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.

 

The grass is always greener on the other side

So as you know from my last post, I recently left my old job and after the consequences finally sunk in and I was devastated and fell into a kind of deep regretfulness. When I spoke to my best friend, she said something which didn’t strike me until now.

The grass is always greener on the other side but it doesn’t actually mean that it is necessarily better.

She’s right. It’s like admiring something from a shop window and wishing you had the money to buy it, day by day you watch it entranced, the want becoming more like a need. The tension builds up for months on end until one day you have the means to buy it for yourself. Now that you’ve got it, you realise that it wasn’t actually that important; you no longer want it after a while because we always forget and move on. Because in the end you will forget, you misplace something and you forget and move on. You might be reminded of it sometimes, you might visit the item again, but ultimately it doesn’t matter so much in the grand scheme of things. This is exactly the same feeling, day by day I feel the control and hurt lessen. It’s been more than a month since I left and I can honestly say I don’t regret my decision anymore, not for one second. Why? My life has changed, my eyes have been opened. I’ve met so many different people – if I didn’t leave I wouldn’t have met some lovely and genuinely nice people. I wouldn’t have challenged myself – I would have been stuck in a rut constantly unhappy and constantly moaning to the ones I love. If I hadn’t left I wouldn’t have been challenged socially – I would have stayed insecure and scared. But part of my job requires the confidence to know what you are doing since you are in control and if you screw up, you’re directly responsible and you have a lot of people to answer to.

The company has opened so many doors for me and already within the month I’ve experienced a lot. I’ve learnt so much and I genuinely do believe I am working for a fantastic company and I’m actually very lucky I was hired. The interview was a complete fluke and they must have been desperate since I was supposed to go for a second interview, but they just offered the job immediately after I hesitated. Wow the power is always in your hands whether you realise it or not and I didn’t realise it at the time. We make our own decisions. I met up with my friend from the old company and he was telling me about how they were being sent to Venice for a conference for 2 days, they were having parties thrown, 2 bonuses etc. he went on about all the amazing new things happening and it sounded wonderful – I’m not that high up on my horse that I couldn’t see it and disregard it all. But at the same time, I felt nothing and that was when I realised that I was over it. When I went to meet him at the company I felt nothing. In fact my first thought was “Oh gosh it’s tiny compared to my new office.” It felt small and slightly suffocating and that was when I just knew I am okay – I am over it. I was so unhappy in my last job, I had forgotten how miserable I was, how unchallenged and bored I was. All those feelings went out the window when I lost it all, when I felt ‘cheated’ and now I remember all the bad times as well as the good. The grass looks greener, but in fact it’s not. I just built it up in my mind and refused to move on. But I have now and I feel free.

I feel happier in all aspects and now it’s just time to wait. I don’t know what the future holds, but I won’t give up and I will try not to lose sight. I am questioning whether I actually want to work in Marketing anymore. The thing is I get bored easily and I don’t know, I just feel like it’s not really for me. I don’t know what exactly is for me but working in this job makes you realise things you like and things you don’t like. You might have a lot of regrets, you might wish you took a chance, but never fear because another different chance will always appear. In life, I think about all the chances I let go, but there are also all the chances I grabbed. If you want something grab it, if you don’t know, don’t worry because there are so many opportunities its overwhelming. All I know right now is that I like helping people. I would like to do some volunteering work one day, I would like to travel, I would like to try my hand at different jobs. This corporate role right now is just a means to an end to achieve those goals and I will try not to get stuck in it. I don’t think it will happen. You never know though, but this I am sure about. My self-esteem is not great, my confidence and belief in myself is also weak, but day by day I am learning to accept myself. I am learning more of what I like, what I’m comfortable with – I like gossip I am human, but I don’t like when it turns vulgar and becomes cruel. I am learning what I should do and how I should act in the future – don’t let people push you into things, don’t let people bully you – sometimes it’s good to be pushed because I was quite literally pushed into this job by my agency which I resented them for and still begrudgingly still do, but don’t let people push you unless they force your hand, just remember it is always your choice and you have to live with the consequences, not them – YOU.

Everything has a way of circling on itself and working out for the best. Funny enough I met a colleague in my department who applied for a job at my previous company and turns out it was the same job I had applied for one and a half years ago. I got it and she didn’t. I got the chance and she got another opportunity at a different company before joining this current company 6 months ago. It’s funny how life works!

A dream is not always better than reality. The other side might look perfect after you’ve left, but take off those rose-tinted glasses and you’ll see the truth. Reality hits hard. Not everything is as great as is perceived. Perception can be deceptive just as my Philosophy lectures taught me 3 years ago.

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! 🙂

Change is harder than people think….

“A great writer reveals the truth even when he or she does not wish to.” Tom Bissell- This quote popped up after I published this article and I just had to include it because it was very true for this story of mine. So without further ado here is some of my ugly truth.

So I recently successfully completed a telephone interview and I have an assessment day on Wednesday but I am very scared, but  I don’t really know why. I suppose it is because of the failures of my last interviews and I am afraid of how people perceive me. But the truth is I am trying to find myself and this day is for a job in sales. Everyone says that people should follow their dreams, but this is not my dream and I know in my heart that this job is not the right one for me. I want to run and not take part. I want to ring up and say I am not interested but that is the coward in me who doesn’t want to bother with the effort or the research. I hate presentations and I don’t want to do it so I want to run. But there is always something in me which stops me from quitting- which makes me face the things I hate. Because if I don’t face them I’ll always be scared and run away. If I don’t try I’ll never know. That is the part of me I love and hate at the same time. If I give up now there’s no point because I didn’t even try. Even though I don’t want the job, the experience of the interview is good. But another part of me says what’s the point? I should save myself the humiliation! Well who knows I could meet some very nice people. I could actually learn something. I could stop running from my fears. No I don’t really want this job, but I do want to try and experience things. For me jumping out of a plane or para-sailing is far more exciting, but it is also a lot more dangerous.

That day I answered the call- I didn’t care I just went for it because I knew I had nothing to lose and I didn’t really care. But now, now that I have passed the interview I do care. Or perhaps it is that I care about how I look in front of top business people. I don’t want to make a fool of myself in front of them. I don’t want to fail. I just want to get this over and done with but at the same time I want to run in the other direction and not face this day.

Recently I have been fearing the future. I don’t know why but it was my graduation last week and I was not looking forward to the stress, seeing people, the fear of tripping over my heels. But on the day during they ceremony I felt blessed. I felt so happy- going up for my certificate I had no time to be scared because I was happy. This was what I worked 3 years for. All my hard work paid off. So why didn’t I want to face the day? Can you imagine what would have happened if I missed it? I would have missed out on such much! On such a momentous and important day for me. Granted there was a lot of people I didn’t want to see and didn’t want to talk to and I didn’t really talk to them because who says you have to? University is over. All that matters is what you achieved and who you are.

After America over the summer I have not been the same. I thought I hadn’t changed which I disliked because I wished to change- I wanted to be more confident but the truth is I had changed. I had become worse, more fearful, more reserved and quiet! I came to hate myself. Such a shame just as I was coming out of my shell after all the good uni had done! Even after these few months I hated me. I wanted to forget. I wanted to forget when people hurt me. I wanted to forget everything. I was ashamed. Why? Because I did not like me. Why did I care so much what people think? I don’t know. When I spoke to someone they said why would you want to change? You’re fine the way you are! Well I think I do need to change some things but I am fine. I’ll take that!

The problem is I let my insecurities rule me and I let fear control me. I hate it and I am trying to change it. I am trying to change me for the better. But it is no easy process. Things happen for a reason. The other day someone asked me what my dream job would be and I thought and in my head I had absolutely no idea! But because I needed an answer I said I would like to have been an author. Truthfully I don’t think I would have! I like writing stories- but for myself and for my friends. Perhaps I would have liked to have been a doctor. No maybe I would have liked to have worked for a charity. I still could- I like helping people so I could work for a charity. Maybe I will try it. It’s not impossible and completely out of my reach unlike medicine where I actually need a medical degree.

Nothing is impossible! I just have to keep telling myself that. I need to change. I need to wake up and be positive. I need to get back to where I began. When I was a baby I had no care in the world and was not affected by any external judgements. So I can’t get back that far. But I can shield myself from criticism. I can choose not to let things affect me. It is hard to change, but I must do it. I must be the change I want to be. But most importantly I must learn to love myself.

At least I know that some people love me, my family, friends and most importantly God. That’s right me and the man upstairs are changing the rules. I will not fail. And if I do that’s ok I’ll just get right back up and start again.

The Fear

This post is about things I have been experiencing lately which seem to be hindering me. Mainly it is my past which keeps me shackled in chains desperately trying to escape the painful memories of the past few months. It doesn’t help that facebook is there to remind me of the evidence, the people and the experiences. Fear is however a massive factor in life which prevents us from doing the things we really want to do, i.e try a new experience, get a job in a completely different country, shop in a certain place due to the bad reputation or even the fear of going on a date/meeting with someone because of what may happen. In life we all face many challenges, but I mostly seem to run away from them giving excuses as to why I can’t or don’t want to do something.

The fear of failure so what’s the point in trying because without trying I can guarantee I won’t fail! But that’s a stupid way of thinking and the truth is everyone fails at something at some point in their life. I keep running away from most things in my life because I am scared. I won’t willing walk into a bad neighbourhood unless I have to because I am scared I’ll be attacked or surrounded by a gang. But this is silly because you can be attacked anywhere! I know this but I am still wary. I won’t work abroad because I will know absolutely no one and I will be completely by myself. But I have already conquered this and it did not end so well. I ended up hating the American camp experience. It is different I suppose if you are working abroad with more freedom in a different environment. I won’t find a job because I am scared I’ll be rejected. This is also silly because if you don’t try you will never know what could have been yours! I won’t go on a date because I am scared it will all go wrong. What can I say I am just a very cautious person. I don’t want to get hurt like my friends. Only a date though right so its harmless? Well I have no idea! I’ve been on 1 or 2 dates before and they’ve never really been successful because either we start a debate and I get angry at the guys answers or the guy just doesn’t call me back.

Last night I had a nightmarish dream where I was on a date with this guy I liked whom I met but hardly know. So we are not really friends as we don’t know much about each other but anyway we are at this cafe just talking and then suddenly he stands up and his accent changes- he starts to talk funny in a different accent which surprises me and then he stands up and moves to the side. I start to lose sight of him and so I lean closer round the corner to look at him and he hugs me. Instantly I feel repelled inside. I want to run because I don’t like this closeness and even though I’m attracted to him I am scared and somehow can’t seem to connect with guys any closer than friends. I wake up and I realise that I am far too scared or maybe I am not ready for this kind of thing whatever it is. But I am 21 and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I can go abroad and live alone, I can do so many other things but somehow I can’t seem to get close to people who want to have a relationship with me. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of close friends- most of whom are girls- though a few guy friends.

I am in love with an idea (as are all girls I believe). The idea of falling in love and meeting Prince Charming. The idea of having a blissful relationship but the truth is there is no such thing as Prince Charming and I shouldn’t expect so much from the guy. I see happy couples and people getting engaged and I want that just like anyone out there. I don’t want to be alone. But somehow I hold back- guys ask me out and I say no. I just can’t seem to get over it. I AM TERRIFIED! I am just scared of what life has to offer. But I shouldn’t be and I have no idea why I am scared. This guy well he’s real and he asked to meet up again now that I am back from America. I don’t know what to do. Obviously I will meet up with him, but I am scared because I don’t know what he wants and normally I make it very clear what I am looking for. Maybe it is because I like him so much I want things to work out but at the same time I don’t know what kind of guy he is- I don’t know if he is a player, if he is looking for something serious or casual or whatever. I know what I want I think. But fear always gets in the way. I can easily jump out of a plane no worries. I can go rock climbing and all that and I can risk my life in some dangerous activity but when it comes to dating and all that I just can’t seem to commit. I just can’t seem to go further and I feel repulsed in a way to be touched by someone I hardly know. I know that one little date hardly gives them permission to touch me, but after a while if we become closer then there is reason to.

There’s just too much that time cannot erase. There is so much that holds us back (well holds me back at least). Some people may not understand because I sure don’t understand myself. But then we are complex being and no one is the same. I hope that I can discover what I want in life and I hope I can get rid of these fears because they all sound stupid! But psychology and life experiences sometimes dictate your feelings which in turn dictate the outcome. Life’s not fair. But I will try, but sometimes you just can’t help the fear.

What if? If only life offered a total do-over!

Ever had the inclination to totally redo your life. To take different paths- do things differently. It’s a bit worrying that I have these sentiments at such a young age. It’s also a bit worrying that I am having a mid life crisis and I am not even 45! I’m 21, I’ve finished University just come back from my travels and just a little bit lost! Okay well not a little A LOT! I have no idea in which direction my life is going, no idea where to go and what to do. You could say my life is at a crossroads- do I get off my lazy butt and start trying to looks for jobs and apply or do I continue my lazy life waiting till something hits me over the head and draw me into some amazing new life with a great job and exciting opportunities.

Thinking about it now I had some uber cool opportunities at uni- the choice to do loads of work experience (while I did some there were perks to being a student!), the choice to study abroad- that’s a real disappointment! I would have liked to have done that but then I wouldn’t have discovered rock climbing and met so many cool people through the club- I wouldn’t have been appointed Treasurer of the club and I would have not had the opportunities I had at that time. Alternatively I could have been lying on a beach in Malta or trying to converse in French in Belgium!

Though the “what ifs” stretch a lot farther to school days- what if I had been more prepared and organised the two week work experience to France, what if I actually followed my interests and did what I wanted to do! What do I even actually want to do? I don’t know! I didn’t know then and I don’t know now! I am still as lost as I was four years ago when I decided what course I would be doing! What if I chose different universities, what if I could have done better? So many what ifs, so many thoughts of what my life could have been like. I would be a different person perhaps I am not sure- I’m quite stubborn and not very susceptible to change as a person though I do crave change in life.

I like it when I go somewhere different. I like travelling to different places as well as to the same countries- thats great too but I prefer discovering new things. I like trying different kinds of food. I think I would like change in a job- trying different companies or even trying my hand at different types of jobs. Because the truth is I don’t think I would be satisfied in just one job. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with life- because I crave change and I am sure it is pretty much the same for a lot of people out there. The world is no longer the same place where people would stay in their jobs for 10 or 20 years. Well that’s what I’ve read, so I am just going on what’s being said.

If I could I would take the chance to have a do-over! A repeat of my life it would be so good! But then again thinking about it logically completely redoing things in the past sounds a little boring because let’s face it I have past that point in life. I’ve past the point where I want to go back to studying in school- past the point of just doing work. I don’t think I am past the point of wanting to be a kid because being a child was amazing! I could do what I want- there was this kind of innocence- no responsibilities, no care in the world! Just fun and games, but then again I kind of like some responsibilities. I am a kid at heart and I had a wonderful childhood! I was in no hurry to grow up fast like a lot of kids do nowadays. Today, children are much more mature, much more aware. When I was a child I was not very aware of things- I was carefree and happy! I would love to go back to that innocence! The good old days, but then again my life is at that point where I am at the crossroads.

I’m stuck in limbo not really doing anything, not making a choice, not really living because I am just so bored! Is it possible to be bored with life so soon? Or perhaps I am just bored of the now- I need constant energy and drive to keep myself busy. To stop me from thinking because let’s be honest thinking is a dangerous thing. It can frustrate you and make you nit pick about everything! I think that’s just it! I’ve been thinking too much and it’s time to get busy again. Carry on with life but you can’t just pick up where you left off 4 months ago. Why? because everything is different now and I hate that. I hate the memories that torture me, I hate the life I’ve become where I wake up try to find a job, or go out to visit a friend and then go to bed late. I hate the person who I discovered I really am over my travels. I hate me and that is just not a good thing to discover. Meeting with my friends makes me realise how I never get a word in- I just listen- I don’t talk. But that’s ok I like it when others talk non-stop because it fills the silence. I can’t talk for Britain that’s for sure. But then it makes me think I don’t like who I am anymore.

Everyone is moving on with their life. They are moving forward, getting jobs, going back to university, learning, training, travelling and there is me falling behind unsure what to do. Unsure of myself and my life but craving something to give me that burst of confidence. I just need that hope. That is the problem when people you love die, they leave behind a whole series of unpredictable events which can affect you in the most subtle ways possible. Living in a house with negative and sad energy can definitely affect your mood and the shadow of their life left behind leaves you wanting to run and make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes and you don’t feel half as lonely as they did. It’s a race against time to escape my thoughts, my fears and just jump! Like I did out the plane when I went skydiving- one of the best experiences of my life.

Well it’s time for a change! It’s time to make that choice now. Time to make the plunge and hope not to hit nothingness. A total do over is out of the question- no such thing! I can’t let myself keep regretting. It’s time to act, so must go try now! Wish me luck!