I cannot express to you how badly I did not want to write this post. I actually wrote out the majority of the post back in September, but I gave up on writing because I just couldn’t take it. This is a story that fills me with pure and utter hatred for myself, and generally for all of the fucking world. I do not regret anything that happened, because it helped to shape me into what I am today, but I still can’t help but hate myself for everything that happened. This is a post about the worst part of my life, and how Iriya no Sora UFO no Natsu and 5 Centimeters Per Second reflected it.
I wish that I could do this post without spoilers, but that would be impossible, so be warned that there will be end spoilers for both series in this post. However, 5 Centimeters Per Second is only an hour long and Iriya no Sora UFO no Natsu is only 3 hours long, so if you’re up for an incredibly depressing afternoon, I say go for it. I recommend that you have seen both series before reading this post. I will be talking about moments from the series very directly and it may be incoherent at times without knowledge of the series, plus neither is something that you want to be spoiled for. That all said, let’s roll.
There are such things as working distance relationships, usually working because they were distance relationships from the start and not because they became that way. I know that there are working ones, because I have seen them, and they are glorious. However, some things can make them impossible. If you cannot drive, you are fucked. If you have no money for other forms of transportation, you are fucked. If you don’t have a reliable means of communication, you are fucked. If you are under 18, you are fucked. If you live more than 3 time zones away, you are fucked, etc. When I fell in love for the first time, I was fucking FUBAR.
I’d love to not talk about this, to summarize, end every paragraph with ‘you get the idea!’, and play this off as an embarrassing little mistake, but that wouldn’t be the truth. To find the truth, I will have to tear my heart out for you.
I had just turned fourteen years old in the summer of 2005 when I played and beat Tales of Symphonia, which was instantly my favorite video game of all time. Everything began on the ToS message boards on GameFAQs. We had a thread for random discussion wherein a small handfull of us members dominated the conversation, treating it like a chatroom, and that was where I started talking to her.
Was she a troll? Baiter? Or just a really hardcore liar and pretender? I never knew, and will never know. It doesn’t matter, because I wouldn’t have cared back then. I instantly found myself taken with this funny girl in the GameFAQs forum. If my old ‘datalog’ diary entries on my old computer hadn’t been erased by hard drive failure, I could show you how I talked about my love for her in them. She told me that her name was Rubyna, but that she went by Mina. There is nothing that I learned about her that I am now willing to fully believe was true. I called her ‘Mina-chan’.
The people of the GameFAQs random discussion thread created their own freeboards forum, and it was there that we ended up migrating to have our own little circle community, as apparently happens in thousands of forums across the internet (ask your local teenager!) This became where I spent all of my time every day. Just about 6 or 7 of us in a forum. In this time, I had developed a small obsession with Mina, which is why it sucked hard to be separated from the internet for a month when my family, who had just narrowly not fallen apart mere months before, was now moving to the ghetto of Richmond. In the first month after the move, we had no internet, and this is where I started to loose my god damn fucking mind. Just as a note, in the 6 or so months we lived in the ghetto, I never made one friend. I was the only white kid at my school, making me ostracized, and while I was able to find some people who were interested in anime and games, I never established any real friendships. With almost no exceptions, in the entire 6 month period, I was always either at school, in my room, or in the office on the computer.
I literally could and would fall in love with ANYONE back then, because I was so lonely, doing nothing but reading forums and writing poetry (I know, right.) When we finally got the internet back (it is now October 05), Mina-chan didn’t frequent the site as much as she had before. Meanwhile, I was still talking to the 2 other girls and maybe 5 other guys on the board. I was also obsessively frequenting a site called Otakuboards – on neither site was I respected, being a young, stupid, snippy child with shit for grammar or spelling skills.
I fell in love “love” multiple times with people on Otakuboards. Once with a 30 year-old woman who had opened up to me and I had taken it too far (really, we both had, for her to have even thought she should keep talking to a 14 year-old who is acting like he’s lost his fucking mind.) She was real – even more so than I was. I ended the relationship in the worst way imaginable by pretending to have used her. Then there was Foxboy, a guy who identified with the bisexuality I claimed to have at the time. He seemed very convinced that he loved me. I could only handle it for a short time, though, and I broke his heart even worse than I did the older woman’s.
And then we move back to the freeboards site, wherein I must have fallen in ‘love’ with each of the other girls at least once. That site was really nothing but a web of completely stupid drama and relationships between a bunch of seriously, seriously lonely teenagers. And then there was, once again, Mina-chan, who’d never truly left my heart, but appeared in my mind once more when she started posting frequently again.
Mina’s personal drama was off. the. fucking. walls. She didn’t have drama with the people there, she let you make your own drama about her drama. But when I tell you about it, please don’t think that I still believe any of it. She had an abusive step-father and a shitty home situation. And I, being young, played the Internet White Knight right into the trap. I was obsessed with her, and she must have known. It’s not like I didn’t tell her how much I loved her pretty often. Did I think she would eventually come around or something? Did I think she liked me? Or did I just think that she was such a beautiful enigma that I didn’t care about it? Did I know that she wasn’t real and didn’t care? Probably all of those at their own times.
But I wept for her. Nightly. I wept for her, and for myself for not being able to be with her. I wept that I could be warmed by my love for her when she didn’t have anything. I wept that I could actually be masturbating to ‘pictures’ of her while thinking of just how much I hated that she was in pain. Even to myself, I sound like a freak to have done that, and I hate that I did, but it was ALL I HAD. Every single night I tried to kill myself. They say that someone who attempted suicide once would be more likely to attempt later. I first attempted suicide when I was in the third grade by putting clothespins over my nose and mouth. That kind of gave me the confidence that I might be able to do it. I kept a knife under my bed at all times. I never once had the balls to even cut myself.
In February 06, we finally moved out of the extreme hell that was the ghetto and back into our cool upper-middle-class life that we had before thanks to more family shit. This time when we moved, we lost the internet for two months. Two grueling months. During this time, I developed an obsession with music and generally spent most of my time writing and listening to songs. (In spite of the thousands of poems, short stories, and other ideas I came up with back then, though, to this day I’ve never completed a story, lol.) After two months, of course I went right back into the fire.
Were they fucking with me when I came back? Was it a setup? Looking at it now, it looks like it HAD to be. Mina had supposedly been raped and impregnated by her psycho ex-stepfather. She assaulted him as well with one of the samurai swords she owned, and had cut him, but also managed to loose a part of one of her fingers in the scuffle or something, I don’t know. All this happened in my absence. She was naming the baby “Emiko”.
I fell in love harder than ever.
I can’t even describe how obviously fake it all was as I can see it now. Mina would always talk to the one older guy, who I now recognize as a troll, through private messaging. They were obviously setting me up. She showed me many pictures of herself, none of which looked anything like each-other. Some were really hot cosplay pics that I now know were obviously the kind of heavily shopped Comiket cosplays you always see (and she was supposedly half-Japanese, so she could pull Asian pictures out, and even then I noticed that her complexion would be totally different in most of them.) One of the images of her in a bikini I even found on the internet once while we actually knew each-other, though she played it off like it was really her. What the fuck ever. I’m a fucking idiot.
It didn’t matter. I got to feel like I was protecting her somehow by sticking up for her and comforting her on the internet (though I was really only comforting myself.) I must have cried myself to sleep so many times, sometimes out of happiness of the future I thought I would have with her and her baby, and others out of the sorrow of a man who in the deepest part of his mind knew that I was fooling myself. What finally ended my love for Mina was the country-wide distance between us finally broadening. She was going to live in Japan with her relatives to raise her child since her deadbeat mom couldn’t help her. She honestly tried to break me off, I think. She tried to convince me that she was a slut and a bad person, but I didn’t care. I kept saying how I’d one day follow her to Japan (I know, right) and we could live together.
It finally ended for me in an instant messenger conversation. She told me that she trusted me more than anyone else in the world, but that I’d always be more like a brother to her than like a lover. She was leaving. I gave up. Even though she’d told me such a powerful thing in that she trusted me so much, I knew that I couldn’t handle talking to her normally after what I felt. I pretty much just stopped talking to her and stopped going to that forum altogether.
I plunged right into hell, looking for more of the same pain. I became the liar. I even had a Gaia account where I posed as a female and started making friends with that persona, though I didn’t last long before I couldn’t handle that. As fall marched on, I crashed and burned, and even identifying myself with Shinji didn’t save me. Later, though, identifying with Haruhi did. That’s when we enter the Massugu Go! period.
But wait, what about Iriya? And 5cmps? For that, we charge a full year ahead into 2008 into a time where I am totally happy (as will be detailed in another Diary post) but still coming to grips with some of my old demons.
What you see linked above could be called my first attempt and utter failure to make this post, though I truthfully can hardly believe I managed any post at all after what had happened.
If you actually watched Iriya right before reading this post (or ever) then you may have already drawn a connection or two. I ask, too, that you keep in mind that when I watched this show, I hadn’t given all of that thought to how fake Mina was. I had chosen to forget about her as a painful memory, but not so much as a fake one. So when I connect the totally genuine Iriya to the totally fake Mina, understand that it would have felt no different to me.
I can’t remember the main character’s name, so I’ll just refer to him as myself. I was fascinated with Iriya from the moment I met her. I quickly learned that she was weak and had a darker background, but in my total love for her, I sought to protect her. I fell as hard as you can imagine. Then, everything went to shit. I tried to protect her, but I failed. She was almost raped, and she had to kill a man, because I wasn’t there to protect her. I went into my own selfish hole of depression, and she only got worse. Soon, I re-found her, and she was damaged beyond belief. I vowed to never leave her. I vowed to make things right, even though the odds were so thoroughly against me and I truly understood nothing about her or her background.
And then, there was a critical moment. Iriya was taken from me by people who told me that I could do nothing else for her. I turned away.
But the main character didn’t. He finds Iriya in time for her last stand. In the end, he has an option. He can go with Iriya and he can die, or he can stay behind while she dies alone, which she would have wanted. She tells him to live, and as such he has to live on after her death. A choice I never got to make.
Iriya was too close to Mina. I felt the same way about her as I did Mina. If the story had ended happily, then I could have probably just smiled vicariously and thought that they were really deserving of each-other and maybe not cared so much. But no. I was full of regret. What I saw was a man who had gone against insurmountable force to reclaim the woman he loved who at the time did not even remember his existence. He fought back, with no regards for his life, and made it possible to see her.
I was full of rage by his decision not to die with her not because of the fact itself but because I didn’t know what I would have done. I wanted to be able to say that I would either have died with her or gone on living. I wanted to have made that choice. Instead I felt like a coward, a coward who had run away from my love. Even though I still could have contacted her, I had stored her away as a bad memory and given up. The only woman I had ever felt I truly loved, and now I couldn’t forgive myself for it.
But it was more than her. I was always running away. I had said I would leave my house. I had said I would do something with my life. I had said I would follow my dreams. And yet, every night, after sitting there thinking about how much I was going to do the next day, and how I would finally escape the chains of life and become a dreamer, I would wake the next morning and give up on everything and resign to my fate. It all came rushing back to me. The pressures of my desire to succeed all stacked up on me and my failure as a person crushed me. I bawled my eyes out. I hit myself. And then, I snapped.
I told myself this was the last day. Tomorrow, I would not forget my ambition. Tomorrow, I would wake up and run away, but not from myself. And I would promise this to my body by marking myself with a wound. A painful wound that when I felt it in the morning would make everything come rushing back. And so, I put my hand on my shoulder, and began to scratch the skin on the back of it. My long nails scratched over and over again. I chanted to myself out loud about how I would succeed, and how I would escape. I scratched and scratched and scratched for at least twenty minutes. I scratched after the pain had become somewhat numbing. I scratched after I felt like blood was trickling down my back. And I scratched until I felt something building up under my nails, and then finally, I looked at my hand.
At that moment, I was the most terrified I have ever been in my entire life at the site of all the blood and flesh caked under my nails. I started breathing heavily. I headed down to the bathroom and had a look in the mirror. There they were – four brilliant red tracks of missing skin and blood, more grotesque than I ever would have imagined myself capable of. I nearly threw up. I rushed back to my room, terrified. I couldn’t stop shaking, and I cried out of pure fear. I was completely sobered. Gone was any of the ambition, sorrow, or bad memories I’d had moments before, replaced with nothing but pure fear and awakeness. To attempt to calm myself, I typed out the post you see linked above.
After that, I finally put the story of Mina behind me for good. I broke my emotional attachment to the story. I no longer believe in love the way I used to. The truth was never that I cared about Mina or her life, it was just that I was so unbearably lonely that I clung to the one person who gave me something to cling to. I am still angered to think about the story – angered that I could have been so fooled and let my life be so controlled by those feelings, and that those people would play with me in such a way. However, really, that’s life, and I’ve learned my lesson. I have never felt something like love for a person since then. The closest I came was in my senior year, and I blew it. I do still think I have the capacity to love. I don’t know if anyone has the capacity to love me back, and were it not for that girl in my senior year, I might not be convinced that there was a girl out there I could have feelings for.
So what does 5 Centimeters Per Second have to do with all of this? Only that I understand it. I know that Owen probably wanted me to talk about 5cmps because I claimed that I didn’t need to talk about it if I talked about Iriya, and this is true still. I could surely rave about the movie from a technical standpoint, but my emotional connection to the film is incredibly straightforward – I was in a relationship that was, from my perspective at the time, fatalized by distance, and I took a long time to get over it. I do not relate to the characters, imagery, music, or plot of the film in any way besides this. It is simply a movie to which I nod my head in agreement, and then move on.
Maybe I’d do that now if I watched Iriya. If I see it, I can just nod and say ‘that was certainly how it felt’, and then I will no longer feel connected to the show that I truly do not relate to besides that experience. In both cases, I’d like to think that the works are behind me. Watching them is like opening up one of your old diaries or notebooks and thinking about times long past. Even though the memories were painful, I will watch these works and read those diaries with a smile, knowing that without those painful things, I would not be the man I am proud of now.