Monday, September 24, 2012

Picking Up Where We Left Off... (pt.2)

Sunrise comes early in Japan, but I felt like I had rested well despite sleeping on a freakin' fold out couch. I'm not kidding. I slept on a fold out chair bed thing. The other beds were only a little better though. Anyway,  I looked out the window and decided by the position of the sun that I must have slept till 7. I felt good, wide awake, full nights rest. Maybe around 8 hours. My roommates were still asleep, so I decided to check in on America and see what's doing.

Turned on my machine, and decided to reset the clock so I could know what the damn time was instead of asking everyone else who had a wrist watch. It's a little thing, but little things add up. My phone had stopped working during the flight so I was clueless. I navigated to the world clock.


5:00 F'IN AM. I reeled. NO WAY I thought to myself. NO WAY! It looks like it is 7 o'freakin clock outside! How is this possible! I did the quick math. Without daylight savings time, or any other time-tampering, the sun comes up REAL blasted early in Tokyo. I shook off my surprise and checked in with the mothership until it was time to go downstairs, a creeping tiredness beginning to ooze out of my bones as my body realized I had screwed it over the day before and tricked it the next morning.

I ate another soupy breakfast and felt myself oozing into a puddle of tiredness. I already felt the kind of tired you feel where you can't concentrate. The kind where, unless you're directly involved in the conversation, you're staring at the floor about 10 feet in front of you hearing nothing. It was gonna be a long freakin day.

As I walked into the large ballroom where we were meeting after breakfast, I fiddled constantly with my suit. "Jeez it's hot" I kept thinking. Was everyone else as hot as me? Why is it so hot?  I can literally feel heat pouring up and over my collar. I'm like an inflated hot man balloon.

I took my seat and began floor watching again. Then I began to be assaulted by waves of exhaustion and dizziness. Holy crap, I thought to myself over the battle for stability raging inside me, I may pass out if I don't watch my shit. Then it passed, just as quickly as it came. I tried to focus some more- on clapping, on the speeches, wasn't working. Another wave crashed against my feeble defenses. And so it played out like that for the next, what? Two hours? I was actually afraid I would lose consciousness or vomit, and that was terrifying to me. I didn't want to risk getting up, so I stayed seated. Took anti-heat measures like taking off my jacket and unbuttoning my top button to let more heat escape. The meeting dragged on and I struggled with myself to decide if I was going to make it to all of the lectures that day. In the end, I decided "Hell no", and after the meeting I retired upstairs to give myself some respite. My mood had turned cloudy in the face of my condition, so I kicked off my shoes and decided to read some letters from home and try to catch an hour or so of shuteye. Our seminars were grouped into sessions with fifteen minute breaks, so I figured I would just set an alarm and wake up before the next one and maybe try to catch up on what I missed from someone else who went.

As I checked in and read letters from my friends, I felt an unexpected storm of emotion creep upon me. Sitting in my compact hotel room, exhausted and with a headache, wanting some kind of familiar food but having no appetite, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Reading the letters from home did not in fact help- at all. It made me feel worse. And so it was that I was knee deep in writing the words "I miss you too", when tears began to cloud my eyes. I withdrew to the bathroom, hoping that my roommates would not catch me if they decided to take an early break too. I sat on the edge of the tub and sobbed silently and felt sorry for myself for maybe about 5 minutes. But even as I wept, I began to feel better. I like to think that it was my bodies' way of resetting slightly, and helping me get past the initial hump of shit I had to eat (along with the good stuff!) that inevitably comes with the territory.
Before I continue, a few words about making it over the top of the first wall. Many, many folks hit this same wall I hit in thier first 100 hours in many different ways. Being a dude who is pretty flexible, has a good sense of humor and hardly ever gets worked up, I didn't think I'd have a hard time at all. But I did; and more importantly, it passed. And when it did, I felt better. Take it in stride that you're going to melt down somewhere during the first week. The best you can hope for is to melt down on your own time and terms, like I did. Think of it like a reset button. No shame, just processing some very real stuff and some very big changes. Anyway.

After I came out of the bathroom, I decided to try to rest some more. I ended up missing 2/3 of the sessions that day AND dinner. I just wasn't hungry. Normally loss of appetite is a bad sign, but I had just been on a sleepless 13 hour flight, was in a new place with little grasp of the language in a room with guys I had met only a few days ago. I cut myself some slack. I knew that all I really needed was some good rest after that shitty 5 AM morning.

I hung around the room for most of the evening and decided not to go out. After my roommates left for the evening, I crashed--hard and fast. I only woke up when they came back in like 5 hours later.
Then I was quickly asleep again...

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