Alone is okay
When you want it to be,
When life gives you lemons
And you decide
On pineapples instead.
When everyday you learn
Just a bit more
Of who you are
Who you were.
Perhaps it’s best to leave be
Who you’ve wanted to be
For you see it can make you
As crazy as me.
Sometimes in your head’s
The best place to flee
And Alone will allow it.
Alone is shared
We all know it
When we close our eyes
We feel it.
And sometimes it’s cold
When the wind comes it blows
Through the doors and the holes
It gets cold and it snows.
Alone is like that sometimes.
And other times
It’s like this.
What do you do in your spare time?
A: what spare time? well, i guess everything i do out of school is “spare time” but things have become so routine it doesnt seem “spare”. anyway, i have been playing a lot of sports actually. i’ll lay out a normal week with good weather and all things a go; monday - basketball 7-9. i’m pretty much the best player on the island, so that’s fun to play i guess. tuesday - badminton. im not a badminton player and its not like tennis at all despite the racquet. plus people on the island are damn good. at least most of the students are and so are many of the adults that ive seen play so far. i have gotten a lot better since the beginning though, so that’s good i guess. ok, next, wednesday - volleyball or baseball (or both). recently baseball is on hiatus. thursday is tennis and there are actually several good players on the island. one is better than me…. hmm the weekend is whatever is going on which could be anything. recently before all of the storms (or between them) i have been wakeboarding a bit. its really fun but also pretty expensive. i guess it’s worth it though because its fun just to hang out with the people too and they are serious about making me a better wakeboarder. in addition to sports, i drink a lot. everyone here does. i have been trying to make a point not to let it affect work so I have made a very conscious effort to not overdo it on school nights. i hate teaching with a hangover. its just no good. but still i drink often, even if i’m not getting good and drunk. not sure if this is a good thing or something to worry about. seems pretty normal by many’s standards here. lets see… otherwise i cook and watch anime online occasionally. and that’s what i do in my spare time. whew…
How many people are on your island?
A: about 750 people i believe. basically i have met a good half of the people.
How small do you mean when you say small?
A: my students know where i had dinner the night before or what team i was cheering for yesterday. people know what youre up to. but in actual size, i am surprised to find that the island is quite large. you cant really just walk from north to south and its about 5k from my town to the second biggest town/village. because everyone lives really close it seems small, but it’s sizable and the mountains are actually quite big. sometimes im surprised about how jungle-mountainy it is here.
How much technology do they have out in the rural area?
A: basically we have all the same technology as anywhere. naha (the biggest city in okinawa and a pretty damn big city by most standards) is a 35 minute boat ride away so we can get anything here.
How different is it from the city?
A: very different. literally 100 meters from my apartment is the jungle. there are dangerous snakes and insects. ive seen 4 snakes since august (though 2 were not poisonous, not sure about the other two…). there are only two stores in my village that sell real groceries. and they are smaller that convenience stores anywhere else. it’s hard to get fresh meat or vegetables. lol, with this current storm all fresh products are gone from the stores bc the ferry hasnt run since last week! the schools are out of milk and have to change the menus to accommodate. basically everyone is riding on what they’ve got until the ferry runs again. also, it’s hard to get appliances, furniture, really all products bc there are no real stores on the island. you either have to order things or go to Naha to get them.
How similar is it to the city?
A: I would say not very similar at all. We are surrounded by nature here. Everyone knows everyone. There is one policeman and one doctor on the island. No stores. You can see the starts like I’ve never seen before. My town/village call it what you will) has three bars basically. i frequent two of them and one is right down the street so it’s super convenient. but again, i run into students quite a bit too. though it’s honestly not very awkward.
How often do you speak English?
A: I speak English quite a bit recently. At school I use English in class of course and the teacher I work with speaks english really well. I have a couple of friends I can use English with too, which is nice. In fact, recently it seems that is all I use when talking to them. i guess they want to learn english and to be honest it’s nice to not have to use Japanese all the time. Basically aside from maybe 3 or 4 people, it’s japanese only. Despite that, my Japanese doesnt seem to have gotten any better… i guess i’m not actively studying, but i thought just being constantly surrounded and forced to speak it would just make it click. guess not…
What do some of your new friends think about America?
A: many of them want to go there eventually. a couple even want to live there someday. i guess many other people just have certain stereotypes. some of which i confirm (i’m if not the tallest at least 2nd or 3rd on the island).
Are you going to vote?
A: yes. I voted for the president.
What do you miss about America?
A: I miss my friends and family. I miss my dogs. I miss football and I miss fall. I miss the leaves changing. I miss Mexican food. I miss cheese. I miss speaking English sometimes. Despite all of this though it’s not like it bums me out either. I am really happy now (I think). I’m really busy, but I’m doing something I wanted to do. I have a real job, I’m making decent money, I am using Japanese, I’m learning about a very different culture and I might be becoming a bit more independent.
Do you think you’ll ever come back?
A: Yes. I think I will come back in a few years. I really cant be completely sure, but today that is what i expect. But i’ve come to learn that life pulls you in all kinds of directions, so if i’m somewhere completely new and different in a few years, i think that would be not so surprising and not so bad. my mom would want to kill me though lol.
Happy Birthday. How was it?
A: Thanks ^^ it was pretty great. I had to work for a good chunk of my actual birthday and didnt get to sleep in or anything, but that evening i had a small party with friends and there was cake and whiskey and games and bbq. it was really nice. then the next day i had another party and more cake, beer and whiskey. and then a hangover the next day…. but it’s only your birthday once a year and we only get like 80 of them if we’re lucky so what the heck.
Are the people there religious in any way?
A: for the most part, no would be my first answer. there is no real temple here on the island. there is a small shrine i know of but it’s not nice and i dont really know of people visiting it often. that being said, i think people are spiritual more than religious. they believe in ancestry and many have small shrines to their relatives in their homes. okinawa actually has some unique religious practices but i am still learning about them. i know that a traditional okinawan tomb is kind of rounded (turtle shaped kind of) and in the side of a hill or mountain. again, there are other forms of spirituality here in okinawa that are unique but i am not an expert.
What’s the weirdest/awkwardest thing that happened since you’ve been there?
A: hmmm…. when i first moved in i thought my apartment was haunted. i actually think i was under a lot of stress at the time and might have been imagining things. but one morning i was washing my face and i swear i felt/saw someone standing right beside me. my stomach dropped and i turned to look and nothing was there. ive had other moments when ive felt things where there and i see things move a lot, mostly in my periphery only to disappear upon inspection. i honestly think its possible there are spirits around. maybe in my first month they were testing me out and now they just live with me being here. im not sure, but it was really strange and a little scary at first.
So I’ve got some time left here in the office with not much to do. I am solely dependant right now on the school’s internet and I have no idea when it will be ready in my apartment.
But it’s ok. My apartment is not somewhere I really like to hang out anyway at the moment. No air conditioning (this will change soon hopefully), no television, no internet, and giant insects and spiders. It seems like every day and especially night is a struggle for me.
Last night, I woke up to a strange noise at 3am. I realized it was something rustling the garbage back that was in my entranceway. Something bigger than the cockroaches, which are an almost everyday sight. To be honest, I was a bit afraid of what it might be. Whatever it was, it disappeared before I came out of my room and in a way I am relieved. Regardless, it left a rather large hole in the garbage bag (about 4 inches) and it kind of freaked me out.
The nights are the hardest here. Mostly because of the insects and creatures, but also because of the fear that creeps in with them. I pretty much need to have a few beers in order to fall asleep easily. Perhaps that’s why everyone loves to drink in Okinawa so much.
Despite my apartment troubles I really cannot complain about the people here. I have been treated so kindly by everyone and have met what seems like half of the village already. My co-workers are all very nice. I meet new people wherever I go as well, which usually ends up being the local bars ^^”
Yesterday I decided to get out of my apartment and take a ride. Best experience I have had on the island so far! My neighbour left me his scooter while he is on the main island of Okinawa and I went off into the mountains. It was breezy and late afternoon. The sun was casting a golden light on the west side of the island as I snaked my way through the mountain roads. It felt liberating and exciting. I was no longer attached to anything in particular. No phone, a full tank of gas, trusting only the scooter to get me through the jungle. If anyone comes to visit, we will have to find a way to get you a scooter to take the same ride I did.
I finally came to the southern most part of the island accessible by road and no one was around. The beach was empty and the sun was starting to go down. The ocean sprawled in front of me, the waves crashing on the shallows 100 meters from the beach. I was alone. I was not lonely.
It is this feeling I want to capture here. To master. To channel into something good. Such an inner peace I felt yesterday on my own, running around the island on a scooter.
In other news, I have been able to play a few sports here. A few days ago at school the badminton club asked me to play. Of course I agreed, because who would rather sit at a desk than play sports? The downside is that I lost to a middle school girl. Pretty badly actually. She was damn good though, and I dont play badminton. I also lost to a 5th grade boy but the game was a much closer 21-23. Next time! I also played with a bunch of high school volleyball girls visiting a co-worker who coaches them. I was much better at the volleyball ^^.
I’ve been to the beach a few times, and it’s been nice. I’ve yet to go alone just to relax though. It will happen eventually. But it is so hot here around midday and in the afternoon! Battling sunburn has been a constant occurrence, any time I’m in the sun for too long.
Anyway, I will go for now. More soon I hope. It’s nice just to sit down and write things sometimes.
I’ve made it to Okinawa!! Which is great, because it has taken more than long enough to finally get here. Everything seems to finally seem real. Except that damn it, the most bizarre things continue to happen.
To make it simple I will explain as best I can. I am drinking currently my 4th beer in Okinawa. I have been in the Naha for 2 hours. Upon being greeted at the exit of the airport by my supervisor and predecessor, I was handed a beer (hell yes) taken several pictures of/with then ushered to a car, where we proceeded to drink said beer in the back seat. Then we arrived at my hotel, beer still in hand. I checked in. I changed clothes. We leave, crack open the second beer. Walk down the street. Find an inkan shop and get that taken care of, beer in hand. We leave and search for a place to eat lunch. I walk down the street. It’s hot, but I’m in a tank top now. We find a place. I finish my second beer before entering the restaurant. We go in and order. Bitter vegetables and sashimi-don. And my third beer. It was great. I talk to my advisor and predecessor. I leave, crack open my 4th beer, walk to the hotel, enter my room, hunt for the internet cord, check facebook, start typing, and finish my fourth beer. Which brings me to now.
I think Okinawa is going to be awesome.
shit. it’s like when you’re torn between everything normal and everything right and you just don’t feel like there’s a right answer. the key is knowing who you are first. maybe. and then sticking with your guns because hopefully you are a good person. that’s how it seems. but i still feel like shit.
well, eventually the song ends and a new song comes on. and what the hell, you let yourself like this one alright. but the music is ending and you realize where you are again and not quite satisfied and decide to take to the keyboard.
and i suddenly realize i leave for japan for a long time in three weeks. three weeks isn’t so long really and a half-panic is setting in. shit, i think i should be a little more worried considering. and it’s hitting me and i take a breath and remember three weeks is a pretty good chunk of time really.
in any case, we breathe, we say “ew, girl, shock me like and electric eel, baby girl, turn me on with your electric feel..” shit. electric feel now.
sorry, half crazy and much too spontaneous. but lazy most of the time. too much on my mind. except that i’m a liar. and a hypocrite. and really lay around worrying about nothing (really). but it occupies the mind, it does! and the future too
the future is a little scary. mostly because i don’t know it yet. i’ll let you know as soon as i get on that.. don’t mind though, we’ll get through it together! i’m sure this will comfort you when we stare down each other’s rifles and i (hopefully) pull the trigger first. and i will win the pharmaceutical company in the area and turn it over to someone bigger who gives me kickbacks for a little less effort.
at the very least he will be some kind of character, unsuspecting, not close to regal but somehow everyone seems to follow him. it’s that damn charisma, but shit, he didn’t ask for it! people need a niche and listening to someone else works pretty well. and suddenly this guy’s got a small monopoly on medicine and a small militia (well armed, go vols). and he really wants to spring to life with some pruning.
So I just finished this book, and, as the title suggests, it kind of broke my heart. It’s called the Absolutist by John Boyne, though you wont find it at stores yet. It actually comes out next month, so, lucky me, having an advanced copy ^^
In the case of this book, I found it hard to put down, enthralled by the narrator’s life, his pain, his small joys. So when the book neared completion and a conclusion was yet to be reached, I found it terribly depressing. I do love an accurate portrayal of life, especially when the accuracy rules out happy endings. But at the same time, I hate the hollow feeling of piecing together some kind of satisfaction beyond being moved, in this case nearly to tears. Anything short would be a disappointment, I’m afraid, and so I am resolved to enjoying a novel for what it is, what it means to me, and what I can take away. After all, a sad story does not imply a bad story.
Is life really like those novels that make us cry? That leave us feeling nearly sick with frustration from bitter realities, ignoring all of the unspent potential of a different, more reader-friendly conclusion? The answer, probably yes. Whenever we look back and think, I wish I had done that differently, so too would the reader of your life like to believe that to be true. However, it is likely they are more moved, in the end, by our mistakes, our failures, our lowest points, our almost loves, and eventually our bitter (sweet?) ends.
That being said, I still feel hollow and upset. But we can’t just write endings to novels that are not our own.
And so, I’ve come to the point I’d known would come all along. Astride this hedge of future and past, waiting for self-motivated movement that only comes when one actually takes a step in one direction or another. I self motivated in the most petty and liquid way, which, as most of us recognize can lead to action, no matter how insatiable it often turns out to be. However, the fruit of this project lies in the present, every minute or second my fingers move this fruit becomes ever sweeter by nature. So I begin to search for a target, a direction for my effort to stride or wobble toward.
I believe as best I can, that one point weighs most heavily in my paltry conundrum of middle class America (let’s keep things in perspective I guess). I think perhaps I have become lonely in a way that can only be mended by amatory companionship. I need a lover.
I can say with great ease that being gay is frustrating. Being gay is a day to day struggle for self-justification, for existence, for confirmation; often resulting in a less than consoling heft of spirit that leaves one desperate for an ending you thought you had been promised from the beginning, only to realize that ending was an apparition of your original construed imaginings. You believe that you should have the same fairness, the same opportunities, the same movie-romance that everyone else is, in your naïve mind, having. Despite whatever others are experiencing, anything you have seems hollow and fleeting. This is the nature of what I consider to be the gay life.
Let me not get ahead of myself. In every other playing field, all figurative and literal, I consider myself more than equal. Gay is not a facade that we are allowed to hide behind, sheltering secrets from the eager ears of some. Gay lifestyle is not my lifestyle because I am not solely a gay person. I happen to have some really incredible other parts of me that I think should take the brunt of others impressions. Gay is not some ubiquitous personal identity for those unlucky enough to be gifted with it. Go fuck yourselves. Instead, for me, it is my fatal flaw and my thankful better half. They say that gays have a higher IQ on average, proliferation at arts, more empathy. It’s no wonder really, about the latter. Those who are gay have had to deal automatically with burdens that others often forget or minimalize. The guilt is something that one never truly gets over and is the most damaging at the beginning. Add on the shame, the embarrassment, the unmet expectations, the itching self-worth, the more you scratch the worse it gets.
For me, I had what I’ve had some people later refer to as (with a good bit of malice actually) “passing privileges”. This means that I can pass as strait if I choose to, at least to some degree. This was my entire existence up until about two years ago. It was a strait front that I chose to hide behind, to identify with. It was an interesting mix of self-delusion and masochism on my part. To most everyone else I was an eligible bachelor, apparently looking for the perfect girl. Unfortunately she was a boy, and as a boy myself I couldn’t make it known.
Understand that while you’re living a lie in this way, concealing the truth becomes second nature. You learn what tends to be convincing and what certainly is not. Sometimes my more camp nature will make an appearance (damn my dancing skills) or my crush will weigh too heavily on my mind. I learned, through incredible mental and physical training, to control any identifier too bold, too rainbow colored or too self-loathing. I’ve had a few people worry about my health and sanity during those years of careful hiding and for good reason. I had some issues and it’s no wonder.
At the same time, while lying weighs heavy on your conscious, I myself had always wanted to be completely upright in anything else. I never was a partier in high school, I excelled at sports and academics. I was a good Christian too, always trying to overcome this sinful chip on my shoulder that I never chose, but would be condemned for if acted upon. I decided during these years that I would learn to detest gays. It was easy enough to hate those that were most different from me; the ones with those bitchy lisps, with the pink and turquoise on, that people referred to as “girl”. That wasn’t me, and my inner self could indulge in this half-truth without feeling like a liar. You aren’t like them. They are gay. You are not. I guess somewhere deep down I found a recess to hide the boy-crushes I had in. Those didn’t make me gay unless I acted on them? To be honest, at this point I don’t know how I justified this at the time.
I think perhaps I do not really know what love is. At 22, I haven’t had a lot of experience with the sex that interests me more. And those that I have felt anything for have been a wash. Throwing out those idealistic crushes from high school, younger boys usually, I’ve only harbored feelings for three guys. The first, unapologetically strait, though the target of my intense affection for nearly two years, turned out to be the hardest on my emotional state during that time and bit after. Perhaps I can nevert forget him despite incredible efforts, though I will digress now. Some things just are not worth it. The second, a lovely boy I should have cherished more, if only I myself had been comfortably out at the time. The third, a hipster type with unexplainable charm to me; certainly not his affection, which I received very little of. Perhaps it was our incredible schism in personality, in appreciation, that led me to really fall for him. Who knows. Unfortunately, they are all in the past and I choose to look to the future.
It was the future that prodded me into writing this bit. The bitter (and realistic, perhaps) side of me says to hang it up. To give up on love, as it does not exist for some of us. But the hopeless romantic, for me the Libran that I embody, tells me that I will, in fact, meet someone. Is it our human nature that forces us into such optimism? In any case, I would very much like to meet someone that I fall in love with and who loves me back. If we had that, what else do we need?
The trouble with all this lovely lovey talk is that it’s easier said (and watched) then done. Perhaps living in Tennessee isn’t in my best interests for love. Actually this is exactly true. However, I will not accept that there isn’t someone perfect for me out there. And if I live in Tennessee, so could he. That being said, I am starting to get a little bit bitter and almost desperate.
There is a side of me that, if carefully examined, is pretty hideous. I was not referring to my appearance, though keep your opinions to yourself. What I did mean, actually, was the creeping pride that plagues my goodwill and better judgement sometimes. This pride is what fuels my athletic forays, and in my past, my academic pursuits. It is what never allows me to appreciate a game well played unless I was the one who played well. It is what helps me excel in life, yet what also put enormous pressure on me, settling sickeningly inside my very being. Content is something I’ve never experienced. Praise falls right off.
This pride is what has set the bar so high for potential loves as well. I am not the type to meet someone on the internet, on the dance-floor, or phone app. I find impersonal ways to meet, especially with the intention of fucking, to be callous and shitty. I refuse to meet someone like that. Because of my stubbornness, perhaps, I have had a time meeting new gay friends. Maybe this is my main problem, though it’s hard to say for sure anymore. It is my hope that someday I will meet this awesome (preferably cute, though I hate actually using the word..) person someday and things will fall into place. Until then, I will sigh and I will blog when I start getting drunk.
I dont want to seem ungrateful, however whiney this little rant has been. I am happier now than I ever was before 2 years ago when I came out. The pieces just need to fall into place. And maybe they will.