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.

 

Advertisements

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.

I’m going to blame you since it’s easier and I’m quite fond of my well-being…..

It’s surprising how one can live in the world and not be affected by anything that happens around, especially when one is an idealist with little awareness of the world around. Is this right? Is that person living in ignorance? I have to admit that this is wrong and we shouldn’t be living in ignorance, but I can understand why we would want to hide and not hear all the depressing news. To be unaware would mean not knowing the crimes, pain and evil that goes on in the world around us and it also serves as a safety barrier and a protection against most things cruel. It’s not that I don’t want to know, it’s just that I am not so political I need to know. Now that is a lame excuse! But what I mean is that I like living in my happy go lucky world where everything works out. Truth be told it doesn’t satisfy me completely because I know just like a good book or film that it doesn’t end there as a happy ever after. Now in fact the real story begins filled with troubles, good times, low times etc.  I find it difficult to cope in the real world fully which is why imagination serves me so well. I basically live two lives, one where I am half in the real world pretending to listen to the lectures, meetings and discussions all around me but wearing an intelligent looking mask and nodding occasionally which disguises my true intentions, letting myself drift into the world of the imaginary where anything is possible. A place to escape from this dull and boring life. A beautiful world where every scenario or dream I want can become my new reality and is orchestrated the way I want it to go. There can be an infinite number of ways a scene can be played out and if I don’t like a certain one, I can change it. Simple! Problem with this? I don’t actually end up living much of my life! 

So when we are forced to face reality and bought back by certain events, we wake up and realise the truth. I am hiding from the world and it is so much easier to blame someone else, especially the person who makes you aware of your own condition, but I suppose it helps a bit. So I’ll get away with shifting the blame onto them. When someone makes you feel small and stupid it’s always nice to take it out on them rather than yourself because in the long run it’s going to affect you if you blame yourself. It’s going to damage self-confidence and self-esteem far more than we think and we shouldn’t really. Other people give us far more than we give ourselves credit for and sometimes its wrong when we depend on others to support us. I am not saying that we should shrug off what that person says, take it into account by all means, but don’t take it personally, All you need to do is just learn more and try to be more open which is what I’m taking from this. So when my colleague made me feel this small about not knowing which case was being held at the Old Bailey today, I didn’t feel too bad when I imagined walking past him and having the desire to tip the contents of my scalding hot mug onto his smug self-satisfied balls.  The reason I am feeling so vicious today and in such a foul mood is because of a series of events which made my morning quite eventful so I’ll divulge the story.

The patronising so and so put me down when I came in late this morning. To explain myself I told my team about the police vans and the waiting around and when I asked I wonder which case it could be he said “Do you not read the papers at all? It’s been brandished in the papers for weeks. Where on earth have you been?” The reply in my head was “Well I’m sorry its 9:20 in the morning I’m tired really, woke up felt sick couldn’t eat breakfast, ran for my train only to realise it was cancelled, thus missing my connecting train resulting in a major shitty journey trying to get into work; forced to share the tube with some selfish idiots refusing to move down the carriage. During the God awful squashed journey some bastard released a major stink bomb polluting the air with its repellent fumes. Got out and everyone was moving so bloody slowly, finally got to the street and was prevented from going any further because of the police blocking our way to let criminals in a massive van be led to court. Now not having worked near the criminal courts before, I experienced this temporary lapse of panic and rush to get to work as my interest was diverted as to who was in the van and what’s happening. Gosh and it’s not even lunchtime yet. So excuse me you stupid ass if I haven’t read the paper this morning or week and do not know who is arriving at court this tender fresh morning.” If I was more comfortable with people and more daring I would stick my finger to him, see how he likes that. However, since I work in a professional corporate and polite environment, off course that would be inexcusable, especially to the Head of Business Development. Oh well at least this is why we have private thoughts and the lovely imagination to entertain our wild and fanciful ideas. Though not all ideas are good, some wicked; we are after all only human with free will so thinking something doesn’t necessarily mean we want to act on them, at least not always. Say I wanted to murder half the people on the tube, doesn’t mean a) I would do it b) I would want to do it in reality.

I agree though this is mainly a rant about him as he seems to get on a nerves a lot, especially recently. I’m normally a very tolerant person, but he is making it more and more difficult to be even polite to him. He’s rude, obnoxious, arrogant, awkward and up his proverbial ass but also extremely intelligent and clued up (yes I am a little jealous of that). Still doesn’t make him any less of a douche and somehow since the first day he met me, he seemed to have an intense dislike for me. It was instant and I recognised immediately his brash and resistant mannerisms which ultimately told me he rejected me from the team. At first, I thought it was probably because he didn’t think I was smart enough or good enough for the role, but now I don’t really care. I thought relations might be improving but I was clearly living in that imaginary world again, mistaking fiction for reality. Another colleague who is also new gets on very well with him, but she is quite stiff, very firm and intelligent, but very nice too with a dry sense of humour. I think they get on well famously because of that sense of humour and also they seem to be on the same wavelength. At least she is nice and although she was a bit reserved with me at first, was still very nice and civil. He however seemed to attack me with a few hostile questions and an intense “I hate you” glare; so much for the warm welcome on the first day.

When I met another colleague from Glasgow and Leeds however, they assured me that he was always like that. Didn’t really talk much to them and sort of looked down his nose at people so I was not to take it personally. However it is rather difficult when you are working with someone so brash and impatient, I’m glad I don’t have to work directly with him very much. If only people were simple, things would be easier.

So eventful angry start to the day and it certainly isn’t beginning to look a lot like Christmas Johnny Mathis or Bing Crosby!

Beautiful Strangers

So it has been some time writing down my thoughts but sometimes I feel like it wouldn’t be right to say what I think. Some things are just best left inside right? Lately I’ve been feeling a little blue- well when do I ever not feel blue! I seem to go through periods of happiness, sadness, reflection and boredom. I get bored very easily with my life. But some good news to share is that I finally found a job which I have been in for 2 months but it is a temporary contract so its been extended till end of May which is great. The job itself is interesting and the work is varied though I must admit I don’t really like the prospect of staring at a computer 5 days a week constantly form 9am-5:30pm! Its just boring and it makes me lazy. I want my work to be varied in the sense I want to move around, do things not just sitting down but be active too. Don’t get me wrong I am grateful for this job especially to be at a good medium sized corporate company. I get some free lunches, treats sometimes and the people are nice enough, the work is varied so what more can I ask for in a job? Well one very important thing I’ve come to realise as a priority is communication. I want more communication with people. People are fascinating and have so many stories to share. So many lives- so many experiences and most people have substance. I like talking to people – I like making friends, but somehow no one wants to talk- no one wants to share. I find it very hard to break down barriers and walls people build. Whatever happened to those lovely people you can strike up a conversation with on the train/bus? Where did all those wonderful people go? When you bump into the most unlikely people who just lift your spirits. Those who are passionate about life and try and infuse that passion within others. I met a guy in a shop once who asked me why I look so sad? I should be happy I have friends, family and life. I smiled and he lifted up my spirits. But I don’t meet those fantastic and amazing people who can touch your lives with just a few words. You never forget the people who strike up a conversation with you. They may be pushed to the back of your minds but their memory never fades- well for me at least!

Anyway as I was saying people at work hold you at a distance. No one wants to get to know you and there is that distance. When I first arrived a few came up to me and said “oh if you need anything then I sit here” but why offer something when they don’t mean it. They don’t expect you to actually come up and say hi. What happened to making people feel at home? Inclusivity! The other day half the office went to the pub but what about inviting the rest? Not even the poor guy sitting next to them was invited. You take what you get from a place and I know what I’ll certainly be taking is experience. But I certainly won’t be taking friends. People aren’t as friendly there and I think its a great learning curb for me to know and understand what’s important in a job. Maybe a corporate environment is just not for me. I want to go out after work with the office crowd to the pub! I want to get to know others who I work with. So what to do? Wait to be invited right? No I am not waiting for anyone. I already have some amazing friends. All I’ll do is continue being me and I’ll move forward with or without making new friends.

I hope I will find myself one day. I already know who I am but what I mean is that I hope I will find the right job for me- one that I will enjoy with all my heart. Here’s to the hopeful future! And here’s to all those amazing strangers who have such a positive impact on others. I hope they continue to still do that for that presence is strong indeed. They are beautiful strangers and most of their hearts are made of gold.

Today I am feeling optimistic despite this horrible weather and sad atmosphere! I have been moping around the house recently I will admit and it never helps! Right now I am listening to a beautiful song that I heard many years ago which has inspired me and helped me up when I was down “What have you done today to make you feel proud” by Heather Small. It is a great song and expresses exactly how I feel and how I look at life. But this is something everyone should be thinking about. Everyone has potential- that is potential to do good or do bad, the potential to work hard or be lazy. All you have to do is try and okay you may not always get what you want, you may get rejected but some of the best people in life always try. Everyone fails at something and that is how you build yourself up. I am trying to find a job right now and it is tough and I have not been having any luck but it doesn’t matter. I will continue trying till I succeed. I will continue because I know I can do well. I believe in myself.

I have a friend and she knows exactly what she wants to do in life. She wants to be a doctor and I kind of envy her because she knows what she wants and she found her dream career whereas I have no idea what I want to have a career in. However she keeps seeing things blocking her path. I suggest ideas and she keeps putting them down and to be honest she is not being realistic because okay I understand there are difficulties getting into medicine, but it all depends on how bad you want it and what kind of person you are. She is extremely smart and I know she can do well- she can get a First Class Honours Degree, she can draw, make things and is very smart but she is also very pessimistic and foolish in some ways. I am not that intelligent I am smart in other ways but I do try and put all my effort into things. Something inside so strong I know that I can make it. I wanted a First Class Degree but I got a 2:1 and that is still good! I am extremely happy and proud of myself even though I didn’t reach the First I tried and worked my hardest. I wanted a life social life and other experiences and sometimes things take sacrifice. My friend keep saying that it costs a lot of money and she doesn’t know if she can afford living out even if she goes to Scotland where university is free. She doesn’t know if she is entitled to this free education because she comes from the UK. But these things require research and right now she is just shooting them down and making excuses based on things she has no idea about. Education could very well be free for her too and she may never know or realise because she didn’t bother to look just because it might not be. I am tired of the excuses and call me an optimist, a fool or an unrealistic person living in la la land- I don’t care what you call me. I don’t care what you say because at least I have faith and I believe. Question is do you believe in you? I sure hope you do because it is very important. I have faith in people even those who are bad because you can turn your life around.

I want people to know that yes life is hard and sometimes thing don’t always go your way but you can achieve and do your best. All you can do is hope and if it doesn’t work out at least you tried. No regrets right? You tried so what’s to regret! Keep trying till you die. Don’t ever give up on life and I know it can be easy sometimes to just throw in the towel but its not worth it. There is so much out there you can achieve. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel- you just have to be strong and wait. There is sometimes even a helping hand. Trying is the key! 🙂 Everyone has a choice and it is never too late to start making those choices, paths, decisions. Believe in the strength and most importantly in you! I hope you achieve all the things you want!

So if you have failed at something or you got a bad mark or you were rejected in love, relationships/freidnships- then my advice to you is pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again! Have faith in you and your abilities and even if you feel like you don’t have any talents think about yourself and what you’re good at. Nothing is impossible because even the word impossible has possible in it!

Love the ever hopeful optimist (I have been told I live in la la land= oh well at least I like the bright side of life)

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Is that a writer’s block I see?? Comfort food here I come…

It is a difficult time personally as I have a dissertation to write in philosophy so we all know that is mind boggling. Normally when I have trouble writing an essay I know that last minute pressure will motivate me to write it and thoughts seem to flow. But this long essay is due in one month and one week and I have yet to submit a draft which I planned to have finished over a week ago.Things are not going my way and if I continue on this path I won’t even have a draft to submit except the final piece. That spells disaster! But it is also the case which my friend got herself into. Actually it is the case that many of my friends got themselves into and it is an easy hole to fall into. Not a pleasant one to get out off.

Somehow though I cannot seem to focus nor want to complete this dissertation. It requires so much work and working within a word limit has never been my strongest point. To top it off I am frustrated with the interpretations of others commenting on Nietzsche thoughts! For me I do not agree with what most say and I feel that they digress from the original point. Or maybe it is just not relevant to my question. But then my tutor picked them so it seems that maybe I am missing something. If only I had a magic wand that could do all the hard work for me! So I am here instead trying to divert my attentions and write something other than philosophy. Maybe I might even find some bright ideas to make me focus and overcome my writer’s block! Or maybe a source of inspiration will slap me in the face while I’m not looking. Well that’s what I am hoping for, but blinding walking into the future hoping something will hit me is not the best option. Plus it involves waiting and that’s not something I have patience for.

What started off as an extremely interesting topic has now become a confused muddle of words that don’t seem to link. I should take a day out, but then I really don’t have time! I feel like I am going crazy but I know I must complete this soon so that I can work on my other end of year essays and revise for exams and then come back to working on the dissertation. Everyone says I should relax, but I do in a way go out and relax. I can’t say I sleep very well though.  I have so much on my mind, being alone in the night with nothing but silence only makes you wonder and think about what you have to do. Oh and that dreaded race against time. Dangerous thinking indeed.

I can’t wait till all this is over but then there will always be new challenges that will face me. What can you do when you don’t know how to proceed?  When your attention is diverted by everything. Even the tiniest things can distract me. Pascal was right we divert our attentions because we cannot deal with the present. I agree we are always bored which is part of our human condition. Boredom is the condition in which the self feels imprisoned in a certain state which it cannot escape from.  This allows humans to fall into constant unhappiness due to the lack of fulfillment. Is this true? It certainly seems so, though I have argued with others who present contrary views  I cannot say that I believe we reach fulfillment. Why you ask? Because whenever we feel we reach a goal, we feel extremely satisfied, but once conquered we seek to conquer something else. We turn our attentions to something else because how can we focus it on something already fulfilled. Pascal points out that man cannot sit still and be solitary. Well off course that is understandable as we are gregarious creatures. No one likes to be completely alone- at least not for long periods of time. We would go insane! Pascal even says that we fear the truth and thus divert our attentions with our passions etc. such as gambling. Though in modern times we use other means such as films, virtual realities and playing games- anything to divert us from our current state i.e working. At least for me literally anything can distract me.

This is partly what my dissertation is about. Interesting right? I love Pascal and I love this topic but somehow I can’t seem to write about him. Maybe it is the word “Dissertation” or “long essay” that gets me, or maybe it is knowing that I have so much to do that I am “lost in the cosmos” and lost as in where to start. I have to keep trying. I used to wake up with a optimistic mental attitude, but these past few days my optimism has faded and I wake up dreading the day and looking forward to the night so that I can sleep away my worries. I fall asleep late and wake up late. Not a good start, but it is a pattern that has recently developed.

I’ll try and end this on a happy note, though I can’t speak for my mood. I’ll keep preserving and trying, I will not give up- I mean that I will not. I will do my best to overcome this mental block, as hard as it is I need to get this done soon. Time is running out and time is definitely not on my side.  But I hope everyone is having a much more productive and happier Easter! I am off to have a feast of good food! At least that will make me happy!