It's Okay To Be Different. Because It's Yours.
This is quite sudden, but I stayed in the United States for two years after graduating from high school. After that, I worked part-time and worked as a company employee in Japan but I retired from that job as well. Now, in addition to working as a sole proprietor in a family-run business, I also help out at a friend's restaurant and receive a small amount of money from doing my favorite coaching and writing.
Such a variety of jobs have different merits, and I can switch my feelings.
Meanwhile, my brother always gets angry at me, telling me to live my life more appropriately. For me, being told to properly become a company employee, get married, and have children as soon as possible is superfluous. It's uncomfortable because it feels like those values are being forced on me.
My brother's unnecessary words disgust me, but at the same time, I’m confronted with evidence that a society that accepts this way of life has not yet permeated. I can't help but feel that way.
I always feel like I often don't belong to the majority in Japan.
My mother tells me that I’m strong-willed and the more I speak my mind, the more I lose, so I've played soft women. When I feel uncomfortable, I sometimes hide my opinion and blame myself for not being able to deny my opinion. It throws me off balance and makes me depressed. When the word "menhera" was used as a joke, I was afraid that by telling people about my dark side, they would leave me. I didn't let anyone see me depressed. When I was a teenager, such a vicious circle continued.
The me I want is still not accepted in this country. I think there are actually a lot of people in this country who feel that they are also a part of the minority.
So the prevalence of mental illness is lower than in the West, and the suicide rate is probably higher. That's what I start thinking. I think too hard, and I feel like I have no room in my heart.
After all, I feel indescribable when I think that walking the path of the majority is the easiest way to live in this country.
There were many times when I couldn't find kindness and fun as a result of thinking too much.
At the same time, "What are you doing now?"
This phrase is the first thing people say when they meet me for the first time.
This phrase spreads the topic when talking to people you meet for the first time.
Therefore, I can see that there’s kindness in creating a topic and that words don’t have much meaning. But every time someone says that to me, I feel cramped.
While replying to those words, I think it would be fine to do whatever I’m doing. Every time, I think to myself that I'm sulking.
I spent my time thinking excessively that I had to become a big person with whom I could talk more because the majority would decide whether or not to get along with me based on that label. And my idea makes me realize that I have an insecurity about my work and educational background.
Every time, my brother's words, “Do it properly,” rain down on my head. In that way, I have been thinking about doing things properly, which is recognized by the majority in Japan. I become thick-headed. But what does doing things properly mean?
For whom? For what?
Lately, I've been overthinking again, and I'm not sure myself.
At that time, my job changed, and I had originally planned to travel to Europe alone. I went to many countries.
When I go to a mixed place, there’s no such thing as a majority, and the atmosphere where it’s natural to have minorities makes me "who hasn’t lived properly" cheerful.
Even though I feel like I'm a minority in Japan, I like the mindset that makes me feel like I'm "normal."
For three years, I didn’t go abroad due to the pandemic.
Looking out the window on the railway through the countryside, I realized that I had always wanted to do this.
It was a luxury to be able to do what I wanted without being denied anything.
And I realized that I was a little tired because I tried to match the values of those around me too much, and I couldn't find a balance.
I felt nothing but unpleasant things. I was hurt by the casual words around me, and my heart was tingling. Before I knew it, I had lost my composure to the extent that I felt like my existence was being denied.
That’s why, even after leaving Japan, I feel that it’s very important to create a balance of distance among people, places, and things.
If you’re chased by the days, you won’t recognize that you’re working hard, and you come to think that it’s natural. We forget to praise ourselves and make time for ourselves.
We have children, jobs, housework, and various environments. So it’s difficult to make time.
That's when I do journaling. Eat a lot of your favorite ice cream. Get up early and go for a run. Clean up your room, and eat delicious food. Meditate. Watch a movie and cry. Don’t do anything you don’t want to. Try to force yourself to face yourself. Stop trying to do your best.
Then I could see what I wanted or what I gave up. You don't have to force yourself to want what you want to throw away.
I'm not tired yet so it's okay. I'm still fine, so it's okay. Because this is normal.
Even if you think like that, you need time to reset.
We have no right to be denied or to deny what we do.
I want to be who I am, and no one else.
It's okay to be different. Because your personality is yours.
Please indulge yourself from time to time so that you can admit that you want to do what you want to do.
The direction of the mind is what you want rather than how you should be.
Written by Himawari Murano
Translated by Rio Ishida
Edited by Emiru Okada
Graphics by Claudia MacPhail