15 September 2006

Life Lessons From Fruits Basket: Liking Yourself

I have grown and changed a lot this year. I have come to like and be comfortable with the Aisha.

In volume 5 of the manga Yuki and Haru are trying to encourage Kisa to come out of a dark place that she is in emotionally. Because she looks different than the other students she was teased and ignored. It is so devastating to her that she stopped talking, stopped going to school and has run away from home.

When she meets Tohru, as she does with many of the Sohma's she accepts Kisa completely and loves her. Kisa latches on to this and remains close to Tohru for about a week. A letter arrives from Kisa's school and is read by Yuki and Haru. It says they hope she returns to school soon and that the teachers are there for her blah, blah, blah.

"And what is most important... is for you to like yourself, Sohma-san. To find the good things about yourself, and to like yourself for who you are. Because people who don't like themselves can't expect others to like them."

Yuki: I... there was a time... when I stopped talking. Just like you. My reasons... were a little bit different... but... I think the feelings... of being ashamed of myself and hating myself... are the same. Here... it says to "like yourself." What does that mean? Good things- How are you supposed to find them? I only know things that I hate about myself. Because that's all I know, I hate myself. But... even if you force yourself to find good things... it feels so empty. It doesn't work that way. People like your teacher just don't get it. I think... when you hear someone say they like you, for the first time... then you can begin to like yourself. I think when someone accepts you, for the first time... you feel like you can... forgive yourself a little. You can begin to face your fears... with courage.

*as Yuki continues to speak Kisa begins to think of the times that Tohru has smiled and told her that she loves her and also about her mother. (she was afraid to tell her mom about the teasting) tears begin to flow freely from her eyes*

Kisa: *hesitantly* ...Yeah. Yeah. Yeah... I was so hap... py...
Haru: Ki...
Yuki: Kisa. What do you... want to do next? Do you think it's okay to stay like this?
Kisa: *hesitantly* No... never... I have to... try my best... or I'll become... worse and worse. Even if I can't make up with them... even... if they all ignore me. *thinking: Even if my heart... is still seen as inferior* I still have to... try my best.
Yuki: That's right... let's try our best. *end*

I have a great family and many friends. My family accepts me, but I come from the school of thought that they have to. My closest friends also accept me for everything that I am, good or bad. I have not until very recently been comfortable being me. This year, just in case you missed it, I fell pretty hard for a guy. A new friend who accepted me. Someone who did not back away or judge me when he found out more and more about who I am.

I realized more and more who I am and realized that I no longer cared what others thought about me and my way of life and thinking. I am a very insecure person. I was teased, bullied, picked on, beaten up, ignored and made to feel like I was worthless by many people over the years. I have, whether in school or work, been labeled time and again. I have been misunderstood by people who were supposed to be best friends. In my mind I envisioned myself to be all of that negativity. My true friends would try to convince me otherwise but it is hard to see the good when all most people around you choose to hone in on is the bad.

When I realized that I loved James and that I did not have to hide any of who I was from him and realized that he accepted me, I finally felt free to be myself in front of God and everybody. Someone finally accepted me for all of me.

I'm still insecure and worry about whether or not I am accepted by those around me but that does not define how I view myself anymore. I also finally got in touch with the fact that most importantly God accepts me and loves me no matter what. What else do I need? Of course I'm human so I'll still want to be accepted by my peers but someone else's opinion does not dictate how I view the Aisha anymore. Things did not go the way I wanted with James but I was able to take something great from that situation, my sense of self-worth. (and a great friend!) That has helped me to grow. I have to try my best! I am finally happy with being Aisha.
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