It’s snowing today. Nice big fat flakes that stick for about 5 seconds before melting into the slush already accumulated. It’s peaceful (aside from the screeching brakes and honking still audible from the street) and makes the city seem somehow cleaner.
It reminds me of a day in Japan, when I was walking across town to meet Jesse at his High School. There was a mall near his school that had recently opened up a coffee shop with actual whipped cream on top (rather than whipped weirdness, I never figured out what they were topping with at other establishments) of the mochas. It was snowing in Hachinohe that day and I was walking along with a few of my students, gathering snow flakes on my tongue, saying goodbye to them on the way as they dropped into bus stops, down side streets, etc.. I felt so good that day. The world seemed brighter, richer, promising. I think we’d recently passed the 6-month mark in our stay, that would be February, and I finally felt I had banished the demons that had been with me through Oct, Nov, Dec….. I was no longer embarrassed about looking so foreign, no longer feeling quite so fat, no longer struggling to ask for help from other teachers, no longer desperately missing my comfortable place at OMSI, no longer afraid of falling into a stomach-clenching anxiety in the middle of the night.
That fall in Japan was the most humbling period in my life. The time when I realized my own body’s power, my mind’s ability to make me feel like a crazy, anxious, awful shadow of myself. I have never felt worse and think I never will again. I was so scared about this year in China, that I would feel that way again. That I would psyche myself out and feel so frightened, so out of control and also, so hateful of myself that I could not look in a mirror for fear of seeing that ugly person. You can read about it here, on Diaryland, but I don’t recommend it. It’s not going to make you happy. I can’t stand to read them.
The good news is, I don’t feel crappy. I’m not just OK, either. I feel pretty damn good. That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to going home (counting down the weeks, actually!), but that I think I’ve got a little control over my fears. And I’ve got Jesse. When we left for that year in Japan, we’d been together less than a year, and now it’s been over four. I’ll tell you something – I didn’t exactly show him a good time that fall in Japan, but he stuck it out with me. He’s my life and my love.
All that to say, it’s snowing in Shanghai and I’m going out into it. Good day, folks. Mine will be.