I got an email from an old friend the other day. I haven’t spoken to this person since around this time two years ago. When I opened that email, I remembered many things that I haven’t thought about in a long time. Reading that message, I started to compare who I was back then to the person I am now.
Two years ago, around this time, I was in Japan. In those two weeks abroad, I learned so much about myself, and started on the path I am on today. I met many wonderful people who helped me reflect on my life and encouraged me to try new things. I think that if I had continued as I had been, I would probably be in a pretty horrible place now, with little expectation to change. I grew into my own abroad.
One of those things was going to an onsen or hot spring. At the time, I was working in the fashion industry, where the pressure about how my body looked was unreal. When I had that job (though it payed well and had lots of hours), I was under a lot of stress and in a dark place at times. I remember when I had to disrobe in the communal lockers, I was so shy about my small breast (I always wore push-up bras with loads of padding) and lack of make-up. But being surrounded by women of all body types who were unabashed about their rolls and wrinkles, I felt something change in me. No one judged me, no one stared at me, and I judged no one in turn. I just sat with my friend (naked and just as unabashed!) and talked about the differences between America and Hong Kong in Japanese. I haven’t been worried since.
About six months later I quit that job.
The person I am now knows what is important in life (to me), what I want, and has no problem saying goodbye to those who don’t respect me as an individual. I plan to spend my life with like-minded friends, doing what I love. I hope you all get the same opportunity.