Blocked Chokuras

January 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I think my purpose is.  A part of me feels annoyed about this.  There is this crazy notion in the back of every 29 year olds mind that tells them that they should have figured this out already.  That they are something less than their peers if they linger in doubt about that particular subject at this age.  That is natural, but it’s also wrong too.   I’m starting to think that if you blame yourself for asking bigger questions then you are by definition NOT an honest person, and you might probably need a nice swift kick in the ass.

Not to be too hard on these folks, I am one of them, but it is something that can block you from growing emotionally, psychologically, or even spiritually I believe.  If you settle for you plight just out of sheer impassivity, then well, that is kinda sad.  Don’t surprised if everything starts to bore you at this point if you ever as unfortunately to find yourself there.  If something isn’t growing or is being revitalized, it is by definition dying.  I know this may sound morbid but that is exactly my point.

Never stop growing, never stop doubting if you must.  Doubt your doubts especially.  Life is precious and a gift despite what you may believe, even if it is hard and you find yourself entering the game late.  I love all of you know who read this and know what I am talking about.  Please never give up on your purpose, for it is a very slow death if you do.

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A Sigh Of Relief

September 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

My dad made it back from India today and I’m relieved to say the least.  I had spent the entire weekend worrying about him and his safety.  He had gone with several members of his church on a medical mission trip to Calcutta and to a village near the jungle of Bengal.  The reason for my worrying was a terrible nightmare that I had.

My father and I didn’t have the best of exchanges before he made left, I won’t get into the details of it out of respect for him but I we both were pretty hurt when he left.  Things were said that never should be.  I was angry with him for leaving the country to go to such a dangerous place with our relationship being so injured.  I didn’t want the words that we had spoken to be the last that we would ever say to each other.

On the morning of my birthday was when I had my nightmare.  I was standing over my dads hospital bed and he was badly injured and almost not even recognizable.  The image was disturbing but for some reason I was more heartbroken than mortified in my dream.  When I woke I said nothing of it to Maranda my wife, figuring that it was just a bad dream.  Then later in the day I get a call from a switchboard in Oklahoma; it’s my father.  He had called me to wish me a happy birthday and say that he loved me.  I was just glade to hear that he was okay.  I forgot all my anger and I was just glade to be hearing his voice.  He did however tell me about how dangerous the area had been getting.  He said that because of the publicity that the National Burn a Koran day had gotten, extremists in the area were riled-up and had shot and killed to tourists in the area.  He had also told me that where they had been doing a conference there was protest outside and that someone had thrown a brick through a window.

Maranda looked about as concerned as I was being that she too had a dream that dad was in trouble that night as well.  When she told me this I was quite scared, thinking it all could be just one big coincidence, but frightened that it might not be.  I tried to urge my dad to come home earlier but he said that they couldn’t do that being that they’re tickets were set.  When we got off I wanted to call him back to try to urge him to come home again but I couldn’t because I didn’t have his number.  I’ve never been so worried in my life.  Two long days later he arrives back in the US and I am relieved.  There may have been no point whatsoever to my dream, the coincidence and all that, but I can safely say that I don’t really care if there is a point to any of it at all; I’m just glade I got my father back.

Scott Pilgrim! Amongst Other Things..

September 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Went to see Scott Pilgrim VS the World with Maranda last night at the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company and it was awesome.  Maranda had a good time too though when we first walked in I went to go to grab a beer and she wasn’t paying attention and put her arm on the shoulder of a guy with similar height and stature as me and told him that she was going to the bathroom.  He looked at her confused and said, “okay.”  She was so embarrassed and was all she could do was blush and say, “Oh my! you’re not my husband..”  I talked to the guy later and apologized telling him that my wife hits on everyone and that I can rarely take her out of the house.  He laughed and said “I just assumed she needed to tell somebody.”  The Beer there is pretty good but a little on the citrus side for my taste.  The seats are okay and the projector always cuts out within five minutes of the screening but they always fix it and it isn’t a problem.  I’m pretty sure it’s an unspoken tradition there.

The movie was great.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie so  oddly and simultaneously tongue in cheek yet relevant than Scott Pilgrim Verses the World.  I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the movie of Michael Cera’s career.  He’s perfectly matched to play this geeky-video game nerd who is young enough to have not given up on being in a band who meets this too cool for school, romantically pennant new girl who steals his attention early on in the movie.  Pilgrim has a gay room-mate whom he shares a bed with though he himself is not.  His room-mate has all sorts of one night stands over who freely offer him love advice along with is room-mate at very comically inopportune times.

The fight scenes are really what make this movie though.  If you were a child growing up in the 80’s whose parents jumped at the new idea to put new video game technology in front of your face to curb your hyperactivity; then Scott Pilgrim in the film for you!  Shot in a characteristically Speed Racer live anime sort of pace, cut scenes are fast but fluid.  When Scott faces off one of Ramona’s ex-lovers in each battle the tone changes to that of an arcade live-action video game.

Poking fun at everything from young hipster bands, Canada, to veganism, the film is not short on modern entertaining cultural commentaries.  It does a great job of comically overdramatising subconscious everyday melodrama in a way that enables the viewer to laugh and relate at the same time.  In short, if you could make your everyday boring day life into a manga strip with epic and convoluted battles scenes, you’d end up with something a whole lot of fun and nearly identical to Scott Pilgrim VS the World.

Eucatastrophe

September 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

Eucatastrophe; it’s a word that Tolkien used to describe a phenomenon when all seemed to be at its darkest, and there seems to be no hope, something good happens against all odds and takes everyone by surprise thereby changing the course of history.  I had mine today.

I had a rough start to the day, Daisy woke Maranda and I up at 4am and refused to go back to bed despite all of our efforts to get her back to sleep.  I had to be up early too.  I needed to be up to deposit a check in order to have money for the weekend, we were dangerously low on cash and we needed to get groceries.  If I didn’t get this check deposited in time then we would be out of luck until Tuesday due to the banks highly inconvenient system of check processing.

So I rush to the bank minutes before work only to be told that they can’t deposit my check as cash, so I go to another check cashing facility and they can’t cash it either.  Finally I find a place to cash my check after three goes at it, now I am late for work though I had warned my supervisor that I might be.  My wife is stressed and worried because I told her I’d call her when I got this done, but I was running so late that I couldn’t call her and now I am late and I just forfeited my lunch break because of my tardiness.  I was tired, hungry, stressed, and sleep deprived.  It was going to be a rough day.

Then hours into a thankless job, one where everyone complains all day because it’s stressful- and promotions never happen, I get a call back about an interview.  The potential employer wanted me come in right after I’d be getting off work for an interview; I was not looking all that presentable.  Ducking in a dark corner and lowering my voice I knew I couldn’t delay this call.  I needed a shower, a shave, and I knew was not dressed for the occasion.  I tried to see if I could reschedule my interview, but the woman was insistent on having it today.  My luck couldn’t be any worse sometimes, and today was starting to feel a lot like a prank..  Then after a long tiring shift on my feet, I am driving and calling my wife in a rush to get directions to my interview.  I am exited and nervous and racing to get to other side of town;  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it.

When I got there I knew I wasn’t presentable, yet despite my repeated apologies for my appearance, everything went exceedingly well.  I had the interview and I got the job.  This job is great for me being that it means a few things, one of which is that I now don’t have to worry about balancing two part-time jobs and having to work odd hours and night shifts.  It means I’ll mean being able to work the regular 9-5, not having to be on my feet, I’ll get my own desk and personal space working in an office, and at almost 29 years old all of this is sounding really appealing.  The pay is not just good but great, and I’ll have full benefits which means I don’t have to worry about not being able to provide for my wife adequately so that she can stay home with our 3 month old daughter and we’ll  all have health care.  Everyone I met in the office is down to earth, friendly, and I can already tell that I’m going to love my new job.

It’s honestly still sinking in, I’m almost shocked because I think I had almost become accustomed to things going wrong all the time, but this time this is something very good, and it  is very real.  My birthday is coming up Sunday, I traditionally haven’t really cared for my birthdays being that I have not been very pleased with where I was at in life.  But now, at almost 29, I feel genuinely excited about celebrating another year to be alive.

The Chocolate Lounge

September 15, 2010 § 1 Comment

The other day my wife did something sweet.  She encouraged me to take the laptop and to drive downtown and just sit at a coffee shop to write.  She’s the kind of wife that loves me enough to take the time to think about my needs, and being that I’m an introvert she knows that sometimes I just need some time to myself.

I felt guilty at first, leaving her to care for our child, but it had been a long and hurtful week being that I have had more unpleasant exchanges with my extended family.  I just needed to get away from everything familiar for a little while.  It was a gorgeous day.  The temperature was cool but inviting, the sun’s light seemed as pristine as the crystal blue sky,  It was so beautiful that it made the car ride into town feel more relaxing than a task.

I walked downtown and was amazed at all the life I found there.  Artists had set up their isles all throughout the streets and in the parks and were painting pictures of life as it infolded.  I counted maybe 60 or so painters total along with their friends and onlookers who stopped to comment and take a gander.  I took a good long breath in feeling rejuvenated as the air itself almost seemed to dance inside my lungs.  “I love this town,” I think to myself.

There was a time however when I would walk these streets and feel entirely different.  I used to walk them and feel more remorse and sadness for its ‘depravity’ and its ‘lost-ness.’  What I didn’t realize was that despite my concern and distorted love for the people of this town I was the one who was lost; I was the one being deprived of life and all of this towns beauty.  I couldn’t enjoy life as it was happening all around me and right before my very eyes because my ‘life’ was stuck in feeling remorse for those who did not need my pity.

Now I feel like I see again, now I feel like I can breathe.  I feel like I am truly myself, doubts and reservations, beliefs and hopes and dreams all alike.  I feel like I can finally accept my world and love it, and at 29 it feels like it’s for the first time in my life.

I’m Right Here

September 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Traditionally, you could not have said that I was someone who lived in the moment.  Growing up during my formative years  in Japan when my father was a missionary I spent a lot of time on the train with my head in the clouds and my heart in a ditch.  I rode it an hour each direction going and coming home from school and during this time I bathed in the gravity and weight of missionary evangelism and how I was going to save the world.  I spent a good many train rides reading Ecclesiastes, trying to understand my mothers depression that stemmed from her abusive childhood, (her father was a drunk and physically abusive) all the while trying to deal with the reality of being a pubescent 13-year-old and all that goes along with that.  Needless to say my heart has always been a little heavy.  Growing up the son of a minister you are always painfully aware of very adult problems both in your own family and that of other members of the church.  College and moving back to the US proved to be no less of a somber and heavy experience for me as well.

Now, however, for the first time in my life I feel like I’m really starting to live in the moment.  I’ve been so concerned in the past with the weight of ‘Gods purpose and mission’ growing up and in college that frankly, I feel like I skipped over a good many of fun and exciting years.  It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed a good many number of experiences and lived life when I was a Christian, it’s just that now I feel like when I have a truly good or simply enjoyable experience; it sticks.

The stars seem brighter now, my food tastes better, simple walks through the park seem more memorable, and time with my family is paramount.  Before it felt like I was pushing through life to achieve ‘Gods will’ in proving to the world it’s counterfeit beliefs and then trying to supernaturally reveal Gods intended purpose for is all.  I realize now how pompous it all sounds, but then I felt like the world rested on my shoulders and it was up to me (through the power of God) to save it.

My sister who loves me to death told my wife the other day that it makes her sad that I’m happy now as an unbeliever, that she would rather me be unhappy and be ‘saved’ than burn in hell and be happy about it.  I don’t fault her too bad for it though, because it’s not her speaking really, but the invalidating nature of religion.

On This Day Two Years Ago..

August 30, 2010 § 1 Comment

I remember the sun popping out at us.  It was an outside wedding.  ‘Cheap’ is what my mother called it, but my wife and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  We always wanted the small, more intimate sort of wedding for just family and close friends and this was the perfect spot for just that.  It was the place of our first kiss, our second date, and now it is where we are getting married today.  It had been raining for the entire week leading up to the day before our wedding and we were kind of freaking out.  The day before however the sun decided to call it quits on its cruel practical joke and came out to dry everything at the Botanical Gardens in time for the ceremony.

I remember walking around this spot nearly a year before staring and pointing at the constellations with Maranda, my wife, and falling in love with her at that exact moment.  Don’t get me wrong. she certainly is easy on the eyes, but it wasn’t until this moment where she is explaining the epic battle between Orion and Taurus (and how she is pulling for Orion to win while pointing out that Taurus’s eye is a red dwarf star and will eventually burn out).  I couldn’t help but just kiss her, right then and there, so I grabbed her and pulled her in close and went for it.  It obviously worked out for me pretty well because now I am standing at the gazebos at the same spot anxiously waiting for beautiful wife to be walk across the stream bridge to join me in marrying me.

She is stunningly beautiful, like a 1920’s actress all elegant and naturally beautiful.  I kinda thought she’d be the one to swell up in tears when she walked on down but instead it is me.  I’m not a big crier; not that there is anything wrong with a grown man expressing his emotions on appropriate occasions like this, but it generally isn’t my defining attribute.  Yet here I am overwhelmed with joy.

Two years later we are in transition.  I have a job interview to be a sous-chef  today and another for a different position and I start my other job tomorrow.  We are temporarily moved in with my in-laws who were gracious enough to put us up for a while.  We are proud parents of a beautiful baby four-month old girl named Daisy.  I have recently had a pretty heartbreaking and disappointing falling out with members of my family and yet I am joyful nonetheless.  We are different people now than we where two years ago on this day yet I find myself even more madly and deeply in love with my wife more than ever.  So I’ve decided I’m going to ask her to marry me again.  I want her to have a wedding free of drama from petty people, insensitive relatives, and pressure to include religious elements in our ceremony.  One where only our friends and family who support us and love us are there.  One that is perfectly and distinctly us.

We are different people now, happier and freer people.  I think I will start my courtship today.  Make it a first date of sorts.  I’m gonna start saving to buy her the perfect, artistic ring that says everything I want it to say.  Then I’m going to ask her to marry me again, but this time as a better and happier man.

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