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.


Knight of Habitica

The adventure has begun! Quests have been accepted! Avatars have been damaged!

Today I feel a mix of Contempt (purple and red mixed) and Joy (yellow).

On one had, I got a lot of things done today. Dishes, some backed up recycling, and some admin stuff for work. Most of the habits I’m trying to work on (or keep going) are in the green. I gained a level, and got some gold. I assigned an amount of gold that an hour of “Reward Time” costs, and spent all of it. Now that I know how much gold I get in a day, I need to adjust that cost a bit, but overall it’s like a budget of time. I still worry a bit that getting left out of the monster fighting part might leave me bored with the game all too soon, but it’s on a good start.

On the other hand… all the things I did were things taking care of my general life and home. Things like taking the time to cook, and tidy up. Important for sure, and will start to affect my overall mood and motivation levels… but I didn’t really get much solid work done. I lost over half my health, and almost died getting to level two.

It’s really hard to look at what I did, and not focus on what I didn’t do. I’m still judging myself pretty hard for the parts I didn’t do and feel like I’m only doing the easy stuff to get what I want. Of course some adjustments to rewards over time should help with that… but I want everything to be perfect now damn it… if only reality worked that way.

I don’t know if I should be more relaxed with myself, be happy for what I did do, realize what time of year it is, and give myself a break… or if I should be tougher on myself and crack that whip.

If nothing else, at least I’m getting xp and gold for writing this.

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.

February 18th, 2017

Today I feel Anger (red), Sadness (blue), and Bewildermint (teal).

I saw the movie Silence ( today. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and don’t want any spoilers, you should stop reading now, bookmark this post, and finish reading it after you watch the movie.

I felt angry through most of the movie. It’s one thing to have evil leadership… but that people follow their orders to torture another human being for days is insane. The fact that other people will just stand by and watch it happen right in front of their faces when they out number their captors, I don’t understand. When given three days to make a decision, I wouldn’t be having a meeting to discuss who is going be picked to die a horrible death… I’d be planning how to defend my home, and then how to run away to a new village. “He isn’t part of this village, he should sacrifice himself for us.” made me sick. I know violence won’t solve violence in the long run… but just accepting it made that a long period of history.

I felt sad. There is just so much heartbreak in the world, and this highlights a moment in humanity’s violence. The hardest message to deal with was the idea of what an individual man should do in the face of it. I felt bewildered trying to think of what I would do.

February 2nd, 2017

Today I’m not sure if I feel more Irritated (red) or more Amazement (teal).

My apartment must be haunted or something. The chain that connects the lever to the stopper came undone. It’s a really easy fix, but the light near the toilet went out about a week ago, and the one that was close enough to be okay for now went out a few days ago. So today’s projects are going to be buying new lights, a stepping stool, and that fan.

I will have my apartment settled this week!

Also, if there is a ghost in here, it better be careful. As a kid I always dreamed of keeping a ghost in a jar. You can just set it on your desk and talk to it whenever you want. This could be my chance!

January 29th, 2017

This morning is Rage (red) filled.

That wonderful job my mom just got was all a scam. They had the same logo, everything looked the same as the real companies website, their “company policies” were the same, all of their accounts were through the same bank that the real company uses… My mom did as much research as she could, and everything checked out. The cashiers check had all the right watermarks and everything.

Luckily, Huntington Bank is awesome and caught it before any damage was done. Their amazing fraud team is already on it, and working with the very real credit union already. Addresses are being investigated…. all that good stuff. The real credit union these “checks” are coming from said a lot of people have been getting screwed over. Once again they saved the day.

January 28th, 2017

Today I feel Contempt (red and purple mixed), Remorse (purple and blue mixed), and Disappointment (blue and teal mixed)… pretty much teal all the way to red.

Today I tried practicing my Chinese with a friend (typing, not speaking). I always do a little better than I expect, but honestly after three years I should be doing much better… Simple conversations are still a real struggle for me. I really should have studied harder in college…