Tag Archives: journal

It’s better to react quickly and look stupid than to not react in time

One of my coworkers just got his hip replaced. I am very fond of him. He is a fellow writer, and he always eats my cooking. Brave, brave man. 😉

Today was one of his first days back. From his cube, I heard a THUNK and then him swearing quietly.

My stomach dropped. I left my chair and rushed into his cube.

He was fine! He had been raising his desk to a standing height when the side got hooked on the printer, raised it, and dropped it. That was the big noise.

Two other concerned coworkers peeked in. After the worried questions and dismissive answers, we went back to our desks. One of them remarked, “Wow, you were in there fast! I sit right next to him and you were still in there before me.”

Having had an ill mother, as well as several very accident-prone family members, all the kids in my family learned to jump when something happened.

I am haunted by an experience I had when I was about 19, in college. I was supposed to spend some time visiting an old lady in a home as part of a community service credit.

In the course of our conversation, she had mentioned to me that a resident next door to her had fallen and was calling for help for hours before she heard her and got staff to help.

Later on, I went to visit her again. As we talked, and I kept hearing an odd, high vocalization every minute or so, from the other room. I didn’t think about it too hard, and politely wrote it off. I must have heard it for at least 30 minutes. Eventually the lady I was with heard it, too.

“What is that sound?” she said.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I keep hearing it.”

Being wheelchair bound, she pushed the call button, waited for an aide, and asked them to check on the noise. In her wisdom and experience, she was proactive about the situation the minute she noticed something unusual.

Of course, it was the resident in the next room. She had fallen again and was calling from the floor, in her frail weak voice, “Help!…Help!”

It’s amazing how much you forget. In writing this, I realized I don’t know if I ever saw the neighboring resident’s face. I don’t remember what we were talking about. The whole thing is like a hazy dream.

Only one thing keeps its sharp clear edges:  the sounds in the background of our long conversation, sounds which I had written off in the back of my mind, sounds which I was too shy and uncertain to act upon, and so ignored: a pathetic, persistent, exhausted cry for help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Journal – past fears, future fears

 

Reading about Huntington’s
Brings back memories of caregiving
The stress, the pain, the joy, the pain, the guilt
The pain, the pain
My heart aches, it’s full of love for her
But I’ve got nowhere to put it.
She knew what she meant to us.
We told her we loved her.
Remember her calling “I love you” to our backs as we left
When she finally managed to get her tongue around the words
Was it three years ago that we lost her?
Is that all?
Is that a lot?
The wound has reopened
And it feels like she’s still in the nursing home
I’m once again feeling that terrible weight
“I have to visit her, it’s been a while.”
Seeing her crumpled up
Like an empty can.

Sitting in my car
The car she gave me
The car she loved so much
She would still ask after that car
Say things like, I’m glad you have it now.
I would sit in the cab
In the nursing home parking lot
Stare at my young hands
Resting on the wheel, just where hers did
Wonder whose hands they were
Building courage, every time
To go see her
For her sake, to go see her
Because of what she did for me
Because she gave me so much joy
Because we laughed together in that car
Getting pizza, renting movies
She drove me to college in that car for a year
We gave a rides to a pathetic classmate of mine
Mom scolded me for not talking nice about her behind her back
Although we were both exhausted by her unending need.
I would sit in that car
Alone now
Behind the wheel now
Despair gnawing on my brain
Dread gnawing on my gut
Knowing I would have to face her again
Face her dying again
Face her confused tears again
Watch her cough and choke again
Her hands clenched into cold blue granite
Argue away her demands for ice cream, diet coke, diet coke, one more diet coke
They said only two cokes mom… okay I’ll sneak you one more
In my childhood I said yes ma’am
I obeyed without question
It was my joy to obey
She accepted me well; I never rebelled against her
Until she was dying
Then
I finally learned to tell her no
I’d spend an hour
Either fielding her demands
Or talking her down from a mental precipice
On good days, I just got to listen
As she rambled through her own fanciful mind
Picking gems here and there for me to examine
Her imagination truly unfettered.
Every day hurt.

I’m going to have to go through it all
All of it
Again.
The spiral is coming back around
And points this way.
It’s still far off
Barely visible on the horizon.

Well
I’ve done things I’m afraid of before.
I’ve gone to the dentist
I went and went until I wasn’t afraid
I’ve taken the worst they can throw at me
And trounced that fear.
I’ve ridden roller coasters
I’ve jumped from great heights
I’ve walked alone down dark hallways with the lights off.
I visited mom.
I can face fears.
I can face reality.
I can face grisly horrors
I can face and embrace the darkness.
Shit happens.
We all gotta die.
We all gotta lose someone.
It’s okay to be scared
But being scared is a waste of precious time.
I am strong
I am brave
I can take a lot of fucking punishment.
I can take a lot of grief.
I can take a lot of burden.
I’ve been there.
I will be there again.
I’ve been well taught
How to bear things with stoicism and grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Journal – the best compliments

I realized I’ve been hiding my real writings recently.  Oops, bad Sarah. No secrets. Be open.

It sure was comfortable while it lasted, haha.

 

Something nice to muse upon… what is the best compliment you ever received?

 


I was watching old home movies
I saw mom laughing again
The elegance in her hands
Her purity

Kid me came up to her with the camera
I said, “What are your thoughts on life?”
“I’m for it,” she quipped.
“What are your thoughts on death?”
“Also for it.”
Her philosophy would be tested and proved
later in life,
later in death.
She may not have known this word for it,
But she was very Tao.

I always saw mom in me
Her philosophical side,
Her creativity
Her crazies
Her acceptance.

The best compliment I ever received
Was from friends who never really knew mom
They told me I was just like Dad.
Something I had never considered before.
But once I did I knew it was true.

I got his outrageous side,
His caring
His extroversion
His stoicism
His sense of humor.

Both were nonconformist
Both were strong
Both were smart
Both were brave
Both were loving.

I am lucky, so lucky
To have had such parents
I am lucky to have a family
Bound tightly together in common tragedy
I know true tribalism
It’s wonderful
To know who you are
To have a place
To have a role.

Everyone has ever been so good to me
As good as they knew how
They have taught me how to be good to others
Some lessons better than others
I am grateful for everyone
I try to deserve what I have
But not too hard.
Trying too hard to deserve something
Makes you deserve it less,
grow unbalanced.
I must love me
If I am to love others.
Odd that being in the presence of my heroes
Should make me feel so small
We spend our time
Building each other up
And I always leave
Feeling smaller
Undeserving
These people are my people
My family
I love them unconditionally
And they me
I just have to love myself
Unconditionally.

The cat gave me a compliment today.
She waited outside the shower for half an hour
I take long showers
And when I came out
She purred, happy to see me
Rubbed against my wet leg
Knowing she would get wet
Deciding it was worth it.

My sister tells me to come visit.
I say, I have a nasty cold.
She says, then I’ll make you soup.
The joy of my visit outweighs
The physical discomfort I bring.

Love should not be measured in sacrifice.
The pleasure should outweigh the pain
By a grand margin.
However, it can be a small proof
Here and there
Little heartwarming gestures.
Someone gives you roses
You know they gave up some time and money for them.
Someone gives you food
They made just for you.
Someone reads your blog
Every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Happiness anywhere

This is from a couple days ago.

 


 

Why so sad, Sarah?
Why so sad?
What is it that has sapped your soul
blood sugar?
hormones?
How crazy is crazy
How crazy is normal
How normal is crazy
What is normal
is anyone it?

I drip drip drip
like an old leaky fountain
like the disposal I need to repair
like the rotten corner of the house
the mold takes hold
it grows and grows
peel back my skin
you’ll see green speckles
underneath the paint

How exactly does one
care
what is motivation
and where can I dig some up?
What if
I have no bootstraps
what if
there’s nothing I want
nothing I need
nothing to say or do
nothing matters
I dwindle
nothing matters
I fade
nothing matters.
still I face forward
and chip away
at the time left to me
what future is worth living
what past is worth the struggle
I don’t like struggle
so I just
float
and watch the world move forward
I am pushed by the current
I could have anything I want
but I don’t want anything

once in a while I feel passion
I am mad with enthusiasm for life
It’s all about smelling the flowers, enjoying the sunset
spending time with family
eating out with friends
cooking, drawing, writing
passion is a flame
it needs fuel
it needs blood sugar
it needs dopamine

even then I don’t know what I want
success is vapid
money is boring
all I really want are the people around me
low expectations
already met
now what?

welcome to my first world existential dread
aren’t we pathetic

Who can find happiness during constant peace and prosperity?
What strength! What fortitude!
One who achieves this feat
can find happiness anywhere
has conquered life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Journal – Sarah still hates romances

Why are romances always so bad?

I’ll be honest here. I am still a girl. When I’m reading a well-written story, I do ship characters, and I get pretty amped up when they’re going to kiss.

HOWEVER.

When it comes to bona fide romance novels, I always end up irritated.

I tried a dating simulator last night. Apparently that’s like, a normal thing in Japan. I had to know.

The game I picked (thanks to https://otakuandshit.wordpress.com/2019/03/25/top-5-best-free-mobile-otome/ who reviewed them and is a much nicer person and more receptive audience to this kind of thing than I am) was a phone app called Samurai Love Ballad: PARTY. Great name so far. Samurais are awesome, love is wonderful, and who doesn’t like a party?

Well I played the damn thing for an hour and there was no party.

Everything was pink or white, with sparkly things and butterflies and flowers and elegant script, which was fun. I’ll tell you what, when the Japanese market towards women, they don’t pull any punches. I actually enjoy the insane levels of over-the-top girliness when it comes to visuals. This makes me feel a combination of amused and proud. We should all embrace pink with such outrageous, steamroll-your-eyeballs pride.

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(“Sent to War by one lordLove before death demands another… your own heart.”  I believe they’re trying to express the same sentiment as Monty Python when they said, “Cake or death?”)

 

I just looked it up and the gameplay style is called a visual novel. Essentially this was an illustrated choose-your-own adventure story. It shows an image, usually of a beautiful anime guy, and displays text below. Sometimes his face will change depending on what he’s saying, but it’s all very static. This was fun, I enjoyed this format because I’m old and it reminded me of the old PC games like Might and Magic. It was more a novel than a game.
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(Samurai Love Ballad PARTY: one of your potential beaux)

 

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(Old-ass RPG: one of your potential murderers)

 

Here is the part I didn’t like.

The characters. Blarrgh. So I get to be a cute girl in the Edo era, which is fun. But for some reason, I’m an absolute dipshit. If I’m not making terrible decisions which get me in hot water, then some ugly asshole is trying to either hit me, or fondle me. My life is a kind of bad decision hell.

Enter about fourteen handsome men, who all save my ass, repeatedly. I have never felt more useless. This is too close to period accuracy. I really don’t want to go back to those days… O_O

Every one of them has a character flaw, which is interesting. But most of them have the same character flaw, in that they’re dicks. In Japan they call being a dick “tsundere.” This translates to something like, “cold outside, soft inside.” Tsunderes are deeply insecure and express their insecurities to their significant others through verbal abuse and/or angry outbursts. Every human on the planet except me finds this behavior extraordinarily charming.

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Every guy is equally beautiful so I pick the one who seems to be the least cruel and dumb. The one I picked came with a competitor, so the rest of the story is watching them save my ass and squabble with each other over who’s taking better care of me. It’s all very primal.

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Every time something interesting happens, I have no power and watch myself choose the stupid thing. The only choices I get to make from here on out are subtle conversational cues about which guy’s side I’ll take in the conversation. The whole plot that I ended up with is, I dressed up as a boy and joined the army as some noble’s food taster, in order to save my kid brother from having to join the army as some noble’s food taster. I still haven’t figured out why I didn’t just let my kid brother join the army; isn’t it kind of disrespecting him to steal his place in war? He wasn’t even going to the front lines. It actually saved my ass more than it saved his, because it got me out of a hotbed of sexual harassment at the restaurant where I worked. And it left him in a precarious position to deal with at home.

I finally got frustrated with the damn thing and turned it off because:

  1. I was just tapping through a mediocre novel sentence-by-sentence. As a game, it wasn’t very interactive. As a novel, it was constantly being interrupted and slowing down my reading. When it comes to the written word I CONSUME voraciously. This put me on a word diet. I had to chew my food twenty times before swallowing, ugh!
  2. Every twenty screens or so it’d take you to a menu and try to convince you it was a game by giving you “love passes” meaning you could read the next chapter. Apparently after 48 hours the love passes stopped being free? Or else they’re released 5 a day. This felt pandering and markety and irritating and pointless to me.
  3. As much fun as it is to have two beautiful anime men fight over the right to protect me from a scary old-fashioned world, it’s just not fun if I don’t respect who I am. I spent most of my life tripping over stuff. My only evident skill is making delicious fake sweet potatoes out of chestnuts. I have to admit this is impressive, but it’s not enough.

Now I understand the Japanese have different sensibilities than us, and that’s fine. But this isn’t just a Japanese thing; many American romance novels are like this too. Am I the only girl who doesn’t want to be stalked by a beautiful rich asshole?

After googling screenshots, I’m kind of intrigued again. There seems to be death/reincarnation,

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loincloth sex,

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and a lot of throwing up that I’m missing out on.

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Also I may not have been playing right. There is also a castle section? I’m not sure it’s worth it to go back.

Anyway, people LOVE this game. It’s very pretty. I’m alone in these feelings. It must be that I’m 100% more evolved than every other woman ever… it must be that. Everyone’s crazy but me. Right.

I have another app to try called “Burn Your Fat With Me.” This is a dating simulator combined with workout app. Apparently a beautiful anime tsundere boy heckles you for being fat and shames you into doing sit-ups. I’m really looking forward to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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