I wasn’t supposed to write/publish this post until after a month because that’s the time when I’d really grow older, but what do you know, people change. So without further ado, let’s get ready to rambleeeee!
(My Garden by ぱ)
Bloggers have been accused of loving their blogs more than they love anime. I plead guilty. For the past few years, whether I like it or not, blogging has changed (revolutionized?) the way I consume animes. Life-changing as it may be, it turned out to be a double-edged sword. Gone were the days when I could simply sit down and relax, watch an episode or two, marvel at it for whatever reason and go on with LifeTM. I’m sure you’ve heard that elsewhere, right? Blogging has made be an active consumer, and that’s good, but somewhere along the way, it also alienated me from what I’ve been doing.
Lately I find myself thinking, did I really like [insert name of series I blogged in the past], from the bottom of my heart? So much for spending more time blogging or thinking about blogging the said series instead of just basking in it and loving every moment of it, to the point of wondering why I even blogged it in the first place. From enlightenment, here goes another blogging blues relapse. Oh boy. Seems like I’ve become even more confused now that blogging has not only taken my time, but has also tainted the lens through which I view my animes. I guess it all boils down to “I don’t know myself enough just yet”, and more importantly, because blogging is not the cure to this identity crisis. That I should’ve known since a year ago, since that blogging crossroad.
This blog is an extension of my soul, and that’s that, just an extension. If I’m confused IRL, then I’ll be even more confused when I blog. In the same way as you don’t get into a relationship to fill whatever void in your heart, you can’t just blog to complete your anime and manga fanaticism, or to make up for your incompetence. It’s there to complement the animanga-loving fan that you are, and you shower it with your love overflow, the kind of love that oozes from you when you’re an enthusiastic fan. More importantly, you should have a firm grip on yourself, what you want and why you want it, so as to not get drowned into the Blogging Waves and lose yourself in the process. Somewhere, somehow, I lost my Hontou no Jibun and now I’m struggling to get it back. And again, I have to tell myself, I can’t find that True Self of mine by blogging and blogging alone.
You get better at writing by writing MOAR, but if you’re confused about what you want to write about, uncertain of your feelings even, you don’t exactly write about not being able to think of what to write. Instead, you step out and explore the world, head out for an adventure, discover its beauty, get to know yourself in the process, and grow holistically. For the aniblogger, this entails more than just discovering the ’sphere, but filling your very own love tank with true animango love. How? By blogging less and watching/reading MOAR, immersing yourself in what you watch and read, even without the premise of blogging.
I don’t know what came into me, but suddenly I feel so confused. For the past two and a half years, who exactly was the usagijen blogging here? Was it really me, or a mere persona (or ‘nexistence’ in the words of lelangir) I created, a whole new beast and not really myself? But if so, then that means everything I’ve been doing here is a lie, which isn’t exactly the case. Admittedly, some of my posts are pretentious, but not exactly a lie. Sigh. I hate hate hate being confused, but here I am. Again.
After much enlightenment, I remain a Takemoto who headed out for a bike adventure without realizing why he even did it in the first place. What was I trying to achieve? Was I even trying to achieve something in the first place? I want to remember love, like ghostlightning, but how the heck will I remember love when I’m not even sure if there was indeed love in the first place? My love tank is running low on fuel, and I have to fill it up, quick. More importantly, I have to make sure that my feelings are genuine and real. Man, if only I was simple-minded, I wouldn’t have any of these problems.
I mentioned before that blogging has made me an active consumer. Sounds good, but not until you realize its negative implication: I’m pushing (forcing?) myself to be attentive because I’m thinking of blogging it. Ergo, I’m watching and enjoying what I watch for the sake of blogging and not exactly for pure & genuine enjoyment reasons. “But isn’t the desire to blog something an accurate indicator that you really love something?”, you ask, to which I return another question: How can you be so sure that you really love it if you can’t leave blogging out of the picture?
Actually, the thing about me being an apathetic viewer (which I talked about here) in the past isn’t exactly true, because I already was active before blogging, in my own little way. How else could I have remembered much of Daa! Daa! Daa!, Aka-chan to Boku, Ranma 1/2, Magic Knight Rayearth and KimiNozo (the CDs of which I dumped into the garbage bin out of RAEGG, and I got depressed for days even when I don’t have the slighest reason to be!)? Or even with other series which I can’t remember as vividly but lingered in my mind (Mermaid’s Forest, Honey and Clover, Ouran High School Club and Nishi no Youki Majo). Not once did it cross my mind that time that I was going to blog them, and yet, I remember them.
otou-san once talked about how our experiences at the time we watch an anime affects the way we perceive it, “the circumstances at that very moment are important”, he said. ghostlightning also said that “We will not like some anime because we are not ready for it”. But how exactly will we be able to know if we’re ready? The voice inside me says, “you’ll _feel_ it, my child, you certainly will”. Time and again, I really will have this Eureka Moment, and I can wholeheartedly say I LOVED THIS, FEELS SO GOOD. But at times–many times–I end up cheating my way through this because of blogging, and I end up trying to convince myself that I am ready to enjoy a certain anime, when in fact, I’m still not. I end up skipping through the “watching and enjoying animes without exactly understanding why” immersion stage.
Or let me put it this way: At times, I’d be blogging about how “This series is sooo awesome and I LOVE it” even before reaching that actual “OMG I’m sooo enjoying and loving this, and know & feel that this is real and know exactly why I’m loving it” state. And when that happens, I’d look back at what I wrote a few months and end up wondering whose reflection it is I see in this blogging mirror. Or perhaps I’m just being too hard on myself, perhaps it’s just recency bias coming into play here. But something else is complicating all this for me.
There are people in the ’sphere who influenced me (and continues to influence me) in blogging — the Kaminas I look up to, my source of spiral energy yo. They inspire me, they humble me a whole lot. But the downside of it all is being haunted by the feeling that I need validation from these people, that I need their acknowledgment and recognition before I can recognize my worth as a blogger. I’m still not secure with myself, and I hate hate hate feeling this way. I hate my post-blogging blues where, after writing a post and it doesn’t exactly connect with readers the way I wanted it to, I end up moping and questioning what I did wrong. Did people read my post? Did they like it? Did they even care? And worst of all, is realizing on hindsight how disconnected I was from what I wrote; it wasn’t heartfelt enough and didn’t have my True Soul. Perhaps that’s why I keep on looking for external rewards in all this, to fill that emptiness, to cover up my incompetence. I was supposed to be over this, but here it comes again.
Blogging for 2DT is a cure for loneliness. I guess it is, for me too, though at times it becomes my source of loneliness.
For digitalboy, it’s a (questionably) legal drug. With the highs and lows I get from blogging, the alienation I feel at times, I’d say it’s like a drug for me too, with both beneficial and harmful side-effects. But I don’t want blogging to be just a drug I use for escapism purposes; I want it to be a reflection of who I am, something I pour my love and devotion to not simply for the external rewards I will gain after, but because of the internal rewards I will reap just by being able to write and express my thoughts and feelings, by sharing all this to an audience (imaginary or not). So that each and every step of the way I’ll be able to sing:
This is real, this is me
I’m exactly where I’m supposed be now
Gonna let the light shine on me
Now I’ve found who I am, there’s no way to hold it in
No more hiding who I wanna be, this is me ♫
This is the time of the year when I (once again) realize that I’m still stuck in the lower end of the Moral Development Stage, and I have to find a way to reach the post-conventional level. Blog not just for the sake of it, not for the sake of other people either, but because I love what I’m doing and know exactly what I’m doing. And hopefully, be able to realize the Higher Purpose of why I’m doing this in the first place.
Perhaps blogging pushed me to be an active watcher, and there’s nothing wrong with having that little push to motivate me to do something. That’s even the key to people’s success at times. But one way or another, I have to step out of being pushed and be moved to act by a force within, something that’s got nothing to do with external validation rewards, something that’s not dependent on the ‘whims of other people or social groups’ either. If I’m going to ponder upon what I watch, it’ll be for the sole reason that I delight myself in it, not for whatsoever pandering purposes. As this one motto goes, “Until you are happy with who you are, you will never be happy with what you have” If what I write is not good enough for me, it will never be good enough.
In the meantime, while I’m still struggling to find that Higher Purpose, the least I can do is to be true to myself. I’m a little slow compared to most people. I’m not spontaneous, and I can’t outright say my thoughts on what I watch until after a bit of pondering. Unless we’re talking about shows I can quickly fangirl and KYAA over. This is who I am, and I should delight myself in it. And as of the moment, I prefer immersing and delighting myself in what I watch and read without the premise of blogging; Allow the episodes I watch to linger in my mind first (in the words of Michael Jackson, “You gotta let it simmer”), and finally, when the Right Time comes and I’m ready to pen down my thoughts into one coherent post (and even not-so-coherent ones), then I will. I won’t have to force myself to think of what to write because it will just come out naturally. The words will just… flow~ And I’ll be doing it in the spirit of good fun. As Hige said, “Blog in a manner that suits you, that makes you happy. Fuck the rest.”
I may still not see the 2D world from the eyes of them Great Bloggers, but there’s no need to rush. In my own time, I will grow; My perspective will change, be enriched… No need to rush. Be still my soul, fly free and soar above the clouds, but be grounded in reality and never lose sight of who you are, and why you’re doing this in the first place. I should tell myself that All The Time. Blogging shackles, begone!
Never have I felt more free and enlightened. Sorry dear readers, for I have been a pretentious wank. If you’ve read my past posts on this very same topic, I won’t be surprised if you’re now going “NOTTO DISU SHIT AGAIN?!”
And once again, I summon Rilke’s spirit and let his voice move me:
“You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity;
And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it.”
I’d also like to dedicate Miley Cyrus’ The Climb to myself, just because I can:
Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb
The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I’m not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going
And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on
You say my post is long-winding? So what? These are my thoughts, confusing and jumbled up, right there as you see it. My writing will get better in time, I’m sure. But more than anything else I need to find out what the heck I really want to do, and do it. There’s no need to rush~
Comrade schneider already beat me to this “You don’t have to rush it” talk, darn! hehe But yeah, I do want to have the same mindset from here onwards — take things easy
not just because I’m growing old. I had my chance to be on the spotlight; I experienced how it was like to ride the waves of hype, be the hype machine myself, and also how it was like to get caught up in the hype and end up losing myself. It was EPIC and fun, but now I realize that’s not exactly where I want to be. That’s not what would keep me going in the long run, because in the end, what matters most is what’s left after the hype is gone, after the in-love state has run its course. Whatever lies beyond this path, I would have to see and experience it for myself.
This blogging adventure is just beginning~
EDIT: Ryan’s comment reminded me of one more song I’ve been wanting to dedicate to myself for the longest time now, Lenka’s The Show:
I am just a little girl
lost in the moment
I’m so scared
but don’t show it
I can’t figure it out
it’s bringing me down
I’ve got to let it go
and just enjoy the show
Dum Di Dum, Da-dum di dum~ Just enjoy the show~ ^_^
My introspections, which a lot of people are probably sick of reading by now (not that I really care or anything ):
Confessions and Epiphanies of an Incompetent Blogger
Micro-blogging is Confusing the Heck Out of Me Now, But I Has Gained Englightenment! (this one’s pretty stupid now that I’ve read it again, in a lolz way, but at least I was being honest?)
Beyond the Blogging Crossroad Part 1: A So-called “Love Affair” with Animes
Beyond the Blogging Crossroad Part 2: Why I Blog
Enough about me, and go read these posts by other bloggers which are far worth your time instead:
2DT on Anime Blogging as the Cure for Loneliness
digitalboy on Anime Blogging as his (Questionably) Legal Drug
Hige’s Editorial #12 – Convention Can Suck My Left One
ghostlightning on Recency Bias and How it Affects Anime Appreciation
what color are your glasses now? asks otou-san
schneider’s Continuing World turns one year old, and in this first anniversary post he talks about his humble beginnings, and keeping it cool yo~
- an independently produced short film/anime TV ad(?) supposedly uploaded here in niconico, now deleted before I even had a chance to see it.
- Beyond the Blogging Crossroad Part 2: Why I Blog
- Beyond the Blogging Crossroad Part 1: A So-called “Love Affair” with Animes
- A Koushien-esque Cross Game Blogging Ambition Once Forgotten