What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger

This week has been tough.

Being so far away from family and my closest friends is hard enough, but then throw in a stressful work environment in a foreign country, coming down with a cold and packing up my apartment. These are the ingredients which, when put together, form the recipe for disaster.

Ok well disaster might be a little dramatic, but it’s not a nice feeling. And on Friday these ingredients became too much. I had hardly any sleep the night before and after certain events at work my stress levels just sky rocketed.

On Saturday morning I was trying to convince myself that this was a new day and it would be better. Then I hit my head so hard on my ridiculously small wardrobe door that everyone back in Australia could have heard it. It was here that I found myself sitting on the floor holding my head thinking…

I want to go home.

These five small but strong words kept ringing through my head. I just wanted a cuddle from mum and dad, I wanted to see my sister and laugh with her telling her about my latest adventures, I wanted to hang out with my brother and my new niece and I wanted to relax with my friends.

But I couldn’t.

I wouldn’t let myself give up my dream. I wouldn’t let the actions of others and one stressful week crush this. So I stood up and continued to get ready for work, getting ready to return to the same place I had such a bad time at the day before.

One of the things I set out to do on this trip was find out more about myself and to test myself. And this was definitely a big test.

I kept saying to myself ‘C’mon Emma, what doesn’t kill you WILL make you stronger’. Thinking about this saying reminds me of one particular roller coaster ride I had in November last year.

It was a beautiful day in Orlando, USA, where I was convinced to go on what I remember to be the biggest, most intimidating, bright red roller coaster that I had ever seen called ‘Hollywood Rip, Ride Rockit’  at Universal Studios.

As soon as this roller coaster starts you are going up the first part of track practically laying down. It was scarier than I can describe, if only you could have seen my face with tears running down my cheeks you would understand just how scary I found this.

This is how I felt during stage one of my current life adventure: leaving home to tackle the unknown alone.

Once the roller coaster reached the top of the climb it plunged straight into the ride at full pace. It was exhilarating, and despite my fear I was enjoying it! I was still scared but other emotions took over and I felt myself letting go of that fear.

Stage two: embracing Japan, letting go of my fear of being away from everyone in Australia and most of all my fear of being alone.

The roller coaster was going well, that was until there was a mechanical failure and the ride stopped. It stopped dead in its tracks. We were sitting there in the cold, locked to our seats, helpless and alone with just the person beside us. The harness was so tight we couldn’t see much but luckily for us the end was just in sight. We didn’t know how long we were going to have to stay there or what happened.

Stage three: I was feeling slightly trapped here and although I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, I didn’t know how long this feeling would last, and didn’t want to stay feeling like this for much longer.

The difference between the roller coaster and now is that I’m not physically harnessed in. I can choose to change things that are making me feel this way. And that’s what I’ve done. I’ve addressed the issues at work, I’ve talked more to all of my friends and family at home which has made me feel better and most of all I no longer feel like I’m sitting still in my tracks broken down. I’m back to my usual happy self, loving being here in Japan with the opportunity to learn and discover new things each day.

It really is true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Ironically on the roller coaster you choose a song to listen to during the ride… my song choice was ‘Stronger’ by Kanye West which is about what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Now I’ve restarted my roller coaster and I am stronger for it.

I am not going to let anything get in the way of this amazing journey… I’m going to put my hands up and enjoy the ride of my life.

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