Diary of a Manga Lived: Dreams, Parental Pride, and Twin Spica

“Asumi, your dad wasn’t angry because you took the test on your own, or even because you didn’t tell him anything.

He was angry because the little girl who used to talk about her dreams has vanished.”

-Lion, Twin Spica Volume One

I should probably begin by explaining that my parents are two highly intelligent people.  In fact, my entire family is full of intelligent people.  It’s a bit intimidating, really.  My parents are two stereotypically left-brained people as well; that is to say, logical, straightforward, and neat.  You can imagine their surprise when they realized that they had a flighty artist for a daughter.

When I was very young, my artsy ways manifested themselves in anecdotes involving drawing in library books.  In elementary school, I did the best I could to impress my parents the only way I knew how: through my art.  For the most part it succeeded; I won a few town and scholastic art awards, a drawing of mine ended up in town hall for a bit, I soloed in several school plays, and never doubted that my parents were proud of me.

I still remember the day that my mother told me I couldn’t be an artist.  I now know that what she was really trying to explain was that it wasn’t a lucrative career, but at the time, it hurt me badly.  It was while I was in third grade and home sick with pneumonia.  I remember fingering my frayed, crocheted afghan as I cried in her arms for what seemed like hours.  If I couldn’t be an artist, then what could I be?  How stupid it had been of me to think that my parents had been proud of me this entire time.

Sufficed to say, once I hit middle school and really started developing my own personality, my parents and I began to butt heads more often.  By the time I entered high school, our communication was non-existent.  I felt as if nothing I did would ever be good enough for them.  Everything was for naught if I couldn’t be the best, and it seemed as if I would never be the best at anything but art.  For the most part, I just stopped trying.  I coasted through high school getting fairly good grades with little to no effort.  I applied to colleges because I was expected to attend.  None of them were art colleges.  I fixated on journalism because I thought that I could write decently enough if I tried, and I loved sports.  I decided that I would be a sportswriter and proudly told my parents this.  It was an acceptable, reasonable job.  However, when I went to college, especially when I ended up as an intern in the sports department of a newspaper, I found that I hated it.  After a rocky senior year, I switched my major last minute to fine arts with a concentration in oil painting.

It’s no exaggeration when I admit that, at this point in my life, I thought that my parents would hate me.

The above quote is by the ghostly friend of female lead Asumi in Twin Spica.  Asumi, like me, had assumed that her father would disapprove of her decision to become an astronaut and therefore had hidden her application from him.  When he discovers that she had applied, he becomes very angry, slaps her, and doesn’t talk to her for days.  Finally she goes to his work to bring him an umbrella, and he tosses her a wad of money, explaining that he’ll do whatever it takes to make her happy, and allow her to reach her dreams.  He admits that he’s kept a piece of paper that she had given him as a young child, allowing him one free pass on her rocket ship.

My parents’ response when I finally admitted that I wouldn’t be graduating college on time and had switched my major was not an enthusiastic one; however, my mother said something that has always stuck with me since that day.  “We always wondered why you didn’t apply to art school, but we’re happy that you now have decided to do what you love.”  Later on, we had a highly emotional conversation where she admitted that, until college, she honestly hadn’t understood me as a person.  She then apologized.  I was floored.  Here I was, having thought that she and my father had resented me for being a disappointment when they seemingly had known all along that I had wanted to be an artist.  I apologized for being such a terrible daughter.  She simply said that she was glad to have “me” back.  Much like Asumi’s father, the thing that had upset her the most was that I had stopped talking to her about my true ambitions and dreams.

I visited my family recently, and during this trip I went out to dinner with my brother.  We spoke about all sorts of things; however, one topic of conversation that kept cropping up was my parents.  Through comparing experiences, my brother and I started to notice a pattern, especially in my mom’s speech.  She would always add off-handed comments in conversations like: “See, I’m not as stupid as you think I am?” or, “I know you think I’m dumb but…” and the incredibly common, “You mean I didn’t do such a horrible job of raising you?”

My brother had already noticed this, but my mind was blown.  How could I have not realized that my mother was inserting the same self-preservation techniques into her speech patterns that I had employed for years?  All this time she, like me, had been reaching out for approval and affirmation that she hadn’t completely failed.  When we went back to my parent’s house, I immediately gave her a big hug and told her that I loved her.  Later on that night, I noticed that my parents had framed an oil painting I had given them and hung it in their living room.

On one of the flights back from visiting them, I re-read the first volume of Twin Spica.  In addition to making me cry (and look fairly stupid to everyone on that airplane) I’d like to think that it helped me to understand my parents’ feelings a bit more.  I may never know exactly how it feels to be a parent, but I’d like to think that my parents and I understand each other a bit more now.

“I still have the letter that you gave me all those years ago.  As long as I have that, your dreams are my greatest treasure.”

-Mr. Kamogawa (Asumi’s father), Twin Spica

Also, as an aside, one should try to cherish their siblings.  After all, they’re the only people who are really going to understand you when you try to explain your family.

*This is a very personal post that is meant to be a part of Digiboy‘s “Diary of an Anime Lived” series.  It was very nerve-wracking to write, but also a bit cathartic.  Thank you for reading.

39 Comments

Filed under Diary of a Manga Lived, Twin Spica

39 responses to “Diary of a Manga Lived: Dreams, Parental Pride, and Twin Spica

  1. treeofjessie

    wow, that was really beautiful. it made ME misty-eyed.

    thank you for writing this.♥

  2. My God, this post series is the gift that keeps on giving. I’m so happy to read this.

    My life has been similar if with different results because I’ve never had any kind of work ethic. I went through the experience of barely skating through high school and two years of college, always wanting to do something else that I was passionate about, but always worried that I’d disappoint my parents. Mind you my parents are constantly supportive… but it’s a weird relationship. They want to support me, but they’re worried that I’m not going to be able to stand on my own and that I’m not trying to move forward. I don’t blame them, as I haven’t done much to prove myself.

    This all landed me in a funny position because right now, I’m a NEET, and I’ve pretty much been keeping my ambitions to myself. After two years of community college, I got tired of all of it and dropped out. I took a trip to the Philippines for a month and hung out with ghostlightning, and I thought, as well as my parents did, that I’d get a job when I came back. But I didn’t, and I won’t. Because it’s still getting away from what I want to do—which is to be a writer. I’ve never not been writing and moving forward—it’s not like I can’t write and go to college or write and go to work. But I give not an ounce of fuck about doing those things. So I decided I was going to become a NEET and write until my parents forced me to go to work or I beat them to the punch by finishing something.

    The other day, my dad offered me to work as the housekeeper of our house. He said if I’m not going to work, then I have to do this, so I am. I still have not said a single thing to him about why I’m choosing to be a NEET. Mostly because I don’t think he has faith in me. I’ve been saying I was going to be a writer for years and I’ve never completed a work. I don’t want to keep saying this when it’s not getting done. So I resolved to keep silent and just show them what I’ve done when I’ve done it.

    But maybe I’m making the wrong choice by hiding from them. After all, they’re just being worried and confused, probably, about what the fuck I’m doing.

    What I realized in the course of 8 hours of housework yesterday was that I couldn’t have asked for anything better than this. I’ve placated my parents by doing work of some kind, I’m going to be paid for it, I have the time to keep writing, and I don’t have to feel like I’m in a rush to accomplish something. Now is the time I should just say what is on my mind and let this all work in the best way for everyone’s heads.

    Putting this in the diary~

    • Yes, it was an excellent idea for a post series, and one that I hope continues to keep giving, so thank you for that. There are so many wonderful entries and, as I admitted to you last night, I had actually read the majority of them prior to becoming active on twitter and within the “aniblogosphere” so to speak. Now I want to go back and actually comment on some of them too.

      I’m a bit like you in that I can empathize with always knowing what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an oil painter. I still want to be an oil painter, it’s just not lucrative enough to support myself. Now I’m a bit older than you, and I’ve (fortunately or otherwise) come to terms with the fact that I’ll never *just* be able to be an oil painter (unless by some ludicrous stroke of luck, I manage to find a wealthy sponsor ^ ^). I’ve discovered another career path for myself where I won’t be miserable, and I’m happily working towards that, with the knowledge that I’ll always be able to paint. If I’m being honest, painting is more of a compulsion for me. I *have* to do it. I’m not sure if writing is the same for you; however, if it is, I completely understand.

      If I learned anything from my own situation, it’s that no communication is definitely the worst avenue that one can take with their parents. All this time, I had thought that they resented me for being such a horrible daughter. As it turns out, they had known all along that I wasn’t happy, and had been worried about me because of it.

      Thanks for sharing your own story. Best of luck with your writing and your relationship with your parents.

      • Today, my mom was hospitalized, most likely with leukemia. My brothers were busy most of the day but I wasn’t so I went with my dad on every trip he made to the hospital, and I told him everything about what I’m planning and doing down to how it’s time he took my brother to see a therapist, which my brother knows but is afraid to say. I even told him about this post and GL’s comment below. Great day, in spite of its terrifying reason for being.

        • Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry to hear that. When I was in high school, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer (she’s now been in remission for 10 years this fall) and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t support her nearly as much as I should have. Another regret in the pile, I guess. It sounds like you’re already being supportive, and I hope that everything turns out alright.

          In addition to being supportive, it also sounds like you’ve used this as an opportunity to grow closer to your parents. It humbles me that this could have possibly had any influence on that, and I sincerely hope that everything works out for all of you. Nasty situations can sometimes lead to an incredible strengthening of existing relationships and it sounds like you and your family are already exploring this path.

          Best of luck with everything.

  3. Awesome share. I’m retarded for stories of families coming together, especially parents and children. I was a terrible son, no longer now, I’m just ok. Maybe it’s the guilt speaking having grown up Catholic, but whatever. I bear it.

    My parents, unlike yours, aren’t brilliant people. They’re simple folk — blue collar people holding white collar jobs. Both of them grew up poor and wanted nothing else but to give their three boys a good life (I am the eldest). The only way they can do that is through education.

    While they didn’t go into debt putting me through university, they pretty much exhausted their savings, especially my mom’s retirement money. Also, unlike your parents, they never ever questioned what major I took. I majored in literature having no idea what I’ll be. At 17 I had no idea that the publishing industry in the Philippines was a joke, and had no idea how I’d eventually make a living. Still, my parents did not object.

    I graduated and got a job immediately! I was a pretty awesome student and was the darling of my department. They offered me the job and I passed the relevant screenings. On top of this I earned a graduate school scholarship that allowed me to jump straight into the PhD. program. But the job paid miserably. I was a lecturer, but did not have tenure, or had an arrangement that was worse than that. I barely made money to sustain myself… and yet I was 20 years old and a graduate of university. All my friends are still partying and I still wanted in.

    But I was poor, and now my parents are poor. I failed to acknowledge that the first thing I needed to do was to support the household especially that both my brothers were still in school. I failed at this, miserably. After two years of teaching and graduate school, I was in terrible debt and cannot afford to keep the job teaching and stay in graduate school. I never finished my post-grad degree.

    I was 23, it was the year 2000, and the next 4 years would be hell. I was in and out of jobs — broadcast journalism, sales, TV and Film production, consulting, being a NEET, copywriting, it fucks me up just trying to remember my life a decade ago. I got depressed and got treatment. I was perpetually broke and I imagined myself a constant disappointment to my parents. I could imagine them thinking “how could we have gone wrong? We put him through school, and let him do what he wanted.”

    It sucked. At 25 I had few prospects, and I thought I got my then girlfriend pregnant. I was fucking terrified. I was going to be the worst father and boyfriend in the world. I wasn’t ready, and I wasn’t that into her. It turned out to be a false alarm and she was like “oh no.” I dumped her ass and she stalked me for a couple of years.

    But somewhere in between, I figured a few things out. I got a lot of support from people who cared. I took the Landmark Forum. I acknowledged, without guilt, how much of an asshole I was to so many people, not the least to my parents, and especially my dad whom I hated for a decade. I started cleaning shit up. I called people up. I called friends and ‘fessed up: I was a douche to you and you were awesome to me. I am sorry, so very sorry.

    I would do this to so many people, not everyone that mattered, but many.

    And you know what, I started winning friends back. I won both my best friends back — I had lost both of them because I was the king of assholes to them. One became my best man at my wedding. The other now keeps bugging me for what anime to watch — it’s the least I can do for him having shown me Macross Plus during sophomore year.

    But the biggest thing was my Dad. I called him up. Someone sheared to me his story of how he got back together with his father. I had wanted to do this for some time, but I didn’t have the words, I didn’t have the guts. I called him. I told him I was sorry. I told him that I blamed him for everything that didn’t go right in my life. I told him that he didn’t owe me anything. I told him that I owed him everything. I broke down and choked on my tears over the phone. I was so afraid to go home because I was so embarrassed and awkward.

    Today we’re the corniest son and father you can imagine. “I love you Papa.” “I love you son.” So fucking easy to say now. I feel like a douche for stopping myself from doing so for over a decade (never mind running away, never mind punching him in the face).

    I got married and they were both there. When people say their wedding day is the best day of their lives, I believe them. It was for me, not just because of this gooey notion of marrying my princess, but because my family was there. We were and are a family, and now we’re growing. Now my wedding day is no longer the best day of my life, it’s when I showed my parents that they are now grandparents. They were there and they held their granddaughter for the first time. I was a fucking parent now, just like they were, and the thought frightened me because for years I thought my parents were terrible, even though they were awesome. I dread the day my daughter would think of me as her enemy. But for now, we are a family, and it’s just the greatest thing. The greatest fucking thing.

    I could never ever repay my parents for what they did for me. I will do my best though. I am working very hard and trying so many things. I may give them a good life in their old age yet. As a young adult these aren’t the dreams you nurture. Your head is filled with future glories. It’s different for me now. My future glories are all for building my family, both towards the future, and for remembering love.

    Thank you for your generous sharing, AJtheFourth. I couldn’t help myself and reciprocate.

    • Phew, okay. Let’s see if I can make it through responding to this comment without crying…

      Our family situations are completely different; however, I feel that some of the emotions involved are strikingly similar, and not just because of the Catholic guilt (I too, was raised Catholic).

      I used to argue that my family wasn’t rich, and that I just grew up in a rich town, perhaps I was embarrassed, or perhaps I thought that people would judge me if they saw me as a “rich girl.” I now know that this was not the case. What I really should have been saying, or thinking, is that my parents didn’t “act rich.” That is to say, they made a large sum of money by working very hard (albeit in computer programming and electrical engineering), and put nearly all of it into their two children: myself and my younger brother. By doing this, they not only ensured that my brother and I received fantastic educations, but they also ensured that neither of us would have to take out student loans in order to make it through college.

      It is a gift that I know I’ll never be able to repay in my lifetime.

      Adding to this the fact that I lied to them and didn’t end up graduating on time, well, I still feel guilty about those things to this day. I have no idea how I’m going to ever repay them for anything they’ve done for me, never mind everything. I still feel, to some extent, that I took their gift of goodwill and completely shoved it back in their faces. In my mind, I have nothing that I can offer my parents, but I suppose that this is the wrong way to think, despite the fact that I still can’t help feeling this way. It’s incredibly hard for me to believe that all I have to do is be myself, pursue the things that make me happy, and my parents will be happy too; however, their reactions to my mistakes, and their support have never indicated anything to the contrary. All this time it was my own insecurities and the pressure that I was attributing to them (but was really coming from myself) that had been holding me and my relationship with my parents back. It’s still a hard pill to swallow.

      I still don’t know what it’s like to be a parent. I suppose there’s no way of knowing until it actually happens. From speaking with my parents, it’s seemingly something that you’re never “ready for” until it actually happens, and then you just muddle through the best way you know how. My parents are two of the most organized and thoughtful people I know, and yet have fully admitted to me that they were terrified when they became parents. I can’t even imagine how scary it was for my mother to admit to me, later on in my life, that she hadn’t understood me for the majority of it.

      In the end, I suppose I didn’t turn out too badly (there are those inevitable self-preservation tactics!) and I appreciate everything my parents did for me more and more with every day that passes. This includes everything from the manner in which I was raised to their financial backing of my education. I am especially grateful that we’ve managed to patch up our relationship and begin to understand each others’ points of view.

      I suppose I’ll close this out by saying that, no, I did not make it through responding to this without tearing up. Also, it’s obvious to me, someone who admittedly does not know you very well, that you cherish your family, especially your daughter. Even if you do go through rocky times, I have no doubt that you’ll come through them for the better.

      Best of luck with everything, and thank you so much for sharing your story with me (and everyone).

      • At first you’ll have no idea, and that’ll stay around for a few years. It’s more difficult for you because your parents don’t lack for anything. I can give my folks clothes, tasty food, etc. and they’ll be thrilled.

        I don’t know your parents, but I’ll hazard this much: grandchildren.

  4. Wow, this post definitely struck home. I’m inspired to try and become more open with my parents about my dreams and how I’m trying to carry them out.

    • Wow, thank you. I don’t consider myself competent enough to offer advice, so all I’ll add is that, in my own situation, simply being honest with each other was what caused the relationship between me and my parents to grow so tremendously. Best of luck in your own situation. Thank you for the comment.

  5. hearthesea

    Lovely post and great comments. Thank you for sharing that with us.

    (I’ve never actually heard of Twin Spica…I’ll have to look it up.)

    • It is a fantastic manga series. Admittedly, Vertical Inc. (the publisher of Twin Spica in the U.S.) takes the largest chunk of my manga-buying money, and this series is no exception. I thoroughly encourage people to look it up and at least buy the first volume (which this post is based off of) to give it a chance. It’s very moving.

      Also, if you’re not convinced by my article, Day over at Gar Gar Stegosaurus is writing some excellent review posts for the series. Here is the review for volumes 1-6.

      Thank you for the comment.

  6. That was beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing. :D

    • Thank you for commenting! It was a bit scary to hit the “post” button; however the responses have been overwhelming (and positive) so I’m definitely glad that I wrote it.

      Thanks again.

  7. That was beautiful! Thanks for sharing so much – your entry in the series was very moving. Also, it makes me want to pick up Twin Spica. :)

    • As was yours. Like I said to Digiboy in his comment, I really need to go back and comment on others’ entries.

      You should! I guess not many people have heard of it, but it’s well worth the money (the releases are fantastic as well as the story itself). See two comments above for an actual review of the series.

      Thank you for commenting.

  8. A Day Without Me

    Ah, what a coincidence – I was just typing up a review for volume eight of that series, as well as ordering volume nine. I absolutely love Twin Spica, and am happy to see that someone else has enjoyed and connected with it as well.

    • Also a coincidence that I was about to pingback your initial Twin Spica review just as you posted your comment here. ^ ^

      I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record here, but it really is such a great series. I wish that more people were giving it a chance, but, at the very least, I’ll seemingly be able to own the entire series regardless.

      Thanks for commenting.

  9. Knee House

    Wow, I am humbled by your openness Emily, and by the openness of digitalboy & ghostlightning, humbled & touched. Thank you for your willingness to share your personal experience. It touches a chord, and, as you can see from fellow comments, encourages reflection on our own family relationships. I will be reading Twin Spica now. . . .

    • I’ll stop with the, “Yes! Read it!!” pleas (although that’s a lie, since what I just said is one in and of itself ^ ^). Let me know when you do read it.

      Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that the manga does delve deeper into Asumi’s relationship with her father (and also her thoughts on her deceased mother as well). The scene I describe in my entry above is only one of many that touched me and brought me to tears within the first volume alone, never mind the rest of the series.

      Thank you for the comment and your consideration.

  10. I have nothing much to say but to thank you for sharing your story. It’s such a lovely read and I’m deeply touched. This is one of those stories that I can read in Chicken Book for the Teenage Soul. ^^ I’ll include Twin Spica on my watch list too. I think I’m really going to enjoy it since I trust your recommendations.

    • Twin Spica is a fantastic read, and I recommend that everyone at least gives it a shot. Thanks for the comment (and trusting my recommendations, haha). I’m really glad that you liked this article.

  11. Amazing post, very touching. I’ve only read a few of these ‘Diary’ posts, but they’re always really great, both as personal stories and as examples of how stories can connect with us sometimes.

    I’m lucky enough to have had a good relationship with both my parents all my life, including their support to study an impractical arts subject at university. That kind of relationship isn’t too common among young people, and I’ve always considered myself lucky :)

    • It really is fantastic how art can connect with its audience, and in this case, with such a niche interest, it’s fascinating to see the different ways in which people have been touched by anime/manga (in addition to being entertained by it, of course!)

      You are very fortunate. I now know that my parents probably would have supported me had I decided to go to an art school; however, it was our poor relationship, and my stubbornness that I was doing “what they wanted” that held me back. It’s all worked out in the end though. ^ ^

      Thanks for commenting.

  12. Man, if I read Twin Spica, I bet I’d cry, too. Anything with strong parent-child relationships always gets to me . . .

    . . . Including this post. Yeah, I’m that easy.

    A lot of kids have that phase where they’re just pissed off at everything and butt heads with everything around them, including the parents. If they’re lucky, they’ll still get as much love as before, if not more. I was definitely one of the lucky ones. If I had my way, I’d get a time machine, go back to my middle school year’s and give my younger self a swift boot to the ass, but my parents never did that. There were definitely rocky patches; however, they never stopped supporting me, even when I was being the biggest idiot in the world.

    I don’t think I properly appreciated my parents until I got an internship at a newspaper in a city that was pretty far away from where I live. I didn’t have a car at the time — couldn’t afford one — so he drove me back and forth for an entire summer, even though 1) He works a job that requires him to be on the road a lot for much of the day, and 2) He hates the media lol. My dad helped pay for my education until he literally could not afford it anymore, but it wasn’t until then that I really felt the lengths to which he would go to help me out in life. I’m sure that was a particularly stressful time in life for him, but if he had the choice, he would do it all over again. That sacrifice really stuck with me — anything I could do for him would be a drop in the bucket compared to what he has given me during my life, but I would give him anything.

    My mom was always there just in encouraging everything I enjoyed. My love of reading and writing, my warped sense of humor, my love of all things horror and bizarre — I get all that from my mom. She really is the greatest; I think simply by virtue of being such a strong personality, she instilled in me all the open-mindedness I have about anything. Having someone in my everyday life who could not give a flying fuck — both in words and in action — about the things that prejudice everyone (religion or lack thereof, race, politics, sexual orientation, etc.) is probably the greatest gift of all she gave me. And again, it wasn’t something I could properly appreciate until I grew up.

    But even with the love and everything that parents bequeath children with, it’s never really easy being a parent or child. My parents are both very different when it comes to communication: My mom is brash and open, and my dad is reserved. I’m more in the middle, but probably closer to my dad. Sometimes it’s really hard to be open and talk about those things that affect you most deeply, especially since my family is not really anything like the “traditional” family that does everything together. We’re actually more often like a gang of loners, haha. But I think I’m infinitely better now than I was even a year or two ago. Every year that passes, I realize more that the only way I could possibly disappoint my parents is to stop trying to be happy.

    • Twin Spica rarely fails to make me tear up, especially when they focus on the relationship between Asumi and her father (also Asumi and her mother, but that whole scene was far more than just “tearing up”)

      I didn’t realize that my situation was drastically different from most until I went to college and saw that all of my friends were on really good terms with their parents. Sure, their parents embarrassed them, but they never had the same communication issues that I did with mine. This was also when I began to appreciate the smaller things that my parents had done for me in my general upbringing. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t realize just how much my parents did care about me until what seemed like too late (although obviously it wasn’t). It seems that you dodged this bullet a bit, which makes me happy to hear.

      Our situations are different; however, I’ve come away from my much improved relationship with my parents with a similar conclusion: I simply have to try to be happy with my life and myself. As I mentioned to Ghost, it’s still hard to wrap my head around it, but there you are. Your mom and dad both sound like great people, and from what I know of you, they did a pretty decent job.

      As an aside, I think that every single one of us would love to go back in time and kick our middle school selves’ asses. ^ ^

      Thanks for the comment!

  13. Pingback: Twin Spica – Dreaming of the Stars « Hear The Sea

  14. Wow, amazing post. I really enjoyed reading your story very much, and while I may not have lashed out quite a lot at my parents, my parents have worked extremely hard to take care of me and my younger brother. My parents moved to the US from Taiwan about 20 years ago, and they had grown up in poverty their entire lives. Here in the US, my parents sacrificed much to help me and my brother to get to where we are now, especially me as I am deaf and have had to work much harder than regular people. So I am very appreciative of my parents’ support and we both communicate openly and honestly.

    Twin Spica is one of my favorite manga, it having an astronomy theme (which is rare, and I wish there were more manga like this) and a great story, and I also really enjoyed the scene you mentioned. You have yourself another subscriber, and I look forward to reading more of your posts. ^_^

    • Awww…thanks! If you enjoyed this, you should really go back and read some of the other posts in this series (the link is at the end of this article). Laying your soul bare in a public forum may be scary, but the response (for me anyway) has been overwhelmingly positive. ^ ^

      Your parents sound amazing, and you’re really fortunate to have such a great relationship with them (and, from what I gather from 2DT’s podcast, your brother as well. ^ ^)

      Thank you for the subscription, that means a great deal to me personally as well as my blogging partner here, David. We hope not to disappoint!

  15. Will of the Wisps

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I must say I teared up just by reading it, and especially, the comments. I will look forward to more great posts from this blog.

    Well, I must be on my way to find a copy of the Twin Spica manga. The anime moved me years ago, and I hope the manga will too.

    • Yes! The comments received for this post have been the most fantastic comments I’ve ever received. I’m overwhelmed and humbled at how many others have shared their stories with me in response to this post. It’s been fantastic.

      It’s funny that one rarely hears of the anime. I had assumed (wrongly?) that it was bad because of this fact.

      I need to catch up on Twin Spica myself and buy the latest volumes in my next manga buying-binge. ^ ^ I hope you enjoy it when you do end up reading it. Thanks for the comment!

  16. This is really sweet, and awakening, not about my life/childhood, but my mom’s. She grew up with very similar parents, although her mother was an artist, but because of the times, her father was the only one who had a say in the family. My mom was one of six children, and one of the three who turned out completely f*cked up (another is a recovering meth addict who abandoned four children* after this ridiculous debacle of her husband threatening her life at gunpoint). The trouble is that there is a massive disconnect between the parents and the children, as people, and seemingly the three who did turn out “stable” were the ones who had the right amount of positive attention from the parents, or more importantly, felt like they were understood. And I think they were, because those three remain closest to my grandparents (my mother refuses to visit unless it’s utterly necessary). Sad really, and I recently had a long discussion with my mom about these things (though it started with me trying to understand my dad more).

    Anyway, I think it’s important to realize that clearing the air between parent and child, and coming to understand one another is something that not everyone has, and in my opinion, it’s extremely special (sadly). I’m not sure my mom and her grandparents (who are the reason I am here actually) will every understand one another, but in the end, I think my mom has already reached a resolution or a higher awareness about her parents, and because of that she moves on without the weight. Still, there is a kind of sadness in that, but such is life.

    I hope the new air between you and your mother/parents is something you cherish. Thanks for sharing! ^ ^

    *Those four children are just as close to me as my brother and sister; despite the broken families, the bond between us children is unbreakable.

    P.S. Wow, that left-brain must not read situations very well, what a way to break an opinion like that to a child ;; Anyway, I can understand how your mother might have thought you would apply to art school, but it’s a strange interpretation… maybe she expected that you would overcome or ignore her remark about you becoming an artist, because maybe that’s what she would have done if she were in those shoes. To me, it seems like your younger self really respected and held the things your parents said with magnitude or solidity. I find that marvelous, and I feel like you had a warm atmosphere in your childhood, even identity wasn’t all clear. That’s kind of nice, it makes me smile. ^ ^

    • If there’s any one thing I’ve learned from these experiences (besides the fact that my parents love me) it’s that our ways of thinking are completely different. We simply see the world in completely different ways. I can’t even guess as to what she was thinking, because I can’t think in the way that she thinks.

      As for what my parents said, I did hold their words in high regard, and have come to hold certain ways that they brought me up in even higher regard. The work ethic that I’ve managed to develop, for one, is owed completely to my parents who are both incredibly hard working people as well as intelligent. Unfortunately, I didn’t respect them nearly as much as I should have; however, that’s now in the past and we’re working towards a fantastic future relationship. I definitely cherish that fact.

      Thank you for your stories and the comment.

  17. Renato

    Wow…I must say, I’m very, very, touched. Actually, I had to read this page (post+comments) in several days, so I could hide my tears from my roommate…XD

    I’m not going to write a great text (both because my writting skills sux and because english is not my main language), but I believe I can contribute a little to this topic.

    I’ll start with a quote from Clannad After Story episode 12:

    “Don’t lose track of what’s important to you.” – Yoshino Yuusuke

    If you never watched Clannad, it’s time to do so. The second season (after story) gives a notion of some difficulties parents have to deal with.

    So, there I was, happily leaving home to go to college (I chose computer science…I’m in the 3rd year now), expecting a future of glory: prepare to earn lots of money; earn lots of money.

    How mistaken I was, I was blind about what really mattered to me: my parents, my friends… Luckly enough, I managed to change my objectives of life early. I felt really happy about ghostlightning, for he understood it too. (btw, cried like a baby on “I was a douche to you and you were awesome to me. I am sorry, so very sorry. “…XD )

    This topic inspired me to share a record of my personal diary…but first I need to give to you a background of my family:

    My grandparents (both father’s and mother’s) were very poor…and that made my mom and my dad start working very early, to help in the family expenses. Consequently, they didn’t had many options of work, career, college course, etc…they did what they could to improve their lifestyle, working on “boring jobs that paid enought” or in “very boring jobs that paid better”, their entire life. They keep saying to me “We want that you work with what you like”…and I took it for granted for a long time…very long time…it may be just a year or so that I though about this…

    In one of my talks with dad, when I was considering drop my course, and there is the record, which I wrote in my diary:


    ME: “I don’t want to work with computer science….I don’t know what I want to do…..”
    DAD: “You have to choose something….”
    ME: “I know…..but I don’t know what….I don’t want to keep working with something I don’t like to do…..”
    DAD: “Choose…..because I couldn’t……”

    And I will never forget this words…This words were the only time my father ever hinted the opportunity he was giving to me…(and note, he said for me to choose, if I decided to graduate in another course he would willingly back me up) and boy…how I will ever repay this? HOW?? I guess it’s something you can’t repay…you can only do your best to meet the necessities your childrens will have. Something like a “good-will-chain”; you are doing your best because your father did it and you want that your children do their best with their childrens…

    “Choose…..because I couldn’t……”

    • I love Clannad (actually I wrote a post on Yusuke Yoshino a few months ago ^ ^)

      Parenting is something I assume I’ll never be able to understand (unless I become a parent) but it sounds like you had a similar revelation with your parents in regards to the fact that all they really ever wanted was for you to be happy. “Choose, because I couldn’t…” that’s such a bittersweet and emotionally overwhelming statement from your father. I hope that you do pass this on to your children should you decide to have any. Also, I hope that you did choose something (sounds like you decided to stick with Computer Science) that you liked. Regardless, I’m sure you’ll end up making your father proud.

      Lastly, I’d like to add that your English is far better than any writing I could do in any other language but English, and I’m really happy that you decided to comment and share your story with us. Thank you so much.

  18. Ryou

    Something similar happened to me. In fact, I am estranged from my father partly because of his disapproval of my passion for art, and his inexcusable behaviors towards my mother during their divorce.

    I persisted and entered an art college, working harder than my peers and managed to finish a three-year degree in two years, all the while freelancing to finance my studies. It wasn’t rare for me not to sleep for days, the record time being six days (couldn’t tell dream from reality if I tried at that point).

    Well, what do you know, a little bit before graduation my right hand started to hurt, and it got significantly worse after. After several steroids, a couple different doctors, and nearly a thousand dollars in medical fees, it was finally correctly diagnosed five years later: I have de Quervain syndrome, combined with trigger thumb and what appears to be a light case of Carpal Tunnel syndrome. At this point, I need a surgery to fix it, and I just don’t have the funds to do so.

    My mother didn’t believe me for years, she chalked the pain I felt to me craving attention. Even when the doctor told her I needed a surgery, she didn’t take it seriously. She, however, spoiled my sister immensely, so much that last month, she left her work for a month to fly back to Indonesia only because my sister was crying that her stomach hurt, fearing it was her appendix, but wouldn’t go to a hospital alone. At one point when I lived there alone I was physically threatened by a neighbor, and all my mom said was “just be patient.”

    I haven’t been able to create for years, and I feel completely lost. I found love (upon swearing I never would, due to trauma related to family affairs), got married, left my country to follow my mother’s new husband, planning to move to another country to be with my husband, and I still feel empty.

    I can’t work since my hand is in a bad enough condition that I have to be extra-careful holding my cutleries to eat. My lack of formal education and work experience in other fields made it really difficult for me to find work. I became very depressed, and what I now know is a borderline disorder prevents me from being social, seemingly everything triggers anxiety and I have attempted suicide more than once. I can only lock myself in my room, waiting for my husband, who lives over 8000 miles away, to log in to messenger and comfort me. No one takes my psychological condition seriously, either, despite it being seriously crippling. They keep telling me to “get over it”, which is akin to telling a limbless man to punch himself in the face until he grows arms, to quote a webcomic writer.

    All of it piled up and I became nothing more than a burden. A failure, if you prefer. Ironically, my efforts to prove myself that I can make it doing something I love ended up costing me my dreams and my future. Your words ring true to me: “If I couldn’t be an artist, then what could I be?” Creating things used to be the only thing I was ever good at. Without the ability to create, I have nothing left. I can no longer be me. I can’t belong anywhere.

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