A long walk beside a graveyard [photo journal]

I took a long walk a couple of days ago. I’d been contemplating working on my ability to capture the beauty of nature, the way that I see it, and with the way my week had gone… I said screw it!

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I knew that beside this walking trail was a graveyard and I felt like I needed to be somewhere that would force me to think very hard about life. My life.

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There were hundreds of gravestones, if not thousands, and beneath them all lay the remains of people. People… just like me. They breathed the same air that I breathe now, they had thoughts, relatives, pet peeves… And now they’ve been reduced to soil. They’re recognized by a gravestone. And some day, that will be me. A gravestone with flowers on it. Not a woman with friends or enemies, not the research scientist, not the woman within a certain pay grade or holding a certain degree. And what will matter then?

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Why do I worry so much and allow fear to control my decision making? Why do I care so much about what people think? If I have a passion, why don’t I just go after it? Why do I allow society’s “expectations” rule my life? I don’t even really like “society”!

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By this point, my legs were beginning to cramp a little and hurt from walking for so long. I’d never spent this much time alone with God before and I felt like the dark cloud that was above me had been removed. As if I could suddenly breathe again. And then I saw something. Pretty yellow flowers, my favorite color flowers, were growing-wrapped around barbed-wire.

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As hostile and (still) dangerous barbed-wire is, the flowers still grew. Because that’s what beautiful flowers do, right? They continue to grow and bloom. They didn’t even droop or grow a less vibrant yellow color. And they didn’t grow around the barbed-wire to avoid it. How is it that a flower can do everything that I feel that I can not? How is a flower more brave and bold than me? And how can I become more brave and bolder?

Paranoia and fear has a death grip on me and if I don’t get out of it soon… it’ll lead me to my end

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I’m taking my life back.

 

 

 

 

Giving away my happiness

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They say that happiness is something that you choose to have. And that nobody can take it away from you if you don’t let them. Yet, how is it that today at 12pm I found myself with red, puffy, swollen eyes again? This time, I was actually at work.

You can just make the decision that you’re going to be happy… or at least that’s what I’ve heard thus far. Well, I can’t recall waking up one day and saying I DIDN’T want to be happy, but here I am. Or sometimes, perhaps my issue is that I’m failing to acknowledge that I’m sad. Could it be that? Because at this point, I must be listing my happiness for free somewhere on the internet. I’ve obviously allowed someone or something to take it from me because happy is not something I know these days.

I recognize that this change is not one that I can make on my own. I know that only God can do it through me. So maybe I’m focusing my energy on the wrong issue? Perhaps the true problem is that I’m doing something to prevent him from truly working in and through me?

The job I have now has been my dream job since I was a child and it’s frightening to me to think that I can be miserable while fulfilling a life dream. Of course I know that things will get better and I know that there’s no way to prevent the roller coaster of life from going up and down. But whatever the lifehack is that allows some people to just be happy under any circumstances is, I wanna have it too. And I’m sure it’s as available to me as it is to anyone else.

Taking a few steps back

IMG_0926 So I made a decision. Sort of…

I mean, I did make a decision for now. I decided that I am going to take a break from work. I had been contemplating this for a while, but I had told myself that I wouldn’t do it until I had gone through my budget for the rest of the year. For whatever reason… I just never got around to that. It seemed like little bits of my life were falling off and crumbling to pieces… but recently, I’ve found that God is stripping away things that hold me back from fulfilling my purpose.

So in a moment of pure anxiety, on the edge of my seat, the beginning of an anxiety attack… I asked for a few months off. My request was granted, which was bitter sweet. The pros are that I will have more time to rest, to grow as a person, figure some things out, spend time with God, and clean my home. And penny pinching is what I NEED right now because I’ve somewhat doubled back on my minimalism and it shows in my home.

I’m excited though. Thank you Jesus.

Dream chasing

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I met a young woman named Laura last weekend. She was on the riverwalk, where I had been sitting and praying, taking photos. For some reason, I felt the need to speak to her, so I asked if she’d gotten any good photos. She came right over to me and said yes and told me that she’d been travelling and taking photos. It was her dream to be a photographer. Sitting on the bench, with my hair pressed straight, my sharp suit (or at least I thought I looked sharp!), and my uncomfortable flats, I looked up at Laura. The sun was shining bright on her skin and I couldn’t help but face the fact that I had lost myself. She was an example of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. Who I thought I was on my way to becoming, until recently. I hadn’t drawn or painted a picture, finished a book, or even studied Japanese in nearly two months. I was back to eating uncontrollably and I’d put on 20 lbs, which was causing my face to swell. I hadn’t even been writing in this beloved blog of mine.

After our chat, Laura left and I wished her luck. She came back to me with a business card, which I put away and I am hoping to be able to work with her some day, and I wished her good luck again. I felt inspired in that moment and I realized that I’m trying to swim against a current. I’m being pulled under right now. Work, school, and drama that seems to always drag me back in. These days, I sometimes just think about disappearing. Not showing up to work anymore. Coming to my classes through the end of the semester, then living off a tight budget with whatever I have saved up. Spending my time outdoors, or just doing whatever makes me happy. Losing this weight, growing my hair long, drinking more water, and sharing more laughs and love with my companion. Only answering the phone when I know the call is one of positive nature. Yeah… that’s what I want to do.

But I know it’s not realistic. And I know it’s not the example I want to set for those who look to me for inspiration. So how do I take a break, without taking a break? That’s the question I’m facing.

Well, for one, I think I’m going to try to take more time to do what I love. Even if it takes some time away from everything else. I drew a picture of myself and my boyfriend today and I thought of some blog and vlog topics. I’ve been thinking of hand crafts to make too and I did my manicure. Honestly, I feel a little better already. I’ve also began to go to the gym and eat healthier again.

And as much as I do not like surprises, I’ve found that the best thing for me to do is to not plan this stuff out. Just like I just dropped everything and decided to write in my blog today, I spaced out in class to draw a picture, and randomly picked up my back and wallet and went to the gym. I started to listen to a Japanese podcast today and I asked some associates of mine for some good topics to talk about in Japanese. My boyfriend and I have also resolved to pray more often for each other, those around us (including the people who are hard to love), and for ourselves. It’s amazing to have an extra person donating strength and prayer to this beautiful cause.

So I say again, wish me luck!

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On taking my own advice…

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A photo of fuji in the background from Misakiguchi station

I’m always looking to comfort a loved one and remind them that everything will be alright. It’s something that I believe is one of my spiritual gifts from God and a part of His ultimate plan for me. Yet, lately I’ve had to take a serious look in the mirror. It’s great that I like to go to those who need me and encourage them and remind them that it’s in God’s hands. However, I should be doing more than just saying these things, I need to believe them, and I need to show my belief through my own actions.

I’m a woman who panics. There, I said it. I panic all of the time and 20 out of 24 hours of the day, I am in a constant state of anxiety and paranoia. I worry about just about any and everything and it’s been impossible for me to ever really relax. Why? Because over time, I’ve managed to convince myself that any and every bad thing that’s ever happened to me and hurt me was my fault and I believe that if I have more control over what’s going on around me, I can not be hurt again. No, it doesn’t always work out for me. In fact, sometimes I get myself into some deep waters. But this way of thinking and acting has been the way that I’ve operated and it’s given me enough results that I stuck with it til it became habit.

Now that I’ve begun to swim deeper into my faith, I’m realizing that it’s time that I stop trying to control my life out of fear, and give it over to God. Not only for my own happiness and peace, but so that I am in a better position for Him to use me. Maybe I won’t even have to speak so much to those around me because I will become a walking example of what I preach. I just don’t really know how to give Him more control. I don’t know how to live without believing I’m in control. And I’m almost afraid of what that feels like. I endured these feelings for about a month before and it was nightmarish for me. I will say, though, that towards the end of it all, I did have a small amount of peace. That’s probably the only time in my life that I was able to allow myself to be happy, despite what was happening around me. Even then, my anxiety was higher than ever and whenever my happy-high would wear off, I’d remember that I was living in a bad dream and I’d have small panic attacks.

I don’t even believe, or want to believe, that that’s what life is like when you give it over to God. At the same time, I just don’t really know what to do. I’ve been trying to retrace my steps back to the last word I got from Him because maybe if I pick up where we left off, I’ll be back on track. I also realize that perhaps I need to just ask him to help me to submit and turn over my life to Him.

Wish me luck~

Questions from my 20’s #1

How can a person become “successful” and “happy”?

Let me first define what I mean by each of these. When I say successful, I mean financially you are well off. Not really struggling in one particular area and not necessarily filthy rich. When I say happy, I mean you generally enjoy life.

For me, happiness would be me married with… at least 2 of the 4 kids I think I’d like to have (gosh I can not WAIT to come back and read this in 5 years) and I get to spend enough time with my family that I feel like we are constantly building our relationship and getting to know one another.

It seems to me that unless you have one of the rare, highest paying jobs in the world, this is impossible. This idea is significantly INCREASED when you move to another country. Now, due to my rebellious personality, I don’t really believe that this is true. Over the past year, I’ve really come to believe that my success is limited only by my mindset. Not by the country I’m in or the country that I’m from. So why is it that people believe that you have to enter a field known to provide an extraordinarily high income to gain that kind of money or lifestyle? And also, why is the perceived lifestyle of the rich the end goal? If my future husband and I both work regular jobs, earning about 30k per year in the beginning of our careers, is there no chance at all that we will work our way up the money or happiness ladder? Or even if we never go past 50k per year, does that mean that we will never be successful and therefor never truly happy?