I’m writing this post ahead (6 months) of the fact, but by the time you read this, I am now twenty years old. This is not something I’m happy about. When I turned eighteen, I had to face the nightmare of being a legal “adult,” but at least I could still call myself a “teenager.” Twenty doesn’t leave any ambiguity: I’m now an adult, period. This sucks.
I have, and always have had, a youth complex. I’m obsessed with the idea that I’m a “kid” and have the expectation of being treated like one. It’s easy to come up with reasons why this happened. For one, my birthday is August 8th—late summer, meaning that I turned five years old just before the school year began, whereas most people were born during the school year and therefore would have turned six during kindergarten. It was pretty rare for anyone in my class to be younger than I was. Moreover, I was always one of the shortest kids in class (you know, second from the left when you line up for class pictures), and had a baby face up until high school (which is why only then did people stop mistaking me for a girl).
But it’s not just school where I was always the youngest. I’ve been an avid internet user since I was eleven years old. Up until about two years ago, I was a member of a good many forums, and I usually hung out on forums that were mostly older, more sophisticated users (or alternatively, slightly-older less-sophisticated ones). Especially in my years on the Otakuboards forum, I was in the ages of thirteen to sixteen, while most of the site consisted of twenty-something college students. And the age gap was *always* obvious.
Even more than all that, I enjoyed being the youngest person in my class. I always thought of myself as a “child prodigy” and took pride in the fact not just that I was smart, but that I was exceptionally smart for my age. The thing I hated to be told more than anything was that “[something]’ll change when you get older.” I stubbornly refused the idea that I’d ever like girls until my teen years, and then still refused to talk about it to my parents. (Even now, I feel totally awkward when it comes to talking about girls I know. I don’t think anyone knew the name of my senior crush, nor does anyone know I had one.) I refused to think that a day would come when I stopped liking toys, video games, and cartoons (lo and behold, I’ve lived up to that so far!)
I still act like a kid a lot. Mostly towards my mom and brothers. My recently-turned-eighteen brother acts his age and has all sorts of responsibilities, friends, activities he goes out and does, and he drives (a black Mustang). I know how to be his big brother, but I act like his younger one a lot of the time. I spend a *lot* of time with my thirteen year-old brother, and both of us acts like little kids when we hang out, even though he acts more mature around his friends. These days, he’s getting taller and taller, and should be my height within
a year or so two months or so. He’s got peach fuzz growing, too. He looks just like I did at his age, so I know that before long, he’ll suddenly look a lot older, and neither of us will feel right acting like little kids around each-other anymore.
Quite honestly, I don’t and never have wanted to be an adult. I never understood kids who wanted to be older than they were, because most old people are boring and depressing. Some people crave independence, or have life goals that involve being an adult. I don’t.
I have no real desire to live on my own. I have no real desire to try living with someone else, both because I am insufferably hard to get along with on a day-to-day basis, and because I find everyone else insufferably hard to get along with on a day-to-day basis when I have to deal with them from a position of equality. I don’t really want a job, and while I think it would be nice to have money, I don’t care about it that much. All I really want out of life is what I have. I mean, I’m happy as shit right now—why would I want to fuck with that?
All of this has to do with why Tsukuyomi Komoe from To Aru Majutsu no Index is my favorite anime character, and why I adore Sakurano Kurimu from Seitokai no Ichizon. They’re both adults who don’t just look like kids, but act and are treated like kids. The two of them resent this when it’s put in their face, but Kurimu especially lives in blissful ignorance of what it even means to be an adult.
There was a moment in Seitokai no Ichizon that struck a chord with me. It was during one of the segments wherein Kurimu talks about her everyday life, explaining completely childish activities under the misconception that normal adults do those things. In this case, she was detailing how the day prior, she’d been playing in the big sandbox at a nearby park, spending all day just digging a big-ass hole. It was an adorable moment, but the first thing that crossed my mind was “man, I wish I could go to a sandbox and dig a big ass hole.”
This isn’t so unusual. I know that many grown men have that trigger in them to go dig a big ass sand hole. I know it for a fact, because I’ve been to the beach with big groups of little kids many times. Invariably, if there are enough boys in the group, and especially if one of them doesn’t care for swimming, then someone will start digging a big-ass hole. And then, once it gets pretty big, everyone in their party, along with several kids and their parents from other nearby parties, get involved in the digging of this big-ass hole. Grown men get involved, and the hole starts getting seriously deep. Next, projects start up out of nowhere like a hivemind. Suddenly, there are two big-ass holes a few feet apart, and the idea is to create a tunnel between them large enough for the little kids to crawl through. (I swear this has happened at least six times that I’ve been to the beach.) People start throwing back and forth advice on which parts need to be dug like it was just a matter of course that this tunnel needed to happen. Eventually, the kids don’t even give a fuck anymore, and a grown man and two teenaged boys are digging a fucking hole.
There’s kid in everyone. The difference between that and Kurimu is that she’s all kid. She doesn’t have to make excuses for herself. You won’t see a grown man just start digging a big-ass hole at the beach from start to finish by himself—the pretense of his kids being into it is what gets the project started. The kids will be talking about that big-ass hole they dug all night, but the adults can’t exactly go to all their friends and be like “BRO, I JUST DUG THIS BIG-ASS HOLE, SHIT WAS SO CASH.”
But I’m being completely inauthentic here. Maybe outright lying. This is all idealist nonsense that isn’t based on fact.
The truth is, I haven’t been to the beach in years. My family goes sometimes, but I skip out because I completely hate the beach. I purposefully skip out on opportunities to go have fun digging a big-ass hole, because being an adult, I think “do I want to be sunburned and get my hair all fucked up to dig a big-ass hole, or do I want to stay home and watch Cardcaptor Sakura for three hours and bitch about how my childhood was never this fun?” In all honesty, I can’t stop thinking like an adult enough to get excited about those stupid things, even though I feel like they’re things I wish I could do. It’s all backwards!
Moreover, there’s nothing saying I have to be like every other adult, and I’ve got a ton of support. My friends are like me—they don’t see themselves as grown-ups. My friends and I are the types who will drive to a forest and just explore the forest for a few hours, jizzing over how awesome the scenery is. In reality, not only would I tell my friends about the big hole I dug, they’d probably have been there digging it with me. The real reason that we don’t go and dig the hole without pretense is that in all honesty, we don’t care to dig a big hole. It’s the momentum of the moment that gets us interested. If we have the choice, we can think of better things to do.
Now I’ve re-rationalized the whole idea. Suddenly, the romantic idea that I can’t be a kid because I’m a grown up has been fraudulated. In other words, it’s all been an excuse from the beginning. The truth is that I use my powers as an adult to their fullest, and would never go back to being a kid even if given the option. Anything I say about “pressures of society” is bullshit from the moment it comes out, because if I cared about those things, I’d have a car and a job right about now (both of which I could have with little effort if I tried).
I said it already, right? I’m happy right now, so why would I want to change things? I don’t have to! Being twenty doesn’t make any difference! Society will give me more shit about my decisions, but they’ve been giving me shit all along, and it hasn’t changed anything. I wrote the intro to this post as if the fact that I was turning twenty meant I couldn’t keep going the way I am, but the truth all along is that the number means absolutely nothing. If anything, my childhood self will congratulate me on having stuck to my principles for two straight decades.
And hell, at this point, I don’t even really not want to grow up anymore. I think I might get a job soon.
So what is the real truth? Do I really wish that I looked like Sakurano Kurimu? I brought it up with the pretense that I wished I looked like her so that I could get away with acting childish, but now I’ve proven that A. I don’t really care to do the things she gets to do, and B. I wouldn’t stop even if I did. What’s the honest-to-god truth?
The truth is that I wish I looked like Sakurano Kurimu because I’d rather be an adorable pink-haired girl then a large, somewhat creepy-looking man. Plus have a flaming lesbian constantly clinging to me. That is all.