Posted in Slice of Life

Weird Superstitions I Have

Weird Superstition #1: Throwing away gifts = bad luck

I am currently in the process of moving, which means inevitably stuff needs to get thrown out. Because I’m moving in Japan, that means essentially getting rid of nearly everything, as that would be cheaper than bringing all my stuff with me.

Not even kidding, it’s about 14,000 yen (about $150) to “recycle” my fridge, washer, and a broken microwave. It would cost me triple of that to move them, and that’s not even considering the hassle of finding that company that would have a moving van in the next couple of weeks.

I’m downsizing all of my material possessions into boxes and suitcases. With any luck, I’ll be able to move without a lot of hassle into the new place. However, I have a hard time letting go of gifts.

I imagine most sane people can chuck stuff without much issue. For me, it’s a tough call. I have odd and weird superstitions about my stuff (i.e. junk) that I really shouldn’t. A keychain someone gave me three years ago that I never use shouldn’t be something I take with me, right? Yes?

But it was a gift, says my inner-not-so-sane voice. You can’t get rid of it. Why? Because all that good will given to me will then be promptly thrown away with it. All the love, the thoughtfulness, will go straight in the garbage!

Which made this particular move so difficult, as the washer and desk I currently possess are also gifts. The desk is huge with a glass top and shelves on the side. My friend Alex gave it to me before he left for South Korea, which was great! But now I’m terrified of getting rid of it, even though I literally have no money to take this with me. 

The washer is about ready to die, though. Its spin cycle is more of a slosh cycle, so I rarely use it anymore. It’s actually more convenient to run to the laundromat and get all my clothes washed in one go. So for that particular machine, I can let it go without feeling like I’m also tossing out the good intentions of my friend.

And yes, I’m fully aware all of my friends probably A) don’t remember giving me most of this stuff in the first place and B) would absolutely forgive me for tossing it all out and C) would think I’m nuts for getting all worked up about it in the first place.

Tomorrow, I’m taking my stuff up to future roommate’s apartment for storage. After tomorrow, I gotta either get rid of the rest of the things in the apartment or get screwed over come mid-April with everything else going on (job training, having very little money, etc.). Fighting against this superstition is vital for my own good.

But it still sucks. I hate tossing love away.

Weird Superstition #2: If I Spend Over 100,000 yen (over $1,000) at one time = DEATH

I grew up in a “feast and famine” household.

Whenever my mother received her tax returns or got a bonus of some sort, we could eat out and buy stuff. Most of the time, paycheck to paycheck struggles were our normal. Only a few occasions did the electricity or water get turned off from a bounced check, and I do mean few, but still it happened. My mother was a single parent doing the best she could, we didn’t starve or anything.

All the same, I have a difficult time spending money on things. I am frugal about a lot of stuff. I don’t pay for hundreds of dollars in any brand of clothing ever, I don’t eat out at places that are over 5,000 yen (not even for nomikais ). I buy used electronics and household things, literally most of the stuff in my kitchen is a collection of Daiso things and appliances handed over to me by people leaving the country.

Most people probably assume that I’m doing it out of trying to save money, and that is partly true. I like to save money more than I like spending it, and in general that’s a good way to go through life. However, at the same time I’m also dealing with my brain constantly shouting at me about spending money.

Especially for expensive things, like say I dunno, moving. I need to pay move-in costs for the new apartment, I need to pay for things to get chucked, and I gotta pay for everything in quick succession. The move-in costs for the new apartment are about 300,000 yen, but I’m splitting those costs with roommate, so it’s about 150,000-170,000 yen (over $1,500-1,700) depending upon the move-in date.

My brain is not a fan of these costs. It doesn’t matter that I saved up enough for it, it doesn’t matter that I have a credit card in the event of unforeseen costs so I can get food, doesn’t matter that I’ve already planned out my whole damn budget for the next two months! I will starve and die because I’m spending this money all at once!

It’s a bad move, because I will surely not have thought of something and it will be too much for me to deal with, and without this money I will-!

Go ask my mother or my roommate for a temporary loan. It’s not a big deal, and I recognize this fact as logical, but logic has got nothing to do with random anxiety. I hate dealing with this superstition on top of the other one, but what can you do?

Weird Superstition #3: If I Don’t Do Everything Myself, Everything Will Fall Apart

I have a hard time asking for help.

It’s a trifecta of problems to sort through right now. I hate putting my burdens onto other people, and asking for help is the worst way to do just that. It means I’ve let myself and others down by not being able to do it all on my own. Even though historically speaking I’ve gotten to where I’ve been because of all the support I’ve received, I still live everyday trying to be a pillar of support for others instead of the one needing support.

So when I’m the one standing in the middle of a wrecked room, unsure about everything that will happen and if I can do it all on my own, I feel strangely defeated in the knowledge that I’ll need to ask for help. I have these thoughts that my friends and family will be so disappointed and disgusted with me for it.

Which is quite ridiculous, because my friends gave me job recommendations and assisted me in trying to find a new place without me even needing to ask. For some reason, getting unasked for help is fine, but me actually having to say the words, “I’m sorry, but I need your help,” ties me up in knots.

If I don’t do it, it won’t get done. I took this lesson instilled in me by my mother who did everything herself and from my own personal experiences. Somewhere along the line it turned into a more twisted version of, if I don’t do it, everything will go horribly wrong.

I’m working on it, or I should say I’m pushing through it, because projects like moving demand that I must. I need help to get everything done, I need to spend that money to move into an awesome new place, and I need to get rid of the things holding me down. If I continue to keep thinking in these same old patterns, I’m never going to go anywhere.

Taking these steps towards change is a terrifying concept, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s also exhilarating, I’ll admit, to go into this new territory where I don’t let my weird superstitions own me anymore. I’m fighting through them, and no matter what things are going to change.

I’ll talk more about the exact changes later. For now, I just wonder who else has weird superstitions or anxieties, and how they changed things for themselves. Lord knows it’s not easy, but I hope we can all get through it.

 

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Posted in Slice of Life

Self-Care Days, We All Need ‘Em

If I’m being honest, this whole post is just me procrastinating on writing a personal statement for a job application, but that’s totally fine! It’s not like my future is completely up in the air or anything, she said with a slightly hysterical giggle.

Anyways, today started off perfectly fine. I know, you were expecting with the title that it started off a shit show, but NOPE. My students have actually been too exhausted the first week back to really do much mischief, as in the one boy I had to lecture yesterday slept through class kind of week. The morning meeting held no surprise drama, the first hour class was smoother than it had any right to be for a morning class, and the proceeding hours held students that did as told.

All the same, I felt worn out. Coming back to work and stressing myself out with the job hunt was grinding me down in little ways that just built up. Getting back into a normal sleep schedule, prepping for classes, filling out this application form, writing yet another cover letter, and then all of a sudden in the midst of this funk today it hit me.

HOLY SHIT I HAVE PHOTO SHOOT TOMORROW!

For those of you who are new (Hi, welcome, glad you came), I recently started performing comedy shows. This new hobby fills me with joy, but as I’m the most amateurs of all amateurs, I’ve yet to get around to making headshots or bodyshots. These are semi-important for promotional materials, although I’ve just been getting away with sending bad selfies taken at the last minute.

Tomorrow, I’ve got to head up to Tokyo with a bunch of the Tokyo Women’s Comedy group to get our faces put on glossy paper by a fantastic camera guy, John. Which is great, necessary even, but my hair was shaggy as all hell. I hadn’t gone to my hair stylist in over a month because, ya know, winter vacation. I called up my hair salon and got the last booking for the day, thank God and Jesus and Mary.

I don’t know if anyone is aware of how amazing it is to get your hair cut in Japan, but it is beyond fantastic. I love that for only about $40 I can get a nice hair cut, shampoo, hair treatment, and then getting a scalp, neck, and shoulder massage before I get my hair dried. My hair salon also gives me candy and tea if I have to wait a long time.

This time I couldn’t go with my usual stylist, but this different girl (let’s call her Aya) was super nice. She talked with me about going to New York, and there she was taught by Cameron Diaz’s stylist! So I got my haircut by a person who was taught by a celebrity’s hair stylist, so I’m three degrees away from cool.

I actually will never tell my usual hairstylist, but my hair looked bangin’ after Aya was done. Also, when I mentioned I was thinking about plucking my eyebrows for tomorrow, she told me to wait a moment and got out an eyebrow trimmer from seemingly nowhere.

“Eh?!” I shouted in disbelief. “You do that here?” I said in bad Japanese.

“Yes,” she said in English, and then switched back to Japanese, “If only do the eyebrows, it’s usually 500 yen. If you do it with a haircut, it’s free.”

“I had no idea! That’s awesome. Please, yes, do it.”

And that’s the story of how, after two goddang years of going to this salon, I found out they did eyebrow work the entire time.

Sidenote: For those American ladies confused as to A) why I assumed they didn’t do eyebrow work and B) why on Earth would they use an eyebrow trimmer instead of waxing, it’s because in Japan hair salons are generally just for, well, hair. Also, even if they do eyebrows, they never use wax. You have to go to an actual spa for that service, and even then not as often as you might like.

So I left the salon feeling more pampered than expected, but my shoulders still felt stiff despite the best efforts of the trainee guy. As I was walking towards the direction of home, I realized of course my shoulders were tight, I’d been clicking and clacking away on my keyboard non-stop for a week. When I got to my train station, I remembered there was a cheap massage parlor the next floor up.

And from there, I decided the rest of this day would be about self-care. I went upstairs and reserved a time for a 40 minute massage, but needed to wait one hour. No problem at all, I just popped over to Tully’s Coffee for a Snow Man Latte, a nice sweet treat. I also stopped at the drug store for Biore face strips and bought face masks. Might as well do a home spa!

As you can probably tell, my forms of self-care are all easily affordable. I don’t really spend hundreds of dollars on myself, but when the mood strikes me I will put forth effort to care for myself in little ways. As it is the little things that get me down, it’s usually the little things that can pick me back up again.

My masseuse was a dude with a very nervous air about him. He tried speaking to me in English, which I appreciated, even if I’m fairly certain it was causing him several internal strokes trying to do basic words and phrases. Kudos for trying though! Luckily, for the 40 minutes, he mostly concentrated on trying to get the knots out of my shoulders, so we didn’t talk much. I am also fairly certain we went over 40 minutes, and I’m guessing that’s because no one came in during the entire time I was there to schedule an appointment, so yay for me!

After the haircut, the coffee break, and the massage I felt amazing. I honestly forgot what it felt like to be good to myself, and not just physically but even emotionally as well as mentally. I’ve been consistently harsh and critical of myself ever since November, telling myself that I should be better at nearly everything I’ve been doing: better at studying, better at applying, better at writing, better at vlogging, better at teaching, better at being this or that or the other.

As I’ve been home I took a long shower and I’m currently doing my face spa, I realized that I don’t need to keep beating myself up all the damn time. I can be good to myself, at least for this day. Tomorrow I’m sure I’ll start back up on wearing myself down, as my own worst enemy, but for the next little bit of time I have left today I want to remind myself that I’m worth the effort I’m putting into myself.

Hey, and you readers, be good to yourselves! We all need a little rest, relaxation, and self-care. You deserve it so let no one, not even you, say otherwise.