atma: ([TH] Youmu - Draw)
I just read all of Fate/Stay Night in about 8 or 9 sittings. It took a bit over a week. I lost a lot of sleep because I got so wrapped up in it but it was worth it. It was a game/story I was told to avoid for years by idiots who misjudged my taste and people giving me misinformation about it. It's only thanks to a few good friends that told me the truth that I read it.

No. It's not quite that. It's that I was told by them that it was a story I needed to read. There's these two characters in it, the protagonist Shirou and some dude in red named Archer. Shirou is a young romanticized idealist. He wants to literally be a superhero when he grows up. Archer, however, sees this as folly; heroes don't exist as they do in stories and this kid is an idiot and he is going to set him straight or kill him trying. I was told I had parts of both in me, that their narrative and arc was my own.

So instead of a formal review of the game, I'm going to instead write an introspective piece. If you don't want spoilers or don't want tl;dr about heroism in the modern age then stop here. This is not an easy post to write and it will not be an easy one to read. There will be tears and frustration forged into this. It's a story about me not many know but all should hear at last. If you back out now I won't blame you. Otherwise, you can read on.



"That's difficult. What you want is to save everyone."

Once upon a time, almost twenty-seven years ago, I was born. It may as well have been with sword in hand, because ever since I could read, talk, and stand, I've identified with the idea of the romanticized, idealistic, knight in shining armor who slays dragons and saves damsels. It's who I was before I was a woman or gay or a writer or a chef or anything else about me that's equally true. I would carry toy swords with me everywhere and dream of being the hero, because I was taught the only other option was to be the one needing saving, and some part of me understood that that's not what I wanted.

I would save everyone. I would save the world. I would save people who didn't know they needed it or people who refused. Because I'm the hero. I'm the goodguy. I'll get praised. Everyone will know me and want to be my friend and ally. What kind of idiot would oppose this spirit of chivalry and determination? They'd have to be really dumb to want to stop me.

As it turns out though, reality is never as kind as our fantasies and dreams would lead us to believe. I've been stopped and stuck and abused at every turn over this. I've suffered things and made others suffer and grow mad at me over these obsessive ideals. The more I clung to it, the more likely I was to crack. I was growing weaker and more fragile, so I grew louder and more stubborn to hide it. Things hurt worse, inside and out, for me and others. I was becoming a mere shell of what I dreamed of, but I thought if I just stuck through it, I'd turn out okay and maybe this was all some kind of test I had to grow through to get my PhD in Heroism or something.

"Ten after one. A hundred after ten. How many was it after a hundred? At that time, I finally realized that Emiya Shirou's ideal was just a convenient fantasy."

For almost twenty four of my years alive, I clung to it before it finally snapped and shattered right before me. In an entirely unprovoked rage, after projecting an image of what I wasn't, I wound up hurting a lot of my friends. They didn't respect me. They didn't rely on me. They didn't need me to help and they never once thanked me or licked my boots for existing near their unworthy asses.

You could have easily replaced his name with mine there. It was relevant then. How many would I sacrifice needlessly, claiming it was to save them and earn me what I thought I deserved, before I'd stop? However, I was isolated after that rage. My ideals were shot. I could glue them back together in a desperate attempt to pretend it never happened, but that would be the coward's way out. I'd be a false hero at best, deluded further by my own twisted dreams. More would suffer for it. There's a chance it would have never ended. The isolation made me realize a few horrible, ugly things about myself.

“But a wish for you to save yourself does not exist.”

I was seeking death. I sought the heroism and notability and rank that comes with it. I wasn't killing anyone else. Yet. I might have someday had I stayed like that. I don't know. The thought now terrifies me but I can see myself having done it anyways. There was no respect for life nor will to actually protect someONE instead of someTHING because I wasn't respecting myself. Life and death are two sides of the same coin. I'm useless dead. If I died, I'd no longer be able to serve or protect or help myself or anyone else.

The knight was demoted back down to page. I had to relearn everything. I had to learn what honor and justice and right and wrong and life and death were all really about from scratch. It hurt. It sucked. It sucked some serious shit. I was constantly angry at myself for ever having fallen. For ever having believed the false definitions of heroism to begin with. For wanting to die. It took me at least half a year, if not longer, to finally realize what I needed to do to actually make my childhood dreams of helping others become reality.

I had to honor life. Honor myself. Survive. Realize that justice and fighting means losing and sacrifice sometimes. That perfection doesn't exist. I had to respect death and what it means to end someone or something. There's no time to mourn anyone I can't save or anyone I do kill. And above all be selfish. Without it, I'll not be satisfied or happy, nor will I exist long enough to have the impact I've always craved of having on others. It's okay to say me first. Only by embracing life and insisting on living until I meet a death that isn't wished for by me will I make it.

Has it already been almost three years since I finally grew up?

It's not to say I'm perfect now. I still hate myself now and again, especially when I do something to act against how I am now and reminds me of my own past. I still am too critical of me in some areas. I still act selflessly and altruistic. I am full of hope and optimism as ever. But I'm no longer blind or dumb about it. I'll get better slowly.

Because instead of a hero, I'm now just reliable. A hero can't be reliable, for they're protecting ideas and are most likely dead too young. Shirou became Archer and became bitter and unreliable. I am a lot more jaded and sarcastic and loathing how I used to be, like the Red Knight Archer is and was. However, I still maintain a sense of justice and hope that he had lost from when he was but young Shirou. Believing in yourself instead of requiring others to put faith in you is what bridges the gap between common heroes and reliable beings like I am now. I am at the crossroads between Shirou and his future Heroic Spirit self. I can no longer martyr myself without cringing, and if I can continue this path, I'll become something even greater than I am now.

Become something even the hero I had dreamed of becoming in childhood would have envied and respected.

"...There is no salvation available for this knight."

Not for Archer, the knight in red, who took lifetimes to learn all this. Reading his words to Shirou and his self loathing resonated with me on a level I don't think most other narratives deconstructing the idea of the perfect romantic hero have done yet. They were words I now would yell at me then. It was painful to read but at the same time all too necessary. It made me realize just how far I've come in such a short time myself.

Because there WAS salvation for this knight. For me.

And thank the gods I didn't die before I learned this.

Date: 2013-05-01 07:06 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] alwaysbeenasmiler
alwaysbeenasmiler: (Rena☆Here we come now)
That was beautiful. It was, I wish I could sort of go into the introspective like you do. I remember you from three years ago.. four years ago and even five years ago and I think you are awesome just the way you are now. The thing is that we all grow up with ideals.. but when we grow up, we come to find out what true strength is.

I'm glad you figured it out!

Anyways that's it for my commentary, yay Atma Weapon, proud of you.. so proud!

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The Sunset Samurai

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