A Ferret Called Wilson

Chasing Happy, Chasing Dreams



Comprehending Swine

I was talking to the Pigs* this morning and he told me about a story that had been making the rounds of facebook. A woman was disillusioned with her job and three years ago walked out to go on vacation. She never went back and she is still vacationing. Primarily she lives off her savings, hitch hikes and couch surfs, but she will occasionally work along the way. I have no idea how she does this, but I desperately want to know!

Most of the facebook comments, however, were derisive in the fashion most typical of online forums. Anonymity assholification is what I call it; it is the phenomenon where otherwise perfectly decent human beings act like complete jerks because the anonymity gives them courage to act out. People said that it wasn’t a real three-year vacation because she had to work sometimes. Others said she could only do it because of her white privilege. Very few comments were positive and the majority of them were banal, overused and hardly relevant to the actual story. The Pigs said to me that it made him sad to see how the vast majority of the world still isn’t ready to accept that there is another way to find happiness outside of the rat race that’s killing us all.

I said to him “it’s pearls before swine.” I am not much of a Bible quoter, though ironically I reference the Bible more now that I have quit Christianity than I ever did as a follower. The wisdom in this passage is this: If you have pearls and you throw them before a heard of swine, they will just swallow them and shit them out with the other food they forage for. Swine will eat anything, and it all turns to shit. I’m not sure that Jesus used the same phrasing, but I think “pearls to shit” has impact. The beautiful story of a woman with the courage to walk away from the Standard Narrative and forge her own path, when it was posted on facebook, became a pearl that was quickly swallowed by the masses of swine that populate the Interwebs.

In my own life I feel as though I have collected, discovered and refined great swaths of pearls in the form of experience, knowledge and wisdom. I want to share them with the world. I want to show the people around me that there is a way to have happiness and, while it is not easy, it is very simple to do.

The reality that I face, though, is that most people are simply not ready. I could give them one of my pearls and they wouldn’t know it from a moth ball. For me, right now, the challenge is to find the people who want to hear my message. There is no use in fighting with those who are grounded in opposition, however I am sure there are people, like the woman who is still on vacation, who would like to hear what I have to say. Maybe she knows something that I don’t, but I am sure that even those who have begun to forge their own paths to happy would still appreciate having the company and the communion from another who also deviates.

I had another moment of a similar nature earlier today. In realizing that my relationship with the Giant store had come to an end, I felt that I needed to give voice to my feelings and share them with those involved. So I sent a message to Thunder explaining to him that I was going to separate myself from him and the shop because I felt unneeded and unappreciated. He wrote back to me a message I have heard many times before, “I don’t know why you’re so upset, but do what you have to.” It’s a common reply from boys who don’t want to acknowledge that something they are doing could be causing pain to another. I stewed on the message over night. Of course it hurt to be brushed off after sharing my honest feelings and I was mad. I was also frustrated that, even as it is often incredibly difficult to find the right words in English, I had to do this in Japanese and still he refused to help me even in communicating.

In the end I realized that I was dealing with another case of swine. I believe in love. I believe in the fundamental goodness of people. It is a habit of mine to react to people with love and empathy, to try to understand their perspective and why they behave the way they do, and to avoid passing judgment on them as Good or Bad. But swine do not understand about love. They believe in Good and Evil and Winners and Losers. They believe that when people disagree someone is right and someone is wrong. They don’t understand that sometimes both people can want the same things and still be unable to find a solution.

If you give your love to swine, you will just get shit in return. Ironically, I don’t blame the swine for this, either. It is just their nature. It still hurts, though. I think it hurts even more because if I could say, “you are a terrible person!” then I could feel as if my loss was not so great. After all, who mourns the loss of shit? No one. But the loss of something beautiful that, try as you might, you could never fully own though it had been flitted before your eyes repeatedly, and tauntingly? This is truly painful.

Part of me still hopes that what I am saying is not true. Part of me still hopes that this beautiful thing that once seemed available to me is not actually gone. It is the same part of me that hopes that the world will one day wake up and hear my message: You can have freedom, you can have love, you can have happiness, and you can have all of it right now. All you have to do is want it: see it, want it, reach out and take it. It’s that simple.

And yet, again I find myself standing with arms full of pearls and no one but swine to give them to.

Continue reading “Comprehending Swine”

Goodbye, Cruel Boys, I’m Leaving You Today

I’m in pain again today. I’m suffering a loss and it really, really hurts.

Yesterday I went to watch the Ishikawa JCBF series road race in Ishikawa, Fukushima. It was my first time to Fukushima and I have to say, at least in the area I was in, there is no evidence of the meltdown. I got sunburned, though, so maybe I shouldn’t be too relaxed.

I went with Thunder and a selection of regulars from the Everwin team. When I asked if it was ok for me to go and watch, Thunder (who is in charge of the team) told me that it was ok, except that I would have to ride in the back with the bikes because the athletes take priority. Whatever, I’m ok with that. Turned out that the back was very nice and the other guys were fighting over it because we were all massively sleep deprived and exhausted from the heat. In the back, you could lay down and actually sleep.

When we arrived at the race site everyone got out to ride across town to the registration booth. I didn’t know how far it was, or where it was, but I had my sweet new race baby (Kookaburra), and I was committed to the day so I did my best to keep up.

I couldn’t keep up. I got lost. I had no cell reception and even though there were staff along the race course, I had no idea what to even ask them. “Hey, uh, I’m looking for my friend’s car… No, I don’t know where he parked it. Or where I am. Or what I’m even doing out here.” With no wallet, phone, or food and my stomach running on so close to empty that I was starting to get dizzy in the early morning heat, lost and with no way of knowing how to get back before the race started and the roads closed, I just sat down and cried.

Somehow I managed to figure out where the car was. Thankfully, it was also unlocked and I was able to feed myself. As I sat on the concrete, alone with my bike, it occurred to me that not only was this not the first time this has happened to me, but it seems to be part of a pattern.

Thunder does not seem to give a shit about what happens to me.
The Giant store manager might give a shit, but it’s apparently too much work.
The girls at the Giant store are useless wastes of good flesh.
The boys on the Giant team are too oblivious to know how hard I work to be able to play with them, or how exhausting it is to always be the one who gets dropped and needs special attention.

In the heat, far from home and disconnected from anyone who cared about me, I realized that my relationship with Giant is over.

The Giant store was my salvation when I came to Japan. I was lonely and lost and they gave me a place to be, bikes to ride, trails to play on and support in my life. And then something happened. I got too big for them, maybe? And now it feels like I’m nothing more than a burden to them all the time. I try to help and they don’t want my help. I try to play and I get brushed off. I try to train and I get ignored. I try to do business with them and, well, I get ignored there, too. I don’t know what happened or why, but I know that the safety and comfort that the people there represented to me at one time is gone now and nothing I can do will bring it back.

And this hurts.

This hurts a fucking lot.

And you know? I can’t help but wonder if a large part of this isn’t the language barrier. People think I’m fluent in Japanese, but mostly they’re rounding up. I’m only fluent when people are talking to me directly and in person. On the phone, in a group, or about a subject I’m not familiar, I struggle to keep up. I wonder if my inability to have a relationship with the people who I desperately wanted to be friends with is that they are all simply too busy to take the time to give me the individual attention I need to actually communicate. Of course I’m angry because if they cared at all about me, they would, at least on occasion, take the time and energy to check in on me. It’s not like I ask a lot, and I’m incredibly flexible. Like with the car. If he told me I had to ride on the roof with the bikes I would make it work.

It’s one of the reasons why I’m so dissatisfied with my job. There’s no reason for anyone to need to interact with me. My students can just sit there. My colleagues never pass me in the hall. But even if they did, they don’t share the same passions that I have.

In the end, I feel pretty damn hopeless that I will ever have a family. I feel like I may never be free of this chronic, aching loneliness that plagues every waking moment of my life. It’s pretty scary to be here. I feel very close to the edge of nothing matters at all. I know that place. I hate that place.

Once I used to be pretty resilient. I have lived with pain since I can remember, but long ago I still had hope. I was still able to tell myself that if it all went to shit I could go and sell sandwiches on the beach in Italy. Now I know that I’m too restless for that. Now I know that even that life would be too hard for me. I would feel constrained eventually, and dead without a greater purpose.

And the loneliness wouldn’t go away.

I guess the ultimate truth that I am coming to is that I am different. I used to want to believe that I wasn’t different, that I was just imagining it, or that if I wanted something I could just go out and get it, even if that something was friendship. I have never put so much work and so many tears into having a friendship before. I think I’ve come further with the Giant boys than I’ve come with anyone*, maybe. And to see it all come crashing down in a stinking pile of shit…

Well, it just makes you think that maybe the problem is with you. Maybe you’re unfixable and unlovable. Maybe you really are different, and that’s why no one wants you around.

In Pain

For some reason I’ve been in pain all day. Lately, I’ve been noticing that the pain I experience on a regular basis has various different qualities to it. For example, when I get a massage I feel pain from being stretched, and pain from when my therapist manipulates muscles that haven’t been stimulated properly and have locked into place. I can differentiate these two types of pain from a third type of pain which is simply muscle soreness. When a muscle is sore from exertion and it gets pressed on, it kind of makes a sighing sound in my sensory perception, but when a muscle which is damaged from stress and has locked up, it doesn’t sigh so much as scream with the stimulation. It’s the difference between waking up to heavy rain and waking up to a foghorn.

Today’s pain, however, is unfortunately not of the physical kind. My heart has been in pain today. Like my muscles, my heart experiences different qualities of pain, too. There is the excruciating pain of loss; the soul crushing impotence of knowing that what was there before will never be again. Not so many months ago when I was holding Amber’s limp and feverish body in my arms, when it seemed like the doctor and I simply could not move fast enough to neutralize her rapidly shifting symptoms and I thought I would never see her play again, I experienced this type of pain. Sould crushing. That’s about what it is. You feel as if you will never have the strength to move again, as if the very seems of your body are being ripped apart from the inside.

There is purification in the pain of loss. In the moment, it is so extreme that you cannot comprehend ever passing through it. But, like all things, it does indeed pass and when your eyes clear on the other side of it, you feel purged. It is as if by reaching into the depths of sorrow and experiencing its emptiness, your body then opens up to the fulness of all that is and all that will become.

Unfortunately, today’s pain is not the pain of loss either. Today’s pain is the pain of numbness. I hate the numbness more than I hate loss or injury. There is no pain to me which is more unbearably maddening than the pain of numbness. You see, unlike my other experiences of pain, the numbness has no cause, no source, and no foreseeable end. Moreover, it never really comes to the surface and expresses itself. Rather, it seethes just below my skin. I can feel it in the back of my eyelids and behind my breastbone. It makes me want to pierce myself. Sometimes I think if I could only puncture my flesh that the pain would seep out along with my other fluids. Sometimes I think if I could only puncture my flesh that I could confuse my body into thinking that my pain was local, finite, focused.

Perhaps the most difficult part of dealing with the numbness is that it often takes me by surprise. It is very easy to think that perhaps I am just hungry, or perhaps I am just sleep deprived, or maybe it is the weather. But the numbness won’t go away with a nap or a snack. A beautiful day with crisp air and distant mountains peering out from a curtain of early morning mist will not wash the pain clean. It is only when I have tended to my every physical need, and yet the pain still lingers, that I recognize it for what it is.

Today I am in pain. My heart is being crushed inside my chest with a suffocating, nauseating numbness. I only wish I knew what to do to free myself from it.

Sad, Sad

I’d like to start by saying that I am embarassed to be writing this post. However, in the name of honesty and self awareness, I’m going to do it anyway.

I am still very, very sad over the events that went down with my shop. It has infected every aspect of my riding and because of my inability to clear the air, it has grown and metastisized like an aggressive cancer. I’m afraid if I don’t get this thorn out of me soon that it will swallow me and make repair impossible.

It’s not just that the manager dropped me like baggage in the middle of unfamiliar territory with no support, directions or even a heads up. I’m mourning the loss of a dream that I didn’t know I was carrying until it was awoken by these people, and then crushed again so quickly after.

My dream, of course, is to become a strong, powerful top female athlete. I have always wanted to excel with my body, but I have always been told to give up the idea. With no support or role models, I grew into a very strange young woman who was so used to making decisions in the black hole of social isolation that she had lost the ability to comprehend common sense. Goals, training methods, life choices, all became a jumble of nothing in particular all because I never had any feedback that I could trust to guide me. That changed when I was invited to join the cycling team. I thought to myself, I am finally strong enough to be able to play with others! I am finally good enough to be allowed to have guidance. Finally, finally, it’s ok for me to dream of the heights of my physical potential!

With the idea of devoting every cell of my body to this one goal, this goal that no one could ever take away from me, this goal that was so beautiful and so pure that I could use it as a foundation to organize the rest of my life around, I became ecstatic. Suddenly I had a purpose that was wholly mine, that fulfilled me and gave me joy.

And then just as suddenly as this dream was uncovered for me, it was crushed with the realization that, no, even my own personal best, even the height of all my potential actualized, my sweat, tears and pain, are just not good enough for me to be able to have friends. Because friends don’t dump you like excess baggage when they want to play. Because friends don’t ignore you when you beg them for help. Because friends don’t tell you that you can’t play with them because you’re a girl and they don’t have time for that shit.

And that’s what it comes down to, really. I had a dream that I had finally found friends to play with. And then I woke up to the blaring reality that no, no I really don’t.

日本語 Continue reading “Sad, Sad”

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