I find it kind of crazy how the human mind can be so resilient, so inflexible in its beliefs, yet at the same time so flammable and moldable…
I don’t remember if I wrote about this before, but it’s my go-to story whenever a friend who’s having self-doubt or any other moments of apprehension talks to me. It’s a story I tell myself once in awhile to remind myself of my worth, even if I don’t always see it.
When I was younger, my best friend got me into mangas, and my favorite was always Fruits Basket. In one chapter, Kyo is this character who comes off angry but holds in a lot of pain and fear. Tohru is the girl who looks at him in thought, and ponders, “Hm, maybe it’s on his back.”
The way Tohru sees the world is that every individual is an onigiri, and each contains a special ingredient. However, the problem is that Kyo’s onigiri looks at everyone else’s, and is envious looking at the ingredients on their backs, whether it’s salmon, or tuna, or egg. He can’t see his own. He thinks he’s worth less because he can’t see his back.
Sometimes, pretty often actually, I find myself as Kyo, struggling to see what’s on my back. I know some of you are thinking “please, I know what my special ingredient, I’m made of PRIME RIB, wagyu beef yo.” And that’s great. But a lot of us spend a lot of times staring at all the other onigiris’ backs and admiring their special ingredient. So I’m here to tell you that you have something special on your back, and I see it. You are made of worth, you were created unique, and everyone around you can see it even if people might not go out of their way to tell you or admit it to you. I think we could help each other out by being the eyes for each other on what we can’t see.
I finished watching “Sing” last night and I have to say, even though it was more enjoyable than not, I couldn’t help but compare it side by side to the other Pixar films and feel that it fell a bit flat. First of all, maybe there were just too many characters with subplots that the overall arch had a little struggle in transition and screenplay… my favorite was probably Johnny and his father’s relationship and how it reconciled towards the end, that was touching. But the rest felt a bit disconnected and the emotion didn’t feel translated well, particularly with Buster Moon and Meena’s story. It was lacking a bit of a magical, more in-depth touch that Pixar movies like Toy Story, Up and Finding Nemo/Finding Dory has. That said, I will refrain from judging the whole of Sony vs. Pixar animations since Pixar’s had a few apparently lackluster ones recently, such as “The Good Dinosaur” and “Cars 2”.
On the days when I wallow in depression or pity for myself, whatever mood or situation that brought me down tends to lead to other thoughts that bring more negativity. I noticed that in a lot of the issues regarding inequality in America, I don’t necessarily have it the worst – for example, I am not a black woman, I am not a refugee, and I am not living in poverty. However, there are many other parts of my identity that I am discriminated against, and I start to sit back and count all the ways in which I am “losing out” in our society. Asian, a woman, and also dealing with chronic illness and anxiety/depression issues.
But you know what? I don’t particularly concentrate on that every moment of my life- most of the time, I’m just, me. And in another perspective, I have one foot in in multiple kinds of discriminative causes and conditions, and that gives me a firsthand look into other people’s eyes and experiences. I have greater empathy and understanding because of it, and I can use this as a strength in life.
When someone asks you, “Is everything okay?” or when people (at least in America) ask “How are you?” The answer is probably 99% of the time “Good!” This is such an automatic reaction that I notice people continue talking without even waiting for the response, and they bustle to talk over each other to continue to other things or something to that likeness.
I’m a terrible liar, so it physically makes me uncomfortable whenever I have to answer things like this. I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but it still makes it a lie. Here’s a scary thought. What if it never gets better? Your answer will permanently stay a lie?
You hide behind your smile, but even that feels untruthful. And people comfort you and fall to the default of “It will get better” with all those testimonies. But for those where it didn’t get better, guess what? They aren’t going to rain on anyone’s parade by publicly coming out and say “It doesn’t.” Chances are, their lives have fallen so dismally they wouldn’t bother to. They’re busy dealing with the heavy load that has been placed on their shoulders. It could be anything… alcoholism, suicidal thoughts, drugs, disease, pain in general that won’t go away. Maybe they were gone already.
And me? I can train myself to follow the wisp of thoughts that it might get better, but I’ve lived 23 years like this, and my best hope is more that it will continue to stay like this, and not worsen. That’s the truth. But the truth is so dark, the issues are so widespread from the immediate to the long term, that I feel some days like I’m waiting in a holding cell for her expiration date.
Some people walk by this holding cell, either completely ignorant, oblivious, or just don’t give a fuck. The few who stop might gawk, or ask with some sympathy how I’m doing. You know what? I don’t want your sympathy. That’s like feeling sorry for someone, feeling pity. I want empathy, I demand understanding for everyone in this world. But the reality again, is that real peace and happiness will never exist. We want equality in the economy? That’s called communism, which we know doesn’t work. In democracy, someone will ALWAYS have to get the short end of the stick. And there are too many damn selfish people in the world, statistically, many simply just want to get through life okay, can you blame them? (sometimes, you can for being an asshole).
This is supposed be a blog about positivity but you know what? Positivity and happiness is only measured in relevance to suffering and depression, so they’re one and the same topic. Obtaining it, lack of it. Here’s the real truth. Honesty, this here, the only space in existence where it exists, untainted.
And so, what would I reply to this person who asks me if I’m okay? That’s a loaded question. But maybe they don’t really want to know the whole truth. As me, the one with the issues, am I supposed to be the one who bears the light bravely and inspiringly, beaming at everyone in my sickbed (figuratively speaking for now) so that I have any redeeming qualities and serve some sort of purpose for others?
I don’t want to sound emo, so I’ll just stick with “I’m okay, thanks :)”