Tag Archive | my Japanese friend

Value of You

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The above image appeared in my Facebook feed today. Normally I’d just nod and click to share the post, but today it really got me thinking.

How can you tell the difference between a guy (or anyone, really) who values you, and one who just likes you?

To begin, I think you have to place a value on yourself. What do you believe you’re worth? Think of anything, think of everything. Are you worth living in a mansion or are you worth living in a run-down studio apartment? Are you worth having a clean microwave to cook your food?

You shouldn’t settle for less than that, but you should also be worth the effort it takes to have that. So for the microwave example, if you can’t clean that microwave, you’re not worth having a clean microwave.

Do you know why wealthy men have gorgeous wives? Because the guy believes his worth is to have a gorgeous wife. He worked hard for his money, so he earned her. What is her worth? A man who can afford her lifestyle, because she works hard to be beautiful. His money can go to her outward appearance. The value she placed on herself is such that she believes she deserves a wealthy husband. That’s a completely superficial example, and I hope that if you’re one of my dear readers, your worth is something more valuable than just appearances and money.

Back to the original quote. I thought about my friend from Japan when I pondered the quote’s meaning. Does he value me or does he just like me?

There are days when I think he doesn’t like me, that I’ve said or done something I can’t come back from. But then he writes back, and I think he must like something about me.

But does he value me?

I can’t tell you how many dead horses and broken records there are in our e-mail conversations. If I mention an incident that happened while staying with a friend, he immediately suggests that I should move in with my brother or another close family member. I remind him that it’s not even feasible to do so. If I talk about the job search and my need for money (still not asking him for money), he suggests that I ask family members for any assistance.

Personally, my patience might wear thin if I kept telling someone over and over again what they should do. I don’t know how he puts up with me sometimes.

I can’t move in with my brother because he’s a toxic narcissist. I don’t mean that in the sense that he kisses mirrors because he’s so beautiful. With him, it’s about being seen as the best. If you were exhausted after working 40 hours, you have nothing on him because he worked 50 hours doing back-breaking work. If you won an award, he undermines your achievement and acts like it was undeserved, but if he wins an award, you have to praise him for it because he put a lot into winning. After Mom passed, he bought a car, and I was supposed to be in awe at this expensive sports car that he had to have. I shrugged and acknowledged that he bought a purple car, because that’s all it meant to me. I wasn’t trying to be difficult, it just didn’t matter to me, but that was the wrong reaction.

If I had to determine my value based on who or what kind of person I chose to live with, I am worth more than living with my brother based on his personality. I am worth more than someone who wants to make me feel like I’m less than they are. I am worth being treated as an equal.

But if I had to analyze my Japanese friend’s intentions, it would be to hold on to my friendships.

Living here has had its tense moments, due in part to differences in personality between myself and the friend I’m staying with. A little over a week ago, I was ready to throw in the towel, but I knew I didn’t have any better options for a living space. Even as a bitter moment faded back to calmer attitudes, I was still agitated. But why? Well, my friend wants me off of her sofa, and out of her house. But to do that, I need to have a stable income. To get that income, I need to find a job, and I need the internet going to my computer to do job searches. So after she took the wireless internet away from everyone (but herself) and then returned it, she returned only the internet going to my computer. I’m still livid about that, because I can’t afford to have my cell phone bill incur any charges for going over my data allowance. But if I want that, and don’t want her to keep shutting off my internet, I could always move out.

My friend deserves to keep someone here who isn’t freeloading, but at the moment, I’m doing the best I can.

But does she value me?

She doesn’t like me. She’s trying to get rid of me so she doesn’t have to deal with my puns and other lame jokes and one-liners that come to mind. Actually, while I do understand that she’s bothered by that part of my sense of humor, I don’t really think that she doesn’t like me. And if she didn’t place any value on me, she would have been more forceful about kicking me to the curb, I’m sure. No, I believe that she knows I’m capable of more, that I’m worth having a job and that an employer somewhere needs to find me and see how awesome I really am. That’s why she’s been limiting my access to entertainment (because I can’t watch YouTube on the television if my Playstation 4 doesn’t have internet), so that I’m more focused on searching for a job.

It might be weird, but I’m actually more focused on working if there’s something of interest playing on the TV, or at least I’m calmer. That’s a story for another day.

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Admittedly, that’s my favorite e-mail yet, second only to maybe the Valentine’s Day message. It was a Friday night, after a long day of running errands and dealing with so many things. It had also been two days since his previous message to me. It was almost 1 in the morning my time, so it was about 2 in the afternoon on a Saturday for him. I sent him a quick message to try and get his attention, just in case he could jump on something to make a VoIP-based call of some sort but otherwise to tell him that I had to tell him about my day. That’s what he wrote back to me. I should have gone to sleep at that point, instead of writing back to say I was awake or even typing up my full message, but I figured I would forget some of the details that I thought were important.

If he liked me, he would have called.

But he doesn’t like me.

Because he values me. He wants me to live a healthier lifestyle. He wants my friendships to thrive. He wants my family members to care about me, and to take care of me because I’m a sister, a niece, a cousin. And okay, he does like me.

So if I had to smack someone upside the head with the knowledge of whether someone likes them or values them, I would ask questions until it became obvious. I’ve been liked by guys in the past. It’s fun, it feels nice, but there’s no challenge. Now I feel like a guy values me. Now I have to figure out what I’m worth. I have to figure out how much value I’m placing on the guy.

And you know what?

I’m worth a job that pays no less than $12 an hour. I’m worth a job that makes use of my customer service skills, my computer skills, my Associates degree.

I’m worth a decent shelter. A simple apartment that’s in good shape is enough for me.

I’m worth more than a brick of wavy ramen for meals. I’m worth a processed meat patty, at least. I’m definitely worth a greater variety of flavors than “chicken, beef, shrimp, and oriental.”

I’m worth first-hand clothing. I’m worth my skirts and dresses as much as I’m worth my t-shirts and jeans. I’m worth the fancy occasions and professional atmosphere that would require skirts and dresses, just as much as I’m worth the opportunity to be laid back and relaxed in my t-shirts and jeans.

I’m worth being valued.

And yet, I’m still worth so much more.

 

Bravery To Know The Truth

I haven’t posted anything in about a week, and that post was on the serious side. What can I really say? I’m back to the desperate job seeking, money is tight, so I’m not really going anywhere and doing anything special. Not only that, but one of the cats is routinely urinating on the blankets I use at night, and my friend thinks it’s funny because “he’s just an animal who doesn’t know any better.”

So my self-worth has tanked. I was sitting on the sofa last night, staring randomly towards the floor, while my blankets were in the wash, and I was thinking there was no point to washing the quilt covering the sofa if it was going to get peed on again, that I might as well just deal with it since my skin never actually touched the part that got wet. Maybe I should just stop caring when the living room smells like cat urine, and let my friend deal with the smell while I’ve been blessed right now with a sinus infection. I didn’t feel worthy of sleeping with clean bedding. I didn’t even feel like my friend cared, like she would think differently if it was her things getting ruined and she had to clean her bedding before sleeping, but I just had to put up with it.

But that much wasn’t important, other than to say I was feeling pretty miserable. My phone, which was sitting on my lap, alerted me to a new e-mail message: “I can talk in about 30 minutes, if you would like.” It was from my friend in Japan.

We hadn’t talked in about two or three weeks. There was a disagreement between us, which resulted in the usual bout of silence. I had the last words, which I used to get a few things off my chest which had been bothering me, but I knew those words could also be my last words ever so I stressed that what I was saying wasn’t out of anger or spite but my own concerns.

If I hadn’t thought about him every day, then it was every other day. I thought about what I said, and I know how it sounded. When I was feeling weak, I considered apologizing for the things I said, but then I reminded myself to stand behind my words. I had concerns, I needed to address them, and I did, so why turn around and wave it off like I wasn’t bothered? I imagined conversations with him and how they would go. And I often looked out the windows towards the street and towards my car, on the off-chance that he got the nerve to come all this way to see me just to say what he needed to say. At night, I just had to pull the blankets over my shoulder and tell myself to stop trying to imagine that I’m living in some romantic comedy.

I really didn’t think that I was going to hear from him again. I questioned how long it would be before I would stop thinking of him. But then his message was met with a bit of uncertainty on my part, so I responded with an “okay.” When he messaged me later to say he was ready to call, I responded with another, “okay.” It’s not the greatest way to begin a conversation, I’ll admit, because I could have been in any kind of mood to give a simple “okay” and he wouldn’t know if things were fine or if I’d bite his head off. The phone conversation started with telling me he was only going to be on the phone for about a half hour. When he got into what he wanted to say, which was his response to my last e-mail and a few things left unanswered, I started to interject and he told me not to interrupt him. He had things he wanted to say, things I didn’t quite understand, and he wanted to make sure he said as much as he could in the time he had.

At one point, I noticed his voice was a bit shaky. I’ve thought about that a few times over the past day. Was it hard for him to say what he did? Was he nervous? Was he determined? Was he scared that I would escalate the argument and start screaming at him?

After two hours, he said he was ending the call. It was only the fourth or fifth time during that call that he said he was going to hang up, so part of me wondered if he was going to think of yet another thing to talk about with me. We got past the worst of the call, as we started talking about my job search. I was laid off a few days after our argument, and I never wrote to him to tell him about that. I just wanted him to think I was still doing okay, that I had a grasp on life and was taking care of things. So when he mentioned me working, I had to let him know what happened. I think it changed his mood a bit, because the conversation did shift gears. It wasn’t about resolving conflicts and having courage to do so, it was about realizing that I had more pressing issues than how things were going with him.

And then we talked about Himuro, which was the most fun part of the conversation. So it’s no wonder that the conversation as a whole lasted almost two hours. It wasn’t spoken, but perhaps we just miss each other at times like these.

I went to bed feeling a little better about things between us. Well, that and my blankets were fresh from the dryer and they were amazingly warm and cozy. I desperately needed the pick-me-up, and my Japanese friend will never realize how meaningful it was to hear from him at all at that moment.

Well, the sun is coming up. I’m not even tired, but this is exactly what my friend would complain about: my habitual bedtimes that fall in the early hours of the morning. It’s only 6 pm in Japan, which means if he finds this before he goes to bed, I’m going to wake up to a potentially unhappy e-mail from him. So… nighty-night!

Self-Awareness Exercises, Question Five

I’m somewhat angered in regards to Rosetta Stone. However, I think my anger would be better directed towards the amplifier cable of my Turtle Beach headset. Perhaps the audio was cutting out because there’s an issue with that cable. Regardless, I haven’t tried using Rosetta Stone since then, but part of that is because I haven’t taken the time.

Things have been interesting, just the same. But this is yet another one of those self-awareness posts, so we won’t get into the latest happenings of my life… or will we?

For those of you playing along at home, there’s a five-minute timer in which I answer a writing prompt as a stream of consciousness. Of course, I explain myself after the five minutes are done, because it seems like a good idea to me but I’m sure it’s useful so I do it. I’m a rebel like that.

There’s also an introduction paragraph, which I’ll put… here:

“We each write our own story for our life.  What story are you writing for yours?  Set a timer (there should be one on your phone if no where else) for 5 minutes for each prompt and write as fast as you can for those five minutes.  If it goes off mid sentence, finish your sentence and stop.  You can always go back and do them again.  And if nothing come out at first, just start writing random words, and free write even if it seems like gibberish.  Remember to give yourself at least a little time to digest everything that comes to the surface for each prompt.  It may not hit all at once, or it may do so and it may even possibly overwhelm you.  Let it out and let it go.  There are no right or wrong answers here, only your deepest truths.  If it helps, look at these exercises as writing prompts for a novel, with you as the hero/heroine and write your story.”

Now for the magical prompt:

5.  The most incredible thing I ever did was. . .

And five minutes on the timer begins NOW!

The most incredible thing I did was selling a used flat screen television where the screen didn’t work anymore? I sold it for $50. That’s not my best work. Lately I seem to be recognizing my ability to make money appear out of nowhere. I’m the personification of taking your coat out of the closet and finding $20 in the pockets. I managed to have over $2,000 in the bank in NY when I thought I had very little, and that lasted me until now, but I have a job again so that helps. I was given a nickname by my Dad for my ability to always have money somehow. I don’t know how I do it, unless I’m irresponsible and lucky.

Stop the clock!

Yes, I sold a TV for $50. My brother said that no one would buy it. I might have been trying to sell it for too little, who knows. Mom and I had a few offers on it. We were trying to get it repaired, but the repair guy said there was nothing he could do. The guys who bought it from us said that they knew a way to fix it. That was fine by us. The television that Mom bought to replace that one is now my TV, and it travelled with me to New Jersey and back. It also has lasted longer than the TV it replaced, so I highly recommend buying Vizio televisions over Polaroid.

So I thought I was getting paid over the weekend. I checked my account, and there was nothing directly deposited into my account. I had an offer to settle one of my credit card debts, but “the offer would expire” on the 24th. Maybe it would, maybe not, but it’s an effective means of trying to get the debtor to pay back some of what’s owed. I made the call just the same, and I set up automatic payments to get this over and done with for that account. I told them I hadn’t been paid this weekend, and asked if they could postpone the payment by a week. So they set up the payment for the end of the month. And then my paycheck arrived in today’s mail. I’m not even mad, this actually gives me a bit of a cushion, but I still have to see what I have to work with before the weekend.

As for making a couple thousand dollars appear? I guess it wasn’t out of nowhere, but I had forgotten about it. I don’t remember if I set up my brother or my ex fiancé as the beneficiary, but one of those two… um, fine, upstanding gentlemen… one of them would have benefitted a bit off of my forgetfulness, assuming that either one of them considered accessing that account. And I don’t even know why I left that money in the account, when I knew I was moving to New Jersey and wouldn’t be near any branches of that bank. But I did, and leaving a little something for myself helped me out quite a bit.

One of my Dad’s nicknames for me was Moneybags. Part of that came from playing Monopoly, though my brother usually won while playing. Usually, it was my ability to make actual, real world money appear out of nowhere, as if I shouldn’t have some of the money that I did have. Part of my secret comes from having a frugal Mom, and part comes from having willpower at times, if I’m not just stashing money somewhere and forgetting all about it.

And yeah, irresponsible and lucky are both fitting. I’m probably making my Japanese friend panic because I told him I might overdraft my checking account this weekend. He already told me I should borrow a bit from family, just to get by and pay them back in a week or two when I’m able. I was sure that I would be able to get by, and that I might have enough if I moved some money around. I told him I still had something for gas, as I have cash in my wallet, and I had something for food because I still have a balance on my food stamps card. So even though finances would end up being the ultimate exercise in penny-pinching, I figured I still had enough to get by. And then my paycheck arrived in the mail. His mind is probably reeling, wondering if he can trust me with money and managing even my own finances. Then again, I’m already in debt and he’s still around, and I promised I’d never ask him for a dime and I haven’t needed to do so. And I have documents proving that I have this debt, so I’m not faking it for sympathy. All I can think is, despite my reckless behavior with money and my moments of derp, he must love me for me.

So, I must be pretty awesome.

If you want to participate in these self-awareness exercises, post in the comments or grab your own journal of some sort, or you can pop over to Facebook and post there! Don’t forget to check the “self-awareness questions” tag for all the fun I’ve had so far.

Wait, What? The Retraction To The Confession!

So I’ve been talking about my friend from Japan, and I’ve also been alluding to another person who was my valentine. Then, I confessed that they were the same person.

So what do I need to retract?

I wrote that entry when I thought things had ended, and after I said what I thought was going to be a final goodbye to him. I hit a moment where I thought that a few things about me were more than he could handle anymore. Here I was, eating sweets for my birthday even though he advised that I shouldn’t eat sweets if I wanted to get healthier, and I was acting carelessly by holding off on taking a guaranteed job offer because I wanted to wait for an upcoming interview. He was hardly talking to me around that time, which made me feel like he didn’t accept my own birthday as an exception to the suggestion about sweets, and he wasn’t thinking the same way as I was about what I was trying to achieve in my career.

Not to mention, he said that I’d do things my own way anyway. That’s not entirely true. I tended to be more selfish if I didn’t feel like he cared and I cared less in turn. But if I felt like he was into me, I stepped things up and did things that I felt he would appreciate. I don’t know when I started doing that in life, unless I’m just doing it now as a defense mechanism after my previous relationship ended. I feel like it keeps things in perspective, in a sense, as I would rather not give in so easily if a person isn’t interested in me, I’d rather know that they care about me and I’m just showing my love for them in return.

So anyway, I said my goodbyes, blah blah blah,… and I stopped talking to him for… two days? I wrote to him after my interview with Delta was cancelled, and I told him how I called the staffing agency to see if the other position was still open. And then I said goodbye again, because I was really going. I really meant it, you know?

And then, he wrote back! He said he was going to wish me good luck, that is until he saw my note about the interview being cancelled. He asked me a couple of questions as well. I  was like, “do you not want me to go?” Because answering questions means I have to write back. He didn’t say goodbye to me, or wish me luck in life. He kept writing to me as if I never was trying to leave.

Day two of the new job started with being too tired to stay up as late as usual, then focusing on getting ready for work, and then going and starting the work day. During each of those moments, he sent an e-mail, the last one containing a few music videos on YouTube. Damn it, I let him get away with speaking through lyrics! One song in particular went something like, “I think about you every day, you’re my partner in crime, I’ll catch you if you fall.” I have yet to actually see him before I buy into the lyric about “I’m taking a vacation, I’ll see you at the station.” I did giggle, as one of the lyrics says something about sleeping with strangers, which is what I’m doing if you consider I’m on their couch and they’re all upstairs in their own beds.

So wait, what about White Day? Surely he mustn’t be into me since he did nothing! Well… he wasn’t talking to me at that time. He said that he wanted to say or do something for me, which hurt him to not break the silence on his side just to do it. But, I don’t know. Ah, but that was a month ago, and I should just move on.

Maybe he thought I wasn’t trying hard to look for work, and that’s why he seemed to be giving up. Maybe his final goodbye would have been while wishing me luck with the Delta interview. But maybe reminding him of how I was trying to do things for him, and also showing that I understood my careless behavior but was fortunate enough that something worked out in my favor, maybe I reminded him that I wasn’t just reckless and selfish, that there was a method to my madness, a willingness to risk something of myself if only to gain something greater.

Have I fallen completely head over heels? Ha, not yet! I have yet to meet him in person, for starters. I figure that if he’s not who he says he is, although I have few people who would miss me, those people can’t pay my ransom if I’m kidnapped because they don’t come from money. Not to mention, I wouldn’t be the most sought-after sex slave if I was trafficked, and my bodily organs wouldn’t be worth much from having this much fat attached to them. So maybe I should just give in and trust that he actually likes me for my personality.

I must say, though, that he does have good taste in music. So maybe he’s the perfect guy for me, because no one else has presented me with music that I’ve listened to this steadily. I mean, when I thought I had ended it, I tried going back to the entirety of my music library, but I found myself wanting to listen to just Himuro. I’ve also listened to other songs by some of the artists that he’s sent me songs for, and they’re good songs.

So… I can’t really say what’s going to happen between my Japanese friend and I. Honestly, I don’t want to turn this blog into my own Asian romantic drama. I especially don’t want it to become a South Korean drama, because it’s usually the female lead that gets amnesia, and even though the guy does everything he can and she eventually comes out of it, I still don’t want amnesia. All joking aside, my love life is my personal business, first and foremost. If I talk about it, it’s because I’m trying to understand it and basically navigate uncharted territory. Usually I’ll point out some mistake I made, because I don’t mind being dumb if I learned something from it. It’s actually nice to talk about being won over by a guy who actually seems to get me, so I do want to talk about what happens.

But look at what I’ve done! Two things that I wanted to improve upon, and I did it! I found a new love, and I have a job now! But I’m not going to stop there, because there’s more I have yet to do. Let’s do it!

Self-Awareness Exercises, Question Four

I am dumb. There’s a retraction I might have to post in regards to a confession I made.

Then again, as far as going forward, I’m second-guessing things. It’s not him, it’s me, and it has to do with the Easter fallout with my brother and my trust being shaken. Well, my trust is shaken in the sense that my brother seems to be a textbook narcissist, so I’m really questioning how much my brother cared about me and if I might actually be part of the problem. But then that’s more baggage for other people in my life to deal with, which isn’t fair to them. So I have to work through it, maybe stop talking about my brother and just claim to be an only child (which, biologically, I am).

Ugh. So then, let’s work through another one of these self-awareness questions, shall we? It should help.

Just a refresher of the introduction:

“We each write our own story for our life.  What story are you writing for yours?  Set a timer (there should be one on your phone if no where else) for 5 minutes for each prompt and write as fast as you can for those five minutes.  If it goes off mid sentence, finish your sentence and stop.  You can always go back and do them again.  And if nothing come out at first, just start writing random words, and free write even if it seems like gibberish.  Remember to give yourself at least a little time to digest everything that comes to the surface for each prompt.  It may not hit all at once, or it may do so and it may even possibly overwhelm you.  Let it out and let it go.  There are no right or wrong answers here, only your deepest truths.  If it helps, look at these exercises as writing prompts for a novel, with you as the hero/heroine and write your story.”

And what’s the task at hand?

4.  If I were to descirbe myself, I would say that I am. . .

I am dumb.

Okay, let’s take this seriously! Five minutes on the clock… and GO!

If I were to describe myself, I would say that I’m relatively intelligent. I would also say that I’m a nice person, perhaps too nice at times. Usually I wouldn’t say that I’m compassionate, but then I have moments when I see something and I actually care, like my heartstrings are pulled or something. I don’t really know if I’m introverted or extroverted, so because I seem to go both ways, I must be an ambivert. I would say I’m antisocial, but then I do want to socialize with people, and then I just want to be in my own little world when I’m around people I can socialize with. As for looks, I don’t think I look terrible. I think I actually look pretty cute at times. Then there’s moments when I’m self-conscious but don’t have the means to fix the issues I see, like my skin breaking out because I stopped caring since I wasn’t going anywhere. But I don’t think I’m a terrible person overall.

And that was five minutes.

I use the words “relatively intelligent” because of a quote about everyone being a genius, but if you judge a fish on it’s ability to fly, it will always think it’s stupid… or something like that. I believe Einstein is quoted as having said that, and I could look it up, but then I’d probably find a page that says, “this was originally quoted as this person, but it was actually said by this other person years ago in this ancient manuscript.” Long story short, there’s a quote, I wasn’t smart enough or old enough to think of it first, and it applies. So when I say I’m relatively intelligent, I might know more about computers than you, but I know there are people who are hackers, networking specialists, programmers, you name it, and they can run circles around me. I might know my way around a kitchen, but I’m not a five-star chef. I might not be working up to my potential as it is, I could probably do more if I focused on something and honed my skills in that one thing for a while.

I’d say I’m too nice at times, not in the sense that I would tell others I’m nice and they should believe it, but because there are times when I feel like something should run its course because I can’t find a way to excuse myself that doesn’t seem rude to me. I’m not entirely sweet, because I can be sarcastic or cynical at times. But I try to use my manners, I try to allow others the right of way before myself, I try to save or hold things for people. I try to care for others, sometimes putting strangers over myself.

In regards to being compassionate, some things don’t affect me. Starving children or dying pets in those commercials? I’m sorry, but if these charities have money for advertising, then they have enough money to allocate more resources to help those in need. But if my friends have a pet or a child in need of help? What do you need? What can I do? I want to help, if I can.

No people, some people, a lot of people, it’s all the same to me. Talking to everyone, talking to people I feel comfortable with, talking to no one, it doesn’t matter. I can exhaust myself if I’m left to my own devices, I can be exhausted after being with people. So as far as I’m concerned, I’m an ambivert. I do have antisocial moments, but then I have other times when I want to be around people and get disappointed when I can only get a small group of people together. Again, it’s all the same to me.

Ugh, I let myself go and my complexion is suffering right now. I need to get to Lush and get some of my favorite facial scrub. My face has some good days, but this isn’t one of them. But I wouldn’t use that to describe myself, because there are times when my complexion is better than this.

And again, I don’t consider myself to be a terrible person overall. I don’t really try to make new friends, but sometimes it just happens. I don’t usually try to reach out to people, but sometimes I need people for something and I get to see who’s looking out for me. I don’t think I’m anything too special, and I’m probably not interesting to most people. But I’m not going to try to be popular, or highly sought after, or even loved. I’m going to let things fall where they may. Right now, I’m comfortable with my existence. There ARE people who care about me. There ARE people who I care about, who matter to me. But there’s things I have to do for me, that I can’t ask of others, because it’s my burden to bear.

That’s about all I have to say for that question. If you’re following along, click the “self-awareness questions” tag for everything so far. And if you want to do the question for yourself, you can post in the comments or write in your own journal or blog. I keep forgetting to mention, you could also post on Facebook if you so desire, or just go there to follow me and any brief updates I might have to make.

Sunday Bloody Easter Sunday

I had a lovely Easter dinner today. There was ham and a roasted chicken, asparagus, spaghetti squash, mini shepherd’s pies, roasted potatoes, rolls, and a cake in the shape of a lamb. One of the guys cut into the lamb cake like he was actually slaughtering a lamb, which was pretty funny. There was plenty to eat and drink, and everyone was laughing and having an amazing time.

There’s just one hitch: this wasn’t my family.

A couple of days ago, my brother called to invite me to Easter dinner with his family. Because it was already Friday, I was starting to make plans to have dinner at the house I’m staying in for the time being, and spend the afternoon with my friend, her mom, her mom’s current husband, and a couple of my friend’s siblings. But since I was invited to my brother’s house, it was a familial obligation to go.

I spent Easter morning in different rooms of the house, sweeping and tidying things up as needed so my friend’s family wouldn’t have too many issues with the state of things. When I figured things were down to cooking and such, I looked around and pondered what I needed to bring with me to my brother’s place. I really only needed my car keys and sunglasses, as I wasn’t asked to bring any food or anything else with me. Well, my cell phone will always be needed, just in case, and I did have that with me. I walked out of my friend’s house and headed to my brother’s place.

When I walked in, I was greeted normally, with a hello and a “Happy Easter.” My brother’s significant other asked me how things were, so I started talking to her about the status of my food stamps as they had been discontinued. I mentioned what was said on the paperwork that arrived, and I told her what my current situation happened to be.

At the mention of having a job, I was asked where I was working. I didn’t want to say a thing. Instead of thinking that maybe I didn’t want to talk about it because I was embarrassed or something, my brother and his s.o. pressed on, saying it was weird that I didn’t want to talk about it. That, in turn, made me uncomfortable.

I wanted to talk about my job separately, because I wanted to build up some excitement, I didn’t just want to say, “I work here and I’m doing this.” I mean, I risked the loss of two opportunities by waiting for an upcoming interview that was cancelled the day before it was scheduled. That’s a suspenseful story you tell around the campfire, right? I wanted to talk about my life in such a way that would make it a little less boring than just hearing the details, because it felt like a roller coaster for me to deal with it and I wanted people to feel like they were there with me for the ride.

But no. Instead, I was told that I started an issue, and perhaps I did, I won’t doubt it. And I was told that I owed my brother an apology. He didn’t care if I stayed or left, and as time went on, leaving felt like a better idea. By the time I was back to his doorway, my apology was that I was sorry for being a horrible person, for saying and doing the wrong things. I said I felt like I didn’t grow up at all since Mom passed. I thought about saying worse things, suggesting I’d go crash my car or somehow kill myself. At this point, I don’t know if I only thought I’d tell him it was the last he’d hear from me, or if I really said it, suggesting that I was severing ties with him. All I know is that I cried on the way back to my car.

I drove back in silence. Plugging in my phone to play music seemed like it would take too much time. I just needed to get away from there.

Once I returned to the closest thing I have to being my home, I wanted to be vague and dramatic like a teenager’s Facebook posts, but I knew my friend would understand. She has met my brother before. I told her what happened in that span of five to ten minutes that I was at my brother’s place. She asked why I bothered.

Familial obligation.

She is now forbidding me from seeing my own brother. Well, he’s technically adopted, so it’s not really blood, we just have legal bonds. And our parents aren’t around anymore, so it’s up to the extended family to decide who the bigger asshole is between him and I.

Mom would have used guilt on me. She would tell me that I needed to be nice to him, that he’s the only brother I have, and he’s all I have in this world.

But, I do have friends. And those friends taught me a few things, like how other people invalidate your feelings.

My friends don’t need to have an active role in my life, though. I sometimes just need someone to post the right image or article on social media, and if it resonates with what I’m dealing with, I’ll share it for others who might need it.

But otherwise, it’s a matter of introspection. Do I feel like I did something wrong? Yes. Do I feel like I had been wronged? Yes.

Do I really stand behind the words I used in my apology? No.

I don’t feel as if I’m a horrible person. I don’t believe that. I might trust the wrong people, or I might do things because I feel I’ll be rewarded when I won’t be, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. I know I don’t say or do the right things, but sometimes it’s a matter of perspective, and maybe I’m doing or saying what’s right for me instead.

If I don’t talk to my brother again, it won’t be a loss. That sounds like a cold thing to say. But I don’t get excited to talk to him on the phone. Going to his place feels like I have to drag myself there. I don’t want to associate myself with him, because no part of it gives me joy. Even to talk about him to people who haven’t met him, I feel like I have to give them some kind of warning for what they might deal with, when I should be excited to talk about him and his interests.

I had even told my Japanese friend that if he ever meets my brother, all he has to do is give me a signal and we will leave his place. Japanese people are way more polite. I had once asked my Japanese friend about what he did for work, and he gave me a vague answer that listed the kinds of jobs he could do for work, but I didn’t press on and let it go. If he was with me at my brother’s place, he would have asked to leave at the moment when it started to sound like a good idea to me.

Well, regardless of everything, I got away from a situation where I felt attacked, for lack of a better word. And I helped my friend finish with getting ready for dinner, then helped her and her family to consume and enjoy all the food she’s been preparing for the past few days.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, as a person who has had friends come and go for every possible reason, the people who care about you… nay, the people who give a damn about you… those are your real family members. It doesn’t matter if they’re related or not. If they acknowledge your Facebook posts, or they send you some kind of message, or they remember your birthday, that’s your family. Your family will change over time, but that’s okay. Your family can be like a bonsai tree, small and in need of being pruned from time to time. What matters is having a group of people that supports you, who also won’t be enablers and will kick your rear end onto the path that you need to be on.

But for your own health, don’t force yourself to love people who make you feel less than you are. Don’t even stand for such treatment. If you can walk away, do so. Life is too short to waste time on people who don’t want you to feel special or become more amazing.

Unless, of course, it’s your parents making you feel bad. Give them the benefit of a doubt, talk to other people to get another opinion on the situation. If you can do something that blows their minds instead of disappointing those people who raised you, do that.If your parents are actually abusive in some way, then you need to get away from them. Otherwise, love your parents.

Call your mom.

Confession Time! Too Much Distance, Not Enough Relationship

If you’ve been here a while, at least since February, then you know I had my heart set on someone. Trying to do something meaningful, I ended up recording myself singing to the song More Than Words while playing the Playstation karaoke game SingStar, and that was my Valentine’s Day gift to him. Then White Day rolled around, and I had nothing in return.

If you’ve also seen me talk about “my friend from Japan,” then I have to confess that he was my valentine.

He wrote to me on OKCupid, which I joined about a week after my fiancé and I ended our three-year relationship. In hindsight, joining so suddenly was a bad move, but I still felt like I had love that I had to give to someone, my heart was full and I needed to pour it out. It was a hectic time for me, as that was when I was losing the apartment and the job I just barely started in addition to losing my fiancé. I should have taken everything a day at a time, and here I was, looking to fill a void and hopefully doing so for the rest of my life.

Needless to say, meeting someone on a dating site sets up a certain expectation. I didn’t mind, because falling for someone in Japan was in line with my goals for the future, at least in the sense that it would motivate me to not give up on my dream of going to Japan. But the more we talked, the more I found out that he wants to live in the States, at least because I already live here, and yet he didn’t want to live in my area. He wants to have kids, but I’ve always been against the idea of giving birth, though I might reconsider if I found the right guy and had a decent marriage.

Our differences were an issue, of course, but I was willing to bend as long as I got to see Japan and everything else seemed just right. An issue I faced is that I wasn’t good at something I’ll refer to as “arguing in Japanese.” Okay, I’m an Aries, I’ve spent the better part of my life arguing with a fellow fire sign, my brother who’s a Leo. I can get pretty passionate when something means something to me. I also have a history of people disrespecting me, not to mention I’m trying not to be the doormat I used to be. So if I have an opinion, I’m going to express it! The problem with that is, Japanese people argue in such a way that maintains harmony between the two people who are arguing. My issue is that, even if I see the point that the other person is trying to make, I’m not the best at expressing that, and I go right into what I want to say next.

Such issues have led to periods where he wouldn’t respond to my e-mails. As an American, that usually means the person is done with you and they’re too much of a coward (or at least, non-confrontational) to properly end things with you. The longest period that that happened was a month, and yes, I thought he had ended things. So I was irritated when he wrote back, ignoring the message I had sent to him, and just asking about things in my life without directly asking about me. Recently, it was a week of him saying nothing, then writing to me to wish me a happy birthday, only to go silent again.

Recently, a lot has gone on in my life, to the point where spending the day away from the house I’m staying in has been a vacation. The week prior to my birthday was spent with a child who was a manic-depressive handful, and he’s only 6. The day after my birthday, I received word that I was invited for a follow-up interview for a company I would be honored to work for, so I was super excited about that. A couple of days ago, I got a phone call out of the blue for an interview with another company. I cannot say I’ve been bored lately.

The interview situation was a mess. When I got the call to come in for an interview, the interview was the very next morning so they could fit me in before meeting with their client that I’d be working for. It sounded like a guaranteed position, if I accepted the job that very day. But I still had the other appointment, so I chose to do the other interview and see how things went from there. However, I’m not guaranteed to still have the first position in a week, a job I would have been starting Tuesday morning if I agreed to work for them. The friend I’m staying with said I should take the position, and then quit if I get the other job. Unfortunately, taking the first job means I’ll have to go to work and miss the interview for the other job altogether.

I wrote to my Japanese friend and asked him what he would suggest, though I was certain he would tell me I should have taken the guaranteed job. He basically told me not to ask him, and that I’d do whatever I wanted anyway. With an answer like that, I might as well do what I believe to be in my best interests. I gave him as much information as I could about both jobs, hoping for at least a debate or for his thoughts either way.

That’s when I could tell the light had faded, and that he was done with me. So I responded by ending things between us.

Regardless of whether I do whatever I want to do or not, I would rather have people ask questions about my options and actually have a debate. If someone tells me, “oh, I would have done this if I were you,” yes I ignore that because I feel like they don’t have all of the information that I have. Yeah, I keep saying “guaranteed job versus other job,” and I know everyone would say, “should’ve taken the sure thing” without asking for more information.

And no, you don’t know everything about My Japanese Friend. I don’t even know everything about him. But things were fun while they lasted, and if nothing else, it was a nice way to heal my broken heart. My heart really isn’t broken after ending things with My Japanese Friend, because if I’m giving him something he wants and it makes him happy, then it’s enough for me. And I learned a few things about love and relationships with Japanese men, so I’ll be a bit more prepared if something happens when I get over there.