When There Is No Closure.

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Hello, all.  In the wake of recent events, KP has decided to take a break from social media (for my Facebook friends and followers, I will be back), and focus on her writing and offline life. Very recently, a relationship/friendship ended very abruptly; and in its aftermath I am trying to put some of the pieces back together.  It’s almost like an arm or a leg was cut off, and I’m feeling the effects of phantom-limb-syndrome.  For those who know the feeling all too well (and for those who don’t), it runs along the lines of: They were just there!  We were talking and communicating and suddenly they decided they didn’t want me in their life anymore!  What did I do?  What wasn’t “enough” about me for them?  Was I not kind/considerate/attractive/Christian/insert-adjective-of-choice-here-enough for them?  How are they just gone?  What happened? I have done things in my life I am not proud of; and I can remember just about every major incident where I was a really shitty person.  However, when it has come to really cultivating friendships and relationships were I believed there was potential, I don’t believe I have ever done an emotional 180 on someone, and so I can’t identify with that modus operandi.  

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Back in 2011, I began Kinpatsu Oneesan as a travel blog, but over time it has evolved to include satire, humor, opinions, and personal experiences and observations.  Even if writing only remains a lifelong hobby, I believe that in order to become a better writer, we have to share what we know to be true so we can connect with others.  Part of this is sharing our failures…and part is sharing the journey to healing.  And sometimes, you know, I’ll hear the right voice in my heart, the voice toward the path of healing and growth, but the voices of self-doubt just as readily creep in (especially in the early stages of grief), and I think getting these words down is part of the path.  Kind of like, “Fake it ’til you make it.”  Even if I don’t 100% believe it just yet, I know it’s the truth and the right way and if I just go over it again and again and constantly re-affirm it, I will eventually believe it fully.  And maybe there are some people who are hurting in the same way in this world, and maybe they can identify and/or find solace in these words.

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For my readers who have been left hurt, confused, and damaged by people who were too self-absorbed/thought they were entitled to behave in thoughtless and careless behavior, although maybe now these words can not alleviate the heartache they have dealt, know this: YOU ARE ENOUGH.

I know what it feels like to wait for a phone call that never comes, an apology that is never given.  To desire closure when there is none.

I know what it is like to be ignored; like an annoying itch or some minor nuisance.  To be degraded down to that by another human is awful and perhaps one of the greatest blows to the Ego.  “If I just ignore them, maybe they’ll just get the hint and go away.”  Or, “If I can nitpick them and continue to find as many flaws as I can, I can convince myself they’re all wrong and get the hell out of this.  I can shirk the responsibility of dealing with the realities of this relationship in a healthy, adult manner and just project my own emotional issues and self-loathing onto this person.”  This is cruel and belittling, especially by one who has professed to be a friend and has gained our trust and confidence in that they supposedly care about us and our lives and feelings.  For some people, this can turn into emotional abuse.

None of this is about us, which is so hard to accept, right?  When you hear people say, “Don’t take it personally!” it’s like, “Are you kidding me?  This is a relationship/friendship/family tie–how much more f*%king personal does it get?!”

But it’s still not about us.  How other people treat us is a reflection of who they are.  Ignoring, not communicating, the vanishing act, etc., are actions indicative of people who have respect issues.  Remember, you are a living, breathing, thinking, feeling human being.  Not a novelty toy.  Not something hat gets discarded when its initial shine has worn off. And so, for all of those who have had a friend/significant other/family member just disengage, here is your closure: Selfish people take selfish actions.

*** images Oftentimes, there is no ill-will or malice involved with these flip-floppers, but there’s also no ownership of actions either.  They most likely have issues they are dealing with, but that’s NOT AN EXCUSE to make others emotional collateral.  All actions have consequences.  We must not be afraid to stand behind that truth. -With kindness and healing, KP

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The Rose That Grew From Concrete

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For the past few years, I have written a New Year’s Reflections post because I think it is important to look back on how we have changed and grown in that time period (the 365 days itself is arbitrary, but it serves its purpose as a unit to measure ourselves).  This year, however, I was seriously considering not doing one because of how difficult the year had been, and how many failures I seemed to continuously come by.  However, after thinking it over, I realized, as a writer, it would be wrong to do so, because writing isn’t necessarily about sharing happy endings (if it was, Hemingway would’ve been out of a job).   It’s about trying to express some sort of truth we have come to know through personal experience, and about connecting with others.  Sadness, loss, change, and death are all parts of our human condition.  I had many ideas about how I wanted to do this entry, spanning from comedy to discussion about major world events.  I’ve decided, however, to just share some simple thoughts and reflections.

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Late January last year I ended a painful relationship, and in a sense most of my major growth this year stemmed from that ending.  I learned that I was not the exception to the rule, and that I was not going to be exempt in life from the lessons that we are forced to learn when relationships don’t work out.  I was pulled into a very bad place due to the vacuum that sprung from its collapse, and I had some very dark days.  Thankfully, my family and my friends came to my aid, and honestly, most of that was just them being there to listen.  The friends who let us cry as much as we need to, who watch us pity ourselves, the ones who see us continually make mistakes and fall, but do not walk away from us: those are the friends who will never waiver in their devotion to us. We do not see the strength of the bonds of friendship and love in the everyday mundane; rather, we see them in the dark times, when we are at our weakest and most pathetic.

I learned that nothing in this life lasts forever, not even the excruciating pain of infidelity and shattered ideals, although for a long time I never thought it would end, and I blamed myself for everything that had transpired.  I lost weight, I exercised furiously, trying to “make myself better.”  I had to be prettier, I had to be thinner, I had to be better.  A voice inside repeated to me: I wasn’t good enough.  I deserved to be treated the way I did because I wasn’t good enough.  I was too demanding, I came with stipulations.  It was all. my. fault.

Those are some of the thoughts that plagued me for months on end.  Jealousy, anger, fear, and sadness made homes for themselves in the broken places of my heart.  It was the complete loss of self in despair.  I went to a very, very dark place.  I wish I could say that I had a magic “ah-ha,” moment (well, in a sense, my run-in with Crazy Internet Mike DID help a few lightbulbs go off, oh Hey Mike!), but really, it was just the passage of time that allowed me to get to the point where I am now.  I also wish that I could now say, on this first day of the New Year, everything in my life is all better, magically fixed by some cosmic super glue.  I can say, however, that I am not in the place that I was five months ago, and that only through this hurt did I experience the true depths of love from others and the true meaning of compassion.

I can also say that I am finally at a place where I recognize the truth that relationships are hard, and oftentimes people will hurt us along the path.  People are complex, and like I discussed in a previous post, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, not everyone views reality in the same manner, and just as they are under no obligation to treat us with dignity and respect, we are under no obligation to keep them in our lives.  I think many of us become hung up on the idea that those who hurt us deserve to experience the “karma” of their actions.  We need to let go of this flawed idea.  In his book Hogfather, author Terry Pratchett writes:

…take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy.  And yet you act, like there was some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.

We have no business “waiting on karma” for the other person.  What occurs in our lives, versus what happens in our former significant others’ lives are two completely separate and unrelated things.  We must cut ties so as not to constantly compare our journey with theirs.  You aren’t weak for cutting ties; you are strong in that you recognize the path to self-recovery.  

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I want to say, THANK YOU, to Natalie Lue over at Baggage Reclaim; without her words of wisdom I would have not come to peace with myself.  We must always remain true to ourselves and to our morals and boundaries.  If people challenge those, it’s time to say, “So long!”  Remember, how people treat you is a reflection of who THEY are; not who YOU are.

I chose the Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac (one of his poems) as the theme for the entry because the idea of something beautiful coming from an impossible place is how I want to enter 2015.  The idea that life can still flourish in difficult situations is one that I want to hold dear for the next 365 days.

I hope 2015 brings peace to us all.  Weirdmaste, my friends

-KP

Finding a Higher Purpose

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Today I started day one of my fitness project, under the training supervision of fitness pro, Kim Oddo.  I was referred by a classmate of mine to him, and after receiving my nutrition and fitness plan, I was expecting some of what he put together, but also surprised at some of the restrictions.  The interesting thing about nutrition is that for each person there are minute details which can be tweaked.  His plan goes down to each meal in detail, calories are overall most important for the day, but it is not as simple as just that.  I am allowed to swap out certain foods for like foods, but sadly, I can not consume 1500 calories of Peanut Butter and Nutella (although how amazing would that be?!) and call it a day.  Although I completed my marathon back in November, I can’t say that I was consuming the right kind of foods.  I think protein rarely made an appearance in my diet while I was living in Japan, which is really not a good thing, considering how important it is for overall health (and muscle growth).  If I had been taking in the right foods, I really have to wonder how much better I would have performed on my training runs and on race day.

Over the past few months it has been difficult dealing with the aftermath of my failed relationship.  I’ve been reading a few different books over the timespan to help me through the grieving process, to understand what went wrong, to recognize the signs of a toxic person, and most importantly, to once again find my higher purpose.   I recently began Richard Bach’s classic, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  I am still working through the book, but the basic premise is that we need to do what we believe in, regardless of whether it is what everyone else is doing, if we think that it will lead to our purpose in life.  When I was in my relationship, I thought my highest purpose was to love my significant other, but I noticed I began neglecting myself.  When the relationship ended I was left with a massive void where that love once was; it felt like a vacuum.  I thought: What is there for me if this person is now gone from my life?  What other purpose could I possibly have if not to love him?  Although I am still working through these emotions, I truly believe it is the love of oneself.  Author Jo Coudert puts it perfectly in her book, Advice from a Failure:

You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself.  The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the Self.  Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never lose.  

I think of the Alanis Morissette song, Underneath, where she sings:

There is no difference in what we’re doing in here
That doesn’t show up as bigger symptoms out there

What we do within, for ourselves, how we feel about ourselves, manifests in the world.  And it is so hard to feel good or to feel okay when somebody abandons us, but we must ultimately accept what their choices were, and realize it is not about us. 

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My fitness project, along with the increase in my writing, are ways that I am trying to regain what I felt called toward once before.  Seeing internal strength, willpower, and dedication manifested as physical strength.  BEING MY BEST SELF.  That is what my higher purpose is.

 

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So KP decided to try a 12-step program…

My apologies, I meant a 12 WEEK program!  Not the kind of program you had in mind (although if that’s currently part of your life more power to you!).  This is going to be a quick entry because it’s late but I’ve got much to talk about, so I’ll try and get an actual entry in tomorrow.  I know this originated as a travel blog, but fitness and health are also topics I really enjoy writing about.  I decided it was time to change my current regimen because I was expending too much effort with too little-no results, so my diet has COMPLETELY changed, I am going to be working with a trainer, and my exercise routine is also taking a 180.  I will talk more about the plan later and I’ll most likely be upping the entries to try and help keep me on track with the plan, but no better time like the present for a little life change 🙂

I’ve also got a few books that need to be talked about, along with a TED talk I found particularly interesting.  So much to write (and KP starts waaaay too late at night!).

What I Learned from Running a Marathon

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My coworkers are probably sick of hearing me talk about running a marathon.  Look, okay, running a marathon doesn’t suddenly make you a better person, you’re not “holier than thou.”  I will tell you this, though–it teaches you an incredible amount about YOURSELF and what YOU are capable of.  Sometimes it takes 26.2 miles of pain to figure sh*t out.  Oh yeah, there’s a little bit about running that you learn about thrown in there too (like don’t wear gear you’ve never worn before on race day, don’t forget to bring warm up sweats when your race is at the end of November and you’re the only idiot walking around in shorts in 35F weather before the race actually starts, and don’t just “wing it,” your body will thank you later), but mostly, it teaches you about life.

1. COMMITMENT AND DEDICATION ARE THE PILLARS OF SUCCESS.  You have to really be committed to the goal of finishing a 26.2 mile race.  I love the quote, “Do or do not, there is no try,” because you are either going to finish the race, or you aren’t, plain and simple.  Who the hell gets satisfaction in walking away saying, “Yeah, well, I tried to run a marathon.”  Injuries aside, you are going to be the one to ultimately decide whether or not YOU are going to cross that finish line.  Can you envision it?  Is the goal greater than the momentary doubt or pain?

2. YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK.  I have NEVER felt so much continued pain in my body before.  Hours of pounding pavement is absolutely killer on the joints.  By the time I reached mile 20, I was really, really spent.  I thought about giving up so many times, but I kept thinking about crossing the finish line and about why I was even running the race to begin with.  Wasn’t it to prove a point to MYSELF that through willpower all things are possible?   And if that’s not enough, think of all the people, good and bad, that were there along the way–the naysayers, the people who supported you, the people who hurt you, and the people who ran alongside you through the pain–think about them too.  

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3. DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS THAN YOU DESERVE.  This is perhaps the most important lesson I learned. Since YOU have put in the time and the effort, you have pushed past the pain and torn down the walls of doubt, you know what it takes to be extraordinary, you know that success means being better than you were before, and we all have the ability to be better within us.  Don’t make excuses, don’t accept excuses.  You will never succeed by taking either action, you will only be holding yourself back..

4. CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.  If after touching down in Japan 2.5 years ago, someone would have come up to me and said, “You’re going to run a marathon 2.5 years from now,” I would have laughed in their face.  I had never run more than 5 miles in my entire life.  Why would I even waste my time doing something ridiculous like that?  Well, because sometimes the things we once see as “ridiculous” and “impossible” suddenly become important to us, and as I learned how to push past pain I understood what it meant to change.  It was a long, slow process from within that required the aforementioned commitment and dedication.   Change isn’t easy, but it is possible, and it allows us to grow.

5. BE GRATEFUL.  You have a body that allows you to absolutely feel what it means to be alive–everything that you are made up of is working together intricately, allowing your body to run the race.  Be grateful you have the opportunity to do so.

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Run for those that matter, run for those that don’t, because in the end you are going to have made the good ones proud and you will have left the bad ones 26.2 miles behind.

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“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” -Da Vinci

Tsukiji Fish Market

Oh my goodness I think it’s been over a MONTH since I’ve last written! My job has kept me quite busy–not much travel since China but I do have a little to write about. I refuse to talk about work on here because it’s actually quite dreadful at times, but something of note did occur recently. I was selected among many applicants to begin pursuing a much more specialized pipeline. What that means for me is more opportunities and MORE TRAVEL! Because let’s face it, that’s what really motivates me at the end of the day.

Another item of note is that within the last few weeks I’ve drastically changed my diet. Unfortunately my worst vice is I am an avid Coke Zero drinker, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to kick the habit just yet, but I’ve really begun to incorporate much more tea and water into my daily routine. Green tea, Oolong tea, and Peppermint tea are my favorites. Tea is one of those things you actually can drink as much as you want of; and Green Tea actually has hydrating properties. All teas have health benefits because of their anti-oxidants, including but not limited to catalysts for weight loss, cancer prevention, and anti-aging. You can read more about the health benefits of tea here.

I’ve also been incorporating much more protein, potassium, and healthy lipids into my diet, and it’s helped me lose a few of those stubborn pounds that I’ve been trying to lose for years. For me, since I am a distance runner, I often find I am plagued with painful cramps in my calves after runs. Potassium greatly alleviates this problem. With regard to weight loss, the secret is there is no secret. A healthy diet and exercise are ultimately what it comes down to. With the emphasis placed on DIET.

Anyway, on to the travel! This weekend we made our way up to Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, which is the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. The market opens up at 3 AM and products are shipped in from all over the world.

We stayed in the APA Hotel nearby, which was affordable and clean. The rooms were quite small (typical of Japanese hotels), yet convenient with comfortable beds.

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And no Japanese hotel room is complete without the attention to detail:

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We left our hotel at 3:45 AM only to find the tickets for the daily auction (starting at 5:20 AM) were already sold out by 3:15! So we took a walk by the Tsukiji Shrine, ate some fresh, early morning sushi at a nearby restaurant, and made our way back to our hotel for a few more hours of sleep before returning later that day.

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Specialized knives for cutting fish for sale in Tsukiji Market

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More adventures to follow!

Food + Health + Music

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Food

I have a confession to make: I can’t cook.  There has been much time spent on Pinterest drooling over the beautiful creations that people pin, and I have thought about attempting to make some of them, but then I just get discouraged because I actually barely know how to cook anything.  I went to a university where they provided food for us, and actually, we didn’t really have access to cooking appliances.  Anyway, I’ve got a little time off from work this week and next, and so my goal has been to actually cook using recipes.   I bought a Better Homes and Gardens healthy cooking magazine and wanted to try the Seven-Grain Salad with Roasted Pepper, Feta, and Mustard Dressing.  Because I live overseas and do not have access to specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods, I had to try to stick to the recipe as best as I could.  It’s listed below:

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups seven-grain pilaf mix

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon coarse ground brown mustard (I did not use this because I couldn’t find it)

1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I couldn’t find this, so I substituted with chipotle pepper)

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 cup chopped cucumber

1/3 cup chopped roasted red sweet pepper (I used fresh sweet pepper)

1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives

1/4 cup snipped fresh herbs, such as dill, mint, and/or parsley

1/3 crumbled feta cheese

It turned out decent for the substitutions I made, considering this was my first attempt at actually following a recipe and having to create a sauce myself.

Health

So while not ready to go full-on Paleo Diet just yet, I am definitely trying to change what I eat.  I would really like to lose a few stubborn pounds that have been hanging on for a few years and tone up.  Pinterest really is my weakness–it makes finding different workout routines so easy!  I really like to do distance running, but I tend to just get in the habit of one or two routines and not really changing things up, which doesn’t help my speed-work too much.  Long, slow distance only trains the body up to a point and then you just plateau.  Hopefully by adding different calisthenics, weights, and interval cardio, I can improve my speed for my distance runs.

Music

I finally gave in and might be going down the path of Hipster tendencies (gasp) by branching out and expanding what I’m listening to.  I really like listening to all different types of music, with a few exceptions, but as of recent I’ve definitely been leaning in the Hipster musical directions.  A few albums I’ve downloaded recently of note are:

Wild Nothing/ Nocturne

To be quite honest, a lot of these groups sound very similar to me, but I really enjoy the Dream Pop sound.  It’s easy listening for mornings driving to work or just relaxing.  I’ve been listening to this album a lot as of recent; for anyone that likes easy listening I recommend this album.  And to read a much better review please check out BBC’s review of the album.

Foxes/ Echo, Warrior, Youth (EPs/singles)

I don’t know why, because even though British singer Foxes seems like initially “another female singer/songwriter,” her music is really interesting.  It is pop, but it just has a different sound.  Youth is almost like something that would be a dance song in a club, but it’s still different.  I hope she releases a full-length CD in the near future.  Really like her stuff!

Delta Rae/Carry the Fire

This is my FAVORITE new album I’ve downloaded.  I love blues-inspired, southern-rock-esque music.  Bottom of the River is a very powerful song, but my number one on the album is Morning Comes, the tale of an every-man and the obstacles he faces in his daily life.  Although different in sound, I think Mumford and Sons fans might like this one.

Hopefully this coming week I’ll have more dishes to share, and hopefully no disasters!

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