What a difference a year can make

Reflecting back this time last year I was depressed, absolutely miserable and fighting many insecurities, internal conflicts and struggling at work. I hated my supervisor and English co-teacher. She was overworking me and still does to this day and even though she was ‘nice’, she could be cruel. My students don’t like her and I’m not quite sure why. When I wanted to go to my elementary school graduation, she refused because she needed me at junior high school to do 3 normal lessons. It was frustrating and useless as I wasn’t even doing anything important in those lessons. My students were teaching me a game and playing the piano with me and she said they could no longer teach me anymore. She said the other students couldn’t play piano during lunchtime, but we already asked and were granted permission from the music teacher. So in my mind at those times, she was a cruel, jealous and horrible woman. She wasn’t nice or even a good teacher in my thoughts.

Likewise, I hated my 2nd grade students and resented my 1st grade students at Junior high school last year. My 1st grade students were so shy they didn’t want to speak English with me. My 2nd grade students were so mean, they laughed at me, one girl ignored me and turned her back to me when I was talking to her. They were rude. In January, one boy said at lunch during one of my lowest points when I was trying to speak to them that he doesn’t speak English. He hates English and no-one understands. I sat there in silence not daring to speak after that, in such a foul and angry mood wondering what the hell I was doing wasting my time on some useless children who didn’t even want my help nor my teaching. Not that anything would help since their English was beyond despair, since their level was so low and they weren’t even motivated to try. After I finished eating I immediately stood up abruptly and without saying goodbye walked away. I think I shocked them. I almost gave up that day. I almost gave up a few months later after the earthquake.

One year later. 

I am happy. That same boy who told me he didn’t want to speak English began speaking English with me. He taught me a Japanese game and tried to use English to explain. He was patient and kind. That rude attitude and that distrust, suspicion and dislike melted away though I’m not sure when. He still dislikes English, but now he at least tries and has promised to do his best. He’s in 3rd year and has now graduated. I was so sad to see him and the fellow 3rd years go. I fell in love with my students (platonic off course).

I almost gave up on them, but somehow I kept eating lunch with them and I kept speaking English to them. They didn’t like it off course but eventually they opened up, eventually we started to joke and laugh. Those mean 3rd graders became kind and friendly. I don’t know why. The girl who rudely ignored me while I tried to speak to her when she turned her back to me, I was so shocked. six months later she began to thaw. She wouldn’t cover or hide her work anymore, she let me look and check. She didn’t ignore me but would say hi. When I spoke to her, she would try to speak English. She had such a strange personality transplant I wondered what happened. In all these incidents I have no idea why they changed. Maybe they got used to me. It’s hard to replace your predecessor who was so loved by them. It’s hard to fill big shoes, but I managed to change my attitude and they changed theirs. And somehow we improved and they became my favourite classes.They were still naughty sometimes, but more cheeky than bad. They certainly improved a little bit – mainly their speaking and conversational skills.

I don’t hate my teacher anymore. I just accept her, though she still pisses me off from time to time, I no longer care. She is not significant. She is just part of the job and will be leaving in two days.

During graduation, my favourite student when giving me a present told me that he was very glad he met me. He truly had fun in my classes and one day he wants to speak English with me as an adult. Earlier when I met his mother, she told me that he always spoke about me and how kind I was, how he enjoys my classes and wants to do well in English. Truly he was the kind one. He also was enthusiastic about my ideas and games, getting other students involved. He always spoke to me and asked my questions, not letting the conversation die. He always tried even though his level was very low. He always did his best speaking. I was very proud. I managed to inspire one kid out of 44. Only one, but it makes a world of difference to me because I was extremely happy to know I had succeeded with one. He wants to go to America one day. It’s not England but it is abroad at least. It’s not just about Japan. I changed that view.

My 1st years who were very shy have also improved and opened up. They are still quite shy but they are very kind and always have been. They try to speak English and even when I ask questions in Japanese, they reply in English.

I can’t believe the transformations. I have met some wonderful and lovely children. I am so very happy now. I am also sad because my students are leaving and graduating. I am sad because soon I will be leaving and the harsh truth has hit me. I’ll never see them again. But I’ll always love them. I am so so glad I stayed. I am so glad I stuck it out and never gave up because in the end, the benefits reaped were far greater than the losses I’ve experienced here. I am stronger emotionally, internally and as a person. I am more confident.

What a world of difference a year makes. I don’t know what changed and why. I only know that I am now happy.

 

What does it mean to be in the unknown?

Today I am struggling with quite an interesting topic but which I would like to reflect objectively but will also try to keep a positive reflection on it. I am grappling with many ideas after reading a psychic reading and not because I am convinced that I want to find out what my future holds and pay $80 because I am unconvinced. Although a lot of what was written seemed to be true- I did not necessarily view my life as completely negative though I can be negative sometimes. But mostly I try to be optimistic. I am not materialistic and I do not care much for money except to have enough to enjoy a good life. I don’t need fancy phones or fancy gadgets. I just want happiness but obviously happiness is not a continuous state. It is constantly in flux.

What struck me about the psychic reading was that the woman was trying to convince me to buy her services and let her help me. The examples she used of not knowing what the future holds and how we must not walk in darkness really hit me. That is how I live my life- I take each day as it comes. I don’t expect anything to happen. I just live. But is that wrong? She makes it sound wrong. It reminded me of my brother who always said “what are you going to do with your life? You can’t keep walking around waiting for something to hit you.” Life is not like that. But the thing is I continue to walk in the unknown- I continue to wait for something to hit me in the face. The psychic gave an interesting example about a series of doors and how if we knew what was behind the doors we would avoid the bad and stick to the good. We wouldn’t just pick random doors in the hope of catching the good. Its not right to walk into the unknown unprepared. But truthfully I find it more exciting. You never know what could happen and you never have expectations. I mean how can you know what is the best choice until you make a choice! It is so easy for someone to say you should plan and prepare yourself. Well yes you should for quite a few things but life is unplanned.

I don’t know if life is planned. I don’t know if I believe completely in destiny. Saying that I suppose I contradict myself when I say that I believe that “Everything happens for a reason” because I truly do believe that. So perhaps then there is such a thing as destiny and a planned life. Though I would not consider myself a hard determinist nor would I consider myself a libertarianist because I do not believe we have complete freedom to act. Our choices are limited sometimes by external factors. For example if I wake up in the morning and I want pancakes- I can’t have pancakes if I have no eggs or flour. In that sense I am limited to act. Though one may argue I have the choice despite that and I have the choice to go out and buy eggs. But then I don’t have that choice if I am in a rush and I am restricted by time constraints. I consider myself a soft determinist because honestly that is the one that seems to make the most sense to me. We do have some freedom though it is limited. We have some control though some things are out of our control. It is like the example Hobbes gave about a flowing stream of water that is constrained to flow one way which is downwards- it cannot flow up, however it can flow in different directions downwards. It is limited by not being able to flow up, but is still has some choice to flow freely downwards. This is the same with life- we do have some control over the present and what we choose to do. I could potentially quit my job but I may not want to. I could go on holiday if I have the funds, but I am scared. Things such as external factors limit us and that may be fear, time, money, people etc. We have no control over death- not really. We can’t control our death- though some may argue that we could- we can choose when we want to die by choosing to kill ourselves. But not really. We don’t know what fate or destiny has in store for us. We don’t know how the future will pan out and it would be great to know but it would also be pretty crap.

How can we learn from our mistakes when we already know what they will be? Yes I walk in the darkness and I have no idea where my life is going. I find it hard to climb out the rut and my future is completely unknown because I have no idea what will happen tomorrow. But I can’t control that and I can’t change that because plans change. You may think you have a plan but it all changes because of circumstance.

I would love to pick the right doors and avoid the evil, hurt and pain. But that is simply to easy. The game is never easy! People always say “Oh if only I had known better!” “If only I did that instead of this…” But the thing is how could you know? You made a decision based on the evidence you were presented with or based on your feelings. You made that choice so when you make your bed you have to lie in it. You can only become wise by learning.

No one can protect me from the unknown. No one can tell me what the future holds. I mean psychics probably could and I could heed your warning and even if they are telling the truth I am making a choice right there and then. Some people would call me foolish to follow the psychic and some might say I was right if everything turned out well. I won’t blame anyone for my mistakes except me because I made them. I won’t heed your warning because even though I am completely afraid of the unknown, it is the best thing I have right now. Surprise me.

Life never forgets to surprise you! It happens more than once! The psychic tells me I will be happy for 6 months and I must sign up to find out more- but I don’t want happiness for 6 months! I want happiness for life! 🙂 But most of all I need to learn by myself and make my own mistakes. I need to exercise the right amount of caution. But I need to be positive.

So I ask you what does it mean to be in the unknown? Does it mean to be lost? Am I lost now? Maybe. I don’t know but somehow I’ll find my way out the darkness. There has to be a light and there will be a light. Life might just throw something in your way!

Disappointment leads to anger, then hate and finally conflict. Welcome to the story of my life.

Recently I have been very happy meeting friends, catching up with a guy I met last year, getting job interviews and visiting a friend for the weekend. But we all know that happiness does not last long and sure enough if you look closer the cracks begin to show.

People are like magnets sometimes (mostly guys I refer to!) They seem to repel and run in the opposite direction when you want to get close and then when you give up and try to move on they come back to haunt you. But I am finished and fed up of people using me. I am no ordinary girl- I am not like every other girl out there because we are all different and no one is the same. But also because I am different. I went out with this guy the other week and we spent 8 hours just chatting while the time passed by unnoticed. It was great and the conversation alight with debates and getting to know each other. It felt like a good friendship was being formed. As the week went on I thought of him and the next time I could see him again. I felt pathetic and stupid because here I was laying myself open to get hurt. In the end I did indeed get hurt. But it was a hurt that spread deeper and penetrated the superficial wound of my ego. It hurt me greatly to be stood up yesterday. Yes that is right I had a job interview yesterday and the guy offered to meet up after which delighted me. He lulled me into a false sense of security and little did I know it would be destroyed in seconds by a single thoughtless text. After the shitty interview was over, (and I quite literally mean shitty- no joke) I text him to meet and he replied that “he had a bit of a cold”. Fine but why was I not told this earlier? Why did he wait for me to text him? Why do people play games? Why did he not tell me the day before? So many questions and not one good answer can be made. My day went from shit to even shittier and it was a weird feeling because in the morning I could feel that the day was not going to end well. I just had a feeling in me- something telling me that everything was going wrong and it did all go wrong but I managed to change it after that guy replied. I had enough of moping around and taking crap. I text my friend who text earlier to meet up and asked to meet again and she said yes. (No I did not blow my friend off for a guy because technically me and this guy had this arranged since the weekend.) My beautiful friend came 15 minutes later cheering me up and taking my mind off a crap day. What started out as a disastrous day was averted when my friend came to pick the pieces up. I would have been sulking at home with a tub of ice cream and box of chocolates pitying myself and falling deeper into a sadness.  But that is what true friends do- they are there when things fall apart i.e my life not just professionally but personally too.

But that day was a lesson of many. It made me think and realise what a fool I had become. What is important in life and how much people can disappoint and hurt you. But I too disappoint and hurt others- even my friends. Saying no earlier in the day to my friend made her sad (she told me this and that she was happy when I text) and I inadvertently and unknowingly hurt her. She wanted to spend time with me when others did not. I really need to treasure the friends I have because everyone needs a friend to help them.  Because they are important and they are there no matter what. My point is where people disappoint- strangers even- others can come through for you.

This disappointment has led me to take more precautions to guard and protect my heart and who I let into my life and trust me I guard myself too much already! Don’t think I’ll meet my Prince Charming any time soon. In fact I reckon we’ll never meet except in my dreams. Anyway as I was saying this disappointment has led me to hate- especially on guys. They are so unthoughtful, so cruel sometimes even if they do not mean to be. But hating is not good. I know that but I am angry at the world, at people and most of all at myself which is I suppose what leads to hate.

I am currently reading a very good thought provoking book today The Shack and it makes me think a lot about life and people. I am conflicted because I hate people so much. I hate their actions. I hate what they do- the pain they cause. I hate that I am one of those people who cause pain. I hate my life and I hate living in this virtual world of Facebook and internet. I don’t want to be sucked in and get lost. God knows I am already lost and I am trying so hard to find my way back but I keep walking through the wrong doors. Everytime I think I am close again- I have found God- I have found my sanity back I realise it was just an illusion. I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security when the truth is I am just as lost as I was a few months ago. There are so many people I want to delete on Facebook but feel restrained not to because I will be seeing them again and I don’t want to hurt their feelings. It is nothing personal but I have realised recently that Facebook I believe for me is to have only my true friends- those who care about me. If so many people don’t care about my status why don’t they just delete me?  Life would be easier this way but by not feeling like I can delete them I am limiting myself through fear. But fear I realise is what holds us back from doing things. Why should I care? Why should I worry? Who is living my life? Me or the shadow of me? Clearly my shadow. What am I so afraid? Why am I afraid of life? of the future?

In this book The Shack (a brilliant book I recommend it) Mack is a man having a conversation with God and the injustices, evils and pains of life. In one passage God says “Do you realise that your imagination of the future which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind rarely if ever pictures me there with you?” This is very true for me- I love escaping and day dreaming about my alternate more interesting life. Instead of living I live in these happy fantasies. Why? because I am so unhappy with my life! What life cannot provide for me- a stable living situation I provide in my happy imagination. The imagination is a powerful thing indeed and you could create anything you want. Another passage when Mack asks God why he does that God says “It is your desperate attempt to get some control over something you can’t. It is impossible for you to take power over the future because it isn’t even real, nor will it ever be real. You try and play God imagining the evil that you fear becoming a reality and then you try and make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear.” So basically I can be God in my imagination and create whatever scenario I want and it makes me happy to have this control over my life which I do not have in reality. It’s a sad realisation but it is a very true one. I will admit I would happily leave this life to maintain and live in my imagination because I believe that anything is better than the world we live in- the cruel harsh world that spits you out and crushes you till you’re stuck in a large fat hole.

Fear is only in our minds but it is taking over all the time. I want to write more about this book but perhaps in another post. Today I guess is a day for discovering more about the real. Why we parade around masking our true intentions- hiding from ourselves and the truth. I hope I can find God soon again because I really need God. I need help and I need to escape this current conflict. I need to sort my life out but it is not as easy as it sounds. No ones life is simple. Everyone’s life is complex. Welcome to Life. More specifically the story of my life.

We are meant to live in the present but that is not where you’ll find me. If you need me I’ll be in my head dreaming of happier times.