Would I really want that though?

Last year one of my ex-students asked me what I wanted for Christmas.

I told her a remote control so I had the ability to erase the last six months of my life.

Memories can be a fucking shit of a thing. Good ones become better, etched into your mind as things that are exaggerated as time goes on, and yet the bad ones, either become worse or you convince yourself that they weren’t as bad as they were.

That’s the trouble with memories. They exist, but only because we remember them.

If you think about that, it’s pretty amazing. We give something completely transparent and non-existent in a material sense, a solid, ‘body,’ as it were, to continue living.

But what if you could erase the bad memories and never have to think about them again?

That’s exactly what this article talks about. Using drugs you can completely alter your memories and thus, they will never have existed.

My first thought was: Great! I could get rid of that horrible experience or the series of events leading to it and essentially obliterate a person I used to know.

My second thought was: but if I erased all that, wouldn’t I also erase all the valuable lessons I learned as a result of those shitty, shitty experiences?

And finally, my third and final thought was: what happens if the drugs also change my other memories?

I’m starting to think I would rather have the bad memories which fade over time as I add new ones to my brain.

But maybe that’s just me.

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Forgiveness: for others or ourselves?

People always say that you should forgive others, even when they do unspeakable things;  Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela; three men who rose above their haters and those who wronged them and moved on.

I used to think that forgiveness was best too. It meant that you could let go of the anger and hate you felt towards the person and stop it from consuming you from the inside. In other words, it was for your own benefit, not the benefit of the other person.

That, I believe still holds true, but to be honest, I don’t believe anymore that everyone deserves forgiveness.

If someone is genuinely sorry, I will forgive them and as I’m not one to hold grudges, I won’t ever bring it up again. It’s gone, finished. You can only say sorry once; there’s no need to keep saying it if you are speaking from the heart.

But… if someone is just saying sorry to avoid conflict and stop me from not liking them, absolutely not. That says more about them than me. It says that they don’t want my disapproval and that they’re a selfish prick. If a person isn’t really sorry either or still doesn’t believe they did anything wrong, in my eyes, they also don’t deserve forgiveness.

From all the lessons I’ve learned in my life, the biggest one I’ve learned to date (finally, thank fuck!) is that sometimes you just need to realise and accept that some people are arseholes, they will never change their disgusting behaviour and no matter how much love you show them, they will always be this way. This also means that you don’t have to forgive them, you should not make excuses for their actions and they don’t deserve to be part of your life in ANY WAY.

Yes, you need to be strong and walk away. Some people are just toxic and there is nothing wrong with cutting someone out of your life for your own good and your own mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical health.

It was a hard lesson to learn and one that kept being repeated over and over and over. Hence why this quote is so important and why I want to leave you with it:

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And finally, the most important person you will ever have to forgive is yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself for not recognising that someone was not the person you first thought they were. Lessons are hard to learn sometimes and being able to see the bad in people when you are someone who inherently tries to find the good, is one of those. People come in all sorts of disguises.

 

 

A lesson learned… And thank you 

Of all the lessons I’ve learned during my time in Japan, the one that tops the list is that having friends and people who love you and accept you makes life worthwhile. 

The support and encouragement I’ve had from my friends here has allowed me to to grow into the person I am today. Without them there are many things I would not have been able to do and I would’ve spent more of my time here crying instead of smiling. Although there have been tears, without my friends I would not have been able to overcome the problems I’ve had. 

I’ve also learned just how much each of us are struggling with money and financial hardship here. Yes, even in a first world country there are people who have problems with money and that I think is disgusting. 

I want to thank my friends who have taken me into their homes and fed me, have paid for my meals when we went out and have bought many beers when I’ve been upset and needed them. The beers I mean, not my friends, although I do need them too!

I want to thank my friends for reading my Japanese letters when I didn’t understand and telling me not to worry about it and just to throw them away. Again, the letters, not my friends! 

I want to thank my friends who have bought me presents that cost them so much money but more importantly, presents that they took the time to think about because they knew I would like them. 

I want to thank my friends who have sent messages or come to visit to check up on me when I was sick or when I was really upset about something. 

I want to thank my friends who have hugged me and stroked my hair, or patted my back and kissed my head and simply been there for me when I’ve cried. Many times they didn’t say anything and I didn’t need or want them to say anything; I just wanted them to be there for me… And they were. 

I want to thank the friends who despite how busy they were, put down whatever they were doing and took time for me. 

I want to thank the friends who made me laugh even when I felt like crying or who made me laugh when I was crying. 

I want to thank my friends for being there even when I yelled at them or got angry with them because I was upset or scared or knew what they were saying was true. 

I especially want to thank my Japanese friends for never judging me when I made stupid decisions whether I was drunk or sober. They never said I told you so and they never ever gave me advice because they know I wouldn’t listen anyway. 

To all my friends, Western or Japanese, thank you. You know who you are and I love you. 

Thank you for being the kindest, most caring loyal friends that I could ever have. You would do anything for me and I would also do anything for you. Don’t ever hesitate to ask when you need my help. You know I’m always there for you. 

Someone once told me they didn’t need friends and they asked me if I needed mine. I didn’t even have to think about that. Of course I need mine. Everybody needs friends and without them, life is meaningless.

本当にありがとう。

The Lessons of 2015

As the end of 2015 draws near, I was feeling slightly melancholy about the whole thing. This year has been a rollercoaster ride (most of my own making) through worrying, feeling that I wasn’t enough without alcohol, being scared to trust and believe in myself, being angry with myself for some of the choices I made, not letting go of things that weren’t healthy or serving me anymore and not moving on with my life and what I really want to do.

It took an event the other night to put everything into perspective. Up until then I was always someone who felt they needed to get something off their chest and I would blurt it out to close friends given half a chance. That’s changed. I’ve changed. I learned more lessons the other night than I have the entire year and one of those is that sometimes it’s the best feeling in the world to have a secret that nobody else knows. It makes you smile crazily at nothing in particular (other than the thought of it) and hug yourself with the knowledge that only you know.

These are the other lessons I learned, in no particular order.

 

  • I always thought I was someone who had it all together, was in control and who, although, didn’t always make the most intelligent choices, could be relied upon not to do anything ridiculously stupid (my friends and others were/are constantly telling me this… little do they know!) That kind of mentality is a high pressure one and the stress you put upon yourself to be perfect at all times is totally unrealistic. I’ve learned that I am capable of making choices that aren’t very wise and the positive thing that came out of all this is that I was faced with the fact that I am human; very, very human and yes, sometimes I fuck up. And that’s okay. I’m learning.

 

  • I learned that sometimes what you think you want is very different from the reality of what you really, really want if you’re honest with yourself. I always thought I wanted a super handsome guy and for some utterly absurd reason, that I would always be trapped into choosing the asshole over the nice one because that’s what I usually do and perhaps, I thought I deserved. It’s now a thing of the past and I’m very happy about that.

 

  • I’ve learned that sometimes you are so busy looking or perhaps being distracted by what you THINK you want, that you don’t see what you have right in front of you is the best. Gratitude and acceptance of things you deserve are two of the most important things I think.

 

  • I learned that sometimes what you consider is the worst thing that could happen to you is, in reality, not half as bad as you’ve made it out to be in your mind.

 

  • And the most important of all…. DRUM ROLL PLEASE… I’ve learned that you can travel the world, you can live in another country, you can meet people from all over and debate your differences with them, but ultimately, we are ALL human and we ALL have the same needs, wants, emotions, desires and fears. As humans we want others to love us for who we are (warts and all) and we want connections to those around us.

2015 has been a jam-packed year, but for all the downs, there have been many, many ups and I prefer to be positive about it. I am eternally grateful, even for the not-so-good times because I’ve learned valuable lessons and become a better person as a result. And… I learned to love and accept myself for me and that can only be a good thing.

 

 

Looking back…

I know it’s not yet the end of the year, but Christmas is approaching fast and before you know it, the New Year will be upon us! My best friend and I were talking about this very thing the other day and he said that he doesn’t feel like he’s achieved anything this year. I said I felt the same.

But… after some reflection on my part, I penned a few ideas the other night when I was slightly intoxicated. It seems that most of mine involve emotional achievements or perhaps, not emotional achievements as such, but emotional awareness.

What were the lessons I’ve learned so far this year?

I have learned not to run away from difficult things. I’ve learned to express my emotions rather than bottling them up because that just makes you sick. I’ve learned I want to care for someone other than just myself. I’ve learned in helping other people to face their demons, I’m also facing mine. I’ve learned that I attract people who are similar or who are a reflection of me in nearly every way possible. I’ve learned that when I try to control something it doesn’t work; it’s like a dam bursting in that the pressure builds up until I can’t deal with it any longer. I’ve learned to go easy on myself instead of feeling guilty for things that brought me pleasure (even if it was only temporary!) And perhaps most importantly of all, I’ve learned not to have expectations of myself or others because otherwise I will be disappointed. I have learned to take things at face value and for how they really are. I’ve learned that the only person who has a choice is YOU. And the only person who is holding you back is YOU. Believe in yourself and you will set yourself free.

I know I still have a lot to learn this year, but this is a good start. 🙂