An aside — and then I come back

Homeless and mentally ill

Homeless and mentally ill.

Apologies for the unexpected hiatus. I filter my photos on the computer. To fill the quiet I put DVDs for Arrow on in the background. By episode six I lay down in front of the tele with a plate of snacks and binge watched both seasons. Then another show. And another. Then another. I was avoiding my blog. It took me a while to figure out why.

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A homeless woman getting ready for bed under a blue tarp in a crowded park.

shibuya homelessness

Homeless, mentally ill and asking for something to eat. He’s been wandering Shibuya as long as I’ve lived here.

I started blogging to make friends, to talk about food, to give my cooking a new direction and purpose — and you have all been wonderful. The suggestions to share more about myself required I turn memories I long ago packed away into stories. It has been hard on me.

I grew up with hunger always one step away and homelessness not far behind. My mother heard voices and imagined herself raped and pregnant or a divine messenger and I needed to take care of her (the other reason I can cook), contain her, and keep our home in order. My father never learned English and my mother forbade me from learning Portuguese and no one ever tried to teach me, so I know nothing about him though he lived a few miles away. School was a nightmare. My baseline for normal came from a tiny black and white television. It was really hard to connect with anyone being the weird kid in ‘that’ part of town. Picked on and bullied or avoided. And then there was an accident. . . .

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Homeless, ill, and drunk wandering around Yokohama station.

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Drunk and alone drinking sake from a vending machine from the early afternoon. Look at these pictures and remember how fortunate you are to have the technology, free time, and sound mind to reflect.

 

I put all of those memories away when I left home. I never spoke of any of it. Then I started blogging about it.

Unpacking those memories, looking for the words to turn them into stories has been unpleasant, yet cathartic. The energy these lies of omission consume, well, let’s just say I’ve been melancholy and moody. But it’s good to grieve. It’s even better to chose to be honest with you and say all this rather than, ‘I’ve been busy’, and move along to the next recipe.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not unhappy. Rather, I’ve chosen to look back after many, many years and claim those bits of personal history. I am no longer the crazy ladies son. I am a man. I am self-made, perhaps proud but grateful nonetheless.

See you with some recipes soon.

 

 

 

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51 Comments on “An aside — and then I come back

  1. Sorry, I do not write English very well….first of all – your photos are great!
    In this weeks I am collecting also photos from people of the street. Also, because I have an idea for a headline ….we will see. I hope I have understood your story….It is great, that you live now and not in the back. Our world is strange, but in the same time I love to have the chance to live.
    I send you many greetings from Gremany and I think you are a strong man who loves to live and to think….and a man who loves to cook in a sensible way …WOW!

    Like

    • Thank you much. You’re perfectly understandable. 🙂

      I haven’t been to Germany in six years. My last trip was Berlin. It’s a wonderful city filled with intelligent people.

      Like

  2. Coincidental, perhaps, that we both took an unanticipated hiatus from blogging. I was AWOL for 2.5 months. Thanks for checking in with my blog. For unexplained reasons, your posts are not materializing in my reader.

    Bravo, Steven, for choosing to take time to process your past and be in your present. I admire people, especially men, who are comfortably candid, honest, and expressive about who they are. Each of us can only move forward when we confront, explore and reconcile our personal abyss’s. Whether we travel those depths alone or with an ally, it can be an unbelievably emotional journey. It seems you have.

    You sound cautious and confident in welcoming the new space you’ve grown into. I sense your selectively tackling what will present, now that you’ve shed considerable skin… and come to know you!

    Nice work, friend. What’s next? 🙂

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    • Thank you, Eric.

      The whole was unexpected. I made a choice not to speak of my past as I entered my future. Going back, recalling, writing I relived. That the emotions (which you wrote about) were still raw, that has been surprising — and insightful.

      What’s next? Well, I aim to put those thoughts and feelings into my pictures and see if I can coax some dialogue or discussion with people here. 🙂

      Another unexpected road opened up the other day. I give out a anonymous questionnaire in all my classes to make sure my kids are happy. In one of my classes two of my kids told me they were being bullied. I have no idea idea which ones. I opened the next class with the results from the questionnaire and a story. A few tidbits I’d never once mentioned. The point was made. A few days later one of my kids came out to me.

      Honesty begets honesty.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Raw emotions are the best. They create awareness and provide us with substantive guidance. Yes, they can tug and tear. But they also yield healing.

        Revel, if you choose, in those roads that open up. They present possibilities and subtle, if not pronounced, awakenings. I can only imagine how gifted you are as a teacher, mentor and guiding light for others.

        Agreed, honesty does beget honesty, And being vulnerable can be equal parts humbling and immensely rewarding.

        Here’s to your strengths, Steven!

        Like

  3. It’s frightening to let go of the deeply personal in such a public forum. You’ve done it here, and beautifully Steven. And you’re obviously among friends. Welcome back, we all missed you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been wondering why I haven’t seen you on my “reader”. I have a “.com” now but I keep the free one around to have my “reader” (see all the blogs I follow). ANYWAY, Thank you for sharing your story! Blogging is the only thing that makes my day- and cooking! I look forward to your next post.

    Like

    • Thanks. 🙂

      Is there a big difference in going .com? I’ve thought about doing it, especially as I’ve almost reached my photo limit (in storage space).

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      • Yes! I think there is a big difference. I wasn’t familiar with plug-ins & widgets before- I’m still learning as I go. Having a free WP page everything you need is there… There is no “social network” (as I call it) aspect to having a “.com”. I feel left out lol… Just know if you do it, it is a complete new page. You will lose your followers… One good thing, I transferred all of my post (from the free version to the paid) and the comments and likes transferred too. My host did that part for me (thankfully). It’s not THAT bad but you be busy for a while playing with it… In short, you need to be tech savvy or a fast learner! 🙂 [sorry that was long!]

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      • I’m digging on the social media aspect of it. I think I’ll stay here for a bit longer. Thanks for the info.
        🙂

        Like

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