I’m often amazed how I can feel happy/satisfied and totally like crap at the same time.
Recently (as in, just last night) I finished watching Toradora!, which is one of those few series I genuinely enjoyed watching and it didn’t feel like a task to get through an episode. And those last few episodes did a number on me like an even fewer number of series can. Concerning the show itself, there are things I was happy and not-quite-so-happy about, but overall I loved it. My biggest gripe is that there seemed to be less development on Ryuuji’s part during that final stretch, which made all of it seem rather sudden when it started to shift toward the ending everyone knew was coming, but thankfully it leveled out reasonably by the final two or three episodes. Had the series been, say, 36 episodes long rather than 25, I think that would have been represented better (then again, I’ve not read the light novels, so I can’t say if there was anything there to begin with).
Initially, it was easy for those standard-fare warm fuzzy sentiments to come out because of the subject matter, but the reason I mention how terrible it made me feel is because a lot of the plot points seemed to hit a little too close to home, and I saw myself as I was in high school a tad too much in there. That, in turn, made me start dwelling on those problems again and my own self-loathing over my inability to do anything about my situation then and the wall of hesitation I always hit when I start thinking about rectifying it. I’m still living with my mistakes from 5 years ago. Series like this work very well at tearing open those wounds again – which, ironically, is part of the reason I love these kinds of shows so much. Call it emotional masochism, but deep down, it’s like I want to feel terrible about it, because maybe then it’ll finally motivate me to fix things. The isolation I’ve been in for the last 5 years makes for a state of numbness that I can’t stand but feels too safe for me to jeopardize. Couple that with a monumental fear of rejection and it’s a recipe for disaster.
I honestly haven’t felt this raw emotionally since I read RE-TAKE, and that was almost three years ago. The thing that makes this sting even worse is that the underlying feelings and situations that precipitated me being so affected by these types of series originated 10 years ago this coming fall. I’ve been trapped by my own emotions since I was 14, and I just don’t know when it’ll finally be resolved, or if it ever will.