The Silence

‘And God said “love your enemy” and I obeyed him and loved myself’ – Khalil Gibran

Some of you have been wondering why I haven’t posted for so long and now here is all the answers, for warning this may be a long post haha – enjoy guys!

So first of all thank you for all of the concern and love that has been given by everyone that has messaged me and helped me with everything over the last month. I’m quite well now and slowly starting to feel back to my old self. I’m constantly laughing and smiling so that’s always a good sign right!

If any of you reading this have ever felt out of place, isolated or just don’t feel that you are quite yourself then this may relate.

I’ll start by saying that Japan is one of the most amazing places that I have ever been to, it is unique, full of energy and constantly on the move. These are all mazing qualities but these are also reasons why it makes it such an overwhelming country to live in. I knew all along that moving to Tokyo would be a huge culture shock but I didn’t realise how much it would affect me. The main area that it affected was my body image and along with that came my confidence and my social interactions. I’ve always had low self confidence and issues with my body since I was a young girl but never have I hated the image in the mirror as much as I have since I came here. I will say now that this is nothing to do with the lifestyle out here or society, or anything to do with Japan…it just happened out here.

Last year I was dealt a series of blows to my self confidence and then in September I broke my ankle…I know what you are thinking, what has a broken ankle got to do with this? Well imagine hating your body image and starting a plan of how you are going to change it and then being told that you have an injury that prevents you from exercising for 3/4 months. On top of that imagine being on crutches at university, not being able to go very fast and having everyone stare at you constantly. Having girls shout comments at you because you have to have a boot on your foot. Luckily my flat mates kept me going and picked me up whenever I was at my breaking point. Wine nights became a saviour for all of us haha…I love my girls.

The new year came and I was finally in a position where I could start back at the gym and start swimming again. I threw myself into an exercise plan and meal plan and I started to see changes but it wasn’t good enough. Then I moved to Japan where for the first couple of weeks I was riding on a wave of exhilaration and excitement. Then I started to really look around me and once I opened my eyes I was so uncomfortably aware that I was surrounding by women who are so petite and dressed beautifully all of the time. And so I figured if I dressed up everyday, perfected my makeup and hair then I wouldn’t feel that bad about being so much bigger than these women. Side note, the national average dress size in the UK is a 14/16, I am below that at a size 12 and 5ft 6, so in no way am I overweight. I thought that shopping would help me feel better as it did whilst I was at home but unfortunately not a lot of clothes will cater over here and so I left feeling disheartened. And so this led to me skipping meals and thinking that would help, I started losing weight and my clothes were more comfortable and so it spiralled and soon I was eating a few mouthfuls here and there each day. The downside to this was I felt isolated in my emotional pain and so I isolated myself from everyone else. I kept telling myself that no one wanted me around and that it wouldn’t be noticed if I wasn’t around. This kept going until one night I stood in front of my mirror, tears running down my face and I said out loud…’I cant do this anymore, I want to be happy again’. Two days later a friend reached out to me and she brought me back to life, we went out and had girlie nights and just talked about makeup and travelling, we just had the kind of fun that takes your mind off of everything. Its an amazing feeling being able to laugh without feeling guilty for it.

Slowly I started to rebuild the bridges that I had broke down and felt myself slowly grow back into the group of friends I have in Japan. I started to explore this beautiful country again and settle down with my school work, things began to look up. Then my best friend and my mum came out to visit me. These amazing people visited me all the way from England and I finally felt like myself again. I know realise that I have a fantastic support network surrounding myself and that I have so many things to look forward to in the future. Luckily I realised a lot of important things before things got any worse and so this has me want to change the way that I care for my friends and how I am towards others. More importantly this has changed how I want to treat myself! May is the month of mental health awareness and nothing rings more true but its also about remembering to look after yourself. I’ve learnt to find a balance between spending time with people and taking some time to myself. I’m now reading one of my favourite books, listening to music that reminds me of good memories and looking at new places to travel to. I strongly believe that travel heals the soul and so I shall continue to heal mine.

I am so happy now and have so much to look forward to. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to read this as trust me its not been easy to write. Thank you to everyone that has supported me and continues to support me. I love you all and trust me I’m back in my groove now and so many more posts will be coming just bare with me whilst I start writing them around my assignments.

Now go and make someone smile!!!

Until next time

Tasmin

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