It’s December, the time of year where I used to post articles for the 12 Days series. It didn’t happen last year and it’s not happening this year, and it’s fairly safe to say I won’t be releasing any other posts this year, so why not just jump straight into the year-in-review.
2019 ON THE BLOG
There’s actually a story to why I wrote this. A few years ago when I was a different person in the anime community, I witnessed a distant friend get involved in a little bit of internet dog-piling over a journalist who didn’t have a very favorable opinion of anime. I disagreed with his actions publicly, and it basically killed our friendship, not that we talked about much outside of anime anyway. Well I saw his name pop up on twitter earlier this year and it inspired me to revisit this incident. I think I got my point across here fairly well, and it was sure nice to have that bit of closure on my end. It helps that this issue has continued to stay relevant.
Gosh I love this visual novel. Friends on twitter had been raving about it for months before I ever picked it up, and I’m glad they did. Without their constant praise for Fata Morgana I never would have had the opportunity to enjoy it, and I would never have written this article.
This ended up being one of the longest posts I’ve ever written on here owing in large part to the fact that I opted to include a summary with my analysis. I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t feel comfortable diving straight into the analysis like I usually do, but I don’t think doing things differently was a disservice to what I had to say. I’d rather people were able to understand the story and how I came to the conclusions I did than appeal to the small number of people who’ve already given Fata Morgana their time.
Being one of the few stories I’ve ever read that centers the experience of an intersex man, Fata Morgana is a literary milestone for how it handles abuse and trauma from marginalized perspectives. It marries classical witchcraft with contemporary issues in a way that justifies and lends voice to the people we rarely hear from. It’s fictional and yet it feels like history. I can’t praise it enough really.
Oh, if you haven’t bought it yet you should.
It’s an April fools post and it makes true on my promise from the last one. I kinda like the running gag I’ve made of these. It’s a joke, but it adds something to the blog that can still be talked about (maybe not a something of substance, though). I wish more people would have commented though. It feels funnier when people take it seriously and post their own list like adopting anime characters based on cuteness is totally a legitimate debate.
What’s this? Haruhi, talking about Haruhi on the Haruhi blog??!?!
Yes, I finally did it. It’s okay. I don’t have any regrets writing it, but I don’t exactly get excited rereading it like I do for many other posts I’ve written. The energy I have for the series is better expressed on the couch, watching through the show with friends and going “SEE THAT BIT?! ISN’T IT AMAZING! I LOVE THIS SHOW, DO YOU LOVE THIS SHOW?”. Or at least that’s how I imagine it going.
At any rate it’s nice to have the weight of writing this off my shoulders. I can’t say I ever felt pressured to write about the show, but I did feel a little bad that I couldn’t concoct even a half-decent endorsement for it after so many years of professing it as THE BEST THING EVER.
Well now you can’t accuse me of being a fake Haruhi blog. Not that anyone did. In public at least…
DID I MEET LAST YEARS GOALS?
Post at least once during 2019 – Yeah I did this, obviously. A total of four posts. More than anticipated. You’re welcome.
Do that thing I’ve always wanted to do – Started this, never finished.
Do more recurring posts! – The only recurring post I made this year was the April fools one. Does that count? Surely it counts? Yeah, it counts.
I’m not going to set any more goals for next year. I’m tried of them. Not only do I rarely accomplish any, I always look back on them and think “why did old me even care about these?”. So instead of falling into that trap again, I’m just going to stop doing them.
WHAT’S UP WITH ME?
I didn’t talk about myself last time I did the yearly digest. I cited not getting much catharsis from it as the reason. Well new year, new me, so let’s talk.
A few months ago I wrote a rather emotional post that unloaded a multitude of personal issues I had been dealing with in order to vent. I quickly removed it because the anxiety of people acknowledging it with likes and comments wasn’t helping my mental state. Looking back on it now, I think my thoughts have shifted a little bit, not happier per se, but more directed.
I guess I just feel angry. Like a deep, primal, anger. The various intersections of my identity mean that society overwhelmingly ignores my needs, and will likely never address them in my lifetime. Yet at the same time I’m still expected to participate in that society. The thought of spending the rest of my life working low-paying jobs that I hate so that I can afford the means to keep working low-paying jobs I hate is thoroughly depressing. But I’m like everyone else and need money to live, and there’s no real way to live outside of this system, even if completely fails to meets your needs or give you anything close to fulfillment.
All the complications that my queerness creates only compounds on issues like this, creating barriers I have to hurdle through before I can even begin to focus on working-class problems. I hate the discrimination, the threat of further discrimination, and the costs (both monetary and otherwise) that all take their toll.
Yet the people with the power to do anything about the current situation are hardly doing anything about it (if at all). Climate change is the perfect amalgamation of this reality, and yet even if the whole planet rallies behind change, my needs will still never be met. I’m buried under so many layers of disenfranchisement that the system would need to be fixed multiple times before I could claim it was fair to me.
How can you not be angry about that? Personally it makes me want to pick up a gun and shoot a the things that I think are responsible for my problems. I have this imagined version of myself that I occasionally think about; a totally free agent with no attachment to any one place or group of people, who creates a bomb large enough to destroy the world, and they leverage that power to get the world to pay attention to them. In some iterations of this world ‘I’ activate the bomb, in others I engage in pure hedonism, in more still I try to fix the world in ways that are maybe not exactly realistic, but gosh do I like to think about it.
I guess that daydreaming is my way of coping with the inescapable misery of my life and the world we all live in. It’s a picture where I’m actually in control of my life, where the perception of my actions is irrelevant and I can pursue my future however I want. It’s the complete opposite of my reality. In the real world, democracy doesn’t work for me, the economy doesn’t work for me, society doesn’t work for me, healthcare doesn’t work for me, and even my relationships don’t work for me.
How can you be the revolutionary, the change you want to see, when there’s no room for that in this ‘real’ world? If I pick up that gun or make that bomb, I’ll just get thrown in a prison and have my autonomy taken away from me, or die as yet another symbol of heartless violence. If I try to work within the system I’ll never succeed unless I play the game by the same rules that constrain us currently. Even if I could seize control like I do in my dreams, what could I even do that would change this world, so people like me don’t feel so betrayed by it?
I keep searching for answers to these questions in my real life, but come up short. So I stew in anger, becoming more and more jaded, less and less tolerant. It’s perhaps the main reason why I’ve been doing more ‘assholeish’ things lately, because maintaining a core drive of empathy is hard when your own needs aren’t being met. The best hope I have is seeing change happen slowly, over the course of generations, and then maybe seeing a future that I can be proud of.
But that’s not really fair. I want change now. I don’t want to wait until I’m old and dying for the chance of seeing a world that might possibly be good to someone younger than me. Why do I have to be the sacrifice on the alter for things to improve? Why do I have to be the ‘lesson’, the one that kids in a hundred years look back on and think “humans sure were backwards back then”. What’s the purpose of humanity if it’s core design is to slowly progress off the backs of all that came before, in an endless pursuit of…well what exactly?
And if all of this is true, what does that say about everyone else? That the world as we know it has been spiraling towards this state for centuries and we’ve just let it happen. That the changes that needed to happen in order to prevent our current predicament passed long before I could vote, in most cases before I was even born. I, like many others, feel like I was screwed over by decisions from the powers that be, and by default that feels deeply wrong in a life that I never chose to be born into.
Perhaps it’s dangerous to fall into nihilistic fatalism when there’s still small things you can do for yourself and others. But I don’t want small. I wouldn’t continually imagine the power to shape the world if I could settle for small. Yet, as this monologue has repeatedly demonstrated, the power that people respect is something I will never possess. So what distinction is there to make between this and fatalism that ultimately matters?
I want an out, but all I get is rage. A rage with no adequate release. A rage that has totally, utterly without relent, broken me. I don’t really know where it will lead but I cannot imagine it’s taking me to the land of sunshine and rainbows.
I don’t expect friends and acquaintances to have answers for me. It’s why I don’t typically ask. The most I can ever get is an acknowledgement of my feelings. I think that’s a testament to the fact that for those who have fallen to the depths and seen that it was empty, there’s no denying the validity of my anger, while those who have carved out personal satisfaction and purpose for themselves recognize that it isn’t exactly replicatable.
I don’t think there are many more ways I can re-express my thoughts in a way that would matter, so I’ll just leave this heartful splurge here and we can wrap up.
UNTIL NEXT TIME!
It’s probably not the best reflection for this post that I spent more time talking about myself than my work, moreso because it shows how little work I actually did this year. That said, it’s not nothing, and that’s a victory when ‘nothing’ was always on the table.
This is the part where I would normally get teary-eyed and talk about how much you all mean to me, say thanks, then give my goodbyes. But it would feel weird to do that this year. My current personality doesn’t really match that happy-go-lucky attitude of the past and putting on a mask would require more energy than I can muster, not to mention it would be blatantly dishonest after everything I just talked about. I guess I should think up of an alternative…
So, uh, …bye?