When you’re actually going crazy…

WARNING: This is a long post.

So I wrote my last post about three weeks ago, however I lied and things have worsened so quickly in a short space of time. I didn’t publish it then hence why I published it today. In my last post, I wrote about being happy with my life here, but in actual fact, I wasn’t completely happy. Happy to write yes, but I was hurt by what my brother said and I was trying to prove that I was okay. I am not okay. Since then things have severely deteriorated. I am facing a brick wall and I can’t smash it down.

It all started with my brother cussing me, then my realisation that I had to change my attitude towards him, because we have this messed up relationship where I used to idolise him and see him as superior and myself as inferior. I knew I had to change but I also knew that change would take time, space and a lot of effort. That’s when the world decided to shit on me all at once.

After a few days battling with my emotions, I experienced my first major earthquake. I can’t tell you how that feels like when you’re driving and everything around you is bouncing and swinging towards you, including the signposts and traffic lights while your car is swerving out of control from side to side. At first I didn’t understand what was going on until my phone was blaring at me in Japanese, “Jeshin desu, jeshin desu!” which means you guessed it, “Earthquake!” I heard it before and I’d seen the warnings around school, so I knew what it meant but I never knew it would happen so powerfully. It was a magnitude 6.4 I later found out, but I was so out of it, the experience left me feeling dizzy and disorientated. So much so that I had to stop immediately after and safely park somewhere. All I wanted to do was get home, but my phone was buzzing from all the texts from everyone. I made it home but experienced a few aftershocks. My house was alright, nothing damaged so it was okay.

Nevertheless I stayed at one of my student’s house for the night and returned the next day for school and home. I only got about 2/3 hours sleep as we were up till 2:30am watching the news and I had to leave at 5am. Typical Japan, we still have to go to work even after an earthquake. #thiscountrystopsfornoone. Later I went home and it was only late at night I discovered my flight to the Philippines was cancelled. I was vexed. How could this happen 2 weeks before I was due to fly out? I called my friend who I am going with to the Philippines to check if her flight was cancelled too. After I planned to call the agency but it was too late by the time I got off the phone with my friend what with the time difference I had miscalculated and their offices had just closed. It was 10 minutes after getting off the phone with my friend that I experienced my second earthquake and this time it was far, far worse. Magnitude 7.1 which caused havoc and destruction around the whole of Kumamoto prefecture. My house shook like thunder had just struck – so violently that my ceiling light fell narrowly avoiding my head which is when I was alerted to the big earthquake. I quickly ducked under the table, but my God I watched as my glasses, plates and everything came crashing out of my cupboard and smashed into smithereens around me, as the cooking oil and other containers spilled their oily substance onto the floor, the furniture all around me shaking and groaning. I screamed out and cursed because in that moment I feared for my life I couldn’t stop crying, even after it finished causing it’s havoc.

I come from a country which has zero earthquakes and during the past 9 months, I have experienced a strong typhoon, a heavy snowstorm, 5 major earthquakes and over 700 aftershocks. I ran out my house crying unable to stem the tears. It was then I was struck with the horrible realisation that I was all alone in a foreign country, I couldn’t speak the language, didn’t know where to go and I had no-one. I was wrong off course, I had my student who immediately phoned me and drove like crazy to pick me up. I was so incoherent on the phone I couldn’t even talk, but I was grateful, I had her, because otherwise I’d really have no-one. I stayed with her for two more nights but again I had a severe lack of sleep, I couldn’t concentrate. I went home after two days and got to work cleaning hoping for no more earthquakes. I didn’t get my wish. Two days later another magnitude 5 earthquake struck. More broken glass. What’s the point of cleaning? I don’t even react to the aftershocks anymore. I am on edge and anxious, but I know what to do now. But it’s almost as if I’ve become desensitized to them.

Since then, my life has gotten progressively worse, not just because of the earthquake, but because I am alone. I am deeply unhappy, I am depressed and I have to go to school every day and pretend I am happy and fine. I can’t fake the smiles anymore. I feel too much. I cry every night and I drink to help numb the pain. It doesn’t help, but I don’t care, it’s my comfort.

Japanese society can be so harsh on women, I really do feel it, especially when I am questioned mercilessly by my Board of Education. “Why were you there?” “You went to the mall by yourself? Alone?”, “You didn’t meet friends?” I know what they were saying, could see the judgement and disapproval written all over their faces, the unbelief and disgust. Why the hell should I have to explain myself to you? I am an adult, I can do what I want. I came here by myself so I can go to the mall by myself, even if it is late at night. Why is that so bad? Why do you look down on me just because I am a woman. A man wouldn’t get this kind of treatment.

I want to go home, but I can’t. I have so many problems, not all listed but I can’t escape them. I can’t take the bored, the refusal for help from my students, the stubbornness and the attitude. I don’t care. I can’t deal with your stupid tantrums because I have bigger fish to fry. Namely do I stay or do I leave? Do I stay and continue to cry and slowly go insane or do I leave and start over? I don’t know if I’m giving up and failing or doing what’s best? I don’t know anything anymore.

 

Indifference- Sit up and take notice of the world around you

So currently I am meant to be writing my End of Year Essay due in this Friday, but I read something that I had to comment on. I am writing my essay on the Holocaust and the theological implications and in one of my books I read this: “The world is indifferent to humans”. But this is wrong, the world is not indifferent to humans, it just exists- in fact it is the people who are indifferent to the world and to their fellow beings. This statement was made by Richard Rubenstein who rejected belief in God and his belief in Judaism because of the events of the Holocaust and the fact that he came to the conclusion that Hitler was the agent of God which he refused to believe. However, I disagree with this view completely because what about our responsibilities? Why does it have to be God who is blamed? What about the responsibility of the people who were involved? Those who committed the crimes? I am not absolving God from responsibility as it raises the long held argument of the problem of evil in which many theodicies have been created. I am not denying the question of where was God in all this? It is an important question! These aren’t simple questions and there are no real answers, but what there is out there is the knowledge that people did commit these crimes. People did stand and watch. People did do nothing.

What I want to emphasise is that we have to wake up and realise that we live in this wonderful world and although we are not always in control, we act, we make choices whether they are right or wrong I am not judging- we make them. No one is perfect but it is time to accept the truth and it is time to accept responsibility for the actions we commit.

Its very easy to say I didn’t do anything- well I have news that is still making a choice- the choice to do nothing, the choice to ignore the problem. If you see a man being beaten up by a gang, some people may walk away pretending they haven’t seen anything because they fear the gang, they fear for their lives. I completely understand this feeling- the feeling of fear, but it is at the end of the day still a choice someone makes- the choice to walk away. Some may say ‘Well what can you do?’ How can you speak like that unless you were in the situation?’ Well truth be told, I have been in that situation. Except I wasn’t the one walking away ignoring the problem- I was the victim. (Not in a gang fight let’s not be dramatic now!) But I was pestered by some youths on the train. People are too scared to shout at youths nowadays because they’re afraid of the law and they’re afraid of the consequences. On this busy train, people simply looked away uncomfortable not sure how to react, but you could tell most of them were apathetic. I looked to people for help- anyone-but no one wanted to help. I kept wondering why won’t people help? Like I said it’s very easy to look away and not take any notice. But sometimes people need help, they need someone to pull them out from a hole. It is not ok to stand around and watch others suffer. Not everyone is like this, there are few who help, but the majority stand around waiting for others. Stop waiting and start acting. Who are you waiting for? God? For the person to beg? For someone to tell you to do something?

It is also called indifference. Not many people have the strength or the courage to face up to the evils and injustice in the world. And I’ll admit it is a big thing, but it’s time for a change. Why should we live our lives in fear? Pascal said that we want to be seen as brave and courageous, we want people to think we possess these characteristics. But in reality we do not have them, we would rather people think we have them. It is very true- Pascal was a very wise man!

It is wrong to be apathetic and for people to be indifferent to the world they live in.  Stop trying to blame someone else, whether it is God or the person next to you who didn’t help the person in trouble. We are responsible for our actions.  We can intervene and help others even if other people choose not to and even if God didn’t intervene. So stop relying on others and be the change that you want to be.

Rant over for now! Back to writing my essay! Must not waste anymore time procrastinating!

The difficult battle between the real self vs unrealistic self

So let me first explain what this post is about as it can digress into various arguments. When I talk of the real self- I mean the person who you really are, who you want to be, how you want to look in comparison with the self that is being projected in society of “how to look good”, “the perfect size” etc. I am concerned with how society is making us think in regards to our self-image. This guys is not just about girls trying to impress you with their great figure, it goes much deeper than that and it is about their confidence and self-image in light of society- to look good for the world and for themselves.

Recently I lost weight and thought great I have lost weight great I look good. But even if I lose weight I never feel good (no I do not have anorexia- you don’t have to have this to answer your insecurities). I am a size 8 usually which I love being but there are the pressures to be thinner. To look and feel perfect like the women portrayed in magazines and on television. How do they look that good? Where are all their imperfections and marks from previous cuts. Is it their true self? Do they have stretch marks? Do they have marks at all? How does their skin look silky soft and beautiful? In magazines the answer is easy- they are airbrushed and their true body is not shown. No one looks like that- everyone has imperfections. But there is the problem of the unreal which keeps developing and seeping into societal thoughts and thus into my thoughts. Where a slim girl with a great figure turns round and doubts herself. I look at my cousins and compare myself to others and think gosh they are so skinny- they look terrible and then subconsciously I think wow I wish I was that skinny, I wish I could be really thin like I used to be when I was small. But then a part of your mind also thinks I would never want to be that skinny I like to be curvy. There’s no equilibrium- no way of being completely satisfied with the self without having doubts. What if I looked a little bit thinner? What if?

Though it seems that the pressures don’t come just from society, but from family, friends and others who are important to you. If my aunt turns round and tells me I am fat- obviously it will affect me- if anyone says ohh are you pregnant? when you’re not will kill your self-esteem and knock down your confidence. When you compare yourself to friends or celebrities (if you see them as role models- which I don’t because they make mistakes and it puts them in a strong light as if they are “higher” than us- another rant another time!) When you examine their body, I know I look for imperfections- to see if they have any which relate to me which prove to me they are not the epitome of perfection. We are deceived every single day by images shown in the press, tv, films, etc. We are told that the only way to look good is be skinny. The media criticises any celebrities if they put on a significant amount of weight. They control the celebrities lives when the celebrity decides to lose weight. They have a strong power and control not only on celebrities but on normal people who read the magazines or watch the box. There is pressure all around us and this pressure is also mounting on men who are required to work out and have “muscles” or a “six pack” in order to look sexy and good. Looking perfect I believe is subjective and should not be an objective standard that people should measure themselves against. That I believe is wrong because everyone is different and you can look good in different ways.

Being curvy is the epitome of what it means to be a woman- to have a voluptuous figure with womanly curves. Many women crave it, while others crave the stick thin straight look. When I compare myself to others I feel inferior and that is something you should never feel and thus something you should never do- compare yourself. Every person is unique and looks good in their own way. They say that the majority of men like their woman to be curvy because it looks sexier. Attitudes are changing towards curvy women. It is now the fat vs the skinny. But what about those in between? Everyone has doubts! But if you’re not happy with yourself then how can you be happy with others? How can you be comfortable with others? Have you ever worn the magic dress which when you put on you just feel and know you look incredible? Its a wonderful experience and also difficult to find dresses that really build your confidence, that really flatter your figure but at the same time make you feel like a million dollars (££ pounds in my case!) I am thankful I have had the opportunity to find some amazing dresses that have made me feel amazing.

Being skinny is not as great as everyone makes out- you lose weight so obviously all your clothes don’t fit you anymore- not as well as they used to. Clothes seem to be dropping- they don’t hang well on you and you rarely find the right size in clothes you like. It generally just sucks being skinny with no/less curves and smaller proportions .  When I am curvy and filled out like people say I hate it- I feel a bit fat in some places and the shape of my body is weird, but when I lose weight I also hate it because even though I achieved being slimmer- I miss my curves and my clothes don’t fit me properly. Nothing does! So I am never really satisfied which is sad. There is no equilibrium, but it is a problem that many people face I am sure.

What we must do is accept and notice that there are these pressures. We must be aware that this is how society is conditioning us to look, feel and act. Finally we must be strong and react against it. Don’t let them make you feel small and don’t compare yourself to others. Be happy with you and your self-image. Easier said than done, but its true. In this world and society, it is always going to be a difficult battle and struggle against what is right, what looks good and the truth. Who knows the truth? Society? No wrong! Don’t let the “Great Beast” as Plato says guide you because it is wrong. We can never attain perfection because we were not created to be perfect.