We were in the last dregs of August when I found out that we had 30 days to dismantle our lives in Tokyo and shove off to LA. I tried to write about it as it was happening, but the month went by in a flash. Here’s a little bit:
Phase 1: PANIC!
Adrenaline and cortisol have taken over my brain. Anytime I’m not working on the move, I feel like I’m about to wake up and find that it’s the day before my flight and nothing has been done.
Is this because I’m a perfectionist? I don’t just see myself as morally obligated to solve all my problems, but to pre-solve them before they happen. If I allow a problem to emerge, then I’ve been irresponsible.
I don’t buy into the capitalist definition of success, but I still feel shame when I can’t make things work from that standpoint.
Phase 2: Boxes
I need boxes to ship stuff and organize stuff. In the past, when a delivery truck rolled by, I’d wonder what people had ordered. Now, I only covet all the delicious, beautiful boxes inside.
I’ve made a lot of big moves in my life and have lost stuff with every move. I hardly own anything that links me to my past. I used to think that was a good thing. I didn’t want any reminders, but now I miss those things. I’m afraid of losing more.
Phase 3: Codependence
As Mary Karr writes in The Art of Memoir, “Am I healthily less codependent or a bigger bitch? You could argue either way.”
I have a codependent relationship with my cat. It isn’t his fault.
Codependency is a lot like an eating disorder. We all need relationships, just like we all need food, but there’s a difference between having a cupcake and going to a bakery and eating everything in the store. Just like there’s a difference between having a relationship and letting it consume your entire life.
Dylan loves our arrangement: He meows, and I give him whatever he wants. I don’t regret it. Love and care are the magical parts of being human.
Phase 4: Shedding
I find it so enjoyable to get rid of stuff that I’m thinking about buying new stuff just for the pleasure of giving it away.
Never mind. People are fickle. They change their minds a lot. They message you nonstop for hours about how their life will suck forever because you gave your well-used $10 yoga mat to someone else. This, even though you didn’t hear back from them for a week, and you don’t have time to make sure everyone gets a fair shot at every item because you only have one more week to empty your entire apartment.
We spent two days in the countryside in Chiba, so we could be near the airport and take a breather before our flight. I got to see/smell kinmokusei blossoms (sweet olive) before I left. They appear just as typhoon season ends. Not only are they lovely, but they’re a signal that summer humidity is over and fall colors are on the way. Of course, I won’t see any of that this year.
I’ve been in Los Angeles for two weeks now.
I was worried that I was moving to a hostile culture because I used to live in Philadelphia, where a Granny might shove you to the ground for taking too long at the ATM. Also, everyone keeps talking about how toxic American culture has gotten these days. So far, everyone in LA seems to have pledged to disseminate kindness on the very day I happened to run into them. It has been lovelier than kinmokusei blossoms.
As I set up my life, I keep wondering, “What’s the catch? You’re speaking to me in English, but these forms surely must be completed in half-width katakana, right? What? I don’t need a form? Are you sure? I brought my hanko.”
Not As Done As I Thought:
Life has gotten complicated, but I’ve crossed my fingers that it’ll uncomplicate soon. I hope to post more often going forward.
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