blue bird: I am Chihaya

By bluemist on July 30th, 2011

Hello there. Been a while isn’t it? Again my plans were totally foiled by the busy-ness of life. But now that I’m writing this on my birthday, I took a leave away from work, and most probably took a leave from everything else.

I’m alone, and I have all the time in my life.

This has been the daily drama of my life ever since I started working. Sure, people and even I might say that my job is very stressful. I have even blamed it for my personal shortcomings sometimes. I would cry out fodder on twitter about how this job sucks, and sucks my time like a vacuum. I cite it responsible for my anti-socialness. I swipe at it for my failing lovelife. But you know what? Deep inside of me, the part that I try to deny about it was, this work, this career I’m leading myself into, this actually… defines me.

I am good at it. I am obsessed with it. It is my life. It is as if I had nothing else but my career. That if I had not been working, I would have nothing else. I am nothing without my work.

There was a point in time, actually 2 years ago, that I stopped working for an entire half-year. It was the worst part of my psyche. I would totally NEET out on myself. Play games. Watch bunch o’ anime. Hang out in my anonymous blogospheres and social networks. In fairness, I did get out to breathe fresh air quite often. I joined friends in outings. I was wild. I was free. But somehow, everything felt empty. I was losing my sense of being, of worth. That if I didn’t earn any money for myself, then I don’t deserve this kind of enjoyments in life. I’m merely leeching on my family’s kindness. Somehow I got over that dreaded phase, and landed myself a decent job, which I’m still in to this day.

Somehow, I dedicated myself fully to this new job. Not because I wanted, or needed to. Not because there was a sense of urgency. But it’s because I believed, or possibly brainwashed myself, to being “nothing” during that jobless 6-month phase of my life. And so time went on with this new career, and I can somehow say right now that I am successful. Despite the stress, I’m enjoying it. It keeps me busy. Way better than doing nothing. Than being nothing.

In the end, that kind of dedication had a very specific side effect. I became a Chihaya, or at least what I know from her because of the 4th episode of THE IDOLM@STER. Now I have nothing else but my career. I am nothing else but my career. A blue bird, strayed from the pack, in search for a happiness that may never come.

I’m getting old, and this is when the people around me start asking questions about yet another aspect of life, aside from career, that I am having a difficulty lining myself into: love. Questions of why I still don’t have someone in my life to confide with, someone so settle down with, you know the usual deal. I frequently cry #foreveralone whenever I can. If I blamed “career” at this point, it would be an excuse, but I’m at that phase right now. As I said, I am totally in control of my career. I am good at it. I am obsessed with it.

At some point within all the noise of my relatives and friends who’ve tried to convince me of those usual keywords like “girlfriend”, “family”, “marriage”, etc., I’ve come to a yet-premature conclusion that I can’t… or more accurately, “rather not handle it”. Chihaya, in her episode, has been focused totally in her singing. She looked so serious. She promptly even declined to join her friends to celebrate their victory in the TV show shoot. Watching that, I exclaimed: “That’s totally me.” I’ve had some episodes when I don’t want to interact with anyone, or have anything else pollute my mind except the things that I want to put myself into. A girl like Chihaya, if projected in real life, is an introvert with an exacting incredible talent. She would be successful in her career, but she would lack in everything else.

People may say it is somewhat abnormal to be like that, but that is the reality of people who focus themselves on one area. You only have 100% in your life, so of course if you dedicate 90% of it to your career, you only have time, and effort, for 10% of everything else. Surely, the difference between people are vast. What I perceive as 100% of me, other people compared to me might be 200%, so even if I extract the same effort out of myself in my dedication for the career, there will be millions of people way better than me, and even so, they might succeed too in the other aspects of their lives. Because they had so much in them, compared to me. I often try to stray away from comparing myself to others, this only brings up more misery and loneliness. I avoid the real social networks because people always look happy in those, thus putting doubt in my self-worth prematurely because we don’t see in the internet the real problems other people face.

I am not lonely, I need to stress on that. I just feel a melancholy on myself. A Chihaya, despite her serious appearance and seeming loneliness, is not lonely, and I’m willing to bet on that. She is a symbol of a people like me, who finds strength in places few people can reach. Who finds power in unlikely sources. Who may find love not in other like beings. Who may find peace in that sky, straying away from the pack, towards a happiness that may never come. It is an uncertain future for me, but so is for everyone else. It’s just that, somehow, I accept that future, to wherever it may lead for me. As for being happy, maybe this is a different kind of happiness that I feel right now. It would be nice to find that normal, or should I call, “mainstream” happiness whatever it may be, but this is alright. It would be nice, but my life right now is alright.

Towards the end, Producer-san and the other idols saw Chihaya off with a somewhat sad expression on their faces. Somehow that tells me the attitude of people in general about people like me. This should not be. You should never pity, criticize, nor judge someone who has her ideals set, even if it is not the norm for you. You should never think those people are lonely. They, we, are coping with a society which only sees other people skin-deep. That is why there are conflicts in this world, wars, racism, prejudice, everywhere. If sometimes we never tell you about our innermost thoughts, we are sorry. We are also part of the problem, as we don’t communicate as easily. But please remember that, in our own little way, even if it only were to ourselves, we feel you, feeling us. We know what those kinds of lonely glances towards us mean. We see human behavior more closely, because it is human behavior itself that we lack. At the very least, if you think that we are lonely, talk to us. You may be surprised what kind of happiness we have despite what our poker faces may tell you. If we are really lonely that time, talk to us as well, because that’s when we open up, as we know that you really care so as to put effort and concern, with your time and words, in talking to us.

If your reached this part, chances are you really had concern for me, and I thank you for that. Until next time.


Posted By: schneider On: July 30, 2011 At: 5:38 pm

Social networking sites have the tendency to make people much happier than they actually are–after all, who wants to make their dirty laundry public? I understand as well, being someone who, because of my way of life, have little to post in Facebook.

I actually envy people who pursue their career single-mindedly. That, to me is courage. I’m the opposite, trying to dabble into everything I think is interesting, and ending up not having time to be good at anything.

I didn’t read the sad expressions of the Producer & co. when they saw Chihaya off. I think the girls understand Chihaya very well, and the Producer’s mark that “I don’t understand all of you very well yet” hammers in his sadness at himself, for not trying hard enough to give Chihaya what she wants (singing jobs).

That’s it from me, and happy birthday.

Posted By: suguru On: July 31, 2011 At: 5:34 am

Happy Birthday! And good post as usual. My $0.02 is happiness is something everyone has to find their own path to, and it’s always bugged me that society seems to associate introverts with “he/she must be miserable/lonely because they’re not out doing things with 500 acquaintances every night”. Chihaya could be seen as “anti-social” for not going out to celebrate, but I think that’s just not who she is, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

If there was only one road to happiness (get married, then 2.1 kids, then a dog, retire, so on) then life would be easy, but I know from watching my friends in their 30s that far worse than not getting married is marrying the wrong person for you and then having to go through divorce, custody agreements, and everything else. So while I consider myself very fortunate to be happily married, I don’t look at unmarried people and say “oh, they must be miserable.” I was single long enough to know that yeah, there were times I was lonely, but at the same time there were fun times too. The people with 800 Facebook “friends” don’t post about how shallow their relationships with most of them are, or the emptiness from spreading themselves too thin, or engaging in endless smalltalk.

Back to Chihaya, I think too many people hold extroverts as some kind of ideal, when putting an introvert in an extrovert’s lifestyle would be hell for the introvert. I’m an introvert myself, and I’d much rather be home with a couple real friends or family talking or watching a movie than going out partying with dozens of acquaintances. To me, extrovert vs introvert isn’t good vs bad or happy vs lonely, it’s more like wanting pepperoni or sausage on pizza – everyone’s different, and if we weren’t, life wouldn’t be as interesting.

I wouldn’t give up on finding someone to share your life with either, though – I know right about when I was sure I’d be single forever I met my wife (at work, in fact – my job at the time also sucked down hours and I was flying to a different city every week) so you never know what the future will bring.

Posted By: bluemist On: July 31, 2011 At: 9:40 am

Thanks to you two! It was a happy alone birthday, though I did already my partying with friends/family a few days prior.

I actually came from that jack-of-all-trades mindset, and probably still am despite stating my career resolve. Within everything we try somehow there will come a point when we find our niches. Like how I came to watch all kinds of anime, then eventually found shoujo and moe~ to be my feti- err I mean niche.

Exactly. An introvert’s preferences are selective and unique, though sometimes overthought. I even sometimes ask myself “who am I with and what’s the benefit for me by joining them” on simple social occasions. Might be healthy sometimes of course, as I try to assert who my real friends are instead of having shallow relationships.

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