Abandoning “our own” society to enable a true understanding of the self

Home is wherever I am. I have learnt that no one is truly there for us when we need them, however we, ourselves, I, are. I am always with me. I will always be there for me. I have never let me down.

Moving abroad is a journey, both in its external movement from one place in which a person resides, to another. Often, transatlantic. Through this journey, I have also made internal discoveries, acceptances and a state of peacefulness, clarity and understanding within myself and who I am as an individual. What am I really like, and how do I cope in certain situations – these are questions I have asked myself, and now have answers too. I know myself better, I know what I am like, how I react, and how to deal with situations that do not suit me. It sounds incredibly cliche, but I understand how my mind works, and what my personality is. I have come to accept it, love it, and own it. I am me.

We are all constantly changing, evolving and growing – you are not the same person you were yesterday, nor will you be the same person tomorrow. Our thoughts shape us, our thoughts change us, and our environment is important. Our external environment influences and “dictates” our thoughts. By removing ourselves from one environment we can change our thought process, our thoughts, our feelings, and bring peace/ despair. We all have a choice, to stay, or to go. We are lucid, we are fluid, we are not fixed. Never convince yourself that you are fixed, that nothing can be changed. Small actions and thoughts can have big changes and consequences.

I am happier abroad, I am happier when I am removed from the society which raised me. I despise it, yet I always check the news for updates. I loathe it, yet I am its product. I crave it, yet I don’t and I push it aside, like an unwanted vegetable in my roast dinner. I am it, I am a millennial and I struggle to make my mark in my society.

So I run, run away, run as fast as I can, as far as I can. To a society so different that I am an alien, yet I feel at home. I feel happy. I feel part of something bigger.

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Moving to China

On the 5th February 2017, I boarded a flight to China. A day and a bit later, I arrived tired and feeling nervously excited in Fuzhou International airport. Time is flying; I have now been living and working in China for two months (its freakin’ APRIL!) and I have absolutely no idea where the time has gone.

These two months have allowed me to grow as an adult. I have really challenged myself and I feel like a stronger, more independent women for doing so. I still have lots of learning and growing to do here, but I’m looking forward to it and the ways I will change and grow up as I reach my mid-twenties. I came to China unhappy with my life, admittedly still heartbroken and disappointed with love/ men (ok, one guy), and looking for change, adventure, challenges, and new scenery. Only 57 days in, and already I feel like a new person, I wake up feeling happier. I feel confident, enthusiastic and excited for the future. My urge to travel and seek new adventures is being satisfied and it makes my life worth living.

Let me give you some context as to why I have made this momentous leap half way across the world to live for a year. I was deeply unhappy, restless, and craving a different life, I was bored and frustrated. I ended a relationship, I quit my job, I applied for a new one in China and then I brought my one way ticket.

Since graduating from University, I wanted to work abroad and travel the world. Instead, I attempted to settle into a job I didn’t particularly enjoy and a relationship I believed in because I thought it was making me happy and what I should be doing at my age. In that year and a half, I learnt a lot, but more importantly it encouraged me to follow my dreams and not just go along with societal ideals of how one should live their life. Happiness is more important than living a life that you don’t want or enjoy.

So here I am. In China.

I am living out one of my dreams, and it makes me incredibly happy everyday. I used my degree, and the TEFL I had acquired at 18 to get a job as an English (ESL) Teacher in China. I don’t regret a thing.

Everyone I meet here has a story, of something that made them leap here, either escapism, wanderlust, heartbreak, boredom, or a lust for life.

It has nearly been two years since I graduated from University, and it has definitely been varied career-wise. I started off as a Finance Assistant, moved departments to become a PMO Administrator, then promoted to a Project Support Assistant, to then leaving to become an English Teacher in China.

Identity Crisis Questionnaire

The girl in the mirror – Who is she? What does she want?

Who and What, those two troublesome ;

They make or break a character.

We only ever question Who and What, but why?

 

Is the mirror showing an internal or external reflection?

Does it matter as they are both influenced by the same ruling force?

But then, who is receiving her true image – is it you? Is it I, myself? Or is it we?

Or is it someone we both can’t see?

 

What are we?

Who are we?

Growing up in the shadow of “Celebrity”

cI am the type of person which is never satisfied or happy with what is going on in my own life; I have constantly flicked from idea to idea, plan to plan, and desperately want to be someone else. I want to live someone else’s life because I am not happy with my own. When I was in my teens I obsessed over wanting to live a life like: Billie Piper, Lucy Griffiths and my high school English teacher. At University, I took to obsessing over pristine and immaculately beautiful acting and pop sensations like Pixie Lott, Cher Lloyd, Jennifer Lawrence and Cheryl. It’s been a never-ending stream of comparing my image to theirs, my life to theirs, and desperately wishing I could morph into one of them. I am still trying to work out why my mind wants another person’s body to inhabit – am I unhappy? Is this just an ongoing phase? Or is this mentally fuelled by the society I live in and the constant saturation of feminine beauty and idealism by and in the media and on social media? Am I product of this celebrity-focused media?

I have seen and read many articles and interviews on celebrities lives being ruined, and made unhappy by the media and paparazzi. I understand that sense of entrapment because I cannot escape their faces. I have been force-fed their stories, their images and their music/ films for years. All my life, in fact. I am sick of looking at these images of perfection and feeling shit about my own life and my own image. I don’t blame the celebrities themselves; I blame the industry for creating this insecurity within young people. The feeling of inadequacy, imperfection and self-hatred because success has been defined for us and none of us ordinary folk fit the bill. We all lose this battle.

We live in a world surrounded by the rich and famous, a world where you are expected to live, act and look a particular way. I have never felt the pressure more than I do RIGHT now. I feel pressure to succeed and do well because I have graduated from a good university with a good degree. As many graduates may feel too, I have absolutely no clue what to do, and it scares me. I have always had a direction, always had a life plan, and always had an inspiration and passion to follow. But, right now, I have neither of those. I am empty and uninspired and have no clue where to build a life, no clue where to build a successful career. All I know is that I want one.

Social media is the bane of my life. It’s everywhere and I hate it. I can’t escape it, and I hate it. It makes me unhappy seeing only the positive and great things people are saying and doing about their lives. Just like the media flooding the tabloids with images of celebrities and telling us intricate (and made up, or distorted, or exaggerated) details and tales of their lives. All of it has created a false perception of the world to every reader who digests this falsehood.

It has given me a false perception of the world; a world painted by selfies and boasting status’ of euphoric moments. I very rarely take selfies, and I very rarely post anything: I feel I have nothing to say. And, what I do have to say, I feel it is of no real value. It will be judged, be hated, or ignored, just like the rest of the content out there. What is one small, single voice in crowd shouting about everything they have achieved and done in the world?Now, this is not a post asking for self-pity; trust me, I give myself enough of that as it is. I just want to paint a picture of my experience growing up and living in the shadow of the ‘celebrity’.

A Graduate’s Tale – One year on

This month, one year ago, I was finishing the last tweaks to my final year dissertation and preparing the last of my coursework, and revision for exams. One year on, I have a job and very limited savings. On the plus, I have (finally) passed my driving test and bought myself a little black car.

When I first graduated from University with a degree in English Literature I had plans of grandeur. I planned to either: continue studying and become an English teacher, or make my working in the International Development sector. Fighting for human rights and making a difference in the world.

After a month of searching for jobs, various job and interview rejections, I settled for a job in finance before moving into Project Management in the Public Sector. As you may have guessed, this is not the plan or life I wanted for myself. There is no fight for justice, no travel to distant and foreign lands, no meeting of interesting and intriguing people.

This post will come across arrogant and ungrateful, I imagine, “waahh, poor me the Graduate who has lost their way”. “Join the queue, buddy” I hear you cry. Now, the key to this post is not to listen to my moans, it is me working through, in writing, what my next moves are.

Okay, so I’m unhappy, and Graduate life has not been what I wanted it to be. You also may be going through much harder things in your life than this, I understand. And do you know what? We’re strong, we’re strong enough to get through this. Strong enough to pick ourselves up and start again, whatever that means for you. We can do this. We can turn this around, we can achieve our dreams if we put our minds to it. For the past year I have lost sight of my dreams, glossed over my ambition and settled for something that I’m not content with. We should never settle for that. We’re better than that.

Tomorrow is a new day, let’s do this world. Time for change.

On finding my favorite high school teacher

Love this.

Last Year to Live

One of the recent assignments in our Year to Live class was to do a “life review,” and the instructions began something like this:

Sit quietly for a while and bring to mind someone from your past whose kindness touched your heart.

Envision yourself speaking to that person.  Tell them what they have meant to you.

In general, I’m a fan of any exercise that offers the chance of meaningful reflection.  Somehow, though, the process ofenvisioningmyself speaking with people who are very much alive seemed utterly ridiculous.  Why not actuallytalk to them?  Which is how I found myself on a mission to find my favorite high school teacher from 25 years ago.

Unfortunately, Dr. Montella (for she was one of those rare public high school English teachers with a PhD in the topic) had no discernible presence on the Internet.  A call to the high school led…

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