a noraebang (a super-secret-hidden Korean karaoke spot that was surprisingly nice given its shady location).
Thanks for celebrating my birthday with me! I love y'all!
Thursday, December 5, 2013
BOOKS! (Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts)
Imagine: A Vision for Christian in the Arts by Steve Turner
This book is meant to encourage Christian artists not to confine themselves in regard to the art they do or how they receive others' art. In other words, Christians don't just have to create and appreciate what has been designated to be "Christian art". We need to lighten up! God is the creator and master of all things, which means he rules over art as well. He can work through various kinds of arts and artists, and that includes artists who are considered heathens, back-sliders, non-believers, or even atheists. Art doesn't always have to have a point, and when it does, it doesn't always have to become a sermon.
Truth is what matters most, and as Turner writes, truth doesn't just belong to believers. Of course, Christians have a duty to fortify their faith, continuously seek God, and not submit to worldly thinking. But this does not mean that they should shut themselves out from the world and the people in it. Christians also have a duty to harness their human creativity, create, and connect. Ultimately, the divine purpose of art is to communicate or tap into truth in a way that makes people reflect on human experience and think beyond themselves. Art helps people see things differently.
This book is a relatively short read, but offers a wealth of wisdom for Christian artists or supporters of the arts who struggle with the questions What is art supposed to be?, Is God in all art? and How far is too far?
"...we should look at works individually. Rather than asking, Is this artist saved? ask Is this piece of work technically excellent? Is it a valid expression of the artist's view of the world? Are form and content well integrated? Is truth communicated?" (p. 11)
"Some art is simply playful. It may be about nothing more than itself. It attempts neither to tell a story or to make a point.... To some Christians, this is a wasted opportunity, a sermon with no content, a Bible exposition with no substance. But playfulness is an important component of art and perfectly in keeping with a Christian understanding of creativity. Look at the animal kingdom. Can't we sense a spirit of playfulness in the designs?.... 'God,' Picasso once said, 'is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps trying other things'" (p. 53-54)
BOOKS! (How to Be Black)
How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston
This book is a New York Times Bestseller, and even though it's only been out for just under two years, I read that it's also in the process of being made into a TV show. Pretty cool, right? It's always inspiring to see creators get recognition for their work. Plus, I have a semi-personal connection to this because my yoga teacher is Thurston's older sister. Small world. Moving on...
Deliberately released during Black History Month (a.k.a. February) of 2012, How to Be Black is part biography, part social commentary on the joys, struggles, and realities of being black, and part group discussion. When addressing certain issues or experiences Thurston includes input from a group of his comedian/writer/artist/activist/conscious people friends, which he refers to as "The Black Panel." As can be deduced from the title, most of the people on this panel are black. But for the benefit of white readers, Thurston also included one of his white Canadian friends just to be "fair". (Because you know, for some white people nothing is truly diverse and conversations about race are never fair if they don't include them. Sorry, Thurston's sarcasm must be rubbing off on me. Moving on.)
"Since then [the 1960s] there's always the concern that our nation's black population will rise up Nat Turner-style and exact revenge through violent revolution. Much of this rage has been effectively muted and channeled into commercial hip-hop, unrealistic dreams of professional sports careers, and daily doses of poison masquerading as nutrition in the form of poorly stocked grocery stores and fast-food businesses in black neighborhoods. There's just not a lot of rioting energy left, with so many distractions" (p. 188).
"It shows our values as a culture when somebody says, 'I don't want to be called a racist.' Really what they're saying is, 'I want you to like me. I don't want to not be liked. I want to still be okay with you.' They don't mean, 'What I really want is to know and understand experiences of people of color so I don't sound ignorant.' That would be great. And so, it shows that, as I have said, we are operating at this third-grade level of race relations. And it's that third-grader that goes, 'Please like me, do please like me,' versus 'Can I understand?'" (p. 243).
Rest in Peace.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Things People Give Me #8 (Birthday Edition!)
As you know, yesterday was my birthday. But it was also the birthday of a residence hall staff member who lives on the same floor as me. Let's call her G. Two days ago I was really stressed and wanted to do anything but work, so I figured, why not make a birthday card for G? I did, but it was very basic and plain. A half sheet of printing paper folded in half, with a flower drawn on the front and a short message on the inside. The message went something like, I know I don't know you, but I saw that today's your birthday. And since we have the same birthday, well... Happy Birthday! Something like that.
I forgot to mention that I've never met G. I learned about her birthday from a bulletin board in the hallway a while back. Yesterday morning, I slipped the card under her door and went about my day.
This afternoon, I returned to my room after classes and found that this had been slipped under my door.
G made me a card in return! How kind is that? Hers is like a supercard, though. She wrote a message in a real card, then stapled it inside of a construction paper card that she had cut out and decorated. It opens like a book, with candy canes taped between the construction paper and stock pages. Her message:
Thanks so much! It meant a lot. Next Semester I will try my hardest to get to know you and the other girls.... I wish you a very Happy Birthday as well. I'm glad you're here also.
P.S.- I didn't know what flavor you liked so please enjoy both. :) I hope you like them. I know I do. The orange one is sour patch kids. :)
Wow. This was such a wonderful surprise. Maybe I should make birthday cards for strangers more often. Thanks for your kindness and creativity, G!
"Shining for the World to See..."
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
For me, every year there's always something wonderful about walking around on December 3rd and knowing Today is my birthday.
Any complaint or negative thought I could have, I just follow it with, "...but it's my birthday!"and it's like everything's all better. It makes me giddy.
Last night I was feeling really down, for no significant reason. I was tired and stressed. But midnight came, and I saw that "12/3" on my alarm clock, and nothing else mattered. I called Ma at that moment. She didn't even say hello; she just answered the phone singing "HAAAAPPY BIIIIIRTHDAY, HAAAAPY BIIIIRTHDAY, HAAAAPY BIIIRTHDAY TOOO YOUUUUUU!" Once I regained my breath after laughing so hard, I thanked her for raising me and keeping me alive for 21 years.
It's my birthday, y'all. I know I just posted a prayer about being ungrateful and from day-to-day it's hard for me to stay positive about myself and my life. Nonetheless, I know that I am still here for a reason, and being able to celebrate another birthday is a beautiful blessing. God has allowed me to see 21 years, and I am thankful.
I'm honored to be alive.
Monday, December 2, 2013
"We are Infinite."
The scene where, after being ignored and bullied, Charlie meets a couple of strangers at a football
game, and those strangers (who later become his friends) invite him to sit with them, no questions asked and no strange looks given. The scene where everyone at a party gives a toast to Charlie and he's speechless because, "I didn't think anybody could see me." The scene where the dark memories from Charlie's past resurface, he relapses, thinks everything was his fault, and doesn't see any other option but to...
Those parts of the movie really touched my heart. Because I know what it is to feel like no one sees you. And I know what it's like to want to tell people your truth, but you don't really know how because you don't want to hurt them or make things worse for you.
Everyone goes through something and each person deals with their struggles differently. This film reminded me that there's nothing wrong with feeling pain. Sometimes, you can even share that pain with others, and no one will judge you for it. Things can get better and you can be okay, even better than okay, regardless.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Sessions with Sue 1
- For a long time I have been, and to a lesser extent I am still being, emotionally abused.
- What I experienced during my childhood was not normal. It was trauma.
- I suffer from depression and anxiety, and the things that I feel are not my fault.
- I did a good job of recovering in the best ways I knew how. I am no longer at the lowest point. Now I just need some assistance and tools to help me get the rest of the way.
Anyway, that was my morning. Just thought I would share. Love y'all.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Yoga Wisdom: Don't Fight Yourself
-Tara (Just B Yoga)
"I don't believe in Jesus."
Friday, November 22, 2013
On Repeat: "Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am"
There's a version of the song on both Red Hot album's, but I think the more recent one sounds more like the original. It also emotionally affected me in a similar way. Below is Fela's original from 1972, and My Morning Jacket/Merrill Garbus/Brittany Howard's rendition from 2013. Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
In a bad mood and want to be in a good one? In a good mood and want to stay that way? Start complimenting random people, especially strangers, and see what happens.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Let Bookworms Be
Sure enough, as we sat together over dinner she complained about the trouble she had to go through to find that one book. She was awed by the number of other books she found, and the variety of places in which she found them. Mind you, these are written treasures that I've accumulated from elementary school to the present: lining bookshelves, left in bags and old backpacks, piled onto desks, stacked in storage bins and drawers and cabinets, laying out in the open. Most read but many yet-to-be-read.
I know Ma was half-joking about it, but I fail to see what the problem is. After all, you can never, and I mean absolutely never, have too many books. Right? So I said to her:
Who bought most of those books?
Who now has a child who can actually read and enjoys reading?
I thought so.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Exactly 3 weeks until the big 2-1, and I have no plans. To be honest, I keep forgetting about it. And my parents have been asking me what I want, but I have no idea.
It's actually become a hassle trying to come up with things for people to give me. As a kid and being a December baby, I always had birthday/Christmas lists. But now it's like, why do I have to ask people for things on my birthday? I have enough "things". I don't really need anymore "things", you know?
How about a hug? I don't get too many of those these days. Or maybe a kind word? Or a letter? Or let me see your face, let me touch your face. Spend time with me! All of that, plus a red velvet cupcake or two (or four) would be nice. I promise I'm not trying to be difficult, but there's really nothing fantastic you could get me, because I can't think of anything to ask for.
It's going to by my day, right? So let me not want anything, if that's how I'm feeling this time around. I understand that gift-giving isn't completely about the receiver, but I'd much rather feel love than have it handed to me wrapped in fancy paper.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Compelling! Day 3 (final)
This morning I sat down at my small group table, and one of the guys whose name Travis turned to me and said, "I wanted to wait to say this, but your song was beautiful, it was amazing. I just wanted to make sure you got a compliment yesterday and today." Thank you, Travis.
Today was a Q&A session with the panel of staff that's been working with us in the "God at Work in the Arts" track this weekend. I hadn't submitted any "burning questions" questions yesterday, but the questions that were submitted got some really good discussion going about things that have been bothering me. Below are a few highlights.
On fighting against the desire to compete and be perfect:
"God calls each of us within our art to be in different places, and we have to be okay with that."On overcoming writer's block:
"90% of everything you come up with is crap. Write the crap (and keep it, revise it), 'til you get to the good stuff."On how far is too far:
"Good art proclaims truth about God, the world, and yourself."On whether or not God is in all art, "secular" or not:
"God is in everything that's true. Approach art as an explorer, not with judgment."
"Christians often forget about the human side of Jesus. We need to remember that people are human."
"As a Christian in the arts world, you need to not be shocked by things."On how to approach art that seems to go against God or be anti-God:
"We need to learn to be good interpreters, because God's calling is higher."
"Loving and affirming your artist friends will take you a long way."On how to reach our peers and impact our artist communities:
"Reach out during those in-between moments; take advantage of small opportunities."
"We've been strategically placed in relational networks, and we need to build trust between us and the people in them. This requires time and risk. Sometimes it means being countercultural."
"Presence is key!"
|My small group|
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Compelling! Day 2
"You connect closer to God through failure; if you're not failing, you're disconnected from your Creator and you're not living life."
"A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men." Proverbs 18:16 (KJV)
"And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.
Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads." Ezekiel 2:5-6 and 3:8 (ESV)
Today was the day I've been simultaneously dreading and looking forward to. After having a huge jam/create/reflection session, it was time to share our art with our tablemates. When my turn came, I sang a song that I wrote a couple of months ago called, "Grace of God". I thought I was in the clear; I had just finished the bridge and changed keys and then... I burst into tears. You don't understand how monumental this was for me. I was facing 3 of my biggest fears in succession: singing in front of people, singing something I'd written in front of people (essentially exposing myself), and I crying in front of people. You notice how these all have to do with appearances and what others think? Yeah, I'm working on it.
Anyway. So I sang and I cried and I couldn't finish my song, and I started to be disappointed in myself because I had broken one of the cardinal rules that I've used to guard myself for the past 13 years: Don't show people too much of yourself. Do NOT break character. Because you will fail, and they won't like you, and everything will fall apart. But then, something magical happened. The folks at my table supported and encouraged me. All of them listened intently as I sang, no one told me I sucked, and no one laughed at me when I cried. No one looked down on me. In fact, most of them gave me pretty awesome compliments. A dude named Warren patted me on the back. A girl named Mary told me she even envisioned a variety of beautiful colors in her mind as I sang.
As we closed for the day, that same Mary hugged me and said she was really glad that she met me this weekend, "I like the way you think about life. The things you were saying, the questions you were asking, they were all just... they made me think about a lot of things I've been struggling with. You're awesome." And I was awestruck. Someone actually benefited from meeting me in some way? Me? Really? Not only that, but I touched someone without even trying to. Wow.
And these were just small personal moments I experienced. There was so much more we discussed and that I reflected on, and it's going to take me some time to work through it all. I am accepting, however, that it's time for me to rethink everything. And I mean, everything. Maybe I'm making a breakthrough?
Compelling! Day 1
Friday, November 8, 2013
Lord, please forgive me for being discouraged. I get discouraged easily, and when I get discouraged I become inconsistent.
Lord, please forgive me for being inconsistent. When I become inconsistent, I easily get discouraged.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Not eating or giving out candy. Not dressing up or going out. Just chilling in the comfort of my own home, with this furry old lady. Same game plan since 7th grade.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
3 Lessons I've Learned about People through Working with Dogs
Us volunteers don't know the histories of the animals we work with at the shelter. We don't know where they've come from. Sometimes I assume that certain dogs will be aggressive due to their size, their breed, or the shelter's designation of them as "high energy" dogs. I've learned, however, that "high energy" sometimes just means "strong", or "jumpy", or "loud", or "I'm going to be really excited to meet you, but please don't be alarmed if I get in your face or bark at you". In my experience, it has never meant "aggressive". To be honest, some of the biggest dogs I've met have been the most patient, and some of the rowdiest dogs in the kennels are cool as a cucumber once they get outdoors. Point is, you really never know who you're dealing with until you give them a shot. Allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised. And if instead they play too rough or try to nip you, that's okay. Just put them back, walk away, and know that you tried.
2) We need to be grateful for simple things and cherish simple desires.
These dogs are well-fed and well-sheltered, get medical care and at least minimal daily TLC. But do you know what these dogs get excited about the most? Being taken outside. Their greatest joy is going outside, and they're more than happy with just that. Can you imagine people being like this? Not just content, but ecstatic about being outside! When was the last time you felt grateful for mobility? When was the last time you acknowledged the gift of being able to go out as you please, rather than being stuck inside a room that might not even have windows?
3) Make the most of the occasions you have to interact with people. Give them all the goodness you can, because this might be the first and last time you ever see them.
Some dogs stay at the shelter for weeks or even months, so we volunteers become used to seeing them and develop relationships with them. But for volunteers like me who only go once or twice a week, we might work with a dog once and then never see them again because they've been adopted out. We might've anticipated seeing them again or trying to get better at handling or understanding them. But in the end we don't get that chance because we have no control over who will still be there when we return. So we have to make the best of the little time we have with them: make this walk the most fun it can be, make this belly rub the most satisfying it can be, make this respectful distance between us as calm and appreciative as it can be.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Your Elders Have Got Jokes
This is what Ma had to say when I brought up the facts that 1) parents these days try to be nicer when disciplining their children, and 2) she never said the word "please" to me when I was a kid:
"I sho' didn't! 'Cause I don't be negotiating with no kids! People try to be friends with their kids, and then wonder why they don't listen and turn out with problems."When I brought up how she would discipline me in public from time to time:
"Come on now, stop exaggerating. I didn't hit you THAT often in the grocery store. You turned out alright though, didn't you? Well then."And when I suggested we see Don Jon this weekend:
"Naw! I don't want to see no movie about some guy who's addicted to porn! I don't even know why he made that movie. What's the point?"
I can't breathe.