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

Becoming Holly.

Recently I made it through another battle of anxiety/depression. Not long ago I got a notification that it was my blogs 3rd birthday. So, three years. Three years since I started this journey of fully trying to deal with my anxiety and depression. Three years since you all have come to know me through my words.

Recently I’m feeling passionate about the things I love. Blogging, filming, photography. I wanted to utilise that tonight and give you all a piece of me that I haven’t offered much often these days.

You’ve been getting the tidbits. “I’m here in Japan.” “Life is good.” “Still suffering.” Etc. But I haven’t really talked with you.

After this last battle I had to work my way through I have awoken a little. When I first started this blog, I was about to hit the lowest place of my life emotionally. When everything caught up and I genuinely believed with my whole heart that I wasn’t going to carry on anymore. Having survived through that I thought, “I never want to feel this way again.” And through every struggle I had, I was still able to keep from that dark nightmare. Until the past couple of weeks.

Even though I was here in Japan, the place I have dreamed of coming since I was a little kid, these thoughts found me here. And I was terrified. But somehow again, I’m still here. I want you to know what I learned.

I’m becoming Holly. Whoever she is. Whoever she will be.

Last year I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I knew who I was and what I’d be and how I’d be that person. Since moving to Japan, that confidence in myself and my thoughts was shattered quickly as new knowledge and life experiences flooded my senses.

It’s naive to think you can fully know who you are. Because constantly we are changing. Every day shapes us piece by piece and there is no constant you.

Coming to Japan has given me the means to try things I never thought I would try. I’ve clubbed all night. I’ve hung out with strangers at the bar. I’ve traveled alone. I’ve somehow communicated needs in another language I still can’t speak. I’ve wandered the streets of Shibuya all night all alone on Halloween. I’ve done things that I won’t ever share on a public blog.

For the first time I can look back on myself, re-live the moments that people would tell me are “stupid” or “dangerous” and I think… “I have no regrets.” Maybe there are one or two things I should feel bad about. I don’t. And that’s okay. Maybe some things a lot of people would say I shouldn’t have done. That’s okay.

I beat myself up still from time to time basing my actions around the way I want people to perceive me. As a good person. I used to think that in order to be a good person I had to follow a strong sense of limitations. But I’m realising that’s not true.

Last year I was able to meet a person who’s actions I often questioned. His moral code and the way he treated some were bewilderment to me. And yet, always this person will be one of the most amazing friends that I ever had the pleasure of knowing once. They showed me that the ways in which a person choose to live their own life aren’t a direct reflection on them as a person.

This year, I’m starting to accept that for myself. In all I think I’m a pretty shit person as far as being complicated goes. I don’t have a direction. I don’t have an ultimate passion I’ve found that I’m willing to risk everything for. I act out in questionable ways. I can be irrational when it comes to my feelings. And I’m a really sarcastic bitch most of the time because that’s my sense of humour. But still… I have the confidence now to really be able to say and believe that the people who really know me, and really accept me as a person, believe that I am good.

I want people to believe that. But I’m realising that I don’t need to compromise my actions because of my fear to not be accepted.

Constantly I’m growing here in Japan. And there’s still so much that I know I need to work harder on. There’s so much I want to gain. I’m almost at the half way point and there’s so much I want. I have so much fear and anxiety for the nearing months. But I want to face them head on. I want to learn more about becoming Holly.

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A Year In Review.

久しぶり。。。
Long time no see… I’ve been pretty bad at updating blog life since I arrived in Japan, but actually it might be a good thing. I am constantly facing new challenges here, and to be honest, I think through a lot of that, it’s good to process alone.

But as the end of the year is already here, I figured I might as well update about my life… So get ready for a long year of reflections… P.s.. Thanks for all of you new people. It’s crazy to me how many of you possibly read this.

So… I began 2015 with literally the most amazing people I will probably ever meet. My mom always says that people come into your life for a reason, and no matter how distant these people may become, they will forever be a truly life changing force in my life. They continuously show me that it’s okay to be myself, it’s okay to want it all, and that even though I can’t exactly feel it yet, I do deserve better than how I treat myself. It’s rare for me to feel so strongly towards people, especially in such a short time that we spent together, but I would take a bullet for them, no questions asked. I’m feeling glum I won’t see them all this New Year, but I cherish every second I’ve been able to spend with them.

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Time moves on, as do people, and so quickly this comfort of close bonds had to be broken. Some friends moved on to new and exciting life adventures and for many months I was depressed and feeling lost again. For me, the lack of permanence in life is a hard fact to face, and again, I had lost people that mean everything to me. And yet, so many good things continued to happen. I had good marks in school, I was accepted to study in Japan at my first choice university, and I was still growing as a person. Maybe I can’t change my gloomy personality, but I learned how to stand up for myself, present myself, and how to at least begin taking new risks. After all… I had to prepare for a life changing adventure to Japan, right?

So after facing a hard trial that I can’t discuss since it involves another’s personal life, I landed here in Japan.

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I still don’t believe anything can really prepare you for studying abroad. Out of all the things that you’ll waste your time worrying about, I recommend you be most afraid of yourself. That will be the highlight of your anxieties. Who am I? What am I doing? What’s next? These questions will plague you. And everyday you learn more and more about yourself, sometimes there’s no time to grasp it until it all hits at once.

So how have I been here? I feel it’s too soon to really reflect too much on it since I still have several months left to go. However, I have learned a bit.

The beginning was fresh and new and just the change of pace I needed. New sites, new voices, a new language, new faces. I was in a place I had dreamed of being since I was 5. Had I proved to myself dreams come true? It felt that way.

I had expectations to regain the bonds I had made with several friends back in the States who live in Japan, but when this didn’t happen, I became very, very lonely. I acted out in ways that are still affecting me to this time, but importantly I am every day learning from it. How to notice my own patterns. How to observe the way I let others treat me. Things like that. And ultimately,  I think I’ll take a very big lesson from this.

But I have met some truly amazing people in this dorm life of mine. Crazy… but amazing people.

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I’m struggling a little recently because soon it will be time for most of them to return to their home countries. I’m faced with my same dilemma of having to let go and accept time.  These people help me cut loose every once and awhile and show me that even though people come from all over the world with different backgrounds and customs,  we are all very much alike. I only hope that I have showed them the same amount of support and fun that they have given to me during this short time of us being together.

The New Year is about to start… We are always supposed to have goals. Honestly I feel my first semester here in Japan was spent adjusting to the world around me and to myself. I regret not challenging myself more, so that’s what I want in 2016.

I want to try harder with my Japanese. I feel I haven’t improved at all, and I can only blame myself there. In order to do this I plan to study harder, put more effort into hanging out with the amazing Japanese students I have met, and joining a club. I’m terrified of joining a club. I have no confidence in myself with either my Japanese or performing anything in front of others… but that’s why I should join. To gain those things in myself.

I want to become even more accepting. I haven’t really figured out if there’s a line between accepting or if I’m just repressing… But overall I feel like in some of the stupid situations I’ve put myself in here in Japan, I don’t look at them as mistakes, I feel I’m genuinely learning. And even if I’m letting others treat me poorly, I still know that I’m a good person and that unfortunately for them, they’ll face their own consequences over time for the way they treat others. So I think, that’s a little more of me still knowing my worth, even if I don’t give my most valuable time to people who deserve it yet.

I’m madly in love with Japan. Every day is a struggle here, and it sucks, and I hate it, and I long for the simple times I had with the people I love from last year, but I would not change a single thing about this life right now. Because I’m growing. And that to me is the only thing you can do in life. I’m living. And the person I was a few years ago never thought I would see that day. So I’m grateful. I want to appreciate every hardship that I put myself through. I want to become a strong person. And I want to always love other people, even if they can’t love me.

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These charms started a very huge turning point in my life. Lessons of letting go and lessons of moving forward. I have a lot to learn about both. I think I’ll never stop learning about both. I think that both will always hurt in so many painful ways. But I want to embrace everything. Through that pain, if I can manage to smile at the end, I think that’s what life might be about.

So… I’ll try my best to embrace this New Year. Even bringing it in, it’s not the way I want it to be. But I want to make memories with new people and experience more that I haven’t experienced, so the changing me says… Don’t dwell on these things.

Until next year. <3

You’re Not Special To Me.

I wonder, when it comes to things like “love” and relationships, if people have always been so cold. Is it something my generation has learned from our parents? Is it our ability to use social media to point out every little problem? Or are we really just so void of this feeling?

Growing up, friends would say things like, “Parents shouldn’t get divorced. They should stay together for the kids. They should work it out for their children.” But then these same kids grow up and realise that our parents are people, and we too learn how complicated relationships can be.

I wonder a lot if my generation is full of people like me. Someone whose never seen a good happy relationship. On one hand you have your family. You witnessed the sour behaviour of your parents. You’ve seen the dark side of getting remarried. Then on the other hand you have your friends. Your friends who always want to be in love, but all these relationships have secrets and lies. So what’s the point in that?

So my generation does this really weird thing. We care. But just enough. Or we don’t care at all. We’re really good at using each other. Because you have people like me who want to chase away everyone’s problems. And you have the people I gravitate most to. The people who need someone to hear them, but don’t want to hear you in return. With these two sides, we can come together so easily and balance each other out. Both hurting in our own unique ways.

We crave for someone to love us despite our fucked up minds and broken hearts, but God forbid someone actually do that. Because once someone cares too much, it’s time to cut ties. We really like the idea of a forever. But we know that really there isn’t such a thing.

Maybe we have this fantasy complex. That there could be a person who would never lie or cheat. But I also think we have no idea what we want. You can’t be too nice and you can’t be too mean. But sometimes you should be too mean. Other times you should be too nice. There’s no pleasing us. Even if you think you’re pleasing someone, they’re complaining about you to someone else.

So we meet one another. Something clicks. I listen to your problems. I tell you enough to think you know me well, even though we haven’t touched the surface. We live our lives separately. You call when you need a friend. Well, we call each other friends… But truthfully we never were. And after some time, we part ways and slowly drift and become painful memories of another goodbye. Another nothing.

Someone said to me, “if we’re still alone when we’re 40, let’s just settle with each other.” And actually… I’ve heard others with this plan.

Because all we want is someone who will hold us at night and keep us warm from the cold places in our hearts.

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“You are American. I am Japanese.”

“Love” and “Friendship” are two of my favourite things to write about because I have no understanding of either of them. Do they have a purpose? Do we need them? Why do we crave them? All the questions are endless in my mind when it comes to these two topics. But since being in Japan I’ve felt I’ve learned a little about friendship.

After last year, the year I will always refer to as the year that changed my life, I didn’t believe there was a point to meeting new people. Those that I considered to be the most close to me are completely unique and unreplaceable. I remember thinking a lot after my best friend left that having becoming friends with this person had been such a waste of my time. We get so close to people and they eventually just leave. I still think it’s true. But, in all honesty, they haven’t left me.

No… I can’t text them every day with random antics and joke about in the same manner or spend the same kind of time. All of that has faded away with their new life. But in my times where I need to hear truthful words, I can always rely on them. And they know they can always rely on me. This person will always be in my heart. They changed my life in some of the best ways. And I will never forget them.

This showed me that despite the fact that we all have to separate eventually, the people who are of true value in your life will always be there for you. Maybe it can’t be every day. Maybe sometimes it will feel like they’ve forgotten you. But really, they are still the ones that are looking out for you the most.

Making friends in Japan scared the hell out of me. I’m not talkative. I’m kind of weird. And let’s not get into emotional baggage. I’m still not 100% on accepting myself, so how will total strangers who only have to put up with me for a few months see me as a friend?

Sometimes finding out who is genuine in Japan can be difficult because our cultures are so different. I had a fall out with a friend recently and thought, “well, I guess it’s just because our cultures are too different.” Yesterday when the same topic came up with another friend I thought… well… I just can’t have a true Japanese girl friend here. But this friend listened openly and accepted my feelings as we discussed them both in my shitty Japanese and in English. To me she said many things.

“You are American. I am Japanese. But nationality doesn’t matter so much I think. I want you to be happy because you are really good friend to me.”

So this struck me… Despite the cultural differences and the language barrier… despite the struggle of fully being able to understand one another, her and I made it work because she is a friend of true value. No matter what the problem or difficulty, a true friend will understand you at the end and support you. It made me realise that the friend I lost couldn’t have been a great friend. And I really appreciate this experience.

I get caught up on a lot of little things as I always do. But the things I’m learning make every struggle I face here seem so small. It’s been about 2 and half months now in Japan. I know there are so many hurdles still to come. I know I’m going to cry and be hurt. But I know more that what I take from this whole experience… that’s what I’ll cherish the most.