Anti-New Year’s Resolution Update–self-worth, snippets, and–wait, am I Rei?

What up, blog dogs?

HELLOOOOOOO, WORLD!

….Hi, friends. I’m still alive. I’m still around. Just…busy. Being an Adult. *sigh*

We are nearing the halfway mark of the year (cue the Twilight Zone theme as we slow-zoom on the calendar), so I thought now might be a good time to look back on my New Year’s resolution. Or Anti-New-Year’s-resolution, I suppose–namely the decision to stop writing every day.

So how has that been going?

*cracks knuckles*

Prepare to be bombarded with song lyrics and anime references.

(Also, fair warning, this post ended up being a lot more serious and personal that most of my other posts. So…yeah. You have been warned.)

***

First of all, I would like to say I am very glad I stopped when I did. If I had gone on writing every day for, say, 10 years before deciding to take a break, it would have been a lot harder.

Because yes, it has been hard.

Hard? you ask. What’s hard about taking a break? You’re relaxing, right? Writing only when you want to? Sounds great!

It does sound great, doesn’t it? And it has been nice on busy days not to have the added pressure of knowing I still need to write something before I can go to sleep.

But I am also acutely aware of how little I have written this year so far, in comparison to other years. When I don’t have to write every day, I can go an entire week or more without writing anything, due to busyness and exhaustion. I keep trying to tell myself that this is okay, that I’m taking a necessary break, but…I have trouble believing myself. What if I’m just being lazy? Real writers work hard, right? Real writers make time for their work.

I keep thinking This time last year, I was nearly finished drafting a new book. And, by the end of the year, I had completed the first draft of another book. But instead of saying, “Well, hurrah for me! I did that last year and it was crazy cool!” My brain is working out the math–

June 2020 Me: 1 book.

June 2021 Me: 0 books.

Therefore, June 2021 Me = failure

2020 Me: 2 books total

Therefore, if I don’t finish a book in 2021, book total = 0 = FAILURE

HOLD YOUR HORSES THERE, SON.

I knew I put a lot of stock in my accomplishments. I did. But I didn’t realize how MUCH until this year. I can’t stop comparing present me to past me, calculating accomplishments and failures.

There’s a lot about myself I didn’t fully realize until these past couple months. Which is hilarious, because some of it was really obvious.

I was recently introduced to Sleeping at Last through Bell@RhymesWithParadeabelle (and HOLY COW WHAT EXCELLENT MUSIC THIS IS). I particularly love the Enneagram songs. I loved the song “Three” (the type named The Achiever) when I first heard it, but obviously that doesn’t mean I am a three, right? I relate to a bunch of the other songs too. Pshaw, I don’t put THAT much stock in being the best. It’s not like I attach my worth as a human being to my accomplishments!

Meanwhile, writing notes on one of my main characters (who, funnily enough, is literally nicknamed “The Achiever” by the media in the story):

Some mentor really impressed with his intelligence–pushed him and encouraged him. Connected to self-worth. Afraid of letting them down.

And various notes on dear Albert:

  • He knows quite a bit about airships (more than R or M) but he feels like he should be the leading authority on the subject.
  • At school, embarrased at how much he cares about his teachers’ praise.
  • Basically being smart=getting affirmation.
  • R dissapointed. “I expected more from you.” How does he react? He knows she has expectations and that he’s not meeting them–just like in every other area of his life

And the rap section of a freaking song I wrote last year:

Gotta find something else you can do that’s great

Show the pay-off of the promise that you showed at eight

Gotta find someone else to impress–how?

Everybody’s so much harder to impress now

Yeah

Can you see why I’m stressed out?

*face-palm*

I’m not saying I’m an Enneagram 3. I don’t really understand the whole Enneagram thing that well, but there are definitely aspects of this personality type (as I understand it) that I really relate to.

The Enneagram Institute has this to say about Threes:

Everyone needs attention, encouragement, and the affirmation of their value in order to thrive, and Threes are the type which most exemplifies this universal human need. Threes want success not so much for the things that success will buy (like Sevens), or for the power and feeling of independence that it will bring (like Eights). They want success because they are afraid of disappearing into a chasm of emptiness and worthlessness: without the increased attention and feeling of accomplishment which success usually brings, Threes fear that they are nobody and have no value.

*nervously edges away from the chasm*

I might relate to that…a bit.

But then Threes are also supposed to be “self-assured, attractive, and charming” and “well regarded and popular among their peers, the type of person who is frequently voted ‘class president’ or ‘home coming queen’ because people feel they want to be associated with this kind of person” which is SO NOT ME. So yeah, I have my doubts about being a Three.

Enneagrams aside, I’ve come to realize I put quite a lot of stock in my accomplishments.

And, regardless of whether or not I’m a Three, the Sleeping at Last song hits me really hard. (Like…sobbing-on-the-floor-of-my-room hard.)

Maybe I’ve done enough,
And your golden child grew up.
Maybe this trophy isn’t real love
And with or without it, I’m good enough.

Just…go listen to it, guys. It’s really good.

Also “Home” by Livingston is my newest jam.

Days passed as I would start to scream
I’d hear the words around my head like they were circling
You’ll never be who they all want you to become

…Ok, where was I going with this?

Anime, obviously.

image source

I’m currently re-watching March Comes in Like a Lion (because my Sponge sister and I discovered it a few months ago, and it’s high time we showed it to our other sisters) and WHAT A SHOW IT IS.

It is beautiful and excellent and you should all watch it.

The main character, Rei Kiriyama, is a seventeen-year-old professional Shogi player (it’s like chess), who lives alone and clearly needs a hug and some therapy. (And the Kawamotos basically adopt him and FEED HIM and it is BEAUTIFUL–my Sponge sister mentioned it in this post about families feeding lonely children in fiction and you should all go read it right now, because it’s one of the best tropes ever and her post is WONDERFUL.)

I love Rei dearly.

I have loved Rei ever since I first started watching the show, but it wasn’t until I started re-watching it that I began to realize how much I relate to Rei.

image source

He is only the fifth player ever to have become a pro while still in middle school. So there are EXPECTATIONS. And even when people say things that sound nice and encouraging–telling him they’re impressed and that they look forward to seeing where he goes next–the way he TAKES IT–

*takes a deep breath to control unintelligible shrieking*

There’s this scene where he has an encounter with two men who provide some encouragement. The conversation is super short, but it shows it twice–the first time showing what they’re actually saying, and the second time showing what Rei hears. They say they’re sure he’ll do great things? Rei hears “You better do great things, or you’re letting us all down”. (Yes, I’m paraphrasing. I can’t remember the exact lines.)

As you may have guessed, writing is to me what Shogi is to Rei.

When I graduated college last year, I got an award from the English department. Which was fantastic and a huge honor. My friends and family all congratulated me, but a phrase that kept coming up was I’m not surprised.

“That’s so cool! Not that I’m surprised :)”

“Congratulations! That doesn’t surprise me!”

Lack of surprise=this is what is expected. I have not gone above and beyond–I have done what is expected of me. Therefore, if I do anything less, I am a FAILURE.

*sigh*

At times, Rei can be arrogant, looking down on his opponents, driven by the need to win. But, simultaneously, his self-worth can be smaller than a grain of rice.

He’s also a people-pleaser who tends to take on other people’s problems and think everything is his fault, and–

THIS SCENE.

image source

He has been taking on everyone else’s problems for so long and he just breaks down. He has so much anger and resentment and desperation and just feeeeeelings.

(Heading home after a really rough day at work last week, I had such a strong desire to re-enact this scene)

(Instead of re-enacting the scene, I went home and explained the whole frustrating work situation to my Sponge sister. To which she replied, “You sound just like Rei.”)

***

I could go on and on about March Comes in Like a Lion, but I’ll spare you. (Just watch it. Get to episode 10 so you can fully appreciate the scene where he breaks down because it’s so good.)

To wrap it up, not writing every day has been hard. It has made me realize how much of my worth as a person I was pinning to my productivity. It has made it clear to me that I am Rei Kiriyama.

But it’s going to be okay. Because my worth as a person doesn’t depend on how much I write.

To end things on a happier note, I have still been writing this year. I haven’t completed any novels, but I have been writing short stories!

So meet my darling sad spaceman.

(Seriously, this story has a name, but every time I talk about it to my sisters I just call it “my sad spaceman story”)

Because space stations don’t come with basements? Rude.

MY BOY JUST WANTS TO SEE SOME RAIN.

***

That’s it for today, folks!

Seeing as my blog schedule became legend, and legend became myth, I’m not sure when exactly I’ll be back again, but hopefully soon-ish πŸ™‚

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? If so, how are they going? Do you tend to attach your self-worth to your accomplishments? Do you know anything about Enneagrams? Are you at all tempted to watch March Comes in Like a Lion now (because you SHOULD)? What have you been writing? Should space stations have basements? Do tell!

13 thoughts on “Anti-New Year’s Resolution Update–self-worth, snippets, and–wait, am I Rei?

  1. March Comes in Like a Lion is my comfort read!! Also, the Sleeping at Last songs…I’m a Five, so I have to be careful not to go into serious withdraw when I’m stressed. And do take it easy! Social expectations are absolutely stressing (I relate, I used to be one of those Asian over-achievers) and sometimes it’s best to just let go. Also would recommend Your Lie in April if you like MCiLaL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Watching MCiLaL does feel like eating comfort food–especially since there’s so much food in it πŸ™‚
      Ah, I love the Sleeping at Last song for Five! Yeah, handling (or not handling) stress is rough. Letting go of expectations can be so freeing.
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I can totally understand this!! The weight of other people’s expectations (and my own, honestly) lies heavily on my shoulders as well, at times, though not in the same way as with you, I think. It’s hard to remember that worth doesn’t come from accomplishments, or intelligence, or personality traits, or ANYTHING like that. (And I’m still really horrible at remembering that.)

    I hope that you’re able to work with this and *not* have a complete breakdown like Rei. πŸ™‚

    But. I LOVE THOSE SNIPPETS! (*whispers* They kind of remind me of the Murderbot books?? Which is definitely a compliment.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For something without substance, expectations can be incredibly heavy. I’m constantly reminding myself where my worth does (and doesn’t) come from. [Must remember that no where in the Bible does God say “I will always love you–as long as you continue to impress everyone with your accomplishments” XD]
      Ok, but it’s such a great breakdown scene, I would love to re-enact it πŸ˜‰
      THANK YOU. (*whispers back* You caught me! I wrote this short story shortly after finishing the Murderbot books, and there was a definite influence on the voice)

      Like

      1. Yes, precisely! (Haha…yeah. One of our priests has a thing that he says–that I’ve heard probably six or eight times and still need to hear often–“God doesn’t love you because you are smart, or pretty, or funny, or holy. He loves you because you are His.” And it’s…awfully comforting. And I forget it far too often.)

        I mean, if you wanna re-enact it…I’m not going to stand in your way. XD

        You’re very welcome! (Ha! I thought I detected a hint of that there. I’m apparently getting better at seeing influences. :))

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahhhhh, what a quote. So good to remember ❀
        (What I read tends to influence my writing quite a bit. Every time I read The Book Thief I'm like "MUST WRITE NOW WHILE THE INFLUENCE LASTS. MUST EMULATE THIS GORGEOUS WRITING STYLE" XD)

        Like

  3. Space stations SHOULD have basements. How else are you supposed to hide from space tornadoes??? Also, just, basements. (My friend is writing an incredible Peter Pan/Robin Hood retelling story where the space station kinda has a basement? On account of how the lower levels are the “underworld” of the society in the space station and run by gangs, and good honest citizens without extensive training in self-defense probably shouldn’t go there (just like actual basements, there are actual criminals hiding in your basement, THAT’S WHERE THE NOISES COME FROM) (actually once we did have a burglar in our basement IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY WHILE WE WERE JUST WALKING AROUND LIKE USUAL UPSTAIRS and now my poor sister is genuinely scared of going into basements on her own XD) so that’s sort of it? Maybe your sad spaceman would like to visit my friend’s story. Maybe your sad spaceman would also like to come to my house and I will give him strawberry shortcake and let him look at all the rain?? I would be happy to make strawberry shortcake for your darling sad spaceman whose writing voice is so exquisite.)

    As for the main point of the post….. ❀ ❀ Good luck remembering that what Rei hears them saying is not what they’re actually saying??? And also that it still wouldn’t matter if it was.
    I…very much feel you. I said to my sister the other day, “It’s so depressing to look at your life and realize you peaked at fourteen.” Which was sort of a joke but, like, not really. I peaked at fourteen and now I’m just…a perpetual failure because my life hasn’t completely gone how I wanted it to and I’m tired a lot and just can’t do all the things, including the things I assumed I’d be doing now when I was fourteen. (As if fourteen-year-old me had enough knowledge for me to be going by her judgment. Pfffft.) And if you don’t do all the things, you’re a failure because that’s the POINT. To DO ALL THE THINGS and be the absolute best at them and…yep.

    (Random Enneagram note: you might be a Three or you might be a One, possibly? Since they look similar and are both overachievers who tend to think their worth is in their accomplishments, but Threes want to excel other people’s standards whereas Ones want to live up to their own – I’m a One and it affords me no relief that I’ve moved and barely anybody actually knows/cares anymore what I’m trying to do with my life and whether I accomplish it, but I still know and I still know I’m capable of more so WHY AM I NOT DOING MORE. If that makes sense.)

    Anyway. I got more entertainment out of this post than I maybe should have, given its serious nature? Haha. Good luck with life, and I love your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your friend’s Peter Pan/Robin Hood retelling? With a space station?? That has a basement/underbelly of society where you could probably die??? This sounds incredible–now please tell me that your friends is actually a published author and that I can purchase this book at the nearest bookstore.
      I’m glad you think space stations should have basements. My sad spaceman approves.
      OKAY but your whole basement rabbit trail had me grinning so much and trying not to laugh out loud (because my younger sister is in the same room working on Important Things, and I’m trying not to be a distraction by randomly cackling). The burglar in your basement in the middle of the day?? This is part terrifying, part hilarious, part PLEASE USE THIS IN A STORY SOMEDAY SO I CAN READ IT, SARAH. This is gold.
      If my sad spaceman goes to your house, he is going to cry. Like, three times. (Once for the rain, once for the strawberry shortcake, and once for the basement. [Actually, maybe he’ll cry a fourth time just at being in the presence of such a kind human]).
      Ahhhhh, I have those conversations with my sisters too. Those I’m-a-complete-failure-ha-ha-just-kidding-but-not-really conversations. Also the I’M JUST SO TIRED ALL THE TIME conversations. And it’s weird how depressing it is to not be where you imagined you would be back when you were fourteen, even though wee fourteen year-old really had no idea what she was talking about. I also frequently say, “I just want to DO ALL THE THINGS”. But like…time? Do we have it?
      (My aunt–who is really into Enneagrams–is a One. I relate to the trying-to-live-up-to-your-own-expectations part. But I think I also might be a Four? Maybe someday I’ll figure it out XD)
      I’m glad you got entertainment out of it πŸ™‚ I mainly just put the little “this is a more serious post” bit in so people wouldn’t go into it expecting it to be all sarcasm and humorous squawking about books (though I did actually keep making jokes…).
      Thank you! ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s