Good evening, everybody~
This month has had a lot of ups and downs, you know. All in all, everything is ultimately ending up well, but in the process I’ve shed a lot of tears, and many times I’ve made to write a new post only to erase it, hence the absence of new posts. This one is consequently going to be very long, so just a heads-up for that, and also probably only interesting to you if you’re interested in my life and where I’ve been these past few weeks.
There are things that I want to do, or have wanted to do, that I’ve been kept from doing or had the process frustrated so significantly along the way that I just gave up. I’ve tried to make prints, make artbooks, get commissions…and my efforts kept falling through my hands. I’ve searched for ways to get to Japan and came up with positions I’m not qualified for or not interested in; programs that don’t apply to me; avenues that I could take but cost so much; found a way that I actually could have been accepted to if I’d made it–but I found it after missing the deadline by months and won’t be able to apply for it next year. I’ve tried entering contests and lost them…
I of course started feeling lost and helpless, because I didn’t know what to do. “Am I not supposed to make money? Am I not supposed to ever go to Japan?” I started wondering. “Am I supposed to just stay where I am and do ‘nothing’?”
It’s hard for me to even write about it, but I was going through a lot of this turmoil. >_<
With Mama’s help–reading my AIS lessons with me and then having me start on them right away–I finished both 13 and 14 in two weeks and sent them off. Enclosed in one assignment folder, upon Mama’s suggestion, was a letter I wrote to my instructors. Now I’m just waiting to hear back; it’s very strange to not have a lesson hanging over me, so I’m sort of like, “What do I do?” Lol.
When I first encountered Japanese, it was at the same time I encountered manga. Like so many before me, I decided I wanted to be a manga-ka (manga artist). A few years ago, when the group KiraKira formed and began planning for our original manga, Nightmare Rising, I thought I would finally realize that dream. And yet that project fell into a half-alive hiatus, while each member of the group battled their own obstacles and worked on their own projects. Even so, being the type of person who detests breaking promises and liking the manga such that I wanted to see it through to completion/production/something of the sort, even while I struggled with my “cycle of failure” (artbooks, etc.) I planned to go to a manga/animation school in Japan to both use and improve my Japanese skills and learn how to better create manga so that I could either help more with Nightmare Rising or take charge and get it published myself (but surely not without the others’ input and permission, of course!).
But then I started questioning if that was really what I wanted. Looking at the courses offered, realizing what it really takes to be a manga-ka; that my idea of how the process would go was quite different from how it typically does in the industry… I really began having serious doubts, and then that leaked deeper into my personal dreams and goals as well–what do I want to do? What do I want to be? I felt behind; that I should have already gotten “this” far by now and having no income aside from monetary birthday/Christmas gifts doesn’t help when you’re trying to “save up” to go to Japan. I felt like a burden on my family; while I consider it all a blessing and certainly don’t want to move out, they pay for everything–food, house, transportation, utilities, clothes, computers, art supplies, equipment…everything. How can you “save up” to spend thousands of dollars on two years of overseas professional training college expenses when your family is living paycheck to paycheck and you can’t even throw anything into the pot aside from helping around the house? T_T
Moreover, I started wondering if a manga course would even be what I wanted to take. What of the future after the college? Work in Japan? Come back? Do what? I hadn’t thought that far. What I wrote to my instructors was basically a plea for advice.
And then, just the other day I received my entry for the AIS Charles Schultz Cartoon Scholarship back in the mail, with a certificate and a letter saying that my entry made it to the top fifteen finalists, but of course getting it back in the mail meant I didn’t win. My mom was overjoyed that I made it so far, but I broke down in tears because the whole point of entering, for me, was to win so that I could save her and my dad money. T_T To me, it was another thing falling through my hands. Another failure. In the end, though, like I said on Twitter, someone else probably needed the money more than me and I’m glad for them. I’m obviously not the only person entering and praying that I’ll win, after all!
(Speaking of that…) In the meantime, God has been talking to me a lot about trusting Him. I mean, really trusting. Have you ever trusted him to take care of someone else, but never asked him to help you? Or prayed for him to open someone else’s eyes, but never prayed for him to open yours? The past few days has been amazing with the amount of things suddenly in front of me, reminding me in whom I have to place my trust. Clearly, when my way isn’t working–why am I bothering with my way at all? When I trust God, things just work out better. Like when I was in China–all I could do was put my trust in God because I literally had no other option; I knew I was lost without him! I went through all sorts of experiences there, too–I missed a flight, got lost, embarrassed myself in front of a class of thirty or so middle schoolers, got peed on by a little kid on a bus, and still I had a great time. Somehow everything worked out just right, and I can’t really explain it in words I guess; I just know. Why did I revert when I got back home?
In the sermon at church yesterday, David said that one of the reasons people have a hard time trusting God is because they’ve been let down by other people so many times. But I don’t think that’s the reason in my case. I think that I’ve been reluctant to trust God with this because I’ve been afraid that his plan for me is not the same as my plan for me; that what he wants is not what I want. And put in that light, everything sort of makes sense.
But don’t think that I suddenly have all the answers to what to do and stuff just because I realized that–I don’t. It’s only been, like Day Two. ^^; I’m still stumbling through every day wondering where to place my efforts at this point. The only difference is now I know I have to stop trying to find those answers inside myself (how could I find them there, when that’s where the questions are coming from?) and start asking God those questions and trusting that he will take care of everything.
Part of what made me realize that I’ve missed the deadlines for a lot of things like scholarships and tests, and that I’m not sure that I want to pursue making manga now, is that I’ve asked for and received, as of today, three info packages from three different schools: Toho Gakuen, Tokyo Animation College, and Osaka Animation College. There are several more on my list, but these three are the only ones I have contacted so far. It really is different looking through the brochures as opposed to browsing the website, and of course you can see the actual costs of attending too. ^^; Another thing these packages made me start thinking about more seriously was lodging and life there. It really is important to look at everything to make sure you make the best choices! So…in a way I’m glad I missed the deadlines so I can spend time using these materials to learn from.
Hmm…so, again, I’m just waiting to hear back from AIS… Taking one day at a time… Going back to what makes me happy! And even if I really am supposed to stay where I am for now, God knows exactly why even if I don’t, so I’ll just be okay with that. ^^