It’s not that I hate America.

One of the things we are warned about, but I’ve just recently fully processed, is that some people will get a sense of, “oh, now you think you’re better than me.” when you talk about your time abroad. I remember going home for Christmas when my dad said to me; “You need to watch what you say around the family. The way you talked about Americans during Thanksgiving made people feel like you were talking down about them.”

This beyond frustrated me. One, because most of my life I have avoided conversations with family because of judgements, but mostly because it offended me that they would ever think of me that way. I simply felt at that time that I couldn’t talk to people who hadn’t been abroad about going abroad if they couldn’t see past themselves. Friends that would say, “wow. You’re so lucky. I wish I could do that.” As if I didn’t work my ass off to do what I did. Or like I got to do the impossible, when anyone, with effort, can go anywhere in the world they choose.

I struggled for a long time how to convey my feeling to my friends and family in hopes that they could understand me more.

It’s not that I hate America. Of course a million things annoy me. And compared to the things I love about Japan, the things here are shit to me. But of course there are things that I adore about America that Japan lacks. However, all of the politics, accessories and people aside, it all comes down to how being abroad makes me feel.

Imagine doing something, going somewhere, whatever, and you were able to feel your own potential. No matter on the darkest days when you think…”I wish I was dead.”, something inside still tells you, “No, there is more.” You start to realise all of the negative things you ever felt or thought were simply just that. Thoughts and feelings, and that you can actually work hard and try to manipulate those things into bettering yourself. Most importantly, you establish a sense of self. Who you are and what you want and the feeling of loving yourself for the first time.

Now suddenly you are ripped away from that. You are thrust backwards into what you left behind. Some things happy of course, but you aren’t who you were when you left, and now you can’t be who you were while you were gone. You are trapped inside of this box of expectations from both yourself and the people around you. And most days you don’t know what’s next, what’s best, or who you are even supposed to be. You feel back at square one.

Only recently has the war inside my head calmed down from this feeling.

I could finally say, it’s not that I hate this place, but I know the person that I can be. These surroundings I know in my heart do not allow the Holly I know I can be to flourish.

And some people think that is selfish. They only see it one sided that way. But I’m seeing that for me, in my way, it is the least selfish way I can be. To be the best person, so I can support those in my life with good advice and love. Even if I can’t be 100% what people want, I think that being the best for myself I can express what they need.

As I’ve said before, I love best from a distance. And though it’s lonely, and I’m always parting ways, I think I have been able to smile the most I have in my whole life after living this way.

I haven’t been doing my best since coming back here. I honestly haven’t even put in the effort to try. But I would like to have dreams again. And I want to be the best possible me that I can. Even if I fail a lot. And I hope that everyone else can do the same.

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