Back in America: Still Saying Good-bye.

Reverse culture shock. At last. The dreaded experience.

Some things are similar to the culture shock or small problems you experience going abroad. Your skin has to adjust. Once you finally stop itching in flaking in one country, you’re back to itching and flaking when you return. People look weird. Home country is boring as hell. And when did everyone’s lives seem so basic?

I’ve only been back about 2 and half weeks… I think. And I’m trying to figure out… did I change? Or did everyone else change? Because it seems everyone else is onto something that I’m not.

The hardest thing for me about being back in America has been being in my home town. I have one friend that cares at all to see me in this dreary place, and I seem to be the only one that cares to see them. Everyone is married. Everyone has babies. Nothing else to do here.

Just in this past week if I had a dollar for every time I heard “you’ll change your mind one day” about marriage and children I could afford a decent sized sandwich. That’s about enough times to make me want to smash my face in. Because that’s not the point I’m making when I’m baffled by all of this life surrounding me.

I’m wondering… how do I communicate with these people? Because for every person that tells you how wonderful being a parent is, there’s the same amount saying, yeah they love the kid, but it’s not what they wanted. When I’m listening to complaints on body changes, baby moms and dads, how they didn’t want to settle down, how they’re only together for the kids, etc, etc, etc, is it okay for me talk about my year abroad? Is it okay for me to talk about all the places I want to travel? Is it okay to be excited about my life? Because when I do, I just feel like a bitch…

Like, “Hey… your kid smells like they need a change. By the way, this one night in Japan, wish you coulda been there. Hope you can travel with me some day!” Even if it’s the best place of intention… that sounds pretty awful when I think about it. So what is my place in the life of these people? The ones that still want to mutually make time for each other anyway. The more I have to limit how much I talk about my own goals, the more depressed I feel and the more I start to feel like my life is shallow. When it’s absolutely not.

There are still a ton of things I have yet to face in my short time back in America… Mostly all things of dread. But I’m certain through this next year being in the states, it will more shape who I am to myself and the direction I want to go.

Something huge I had to learn in Japan was walking away. Walking away from what I thought were friendships, and walking away from love, and even walking away from myself sometimes. So I guess I have to accept that in America too.

That everyone’s lives are changing and that sometimes people walk away from you first. And all I can and should do is smile, be thankful I knew them, and wish them the best.

27

This is not a cry for help. Nor is it of any reason to be concerned. These are just, thoughts. Simple musings. Before you judge me, reflect on your own darkest thoughts we keep tucked away to yourself. Thanks.

I’m back in the town I spent the majority of my life in. A boring, quiet, small Michigan town where the the farm boys in high school think they’re Detroit gangsters and the only thing that really brings the locals together is marijuana. Or church. Or nude scandals from our one and only high school.

I’ve been thinking about the time I spent here today. Before my yard had a fence and a roof over the deck. When I’d dig a hole in the snow and lay there for hours to avoid going inside. When I didn’t have much of a voice and spent my weekends sneaking around watching my friends make risky decisions as I told myself, this is what teens do.

A light drizzle is going now, which is a huge relief to how surprisingly hot it’s been since I’ve been back to Michigan. (And people are doubting global warming still.) I think I’ve been reading too much, because I’m growing more and more restless each day.

I just finished reading Kurt Cobain’s Journal, and I’ve made a tiny start on Bukowski’s Tale of Ordinary Madness. My dad said to me I’m fascinated with weird people. But I told him it’s just because I’m not exactly all their in my head either.

Since coming back from Japan my family has commented on the fact that I’m a lot more forward. I already knew this. But for them I’m wondering how well they can all handle just how forward I am. I’ve spent the majority of my life almost mute to most. Talk enough to satisfy people’s questions. “How you been?” “How’s school.” But hardly would I share opinions. I don’t think a lot of people really knew me that well.

I was thinking about life today… and how it’s kind of just shit. I’m in this huge divide of life styles. One side of me there are families. Friends telling you that marriage and babies are the best thing to happen in their lives. (The ones that don’t feel trapped anyway.) Family telling me “You just haven’t found the one yet. You’ll change your mind.”

And then the other side that wants to live freely without commitments. No children. No spouse. Just enjoy whatever we can do for ourselves. I guess I’m on that side. There’s no reason to re-create. There’s plenty of humans as is. And the world just spirals down further into the garbage can that we ourselves turned Earth into.

After reading Kurt’s journal, aside from all the stuff on politics that I don’t really care about, I wondered, at what age would I feel fine with death? And I thought, you know, 27 isn’t that bad.

 I say all the time, “today is a good day to die.” People who don’t know me find this horrifying. But think about it, when a day is so grand that you can smile and think, yeah if I died right this second, I’d feel happy, it has to be one swell of day.

I think it doesn’t matter when I die. If it’s at 27 or if it’s at 45. As long as I lived.

Joker & Harley Kind of Thing~

Okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

Conversations with dad are always fun and thought provoking for me. He is as level headed as one can be. Things are the way they are, no more questions asked. Etc. Yet, he’s grown up with this weird ball of flesh that has never done anything simply.

Today I spent with babies. Terrifying things that I have written about previously. I asked my pops, “Hey… will you be upset if you don’t get a grandbaby from me?” (He’s heard me say several times I don’t want a kid of my own.) He swears to me that one day I will meet the right man and maybe change my mind. That since I haven’t met the right man, of course I wouldn’t want to have children.

What the fuck is the right man?

Maybe I’m just a sore loser, but I tried that one. And I worked for that. And I thought, well if I ever accidentally got pregnant, I could deal with it with this person. But I still didn’t want a kid. Just if it were to happen, then it would be manageable some how.

So I started thinking about the recent increase of Joker and Harley, “omggggg” memes spamming the internet lately since Suicide Squad gained popularity. You know… #relationshipgoals.

So everyone has to point out how fucked up Joker and Harley’s relationship is, because obviously none of us can see on our own that we probably don’t want a man to choke us (outside the bedroom if you’re into that).

Okay, look… these hopeless romantics are seeing a bigger picture here. Abusive crap aside, Joker and Harley are what the kids these days call “ride or die”. They, and I quote, “fuck with each other.” Which is supposed to mean something along the lines of, no matter what happens, they support one another.

He’s crazy, she’s not all there, and they accept the faults in one another. And they have some crazy passion stuff going on. They are probably pretty freaky behind closed doors. Or in public… I could see that from them.

And isn’t that what people are looking for? A person that can deal with their crazy? Because I don’t think it’s wrong for me to say that I’m a little bit out of reach for all of that stereotypical “get a man and have a family” jazz that everyone seems so hell bent on.

I don’t think it’s wrong for me to say that relationships die out 99% of the time and the rest of the time is just dealing with each other because you’ve put in so much time or a divorce is too costly, etc, etc.

Plus, as I’m typically “one of the boys”, I’ve learned a decent amount on how most seemingly successful relationships work… lies and secrets. “What she doesn’t know can’t hurt her.” “My emotions are with her, but physical and something else.”

It’s 100% realistic to say that you can absolutely love someone but still cheat. Do we want to accept that? Of course not. But it’s true none the less.

My family has always scolded me for living in a different world than the rest of people. But just as everything, my anxiety, my lack of desires for standard things, my feelings on this are simply my feelings.

And honestly, I would rather live a crazy honest life than one I’m supposed to force smiles and act like it’s the best thing I’ve experienced.

Somewhere Between Fiction and Reality.

It’s 3 a.m in the quiet, still California air. The sun won’t be rising for another couple of hours and I can’t go back to sleep.  This is my normal routine these days. Since coming back to America there hasn’t been a day I’ve slept past 3 a.m. Actually, sleeping in until 3 is a serious accomplishment.

Today I’m feeling particularly restless. My chest is tight as my heart pounds inside. The air doesn’t seem to be flowing to my lungs quite right and I can feel my face growing hot as tears threaten to start falling.

So I whip the blanket off my sweating skin. Despite sleeping right in front of the air con, and knowing that this is the coldest room in my sister’s house, I keep waking up damp with sweat. I need air.

Normally my sister would also be awake at this hour preparing her morning routine of coffee and a quick round of Sims. However she isn’t restless like I am, she is preparing for work. Something I haven’t really known for the past year. I sigh as I try to disregard the feelings of failure lurking up inside me.

I enter into the warm living room where the door seals off the cold air from the other part of the house. I walk to the huge window that overlooks the ocean from this side of the street. I guess I’ll go there and listen to the waves.

I grab a water from the cupboard and my copy of “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles” and head out the door. The air is cool but sticky, promising that as the sun rises it will bring an intense heat with it. I walk out of the yard and make my way across the street barefoot.

“California,” I think. “The only place worth being up so early.” There are no cars ont he street and no voices within range. I find my way to the long steps that lead down to the beach. At this hour the tunnel is perfectly blackened by the trees and bush that surround it. I can hardly see my feet below me as I walk down the steps tenderly.

About a quarter of the way down I begin to hear the waves crash violently against the shore and my chest finally loosens. This is my favourite sound. The ocean. With as much as it’s strength frightens me, it brings about a calm like nothing else in this world. I wonder sometimes if the ocean had been my true home once upon a time.

As I near the end of the tunnel, the slight light of this hour welcomes me. My feet finally reach the sand and my heart feels content. The salty sticky breeze caresses my face and I can smile slightly. I feel at ease here.

I walk softly down the shore avoiding the touch of the ocean’s waves. I ponder about what could be swimming here at this hour. What is awake around me? That’s when I notice him…

He sits atop a large rock formation. This rock looks perfectly shaped for creatures like us to climb atop. It’s almost as if a perfect trail was carved around to guide us to it’s peak. The wind ruffles his dark hair. I shuffle about shyly and brace myself to walk past another soul cautiously.

I’ve nearly passed by unnoticed when I hear a deep, but gentle, “Good morning.” I glance upwards to see him smile kindly from atop the rock. “G-Good morning.” I stumble and force a smile as I plan to return to my silent retreat.

“Care to join me? The sun should come up soon.” He invites me as his eyes turn back towards the violent morning waves. I inspect the rock silently gauging how I might climb up it as I mull over this stranger’s invitation. I’ve just spent a year taking risks and doing things I would never normally do. What harm could watching the sun rise with a stranger do?

I begin climbing the rock with out saying a word. I feel that my actions emit an obvious yes to his invitation. There is no reason for words. I reach the peak with no problems and sit at a comfortable distance away from this stranger.

“What brings you out here so early?” He questions, not taking his eyes off of the ocean.
“I suppose it’s jet lag.” I mumble. He doesn’t press any further. After a few minutes of silence pass I decide to return the question. “What about yourself?”

After a moment of hesitation, he responds, “Sometimes I just get restless. My mind doesn’t really quiet down so I spend all night awake keeping busy and then I come here to wait for the sun.” His head tilts slightly to the side as his eyes narrow in some form of concentration towards some far off thought at sea. I notice that he is tanned and his eyes are a deep brown. At least that’s how they appear in this faint morning light. It must be about 4 am now.

“You don’t really look like a girl from California.” He speaks suddenly and I notice he is looking at me too. I must have made a face because he continues, “You’re not all that tanned, and you have a different accent.” I note that he is at least slightly observant.

“Nah, I’m not. I’m from Michigan. I’m here visiting my sister.” I start to get a strange feeling inside that begs me to leave, so I stand and stretch. “I’m going to walk around a bit.” I state as I begin making my way back down to the sand. Before I can say ‘nice to meet you’ he is on his feet following me down the thin trail.

“I’ll tag along if it’s fine.” I’m not sure how to respond. He says it in a way that isn’t a question. I try to swallow the sick feeling in my stomach. There should be some people along the beach, there usually are, so I try to take comfort believing that it isn’t just us two alone this morning. But as I scan the sand, I’m realising, there isn’t anyone in sight.

I walk a bit briskly through the sand back to the area which I entered, but I’m afraid of letting this stranger follow me home, so I feel compelled to stay on the beach. We walk along in silence and I decide to climb some rocks near the ocean’s edge. Waves bombard the furthest rocks creating massive splashes of salt water over my skin.

“May I ask you something.” His voice becomes louder to overcome the roar of the ocean. “What are you doing here?” I’m a bit taken back by his sudden question. What am I doing here? I wonder that almost everywhere I go. I turn around to face him and am startled with how close he’s followed behind me. My surprise catches me so off guard that I stumble backwards over the sharp surface of the rocks and feel myself falling backwards. I’m not sure what impact to brace myself for. Sharp rocks, or the black sea. I close my eyes in preparation for what comes next. A firm grip wraps around my arm and tugs me forward.

I force my eyes slowly open as my body leans at an awkward angle. I glance behind me as waves beat against the rocks. I return my gaze to the tan hand that has saved me and look towards the stranger. “Careful. I don’t think you want to die out here.” He smiles, and I can feel my body go cold. But he pulls me up the rest of the way. “Not today anyway.” He adds as he grabs my hand and leads me back towards the safe soft sand.

“I’m Alex.” He says releasing my hand and running his through his shaggy hair. “Be careful with books like this by the way.” He continues as he picks up my novel from the sand. “Invites all kinds of crazy ideas into your head.” He brushes the sand off of the cover and hands it to me. “Murakami is quite the guy, huh? Writing about things that you think only you feel?” Alex pushes a strand of hair behind my ear before turning and wandering towards the tunnel I emerged from. “Later, Holly.” He gives a loose wave without looking back, leaving me clutching my book and wondering, ‘When did I tell him my name?”

***

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It’s 5 a.m. I’m watching the sky turn periwinkle. I just munched on a sushi roll I bought from 7/11 as I saw a friend off at the station. Nirvana Live at Reading is playing. I’ve slept maybe 10 minutes.

This is the life that I like the most. Chaotic. Uncertain. And not so typical. When I’m not sleeping, I know that I’ve entered a creative period. I know that I’m experience anxiety and depression and the way that I sometimes shut off my feelings unknowingly. I know at some point in the next month or two I will crack and go through an “episode”. But it’s a life I’ve accepted these past two years.

I just finished my student life at my Uni in Japan. I’ve entered the phase of no obligations. Time is 100% my own right now, unless I feel the obligation to entertain others against my own “I want to be alone” feelings.

I guess I’m in this reflective stage where I am supposed to digest all I’ve learned this past year. I feel like… This year was used strengthening what I already knew.

Nothing. Is. Permanent. Since my 6-7 year relationship ended a few years ago the person who needed a plan type that I was died. I believe she formed in order to feel a control on her life. For a life that was full of experiences that I disliked. A life that was always controlled by others. She emerged to take all that back. But I’ve learned that she was just as bad as the people I hated so much. Holding me back and causing unnecessary stress. I can’t control life. And honestly, it would be extremely boring if I could.

No one is right. And no one is wrong. The world needs to learn to accept this one. I could say so much. But really, it should be common sense.

The words “happiness” and “love” are words I believe emit no emotion for me. I felt this way when I was kid. I tried hard to accept them as a teen and until recently. For whatever reason, words like these don’t reach me. I prefer “you made me smile” and “you never treated me like an option/I feel your affection”.  Happiness and love are an unattainable constructed idea that have no reality. Meaningless words to give a definition to categorise the mass amount of feelings we have. I’m not emotionless, it’s not that I’m not capable of either one, it’s just… they are different to me. “happiness” and “love” are not things that I feel in my core. But it doesn’t mean that in the standard definition I haven’t felt these things.

Every. Single. Person. Is. Amazing.

I have no desire to be admired as far as a career/family/relationship are involved. I want to create things. I want to live freely. I want to meet and part ways as many times as possible. I want to feel everything. I want to experience the world. I want to be inspired and I want to inspire. I want to write and film and talk and draw until I cry from being so tired and drained. It’s all that makes me truly feel.

So the sky is turning more grey now. I feel there is no point in sleeping so I think I will clean and pack some things away. My life here is ending. I can’t feel anything about that yet.. other than grateful. I think even if I died today, I could accept that the life I lived was meaningful.

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Photos

Today I’ll write to a metaphorical “you.”

They blame my anxiety and etc for sometimes acting out compulsively. Maybe that’s why today when I looked at my wall of photos and saw you there, I just found myself ripping the photos down.

Photos are something I love. Capturing an image and a feeling as it happens to refer to later. But sometimes they are poisonous. Reminding us of the laughter and happiness that isn’t going to return again. We’re forced to see these photos and sigh in forced acceptance that, “it’s time to move on”, “don’t live in the past”.

And it’s undeniably true that the more you let go the more that you are allowing to come in. Each step I take farther from you, I find the most beautiful things entering my life. My experiences become happy and the people I meet seem pure. And I have accepted that you were only the first step of many that I needed to take on this path called life.

As much as I dislike making connections with others for this exact reason… People like you inspire me to write and to live and to feel. The one redeeming quality that you have is that you always make me feel like trying harder. Becoming stronger.

Even as today I throw away these memories of you, I only feel like getting stronger because of you.

I found myself packing my bags today. “Pack away everything that does not serve the rest of your time in Japan.” I found myself eager to run away from Tokyo. Eager again to run away from my problems. Maybe that’s all moving and traveling is for me.. forever running away.

There is one photo left on the wall. When I take it down I’ll pretend that it means it’s the last time I look fondly towards you. That somehow I can put you in the back storage of my mind where you belong. It’s funny how hate can sometimes be the most sincere of fond feelings.

So as I tear this photo down… and as I pack these bags. And when I find myself alone in an empty room back in the college town that will feel dull and lonely with out you there, I wonder when I will also throw away these words. And I wonder when I’ll be strong enough to move on confidently and look at others with out seeing you.

Ticking Time & Love Like Nirvana

Every day is a part of a countdown now. Every hour. Every meal. Every conversation.

It’s almost as if through each moment I can see the outline of a clock on the wall, tick, tick, ticking by. If my room is silent, I can hear those ticks taunting me. “Do something. Go somewhere. Be with someone.”

It’s funny how a year sounds like an eternity to some people. Having missed me during the holidays this year, I’m sure my family has felt my absence. But for me, I feel like I haven’t been gone nearly long enough. I feel as if I have finally put one foot forward into a world I honestly don’t know anything about, and suddenly… in about 26 days, I have to take steps right back to where I was. I’m not certain what will become of me there.
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This semester has been unlike the first. I’ve become a fly on the wall in Ikebukuro and also in my personal life. Somehow these days, I float in a state of melancholy as I observe these times. But at the same time it’s not sad at all. It’s a calm acceptance.

Meeting and parting ways, though still tugs at my chest like no other, has turned into both a dull feeling of… “this is how life is”, and the excitement of, “when will I see you again.”

This year I feel like I have learned an incredible amount, but at the same time it’s like I’ve learned nothing at all. With all I have gained inside of myself, it doesn’t really change a single thing. I am still this person I have always been. Feelings only become that dull acceptance. Does that make life easier? I haven’t decided, but to be truthful it’s just a different kind of disconcern.

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But life is great. Breathing. Touching another person. Laughing. Seeing all of these beautiful moments that I can’t stop taking pictures of. Some days it is like nirvana. There is no sense of content or discontent. Things just are. And those are the moments that I think; I am actually alive and I am actually experiencing whatever life is.

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But I’m a person that is afraid. In a world I believe there are no constants. I still struggle with friendships and the commitment people call love. Maybe I will always find it pointless inside of me, but the connections I have made the past year… The people I call friends. The ones I can smile at. The people I could hug and wonder, “how do you love someone?” It has changed my world and given me this huge feeling in my heart and opened the world to me. Even if it’s on my own, there is so much in front of me to see. Somehow on my own path.

So even though I don’t know what to do when this clock screams in alarm that my time here is over… I will keep walking forward into everything that I have no clue about. In life we can only say, “I tried.”

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