So, I had to put on the Smiths playlist to write this post, because I find the melodramatic undertones of Morrissey’s annoying, yet familiar shrill to be quite fitting for writing this.
I just finished watching the hit-or-miss anime, Aku no Hana and found it to ring a lot of loud, unnecessary bells from my youth. The inane want to be different, to feel superior, and to win the hearts of the heartless, all the things Kasuga experiences while torn between his beloved Saeki and his feared Nakamura. I checked up on some forums discussing the show, and while I was pleased with some interpretations, I was displeased with many. There was this recurring idea that Nakamura was better for Kasuga because she unleashed his darker, artistic side. To stay with Saeki would be settling, not just for something boring, but something expected, and Kasuga couldn’t live with the knowledge that he is boring and typical.
This was a recurring battle in my mind while in my youth. I wanted to feel superior, I wanted to feel special, and most importantly, I wanted my lack of vision to appear to others as ‘complicated’.
What a crock of shit.
Seriously, I despise this period of my life, but I’m sure many people have experienced the same level of teenage Narcissism, so I don’t feel too guilty. I hated being abandoned by friends because I made them look ‘uncool’ or unbecoming. I hated that my friends wanted to have sex instead of playing Barbies, I especially hated that being seen with a boyfriend was the most important aspect of this period of life. I was fascinated by learning, but plagued by social expectations, so I tried to balance the two out by becoming a ‘superior intellect,’ who was above social expectations and was given a free-card because of my eccentricity. Of course, all this led to was a lot of time in my room reading Milton, getting high, and let’s not forget crying. I was so dramatic, but who wasn’t at this age?
What I really want to get to that bothered me most about a lot of interpretations of the manga and anime Aku no Hana, is this idea that you’ll never get over your first love, whatever ‘your first love’ means. It is somewhat implied throughout the manga and among fans that Saeki never really gets over Kasuga, and Kasuga never really gets over Nakamura, akin to how many people never get over their first heart-break.
Why does this bother me? Ideas like this imply that we never change; and that is simply not true. I know, a large statement, from my mouth? But really, whether we are convinced we can’t change, or are too busy to notice it- we change. We lose interest in things we once idolized, we start to enjoy the things we once thought was evil, like me with Reality Television (yes, I’m that girl). And when we can’t seem to move on from a loved one, ten years later, we’re still holding on, it’s not because we haven’t changed; it’s because we’re bored.
Falling in love is magic. When I met the guy who would come to be the first guy I had actual feelings for, it was like I was living an alternate reality. My head was a constant boiling stew of ecstasy, intense melancholy, surrealism, excitement, terror, anger, anxiety, and inebriation (I became good friends with Alcohol at this point). Keep in mind, he was never my boyfriend, he was always just barely out of reach. I was always hungry and had no appetite, figuratively and literally.
He drove me nuts. I mean, I was already nuts, but he really made me aware of it, and not in a good way. For two years I questioned if I existed, I had dreams that my body was dead but my brain was overactive. I often fantasized over suicide and just floating around the world as a ghost; how liberating would it be to witness and not have to feel. I was sick with love, and it was a horrible ride, yet one I never wanted to leave.
Eventually, I decided enough was enough, I couldn’t have him as a boyfriend, I couldn’t have him as a friend, and so I told him I could no longer speak to him. Well, it was received, and while he was hesitant, he left pretty early on, tending to his own matters; fair enough.
Our engagement lasted for about 2-3 years, but getting over him took about 4. I would often compare my dynamics with new boyfriends to the one I had with him, secretly, and of course there was no comparison. I would do the same with friendships, and with life experiences. I wanted him to know how much better off I am with him gone, mostly to convince myself. It didn’t work. I dreamt of him all the time, especially when I was with someone new, what a nightmare for the new boyfriend. Obviously, things didn’t work out, and I’d find myself alone and bitter, over and over again.
And then, it happened.
One day, I was alone in my tiny apartment, freaking out about money, most likely, and also if I existed (those thoughts turned out to be my own craziness, not something caused by him, thanks Prozac!), and he crossed my mind. I looked him up on Facebook, on Google, all over the net to any form of social networking information on him. I found a recent picture of him with his girlfriend (whom, by the way, he was dating while we had our little special engagement), and something different happened. I felt nothing.
No, I take it back, I felt tired.
Not tired like bored, tired physically. Tired in the way that you keep seeing the same episode rerun over and over again, you’re so sick of finding the same outcome. He goes home with her, you go home to nothing. It was finally exhausting to stress over him, but not just exhausting, it was boring. I found that I felt nothing for him, no resentment, no joy, not even ambivalence; just apathy.
Because I’ve experienced very dark, depressive modes, apathy typically scares me. I’m supposed to feel something at all times, if I don’t, then I’m sick. However, I was no longer afraid of having nothing left to feel. I was free. And it made me realize, I had gotten over him a long time ago. I felt nothing when he kissed me, I felt nothing when he’d ramble on about his favorite band while we were driving, I felt especially nothing when I’d watch him smoking out of a bong while somehow still be able to drive. The only reason I struggled to move on was because I wasn’t willing to admit I have completely lost all feelings for him. If you’ve ever struggled with depression, or the like, you know the biggest battle isn’t fighting off your demons, but fighting off boredom. Without help, us lunatics thrive off of sadness, desperation, and anger, or else we feel lifeless. Or at least, I did.
What I’m trying to say is, people who don’t get over their first love, don’t want to, because moving on is boring. In movies, it takes an epiphany for the main character to realize he/she is over someone (and usually also some nookie from the new heart-throb). It takes a road trip to the ocean, or pursuing your dream career, becoming famous, etc. But all of this is bullcrap. Getting over someone is one of the most mundane, anticlimactic experiences of your life, and that’s okay.
True feelings are never as big and intense as you think, they are usually subtle, soft, solid, like a stone.
I love Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. I thoroughly love eating savory food and falling asleep before 11pm. I get a thrill out of Kourtney Kardashian laughing at Kim crying, or Khloe calling Kris “Satan”. I fell head over heals in love with New Girl and the Mindy Project, and I totally laughed at Judd Apatow’s films. I’m normal, usual, and also weird, like everyone else. And I still have crushes on guys, only now it’s more pure and genuine. Whenever I think of my first love, it’s usually because I recall an event in which he was a part of, but thinking of the romance just makes me feel bored, and quickly I move on to what I’m doing in the present moment, with everyone presently with me, all of which matters most.
I’m not telling you should settle: a) with someone you don’t like, or b) for a job that drains the life out of you, or c) into a city you hate, or d) all of the above; but if you can’t accept that you’re indifferent to your past, and you can’t let go, then you will settle, and you will be worse than bored, you’ll be content.
So, what I’m really trying to say is that if you want to become happy, you gotta turn off the Smiths, and allow yourself to get bored.