Honored

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Agathe said something really beautiful to me yesterday.  For those of you that don’t know, during much of the year we talk nearly every day.  She said:

My way of relating to the world is only praised by people like you. And I want to hold myself as high as you do.

Right now, we’re sitting up having one of our epic chats (it’s 3am and I should totally be asleep but …) and she elaborated.

How are you so comfortable being you? There’s something I really admire about you. We are a lot the same, just as crazy, just as emotional and just as open. But you wear it with so much pride! You don’t apologize for who you are! Please tell me how you do this, because I need to know..!

She has given me so much to think about.  It’s like asking me for the essence of my survival tactic … because let’s be honest:  the world is a challenging place as of late.  But mostly I am completely floored and honored to hear such kind words about myself.  We’re all a little uncertain I think and it is only with positive reinforcement from those we love and cherish that allows us to put one wobbly foot in front of the other, step by step.

–  Aja

Image here

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Open Up, Let Me In

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Agathe has this thing where she really, really needs people to be open.  This is exactly why we get on like a house on fire.  Within moments of our first email we both knew intimate details of each others life.  The best part about a penpal is that your secrets are safe.  But if you ask me pretty much any detail of my life (with the exception of what I spend on my wardrobe), I will tell you with absolute honesty.  At the moment Agathe has someone in her life that she would like to open up just a little bit more to her.  They’re close but she feels like she’s laid her soul on the line and gotten very little in return.  As an oversharer myself, I recognize how that sort of situation can you leave you feeling vulnerable and raw.   So tonight we were discussing how she can get this person to open up a little bit more.  Oh yeah, and they’re dating.

Don’t make a big deal out of it or sit him down for a “heart to heart” because then he’ll think he’s getting dumped.” (From our fb chat).  Here’s a few of my non snarky suggestions for pulling details out of someone who is a little tight lipped:

1.  Sit close.  Closeness signifies safety.  Use open body language.  Make them feel comfortable.

2.  Try and avoid small talk.  People who don’t like to talk much REALLY HATE IT (as do I).

3.  Be patient and give them time to answer.  This is the most difficult for me.  I tend to speak quickly and grow impatient with those that don’t move at the same rate I do.  I am perpetually working on this flaw.

4.  Try and engage them on something they’re comfortable about.  For instance if you’re trying to get information about previous relationships, maybe start with a good story about one of your exes.  Something funny, not heavy.

5.  Be a good listener.  Be quiet.  Make tea if you have to contribute something.  Allow them to open slowly and with a little time the pot will boil.

Remember that everyone is different.  Some people will never budge an inch.  But for most people, these things simply take a little time.  Maybe there will be a time in the future where you’ll want him to shut up and will long for these days of peace!

–  Aja

Image from here

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Mindless Consumerism

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The worst part of the annual trip to Alabama every year is surely the isolation.  My M’dear lives so far out in the country that you begin to understand how and exactly why people go insane when left alone for too long.  I do enjoy solitude in my element … but this is clearly NOT my element. So yesterday I ventured to the nearest mini mall (which is twenty miles away) and got hair ripped off an undisclosed part of my body.  I occasionally find that brand of masochism soothing.  I went to the Marshall’s across the street and came away with some bath stuff.  This Body Shoppe Fujian Water Lotus stuff smells like a dream vacation.  It came wafting out of the bathroom and floating down the hallway causing M’dear to say

“Child, when you die the world will owe you nothing.”

Literal translation:  You live the good life for yourself and I applaud that brand of selfishness and wish I had done more of it.

I know we’re all smug and holier-than-thou about our decreased consumerism, but every now and then I’m gonna take it there and break protocol.

–  Aja

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Things I Am Grateful For

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My menstrual cycle.  I’m not even kidding.

Without it I would miss out on a lot of opportunities to tell people to go fuck themselves.  I’m not sure if I would get worked up into a good enough rage the other 21 days.  So yeah for this brief moment in time, period, you’re alright by me.

–  Aja

Photo from here.

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Collecting stories

I think I told you not too long ago that I spent my life collecting stories, or better to say, I am creating stories. Almost like I am a sort of fictional character placed on earth just to experience things, then to write them down and send them back home. A little like uncle traveling Matt.

This may have something to do with the fact that I have been journaling since I was 9, and still do, which means that whatever I experience, I can always put some use into it. Happy or sad, there is always a story. This also means that I have a knack for ending up in strange situations. God knows how many «funny coincidences» and «twists and turns» I have gathered through the years. Sometimes when I talk about my life, I feel as if I come across as pretty daft. Like they secretly think «Doesn’t she ever learn?». And no… I don’t. I’m learning the same lessons now as I did at 16. (As you recently discovered.)

But I guess as you grow older, you lose interest in the drama. It’s a little like Hollywood movies. Even though the plot is different from movie to movie, the main structure is pretty much the same, and in the end it starts to become predictable. «Oooh, there’s a dramatic turn of events, but yay, it’s all good in the end.»

What I’ve been thinking about lately, is that even though I enjoy all the coincidences and all the good in the stories, I may not need all the twists and turns anymore. Oh, life is generally unpredictable, and that’s fine. But I don’t have to put myself through more of it than I feel like I can handle. It’s time to put on the break and slow down.

– Agathe

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Re: Magical Moments #2

getPart-5 In this week’s addition of And-Aja-Cried … E.T. man.  I don’t understand it.  When I was a child, E.T. horrified me.  His weird little alien body and mannerisms turned 4-year-old Aja straight off her popcorn.  Now, I watch it and gigantic tears are rolling down my cheek which I immediately try and hide from my older sister who would of course make fun of me.  Everything makes me cry and I don’t like it one bit.  I assume this turn for the stupid will only magnify with my age.  Wonderful.

E.T. is such a cultural touchstone in our society, even if he did gross me out.  One of the first tricks I taught Avery centered around that film.  When she was less than a year old, I would say “E.T. touch” and she would know that we were to touch our index fingers together.  (Most uptight parents get miffed when I refer to things babies do as “tricks” but seriously, what else is it?  It’s not exactly a skillset!)

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I really enjoyed your post about the dances in your town.  It sounds really joyful and a great way to build a strong community.  In my ‘burb, we have movie nights.  It’s free and you just come down to the plaza with your blanket and chairs and tonight there was even free popcorn!  Doesn’t get better than that!  We were lucky to catch one of these because this summer in DC metropolitan has been rainier than most.  Practically every afternoon the sky clouds over.  The plaza is located across the lake from our house.  Everyone watches, even those sitting in one of the many restaurants dining.  My neighbor is one of the organizers and I think they do a great job.  Then when it’s over, we gather our belongings and stroll home.

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On the walk home I started laughing hysterically to myself remembering the E.T. Adventure ride at Universal Studios in Florida.  One of the best parts of having an “ethnic” name is that NO ONE can pronounce it.  Ever.  I remember when my kindergarten teacher got it wrong, I realized with quiet acceptance that that was just how it was going to be for the rest of my life so I may as well get used to it.  On the E.T. Adventure ride when you get to the front of the line, someone from the theme park asks your name and types it into a computer.  You get giddy with excitement wondering what that could possibly mean.  My mother (probably in an effort to make things easier) gave them my name “Aja” because it’s the easiest out of the three (Aisha and Ayana).  When we got to the end of the ride on our bicycles, E.T. stood there and he began to stutter.

“Thaaaaaaaank youuuuuuuu  Aiiiii Aiiii Aiiiiiiiii Aiiiiiiiiiiii”.

“What’s he trying to say?”

“He’s trying to say Aja’s NAME!!!!!”

E.T. sounded like a car who’s engine was sputtering out on a slow descent towards failure.  And my sisters and I were hooting with laughter practically falling off our bikes.  We broke E.T.

#BlackKidProblems.

–  Aja

PS – We don’t always dress alike but when we do it’s totally accidental and 100% ridiculous.

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