Pocket-Diary of an Anime Lived – My Tastes Can’t Possibly Be This Harmful

Pocket-diary, because this post is gonna be short. Part of the Diary of an Anime Lived series.

Otaku pride, mothafucka!

Being a show about otaku, it’s no surprise that Ore no Imouto is full of relatable moments to any fan. My favorite is the argument in episode 2 between Kirino and Kuroneko over whose favorite anime is better—been there plenty of times. My arguments have usually lead to burnt bridges and unfriendliness, but I also know how people that don’t agree on things can be friends (plenty of people I talk to on Twitter are willing to debate anime in a more friendly manner.) —That’s not what this post is about, though.

The moment from Oreimo that I related to most was when Kirino’s father told her to get rid of her hobby in episode 3 and she ran away, later telling Kyousuke that she’d never change.

I don’t have that problem with my parents. Don’t get me wrong, they in no way understand my hobby and think that I’m a freak, but they’re also very supportive and give me the freedom to do as I please. (I wish they wouldn’t bring guests into my room like it’s an exhibit, though.) Of course, America also doesn’t have the otaku stigma that Japan does, and my parents don’t really know anything about the contents of the stuff I watch and read (if they did, I’m sure we’d have a much longer talk about it lol.)

But there was someone who brought my tastes into question once, and I haven’t spoken to them since. That person was a psychologist that I was seeing from February until August named Dr. Buxton.

My favorite line from her, when asked if she hides her otakudom, "how could I?" Exactly what I'd say. Art by senya fuurin http://gelbooru.com/index.php?page=post&s=list&tags=senya_fuurin

I’d gotten along with Dr. Buxton pretty well over the course of the year. We were very different people, him being an older family man that worked with the Republican party and was a wealthy workoholic, but we nonetheless shared a mutual understanding and respect that made it so he could still impact my thinking (at a time where I really needed help.)

However, as time went on, it increasingly seemed like I didn’t need to be there anymore. I was on the right track and I didn’t have the problems from before that I needed help with. Buxton was increasingly distracted during our meetings because of his business with politics, and I felt like it was a waste of money to keep seeing him.

We met after not having seen each-other for a few weeks and with nothing else to really bring up, Buxton started asking about my anime addiction. Specifically, he was concerned about my sexuality. We’d clarified that I was interested in women, though I’d told him plenty of times that I wasn’t really interested in dating for the time being (which he didn’t seem to buy.)

He dragged up his knowledge about anime and manga representing characters that looked extremely young and started bombarding me with questions. I kept telling him, “I really can’t explain this, I’d have to really give you a longer explanation,” and such things, but he wouldn’t stop asking, and kept searching through stuff like ‘moe’ on wikipedia on his smartphone and then confronting me with things he read. I said “it’s not really like that, I’d have to explain it to you,” but I really didn’t know what to say and was frozen on the spot. He then brought up someone in a neighboring city whom he’d been seeing that was arrested for virtual child porn that was apparently anime, and was interested in what I could tell him about the subject for that case as well.

I got really, really, intensely flustered by the whole situation. I’d always been very open with him about any element of my life (it’s me we’re talking about), but when it came to anime, what was I supposed to say? How could I put through to him where I was coming from? I didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to talk about it.

Say whatever you want you crazy (but attractive) bitch, I won't change!

So I went home and typed out a 6000-word opus on otaku sexuality, which I’d intended to show him and get him to understand.

But I didn’t. I skipped out on the meeting we’d scheduled and I never called again. He, incidentally, never called me either, perhaps sensing that he’d pushed me away.

I wanted to avoid the topic so bad because I didn’t want my otakudom and sexuality to be looked at as a problem. I didn’t want it to be one of the things I was trying to ‘work through.’ I’d never gotten into my otakudom with him before because it’s an area of my life where I’m completely satisfied (maybe the ONLY area), and when he brought it up, I felt insulted. I wanted him to leave it alone and to move on, but he kept fucking pushing me. The reason I haven’t gone back is that if the only abnormality left in my life is my otakudom, then I’ve cured all of my concerns.

Kirino never had to explain to her father why anime isn’t harmful, and she wouldn’t have wanted to. It’s fucking frustrating for someone to expect you to tell them why you shouldn’t change yourself. It’s like, “fuck you for even saying that there’s something wrong with me. This is what I love, so stay the fuck out of it.” That’s exactly why even though I typed out 6000 words, I never gave them to their intended audience—because in the end, why the hell should I have to defend myself? I like the way I am. If you don’t, then get the hell out of my life.

Bonus: The Smiths – Is It Really So Strange?

28 thoughts on “Pocket-Diary of an Anime Lived – My Tastes Can’t Possibly Be This Harmful

  1. Wow – it doesn’t sound like your psychologist was doing his job properly at all. Hopefully he was able to help you with other stuff, but he severely dropped the ball in that last session you guys had.

    At any rate, I’ll venture and say that any interest of yours THAT DOESN’T HURT or CAUSE DAMAGE TO ANY ONE ELSE is totally fine. As it is, your interest in anime or 2D girls hasn’t harmed any real life people. In that case I would say no, you don’t have to defend yourself to anyone. I’ll also add that if you HAVE hurt someone (which I assume you haven’t), it will have nothing to do with your anime fandom, and everything to do with the fact that you don’t care if you cause damage to people. In that case, again, no defense is needed for your anime fandom because that’s got nothing to do with anything.

    Anyway, um … best of luck! And go otakudom.

    • If nothing else, he understood me pretty well, and I understood him. And it’s because I understood him that I know that even though he does know what he’s doing, and did help me, and I don’t dislike seeing him, I also wouldn’t put it past him to keep scheduling meetings even if he knew we had nothing to talk about, because I know how money-hungry he is and how his logic works. He’s the kind of guy who’s a great friend, but only because it works for him—and honestly, I’m the same way, so I can’t really attack him for it. He simply fucked up that time by doing something I couldn’t abide by.

  2. “I wanted to avoid the topic so bad because I didn’t want my otakudom and sexuality to be looked at as a problem. […] If the only abnormality left in my life is my otakudom, then I’ve cured all of my concerns.”

    That’s some incredibly potent stuff right there. I don’t even really know what else to say about it, except that it really resonated with me.

    Psychology is, in one way of looking at it, all about the study of mental and emotional patterns and abnormalities. And the overall thrust of the practice is that, by addressing the abnormalities, one can more-easily function as a member of society (i.e. “be normal”). But when you have a hobby like this one that is pretty inherently counter-cultural and in some ways anti-society… what separates this from all the other issues psychologist help people solve? If he “cured” you of this “problem”, you may indeed be more “normal”… but would you life a more satisfying and fulfilling life, according to your own definition?

    It’s a very deep and troubling question, anyway, and when it comes right down to it, I think this is really the reason I don’t talk about this hobby with anyone in “real life” either — I figure they’ll see it as a “problem” that should rightfully be solved, when I figure their lack of open-mindedness is arguably the real issue. And this when we’re talking about “good people”, too. It’s just… messy.

    • Exactly. My psychologist is not a guy who doesn’t understand passion or art – his son is aiming to become a filmographer, and he in turn knows a good deal about film, and about music, being a huge King Crimson fan. I never expected him to come at me like that in such a flurry of completely not getting it. He did what most people do and treated anime like it was this ‘one thing’ of sorts, and as a man as deeply concerned with anime as I am, I couldn’t abide it.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story. In the end, it sounds like just another case of someone (your psychiatrist) trying to understand something (anime) that they’re just too far removed from – in ideals, lifestyles, tastes, etc – to even begin to comprehend. I’ve never been placed in a situation where someone ignorant about anime was asking me questions in an attempt to understand it. In all of my cases, people would rather revel in their ignorance and don’t want to hear a true explanation. I wonder what I would have said if I was in your situation.

    • Right. I wish he would’ve listened to me when I told him that he didn’t get it, and that it was hard to explain, but he just bowled me over. It was almost like an attack. What I should have probably said was ‘shut the fuck up and change the subject’ (I cussed a lot in front of him lol), but I was kind of just frightened and confused at where it was all going.

    • Hehe my parents very strongly disapprove of violence of any kind and would be totally offended if you said that to them. And from their perspective, their kids turned out much better than anyone else’s that they know.

      • Somehow, I’m not in total disagreement with them. But I’d also say you’re a hedonistic slob who fails at life because he can’t fall back on discipline when passion runs dry.

        • As a hedonist, I can’t think of myself as failing at life, because I’m so damn happy. That said, I completely agree that I wasn’t disciplined enough, but I hardly think violence is the answer for that. My parents just didn’t discipline me *at all*, in any sort of way. And they too have realized what a mistake that was in the past couple years and tried to tighten up a little.

    • He actually just told a psychologist that he doesn’t have a problem even though everyone thinks he has (otakuism is a problem for normal people, duh).

      Also, he just told a psychologist off even though it could just simply be dismissed as a notion of doing his profession’s job.

      Digiboy, son, I am so disappoint.

  4. Reminds me of the time my mom wanted to burn my Pokemon cards because of some ignorant “Pokemon is the devil” crap she read in a magazine. That was a fun explanation.

  5. Dude you just need to remember that anime is just a hobby. Maybe he was trying to tell you that.
    Really it’s a great hobby but it doesn’t compete with life out there. It’s something that helps you keep going and adds some spice in life.

      • Define way of life, then :P. You live to watch and blog about anime?
        Hobby is something that I do on my free-time to relax and regain my energy for the next day. I can’t imagine my life without my nerdy stuff and interests but there’s more important things in life than anime or comics. I can say that because every summer, when nothing worries me I can go on without watching a single anime episode. (Still checking the WSJ scanlations once a week, though)

  6. wow what a weird psychologist… at least the other issues you were concerned with got worked out.

    “It’s like, “fuck you for even saying that there’s something wrong with me. This is what I love, so stay the fuck out of it.” —because in the end, why the hell should I have to defend myself? I like the way I am. If you don’t, then get the hell out of my life.”

    This whole blurb is pretty much what went through my head upon viewing the episode where her best friend was freaking out at her. It really bothered me that someone that says they are her friend is willing to talk down to her like that. It just didn’t make any sense at all to me honestly. Anger episode that was heh.

    I’ve never had this problem to this kind of extent but if people don’t like me for me fuck em just as you said!

    • I thought it was weak, too, that they skated out of that situation without the friend learning acceptance. If I were Kirino, I would’ve ended the friendship myself until the girl learned to respect me, painful as it may have been.

  7. I went through sort of the same thing with World of Warcraft. He still views it as a having a negative affect on my life (when I was playing) but while I agree that generally I was playing *alot* as in, it took up a lot of my time, I don’t think it was affecting me in any deep enough manner that would have a lasting impact.

    That being said, there are certain criteria that lead a person into an adult life: financial independence, a job, intimate relationships with friends and w/ lovers, and a knowledge of your identity are the major categories (if I remember correctly) and if my psychologist thought my anime watching habits (or my sleeping habits for that matter) was impacting my progress toward any of those goals in a significant, negative, manner he most likely would bring it up as well.

    Personally it sounded to me like he was just looking for information to deal with some case he was working with. Which I would want to be really careful the kinds of questions I would answer in relation to that. (also make sure that his confidentiality agreement is rock solid) Thankfully I don’t think my therapist represents in any political fashion so I don’t have to worry about ethical conflict of interests.

    That being said I would never ever tell my psychologist about my fetishes referring to pornography particularly hentai. There is no way he would understand. But that’s not getting in the way of those criteria I listed so everything is groovy.

    Were I in your situation I might have tried to continue visiting the psychologist but I would have firmly put my foot down and told him “I’m not going to talk about that” or “I’m not comfortable talking about that” and if he doesn’t respect that decision than he probably really is a shitty psychologist.

    • Conversely, there was nothing I was unwilling to tell my psychologist. It seemed like keeping things secret would only hinder the progress anyway. But this guy knew that I was out of the ordinary, and respected it, or so I thought. The reason I was seeing him was to pull myself together and figure out where I was going. He got me back into college, re-inspired me to learn and progress in my life, and tried to help me as much as possible to stay on track.

      Thing is, by July, I *was* on-track. I was in college, I was making better grades than I have since elementary school, I wasn’t depressed anymore (in fact I’ve been ridiculously sunny on a consistent basis since March), the only thing he was trying hard to get me to do was learn to drive, and I kept dropping the ball on that one, but there was no where for that conversation to go anymore (“You need to drive.” “Yeah, I know.”)

      I didn’t need to see him anymore because I was done with all the things that were problems. At that point, our meetings had slown down and almost turned into casual conversation, and I knew that he, as a businessman, was not going to stop scheduling meetings just because of that (it hardly makes sense to tell someone to ‘stop paying you’, especially when you have the excuse that the mind is always a work in progress.)

      Maybe he was just looking for info for the case, or maybe the case was all made up so that he could get me scared or something (it certainly sounds like something the anime community would’ve heard of by now.) I think he ran out of ideas and turned to that thing. It was something he didn’t understand and that I didn’t want him or need him to understand.

      At the time this all occurred, it’s not like I thought ‘I’m never going back there’, since I obviously wrote that whole 6000-word post. But I missed our next meeting semi-purposefully, and he never called again. So with that, it was over.

  8. I don’t understand why this driving thing is such a big issue….

    I’ve had the same problem for almost 20 years. People have pressured me like crazy to learn how to drive!!! They’ll come up with twisted scenarios like, imagine your friend’s house is burning down and you have to race over and rescue him, what are you going to do without a license?! I mean, damn. I don’t get it. Let a man be. I don’t go around telling people: “Yo, you need to learn how to think!!! What are you going to do if you don’t have a brain, huh?” If people want to be silly, I let them be silly. Why can’t people let me take the bus??

    • I don’t want to take the bus lol. Also, I don’t know what it’s like over there, but America’s infrastructure is very silly. It takes forever to get anywhere, and roads are confusing, constantly jammed, and a general pain. It would probably take a 2-hour or more bus ride to get from my house to my school on the campus that actually is in my city, probably longer for the art center I more frequently go to. I most certainly can’t take my bike or I’d have to leave 4 hours before class.

      It really is more convenient if I learn to drive. I practically know how already, and I have a car available to me at all times, but I just haven’t put in the practice.

      • yeah I got my permit at 16 and sat on it for 3 years till I finally got a job and was like…ope better go get my license. Then i didn’t drive anywhere except the job and to eat. Then I started driving on highways. Then I started driving places I hadn’t been before.

        Where I live if you are going to be your own a car is practically required because we have almost no public transit.
        On the flip side the traffic isn’t very congested where I live so it only takes me ~15min to get to school.

  9. Pingback: 2010 Anime Review | My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull

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