Finding Solace When Everything Is Terrible
Lately, I've been getting into anime more.
Two shows I've really been enjoying are School-Live! and And Yet The Town Moves - on top of also getting back into Dragon Ball Super. School-Live! is one of the most ambitious things the anime industry has done since Madoka Magica, or even Neon Genesis Evangelion. There's a tangible, raw emotion behind it, as it feels like both a show made by people tired of being shackled by the production committee system, and a beautiful testament to the strength of friendship during hard times. While it's pitched as "moe with zombies," it's a lot more than that.
And Yet The Town Moves is also fantastic, as I discussed on the last episode of Rocketto Punchi. It's an absurdist comedy that makes me happy every time I watch it, and also makes my brain work a little more than your average anime comedy. It's dumb and smart in equal amounts, and I really appreciate that. Plus, if we're being honest, Hotori is adorable and also just me in anime form.
And I'll save talking about Dragon Ball Super for a longer post, because I have a lot to say about it.
The point is, I'm getting into anime again. Making an effort to watch more of it, and not let cynicism wear me down. Part of that really is thanks to the podcast, in particular due to Russell's more open-minded take on anime. I think I'm more open to watching stuff I ordinarily wouldn't now, and that's brought a lot of joy back into my life. For a while there, I was letting snark get in the way of me liking things, and I think that's stupid. It's gotten to a point where snark is overrated, I think, and blindly dismissing things belies a latent sadness in someone's life.
I've also found a lot of joy in cooking lately, too!
But another part of this is that I've been trying to cope because I'm fucking depressed.
Lately, my life has been in a weird trajectory. My career isn't really going where I thought it would, and while prospects are certainly looking up, my life just isn't going how I've planned. That's not to mention a whole lot of personal strife that would be really de classe for me to air on my blog, so I won't. But to put things succinctly, my day-to-day life has gotten me feeling really down. I honestly dread waking up sometimes. Dread interacting with the people I live with, because more often than not, conversations take a really barbed and bullying turn, and it hurts me on a very deep level. It's a scary, offputting feeling.
And as much as I try to turn things into jokes, the fact of the matter is that the world has me depressed. Our cruel, inbred joke of a president isn't helping US citizens who are drowning and dying of disease, not to mention starving to death. A trans girl was recently beaten, mutilated, burned alive, then cut to pieces and thrown into the trash by four people who, frankly, I would pay good money to see dead. That's on top of the usual racism in our country, personified by the reaction to people of color peacefully protesting.
I'm depressed. Sad. Angry. But above all, I'm heartbroken. And it's taken everything in my power not to fall back on old coping mechanisms, like trying to kill myself, caving to self-harm, or starving myself intentionally. Eating disorders are a bitch, especially when you're depressed, y'know?
I think that the more I see the cruelty in the world, both intimately and at large, I've been growing less tolerant of it. Been getting more close to things that let me be happy, and not letting people I know who seemingly want me to be unhappy about everything rule my life. That doesn't mean necessarily blinding myself to the world and all its problems. That doesn't mean pretending that I'm happy about the state of my life. But it does mean finding the things that make me happy and embracing them again. Because I lost it for a while, I think. My ability to be happy. And it's still kind of broken, but I'm putting it back together again. Bit by bit.
So I think if you're in a similar place, try to find that thing. It doesn't have to be anime, or video games. It can be books, music, going outside, drawing, writing... anything that you have immediate access to that makes you happy. And however much free time you have, give a little bit of it to that. I know that, in some cases, emotional states are out of our control. I'm not trying to invalidate chemical imbalances in the brain, speaking as someone who has situational depression myself and who is close to people with other forms of depression. I know everyone has a different life, a different story, a different amount of societal privilege.
But I am trying to say that there is something in all of our lives that makes us happy. And even if doing it doesn't make us feel better all the time, it's important to make ourselves do it. Force it, if we're not feeling it. Because that joy is still there, somewhere, even if we're numb to it in the moment. I think if you're numb to it long enough, and you do it long enough, you can feel that joy again. However much, however little that may be. And when you feel it, hold on to it. Because you don't know when it's coming back.
Eventually, I hope you can feel it all the time.
I'll try my best, too.
Please donate to the ongoing relief efforts for Puerto Rico, if you're able.