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.

 

This is me! Self-discovery alas….

So today I am writing about self-confidence and personal freedom. Last week I did something I wouldn’t usually do- I saw an offer to take up yogapilates and I grabbed it and decided to go for it. What do I have to lose right? So I was meant to go last Thursday but the timetable was changed and instead they gave me a free class of Pilates on Saturday! I wasn’t nervous and I feel like I have turned over a new leaf. No in fact I feel like I have rediscovered myself- the person I used to be- someone who had little fear and would just go for things! It made me realise that I do a lot of things by myself and I am not afraid to do it. I am independent! I don’t need a friend, boyfriend or parent to hold my hand and take me to the class. I noticed a lot of people brought friends, boyfriends or someone they knew with them to the class and I felt proud of myself that I could do things by myself. It also made me think back to all the things I have been doing by myself. It made me reflect about all those times I did things alone- the time when I was in my 2nd year of university and I wanted to join a club so I decided to join the University Club- I knew no one but I was not afraid, I travelled in the night alone (I was crazy travelling late at night in the darkness trying to find this climbing wall!) I am reckless sometimes, but I don’t feel alone! A presence is out there and I believe it to be God! Others may call it something else but this isn’t about belief- this is about taking chances. Anyway like I was saying I met new people but the point is I started it alone.

I decided to work in America for 2.5 months and then travel for another 2 months! I really don’t think things through but I am spontaneous! I don’t plan, well I do but not meticulously! I went to America naive thinking everything will be fine without little preparation and boy did I get the shock of my life! But again I reiterate I did it alone! I was not afraid to travel alone, to meet new people. It was a great experience looking back. I have been concentrating too much on the negative and now looking back I think of the positive. I am not afraid to jump into the deep end and that is something I have been overlooking for some time! I may be slow sometimes, act silly, say stupid things and talk like a baby around family but I am 21! I like to live and learn. I like experiencing new things. I like being a kid around my family and messing about. I don’t want to always be serious. Sometimes I ask stupid questions without thinking, so sue me!?!

I have no one to travel with and I would love to travel but I have always been forced to do things by myself because no one wants to join me! I ask friends if they want to go on holiday and they say yes but nothing ever comes from it. I search and then I realise they are not serious about it! I say I want to join a dance club and they agree but again if it doesn’t meet their schedule or it is just an idea then we can’t do it. I can’t dance very well and my co-ordination but I don’t care I am willing to try which is one of the most important things! Don’t kick me out because I suck- at least I am trying which is more than most people can say! (Not that I have been kicked out! 😉 I’m just saying!) The difference with me is when I have an idea I like to follow through with it! I am not one of those people who sit there dreaming- well actually I am but I also take action too! In my first year I told a friend I want more and I want to be more adventurous and join the climbing club; he laughed. Two years later I met him again and he told me that he did not actually think I would follow through because they were just dreams! But I will if I want something.

Some people may think I lead a lonely life and maybe I kind of do- I have no husband, boyfriend, but I do have friends and they don’t cling to me, nor do I cling to them. I don’t need anyone to do something I want to do and that feels great because I can just do it!!!! I can’t express the feeling but it feels like true freedom! I looked around when I went to this Pilates class and realised I am here by myself and I don’t care. I know no-one but again I don’t care. I am here to exercise and meet new people and have fun. It was a great class! you can really work out a sweat! Anyway the main thing is that if you are alone it doesn’t matter because you can do whatever you want! What’s there to be afraid of? I am re-discovering myself and day by day I feel like I am growing in confidence! This is my chance to shine- I just hope I make the most of all the opportunities that come my way! NO MORE REGRETS! I am strong and I can do anything I want! I am happy in that knowledge because I know I have come so far! 🙂

Sad at the end of a Manga….sometimes left wanting more!

Right well when I get hooked on something I get obsessed! I lead a very unhealthy life with unhealthy obsessions but I can’t seem to help it! They seem to take me away from my silly boring life and they let me escape! They transport me to a happy world where I can live in the world of the characters and pretend that what is happening to them is happening to me! I read shoujo manga because it makes me happy but also because I like romance! One day I hope to have a powerful and strong romance that will last like it does in so many of the stories and mangas I have read.

I have to admit that at first I always wished that mangas would be in colour because they look better. But now I am used to the black and white and actually I like in black and white! The characters in the manga also are ones that I fall in love with! I swear I actually have crushes on non existent manga characters which is funny because I am in love with these drawings of the guys! Call me weird but it cannot be helped, it can only be confessed! They just look so attractive some of them and I love the way they are drawn. Usually manags make me feel all happy and fuzzy inside! But when they end they make me depressed and dissatisfied with life and people. Not sure why and don’t think it should make me feel like that but I suppose it is because I don’t really have much of a life so I take refuge in these stories and connect with the characters and fall in love with the mean but nice guy. It seems that like reality no one wants a mean guy, but girls always go for the bad guy because they are interesting and we want to know what makes them act the way they do. They have a certain allure and mysteriousness. Whereas nice guys are soo sweet and lovely but somehow are boring. (Well not all nice guys) But somehow I want a nice guy but who is also not too nice that I could easily dominate him. I suppose what I am saying is you want that balance and not one single person being domineering in the relationship. Anyway what am I saying? These are only characters after all!

Anyway the main point of this post is that yesterday I finished reading a manga “Stepping on Roses” and it is the first manga that really made me feel sad that it was over. The other mangas that I have read previously have been very long and some have not even ended yet so I’ve not had the chance to have the feeling, but those that have been short and ended have left me content. This particular manga though was just so powerful in its own way and left an impact on me which I somehow can’t describe how or why it left an impact. Maybe it is because recently I have been feeling pretty crap and unsatisfied with my life that I am left unsatisfied with the ending of the story. Don’t get me wrong I liked the ending and I liked the story very much, the problem is I just didn’t want it to end. In fact it ended too soon! Although there is no point dragging some stories on, this one I just could get lost in. 

If it continued on forever it would become boring because it needs to be exceptional to hold my attention for a long time, though normally this does not usually last. Its really hard to explain but all I can say is I don’t like this empty feeling that I have been left with. Usually I get it with animes, but this time it is a manga that has left me feeling sad! I want to know more- I want to read more but it is over so how can I? I really need to get a proper life! But I can’t stop reading and I can’t stop falling into these traps! Maybe one day things will be different? Only one can hope! But for now I will just have to find another manga to satisfy my manga/anime needs and so forth continue with the endless vicious circle. Anyone recommendations for a romantic shoujo? I am in need of something new!

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.