※ I BELIEVE IN SHERLOCK HOLMES ※ ([personal profile] alory_shannon) wrote2015-10-31 12:04 am

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”


“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow"

Sometimes, some cute, fluffy shoujo manga is exactly what you need.

I read Strobe Edge this summer, and really enjoyed it. I thought it was cute and fun, and I really liked the heroine--because, despite the fact that she can be naïve and a little dense, above all else, she is determined to be honest about her feelings and true to herself. She doesn’t let anyone bully her or guilt her into anything. Her group of girlfriends push her at her closest guy friend, who is super obvious about having a crush on her and eventually asks her out, but despite the pressure from her peers, Ninako stands firm. She likes Daiki, but she’s not in love with him; she’s in love with someone else. And despite the fact that the guy she DOES have feelings for will almost certainly never return her feelings, she still doesn’t settle for a relationship with someone she’s not in love with.

At first, she wants her feelings to go away, thinking that everything would be easier if they did. And she’s right. That’s often the case with that sort of thing. It’s hundreds of times easier NOT to feel anything like that, to NOT let your heart be so painfully vulnerable.

It would be easier to give up. But, as Ninako says, “Is it really something that you can just make yourself give up on?”

Eventually, though, Ninako decides that she’s glad that she feels the way she does. She’s happy that she fell in love with someone so wonderful, that she got to experience that love. And while she also thinks, ‘I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want it to lead somewhere,’ she still wants to simply cherish those feelings. ‘Whether it ends well or not, all that matters is...I love him.’

This way of looking at things was important to me personally, because of who I am, and what’s more, how I am.

I am terrible when it comes to ‘softer’ emotions. I haven’t dated in years, partly because there was no one interesting in my life, but mostly because I don’t like dealing with that sort of thing, with irrational, uncertain feelings that can’t be reasoned through or away.

Then, after years of radio silence from that echoingly empty void where my heart should be, I really and truly fell for someone again.

Not a ‘movie star crush’, or a ‘haha this person is funny and fun to jokingly flirt with a little over Skype’ thing. No. This is a real, chest-tightening, heart-racing sensation that’s painfully bittersweet, that makes it hard to breathe, that leaves me smiling like an idiot as my mind wanders from whatever I’m supposed to be doing. It’s a jolt of excitement whenever I see him, and we smile at each other as our eyes first meet. It’s my hands literally shaking when I invite him somewhere, not even on a date, just casually, as a friend. It’s looking over at him when he’s intent on something else, allowing me to briefly study his face without being caught and try to burn it into my memory, though that mental image always pales compared to the real thing, requiring me to attempt to perfectly capture it in my mind again and again every chance I get. It’s the way my heart leaps when something I say makes him smile, or when I find out that we feel the same way about something, or excitedly talk about a videogame or book or TV show we both enjoy.

So yes, I fell hard. And honestly, while I think I’ve been managing all right outwardly, inwardly I was a wreck. These feelings were foreign, and stressful, and not something I consciously chose to feel, and I didn’t know how to handle them. I felt like I needed to DO something with them, to try to push them away or deny them or logic them into nothingness...but of course, that wasn’t really possible.

Thankfully, I have a great friend who didn’t mind talking with me about it, which provided an outlet and lessened the stress enough that I could still function. I’d recommended Strobe Edge to this friend and she’d read the first few volumes by then, so she ‘got it’ when I laughingly said that, at some point, I’d probably have to ‘pull a Ninako’ and confess to the guy, even though I’d probably get shot down.

Saying that made me want to re-read the series--because I wanted something light and cute to take my mind off things, but also...because I really did like the way the heroine handled herself. So I picked up the first four volumes again today, and I’m very, very glad that I did. Because while I liked the story the first time through, now I’m reading it with new eyes. I know these bittersweet feelings fresh and first-hand, the heart-squeezing but gentle pain of (almost certainly) unrequited love, so I can appreciate Ninako’s situation better this time around.

...But what’s more, re-reading it (and talking to my friend) made me realize something very important:

It’s okay for me to feel this way. It’s okay to have feelings for the person I have feelings for. Even though he probably doesn’t feel the same way. Even though I’ll undoubtedly be hurt by that (because who likes to be rejected, or to feel like they’re not good enough). Even so, it’s okay. I am allowed to simply feel what I feel--and just because it might hurt me in the future, and just because it hurts a little (or a lot, sometimes) already, that isn’t a good enough reason to simply reject those feelings. He doesn’t have to like me back for my feelings to mean something, or be worthwhile.

Because, like Ninako thinks to herself in the very first book, ‘That’s it, though. It doesn’t matter if he feels the same way. That’s not why I fell in love with him.’

I care about this person because of who he is, because I think he’s wonderful and kind and funny and creative. I enjoy being around him, and want to get to know him better. I didn’t start to feel like this because I thought he might like me, or because I assumed he would like me back. That has nothing to do with it. It might make things awkward between us, but I won’t apologize for how I feel. One day, maybe soon or maybe not-so-soon, I will tell him, consequences be damned.

And another thing: I won’t stop being his friend if (or more likely, when) he turns me down. I absolutely refuse to allow that to happen. I like him so much, and even if he rejects me, I still want to spend time with him, because I like him as a person, not just someone I’m interested in dating. Our friendship is far too valuable to me--he’s one of the only people I’ve ever met who understands certain fandom things, and who really seems to get my sense of humour, and who can keep up with me when it comes to banter and such. And I don’t want to lose that. So much so that it makes me hesitate to say anything about how I feel. And yet, I have to be honest. I have to be brave. I have to take that chance, because really, I do want him to know how he makes me feel. Ultimately, I think he deserves to know how amazing I think he is, and how happy I am that I got to met him, and become his friend, and fall for him.

My heart might sit a little heavy in my chest these days, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because, despite that not-quite pleasant weight…for the first time in years, I can actually feel it.

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