A certain state of anxiety

kare kano fence.fw

I want to describe a type of anxiety that I feel sometimes. Not to mention that emotional experiences and feelings are in many ways complicated and subjective, and even more so in the ways that one might try to describe them in words. And not to mention that things like anxiety are often co-morbid (psychology term that means more than one ‘disorder’ occurring at a time) with other ‘things’, thus trying to isolate anxiety by itself being somewhat of an impossible or futile thing. But–it helps that I was in that state an hour ago, and so I feel motivation and have the desire to write about it:

I’ve heard of the idea that there is no fault in the act of people who try to gain happiness. Or, for an even stronger argument, in the act of people who try to gain happiness in order to get away from anxiety–to feel ‘okay’. I can’t remember where I encountered it… maybe it was from Tumblr a long time ago.

Anyways, what is anxiety? Well, once again, not to mention–but in the process having mentioned it anyways, ironically–all the disclaimers I said in the beginning, anxiety is a state of being. And in that state, feelings can range from feeling slightly off or feeling a little discomfort, to feeling like something is severely wrong in which case the attention to the feeling takes precedence over all other functions of life. I mean, it’s only natural that, for example, if you see a fire, you would–or at least you probably should–try to get out of there immediately.

What happened about an hour ago was that I was at the very start (low end) of that spectrum. And really, nothing happened that would trigger it–at least, nothing that I could figure out–but I just happened to be feeling it. And I guess the next iteration of anxiety is the ability to notice and observe this feeling inside of me.

I’ll start by admitting that I’m a bit anxious right now. I mean, I’m inside a state of anxiety, which means that my thought process and my view of the world might be different than how they are normally. It’s kind of a good thing for the purpose of this post, because otherwise, I may not want to (or could) write about it in the same way that I am able to write it now. And I’m writing it simply because I want to, which is something of a fleeting golden opportunity. Lastly, I’m inclined to make the observation that this compulsive desire to write is an indication that I felt something poignant enough.

Going back to the topic at hand, I need to mention that I have found certain parts of anxiety to be kind of enjoyable. And this might be a bit difficult to explain, but it’s the idea that things around me don’t seem quite as real, or that things seem more interesting or fantastical than usual. In this state, I have a strong longing for intimacy. I can feel my own vulnerability. And I feel… suggestible. (I might add to the list, hot and feverish, but then it’s usually because I actually have a fever. These feelings are in the same direction, just much further along.)

I mean the anxiety itself feels horrible and uncomfortable, but on the flip side is the same degree for desire itself. And this pattern of anxiety made escaping into fantasy somehow more real and important. It made me search and long for things with an unprecedented passion. Perhaps it was in part desperation, but I thought it was passionate nonetheless. Its vulnerability was interesting, as it was kind of awesome in its sheer powerfulness. It was like falling in love.

So whenever I would feel dysphoria, vulnerable, anxious, lonely, or whatever it could be called, I would do whatever I could to feel better. Now the problem arises in the difficulty of assessing the validity of my circumstances accurately. What I mean is that I’m probably biased in thinking that I had no choice but to do the things to make myself feel better–that the anxieties really were a big problem and that it was only natural for me to seek shelter from it over all other things.

And… to a large extent. they were. But of course, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that anxiety meant I didn’t have to do my homework. That I didn’t have to go to my classes. I could just make an excuse. In fact, anxiety meant that I could neglect any of my responsibilities when I felt anxious. And soon, the lines between ‘I can’t’ and ‘I don’t want to’ started to blur. And consequently, anxiety, with its friend stress, only came back stronger and scarier after days of procrastination.

While I was anxious, there are things that I’ve done that I could only have done because I was anxious, like how someone has less inhibition when they’re drunk. I guess to a certain extent, I enjoyed doing whatever I wanted to do. But still, I really was petrified sometimes. Anxiety was debilitating. Anxiety was scary. And in those moments, I just wanted to feel okay, because feeling anxious felt like I was like dying or something. Parts of it (or even all of it) might just have been in my head, but I didn’t know what else to do. It was a habit, a pattern, a cycle.

But in that state, I sought after comfort. And I don’t mean living comfortably but to have someone care for me and comfort me. I desired coziness and warmth. I wanted to be taken care of, I wanted to be wanted, and I wanted to find love.

But many of those times, it brought me to the end of my rope. Again and again. It was quite dysfunctional and distressing. It became related to my selfishness, anger, bitterness, loneliness, and substance use (I’m counting coffee and alcohol as substances). It all became too complicated. Maybe I was just confused. Or maybe depressed. Or maybe… But then again, aren’t these indication enough that something was wrong with me?

I’d say so. But almost stubbornly, I kept searching for answers. And I guess after 5 years, I came to a decision to love Jesus.

I won’t go into the details about that in this post (as I kind of already did here). But in the process of going through it all, it made me look at emotional states like sadness, pleasure, anxiety, joy, hope, and love completely differently. I kind of came out on the other end as this… not normal person. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want me in any other way. The fact that God loves me, and I mean really me, with all of this? And then literally living through His healing, adventures, teachings, and world? Now that’s fantasy. I don’t know a whole lot yet but it’s been amazing, and Jesus has definitely been more than enough for me.

There used to be a great deal of shame and confusion about myself. I mean, to be fair, the stuff I wrote on this post isn’t the most casual topic. But I see that I’m just human after all. Plus, most of the times, I can confidently say that I live without the awareness of these human conditions. It’s like I’ve forgotten all about it already–except when I get a little taste of it like today and get the opportunity to remember. Although, it seems like every time I feel like I’m ‘all good’, I quickly learn that I can so easily fall back into my old habits.

You know what’s a bit awkward? I wrote most of this stuff on the bus ride home, because pondering about things on a moving vehicle is kind of picturesque as well as it being actually effective (same with shower thoughts). But then I came home and listened to Kare Kano’s OP because it popped into my head like my brain was trying to tell me that it was relevant. But then the song, with its own emotional context and my own history with it, kind of re-contextualized the state of anxiety that I’ve tried to think about. Ugh.

But it helped that I wrote all the main ideas down already, and I was surprised by how quickly I was able to reconnect, in order to be able to authentically and properly channel the anxiety to write this post (LOL). I also think that Anno (who directed Kare Kano) has without a doubt went through a very similar depression as me. And of course, his works (like Nadia and Eva) communicate the human conditions and depression more poignantly. But one day, I would like to create art that touches the heart of others who are also deeply, passionately, desperately, and helplessly searching for love. (I mean, from what I know now, it’ll be more of sharing the love of Jesus rather than trying to invent my own. Although, maybe my ideal art is just creating things inspired by His love.)

One last thing I want to try and clarify is what this particular ‘anxiety’ is. I mean maybe it’s more of a loneliness and longing. This part is more for me as I have no idea how to explain it (has this post become a journal?) but I may be able to reference The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in some way. And point out the similarities and differences between this and the ‘moonlight’ state I described in here (2nd paragraph). I’m not too sure yet but they seem quite similar.

PS

I want to mention this because I noticed that a friend of mine today was stressed(?) when I casually talked about things (I can’t remember what it was though) like I usually do. So I want to clarify a few things. When I talk about things, it means that I have found peace with it (hence being able to talk about it at all), so there is no need to feel concerned for me. On the other hand, because this is just how I process things, I have to admit that I don’t always consider other people becoming burdened by my words. So there’s that. Although… I guess it’s different than in person than in a blog. I still think it was interesting to mention. So I guess I won’t edit this out. I told her that I want there to be zero difference between how I talk and how I write my blog. I guess, for better or for worse, this is how I want to write/blog now. Maybe there are better formats (i.e. video) for something like this, but I guess I’ll probably change it up again before I know it. Plus it’s not like I post enough to have been consistent with any style yet.

PSS

This post is kind of a mess. It took me… what, like 5 hours to write it. So my state of being from the start to my state now is completely different. And it’s now 4am, so there has been a noticeable dip in quality and organization of my writing. And for some reason, I’ve been doing these meta ‘behind the scenes’ commentary in most of my writing. I don’t know. I suddenly understand why Digibro makes vlogs sound the way they do when he hasn’t slept, is drunk, and is rambling about things at like 5am in the morning. I’ll just leave it, and one day I’ll look back on this post and either cringe, think that it’s cute, or I don’t know, maybe I’ll see it as a necessary process of erasing the lines among blogging, journaling, and how I talk. A good indication is that I don’t feel anxious about publishing any of this. It is what it is, I know I am me, I know He loves me, and I’ve changed through His love… LOL this is too cheesy.

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Sound of memories: summer

kikujiro3

[Soundtrack: one]

I recently uploaded a track on my SoundCloud. To break it down, it’s an acapella of Where Is the Love? by The Black Eyed Peas, on top of an instrumental I made by sampling The Name of Life by Joe Hisaishi (better known as One Summer’s Day, from Spirited Away). As background, this isn’t the first time I’ve tried making a hip hop beat with One Summer’s Day. The idea came to me about a year ago and I thought it would be the perfect amalgamation of the two very important elements of my life: hip hop and anime (representing my Asian culture). Unfortunately, due to my lack of proficiency in Ableton or FL Studio, I had to give up on the project — well, that is, until a few days ago.

I just knew what to do this time. I’m happy with how the track turned out, and even happier with the fact that it’s something that I feel comfortable in sharing. This is a personal milestone and I really hope that this continues. Although it may seem obvious “practice makes perfect”, I remember being downright scared about losing some of my artistic sensibility when I had decided to quit smoking weed. How shall I describe it… when I was sober, it felt as though I lacked the level of intuition I had with music compared to when I were high. This was deeply troubling and caused myself to doubt. Of course, in hindsight, I know I made the right call because what I eventually came to realize — and I think many artists will agree with me — is that having discipline and consistency is much more important than having passion and creativity alone. Having ideas, no matter how amazing they are, is not good or productive unless you actually do the work in bringing them to life. Here’s a paraphrase of what Mike Monday said in regards to how to make sure music projects get finished:

“Habits are more responsible for what you do and what happens to you than your motivation, desire, excitement, hope, skills or abilities.”

I had mentioned before that I had decided to put faith in God, to give God a ‘try’. Well, at some point, I found myself praying for consistency in my life. I wanted regularity in my sleep schedule, eating, exercise, and most of all, my mood. It’s still a working progress but it’s so clear that I’ve come a long way from skipping all my classes because I felt anxious to go outside. Having a schedule might seem like the opposite of being truly free, but I found that having a stable ground to stand on made it much easier for myself to heal, build, grow, and explore outwards.

In the past, I was very prone to losing myself in certain feelings of sadness or nostalgia. My thoughts often spiralled downwards into depressive states of mind like they were effected by the gravitational pull. And by the time I had noticed it, it would too late and I wouldn’t be able to find the way back up. Hours would go by in these train of thoughts and I found myself profoundly sad. Normally, you’d think that this was terrible, but for me, as an ‘artist’, these feelings felt useful and beautiful. It allowed me to sit in a pool of sadness and bathe in it until I couldn’t anymore. This tendency and attraction towards depression was very difficult to break away from, even when I realized that I was starting to drown in the deep end. This is a topic that I would like to elaborate very much on, but I’ll save that for a future post.

Although the point here — again — is the contrast to the ‘me of the past’, I’m not trying to say that the present me as a Christian is a perfectly happy person and that all of these predispositions are gone. Rather, having faith and accepting that the joy and peace in Jesus is the true reality has allowed me to navigate and explore these messy and dark emotions much deeper than ever before without actually getting sucked into them. Now when I swim in sadness, I know which way is up and I’m not drowning. If this isn’t a win-win then I don’t know what is.

Going back to the topic of music, a song like One summer’s Day would have had plenty of triggers for me of the past. I would get lost in ideas of nostalgia stirred up by the song. What I find interesting is that this feeling of nostalgia brought on by the song seems to be a shared phenomenon (though hopefully not to the same degree). As an example, here’s a YouTube comment that was posted in response to a song called Path of the Wind (from My Neighbor Totoro, also from Studio Ghibli and composed by Joe Hisashi):

“Ever think that these movies have a far-off memory feel like you were actually in them? Like a dream? I feel like I actually met Totoro as a child when I hear this music… such fleeting times they were…”

And comments like these are incredibly common in Studio Ghibli’s music, many of which were composed by Joe. Does this mean there is a certain property of sound for nostalgia? How would that be possible when nostalgia is subjective and complicated? Anyways, I digress.

As for me, One Summer’s Day feels like… a day in summer. More specifically, I picture a summer’s day in the Korean or Japanese countryside. There’s a feeling for longing, dreams that seem just out of reach, with little heart breaks here and there. Curious feelings, stream of water flowing, a coming of age. Waking up in the morning and thinking about the night before. These are some of the feelings and ideas of memories incited by the song. With this as a segue, I’m going to mention a few other examples of what summer sounds like to me.

Kikujiro no Natsu (1999) is another movie that Joe has composed the soundtrack for. The title of the main theme is simply called Summer. With this one, you can picture a countryside, where the sun is out, and you’re biking around. You can feel the wind flowing around you and everywhere you look, you see the beautiful mountains and the far stretch of farmland. I have a memory of watching movie as a kid back in Korea.

It was summer, of course, and I was sitting in my grandparents’ living room which was also my bedroom for the summer. My family and I gathered around what must have been a small, ~20″ TV to watch this movie. I don’t remember the details of the movie but it was about a child and a middle aged man adventuring together to find the child’s mother. But even without the plot, I can still vividly remember the feel of summer the movie captured on film. I think this was also one of the last times my family watched a movie together.

When it comes to the seminal sound of summer, it must be the sound of cicadas (you know, the sound from Evangelion). I don’t know about you, but my summers really did sound like this while growing up in Korea. This is the aspect of summer that is blazingly hot. T-shirts and shorts. Time seems to slow down. The sun is overwhelming and the stillness of heat can feel incredibly stagnant. For me, this is a very prominent aspect of summer.

There is a track called Peace Reigns in the Land (Tenkataihei) from Kare Kano‘s soundtrack. It feels like laying down on a green patch of grass staring at the bright blue skies — no clouds in sight. It feels exciting. This is the time during summer when you’re just so happy that the sun is out, and you want to spend your whole day outside. It feels opportunistic. Maybe go to the beach, maybe walk down the streets, or maybe tell that person how you really feel. Why not, it’s summer. And as the track nears its end, it really sounds like the day is getting darker and darker but it’s okay; there’s always tomorrow.

From Nadia: Secret of Blue Water‘s soundtrack: Electra’s Theme. This is an aspect of summer that is slow and kind of enchanting. Pictured is bright reflections of the sun on the ocean as the waves come slowly in and out of shore. You just lay there in the warm sand and just not think about the world for a while.

The last song/piece I want to mention is Vivaldi’s Summer. Other than its title, the iconic movement of Summer, “movement 3: Presto”, reminds me of the sudden and powerful downpours that happen in the summer… in Korea. As for Vancouver, I guess it’s not something that happens here.

Instead, in Vancouver, it rains in the winter, like right now. But even though my immediate environment has been terribly cold (for me) lately, listening to these songs bring me back into summer. This property of music is so interesting and has been applied quite extensively for me. Over the years, as I’ve discovered new genres over time, I’ve inadvertently encoded certain memories and feelings of the time period onto specific sounds. For example (approximately), metal, classic rock, and 80s pop were the sounds of early high school, jazz and progressive rock was late high school, EDM (of the time) was 1st and 2nd year of university, hip hop was 3rd and 4th and… so fourth. But I guess everyone experiences this, so much so that even Alzheimer patients can recall memories of their past when they hear music.

One of my favourite perspective of art is to view it as the process of bringing something into this world that only existed to the artist. As for music, music has the potential to influence, encourage, and empower people, and make people feel understood. Music can inspire joy and help us remember that life is more than just our immediate environments. Shout out to dance music for creating space for experiencing harmony and togetherness on a physical level through melody and rhythm. With all that’s been said, and knowing what music can do, I think it’s important to be intentional in creating music that helps us to focus on hope, joy, and peace — because this is promised. Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”


[Source]

Image is from Kikujiro no Natsu

Soundtrack one is a generic sound of cicadas

Origin story: TV and I (B-side)

nge4

[Soundtrack: one x2, two, threefourfive]

So at the end of the A-side, I had mentioned that I rewatched Neon Genesis Evangelion after my first year of university where I was dealing with depression and paranoia. It spoke to me, and it forever established a special place in my heart. I felt deeply understood, perhaps even for the first time in my life. Going on a bit of a tangent here, I think that Hideaki Anno (director or NGE) uses his art to try and connect with other human beings because he can’t do it by any other means. That’s just what I see. And although this is socially maladaptive in a very real sense, I see him as a genius and an artist (I want to add here that in my current perspective, the greatest artists are not tortured geniuses). And this is exactly how I feel about Kanye West, but that’ll be a story for another time.

Just as a quick disclaimer, I want to mention that this next part was rough to write. It’s not that I felt hesitant about sharing it, but that that it was genuinely difficult to navigate through the details of events when I was experiencing some degrees of psychosis and my marijuana use was high no pun intended.

I think it was around the same time when I — almost obsessively — started seeking out anime titles that I saw as a kid in Korea. I would become increasingly distraught by artifacts of memories (be it a 5 note motif or a certain sequence of plot) that I would happen to remember randomly. This wasn’t triggered by weed, as I’ve been wondering what the sources of those artifacts were for serveral years, but weed definitely acted as a gateway that connected me back to my childhood memories (google “weed childhood memories”, it’s a real thing). Especially during stressful times, I found myself strongly yearning for a childlike simplicity and innocence.

I was able to find one of my favourite childhood anime fairly quickly, called Cooking Master Boy. It’s a classic 90s shonen anime where you have a skill (cooking, in this case) and you as a kid would go on grand adventures while honing your skills, making friends, and saving the world. This anime couldn’t have come at a better time because for the majority of my first year, I was eating about one meal a day. I wasn’t anorexic — although I definitely had some pervasive self-image issues — I just didn’t have the appetite. For most of my life, I remember not liking the food that my mom cooked me (ungrateful, I know), but this led to many fights between us that led to me forming a bitter attitude towards food. Mao (MC from CMB) on the other hand, learned to cook from his mom, and he always cooked to make other people happy. This, along with weed, revitalized my appetite and made me appreciate the love that my mom had for me.

For a bit, I’m going to change the narrative from chronological to ideological.

One of my biggest fears in life have to do with forgetting. It’s no accident that I started keeping a journal, though this wasn’t my primary motivation. My grandmother had alzheimer’s and it can be incredibly sad and difficult to deal with. It also seems that memory loss is inescapable with old age. That’s scary. As I had mentioned earlier, I had these pieces of my past (sorry for dramatizing childhood memories) coming to me every so often. I’ve always wanted to figure out from which anime the memories came from, in part to remember my Korean culture and heritage. Ironically enough, one of the most resonating and haunting plot/theme that I could remember was about this girl who was pulled into a magical world and made friends there, only at end she had to go back to her own world knowing that all her memories in that world would be erased. Incredibly heartbreaking, for me anyways. I even remembered this 5 note motif that played during when she was saying her farewell to her friends. Well, I was eventually able to find it, and if you want to check it out it’s called Petite Princess Yucie. It made my eyes roll when I had realized that Gainax (anime studio of NGE) produced it.

Similar to this story, I spent a lot of time tracking down anime that aired in Korea based on bits of my childhood memory. This became quite easy at some point, with the emergence of 나무위키 (a Korean wiki that’s a degree closer to Encyclopedia Dramatica but still mostly legit) and many YouTube videos of old Korean anime. None of these resources were present prior to ’10s. I can honestly say that these OP and ED brought an incredible amount of joy to me as I re-listened to them a decade later. I was surprised at how much memory came back as soon as I heard the very first sounds — I felt like a child again. Also, I couldn’t believe how much TV I had watched as a kid (I knew at least a 100 anime titles). It was a flood of memories and feelings.

This also led to my fascination of the linguistic differences between Korean and English, as the themes and sounds of the music present in OP were so incredibly different from the sounds and philosophy I had acquired here. For me, the OP felt familiar, yet completely unfamiliar at the same time. It was so interesting how expressions were translationed, how one culture was more partial to certain ideas, and how certain words just could not be translated. I then realized just how much language plays a role in shaping and even directly processing one’s thoughts. With two cultures and two languages inside of me, I started to appreciate the duality of my perspectives. And although I watched anime in Japanese, in my head — as I read the English subtitles — I would try to figure out what the Korean dub would be saying. This allowed me to affectionately revisit the cultural attitudes and feelings of my upbringing.

I want to briefly mention Fullmetal Alchemist. When I tried to watch it as a kid (maybe around the same time as when I watched Naruto), one of the very first scenes traumatized me. I became afraid of the dark all over again. I was able to finish it, but it was years later. Let me finish my opinion on the franchise by saying that to this day, every time I watch FM: Brotherhood, no matter which episode I start watching it from, I will stay on the ride until the end. It’s that engaging of a story.

Now let’s go back to the somewhat chronological order. In my second year, I didn’t really watch anime. I was back to watching American TV shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. I also took a break from smoking weed for the whole 8 months. A weird thing happened near the end of my second year: a friend from my jazz combo put me onto hip hop. I remember not liking hip hop in high school (to be fair, it would be like someone saying that they hate metal because they don’t see the appeal of Metallica) but that attitude slowly changed. Starting from good kid, m.A.A.d city (because I wanted to understand why this Macklemore person made so many people angry about this album), I was listening solely to hip hop by the beginning of 3rd year (I went all out too, like I joined a hip hop club which I am currently the president).

In the spring of 2015, during the end of my 3rd year, I came upon something that truly touched me. It was the Korean OP of Nadia: Secret of Blue Water. I don’t know why, but as soon as the OP started, I froze, and I had a feels trip. I vaguely recognized it as something that I had caught a 10-minute glimpse of when I was like 7. But I was immediate thrown back into that space. It was something that I didn’t know I had been longing for until the moment came. I think I cried. It was so nostalgic and it seemed to define the happy and adventurous spirit I was as a child — a part of myself I had completely forgotten about. So of course I watched it. And I think for the first time in a while, I was constantly having a good high with no anxiety.

That month (I think March?), I was intensely engrossed in the world of Hideaki Anno (also directed Nadia) as I also fell in love with Kare Kano. Surely enough, I remember seeing the title as a kid, but I mean, as an elementary kid, I had no interest in something titled “That man that women” (translated Korean title). It was a magical month, and to this day that month feels like a very special time in my life. This event ultimately led to the start of me producing music. At the time, I just wanted to share the joy I found through music with other people. This sometimes became delusions of grandeur (people need to hear this, I am what the world needs) while I experimented with psychedelics.

As for my 4th year, I have three words: The Boondocks, DJing, and dark-Atlanta-trap. The bad news, however, was that I failed a lot of courses that year. And the depression that I thought I had finally gotten a handle on, was once again depriving me of life. It guilted me out of happiness, it petrified me in times of stress, and it made me blind to the love around me. And the scary thing was, it consistently seemed to come by around 8pm everyday.

While I had a few strong moments of determination to change my life over the years — to stop eating unhealthy, to exercise, to stop watching porn, to stop skipping classes, to stop feeling like shit basically — it was all unfortunately temporarily. After years of depression, perhaps the worst voice to come about was maybe this is just my life. I felt like I was drowning, and I felt so confused all the time.

So how did I go from there to here? I’m not sure. At the time, I found myself desperately praying that I wanted to change. I didn’t like my current self and how I was feeling all the time — I just wanted to be good and to feel good. For once, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try and actually put faith in God. I don’t know, I’ve been running with it.

Winter 2015 wasn’t without its great shows, however, Rick and Morty was simply superb. What helped generalize my anime fandom was when I saw my new roommate watching Konosuba. He doesn’t normally watch anime and he doesn’t know that I watch anime. But as soon as I caught a glimpse of it, I thought oh god what is this fanservice trash? Well it turns out that it wasn’t trash, but anyways, at this point, I’ve never ever disclosed my involvement with ecchi anime to anyone. I felt like it would be like telling people you used to watch porn but it’s not quite porn and it’s in drawings. Although… to be fair, that’s kind of what it is. But, at the time, I didn’t know how to feel about it. I felt some shame for having watched them, but also, there was undeniably something about it that I enjoyed. I couldn’t understand what it was at the time so my intentions felt misguided. Moreover, I found it hard to understand many other parts about myself in general. Who was I? Why does the me from my high school years seem like a complete stranger? How could I being to explain what had happened with my first relationship? How will I ever reconcile with my family?

These were incredibly difficult questions for me, but I knew that I had to sober up first. I’ve come a long way since my first year of depression, and I’ve certainly learned and healed a lot. Well, somehow, I found myself at a church even though I hadn’t gone for years. It was a weird service, or rather, it wasn’t a service at all. It was the resignation speech of the head pastor saying that he couldn’t afford the housing prices in Vancouver (oversimplification and a joke). What really touched me though, was how the congregation was moved into weeping. I mean even from what I could tell as a first impression, he was a man who really poured out his life to the people that he was leading.

That was it. I wanted to become a that. I wanted to become a leader. I had always wanted to help people — afterall, this was the primary reason for switching into psychology. That and the fact that I really wanted to understand this thing we communicate as depression. I loved hip hop for its ability and platform to encourage people through words. And it was music at the same time. As I took a good hard look at myself (which was long overdue), I realized that I wasn’t doing the best I could at my school, my job, or even in my music production. I was constantly in a cycle of anxiety. That needed to change. And for me to want others to change, I needed to change first.

So it’s now 8 months after that Sunday. And we’re nearing the end of 2016. I thought I was going to talk extensively about all the anime I saw this winter term as I prefaced back in the A-side, but I guess I won’t be doing that on this post. But just to mention my favourite titles, they were: the Fate/stay night visual novels, K-On!, New Game!, Bakemonogatari, and Toradora.

By the way, K-On! straight up changed my life. It accounts for why I’m in the slice-of-life anime phase now and it plays a big role in explaining my personal love for anime further. It somehow even ties together with my promise to elaborate on porn and fanservice anime. I also won’t be talking about this on today’s post but I got my inspiration from a post by Bobduh called Nisemonogatari and the Nature of Fanservice,  Ctrl+F  “Episode 8. Dental hygiene.” There is also an incredible editorial by gendomike (who has now unfortunately retired from blogging) on the broader topic called “I’m Only Interested In 2D Girls!”: On Lust, Animated Desire, and Gender Expectations.

This post turned out to be a lot longer than I had anticipated. I never meant to break it down into 2 parts. And although even I can tell that I could have written some of the parts better, I feel good about this as a starting place. I definitely learned a lot, both about myself and about writing. It has been an amazing past two days for me — writing on the ferry, at Blenz, and whenever I came home from work. It was also such a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect on basically my whole life through exploring what TV series I had been drawn to over the years. It seems very fitting for an end of the year post. Thanks so much for reading!


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Image is screenshot of LCL Sea from The End of Evangelion

Soundtrack one is [When I Think About the Lord by James Huey] played on piano by Melody Henning Long

Soundtrack two is Ame iro Rondo by Hashimoto Yukari

Soundtrack three is Akogare by Mitsumune Shinkichi

Soundtrack four is Peace Reigns in the Land by Sagisu Shirou

Soundtrack five is Greendale is Where I Belong by Ludwig Göransson