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the pain of growing up


by #lala


The world was filled with good things when I was little. Even at the point, I became around 12 years old, although I started understanding that there were several bad things such as jealousy, financial problems, a dark side of humans I was still in a bubble surrounded by good things. At least, I thought I was.


I started to notice and feel that some things were wrong around four years back as I started following social media accounts of actors and directors outside of Japan. I was shook. They expressed their political opinions and beliefs publically and weren’t afraid of speaking up their opinions on social issues. Especially when it came to gender equality, their posts put exactly what I had been thinking into words. To me, who had never seen Japanese celebrities express their political opinions before, it was so new and I started researching social issues because of it.


* ジェンダーロール = 性別役割。社会が性別によって期待する固定的な役割のこと。

The world was not filled with good things. I came to realize that injustice is normalized in people’s unconsciousness. Once I had realized it, I started to notice small signs of injustice around myself. I was no longer able to read the book I’d read over and over again in my childhood because it contained many expressions which imply gender roles. I don’t watch TV programs anymore besides the news and a few documentaries since every time I turned on the TV, I noticed female casts were consumed as objects. I noticed it’s not fair that only women have to be scared when walking alone at night. Gender roles and stereotypes of gender which exist in this society got revealed to me, and it led me to realize that I, too, internalized it myself.


What got me the most, after my way of thinking had changed, was that I finally realized that my father is imperfect. I can’t say that my family is the closest family you’ve ever known, but my father and I had a similar sense of humor and personality. So somehow I assumed that he would agree with my feminist opinion no matter what. I was wrong. I cried a little bit after we argued for the first time. I didn’t understand why he stubbornly denied what I believed in even though I thought my opinion was right. I felt sorrow at the fact that my father who had been a perfect role model for me no longer existed.


It’s said that you should consider a person and their opinion separately, and it’s no wonder that my father and I’s opinions are different since we are individuals who have had completely different experiences. Despite the fact that I understand it in my head, I was so shocked by the dispute we had that I’m still struggling with what had happened between us. How should feminists like me and people like my father who have had different experiences and grown up in different environments live together in the same society? How can I contribute to changing this society? They say that you can respect each other even though you have disagreements on something. I agree on it wholeheartedly. But am I wrong not to be able to look up my father like I used to? It slightly scares me that my father might see this article. However, as his opinion is his, my opinion is mine and he can’t control that no matter what.


Looking back at the last four years, I let go of many things I had grown up with and was accustomed to since I had to be honest with what I believe was right. Of course, letting go of what I grew up with was difficult. But it was necessary to be the best version of me. I suppose I’m going to meet people who have thoughts like my father many times in life. Perhaps a person that’s too important to me to lose might be one of them. When it happens, I’m going to discuss with them (or not) to find a way to live with them. Now that I know how painful it is to change or to grow up, I don’t want to force someone to change.




In a TV series called the Politician, there was a quote that attracted my attention.

“As you get older, the world gets more complicated. You have to get more complicated too.”

Of course, it would be much easier to live in a perfect and simple world where I could be happy most of the time. However, I don’t regret breaking the bubble filled with good things, and having my world complicated and starting to learn about the world even though it hurts. I will never stop growing up and learning to live in this complex, imperfect world.

Images by Lala

English Edited by Hanayo

Edited by Hikari Sawada and Hikari

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