It’s mid-August, which means it’s time for my quarterly post. I was originally going to write about the new artbook I bought – Shigenori Soejima & P-Studio Art Unit: Art Works 2010-2017, featuring the art of Persona character designer Shigenori Soejima. I was going to tell you about how it’s filled with beautiful pieces of art and sketches of characters from Persona 3, Persona 4, Persona 5, from their various spinoffs, and from other Atlus titles like Catherine. About how it features interviews with Soejima and other members of the P-Studio art team that I can barely read because they’re all in Japanese, and about how I’ll probably buy the English version if this book is ever translated and have a redundant copy on my shelf. And about how even though I love the book’s cover, I thought the decision to print its title in silver was pretty stupid, because the color blends in with Futaba’s white and silver shirt. (Fortunately, the text is printed not on the cover itself but rather on the dust jacket, which is transparent. Still looks weird.)
Somewhere along the way, I ran off course. I started thinking about the purpose of this site. I started Everything is bad for you (a name I probably came up with while I was either drunk or sleep-deprived, because I can’t explain the reasoning behind it at all now) five years ago, just before entering law school. I had no real direction in my life – I was attending law school because I managed to get into a pretty good school, and to attend it fairly cheaply, and because it seemed like a thing to do. Two years into the profession at this point, I’m just about where I began. I still have no direction. There’s nothing I really want that I can realistically get from either my personal or professional lives, and when you’re working hard in a life that you don’t care about it becomes difficult to even get out of bed in the morning. I don’t have a family to support yet, but soon enough, I’ll have my relatives trying to fix me up with someone, since my relatives are undoubtedly already wondering about me (imagine whatever you’d like about what they’re wondering, but it’s not hard to guess.) Of course, I could tell them all to fuck off, but then I’d become completely isolated from almost all of my family. Something in me won’t allow that. So I get to go on living a life that I don’t enjoy – and not only do I have to keep living it, but I have to look like I’m enjoying it. It’s not easy to put on that act every day.
Those of you who are still reading this mess of complaints might have no idea what I’m talking about. Or you might think I’m just whining about “first-world problems” and feel that I’m simply ungrateful for what I have. So much the better for you if you don’t understand what I’m saying. To be very honest, I’m not writing for you and I never will. I’m writing for the other kind of person – the kind who feels like an outsider, the way I always have. I’m writing for the kind of person who looks at the prospects of living a conventional life and feels sick, but who has no other choice.
So why this site? It’s an escape. Just like playing video games, or reading novels, or buying artbooks, or drinking whiskey or gin after dinner, probably to excess. Each of these are ways for me to escape not only from the present but also from the future, and I probably don’t need to tell you how futile that is. Since I’m already being honest, I will admit that I’ve had suicidal thoughts throughout my adult life – thoughts I’ve thankfully never acted on, and at this point that I most likely never will act on. These thoughts are usually not at the front of my mind, but every so often they emerge.
Tonight is the beginning of Eid Al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice. The closest western parallel I can think of to this holiday is Thanksgiving with a religious dimension – this Eid mainly involves having a feast with family and giving charity. It’s a day to be grateful for what you have. So why can’t I feel that way?
I never wanted to make a personal post on this site, but it seems that in the end I couldn’t avoid it. I don’t know how I’ll face a future that I don’t really want. The only thing I know for sure is that I’ll keep writing. I thought about quitting this site entirely, but I can’t bring myself to do it. As long as my writing connects with someone, it will be worth the effort, and it will keep me going through this vale of tears that we call life. I might even try some fiction soon, though it will probably turn out to be lousy hackwork.
Sorry for being so dramatic. Shigenori Soejima & P-Studio Art Unit: Art Works 2010-2017 is a good artbook, and you should buy it. Still pretty cheap on Amazon and weeb-centric marketplaces like Tokyo Otaku Mode. Feel free to leave your thoughts below if you decide to go for it. God willing, I’ll stick around and keep writing here and on my other site that I’ve been neglecting. I’ll try not to make it another two-month break. In the meantime, no matter what your religious beliefs are or whether you have any, I wish you a happy Eid and hope the rest of the year goes your way.
Edit (8/26/18): Thought about taking this post down, but I decided I won’t. Even if it is self-indulgent or looks like it’s fishing for sympathy. I know there are other people out there, espcially people in our hobby/subculture/whatever, who carry around a lot of bitterness or just plain apathy about the world and their place in it and who have a hard time finding meaning in living a life that feels predetermined. Sorry for bringing the mood down with this one, but I was in an especially bad place mentally when I wrote it. I’ll be my usual cheery self next post.