Sunday, February 11, 2018

きさらぎ

It's been nearly three months since an update. I post more frequently on my Facebook, because I guess I'm still more comfortable knowing who my audience is. Still, I'll repost some content here.

The past months have been trying, but I'm getting by with help from friends - in the form of company, letters and conversations in the middle of the night. It is so easy to stop putting in the effort to take care of myself, and I'm trying my best not to fall into that pattern. For now, it's trying to get enough sleep and fighting the recurring insomnia without resorting to sleep medication or a daily nightcap; taking vitamin d supplements every morning even though I don't believe so much in their efficacy - but perhaps I comply because a friend persuaded me to and if I can't do it for myself at least I can do it for someone else; acknowledging that life is not perfect and that there is no shame in admitting that I need a break, that I can say no if I really needed to. I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I am attempting to handle my problems now compared to what I did in the past and I realised that my younger self kept everyone away, believing this to be a battle that no one else can comprehend. In some ways this remains true, yet in recent months I have come to realise that people do understand if you let them - and it has been gratifying (and terrifying, but necessary) to step out of such self-constructed imprisonment.

At the beginning of last month I also made the decision to stay in Japan for a third year. It is possibly the most difficult decision I've made in my life. There are many reasons why I wish I can move back to Singapore this year. A year ago I never thought these would be the reasons that would take so much for me to decide. Some are circumstantial, some beyond any kind of control. It has not been easy to come to terms with certain aspects of my life that need addressing. A former teacher of mine once said to me, years after he met me at one of the lowest points in my life, that "the Game we play is crucial but oh so painful for the spirit." And it is. It really is. I don't think I want to leave without proving to myself that I've put up a good fight. Moving back home may or may not change things for the better. But one thing I am certain of is that I love Japan, and I love living here. I am so grateful for how much it has given me the past five years - even before coming here to work, how much I'll continue to learn from it in the future, and how much I hope I too can give in return. So with one more year of borrowed time here I want to do as much as I can and fulfil the goals that 22-year-old set when she knew she'd be moving here, and hopefully come out of it stronger and better than before.

This was an advice given to me at a time when I really needed to hear it -

"Do not distance yourself from everything that reminds you of the good, push. Push harder. Fight. Fight harder. You're the only one who can make this work, trust in yourself to make this work."

In spite of this there have also been some wonderful memories. Travelled to Nagano at the start of the year and was awestruck by its beauty. I'll update more in a later post. Tokyo has had frigid temperatures this year and a wicked amount of snow a couple of weeks back - spent the day embracing the snowstorm and building snowmen with friends who've hardly seen that much snow all their lives too. The last school semester for the year is drawing to a close and I've been spending much of my time talking to students who are graduating, or younger ones making plans for their future. It's an awfully cold winter, but such interactions have consistently helped to warm the soul.