My dad’s never been one for small talk and in the rare event that he does strike up a conversation, it often devolves into a lengthy lecture of some kind. So when he sat me down to talk yesterday in the midst of my writing frenzy, I took one glance at the clock and silently kissed my evening and my perfect 12 days punctuality, goodbye.
It’s not like I hated talking to him though and due to some extenuating circumstances (of which are not nearly as ominous as they may sound), I knew that he would want to chat with me at some point in the night and so we did.
He didn’t want to take up too much of my time, which was unusually considerate of him so he jumped right into what he wanted to talk about. Namely, my complete lack of confidence. I can’t count the number of times he said the word ‘strong’ last night but I can assure you that it was a lot. He wanted me to be strong or think of myself as strong. Not physically, mind you, but emotionally and mentally – for the sake of our family and for the sake of my future. He told me that regardless of how I saw myself or my abilities, so long as I told myself that I was strong, this false air of confidence would grow to be something real.
My dad’s focus on the need for strength was nothing new and growing up as the frail kid I was, I always found myself thinking about it. So it wasnt surprising at all to me that a show like Land of the Lustrous, so inbuilt with ideas related to strength and durability, drew me in so easily – especially with a main character like Phos.
Well aware of the dangers of relating oneself too closely to characters like these, I still found a lot of myself in Phosphophyllite. We were similar in hardness and toughness, after all, the show’s rough equivalents to physical and mental strength. Just like Phos, my bodily constitution meant that I never needed to meet the societal expectations of physical strength. But unlike Phos, I was totally fine with that. In fact, I was relieved that this was a burden that I literally didn’t need to carry. Where Phos’ changes went in the direction of hardness, I instead focused my efforts on being a pillar of emotional strength for the people in my life that needed it – I wanted to be tougher.
But as we would both learn, neglecting one side of this duality of strength would amount to no strength at all. Striving towards the tangible, physical strength, Phos’ mind and body couldn’t keep up – the pressures of having this power and responsibility were too much for them to handle and visible cracks began to show. Whereas in my case, my perspective on my physical-self left me lacking confidence and self-concern, and so my focus turned outwards to revolve around other people. It was unhealthy and stupid, but how else could we live with ourselves? With a little courage? By believing in ourselves when we simply can’t? It would never be as easy as these simple words of encouragement claimed it to be.
But that’s not to say that it’s impossible. In this last year, through work and blogging, I’ve been shown that my efforts and abilities can yield results, something I never would have expected before, and that’s fostered a confidence that’s as fragile as I am, but indefinitely there. As I listened to my dad, I wanted to reassure him of where I was now but I wasn’t satisfied with the tenuous confidence that I’d built up thus far. I felt that, until I reached my goal, until I feel like I can proudly present the fruits of my labor, it wouldn’t feel right to say anything at all.
But I guess this just requires another kind of strength and one that I’ll need to find.
Thanks for reading,
This is my tenth of twelve posts that I’ll be publishing as part of the 12 days of Anime event. Be sure to check out all other amazing writers that are participating in this year’s event here.