“Job Title: Happy”

My friends in Japan often tease me a bit because I enjoy watching a Japanese TV program titled, Terrace House. I’m still not so great at defending my likes when people tease me for them yet, so usually I just say I watch the show so I have more opportunity to listen to Japanese. But truthfully, I find it pretty inspiring.

One of my favourite things about Japanese culture is the “do your best” attitude. Of course everything in moderation, but in a general sense, it was so easy for me to become inspired during my time in Japan because everyone around me was constantly doing their best. Sometimes here in the states I become effected by everyone else… we tend to only do the minimum to succeed, or feel things don’t matter so much. So I find myself becoming depressed more often and every day is hard to find reason to keep motivated.

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Since graduating it seems people feel more of a need to comment on what I do with my life. How much money I should make, where I should live, etc. I’ve lost recently the sense that I know what’s best for me. I keep thinking I’ve found the path I want most, but then something makes me doubtful. I want to believe in myself more like I had a couple years ago.

As I watch Terrace House, I started to relate to a member, Arman. He and I have a similar outlook on life, but I felt that it must simply be because we are American. I thought maybe this was a fault in us; our carefree, go with the flow type of attitude.

However, in an episode I just finished, he was greatly complimented by someone older. That he should never change, and that his career aspirations shouldn’t change him or define him. It should remain his attitude that is his sole life purpose.

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Being the same age as Arman, I guess it also meant something. I’m not sure why we do it, but we put such a strict timeline on ourselves. I should have a house by this age, married by this age, children by this age, a proper career by now, etc. But I’ve never felt it mattered so much… Accomplishments can be made at any age, and just by reaching a certain age, accomplishments shouldn’t stop. When I was younger, I had felt at 25 I would have done all of the things listed above, but now that I am 25, all of those things are the least important to me.

It’s hard to find people that truly understand that feeling, or at least accept it. I’m noticing patterns in myself as far as my negative behaviour can be, and how much of an impact that can have on my depression and anxiety. I know that with my brain being this way, things can be more difficult, but I am trying to become even stronger than the person that I was when I was also doing my best.

I’m not sure the best way to pursue the things I’m aiming for, or how to deal with the doubtful feelings surrounding them, but I’m hoping that I can work on it and become more of the person I long to be. I hope that somehow I can return to the Holly that didn’t care about the negative opinions of others.

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Anxiety is…

Having anxiety to me is like constantly viewing my life through a broken mirror.

There’s all those posts of “stop glamourizing mental illness” smeared across the internet. Lots of times I’ve wanted to make a comment about that, but to put it in a very simple way; yeah, if you don’t have a mental illness you don’t really have a place to say something like: “I felt so sad and this boy made me better.” However, as someone who finds healing in art, sometimes looking at all of these broken pieces of me allows me to cope with the brain I’ve developed.

Through the jagged pieces of this broken mirror I am able to view so many different perspectives. I am allowed to see parts of myself that maybe I never would have noticed. Along with parts of others. I have a different way of looking at the world and life than a lot of others, and on my best days, I cherish very much these broken reflections that I see through.

But often it seems there are more bad days than good. And looking at yourself in broken glass makes you feel just as shattered.

Every jagged edge reflects a flaw in me. Pieces of me I wish I could crush up the rest of the way like sand and blow them away. I create the illusion that everyone can see me just as broken as I see myself and that in the eyes of everyone else, I am as worthless as a broken mirror would seem to be.

In my eyes everything can seem clear as day. But pull the mirror up and the world around me only reflects faults as well. How people treat one another. All the things that are dying. Every unnecessary part of society that makes us slaves to a routine life. How I hold myself back. How I let my past effect my present, and the terror of how that might effect my future.

I can’t focus on a single piece and my eyes dart around frantically to each ragged shape trying desperately to find a part that makes sense. Something that appears clear enough to hold onto and to find comfort in.

On those bad days it’s almost as if I can become so angry and defeated that I shatter the glass myself more and more only creating more chaos and more pain inside of myself.

But no one else sees this broken mirror except for me. So how can I explain it?

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Frankly, it’s none of your business.

As far as my open medias go, there has been a part of my current life that I try not to be too public about. As I wrote about once before, sometimes I have had moments where I feel extremely overwhelmed being a person that shares all parts of me on the internet. However, certain events have made me feel like writing about this, at least for those that know me to see. Which this is a first… I never write with the intention of the people I see in real life. So, how do I keep enough personal while also getting my point across… this is new to me.

I am currently experiencing a new relationship. An actual one, like, we say boyfriend and girlfriend and shit. He asked me himself to be all official; do guys still do that? It’s really gross, but also equally, if not more, enjoyable.

Though I constantly want to brag about him, post my little stalker photos, or super awesome supportive words he sends to me via snapchat, I decided that at least for the time being, I want to enjoy these little things just for myself. I feel lucky for what I’m experiencing right now, and frankly, it’s no one else’s business.

However, not everyone can see it this way. And one thing I’m honestly sick and tired of, not only in terms of relationships, but in general, is how girls are always pitted against one another. I have no hard feelings.

Something that everyone hopefully matures enough to understand is that each and every one of us has a past. All of us have hurt others somehow. Made silly or big mistakes. Said things we shouldn’t. Slept with people we maybe think we could have skipped over. Etc. But for some reason, some people can’t accept this, and want to force this into a relationship that isn’t theres.

I’m not sure how to word this as a general statement, so I’ll just state it purely from my experience in direction to those that continue to confront me. The one’s who find themselves most concerned in this area of my life, don’t know me on the level to warrant a care. Constantly trying to stir drama between myself and other girls of the past, or girls that are friends, etc, it’s more showing of who you are as a person than anything else.

In relationships everyone has insecurities. It’s not an easy thing to trust an individual with your feelings, and when others try to burst in with their own doubts and mischief…How do I turn this around as a learning experience…

I guess my own personal experience aside, the bottom line is, people will try to lessen what you have. I have experienced a lot of that the past year, and I listened to it. People who claimed to have supported me when I went abroad suddenly made me feel bad for having gone by acting as if I was privileged. Graduating university was met with ignorance and then words of I’m not doing enough now. And now my personal relationships for some reason are under evaluation as well.

I think it’s important to notice your own success and the things that you are aiming for. I couldn’t see that for some reason before when I returned from Japan. I worked very hard to go to Japan, and I did it on my own. I made my own way through university. And I’m making my own way now. Though support from others is always warming, it’s not needed to kick ass and be the person you want to be.

So focus on yourselves. I say in both a positive and aggressive way. Focus on accomplishing your own goals and your own happiness, and shut the fuck up when it comes to the lives of other people.

Artists

He looked at me, held my face in his warm, steady hands and whispered something beautiful. Words that lined up delicately to produce a meaning that I can’t exactly understand, but I can feel some place in the depths of my boarded up heart. A place so deep and guarded that the intrusion of these words make my insides twist and turn in complete pain as if the whole contents of my body will spill out of my mouth.

I struggle to swallow the warmth that my body wishes so much to disengage. “Words are nothing but words.” My brain chimes in at an attempt to calm our vessel. Brain is right. Words are a pathetic form at an attempt to convey the feelings that none of us can comprehend. So if these are just words, why are they evoking this kind of response?

Why do my eyes well up with warm salty liquid when I think of his kindness? Why does my fragile heart seem to swell bigger and bigger when he embraces me against his warm, sturdy chest? Or why do the beats skip up when I hear gentle words? Why do my insides struggle to stay inside? And why does my whole body cower both from fear and from pain when I think of how undeserving I am?

How do you explain that you are a person that enjoys being naked in the woods?

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A person that puts on act every day to “fit in” to what is considered normal around her… How do you explain that? The art of being a cliche… it’s what I’ve become. A poet, a writer, a painter, a photographer, a dreamer, an artist.

As I entered in the final moments of my 8hr travel adventure earlier in the week a man said to me, “I think you are childish.” I receive this criticism often, and light heartedly. My brain tries the best it can to understand logic and what society considers to be responsibility, but it can’t wrap it’s coils around it. It can’t fathom the thought that all I was born for was to make money for the sole purpose of paying debts. What it does understand however is beauty. The feelings a work of art can evoke. The tenderness of human compassion. Those things, this brain has no problem with.

I have been raised to believe that this is a fault. Not just within family, but within the world. The potential that others see in me is used as a weapon in hopes that through criticism and by making me question my worth, that somehow I will “buckle down” and live up to this potential. But can a being thrive forever in a play pretend?

So I am here again. In the depths of my thoughts on life and love and what it means to be happy and fulfilled. “You are the personification of art.” Words. Somehow full of feeling still… I want to find my own mixture of colours to paint my life.

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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?