By Your Side

Today I was feeling Overwhelmed (a mix of red, teal, blue, purple, and dark green). It was a cocktail of all the emotions generally felt when needs aren’t being met. I was informed that my school is actively seeking to replace me next fall. They want to take the company in a different direction, and are hoping to have a more senior teacher in the position. Obviously this was shocking (teal) news, and I wasn’t super happy about the situation, but at least they are giving me a few months notice. Long story short, it’s been a rough few days.

A song that has been a song playing in the back of my mind since I got the news, By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North. A little history on this song, I heard it in passing while alone and depressed in Washington D.C. years ago. Remembering that time, and the song itself, have become a dull ripple from the depths of my mind, that has been creating a calming hum. The last two lines of the chorus to be exact.

’cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Today I was going to another branch to teach a Saturday afternoon class, and I did something I only do about once or twice a year… I missed getting off at the correct MRT station. I got off the train, and crossed to the other platform to go back the way I came, but the screen said there were a few minutes left to wait. My back has been acting up a bit again because of the weather, so I looked for a bench to sit down on. There were people on them, so I kept walking. I saw this:


The plaque was very nice too, so I’ll share what it said. Try to look past the broken English, and just feel it. After you read it, pause for a moment to try and feel all the people who have ever sat in these hands.

Wandering in a quiet, green park, feel tired? How about take some rest in a chair? A Chair is a comfortable company for humans; no matter people are in psychological or physical fatigues. The shape of this sculpture derives from the hand gesture that meditators often use, called “Samadhimudra”, which symbolizes the fluctuating emotions. The transformation of this gesture into a useful chair can be compared to the elevation of a fun life to a metaphysical lever. Sitting on it could invite insights to the passengers’ minds; children climb on it as well. This sculpture serves for various functions; it is reflective, visually amusing, fun to play with, and it is useful as a chair itself. In real life, very often, a minor stuff has certain temperament to induce our insight. Chairs are often no exception. This piece of work is a miniature of national park. As such the creator of this artpiece names it “Small Park”

All of the overwhelming emotions are still here. I still feel hurt, tired, and angry. But at that moment, waiting for a train, they no longer felt as heavy.  In the midst of a very dark moment, I have been wishing that actual hands would hold and comfort me. I felt tired of symbolic or imaginary hands, and wanted real hands to hold me. A rare mistake on a route I only take to teach a class a few times a month brought me to these.

I couldn’t ask for more.


March 28th, 2017

Today I feel Disappointment (blue and teal mixed) and Frustration (red).

Old college habits of procrastination are still alive and well it seems as I try to adjust to working a lot more from home. I’ve had to burn a lot of time every day recently to finish some project work, and it’s going to be interesting to see how close to the deadline I get if I want to be paid for that work this month.

Looks like I’ve got a lot of small habits to change. Maybe rather than trying to change my whole schedule and life, I should start changing small habits one at a time. We’ll see how it goes from here.

Silence Ends

Recently I have been feeling rather Depressed (blue).

It’s been a few years since I felt so down. All motivation was drained from me, and there were a few days I wasn’t eating as well as I should have. I seem to be back to normal, and am now making time to write again. My poor book hasn’t been updated with a new chapter in ages, something I am just a few hundred words away from remedying.

I’m not 100% sure I’m back to full power yet, and I have a lot of work I am behind on. I do plan to keep the blog going though! So stay tuned.

February 27th, 2017

Today I feel Depressed (Blue).

Today was just not my day from start to finish. After two nights with little sleep, I woke up kind of grumpy to start with. Everything was just frustrating. I got some of my writing project work done, which was good but not enough. Forgot to shave when I took a shower, so I had to jump back in after I was all nice and dry. Missed my bus and had to wait almost 20min for the next one.

Finally get to work, still on time but I knew I would have to rush. Get to the door, the whole school is locked up tight. Call some people, no answers. Walk down to the other school that I’m not teaching at today to see if they know what’s going on, it’s a national holiday. I don’t have work today, or tomorrow. No one bothered to tell me… so I could have not had to shower twice or rushed to miss my bus, instead I could have finished my work and not spent $60NT ($2US) on the two way bus ride that took an hour.

Decided to ride the bus an extra stop to go to a subway near my apartment. A foot and a half of warm Philly cheese steak sandwich was going to be the thing to cheer me up and make everything better. The subway was closed. Not just for the holiday… it’s gone for good.

I shouldn’t have left my bed today…

February 26, 2017

Tonight I’m feeling Grief (blue).

My day was actually pretty good. Basically had a Skype Movie Date (not using skype, but hopefully the idea is clear). We watched Those People. It was better than I expected actually. Not my favorite movie ever, but it was worth a watch.

Just before going to sleep talked with my mom to catch up some since it has been a while. I get to tell her about how work is going, plans for the next month, and everything going on with her. The story I want to tell her most is about this great guy I’ve started spending time with. I want to tell her about going to IKEA and not finding anything, about clothes shopping, and even crazy night market adventures. All these things that are making me happy, I find being unable to share with my mom.

So here I sit. It’s 1:30am after being up far too late the night before. Sleep seems to elude me as my mind spins with thoughts… and really I just feel sad. I really hope tomorrow is another rainy day.

February 21st, 2017

Today I feel Pensiveness (blue).

I’ve been watching yet another Taiwanese drama in an effort to have at least some exposure to the language in my daily life. Of course, as a romantic drama there are moments that things are not going well between the main characters. And of course it’s because of some dramatic reason that would only really exist in film. But, while these events are exaggerated, they really do show a side of reality.

People decide to hide parts of themselves, and event prevent the people close to them from walking beside them in life. This is almost always done because of fear (green). A fear of being hurt again, because letting people close to you means giving them the power to hurt you. I say again, because we don’t learn to hide parts of ourselves until those first times we feel hurt by someone.

I used to think people who trusted others too easily were naive. That people who were too open with others about their true selves just needed to grow up and stop acting like a child. Only a child who has never experienced suffering can act that way. Watching these silly dramas makes me feel a twinge of sadness, seeing people who could be so very happy if they would just be honest with each other. And I know many other people in real life who could be the same.

Yes, trusting other people is a risk. Yes, I will probably get hurt again at some point in my life. But, I’m tired of living in a tower, behind walls that few can ever find their way into. I think it’s time I grow up a little more and act like a naive child.

February 20th, 2017

Today I feel Bittersweet (yellow and blue mixed).

At first I couldn’t decide what feeling I wanted to write about today. On the bus ride home I started to write on my phone about a neutral feeling. While not in any kind of extreme, I can think of a time today when I have felt each and every individual color, and most of the mixes too.

There are things in my life I want to make better. There is a direction I want to go. Some of you have heard me say this before. I view my life like a painting. Everything that has ever happened has left unique colors. If I look at the painting now, it really is amazing. I am so blessed to have the experiences that fill that painting.

Somehow the painting seems to have infinite space, and not matter how much life I experience, there are still a few parts of the painting that are grey. I continue to search for the perfect colors to fill those areas.

Right now, there is a lot of change around me. Change in friendships, family, work, and more. I know these changes are necessary to bring new colors into my painting, like the changes themselves are the primer being put down. So, I am grateful for the changes and I try to let this idea bring serenity (yellow) to my life. But, it doesn’t change the fact that some things are just sad (blue). No matter what good comes because of sad moments, those moments are still… just sad. And that’s okay. So today I find myself feeling both.

These bittersweet colors swirled together today. But, rather than a shade of green fear, yellow and blue have made a full rainbow. For today, it’s enough.