Recently my head has been swimming with doubt and anxiety. My time here in Shibushi is coming to and end. But I’m growing. Everyday I’m growing and learning who I am and what I want. I want happiness. I want to never stop learning and having fun. In order to continue my pursuit of happiness, I have to start over a bit, so to speak.
In August I plan to move within Japan. But every time I think about it, I cry. I am going to miss all the friends I’ve made here so much. So until we say goodbye, I’m enjoying every moment. No matter how small.
Tears don’t mean we are unhappy or weak; they are a part of growing and living. I’m so thankful for the wide-range of feelings I’ve felt here. I’ll be so sad to leave, but incredibly thankful for everything that’s happened to me.
This is happiness.
I’ve grown a lot in the past couple of years and found a lot of confidence along the way. So while 20 year old me would have dreaded a solo trip, 24 year old me was so ready for it. I have a friend living in the Netherlands now, and I’ve always wanted to visit, so I took the opportunity to go visit her during spring break.
I met her where she lives in a small city called Leiden. We mostly walked around, and I soaked it all in. We passed by the house Rembrandt was raised in, ate some delicious fries, and took a few pictures.
After my little trip to Leiden, I took the train to Amsterdam to find my hotel. I got there around 10PM and had to lug my huge suitcase through the cobblestone streets while staring at Google maps and keeping an eye my dwindling phone battery. I turned a corner onto a narrow alley and was welcomed by many red lights. Much to my surprise, my hotel was nestled quite snugly in the middle of the famous red light district. How I didn’t know that when booking, I do not know. It wasn’t so bad though. The area had plenty of interesting shops to keep me entertained on my solo trip.
I took a tour of the city on a canal boat, saw some amazing art exhibits, ate my weight in cheese and falafel (definitely not dutch, but I missed it), and got in quite a bit of shopping.
It still amazes me what can happen in a year. People can walk in and out of your life, changing social circles overnight. You can try new things, gain new skills, and do things that before would have frightened you to tears. For me, a lot of what has changed this past year can be traced back to one person–a person who walked out of my life and quietly locked the door. He shook me up and helped me realize a lot of things about the world and myself. But no matter what the cause, no matter who started this tiny revolution inside me, I know now that I continue doing it because of me.
I keep pushing myself to try things I’ve always wanted to do. This past weekend I performed on stage with a band for the first time. It was always a silent dream of mine to be a musician in some capacity, but I never had the courage or motivation to do it seriously and in front of people. I was so shy and too self-conscious. When I moved abroad and essentially had to rearrange my personality to keep from drowning in the Pacific, I gained a lot of confidence. So when I met a few guys through my program who play music, I had a decent opportunity to put myself out there. The old me would have said no and hoped I was begged to sing, but over time I loosened up. We started hanging out musically around April and continued playing music and improving up until our first performance together.
Being in a band is hard work, especially for someone like me who isn’t exactly a musical genius. Going solo or doing a two-piece act is difficult too, I’m sure, but for different reasons. With a band of four, you have to think about the schedules, styles, and personality types of three other people. Everyone has their own way, but we all had to find some common ground. Maybe in a bigger city where it’s fairly easy to find driven musicians who share your tastes this isn’t a huge problem, but here in small town Japan, it can be challenging to start and keep a band. My two friends (and band mates) have had three different projects in the last year. The whole thing is and was a massive learning experience. Working with friends and being subject to criticism is uncomfortable. It’s like hearing that you snore for the first time…all the things you think you don’t do are reveled and you want to cry a bit but you also realize the benefit. Now you can get better!
I’m really looking forward to getting better and trying new things in the future. I’m 24, but I feel like there’s so much about life I’ve yet to discover, so many layers to myself I’ve yet to peel back and expose.
I am nowhere near perfect. At all. But I’m not really trying to be Beyonce or anything. I just enjoy doing this, and seeing as this blog focuses on my more creative interests, I thought I’d share! Maybe next time there will be a video. See you next time!
Finally the second part of the stripes shoot! And now that it’s officially fall, it’s even more appropriate! As I mentioned before, I’m a little in love with stripes, so when I saw this top in La Foret in Harajuku, I had to buy it. Once again, the pallet is a bit plain, so I threw on my lollipop necklace for a little fun!
Fall is probably my favorite season (possibly only second to spring), because the weather is perfect, the trees turn varying shades of orange, and I finally don’t have to worry about sunburns and heat rash anymore. This fall is also special because it marks the beginning of what could be my final year in Kagoshima. Or at least Shibushi. I’m so excited for the changing leaves and the opportunity to change myself. The future is bright ladies and gentlemen. Bright as this bright blue wall. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.
top: didizizi from l’atlier du savon
bag: Rebecca Minkoff Mac
necklace: Tatty Devine
I hope you also take the turn of season as a chance to reevaluate your outlook at try something new. Stay tuned to see what I try next!
Sometimes, we do things we don’t want to because we know they are good for us. Sometimes human interaction is overwhelming and painful and hard. Life is hard. But sometimes we make ourselves do the things we don’t want to because we have to, and it all ends up being okay.
I made myself go to this party, even though I didn’t want to. And somewhere between dancing to Bob Marley and writing in my journal that night, I realized that sometimes you really just have to pull yourself together and put on your happy face. Just be happy.
That moment probably came when we were sitting outside and talking about pain. Everyone has pain, but what you do with it is what makes the difference. Across from our table there was another, with just a single chair. It was facing us, and the porch light shone directly on to it. It was just sort of perfect. Sometimes life puts us in this single isolated chair, facing everyone else. What we do in that chair–how we react with the light and the people looking at us–says a lot about who we are. I’m trying really hard to not let that pressure of being watched from the chair cause me to run away.
So I’m taking some inspiration from these pictures I took of some friends, all of whom are doing quite well in that chair I think.