Friday, March 19, 2010

★11 火

Fires are fucking scary.

That pretty much sums up my day yesterday.

Luckily, we were able to extinguish the fire in time to prevent it from spreading but the whole ordeal was still pretty scary.

In the end it was only what you'd classify as a, 'small grease fire', but I'd never been in that kind of situation before so it was quite a shock. We were heating up oil to fry up some egg rolls when the pan started smoking. I turned off the stove and waited for the smoke to clear but instead a couple minutes later a fire flared up out of nowhere. I was alone in the kitchen and panicked (knowing only that I couldn't use water since that would make it worse) but thankfully my housemate was nearby in the shower room and I got him to come help. He didn't know what to do either so at first we threw a towel over the pot (in lieu of a fire blanket) but when that didn't work we finally remembered the fire extinguisher. We used one and thought we were in the clear, but soon after the fire flared up again and we had to use a second fire extinguisher. By the grace of God, one of the building managers who was scheduled to come check M-chan's room (since she was moving out) came early and was there to call the fire department and help with the fire. The firefighters came and then the police, and later the heads of the company who owns the building. I was pretty shaken up and feeling pretty sick from the smoke/fire extinguisher fumes to begin with, so being interviewed and photographed by the firefighters and police (my Japanese vocabulary does not include 'What to say in case of Fire') and having to say goodbye to M-chan (my best friend in Japan and closest thing I've ever had to a big sister) in the middle of all of this was pretty nerve-wracking.

I tried helping with the cleaning but due to my asthma I had to step out of the kitchen almost every other minute because I couldn't breathe. Even once I left to run the errands I couldn't postpone, my chest continued to feel tight and my eyes and face were itchy. I was also feeling light headed and, in general, not well. Last night my eyes were even a little swollen (I'd tried cleaning again) and this morning when I woke up they were really swollen. They're still bothering me a bit now. I also have a headache. At least the tightness in my chest is gone, though. But I also haven't tried to do more cleaning.... Actually, we've decided to call in someone to clean. I don't know yet if the housing company will cover the cost, but I rather pay than risk my health.

And as it often happens, when it rains it pours.

I've been going through a lot of changes recently. Mostly self-induced, as I try to face myself and my life and make changes for the better that will make me healthier and happier. It's not always easy, and being far from home it gets lonely, so it's been tough. I feel like I've done (am doing) my best to be really strong recently so I'm entitled to a moment of weakness and the need to lean on others every once in a while. So in the middle of all of this - my best friend leaving Japan, trying my best at overcoming certain personal issues, being left to deal with the consequences of a fire, not feeling well - the few friends I was counting on couldn't (though it felt at the time like they wouldn't be there), and other friends without fully knowing what I was going through were getting mad at me over totally unrelated issues. Well, it was a bit much.

I don't know.

For a long time I was someone who counted on her friends a lot but was always hurt and disappointed. Now I try to help myself and be strong on my own which makes me forget I can lean on others sometimes.

When is it ok to ask for help?
When should I deal with things all by myself?

I guess that's something I'm still figuring out.

I'm always trying to be considerate of other people's feelings. I'm always trying no to let people down.... But I'm also trying to stand up for myself more and trying to think that yes, it is allowed to expect certain things from the people that really matter. I want to be able to do it all on my own, but sometimes I need support. It's that balance between independence and community.

In the end I have a lot to learn.

But that's ok.

Yesterday was kind of a meltdown, but those happen.

Today I'm still stressed but back on my feet again and doing what I have to do.

Maybe I don't have to do it all alone, but I do have to take responsibility for myself.

So that's what I'm trying to do.

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