A new dating term I learned

I might teach English but I’m also constantly learning new words and there’s been a recent trend for new words on the topic of dating. This was one I learned about today and to be honest, I felt like this through my entire relationship or whatever it was last year. Mind you, I don’t think he has any friends he could have introduced me to anyway! 🙂

Read about the word, ‘stashed,’ here.

 

 

Advertisements

Domestic violence TED Talk

I listened to this TED Talk last night and oh my God, her story from the very beginning of the charming man who wanted to know all about her and who told her a story of his own experience of being beaten, is almost IDENTICAL to mine.

Now I wasn’t beaten in my last relationship, but I was mentally and emotionally abused. Neither is nice and neither is acceptable.

My favourite part of the talk can be seen below and the reason it’s my favourite is because these words were the same words I said when I was trying to justify his shitty behaviour:

“Back to my question: Why did I stay? The answer is easy. I didn’t know he was abusing me. Even though he held those loaded guns to my head, pushed me down stairs, threatened to kill our dog,pulled the key out of the car ignition as I drove down the highway, poured coffee grinds on my headas I dressed for a job interview, I never once thought of myself as a battered wife. Instead, I was a very strong woman in love with a deeply troubled man, and I was the only person on Earth who could help Conor face his demons.”

Thank God we both saw the light.

 

The Real FD (Fucking Dickhead)

All the stories are finally being told. 

Piecing them together shows you for who and what you really are: a disgusting and disturbed individual who cannot be classed as human. 

Is it the control that turns you on? 

Is it the knowledge that you are physically stronger than a female?

I can’t begin to fathom the sick thoughts that clutter your twisted mind. 

You have issues you need to deal with. You are seriously messed up. 

And here I was and probably many other women were thinking that they were the problem. That’s what you told me anyway. 

“You’re just emotional Jade.”

No, I think. I’m just fucking angry that you treated me like that. 

Correction: I’m angry I ALLOWED myself to be treated like that.

It doesn’t excuse your behaviour though. 

I never asked to be violated just because I was drunk. 

It was always your way: your choice of restaurant, accusing me of liking sex too much. 

You once told me to be like a Japanese girl and say, “Dame dame, no no,” when you tried to fuck me. 

That’s rape culture and I would never allow myself to say that. You tried to make me feel guilty because I like sex and wanted affection.

I don’t honestly think you even know what real love or affection is. 

I do. I have it with my family and friends.

I don’t need or want you anymore because now I’ve seen the real you and it’s ugly. 

Hideously disfigured and the stuff that nightmares are made of. 

But you won’t be haunting my dreams. I can finally sleep easily again; stress free and happy. 

But you, oh you won’t ever sleep properly again. Because people now know what you did and the news is spreading. We know what you’re like and believe me, nobody likes what they see. 

We don’t want you here. 

You’ve outstayed your welcome. 

You only have yourself to blame. 

Cut the bullshit. 

Stop blaming others. 

No one but you is responsible for your behaviour. 

Rape behaviour. 

Yes, it’s happened more than once. 

I wonder what you’d say or do if someone treated your daughters like that. 

Not exactly a good role model, are you?

My parting words to you:

Yes, actually I do think you’re a piece of shit. I freely admit I was wrong. It wasn’t my pride, it was yours. 

I won’t be blamed again and I’m not a victim either. 

I’m a survivor. 

And now I’m free. 

I used to think with my head…

But I found that lately, that just does not work at all. In fact, my entire life has been spent thinking with my head and trying desperately to ignore my heart and now… well… it seems I finally got what I always wanted: the ability to think with my heart.

And yet, the past few days I’ve been trying to revert to my old ways of thinking with my head because it’s easier, more logical and comfortable but it’s not satisfying and it creates more problems than if I just listened to the truth because I’m denying my feelings.

Let me explain my current situation.

April 1st my visa expires. I had been procrastinating going to the immigration office until the last minute because A. teaching isn’t what I want to do exclusively for life and B. the longer I didn’t go, the longer I could pretend there wasn’t a chance it wouldn’t be renewed (there’s a possibility my new job won’t be paying enough to satisfy the visa requirements).

Because of both those reasons, I’ve been hopelessly torn between my life of two years here in Hiroshima, or returning to Australia to a new city to start all over again. As a result, my emotions have been all over the place. It hasn’t helped that I’ve been hormonal either.

As I sit here today looking out over the skyline of Hiroshima from the food court on the 11th floor of the Asse Building, I’m writing a list of pros and cons; that’s the logical part of me still holding on.

I think the thing that really hit me was when I wrote, ‘family,’ in the Australia column and then without even realizing it, did the same for the Japan one. Truthfully, I DO have family here. I’ve been adopted as a daughter, older and younger sister and I have finally have all the little brothers I ever wanted.

I’ve had more highs and lows here in two years and I’ve learned more about myself and grown more than I did in an entire lifetime in Australia.

Perhaps what’s even more amazing or unbelievable is that I’ve managed to be satisfied/content to stay in one place with no wanderlust whatsoever. I guess that’s when you know you’ve found a home. Sure, the place is important, but home is where the heart is and your heart is where your family and friends are. Family aren’t always biological.

I had decided this weekend I wouldn’t overthink or worry about my visa and I haven’t.

My best friend told me last night that he feels I’m being pulled in the wrong direction if I choose to go back to Australia but he told me to take time out and listen to what’s in my heart.

After a good sleep and sitting here writing, I feel my mind is as clear as it’s been in days, maybe even months. This week has been a roller coaster of emotions with the end and beginning of an, at times, turbulent (but now good), relationship and I’m still processing that. I guess you could say that I’ve had information and sensory overload.

I just need to give myself time.

As I sit here watching the cars cross the many bridges of Hiroshima (Hiroshima is actually a collection of islands), I’m reminded of how many bridges I’ve crossed coming back to Japan and now living here in Hiroshima. I’m also reminded that bridges connect people and what I have here are true connections. They’re the type to hold onto, no matter what happens and I believe that connections are what make life worthwhile. I can’t just walk away from them.

So many things (some people might call them signs) are indicating that my time here is not coming to an end like I thought, but rather to a new beginning. If I left it would be like running away and giving up because I wasn’t sure of what the future held and wasn’t prepared to work and wait a little longer to get what I truly want. In reality, my idea of what I want to do may in fact be more viable here than in Australia.

Yesterday when I realised that I was actually considering leaving, I was suddenly struck with the thought: could I actually do that? Do I actually want to do that?

The answer: no, of course not.

I guess that means I’ve made my decision.

Now it’s up the immigration office and the Japanese Visa Gods.

 

Battle-Scarred Heart

image

I drew this artwork on white cardboard using oil crayons and then used the apps Glaze and Snapseed to modify it. I wanted to draw something that was inspiring, rather than dark like my last piece. With everything dark, there is always light.

I used colors that I don’t normally use (I’m more of a red person, rather than a pink) because I wanted to show the beginning of a new relationship with both myself and others. I used black to represent the scars that have been left on my heart as a result of past relationships. Rather than see these as a negative thing I believe they should be worn proudly to show that I survived and am stronger and different as a result of these experiences. All of these experiences have helped me to grow as a person.

I am still able to display my emotions and love even though I have been hurt and I believe this is necessary in life, rather than shutting yourself away and bottling your emotions. In the end you may get hurt, but at least you have loved freely and allowed yourself to feel and experience life.

Up and Down and Back Again

Peaks and troughs.

Highs and lows.

Hot and cold.

Male and female.

All are represented by this artpiece, which I wanted to create to show that some people blow hot and cold in a relationship. Do they like you? Are you imagining these feelings that you believe they have for you? They seem to be into you and then suddenly they pull back and go cold and you’re never really sure where you stand with them because they never say the words, “I like/love you.”

I was initially going to just draw one line in a single colour but in the end I chose to draw two and decided to use red and blue: red for the female aspect and blue for the male. The blue can also represent the cold, while the red is when the relationship is going well. Both the red and blue lines begin and end together showing that the people are progressing through life at the same time and the fact that they cross over multiple times means that they meet again and again and eventually come together as one.

IMG_6384

The Emotional Stages of Being a Single White Female in Japan: An Honest Account

Please note: The majority of these events may or may not have taken place. They may or may not have happened to me or may or may not have happened to friends or friends of friends. All names have been changed to protect the individual’s privacy. Just kidding, are you serious?! There’s NO WAY I was including names! 😛

REALLY IMPORTANT ‘Please note’: If you are easily offended, do NOT read this article. I suspect you will be offended because you know deep down that it’s true, but nevertheless. It probably IS offensive, but I will not apologise. I can’t please everyone.

Being a single white female in Japan (SWFIJ) is both a blessing and a curse.

CONFIDENT STAGE: In the beginning, life is like a Hollywood movie with you, the star of the screen. You are showered with attention (albeit from afar… Japanese boys/men are very shy) in the form of curious sideways and sometimes slightly lustful glances. You are told you are cute, beautiful or cool, depending on what you’re wearing and you start to believe it. It’s a wonderful confidence boost!

Some may tentatively approach you to speak in halting English, learned and mostly forgotten (then suddenly remembered in the presence of an attractive female!) from years of study in junior high school. The occasional bolder man will ask if you have a boyfriend or husband and when you say no, their interest is sparked. But woe, usually it ends there. These kinds of conversations rarely lead to anything and unfortunately are all too common.

You might be very attractive and interesting, but chances are, they just want to practice their English. Granted, the majority of these men you will have no interest in at all, but sometimes you’ll find yourself grinning at someone who you think might have potential.

DOUBT/PARANOIA STAGE: Can you see the rose-coloured glasses have already lost their tint? It’s nice to think that you’re special and that someone might actually like you, but after awhile, a little voice called ‘Doubt,’ or perhaps, ‘Paranoia,’ whispers in your ear and says, “He doesn’t REALLY like you…” You begin to question every guy’s motive but eventually, that fades and is replaced by… something that is difficult to define. Acceptance maybe? This is just how it’s going to be, you say. 仕様が無い(shoganai), say the Japanese. That’s life; it can’t be helped.

At some point you realise you need to stop thinking and questioning so much because otherwise you will lose your sanity (if you haven’t already). When this happens you suddenly think, fuck this. I’m not going to bother anymore. They can all get fucked. This stage lasts all of about 10 minutes until you spot someone unbelievably gorgeous in a suit at the train station and make eye contact with him. Not that I’ve ever had this experience of course! 😉

Oh, let me point something out… the only time a Japanese guy will actually approach you is when he’s socially ‘lubricated.’ In other words, tanked to the eyeballs with alcohol and full of Dutch courage. If you’re equally as drunk this can be fun. Your bad Japanese will be unleashed and you will lose all inhibitions about speaking it. This is where it starts to get dangerous.

‘FUCK IT!’ STAGE (ALSO KNOWN AS THE ‘DRUNK’ STAGE): If the man actually speaks English quite well and he’s confident, chances are he will try to take advantage of you in some way. This might be a simple grope but may include kissing you or suggesting you go to a love hotel. Remember, by this stage you are so jaded by dating/whatever with Japanese men and so frustrated with a lack of ‘wishy-washy’ men that you figure fuck it. I should just take what I’m being offered. And you usually do. And it’s usually fun. It’s your call. HELL! I’m not judging!

Some of these men may or may not be married. Unfortunately, the confident ones are ALWAYS married. You will find yourself struggling with whether this is moral or not and at different times you will swing between ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and you will justify whatever it is you decide. Marriage in Japan has traditionally and historically been more about security (i.e. money, good job etc.) and less about love, so infidelity has often been and is still considered to be more acceptable… or perhaps tolerated, by both men and women than in Western/foreign countries. Whatever the case, it is totally unfamiliar to you and you’re still not sure exactly where you stand. Do you do as the saying says, “When in Rome…?” or do you hold fast to your Western/foreign views and values? The verdict is still out.

DISGUST (at Japanese men for being cheating bastards and yourself for allowing it in the first place) STAGE: This usually goes on for a few months before you think, hang on, I’m just being used (and you’re doing the same of course! It’s much easier than facing a real relationship with real issues. You realise that you’re a piece of white meat being tasted once, maybe twice and then being discarded because fish is what they’re used to. I know this all sounds very depressing but I guarantee you, keep being yourself and don’t change for anybody. You are Western/foreign, you will never be Japanese and besides which, isn’t that why Japanese men are interested in you in the first place? Exactly! You might be just what they’re looking for!

SELF-WORTH STAGE: So where was I? Oh yes… eventually you’ll come to realise your self-worth and decide that if someone genuinely likes you they need to take the time to get to know you and you to know them. You will also decide that you’d rather have a single one than all the drama that goes with a married one. You’ve finally decided you want a REAL relationship. Take a chance, go out with someone who asks you but remember what boundaries you’ve put in place to protect yourself (A) Ask if they’re married. B) Ask if they’re single C) Check again by asking if by single they mean absolutely no girlfriend).

HOPEFUL STAGE: One day something amazing happens. You meet a guy or you realise the guy you didn’t notice at the NYE party (then meet later on but decide is boring and social awkward isn’t quite as boring as you first thought and is actually really funny) is someone you want to date. Now here’s where it gets tricky. What do you do next? Being Western/foreign, chances are, you will ask them out. You know this is not the way to do things, but you have no patience waiting around for them to ask you out. You’re not Japanese, so you figure it’s okay to break with convention.

CONFUSED/UNSURE STAGE: Just as a side-note, in Japan, dating starts in groups at a sort-of ‘introduction’ party known as 合コン (goukon). You meet with other people over the course of a few outings and then if you’re both interested someone will suggest one-on-one dating. Members of the opposite sex in Japan rarely hang out with each other unless it’s a date. And in this situation, they KNOW it’s a date.

Now being a SWFIJ, this isn’t generally the case, so when you both decide on a one-on-one activity, the question looms over you: is it an actual date or is it just two friends hanging out? You might assume it’s a date, but unless you’ve used the word ‘date’ when asking him out, there’s a high chance that it’s not. The more you think about it, the more you realise that dating in Japan may be a lot simpler than in the West. If it’s just you and him after all those parties, then it’s definitely a date. Being a SWFIJ, it’s No Man’s Land. Sigh.

What’s the next stage? Who knows. I haven’t reached that yet. Not that any of this actually happened to me. Remember all of these events may or may not have taken place. They may or may not have happened to me or may or may not have happened to friends or friends of friends. You decide.

Oh and let me know whether you agree or not. SWFIJ, I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!