#12: A Garden of Words

The Twelve Days of Anime is an anime blogging tradition where writers put up 12 consecutive days worth of blog posts, reflecting on their experiences with anime, primarily within the past calendar year. In today’s anime blogging landscape, with the amount of literary theory and analysis applied to these cartoons that we love, it’s such a wonderful breath of fresh air to shift the writing style of the entire sphere to a more personal approach.

I personally prefer this type of approach, especially when it comes to talking about anime. There’s a sense of identity and voice that allows me to personally connect with person behind the cute anime girl avatar that I see on blog posts and in twitter feeds. In a way, anime bloggers naturally put on a mask of sorts that comes off for a few weeks each year, and it allows me to truly enjoy everyone else who loves anime just as much as I do. We let ourselves become human, become humble, and share those experiences with others.

I used to blog about anime not too long ago, and my departure from the anime blogosphere and my decision to distance myself from the community was out of insecurity and fear of the unknown. The obligation to stray away from the my style of writing weighed heavily on my ability to write at all. I didn’t know what I want to do with the blog, nor did I know where I would fit in the community after the dust settled and my relationship with Emily was established. It was an interesting story, but I digress; I promise it’s a topic that will be addressed in a future installment of Twelve Days.

Unsure of what to do, I simply left. I left twitter. I left my blog. I left the audience that I’ve cultivated through years of honest writing and being myself. It wasn’t as much about no longer being myself, but rather the idea of not being the same person about whom I was writing; once I realized I was in love with Emily, I was a different person, for the better, I feel. However, I was no longer the person that was portrayed on Baka Laureate, and as such, I had to stop writing there.

I look back on the blog itself and see a number of interesting posts there, namely on love and romance, and the improbability of being with anyone due to my “unique” interests. I sell the anime fandom short in saying this (as there are a large number of amazing, datable people who happen love anime), but when lined up with the rest of the world, it’s hard to imagine there are that many reasonable people who would accept our hobby and all of its associated problems and achieve the impossible task of reconciling our odd natures with our large hearts capable of loving another (and by this, I don’t mean loving the anime series, Another, which is actually rather entertaining, but I don’t necessarily love it per se).

We’re left with finding love amongst each other, and in the socially awkward foray through this odd jungle of the anime blogging fandom, and I can’t help but imagine that 2DTea was onto something when he wrote about his friends in the blogosphere and shipped them with idolm@ster characters. Was he simply being creative with his knowledge about the friends that he’s come to know and want the best for, or was he leaving behind a portrait of happiness that his loved ones can achieve when they’re with the right person?

I loved those posts that he wrote, and I’m not surprised, therefore, that my favourite post from my own blog, Baka Laureate, is my own romantic self-assessment with potential pairings with idolm@ster characters:

“This post is going to be utterly self-gratifying and ridiculous, yet people will probably read it anyway.” – Imaginary Dates with the iDOLM@STER Girls (And Their Dubiously Written Reports), Part I

Yet, as self-gratifying and ridiculous as it was, it turned out to be one of the most well-received posts on the blog from a personal standpoint. Somehow, by putting myself out there and being completely honest about how I see myself, I manage to paint a picture of what I was looking for in a relationship and in a partner. I also managed to open myself up to a receptive community that could, in turn, want the best for me, as selfish as that sounds:

“One thing I really love about this post is that you open yourself up and have a good outlook on yourself as a person. You’re not self-deprecating, but well-reasoned, and each of these dates are a reflection on you. I feel as if I know you a bit better now, enough to say this: Idolm@ster girl, or no, someone is going to be very fortunate to have you.” – AJTheFourth

That comment comes from none other than Emily, who at the time, had just started commenting on my blog. Neither of us had no idea that several years down the road, she would end up being that fortunate person. Don’t be fooled into thinking, dear reader, that this was the foundation for the relationship ever happening. What I’m trying to say is that this is an example of the payoff that happens when one writes so comfortably and honestly. Just write the words you want to write, and the readers will come.

This is why this blog exists. Because, despite all of the questions that I still ask myself in regards to where I fit in the world, online and off, I’ve come to a point where I can only find the answers if I keep writing. I have to keep writing for myself, so I can learn more about this weird person who loves to write, who loves to watch anime, who loves a wonderful woman named Emily.

In The Garden of Words, Takao Akizuki knows of only a few things: that he loves to design and create shoes, and that he is in love with Yukari Yukino. In his little world at the bus stop during Kansai’s rainy season, he finds himself in a personal space that he truly owns for himself. It is through owning that space that he is able to comfortably develop his relationship with Yukari while pursuing his dream. My dream is to write, and I hope that this little garden of words will help me discover more about myself while pursuing that wonderful little dream.

And I hope that my Yukari Yukino will be sitting close to me for every moment of it.

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