Birthday 

Today, somewhere out there, he turns 39.

His one birthday we had together wasn’t a pleasant one – and neither were the days before and after it. They were pretty bad.

I sometimes used to sing The Carpenter’s “Top of the World” to him; although looking back, I definitely wasn’t on the top of the world.

I’m not sure if I’d be able to honestly wish him a happy birthday, but I don’t wish a miserable birthday for him either.

It’s just… his birthday.

I just entered my 30’s this year, and he’s starting his last year in his 30’s.

It’s just another day, but it is his birthday… wherever he is, whatever he’s doing.

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髪を切る日

「はさみが通るたびに 思い出が落ちて行く
今朝、何気なく見たパスポートの写真だけが君を覚えてる

人は髪を切る前にきっと何かを片付ける
だからわざわざこんな日曜日を選んでしまうのだろう… 🎶」

と槇原敬之の「髪を切る日」が始まる。

この曲がもう数週間、喉に引っかかってる…
髪を切ろうかなと思ってるからだろうね

ライオンと出会った頃、私の髪はかなり短かった。
「僕は長い髪の女性が好きなんだけど、君は短くても意外と可愛い」と言ったこと
今でもはっきり覚えてる。

私は小学校4年生のときから髪を短く切って、1−2年間伸ばしては短く切ることを繰り返している。
もう20年は続けてるってことだね
高校を卒業する頃から今まで何度か30cmほどの切った髪を癌のある子供たちがカツラをつけられるようにとドネーションをして来た。

ライオンと出会った時からもうそろそろ3年になる
私の髪は腰あたりまで伸びてしまって、また短く切ろうかと迷ってます

彼のおかげで自分の長い髪を好むようになった
彼のせいで髪を短くするとこを少し怖がるようになった

長い髪に守られてるような、隠されてるような
そんな風に感じるようになった。

髪を上げることでうなじが見えた時に何度か怒られた。
色気を出していると、他の男にセクシーに見られたいからだと、誰とでもいちゃつきたいからだと言われた。特に日本の文化はうなじをセクシーだと思うから見せるなと、髪を結うなと。
彼との付き合いを真面目に考えろ、大人になれと。
恥をかかせてると。

私は髪を伸ばし続け、結わなくなった。
彼から離れても、日本を離れても、6ヶ月以上は結えなかったかな
その後も髪を結う不安が無くなるまで、恥ずかしさがなくなるまで数ヶ月はかかったな

髪をまた短く切ろうかなと一ヶ月考えても答えは出なかったから5cmだけ切ったよ。

やっぱり不安は残ってるんだ。彼の言葉が残ってるんだ。
今の私と共に生きてるんだ。

それでも良い
無理はしない。自分を好きになりたいから、自分と生きたいから
自分に優しくするんだ

「髪を切る日」を一人で歌って、苦しさと辛さを思い出すことで癒される。
いつかは切るでしょうけどまだその日は来てないね。

槇原敬之が曲を通して私に話しかけてくれる
「そろそろ前に進まなきゃ…」
そうね。でもね、自分のペースでちゃんと進んでるよ。

The Danger Assessment

You can do the training, and be qualified to use The Danger Assessment. According to the website, it’s been helpful in court proceedings.  If your area of work is related to healthcare, first response, advocacy, and/or justice, it would be useful (and important) to know.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can fill out the Danger Assessment for your own situation.

There’s even an “Escape Now” button to get you out of the site right away.

I’ve spent time on the website reading about it, and yet I still can’t get myself to actually download and open the PDF documents. Funny how time passes, healing happens, and yet there are still some things that I’m not ready for. I’ll get to it though.

“The Danger Assessment helps to determine the level of danger an abused woman has of being killed by her intimate partner. It is free and available to the public. Using the Danger Assessment requires the weighted scoring and interpretation that is provided after completing the training. The Danger Assessment is available in a variety of languages.”

The lion.

Today, a bit about the lion.

I don’t know how he’s doing, where he is, or what he does now. I don’t know how he feels about any of what happened.

I assume he’s alive, but for the sake of this post, I write about him in past tense.

He was about 8.5 years older than me. I knew a few things about him before he arrived in Japan. I knew he was French, and that one of the secretaries in the lab he would be working thought he was handsome.

I didn’t think much about him when I met him, only that he somewhat resembled Mr. Bean (I never told him that, but later found out that I wasn’t the only one who though so – and he didn’t like it).

He was a postdoc when I knew him. He had a PhD in psychology, and one of his specializations was in neuroimaging and PTSD. His thesis research had involved women who had chronic abuse-related PTSD.

(It wasn’t until a lot later that I realized how ironic this was.)

He had wanted to study the potential differences of PTSD seen in men and women. Most of the research on PTSD focuses on the combat-related PTSD in young males, and often the research subjects are from the American military. What is PTSD like for those  of a different gender? For those who experience a different type of trauma?

He’d come to Japan to study PTSD within the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. How were different age groups affected? How were men and women affected? Proximity to the disaster area? Severity of loss for individuals? It was questions like these that he wanted to answer.

For a variety of reasons, his research basically went nowhere in the 2 years he had worked on it. He returned home to France at the end of his contract. As far as I know, there’s still nothing that has come out of that lab or from him, relating to this topic.

He said he wanted to be a part of groundbreaking research, that working with the abused women had been awful and painful for him (and them), and he felt guilty about it. He had good intentions. He had connections, he had potential to bring about positive change, and increase knowledge in an important  field of research. I don’t remember the exact words he used, but that was the idea.

He and I both wanted to do good – to help the disaster stricken area, and the people who had experienced it. He had a goal, a dream. He was smart, and always wanted to learn. He was playful and silly. He was strong. He loved France and French culture, but also Japanese culture. He was trying to become proficient in Japanese, and already had very good English. He had life experience that I didn’t. He had qualities and skills that I wanted in a partner. He had potential. We had potential.

So.

What could go wrong?

A lot.