Last night a friend invited me to a dance concert held at a local exhibition hall. It was a showcase of the best dancers from various studios around Hiroshima. As I sat and watched over the course of nearly three hours, I found myself suddenly completely comfortable in my own skin.
These dancers, particularly the instructors, were being real; they were being their authentic selves. There was no pretense or fake identity; they were themselves. I admired their hairstyles, their choice of clothing, the expression and most importantly, the passion they showed throughout the entire concert.
Here are people who despite the rules and regulations of Japanese society, have chosen to be who they want to be, not who somebody else tells them they should be. I’m sure at some point, just like me, they have questioned what they are doing and whether it wouldn’t just be easier to be like the rest of the world. But ultimately, they know that this would stifle their creative spirit and their soul. Being comfortable is easy, but it’s not truly living.
Fitting into society and society’s expectations of you is something I’ve always found boring. Watching these artists, I realised that I value my freedom and freedom of expression, more than anything else in this world. I value being able to choose to be myself without the fear of rejection or simply being scared. I value the fact that at any time, I can walk away from a situation because it doesn’t align with my beliefs. Many people don’t have the luxury to do that or perhaps they do, but they choose not to for a number of reasons.
I have always identified more with the misfits of society; the people who don’t do regular jobs, the people who have chosen to step away from everyone else, to be quirky, or weird, or whatever other terms are used to describe creative people.
I’ve discovered in the past two years, but particularly, the last year, that I am not and will not ever be satisfied to do something that makes things easier for everyone else, but not myself. Balance is necessary and this balance comes from weighing up both your own feelings and those of others. This is in stark contrast to Japanese society where group harmony is number one and your own feelings are secondary. I’m not Japanese and I will never be Japanese.
I wonder if the long-term residents here really enjoy the life they are leading or whether it’s simply because they have become stuck in what is easy or comfortable to do. I’ve tried to do this and I can’t do it anymore. I love my friends, I love my lifestyle here, but can I keep doing the same work, always having to pretend that I enjoy it when I don’t?
The answer is no.
I am choosing to be myself and I will not be labelled or categorized according to what somebody else thinks I should be.
I am me and that’s okay. It’s nice to realize you finally accept who you are.
As for other people… I don’t care if you like me or not. I’m not going to be a people pleaser anymore. And I certainly don’t give a fuck if that’s to your liking or not. Accept me as I am, there’s no other alternative.