Travel & Selfishness

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
-Mark Twain

I haven’t been inspired much these days, but as it draws near for me to jump the country for a few a days I’ve been thinking a lot on what it means to travel.

I accomplished my childhood dream of seeing the sakura bloom here in Japan. The months leading up to that moment I was afraid that once I experienced this dream that literally saved my life over and over again, I would lose the hold on living. I thought, I will accomplish my dream this year, so I guess I should be happy with just that.
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But we humans are greedy little things, so I guess it’s natural that by completing one dream I simply want to chase more.

I’m always thinking of things like, what’s my purpose? Am I even passionate about anything? Why am I even alive when there’s nothing I want to contribute? But I think recently I’ve figured out what I want. Ironically, I just want to be selfish.

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All my life growing up I was called selfish. I was harassed and made to feel that I was a really bad person and that no matter what I did, in the end, I wasn’t going to amount to anything. These past couple of years my feelings are changing.

I decided I couldn’t help what those people thought of me. I had always thought I was trying so hard to be a good child and a good person. And even during my time here in Japan, I’ve thought I had been a good person and kind to the people around me, but still, you here the mean things people say about you when you’re not around.

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But, for those people. Past and present and future. They never knew me at all. When you know and understand someone, you can easily accept their flaws. This year I’ve met so many people from all over the world. A lot of them a younger me would have judged harshly based on their outward behaviour. But once you know someone, once you take the time to REALLY listen, and to absorb and understand, you realise that each and every one of us, we are so similar. Some of us handle this by hating and saying bad things. Some of us handle it by acting strong and unaffected.

I learned that it’s okay to be selfish. Because even though when it comes to myself, it’s true. I’m incredibly selfish. But for others, I like to think I’m always there to support them. I can be selfish in my own life. But it doesn’t mean I’m not selfless when it comes to the people I genuinely care for. Selfish is too broad of a word to have such a negative connotation.

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It’s difficult being at this age where you feel like you’re supposed to have it all figured out. What job will I have? Get married soon. Have kids before it’s too late. Etc. Etc. But that life doesn’t entice me at all. I used to think… I’ll work so hard and get this super important job and make so much money so I can have all the nice things and see the world and everyone will be proud of me and feel bad for all those things they said.

But now, that desire is gone. Honestly… it doesn’t matter. Did I make you proud? Are you jealous of me? Do you wish your life could have been like mine? All of those ambitions I grew up with were formed out of hate for myself and those around me. It’s funny how the answer had always been, let it go. Follow your heart.

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It’s okay to hurt sometimes. So ask why. And imagine some different life. But I don’t want to waste my life on what others think. The adults in my life always told me I needed to be more realistic. But to be frank, I think adults need to learn the chill the fuck out. Even if my house is small, I’m still living on pasta and salad, my only companions are my pets… as long as I can go out into the world and see life, I don’t care.

My family called me unrealistic, but authors and artists call people like me dreamers. And I would much rather have no possessions and travel the world than sit at an office day after day. I hope I’m lucky enough to have both an amazing job and the luxury to travel, but I guess what I’m trying to say is,

I hope the world somehow can see what’s important one day. It’s not hating the people around you for foolish reasons and disagreements. The world can be much too beautiful a place to fill it with such hatred.

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“When I See Your Face…”

It seems that I can only write about change. Whenever I’m moved to write something, it’s because my world is changing and I’m not sure what else to do. Change is something we can’t control. Change is the only thing you can count on. Change is every single day, but suddenly the time comes where even though you saw change coming, you didn’t feel it until this moment.

I have four months left in Japan. I’m wondering what my friends felt at this time.

My friend drew me a picture in a bar the other night. A timeline. He’s always telling me things like… “You’re right here. You have all of this time before you have to worry about the things you’re worried about.” Actually… every one has told me this. Ever since I can remember, these are always the words people that are able to become close to me tell me.

I guess I always worry because I know change is always occurring. And it’s something I really hate me. Maybe even more than lies.

The past couple of weeks I’ve looked at the world I’m in right now. I’m exactly where I want to be. However, the feeling isn’t the same. I accomplished my childhood dream for coming here. And every time I’m outside I think, every thing is so beautiful. I smile for that reason. My feet are standing right where I want them to be. But now I have to figure out where to put my heart.

I worried a lot the months leading up to now, “What happens after I complete my dream? What am I supposed to live for?” I cried a lot. And I was afraid a lot. I was worried… what if nothing makes me want to keep walking forward?

The day I looked into my dream and thought, I did it! I couldn’t help but cry slightly in this park. People looked at me funny… but all I felt even more was that… I want to be stronger. And it’s very bittersweet.

Growing up hardens feelings so much. I never thought I would feel in my heart a goal to be, “When I see your face, I hope I feel nothing.” I can’t shake this feeling that as we get older our hearts grow so cold. It’s not always because we want them to, it’s just because we feel if we can’t shield them, we can’t go on without pain.

Despite anything, I always wanted to be able to feel with my whole heart. No matter how much the past hurt me, or how much I fall down in the present, I always wanted to be able to say, I felt everything with my whole heart. I really did my best without becoming like them.

The past couple of years, people keep saying to me, “Be more selfish.” I think I have in some ways, but in the ways that everyone keeps saying… The only way would be to cut off these feelings. And even though everything keeps saying, “forget, forget” I don’t want to.

I don’t want to forget the smiling faces. I don’t want to forget the stupid things. I don’t want to forget the tears. And even if my heart says that it wants to feel nothing when I see a certain face, I want to remember how I felt.

I’m not sure how to move forward right now. But from being here, I figure that’s probably just what life is about. In Japan I’ve learned that I know absolutely nothing for certain.

All I can experience is what I feel. And right now… I’m not sorry at all. I’m not sorry about anything I’ve done. And I’m not sorry about how I feel.

全て、ありがとう. 好きだよ。

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A Homeless Life

Today I want to write about this photo taken from this blog:  x

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See… I read a lot about my friends travels, strangers travels, brief acquaintances. But no one ever hits on the feelings I feel personally. I feel bad in my own blog posts I send to my university for being so intimately honest with my feelings.

I just sent an e-mail to my family and friends who asked to keep up with me while I was away in Japan. Recently looking at my surroundings and realising I only have 4 months left in this place, I came to the certain conclusion that I can’t live out my whole life in America.

I’ve never felt like I’ve had a home. (Maybe it sounds dramatic). But recently I’ve thought… I’ll just make the world that home. It sounds romantic and beautiful and that traveling is this glorious life of adventure and mystery and freedom. But also deciding that this is the path I’ll probably take, it comes with a great sense of loneliness.

This year I HAVE missed deaths. I’ve missed my only chance to say goodbye to friends and family members. I HAVE missed births. I missed my best friends children growing up. I’ve missed my nephew growing up. I’ve had to rely on the internet to keep me in constant knowing of what is going on in the lives of those I left behind. I’ve had nightmares of family and friends telling me I’m selfish for leaving them. I’ve felt guilty in thinking about my future in that, maybe I won’t be close to what these people consider home.

There are so many feelings that I think I might burst some days. So many things that I feel I can never have the words to properly explain to these people to make them understand. I worry everyone sees this life as a vacation. That I’m doing something extraordinary. I’m really only trying to find a small place in this world like they are. There is nothing that sets me apart from them.

As I constantly find myself explaining to people from back home, this life, it’s so challenging. It’s hard. I’m alone. And I cry a lot. But when I type these words, there’s a strong piece of my mind and heart that says, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The hardship is what makes me feel like I’m gaining something even if so many days I tell myself, just give up.

Maybe this blogger doesn’t feel in all the ways that I do. But I think no matter what path you choose, you crave the opposite. If I chose to settle in one area, I’d feel I’m missing out on the world. If I got married and had kids, I’d miss the freedom of having no commitments. And in choosing this life, I lose the ability to believe in anything permanent. I lose certainty of having someone by my side. The certainty of knowing someone is always waiting for me. The changes in my family. The holidays. The smiles and laughs and tears.

And still I’m not sure what’s important. Living a life I know isn’t for me for the sake of those I love, or risk being called selfish for living in a way that maybe I can half ass stand a chance in.

But regardless; Every action has a consequence. Every gain has a loss. And it felt nice to see someone else write that down, that I felt moved to do the same.

I Was Just Drunk

People say things like, “A drunken mind speaks a sober heart.”

But how do they know it’s not just the opposite? Maybe a drunken mind speaks the cruelest of lies. How many “I love yous” have been said this way? How many promises came to be broken this way?

How many people wake up at 1 a.m remembering sad stories of things that have faded away.

A drunk person told me once, “My siblings died. You have no idea what I’ve been through in this life.” It turned out to be words carefully chosen to pull on my heart strings. To make me feel bad enough to drop my guard. To trust that this person was suffering in silent pain. It was just a lie to make me seem insignificant.

A few drunk people told me once, “I hate my mom.” But their moms had done everything for them. Warm dinner every night. Support like no other. They were there for the tears. They were there when fathers weren’t around. They stayed strong and abandon their dreams for their children. These people don’t really hate their moms. They loved their moms more than anything in the world.

What causes lies. Why do we feel such a need to tell them. Maybe it’s just to feel connected when we feel all alone.

A drunk person told me once, “Had only we met sooner.”  But these are drunken words said out of loneliness and the need for someone to hold. A lie told in pain and confusion. Promises of “friends forever” and “anytime you need me”.

A heart can be just as drunk as a mind can.

So anytime I’m honest with you, don’t worry, I was just drunk.

“Stay Hungry”

Blog, Twitter, Friends, Strangers.

How are you?

This place hasn’t been much of anything lately, huh? I came to Japan. I told you that much. I’ve neglected photos. I’ve forgotten to post videos. The place that helped me in many ways has been towards the back of my mind gathering dust. Mostly because I feel like I’m always saying the same things. But regardless, I miss this blanket.

Forgive me if this runs long. Let me show you my life again.
I want to start with a quote.

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These words are important to me right now. I still haven’t learned to let go. Since coming to Japan I have held on so much to things that just aren’t. Humans are flawed. I’m flawed. Absolutely nothing aside from the portraits the sun makes are perfect. If I want to put it dramatically, I feel that I have lost something very important. How to love a person. However, this loss may only be temporary, and for this time, it’s not something I miss.

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Because even if I become lonely, or sad, or feel broken sometimes and confused, I’m taking care of myself. I don’t have someone to hold me if I panic anymore. I don’t have a person to wipe my tears when I’m lost. I don’t have a person to confess my fears to. I realised this year that the people you think will always be in your life and have time for you, it’s not true. Time is constantly moving and your importance in a person’s priorities change. It’s the saddest feeling, but it just is. So all you can do is make yourself stronger. So I’ve been doing my best.

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The world is a lot bigger than I am. I don’t feel like I can as easily care about these small problems I have with people. I feel like if my biggest pain is feeling alone, I don’t have a real thing to complain about. A lot has happened while I’ve been in Japan. A family member passed away. A loved friend lost his life in a car accident. Paris was attacked. My home Uni’s town was gunned down.

The world is unfair and unforgiving. I don’t feel the need as much now to feel sorry for myself. I don’t feel the need to have this world baby me. I don’t see the point in hiding in fear of the world, anxiety, my problems. I’m going to die one day. And when the time comes, I hope no matter which way I go, be it in a parking lot to a gunman, old age, traveling some place random, I hope in my final moments I can smile because I tried my damn best.

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But even these words are false sometimes. Because of course I cry. Of course sometimes I’m weak. For sure I’m afraid of so many things. The biggest one right now, the next few months.

Spring Break is now for me. I traveled to Hokkaido. I said goodbye to my closest friends studying with me. I’m alone again. But this time I’m welcoming it with a sense of relief. I’ve been trying to study harder. I’ve been trying to think of myself. I’ve been really trying to not lean on others, though maybe the past couple days I failed.

I’m remembering that this time I have here in Japan is precious to me and how much I don’t want it to end. I want to be grateful for every single second I spend here. Because this time is too short.

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The plum blossoms came to Japan and soon the sakura will take over. Have I written about it before? That my one dream I held until now was to see the sakura bloom in Japan? To look into a forest of petals in this country. This became my dream when my parents separated. It pushed me through every trial of my life. Divorce, home problems, depression, anxiety, and the so many awful things I have ever done or thought to do to myself. Yeah, as I grew up I wanted to experience culture, people, food, etc. But the sakura are my credit to existing.

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I was really afraid when I came here. What do I live for after I accomplish this dream? But now… having lived these six months and learned all of these things, I know I’ll be okay. Even though I have no idea what’s after Japan. I have no idea what I want after graduation. I have no idea what I want for my life. I have no clear dreams and no passionate goals.

But a friend here told me their goal was to always “stay hungry”. Always for something. And all that I know for certain is that until my day comes, I want to say that I was hungry for life. Even if I was lost, I smiled and walked on confidently believing that things will work out somehow. To know that I tried hard and reached in every direction until I found things to become happy.

For me, I can’t believe anything is absolutely certain. I’m always changing and always growing and always wanting new things. So I don’t know where I’m going. But I know I’m interested to find out.

Until next time.

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Photoshoots~

It’s been a long time since I took photos just for the fun of posting them here! I used to do it all the time right?^^;

Recently I’ve felt like doing it again.

I bought this leopard leotard in October to use for Halloween but actually ended up being really sick that day. I felt like I wanted to put it to use so I decided to do some photos with it.

Actually, here in Japan I was able to join a freelance agency, but since I’m a full time student I can never be available for the jobs I’ve actually been picked for. It really sucks, but I guess at least I can still have fun on my own time?

Leotard and Circle Necklace : H&M
Collar: Spinns (Japan)

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Reflections.

Six months. Approximately 182 days. The past two years I’ve learned that’s about how long it takes to realise you love someone. Or maybe, six months, approximately 182 days, is simply the the standard of relationships. The standard amount of time you get to spend with the people who will end up meaning the most to you.

I always ask people, how can you just accept good-bye so easily? The past couple of years the typical answer is just, “I’m used to it.”

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I’m almost six months into my study abroad experience. Six months. Six long, incredibly short, roller coaster ride, tear filled, laughter filled, things I don’t remember filled months. So people are leaving. Almost exactly one year ago one of the most amazing people was preparing to leave and I remember thinking, can I handle this every six months? Can I say good-bye to people every six months? This is the life you choose when you want to experience people from around the world. Always having to part ways. Is it something I could handle?

Six months after this person left, the last of my friends studying in the States departed as well. And now here I am. I can’t imagine having only chosen to stay for six months. To me, it just always felt like these people would experience Japan with me during my entire stay. I’m always one foot in the future and one foot in the past, so living in the present is a daily struggle for me. But these past six months I have been able to look at those around me and think, “enjoy today with them”.

The awkward “let’s sit silently next to each other” moments from the beginning. The first time we were able to have serious meaningful conversations. The nights at the river. The scoldings at the dorm. The nights that suddenly became mornings. And even the secrets that we wish we could have kept secrets. The tears we cried together. The hands we held. The friends we were able to become having known virtually nothing of each other.

I’m supposed to be excited that in a few months I’ll meet new people from all over the world and grow to know them just as I have these people surrounding me. I’m sure in six more months I’ll have these same feelings about many of the people I’ll come to meet, but for now, my heart is with the people around me.

The people who stood by my side when Japan was brand new and I was nervous. The people who consistently invited me out to Shibuya, Roppongi, to experience the various Japanese culture events, and just spend quality time with.

The people who rang my bell the night of my birthday with Japan’s infamous strawberry cake. The people who answered their doors for me on the nights I couldn’t sleep. Who held me when my friend passed away. Who wiped my tears even when I would never say what’s wrong.

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I can’t imagine Japan with out any of them.

I haven’t felt like I had grown at all until recently. Being able to reflect on these people I’ve spent the majority of my time with I think I’ve probably learned a lot about myself and more on accepting others. We’re all so incredibly different, but so similar as well in certain ways. Our worries, our goals. We all just want to do our best in the end. To be able to smile and say that despite anything, we did alright. We made it through.

At first I thought selfishly of my own feelings. “Why do I meet such amazing people and always they must leave me?” Recently after crying with a friend at the station I realised… we all feel it. Those of us remaining feel left. Those who are leaving feel the same. We are all sad and all wondering about the future and reflecting about these past six months. It’s not my time to cry out selfishly yet. It’s my time to support more amazing people I have met on this journey I’m supposed to call living.

Study abroad… I’ve had a few moments I’ve wanted to run away from it just as I ran away to it. “I can’t face this life anymore.” Always my mind goes there. Being in Japan I’ve had to confront the darkest of my days and see through them. I’ve had to conquer panic attacks and wipe my tears on my own. After today starts a huge hurdle for me that I was one plane ticket away from running from, but if I’m starting to realise anything, it’s to try my best to tackle my problems head on. No matter where you run, you can’t escape yourself. I learned that the first month being here, but it’s beginning to sink in now.

For this time… the last remainder of these incredible, amazing, sad, agonising, beautiful six months, I want to try and take as much as it in as possible. 20151127_234840.jpg