As I sit here listening to P!nk and reminiscing about the past, the subject of Loss crossed my mind. It’s a part of life, one we all struggle with, and I think now’s as good of a time as any to address it in my own way which is writing out my feelings. This will be a bit unlike my other posts with a more serious tone, so if you’re looking for snarky attitude and lame puns, I’m sorry to disappoint.
This is a serious post. There are no gifs.
You see, recently I’m dealing with a lot of loss, and I have a feeling it’s impacting my writing style more than I’d like to admit. I haven’t really addressed it, not in a way that acts as a true emotional release for myself. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so this is my catharsis. I hope that if any of you are dealing with your own loss, it will reach you as well.
The world continues to spin and rotate around the sun. Time doesn’t stop just because you’re hurting, and people say that it heals most wounds as some sort of strange mantra to ease the pain even if for a little white. Maybe it’s true, it doesn’t erase the scars left behind once that wound closes. There is no magic eraser for them, they stay with you, and all you can do is try to move on.
My own recent losses come from my own doing. And it’s fucking worse when you do it to yourself. Having someone else to blame can be therapeutic in the beginning. Believing in their faults and their shortcomings as a way to raise yourself on a pedestal above them as if your moral compass is so much better. But I don’t have that luxury right now. I know the decisions I’ve made and where they have led me.
Recently, I came to the conclusion that my time in Japan was up. I no longer wanted to teach English, and the thought of joining the Eikawa system again was terrifying enough to send me into anxiety mode where my stomach did flip-flops and my heart threatened to beat right out of my throat. I had told my boyfriend to apply to finish his bachelor’s here, but I regretted it as soon as I realized what my life would become if that happened.
It’s a thankless job like most work, but the work ethic in Japan is beyond what I’m willing to put out. There is no freedom, no chance for promotion in the industry, and companies/schools show favoritism to whoever kisses their ass the most OR has worked there the longest. Sometimes both. You can be bullied out by administration and coworkers who are too petty to not tell you their problems to your face, and your desperation for hours may lead you to have advantage taken of you time and time again.
I just didn’t have the energy anymore. I’m not saying the US is any better, but at this point, I realized it was time to go home where I had a support system and my cats. It’s not that I don’t have one here, but it’s slowly dwindled down since university with people leaving Japan or assimilating into their own groups. I’d rather try my luck back home in a field I’d like to try working in. Solid reasoning, right? But that doesn’t make it any easier.
I’ve lived the majority of my “adult life” here. I know how things work. I know what I need to do. I know how to get around. I’m sure I can re-learn things in the US, but it’s terrifying in its own way- not to mention the state of political affairs. Moving itself is stressful as well. What do I do with my furniture? How soon should I pack? What can I throw away? Am I really prepared to be an adult in unfamiliar territory? It wasn’t as scary coming to Japan. Maybe it’s because I was still a kid at heart and didn’t know the realities of the world.
But that’s just a small piece of my loss.
Making the decision to cut a friend out of your life is shit. I’ve had it done to me in the past when I was acting like a little bitch, and I know it hurts from the other side as well. And the closer your perceived friendship is, the harder it is to bounce back like everything is fine. But it’s normal to try to pretend, right? No one wants to hear complaints. No one really cares. Everyone is just glad that it’s not them involved in the drama. And while they try hard not to choose sides, everyone has a bit of a bias. I’m not blind to it.
It’s just all the more reason to push it down and pretend that nothing hurts. You see, when I was younger, I received the advice that “No one likes it when you’re depressed. You should smile more and be happy.” I’ve lived a lot of my life around these words. Any time I’ve felt angry or sad, I’ve pushed it down or become passive aggressive because, let’s face it, you can’t just fully hide your disdain for certain actions.
Even so, I sometimes wonder if my friends think I’m cold-hearted and unaffected by things because I don’t try to publicize my feelings. I’ll give it in passing, I’ll touch on it, then I’ll ask how they are. Because that’s polite. No one wants to hear you talk about yourself, so it’s better to listen to them. And I like listening to them. I like trying to help with their problems when my life is crumbling around me because then I have a moment to not think about myself.
I use humor to cover up what’s killing me inside. I use anger to pretend I don’t want to cry. It’s better to hurl shade and petty insults than to address the actual source of the problem. And at the end of the day, I tell myself it’s healthy. And maybe some of it is. I’ve learned self-respect and self-care. I’ve learned that not everyone is as I described. I’ve learned it’s okay to have your emotions. But I’ve also learned to take responsibility for my actions.
Yet when I do, it’s in silence. Perhaps between myself and the person I’ve wronged. I’m not a saint. I’m the villain to some Yet, sometimes I still feel like the victim myself. So what point is there to drag other people into my mess when I can’t even work out my own emotions?
“I’m disappointed. I hate the person you’ve become.”
It’s funny. I hate myself, too. But I also love myself. My mind is in a constant state of war. Getting out of bed is a victory, and making it out of the house is worthy of a celebration. Depression and anxiety are all-consuming. They’re a dark cloud that hugs you with false pretenses of warmth and solutions, but none of these solutions end in your happiness- or anyone else’s. On the days I feel happy, I want to do everything. I feel like I’m unstoppable, but eventually that disappears as well.
My friends, though, they bring me back. “I’m proud of you.” Everyone is of a different mindset. People change and grow apart. Perhaps through no fault of their own, they are suddenly incompatible. And that’s okay. Accepting this as a part of life- just like realizing that I no longer belong here- can be freeing.
Every day is a step forward in the right direction, and I hope that anyone out there who is going through the same thing can take some solace in the fact that loss can be necessary for moving forward with life. The pain is real. It can be crippling. It can be suffocating. And that is okay. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to pretend to be something you’re not. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. And try not to look back. There are so many wonderful things in this world as there are bad. Depression, anxiety, and other illnesses try to rob us of that. And some days, they’ll win. And that’s okay. You’re strong. You’re still here.
And I’m proud of you.