New revelations

My life right now seems to be like one of those soap dramas that many people watch. Every day is a new drama whether it’s politically; division and consequences of the EU referendum result and post-Brexit, the US political campaign drama, social and online drama with regards to racial abuse on twitter or just general life drama in Japan. The whole universe seems to be in a massive kerfuffle and mess. My life recently has been very busy and exciting, but the drama has peaked and doesn’t look to be receding anytime soon.

A brief summary of events in the past month. My best friend in Japan, in my town is leaving and returning back home. I am utterly devastated. She has been my rock, my amazing senpai and she is absolutely lovely, smart, fun and talented. When you find special people, treasure them for life – they are worth the effort. I am going home for a holiday next week and I will have to say goodbye. I am crap at goodbyes and I really don’t want to say goodbye. I could say see you soon I suppose, but life won’t be the same in Japan with out my biggest supporter. I will miss Ju-san so much! Every time I see her, I just want to shout out: “Don’t go!!” But life is such, we all move on. It’s time for Ju-san to leave so there it is, the cold, hard fact.

Anyway, onto another dramatic topic, since my birthday, I thought there was a guy interested in me. We had a few intimate moments of hand holding, flirting and great discussions. He is my friend. He is one of the good guys, a lovely, sweet guy. ‘This is it!’ I thought, I can see myself with this lovely, kind guy. He’s a great match. This weekend I found out the startling revelation that he is in fact a player. My new lesson learned? Don’t trust nice guys. Sometimes it’s a mask or a trick. I won’t go into too much detail but I found out from my friend that this guy had been on a few dates and had told her that he knew exactly “how” to attract the girls and “what” to say. It seems that he’s not used to such high levels on attention which isn’t surprising since Japan is a washed up shore with limited choice. When I found all this information out, I wanted to do the opposite. I felt confusion and annoyance that he used my attention and compliments to flatter his ego, but his intentions towards me were narcissistic and in vain.

During another one of his moments when he tried to get me to tell him how great and talented he is by putting himself down and self-deprecatingly telling me how useless he was, instead of saying the usual; “Aww no you’re amazing! You’re so talented, you can play the piano, violin and the fiddle! Don’t be so hard on yourself!” I instead resorted to agreeing with him. “Yeah, you’re shit.”, “Yeah you’re talentless and useless.” He looked at me like a wounded dog stunned into silence and disbelief. I didn’t feel one ounce of pity, I felt pleasure. That sounds horrible, but let me justify it – he needed someone to disagree with him and shut this bullshit down. I don’t like being taken advantage of and I especially don’t like attention-seekers. I have had enough of telling other people how great they are when they are being absolutely annoying.

I later realised that he is very insecure and his negativity rubbed off onto me, but as soon as I realised it, I shut it down. This happened because he kept complaining and blowing his own sad trumpet. It started to manifest in my dreams where my old insecurities and pain rose to the fore. I was shocked into awareness and consciousness with a bitter taste in my mouth but also a strong resolution that I would not get tangled in them again. I dealt with my issues years ago, I healed those wounds and nothing would make me want to cut them open again and revisit the pain and the past. I already have enough baggage. This is not the kind of boyfriend I would want. I don’t want to have to keep affirming that someone is great. I don’t want to have to sort out someone else’s life. Mine has enough shit in it. I am trying to sort out my life. I am trying to teach children to the best of my ability and I am trying to do that with confidence. I can’t be part of a pity party. So that part of the drama in my life has simmered down. I’ve made it clear I’m no longer interested and I’ve walked away. End of chapter.

Onto the next drama,  since Ju-san is leaving, her new successor is a young woman with a 4 year old child. This is problematic for my small, rural town which has rejected her. But she doesn’t know yet that they don’t want her and she is still coming because the rejection wasn’t accepted by the organisation because it’s too late. I feel for this woman who will have to settle into a new life in an unwelcome town because I know how it feels to be isolated and cut off. Believe me, the indifference and silence is just as damning as the quiet, simmering hatred. I have a huge task on my hands to help her. Coming alone is hard enough, but coming with a kid is even worse. This town has never had an English teacher with a family so it will be revealing and interesting to see how this develops. I only hope it works out in the end. But I’m not so sure.

When will the drama end?

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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.