Aug. 28th, 2012 01:37 pm
parasitegirl: (Default)

I fix myself coffee. It’s not as strong as it should be because I am at work. I prepare it with a paper filter but I didn’t grind the beans finely enough. My morning body still takes cues from deeper established routines that I've recently changed. When I grind coffee, my hands still time the action to the coarser grind needed for a press pot, despite the fact that I now wait until I am at work for my first cup. The press pot is too messy for work. My morning brew delay is to prevent coffee from actively interfering with my breakfast iron absorption. The coarser grind doesn’t produce the surface area needed for a perfect drip-coffee, but the result still surpasses the pre-packaged drip-coffee packets my co-workers sip.

This is not my first coffee of the day. It is my second. I haven’t brewed it to get my fix, it serves a different purpose; I start with coffee so that I won't lead with the writer's cliché of the blinking cursor and the white page.

I need to write. I want to write. Needs are pushy things, they line-jump the quietly queued up wants. I’ve written about my first night in Istanbul and I’d like to continue to that narrative. I need to write about fireworks, strung lanterns, and memories.

Istanbul will be there when I finish what I need to do, although it runs the risk of fraying at the edges.

Saturday night, as I was coming back from a gig at the Russian/Egyptian restaurant in Matsudo, I heard the explosions. I was already back to my train station, walking the six minutes it takes on the single road I take from the station to dirty peach-colored flat I live in.

I knew that if I turned back to the station, I could stand on the bridge that crosses the tracks and see the fireworks. I didn’t turn back. I saw the view in my head. I’d once clicked photos of those fireworks and of the pink and white festival lanterns that line the road near festival time. Click. Send. This is where I live. Click. This is what is happening around me tonight. Click. This is my face as shot from below taking it all in. Send. Send. This is my world right now…enjoy. Sigh. I am a world away. Smile. Take joy in the things that make me smile.

This is where I am now, but in two weeks I will be far away…with you.

I continued walking through the humid night, in August 2012, as I felt August 2010 settle into my skin and dampen my clothing.

It’s how we communicated…photos, typed chat sessions, texts.

August, 2010, I was excited. I’d be visiting America soon. I’d see friends in Seattle, study dance in Las Vegas, and visit San Francisco. In SF I’d seeing friends and stay with someone I cared about but never would define my relationship clearly to (and weeks later I’d permanently damage my relationship to). In Vegas, I would meet D again. D, we’d reconnected on Facebook, having only known each other briefly 10 years before, and had quickly typed ourselves into a frenzy of expectation, excitement… love?

It was to him I sent the snapshots, the moments of my life. August, 2010, was engorged with possibility. To have that feeling return to me, as I walked home, was not unwelcome. Had August 2011 revisited me, prickling me with anxiety, D’s upcoming visit, and my deepest depression I would have wanted to shake off the memory. 2010, however, was before the earthquake, the uncertainty, my returned to life, the soon next-stepping of my relationship with D. The déjà vu of hope was not unwanted.

I don’t write much about D. I never have. I wrote of the good, when I wrote at all, mostly I was silent. I wrote of him just enough to damage my undefined relationship beyond repair. I wrote enough about what caring about him might mean for my life to excite others.

The words he wrote me, when we ended, cauterized something in me. For once there was no lingering. No continued friendship trickily navigated. Our boundaries were never redefined through clumsy moments. No reaching and retraction.

I don’t hate him. I don’t regret that I fell in love with him. I just never want to see him again.

My reflection on those days with D has happened…but most of it is undocumented. I haven’t wanted to loudly recollect and organize that which I only shared with others in shards.

Still, I had to write this, before I continued with my adventures in Istanbul. I needed to share that the familiarity of a night warm with potential comforted me. Excited me.

If D and I did one thing right for each other, it was to release the most glorious, terrifying, Kraken of dreams surpassed: It made us both believe, again, that we could be loved and love others.

And with that the need to write calms itself. It stands aside and signals to want that it can soon step up to the window.

My coffee is cold. I finish it to bring my writing to a close.

parasitegirl: (Default)
I can't even count the reasons to be reflecting on my life right now:

A major breakup, always a time for reflection. Knowing that my time in Japan went from being something I thought of finite/a matter of months to being something that stretches out before me without a known endpoint. New Year. I've recently been in my home town (In my family home surrounded by memories of my past) seeing people who've known me all my life/since elementary school/ since high school/ since college/ since I went to live in Japan.I'm bringing my time at one studio to a close and taking on more classes at the other. I've been on Lexpro with counciling every two weeks since early Septemer and it's helping me be able to think about my life without the fog of depression...

A whole lot of

The depression diary. )

parasitegirl: (dark)
"Would you like to think about what your life should be...?" the trash can asks me. It sits in my therapist's waiting room, asking me that one question each time I wait.

In Japan, where lunch boxes may demand things like, "Let's enjoy flavor life together! " it’s not unusual for random objects to be decorated with English proclamations. I don’t expect the English around me to always mean what it says or say what it means. English is often here just to be here.

I always wonder about this trash can though. Its grasp of English is better than the average object. I know that my therapist speaks English. What it asks is all too appropriate for the setting.

Would I like to think about what my life should be...?
Very long and a little touchy )
parasitegirl: (Default)

Just a sip. Just a touch of lips. Stop if it is too much for you. It’s just a sip.

I like my coffee like I like my men…and you know the drill. Fill in your own blanks.

I like my coffee warm, inviting and familiar. I like it to rush me, throw my head back, and fill me quickly. I like it bracing and exciting. I like it to warm my toes and my fingertips when nothing else will. I like it to be there for me in the morning. I like it to understand I will stray. When I come in from the rain, feeling chilled and too unprotected from the elements of this world, I like it to wrap me in its steamy embrace. I like to shiver from its touch.

Drink (Perhaps not one for my parents) )

Audio bonus...I get bored and read it!
parasitegirl: (Opp!)

I forwarded the you tube clip of my local dental debut in a Japanese educational film to a friend last night..and he noticed how I cover my face slightly when I smile.

I posted a photo of the latest costume in progress last night, another friend remarked on the peace fingers I was flashing and noted that my hand has “Gone native.”

And any friend who has seen me within 48 hours of flying in America knows that there is a patina to my motions that is new…although it can be subtle in comparision to my temporary in-ability to see large empty streets without wondering what terrible nuclear event has happened, my freezing when faced with the choices and sizes of food,and the fact that I talk and gesture like I assume most everyone around me has a rudimentary grasp of English.

I get nervous for a while when we eat without saying itadakemasu. I bow my head at everyone.

When I first moved to Japan I disappeared. I slipped into a body language foreign to me…and I did so without checking to see if it fit. I became unrecognizable. I averted my gaze, reduced my eye contact, brought everything closer to my body. My voice didn’t jump octaves but it did sink in volume. My gait, and it is a distinctive strut, decreased.

And if you’d asked me, I’d have told you that I wasn’t experiencing culture shock…that my research into Japanese life and culture had protected me from such bumps. I was in shock. My studies created a sensitivity to my otherness and potential offenses that I was reacting against, and probably increased how lost I became in body and mind.

I didn’t see it happen. Those around me had no idea, because they had no sense of who I was across the ocean.

Then I visited Praveen in Singapore and he came to Japan to see me…and he saw it all. He saw it in disturbing detail. He saw the brash, explicit, skin-dweller of loud awkwardnesses and desires that he’d loved replaced by an alien of unsure smallness. I wasn’t myself…and when pushed to be who I was, and Praveen can push like no man I’ve ever loved, I brought forth fractured parodies. There were moments, but so much of who I am was obscured and confused.

We talked of foxes and hedgehogs…and while I don’t believe in such strong dichotomies to describe the intricate lives and personalities we are…I will agree that finding me rolled-up in a ball to protect myself from externals is something that would rightly share the shit out of most people who know me.

On August 8th, 2010, I will mark nine years since I landed in Narita for the first time.

I have adapted to my surroundings. My otherness has also become clarified in a way I now embrace. I continue to have jobs that are predicated on my otherness and yet require that I can integrate in traditional Japanese ways. I used to think of this as a balancing act, but now it is just what I do. Yes, it is a state of inhereint and shifting contradictions, but it is also the state where I live. I know my limits and also retain the flexibility required to prevent me from becoming the bitter ex-pat I could be.

I cover my teeth when I laugh but it is a laugh you can hear from rooms away.

I bring my hand up to the back of my neck in a move of modesty, nerves, submission, and then I look into you with the eyes I’ve always had.

I continue to be the girl you’ve always known…and that girl was always in flux....but I am also that girl who stood strong and solid.


May. 6th, 2010 07:09 pm
parasitegirl: (Default)
I feel like I should write about my trip to Taiwan but I’m not sure what to write.
I might be processing it for a while. It may require multiple trips for me to have an opinion. Indeed my host and I both increasingly talked of the next visit(s) and today I started looking at my schedule for upcoming 3-day weekends I could expand a day or so.
I didn’t go and see the things you are supposed to go see when in Taiwan. I didn’t shop in the night markets or the textile areas (although that last one I plan to do next time..see? Next time.) I did not even see the outside of a historical place, much less the inside of any museums. Ultimately, I brought home nothing but memories, a few snapshots, and two small cups that I did not buy. I think there exists one or two snapshots of me swimming, so there is proof I was somewhere, but that proof isn't on my camera. I hate taking vacation shots of myself.
It was a vacation of eating, conversation, and open skies. Taiwan and my Host. )
parasitegirl: (Default)
I went to a workshop today. It was great and I look forward to tomorrows and it's not the point right now.

The point is that KIKI saw me and ran up to hug me. She's the second women in two days to hug me (the first was on a tour of schools). It felt good. It feels too to greeted with joy by other women.

That's not what is prompting this revisiting of a post I recently deleted, but it helps me do it. Hang with me...some of this will read familiar, but I think I need to be clearer about where my post about female friends came from...and what I meant to say. I knew when I posted it that I'd gotten it wrong, and that I might be unleashing some shit...but I hadn't thought long enough to know what to write. and I hadn't anticipated the wounds I would open.

My female friends...well my historical the lack of many female friends…is something I’ve avoided writing about much.
Last week I Skyped (for the first time) with my friend Rook.Let me pull my foot out of my mouth and my head for my ass )

Tick Tock

Mar. 26th, 2010 02:28 pm
parasitegirl: (Default)

“Tick Tock, there’s a bomb on our block.”

 It’s a little scrap of drawing paper. The cartoon outline of an explosion is drawn in orange and yellow oil pastels and the rhyming words are in soft led. It’s currently in my old room in my mother’s basement. It is one of the drawings of Melissa’s that I have saved. It can’t really be called a full drawing, not like the clown curled up on a large circus ring asking me what I am lookn’ at, it’s an illustrated note.

The cause for the note was a bomb scare that had cleared MIAD, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, a few days before. Mel left the note pinned up in my studio space, a few studio nooks away from her space.

We were the lone, senior, female drawing majors that year.

Mel’s drawings appealed to me and could not have been less like my own. That’s not true. Her art involved living things and bodies like mine, it was still what we called objective…and it was, no doubt, as much about her life as mine were about mine. I think her drawings looked farther back than mine. Hers brought the joy of early childhood explorations while I investigated my last few years.

Her artwork was bright and created in colors we associate with happy childhoods….the colors that I tend to wear now when I find a great dress from the 70’s. My artwork wasn’t colorful then, I had a tendency to strip away colors and to isolate figures. I stripped away many things. That year, if I wasn’t obliterating backgrounds with thick layers of gesso, I was removing limbs, hands, feet, or heads from my drawings as I sketched perfectly complete nude models. My work was less complex than it had been the year before, although perhaps not as strong and definitely not as urgent, but recovery is like that. In the limbs I discarded and the figure after figure I crippled it was obvious I wasn’t quite whole, but…unlike the year before, it was not my figure being fragmented, or rolled over with gesso and oils, or being inflated beyond recognition.

I think about this because right now there is a drawing in my head that reminds me of both of my work and hers, as if we have grown together…it is of a beautiful, naked, woman smiling…but her feet are grey. I will eventually draw it. I need to. I am the beautiful girl with dead feet.

I also need to draw myself naked in front of a Wurlitzer. The important thing is that for the first time in a year I need to draw. It comes and goes. It’s not the same as my need to write.

I have been influenced by Mel’s drawings, or what I remember her drawings to be. The year after I graduated MIAD, the year I became acutely aware that I struggle with depression, I often thought of a drawing she’d made of a ballerina with her skirt on fire. I made my own version of that drawing and glazed it as a tile when I worked at a DIY painting/ceramics studio. It was part of a short series of dancers…and the only one with all her limbs. I also drew one dancer, smiling, with no feet, on a huge roll of paper in the apartment I shared with my then boyfriend. This was before I danced…and before I realized I was struggling with depression.

I didn’t understand why my boyfriend might not want a footless ballerina in our living room. I didn’t see it…but three years before I’d been drawing self-portraits wherein I was a 100 extra pounds heavier and thought them accurate…and people think I’m self aware. I have incredible faculties of self-knowledge...when I slow down enough for them to catch up to me. I was always in motion then. I moved 5 times in one year, but it was more than that.

There’s also an illustrated note that I don’t have from our school years, one that I can barely picture, but I know once existed and I think of often. It is of the two of us, bundled against the cold, our faces defined by wide smiles, smoking.

It was pinned in my studio after the fact and celebrates my most vivid memory of her.

Her first boyfriend, her first love…how to define him is not for me to say …was a fellow MIAD student and he was away in New York for a semester. Mel had just come back from visiting him. She missed him.

Mel is a sensualist, more than I will probably ever be. I don’t mean she’s overtly sexual (that’s more my thing) it’s just that she is very aware and involved with her senses. She is at home in the senses the way I nest in words/my own mind.

When she visited him, he’d been smoking clove cigarettes. She missed him and needed some part of the experience of her time spent with him with her in the here and now I Milwaukee. She came to my studio nook to ask me if I knew what cloves were and where she could buy them… if I could help her.

I knew exactly what cloves were, as I spent time with Goths and Industrial music djs, and that there was a tobacconist downtown by the mall. We got our coats and set out.

Feeling transgressive, like children, we giggled and entered the store. I think the packs of cloves were behind the counter and we had to ask for them. That duty was probably mine. I was the hired guide for this adventure. I think there were probably many brands but that I would have asked for the one I knew, Djarums. We bought a pack and a lighter. Back outside, in the wind off the river, we huddled together to light it…struggling because we had no clue how to unlock the childproofing. I had no clue. My experience with lighters was that men lit them for me.

We may have had to go back to the store for help, I am not sure, but somehow we set our dark cigarettes on fire. Our lips were sweet and tingled slightly from the cloves. Melissa rolled the smoke around in her mouth, letting it float up through her nose, and kept it there. “It tastes like Christmas.” She giggled. I agreed. I pulled the smoke into my lungs, bypassing Christmas for the parties of the New Year. She was content and I was buzzed as we returned to school.

I wish I knew where that sketch was…although I suppose the important thing is that I still retain this much of that time in my mind. More important is that Mel is back in my life and there will be time for other images that capture our smiles.

parasitegirl: (Evil)

The first morning back is always threatens to erase everything.


Yesterday I awoke in my own bed again. I looked around and knew where I was, but could not believe that I had been elsewhere. I was in Japan. How on earth could I have been in California the day before?


The first night in California I awoke at midnight, thought I was in Japan, and then noticed that the shadows were not where they should have been. Then I realized I had woken up in a house I had not slept in for 20 years.


That will throw you for a loop.


I wandered around a bit that midnight. The house no longer has the same items in the kids’ rooms, and has been overrun by rabbits, bears, and cats in various statue forms, but much had stayed the same. The plates, the glasses, the pictures that lined the upstairs hall, the stained glass window I remembered looking up at in an earthquake…the same. And for some reason when I looked at the back of the door I remembered opening it and finding a slug many moons ago.


Now I am back at work. My days gone have folded over and darted away.

parasitegirl: (neck)

Oh, Facebook, you are the cat I love despite the headless prey you place on my pillows. You leave a trail of feathers. You take me to the scene of the crime. You leave me to wonder if I have missed any of the carnage. Will the warm weather cause me to sniff out rotting bits I’ve missed for weeks to come?

You have brought me New Years Eve 1994-1995. I write not worrying who I expose. I am fairly sure that I am the only keeper of these memories. I haven’t told this story before, not in so many words. Perhaps I haven’t told it because it has no real end. None of you will know everyone involved. I compartmentalized to a greater degree in the past.

My hair is in a chin-length bob. It is probably red, but the photo I have is black and white. My dress is gold satin with spaghetti straps. It is New Years in Madison. This thin slipdress cannot possibly keep me warm but I forget the wraps that must have had. My body is soft. I am probably near 155 pounds. I have not yet started to watch what I eat. I have not yet joined the health club in Milwaukee or gone through nutritional profiles or kept a food log. I don’t love to cook yet. I am not ready to become less insulated.


You know the sort of post that follows this sort of introduction... )


parasitegirl: (holga)

I am standing on an outcropping. The concrete youth facility is behind me and the ocean rolls in below me. It is night and the moon is full, at least it is full in my memories. I am in Kamogawa, we spent 3 hours on a train to get here and it is lovely. There is a light breeze. My skin is still wet in the humidity. The air is thick with the sounds of cicada. The bushes around me throb with their calls. August is saturated with them. They wheeze in and stutter out, a metallic catching sob of a scream. It’s a long breath in and rattle out. Perhaps I am projecting, because in this moment, in this beautiful place, I am quietly sobbing. I am alone. It is my third night in Japan.


The early days. )


parasitegirl: (Default)
I was on the train and, as I am want to do, I fell back through time. It happens more as the darkness of winter is on me.

Although I sat, carefully, on the train, I found myself sprawled across a rumpled bed, in a well-designed hotel room, looking at a  face I probably can feel in my sleep.

I pushed my feet against the train floor, hoping to ground myself, but I felt my fingers trace his eyebrows and cheekbones. I've known this face over time. I feel the words that I want to say, the ones that admit that I know no face as well as this, this beautiful skull, but I don't say anything.  I hear his words...his regrets...and I can say nothing but "shut up, shut up, shut up...."

And I'm falling. I'm seeing that face over time. I see it sideways, flat, cut in half by a pillow. It is cold, softer, flushed, thinner, shaved, unshaved. I see it as I imagine I first saw it and as I know I last saw it.

I sit upright as the train goes forward but I feel my weight against cotton, under blankets, sinking into a water bed, against the floor and I want the falling to stop. I don't want to remember what comes next. I want to stay in the moments that come before I say shut up...I don't want to watch myself leave again and again and again.

And then, as quickly as it starts, I have the memories under control. I'm on a train, going to see friends.

These morning I sit in front of my full spectrum light, and take my vitamin D with a good breakfast and a cup of coffee. I'm still going to fall through time, here and there, and I'm going to feel the emotions amplified...but no need to leave the trapdoors of time deliberately weakened.


Jun. 28th, 2007 05:29 pm
parasitegirl: (neck)
I've been falling through time again.

There are the frequent destinations:I lie down before hot yoga class, put the towel over my eyes, and find myself in the back of cab in London with my head resting in his lap and Elvis playing. The cab moves backwards and I grab the thin face of a sarcastic but sweet high-maintenance Jermyn street tailor. I kiss him casually on the lips and tell him that we're not leaving because of him. I explain it all, quickly, nutshell. "I thought you two were an old married couple." Nope. The plane returns to Japan, fast forward or rewind it doesn't matter, because it is time for me to remove the towel and start class.

Then the destinations are sporadic:

I'm filling out visa renewal papers and suddenly I'm in a restaurant on my 29th birthday, explaining that I've accepted a new job, I'm not moving back home…and that as wonderful as this sounds it means everything just got more complicated. My new gaijin card brings me back. It is June, 2007.

I catch the image of my tattoo and suddenly the one under it is revealed. I am 18 in Hoyt Park. I had a horrible night I drove back to Madison the next day to forget. My tattoo is molting. I could identify my dress in a line up. I am chubby and growing more so. I turn away and I am home.

I'm in Singapore and another head is now in my lap. I am in Japan where only the humidity presses down on me.

I'm in the rain. I am everywhere. Alone. Kissing. Running topless across Blackhawk golf course. In Nikko when nothing is dry. In a downpour with broken shoes and 1,000 yen to last a week. I'm in my first typhoon and I still don't know how the water got into my living room. Nezu sensei lent me videos before the storm. Nezu sensei died 4 years ago of an aneurism.

For a girl with not a lot of time to travel, I've been everywhere lately.
parasitegirl: (Default)
I recently wrote about some of my memories from working at the caustic video store. One of those memories will be coming to Japan soon! I like visits from people I haven't slept with! Warning-San is coming to Japan on his way to being an intern in some law firm in Thailand. He should land around 3:30 today (Weds). He’ll only be here for three days and is crashing with me, I’ve taken a day off tomorrow.
parasitegirl: (holga)

This week I spoke to yet another voice from the past. Granted, he is still alive and will soon be in Japan for 48 hours; he exists not only in my past, but my present and future as well. He will be here and we will talk.AT this point we both need someone who knows us well enough to cut to the chase. He isn't doing well: I could be better. However, the symbiotic days of emotional highs and lows as oddly wrought lovers are in the past.


When it comes to the past it cannot be said that I pack light. That is an optical illusion...I pack tight. My memory is flawed but what is there is fecund. I don’t pack to entirely forget, for that task there are fires and dumpsters, I pack to make space for more. Yet when you pack, you always forget something.


rambling behind the cut )


parasitegirl: (Default)
,  A while back I was talking about that little game I play of review the lows from past winters. I mentioned the incident of making out with a boy from Bhutan in a tea ceremony room at an internationalization seminar. I didn’t mention that about a year later, totally sauced after two parties and one karaoke session with co-workers that I placed an ill-advised booty-call to that same tall drink of Bhutan water. Damn if his friends didn’t deliver him to my door by car.

The rest of the story. )


parasitegirl: (Default)

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