Today I experienced my first middle school graduation in Japan. Just for a moment during the long speeches of congratulations, I thought of my own high school days.
I know people look back and say it was the best time of their lives. But I hated it to the very end. Not one person did I connect with at that time. I was too busy wanting something different. I longed for a life that I couldn’t have. During middle school, my life was muddled with anger and confusion. Going into high school only allowed those feelings to grow. I was an awkward child. I didn’t know how to tolerate or deal with other people my own age. So, I ran away from any forms of communication because I was afraid of being hurt. I hated others deeply but it was only a reflection of the hatred I had for myself. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. I couldn’t see this problem in others and I hated them for it.
While others my age grew and explored, I stayed as I was. My growth halted from my parents’ divorce no less than five years ago when I entered as a freshman. I rarely went to school during my first year because I got anxious from it. I had low self esteem and I couldn’t make any friends. I was suffocating so I retreated into a world of video games and anime. It’s time to face that fact. For 8 years I had been using anime and video games as an escape. I longed for a better life. I wanted peace and stability. I wanted to grow and gain knowledge. I wanted to be recognized and appreciated. I wanted to be liked by others and feel loved.
I felt uncertain. I wanted these things but I didn’t know how to find them. I didn’t know who to turn to for answers. I think I couldn’t even put to words those desires. The only things that were reoccurring in my life were ones of failure, anger and depression. I felt the things I wanted could only be obtained from the outside. I looked towards others for sympathy. It was how I found worth. I caused discord and drama online. It was how I felt important and got noticed by others. Dropping those immature habits was a great step in my development.
I was an idiot. I wish I could just go back and tell him all the things he would need to do to get his life together. Read books. Study and learn new things. Exercise a little bit each day… If only I could tell him. But it wouldn’t matter. I doubt I would have even listened to myself. I was heavily undisciplined despite I thought I was more mature than my peers. It was fake.
I desperately wanted to die. I didn’t have much to live for. I had no goals. No desires. No aspirations for the future. But at this age, I don’t want to die. I want to cling to the life that I have. I want to do what I can with it. I wonder why? Why didn’t I have these common human desires? It took me 8 years to grasp onto myself. “Aha! This is who I really am. This is what I’ve been striving to become all this time!”
Today, I cast my old self into the deep blue sky of spring. I have graduated from the grays of transition into adulthood.