Staying true to yourself always

In life we go though many changes and we make many, different choices. These choices define the paths we take and right now my path has led to Japan. I have been living in Japan for five months now and I still can’t believe it, that I am actually here. I am so very lucky and I know it, but I am very grateful to God, to my family and to the universe. I don’t know how long my luck will last since nothing in this life is continuous and we are always in a state of flux as Heraclitus says. He presents an epigram of a flowing river. “We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.” (B49a). “You cannot step twice into the same rivers.” Because you will not be the same the second time you step into the river. Without knowing it, you have changed. Plato quotes in Cratylus, 402a  “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” This is so very true and this theme is central to the point I am making today.

I am enjoying my experience in Japan, however I have come across some interesting people in the same situation as myself and part of the same programme. Some are selfish, naive, narcissistic people and others are friendly and open. Don’t you find it so very hard finding true friends? People who will respect and like you for yourself? I do. Especially in another country where English is rarely spoken except among others in the same situation as yourself. I find myself running from them, eager to escape their dull and unpleasant company. I have been taken advantage of, used, hurt and talked at. I have laughed to cover the hurt and I have ignored the truth, but I cannot continue to live my life like this anymore. If I can’t stand up to small injustices, then how could I ever stand up to other big injustices in the world? If I can’t be true to myself, how can I ever be true to others? Why must I hide behind a happy mask when I am filled with hated for those who have wronged me, but I have not let it be known that they’ve hurt me. It is weakness to degrade myself and acede to the requests of others. It is weakness to cower away and ignore the situation instead remaining silent.

So now this is my truth.

The special few people in my life have given me strength, my family, my best friend and my close circle in England – a total of 6 people including the 3 in my family. I don’t have many true friends but the ones I do have inspire me to stay true to myself. Out here away from them, I can’t ignore things anymore. The distance is the reason why I am lost and conflicted because I am alone and I have no-one to fight for me except myself. I must face these battles alone which is the way it should be. I don’t know how to deal with people who I hate and whom I am stuck with but this hatred is consuming me and occupying too many of my thoughts. Honestly I hate them so much, but I don’t want to hate because it is a waste of energy. So how do I proceed? All I know is that I can’t continue to hate. I can’t otherwise it will control me and fill me with bitterness and hatred for myself and others. So do I tell them and hurt them in the process of being true to myself or do I leave it and distance myself, but still be kind and in a way fake and pretentious? The type of person I hate myself.

I have to be diplomatic, so I won’t mention it unless it is brought up, but I won’t go out of my way to hang out with them or speak to them. It seems harsh and it probably is, but it’s the only way I can think of in this particular situation. If they cross me and try to take advantage I will tell them there and then when they are being rude or out of order. I will not allow anyone to push me again. Instead of laughing it off to disguise the hurt and shock, I will say: “Don’t push me, who do you think you are? It is not okay to push me. I don’t care if it was even in a friendly way, I was talking to someone and that was rude. If you want my attention tap my shoulder.” – “What are you doing? Don’t touch me. That is wrong. I never said it was okay to touch me like that.” – “Don’t you ever think about anyone else? What you are worried about is inconsequential to what is going on in the world. Your problems are nothing to those who have nothing. So before you complain, think about all those people who are suffering, who are jobless and abandoned. I’m not trying to lecture you, but I just want you for one second to think about those who have nothing before you say your life and your situation here is shit. You are lucky and you don’t even see it. But I don’t care about your problems and I can’t help you if you wish to remain blind. There far more important things to worry about.”

One day I will have the courage and the voice and although many people will try to take that away from me, I must never ever be silenced. I must not hide behind my mask anymore. Next time, I must stand up for myself, because no-one deserves to be disrespected or glossed over. I am growing and I am learning. I am trying to find my voice and my courage so that next time I will speak up.