Til the evening.

I’m sitting on my bathroom floor, with a cinnamon candle, while the bath fills with scorching hot water, and Honne plays on Spotify. 20 years and I’m still finding myself in this same exact position.

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Maybe because it’s snowing. Maybe because I’ve been reading a lot. Maybe because I graduate in a few weeks. Most likely because I keep very lonely company. But I’ve been thinking a lot about life, as always, but more than usual. You know how the phases go.

My boss asked me yesterday, “What are your goals in life?” I really hate that question a lot. I don’t know how to answer it. It always just feels like a reason for people to add in their own judgement. But she didn’t do that. I could have made up a lot words that a boss would like to hear. How motivated I am. I much I want to improve in my current affairs. I’m really good at telling people what I think they want to hear. But I was honest. “I don’t really know. I want to travel. Meet cool people.”

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I always say my feelings lately are totally normal. Going through the “oh fuck, what do I do after graduation” phase of life. But it’s not really a phase I’m realising. Every single day, we are always asking ourselves, “what the fuck am I doing?” No matter how selfless I am. No matter how selfish I am. Honestly, the quality of my feelings haven’t changed at all. Being selfish of course brings many more opportunities. But being selfless brought a small sense of belonging. Can there be both? Is something I wonder a lot lately. But to want both… that in itself is purely selfish.

When I first came back to this place I remember that I felt I could go anywhere in the world with fresh feelings. Lately however, I feel like somehow every place is tainted. For now, in the simplest, I am stuck between America and Japan. Where do I go after I graduate? (This is rhetorical.) Both places, hold shadows that I still feel like running from. But Japan is the closest thing to ever feel like whatever a home should be. Do I go there and face my problem head on? Yet. Either way. The problem remains the same. Loneliness I suppose it is. Just a stupid human emotion, doesn’t mean anything, but I feel like writing about it.

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Japan’s loneliness is both a blessing and curse. I like how I can feel alone in the busy streets of Tokyo. That somehow in this sea of bodies, I’m the only one that exists. My own world. Yet, between my own walls and the one’s around those that occupy Japan, there is little space to feel value. America’s loneliness is a little more heartache. I’m surrounded by familiar faces. People that I use the word “love” for. And still, it’s just a mass of broken promises and “do this for me”.

I think a lot about why people are lonely and what makes us that way. Mostly in the ways of cheating. Maybe because I’ve been cheated on. Maybe because I’ve been the cheated with. (oops). But it’s a huge mystery to me. And everyone has their own reasons, but it all boils down to the same thing, a feeling of loneliness. Maybe your partner can’t understand you. Sex isn’t good. Etc, etc. Some part of these people is simply trying to fill a void someplace in their heart that feels lonely or unloved. Even when the people closest to us are supposed to fill all of those holes.

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They don’t though do they? With out even realising it, the one’s we are closest to, make us feel so incredibly empty. As do we to them. So the past two years I’ve noticed I live my life in months. Countdowns until my connections with whoever I’m close to stretches apart, more, and more until it finally snaps and is lost. In a world that I used to crave permanence in, I find myself begging for only temporary motions.

A few months in this place. A set time at this job. A year with new friends. A friendly, “is this a relationship or are we just friends” kind of fling. I haven’t decided if this is the best way to live my life or not. I know most of me is simply afraid of letting anyone make me as comfortable as I once was. Stagnant in life. Miserable. But comfortable. But another part of me genuinely feels that this is how I’m supposed to be.

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Too many words for Facebook.

I consider myself a bit of a bad seed. Though, the more I interact with others, I guess I’m not very different from almost everyone.

I guess in order to be the way I perceive myself, or to back up the way I feel about people in general, I often find myself in situations that are heartbreaking, and yet, I learn the most and live brighter because of them.

For this reason, I can’t say I see myself doing things like, being in love with someone or having a family.

However, about a year and a half ago I was able to witness the birth of my nephew. Back then I was even more closed off than I am today, but hearing this child’s first cry, being the first to hold him, I understood what actual love for another person is.

Though I can’t see him often, he always seems to remember me. His warm smile with those adorable dimples. When I see him I feel like I want to make him happy. I want to do well so I can give him more than I have ever given myself.

This little human that brings me so much love and smiles. There’s no way I can put into words what he means to me.

2 a.m returns.

It’s 2 a.m. My eyes are heavy, the air is cold, and I’m playing my “at ease” playlist on Spotify. The cars that pass by are dwindling down, and the rowdy college boys have settled down, leaving a quiet calm in the air.

2 a.m to 3 a.m, as I always say, is the inbetween. My favourite place. During a party it is exactly during this time that people are either deciding to go to bed, or reaching the peak of their party spirit. During a typical night/early morning, this is the time strange things happen. Like bumping into a peculiar stranger while walking your dog, or finding an article of words that strikes your heart in a way you’ve been needing lately. My magic hour.

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I’m entering that phase of restlessness again. Wondering about what my purpose is. How I influence others. What should I do for myself. Etc. As it’s seemed the past year or two, I can’t feel like I have any true complaints, but as always, there is just this emptiness that I feel I was born with. Medically, I guess it’s just anxiety/depression. The fun double whammy I live by. Or I’m a perfectionist that just can’t be pleased. Or my childhood was lacking. Maybe I’m bored. Or lazy. I guess it all depends on who you talk to, what I am. But simply, it’s just my feeling.

I feel like I’m in the 2 a.m/3 a.m cycle of my life. Like I only have one hour to choose something that is supposed to be life changing. I graduate in December, and suddenly, I just have to pick a random next step. Always I felt, I’ll go to Japan. That’s the only place I could do something. But suddenly, for the first time ever, I have a flicker of possibility that even here, I could do something. I started an unexpected job that is offering me much more than I imagined.

Also, recently in a class we discuss so much about what family means. Somehow, these past couple of years I’ve created so many families. Those who helped me find myself again. The one who taught me to stand up for myself and make no excuses. The ones scattered all over the world. The ones who now make waking up and going to work sound fun. I always had this image that family was supposed to stay constant. But I guess back in those days, I never felt connections with people at all.

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I wonder often about that too these days… Which one is better; to be closed off and support myself, or to allow these feelings for others that ultimately just cause me a lot of pain and inconvenience? Most days I’m wishing I could shut myself away again, but to be honest, pain from caring so much… I feel that it’s the only way to feel some sort of purpose. And I can’t deny that since I’ve allowed these types of interactions, I have been given so much opportunity, regardless if I followed through with anything. In myself, I’ve grown to feel something. Now I just want to learn how to project that sort of thing.

There’s a lot that I’m questioning lately. So much I want to talk about and lose tears over. But I also want to live silently, smile for the sake of others, and just.. exist. Does it make sense…

I’ll try somehow to enjoy this inbetween… Even though with each passing tick of the clock I feel myself growing more and more torn apart inside, I know that no matter what happens next, somehow it can be an adventure.

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Something Between Fiction and Reality pt. 2

Suddenly, here I am. Back in this little city that my friends abroad call, “hipster”. I guess it is. It has a charm that I didn’t fully appreciate until I left. The kids smoke pot and drink on the weekend as the semester reaches it’s middle… midterms.

I can’t stop thinking about the past. My time across the world. The city lights. The rainy season. The noodles. The anxiety. The loneliness. And how much I want all of it back again. And I still wonder about Alex.

Since that day at the beach… I saw him once; as I was leaving my flight back to Michigan. Somehow, life really can be strange that way. I was waiting patiently as the line flowed out of the plane after landing, I happened to glance up the row. There in the first class area stood Alex. Pulling what must have been the last of his luggage from the cabinet and taking his place behind the steady flow of bodies.

With a new sense of eagerness to leave my seat, I tried to grab my own things, but the crowd of people wouldn’t budge just for me. When I finally emerged from the steal bird I was surrounded by even more unfamiliar faces. I moved as quickly as I could without alerting security as I made way for luggage claim. Surely he’d be there. But as I stepped off the escalator I was met by my family. A year had gone by since the last time we met in person, so my chances of finding Alex were quickly vanished. As I gave hugs and vaguely described the flight, my eyes scanned desperately across the tile floor.

Though months have gone by, I’m still living in the past. Tonight a roommate and I decided to drink away our sorrows as college kids do. Will there be a time I feel too old for this? I slip on an outfit of all black. Tights, high waisted shorts, long sleeved blouse, boots. I wrap my hair into the side pony I’ve been wearing lately. It makes me remember who I was in Japan. Even in America, I want to be strong.

My little blonde roommate, Kora, is wearing an adorable dress as always. No matter where we go or what we do, it’s always a dress and cardigan for her. She smiles at me cutely with a hint of mischief in her eyes so I return with a coy smile of my own. It’s strange to think that we hardly saw or spoke over the past year, but we are so much alike these days.

I grab my keys and give Kora a nod, implying that it’s time to set out. Our city is a hot spot for bars. Downtown, our end of town, side streets; everywhere there are bars. Lately we’ve been making weekly trips to one in particular.

As we walk in, the bar is packed. We squeeze our way to the front of the counter; “Two gin and tonics, please.” We plan to take it easy tonight. We push our way through drunken students; fighting their way to place an order; to the back of the bar and take our seats. Both of us are sullen. The weeks are busy. The weekends show no relief. All we have is each other and alcohol. Suddenly across the bar at the pool table I notice a familiar face; Alex? I choke on the sip I’d just taken. “Kora, that’s the guy!” Kora looks up, interested. “The one with that girl?” She says disgustingly. I return my gaze across the room and see a long haired, pale skinned, blonde has wrapped her arms around him as he gives her a quick smile and kiss. I feel my heart sinking.

It’s not like I knew anything about him. It’s not as if we had sparked some kind of romantic interest in Cali. It was simply that… he intrigued me. It had been so long since another human being genuinely intrigued me. Since I had returned to the states all I had been met with was shallow conversations. “Do you have a boyfriend.” “I want to get to know you.” But no one really wants to know me. They just want to know what I’m like in bed. I take a long drink and stifle a sigh. More friends approach our table. I turn to whisper to Kora, “Let’s just avoid him and get drunk. I want to dance.” Kora knows I don’t want to talk about this strange situation, and raises her glass in a toast.

The next hour we drank. Probably mostly I drank. But suddenly, I’m feeling pretty good. I grab Kora by the hand as the boys declare they are moving the party downstairs. With each descending step the music grows louder and my mind becomes blank. I smile and hug Kora. All we need in life are our friends, I think to myself. Our group sticks together tightly in the mass of moving bodies. We help the boys pick out cute girls and laugh wildly at nothing. But when nature calls, does it call. I slip away to use the restroom.

As I reach the top floor and my eyes struggle to adjust to the changing light and I bump into a firm, yet soft something. I glance up. “Holy shit! Holly! What’s up?” A drunk Alex puts his hand on my shoulder. Gross. “Look… I need you to help me. I gotta get out of this place for a second.” His hand moves towards my elbow and before I know it he’s pulling me out the door.

“It’s so busy in there!” He stumbles slightly. “Let’s walk!” He grabs my hand and pulls me down the side walk. I could easily pull away. And I know I should go back inside with Kora.. But I find myself following him. We head off into the darker parts of the streets as he mutters on about needing to piss and how crazy it was to bump into me, until abruptly he stops and his face is only inches from mine.

His eyes are brown like coffee, almost black in this pale street lit corner of the world. For a moment, he looks sad, and I feel sad, and then his lips are on mine. Why am I kissing this stranger? His hands wrap around my waist and pull me tighter to him. I feel warmth touch the skin on my stomach so I instinctively pull away.

“Why are you so cute?” He looks at me with a troubled gaze. “You’ve been causing me so many problems since I met you.” I gawk at him as fire begins to over throw my shock.

“Excuse me?” I hiss, but then his lips are on mine again as my back hits a brick wall. My mind reels. Alright, sketchy situation, girl. You’re in some dim lit side street with some boy you hardly know. His mouth is on yours. He’s a fucking great kisser. Okay. But you don’t know him. But wow, he’s a really amazing kisser. No. You’re drunk. Oh my god. He’s drunk.

I push him away again. “You’re ruining everything.” He sighs, pushing his hair back the same way he had before when we parted ways at the beach, but this time his eyes were bleak with what appeared to be pain. He’s beautiful still. And my heart is beating in a way that it hasn’t in a long time. Although I feel insulted, I can’t help but want to hug him and ask what’s wrong. Who the fuck is this guy?

I hear a soft vibration as he reaches into his pocket to retrieve a glowing cell phone. He looks at the screen and gives a face of dissatisfaction. “I’m sorry, Holly.” He kisses my forehead and walks quickly back in the direction of the bar.

Somehow, my heart aches. I stare after him, dumbfounded. This person… why are they in my life suddenly? Why there.. and why here? Why am I thinking about this stranger constantly? And why the fuck is he suddenly kissing me in a random street alley? And how the fuck am I ruining everything?

The bar is the last place I want to be anymore. I grab my phone from it’s pocket and scroll through the mass amounts of texts and missed calls. “Where are you”s from friends. Are they even friends? Kora is the only one I message to assure my safety.

In this stupid, depressing reality that I’m stuck in day to day, this dark haired stranger is the only thing that makes me feel any type of magic. And this really, whole heartedly, distresses me. I return home in silence, lock my bedroom door, and let drunk depression punch me to sleep.

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Inbetween the chaos.

I’m in that phase again of not knowing how to say what I’m feeling. Because I don’t really know what I’m feeling. Well.. I know… but I’m also feeling the exact opposite of that. Do you understand?

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October has come, and during Autumn it’s usually my most intimate time. The weather is getting colder, time is slowing down, and people are becoming lonely. For many years now, October has become a month of strange times for me. I hate October, but at the same time, October always offers me valuable lessons.

My life as it is now feels I’m doing things that I would rather be doing the opposite of. I’m inside often studying. I study so much, and yet I feel I’m not learning a thing. I sit inside facing the window watching the leaves blow in the wind. They are changing colours now. And I just want to lay out there in the sun with my camera, in a sweater. With a friend.

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Conversations are becoming empty again. How do we separate between those we can talk to and those we can simply be around? How do you decide who to trust? These things I’m not sure of still. Probably it’s just part of me that won’t change. But I know that recently I just want real conversations. I want to talk about how fucked up we are in our minds. I want to look at stars and wonder why we’re here in this moment. I want to ask someone random questions.

They say that time heals all. I’m not certain that it’s true. I think there is always a little bit of damage that cannot be undone, but I do think that as time moves on, somehow, we figure out how to be a little more strong. We find ourselves thinking that maybe we can take risks again. Maybe I’m feeling that way recently.

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“Japan has changed you.” People say that. I talk more loudly. I laugh more often. And maybe this is good. But I can’t say it’s really who I am. Japan taught me very well how to present myself in a way that my society finds more acceptable. When honestly, I just want to sit alone and observe the world as I used to.

This fast paced semester of people with fake smiling faces can be so tiring. When inside everyone is just pretending for the sake of the company of others. But we don’t really need all of that. Because in between all of this chaos, I think we should be happy with ourselves. And I still want to continue forward on my own two feet.

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All we do is talk, talk, talk.

A hard thing about adjusting back to the states is trying to figure out the person you are. Am I the person people remember me as? Am I who I was in Japan? Am I the things I did abroad…oh shit.. why did I do a few of those things?

Something I’ve noticed about myself lately is simply, talking. Before I went to Japan I hardly talked much unless I was spoken to. But in Japan, in order to make connections I pushed really hard to talk more. And I was lucky because with all of the diversity in Japan, we didn’t have meaningless conversations. We would talk about the world, ourselves, dreams, and of course sarcastic, usually sexual, inappropriate banter. But I hardly ever remember saying many bad things or judging someone for the sake of conversations.

But being back in America I just want to talk to everyone, but the conversations aren’t the same.

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Back here, I think in part, also being surrounded by women, (I’m sorry to throw gender on it, but typically yes, females talk catty), most conversations only seem of any interest if people are gossiping about others.

I always think… Well just joking around is fine, because on the inside I do really feel that people can live how they want. Sometimes I think it’s fine to talk and give an opinion. You can’t help if you just dislike someone, even if it’s for no reason.

But just in general, I guess it mainly bothers me if someone talks bad about my friends. And I do have a friend or two in particular that get most of the harmful words. And I always feel so hurt. Maybe because I see a lot of similarities of those people inside of  myself. Maybe I take it offensively because I feel that if these people are saying such bad things about the people I care so much for, that must be how they feel about me too.

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Also because I’m defensive for them. Because when you feel like you know someone’s true self, you hate when they are judged for what they portray on the outside.

Have you stayed up all night and talked one on one with the person you talk so much shit about? Have you heard about how they grew up? Have you listened to their fears? Heard their dreams? Shared the first time your hearts were broken? Asked random questions? Etc.

There’s only so much we can see on the surface of everything. Often times people see me, walking on, randomly sitting on the ground. From a distance I think a lot of people think, “what the fuck.” But come a little closer, I’m just saving a bug from people’s careless feet.

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I try to look at everyone that way until I know them more. It’s easy to look at anyone and think, “what the fuck.” But it’s not as easy to take the time to hear their story. I want to try to remember more of that side of me. Even if I can’t talk easily to people here in America, I don’t want to talk aimlessly.

I want to remember the conversations with the person I hated. Staying up all night while everyone went to sleep to swap stories and share secrets. Sharing hardships. And becoming to understand one another without ever having to say a word.

If ever I dislike someone, I hope one day we can have 2 a.m conversations.

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Take me back to Tokyo.

I woke up recently with a panic attack. So I started going through the normal steps to calm down. Put on a funny show. Drink some water. Walk around a little and take deep breathes. Keep saying it’s okay to every bad thought that appears. When your chest stops hurting, think about why this could be happening.

So I don’t want to become an adult, but there are two things I’m certain of, I probably want a tattoo, and I need to be back in Japan.

I’m overwhelmed with emotions the past few months as reintegrating is. I’m flooded with feelings of my friendships here, my family, the things that I love about Michigan, and even certain things with the attitude in the states. But, though America is supposed to be the land of the free, and Japanese society has so many limits, I feel free in Japan.

Maybe it’s a place where everyone judges you, but it’s a place where I judge no one. Maybe it’s a place full of people, but it’s a place where I feel like I’m in my own world. Because I have anxiety, people often ask me how I was able to handle a place like Tokyo. And I simply don’t know. Put me in the same crowd here and certainly I’d probably struggle. And of course in the busy city I have days where I need to run away and just be with nature.

But there is something like magic there for me. Where I am capable of everything. I am on my own. My secrets are my secrets. I have no shame in honesty. And I feel that everything in this world is in my reach.

It’s something like heartbreak being back. I left a huge piece of myself across the sea. It seems parts of my heart are everywhere, but Japan certainly has the biggest piece.