Dungeon.

A dungeon.
Typically seen as  four solid concrete walls.
Chains and a cold floor.
A tiny barred window with no sun.
A bolted shut door.

But what if this dungeon is your mind?
The past haunting every inch, refusing to be left behind.

The world that you see is sunny and full of life.
But behind these eyes is a blackness so bright.

A blackness that sucks the sun into eternal depths.
Rose petals can never be kept.

And the cloudy skies somehow never rain.
And your heart can never feel the same.

The voices of encouragement…
They turn into sneers.

The feeling of hope transforms into hot spilling tears.

And as they slide right down your messy face.
You lay on the floor; such a disgrace.

Everyone is pointing fingers; look at her now.
“I knew you would fail”

I can hear that sound.

But somewhere in this blackness is the sun I swallowed up inside.
Some sort of redemption, I hope to find.

Trust your gut.

So I’ve moved across the country and it turns out it was harder than moving to the other side of the world. I say it’s because I know my heart doesn’t belong in Nevada. It’s been a hard week. The temperature is beyond me so I can’t step outside without feeling like a vampire turning to dust. My memory card smashed so I can’t focus on photography or filming. Job hunting is a pain, especially with a half committed heart. And a long distance relationship is just as disgusting as they say. (He’s worth it.)

But I’m leveling out.

The first week, every day I almost booked a flight back to Michigan. Even in moments the past couple of days I want to run back into the security of what is familiar. I can’t understand the struggle I’m going through because it was so easy to go to Japan. When I got off the plane at Las Vegas I wanted to turn right back around. The lights and people and gambling and beer… culture shock in my own country. I spent the past week telling myself that I couldn’t do this. Applying to jobs that I know I’m over qualified for in order to play it safe, and then becoming crushed because I know inside they won’t benefit me.

But, through all the crying and doubt I’m starting to want to realise my potential. To apply to jobs that will test me and push me. All while saving up for the jobs abroad that I truly wish to take. Even though being alone in Japan also frightens me, I’m remembering that a huge chunk of my heart is still there, and the feeling that I haven’t spent the accurate amount of time there has returned.

No matter how unraveled my world seems to be right now, there is something in the pit of my stomach telling me that I am in the place I need to be right now. So as much as I wish I was somewhere else, it’s the reason I stay. And I hope I can keep pushing harder and come out stronger.

There are people rooting for me. Some wish to see me stay held back in Michigan, but others see what I often forget. That we are capable of anything. I hope I can focus on that and start creating more positive thoughts to go to the places I want to go and see the people that I want to see.

From the flight.

It’s been almost a year since the last time I’ve flown. I can never get over the way time passes. The last time I flew away from Michigan I was headed to California for a week’s break before I crossed the Pacific into Japan. I was full of excitement.

This flight I’m headed to Las Vegas. Is it vacation or a life change? The first step so to say in the start of my life after college. I’m full of fear and uncertainties. We left during the sun set and are thus far flying with it. With the time change and all, the sun set should be with us a good portion of this flight. About an hour or so before I land. I love sunsets above many things, but the thought of a sunset that is never ending unnerves me.

In the moment I wrote that I realised that I have a strong feeling towards things that don’t last very long. Sunsets, the full moon, and the sakura bloom. Maybe that is why my heart becomes so restless. Beauty can fade so quickly like the fire in the sky during a sunset. A place can grow dull and lifeless. A relationship can become routine and boring.

And yet… change also terrifies me. So I’ve been facing that dilemma. For the past week I’ve felt a lot of pressure to stay in Michigan. I’m easily set off into stressing about things so naturally as I function the past few days have been spent dealing with massive anxiety attacks and very doubtful thoughts. I even envisioned myself in a 90 mph head on collision the other day. I have a scary mind.

Michigan, rather my college town in this case, offers a sense of security. A simple day to day plan. One where I would work my days away and mostly spend the evenings with a really cute guy I now call my boyfriend. He would be the reason I stayed behind. The only reason. Aside from the fear of change. But I remembered how horrible it felt to return to my college town last year. How my first week there was spent in suicidal thoughts and self hatred. I’m dramatic.

So I’ve been given this opportunity to leave. And I’m flying towards it now. The West has always offered a different feeling for me, but I’ve never had to feel while in Vegas. I’ve never truly looked around this city. I have no idea if it can give me the sense of calming I need for the time being. I’m unsure of myself in my relationship.

I know that I shouldn’t choose to stay behind because I have done that before. I made someone my life. And I lost myself completely and I think it played a large role in the outcome. Surely the phrase “if it’s meant to be it will all work out” holds some truth. All of us are different. Every relationship is different, and for me to give this one a chance, I should really stop comparing it to the one before.

The past day I’ve realised that I can’t be good anyone unless I’m good to myself. I had to remind myself of that when I went to Japan. Surely if I can move across the ocean and create the best year of my life with some of the biggest hurdles, I can manage a new time zone a few states away.

For the past week I’ve felt so crazy and out of my mind. I’ve never missed my college town so much. I never thought I’d say that. But the people I have in my life right now are amazing. The endless support from my friends and those that love me is what has pulled me through this week. Keeping me in check and reminding me that thus far, whatever I’ve set my mind to has been something that has been a positive overall impact on my life.

In my heart I know that I’m flying in the right direction. At least for now. And though I’m terrified and I want to throw up and cry and just hide under the covers with this cat that I know, I’m interested to see what this next week holds. Will I decide to stay, fly off somewhere new, or return to something more familiar?

Little Chicago & Virtual Reality

I’ve been asked a lot the past month, “So what are you doing in Las Vegas?”

I give a half honest shrug off of an answer like, “Oh ya know, saving money, spending some time with family I haven’t seen in a bit.” That’s the answer people want, isn’t it? Something noncommittal they don’t really have to think about. Though if I had to give an honest answer; just work on finding myself more. Dive into my natural abilities and learn what I could do with them.

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Some new faces invited me along to Chicago with them this past weekend to attend the Pride parade. Though that was supposed to be the highlight of the trip, I found the most pleasure in sitting on a rooftop, taking photos, laughing, and imagining that our lives could some how be this simple.

I enjoyed looking at the city in a light that I hadn’t before. Typically when I think of going to Chicago, I’m a little annoyed. A dirty city and a high population of people with snappy mouths. But my perspective has changed somehow this year. In that, I want to find beauty in all of things and keep my expectations and judgements to a minimal.

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Vegas isn’t a place that I had ever thought I’d spend time in aside from a short visit to party or spend time with family. So, when I was first offered the opportunity to stay for awhile, I was pretty disgusted by the idea. But now, I’m looking forward to finding the small things that make Vegas, Vegas. Not the parties, or strippers, or drunken street walkers; though they are a part of it; I want to see the things that no one pays attention to. I actually find myself longing for that bit of exploration.

I’ve developed into a mind set of extreme curiosity. Be it tragedy, misfortune, or small happinesses, I think my life thus far has been full of very extreme experiences. And it’s led me to want to pack as much feeling into our short lives as possible. I find myself wanting to experience all sorts of lives. I’ve learned that no matter where I move, or what I find myself doing, I’m always this inside person. So these things can only shape me.

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I want to devote the next year to my arts. Writing, painting, photography. Things that I’m very nervous about despite how open I come off as. I’ve recently been struggling with how much of myself to share. Im a person of words and of expression so whenever a feeling overwhelms me, or something big happens, my first thought is to write it down, take a photo, “get it out of my system”.

But I also want some things for myself. At least for now. As much I as I want to scream about some of the things I’m experiencing right now, I want to learn how to hold these feelings in a secret special place in my heart.

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I look at the numbers on my different medias. The amount of people that follow my blog, or follow my videos. The few that actually engage with me. The people in real life that occasionally approach me because of words I’ve used that have moved them… and I get a little pressured. That I can’t live up to this person that I’m finding people think I am.

When I started blogging it was just to cope with my anxiety. That somehow I could help others going through the same thing. When I started making videos, it was just an outlet after a break up. And with photography… I guess it’s just allowed me to express without words what I’m feeling inside, although I always try to attach words to these images. I never once thought that people would engage me for these things. And though the number is small in comparison to my friends that I have that do the same thing; it’s still intense to me.

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So for the next year, I hope I can be patient with both myself and all of you that support my virtual identity. Despite my natural nervousness, for the past several years this outlet has helped me grow and reflect so much, and the fact that others support that, and relate to that, it’s beyond me.

The next month may be a rocky roller coaster, but I am genuinely looking forward to the next chapter. Stay golden.

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100 mph

Sometimes I feel like my heart is racing at a hundred miles per hour. That somehow I’m so out of shape that I don’t even have the stamina to keep up with my own mind anymore. But I guess that’s just what having a mind like mine is like. I know some of you understand that feeling.

I’m a person that can’t understand good things. I can look at this world around me and feel how beautiful it is, and see how great people can be, and all these little things that make life such a wonder, and yet, I can’t believe in good for me.

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I’m supposed to blame that on mental illness, the chemicals that my head lacks and the psychological damages resulting from my childhood traumas. I’m coached into believing that I can’t help it, and it’s not my fault. But I have a lot of days where it doesn’t make sense to “blame” anything or anyone. It’s a thing that simply is, but if I work hard enough I can change it. That somehow I can rewire my brain and learn how to trust others and myself.

Because when I’m experiencing something good, I become really scared. Terrified, actually. Sometimes there isn’t even any thought behind it. My body just enters flight mode and I shake, and want to throw up, and tears start forcing their way down my face, and I can’t breathe, and I just want the world to end; at least just for me.

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But when it comes to trust I realise how fake everyone is about it. I don’t believe that trust is even something that should have a word anymore. You don’t feel trust or the lack there of… you just decide it. You just convince yourself that your negative assumptions are wrong. That’s all that trust is. But if I can’t do that one simple thing, I wonder if I can have any relationships that are truly meaningful. Or am I just like everyone else and constantly lie to myself and others?

My head spins on these things that don’t even have purpose. When I’m feeling happy I constantly seek out all of the reasons not to be. The ways in which the people I’m close to are going to let me down. How my presence at this moment is simply that; a presence. The same way that I don’t need anyone, no one needs me. It’s comforting and excruciatingly painful at the same time.

I live in a mess of grey and sometimes miss the days when things seemed so black and white. I keep telling myself that the day to day is what matters most. The moment. And that these moments right now are so precious and the most meaningful that I’ve had in some time, but inside, it really hurts to know that things like this aren’t lasting. And that I’ll either destroy something beautiful as I always do, or I’ll convince myself into believing a lie and become shattered in the end. How many times can a person recover from that type of thing?

So my head and my heart are at war again.

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Travel Bugs

I sat the other day and re-read through all of the posts I sent in to my school’s study abroad blogging page. I reconnected with my thoughts from last year, and observed how much things have changed, what I’ve learned, and how I grew during that time abroad. And especially how every.single.day I long for that same feeling.

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It’s the middle of summer and the start of a big change. As I’m sure it’s been noted, I’ve had a year of not much motivation and so much self doubt. I try not to regret my time spent, but I’ve reflected on the past year of being back in America and strive not to stay this way. Something I gained while abroad, and somehow lost when I returned was my confidence. From what I wear, how I speak, the things I do. Since returning to America, I’ve been second guessing myself and missing many opportunities thinking that I can’t have it all.

So I’d like to return to living boldly. However, this time, in a less selfish manner as I had done abroad. I’ve tried to focus on the best things out of the past two years and figure out how to take those things into my next chapter.

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So I’m moving in just a few weeks. I’ve found something that feels special to me, so it’s becoming harder to leave, but I am so excited, and deeply grateful for the path that has been provided to me right now. I have a chance to focus purely on my financial gains with out the stress of renting a place. Which is HUGE when you think about how much money goes towards such a simple thing.

I’ve been given a chance to focus on my dreams and figure out what to do with them. And right now that means seeing so much and helping others. The world is so bright and beautiful outside of the hatreds that people hold. So many amazing people exist in this world. So many rich cultures and stunning views… I want to seek those things out. And I’m hoping that I can keep the people I hold special beside me during this venture too.

Doubt from ourselves and the people in our lives and from society are always lingering around in the air and can be so incredibly suffocating most days… But I want to keep my head above those rocky waters and float on towards feelings much more beautiful.

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How Time Works

It’s interesting that this time last year I was preparing my mind for moving back to Michigan from Japan, and now I’m preparing my mind to move from the Midwest to the West coast.

It’s been a roller coaster of a year. So much self doubt. So much shift in my relationships. How I express myself to each group in my life individually. The ways in which I view my family, friends, and even complete strangers. It’s been very emotional, with somehow no emotion at all.

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Though I now see change as something incredibly amazing, I still have a hard time facing it. The photos on these four walls I will soon take down. The faces I won’t see every day. The scenery. And a person I met that has become special to me. The uncertainty of leaving these things here… I suppose that leaves a great sense of loss.

I’m still figuring out how to find balance in seeking something permanent while also allowing myself to drift as my heart desires to. I wonder if it’s impossible and if it’s just selfish of me to want it all. It’s interesting to think about that… My family often say to one another how I am a person who doesn’t know what I want, when in actuality; I want everything.

I am in a very great in-between of my life. I’m over qualified for a lot. Yet lack experience for everything else. Professionally that is. And how do I tell employers that I don’t even want a profession? Are there people out there that can accept, “I have this degree, but I just want to work in a place that shares my passions and allows me time to see the world?” Having obtained a degree, it’s actually something I wouldn’t even recommend for people that think like I do.

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Our passions are always changing. And being forced to pick one thing to do for the rest of my life… that sounds like Hell. At least for this time. Maybe as more time passes, I’ll be more grateful for what I chose now and it will help me for what I may want in the future. I definitely couldn’t have had the opportunities and learned the things I have learned with out choosing to walk down this path first. So, in the end of my selfish feelings, I do feel truly grateful for the time that sometimes feels wasted.

AHHHH. Really no matter what you choose in life, you’re always going to wonder with passing time, what if I chose the other path? So I guess I should keep practicing being grateful for where I am and where I have come from.

So… I’ll see you in more passing of time. Matane.

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