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.

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Meeting new people, finding friends, and feeling lonely in a big city

Today I realised that I have very few friends who I talk to regularly who want to do the same things as me. I’m not talking about eating food, I’m talking about wanting to travel, go to concerts and just generally hang out and do things together. My best friend is living in Nottingham, and although we share many interests, books, food, films, tv shows we also differ hugely. I like to dance, cook, travel and do adventurous and dangerous activities including sky diving. I work in London and a good friend I recently made decided to move back to Sweden and friends I went on holiday with have less contact with me since our holiday. I would say that’s more to do with differences rather than anything else. It’s tricky going on holiday with people because you live with them for a number of days and if you’re like me who wants to go explore, make the most of the holiday then you certainly won’t find me lounging about the hotel, like my friends. I find it very hard to find a connection with people nowadays. I have little in common but I am unsure why that is the case. Do you know what I mean when I speak of that instant connection? It’s this really great feeling which I’ve only experienced a few times in my life where you are just completely on par with the person you’ve just met. Perhaps it is because I am too serious and think too much which portrays me as intense? Not sure but I don’t like to analyse too much. Or maybe it is because I am shy and am not making the most of the opportunities. I really don’t know. There’s a lot I want to do but I find that I end up doing most things by myself. I want to go to a gig, I end up going by myself. I want to go travelling, I end up having to plan things and find countries to go to by myself. I want to go climbing I go by myself. I want to go for yoga/pilates classes, I join up by myself. There’s nothing wrong with this and its pretty great having that independence, I mean I’ve even eaten alone in a restaurant and gone to the cinema alone. In my life I have constantly done things by myself and its getting a bit lonely now. I can’t find anyone to have fun and do things with. I’m not talking about a boyfriend, I’m talking about friends, having a good time, meeting people and doing things together. I guess you have to be like minded but I find it hard to find those like minded people. Most of my friends are happy to either go clubbing, stay at home and watch films, go to restaurants or even cocktails which don’t get me wrong is fun, but I would love to join a dance club or something and do something fun or a bit more adventurous. Perhaps I will, perhaps I should just stop waiting for people which to be honest I have given up on people. I really need to get a grip on life, I have so many dreams that involve travelling the world, learning different languages and just being content, but it is difficult to be content in this life. We are constantly striving for more.

I haven’t the faintest idea where to start. I don’t know where to go and who to turn to because there is no one out there only the big wide world web. There’s so many options but I don’t know if there is a small intimate friendly class for dancing or painting. I don’t know how good it is. It’s all a risk but its something I wonder about. I am at the edge of the precipice just waiting to jump but unsure how to proceed, whether there will be someone at the bottom to catch me. Waiting and wondering but I can’t keep doing this, I can’t keep living my life like this wondering how things could be. I look at my own dear brother and how he manages to find and make some of the loveliest and great friends who want to spend time with him and do things together, to try things and who trust his judgement. We are different people and he is very witty, funny and laid back. I am more serious, deep in thought, like debating, laughing but I get stressed and worried easily. We are very different but similar as we both enjoy travelling and finding new adventures. You can see how we would attract different people, normally like minded people. He attracts jovial fun happy people and I attract serious, sometimes sad but mostly strong willed and principled individuals. Don’t get me wrong I am grateful for my lovely friends for they are lovely in a different way. They are very caring and kind but I just want more and perhaps this is my problem; I expect too much from people and I always have. But I need more friends who will do things with me and who will trust my judgement and is open to trying things. Sometimes things will not work out the way you want and some things I choose may be crap but its a risk I’m willing to make, but I can’t keep hanging on to friends who are poor and aren’t prepared to take that risk because of the outcome may result in regret. Life is an experience and I don’t know everything if that person will enjoy it or not but it is something we can do together or as a group! This is life and nothing is ever free but if you want to have fun you do need money sometimes. Not a lot, but some. I wanted to go to Imagine Dragon’s gig but when I asked all my friends they were either working, too tired or too poor to go. When I wanted to see Evanescence no one wanted to go so I had to drag my poor brother to come with me. It was one of the best nights of my life and some friends after said how they love Evanescence and their music but when I asked if they wanted to go, there was silence.

It’s so easy to say go out and meet people, but where can I meet them in such a big city like London? There’s a lot of people but they are in their own zones, are quite cold and look at you if you’re strange if you start talking to them. No literally they will turn and look to see if you’re talking to the person behind them. I need to join a club or class but where? Thousands of people swarm across London and I can’t seem to make friends. It’s crazy! Introverted I may be but ambitious and a dreamer I always will be. If you stop and talk you will get to know someone better, but it’s not hard. Actually it is quite hard because firstly you need the courage to start that conversation. We pick and choose our friends. We pick and choose people we want to talk to and we put them into different levels. Friend level, acquaintance level, “not going to chat to person” level because person looks boring, can’t be bothered level, too intense level, etc. But the level you categorise someone may not always be correct and you may be missing out on a chance of friendship.

Anyway my point is finding people to connect with is difficult. Finding activities in London is also quite tough! Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough but I will try! Hopefully I’ll find some things….no I’m sure I will!