"I’ve decided that I’ll live! I definitely won’t give up!"
We’re two fans running this blog, so it depends on whose personal are you asking for?
Life is one of the few jdrama’s out there that focus on bullying and the effects that it may have one the victims mental state. It also focuses on how, no matter how dark your life may get, you can always find happiness again and find strength within yourself.
When I was in high school, I was bullied. I felt so alone, so scared, so sad. I couldn’t get myself to go to school. I cried all the time. I was frightened of my bullies. I almost failed out of school because my grades and attendance got so bad because of this fear and depression. During these days home, I would watch Japanese dramas, which, at the time, I was utterly obsessed with. While they were my only solace, I still felt empty. I never could relate to the upbeat characters, the eternal, unbreakable friendships, or the happy endings that seemed to plague them all. Even while watching things I liked, I felt so alone. It was horrible. So, randomly, one day I decided to search for a show about bullying, in hopes I would be able to relate to something or someone within the show.
That is when I discovered Life.
I cried after every episode. Not because the story itself is the most heartbreaking, but because it was so relate-able. Yes, some parts seem overly dramatic for entertainments sake, but the characters, from Ayumu to Manami, all seemed to relate with the issues I was going through or the people I had encountered. This drama helped me find strength within myself to face those who treated my cruelly, it helped me realize I wasn’t alone and that this was an issue people face, no matter where they are, and to this day reminds me how far I have come since my high school days. For this reason, I would like to share my story, my full story, with you all, in hopes you will find the strength to share your story or reach out for help if you are a victim of bullying. Furthermore, I hope that everyone realizes how you are not alone in being bullied and can find the strength to keep living, no matter how dark your situation may be.
When I was in high school, I had a hard time relating to people. I was pretty much a loner, really sarcastic, and an anime-and-Japan-loving “freak.” I had “friends” but no one I would hang out with after school. I was used to this, and actually preferred it, as I like being alone in general. However, late into my freshman semester, a girl transferred in to my history class. We became pretty close friends as we both had the same sense of humor and were alike in many ways. However, she was more popular than I was and seemed to be more comfortable with attention that I was. Still, we remained close friends. Sure, we argued from time to time, but it wasn’t out of the realm of best-friends fighting. We always made up and would become closer than ever.
When we reached our Junior year of high school, we were insanely close. We had every class together, except for one or two, which was great, and a lot of fun. We would even ditch classes together to go see movies or just hang out… we just seemed to click with each other. We even had a crush on the same guy, but it wasn’t a competition. I wasn’t “in love’ with him or anything and she definitely caught his eye more. It was fine, harmless even. When I got to know him better, I just really started to dislike him. He was “cute” when I first noticed him, but as time went on I came to realize how just creepy, disrespectful, and frankly nasty he was. He would brag on and on about sexual conquests (which I’m sure never happened) and would treat me poorly just to impress my friend. Fine, whatever, right? Well, my friend never seemed to stand up for me when this was happening, which hurt, but she was really my only friend I had so I just shrugged it off.
One night we all went to the movies, my friend brought her friend along and the guy she liked, that I used to like. My friend also had a boyfriend, that she was dating for two years, who was away on a trip at this time. She confided in me that she was hoping this movie night would lead to something more with the guy she liked, not her boyfriend, and asked me to go with her so nothing would happen. This, frankly, irritated me. The fact she was hoping to cheat on her boyfriend just rubbed me the wrong way. But, again, I let it slide. The guy was, as usual, being a jerk to me. But I tried my best to ignore him and was looking forward to the movie we would all see. We all went to get some popcorn and drinks, and then sat down at our seats. While I’m eating my popcorn, the guy and my friend start laughing. I ask what, and they just said it was nothing. The more I ate the louder they laughed. Again, I asked what was so funny. The guy then replied that he sneezed in my popcorn before he handed it to me. I was so disgusted and wanted to leave, but my friend wanted to stay with him. Throughout the whole movie I was trying not to cry, and no one cared enough to ask if I was okay.
After the movie I was visibly upset. I told my friend, and her friend, that I didn’t like that guy, that he was a jerk, and that I wanted to leave. My friends friend got pissed at me and would say how I was always jealous of the guys my friend was with (I wasn’t a huge fan of her boyfriend either) and that I was just being a bitch. My friend didn’t say anything in my defense, so I went to leave. I called my mom and asked her to pick me up, and texted my friend how disgusted I was with how she let the guy treat me and how I thought she was horrible for wanting to cheat on her boyfriend. She came out of the theatre, pissed off at me, and started yelling. My mom pulled up at this time and I just went home. I was so upset and hurt and pissed off. The next morning I woke up and went to school per usual. However, the class I had with my friend and this guy was my first class, and I sat right next to them. They would constantly tease me and would have their other friends join in saying how I was a bitch and jealous and everything else. I went home. I didn’t want to deal with it.
The next day I took off school. I then got messages from my friend, the guy, and multiple others, threatening me not to come to school or else. They would call me names and would say they would make my life a living hell. I was upset, and took the next day off school as well.
Then, when I would try to log onto my email or AIM account, none of my passwords would work. I found out, through my friend emailing me, that she changed my email information, signed me up for porn sights, put my information on various emails, talked about me, with my full name, on websites calling me horrible names or just making fun of me, and changed my passwords to “lesbian” or “hunchback.” I was so hurt. I didn’t want to go to school. I just felt sick. A few days later I noticed on her MySpace account she had manipulated photos of me to be fatter or uglier, and would have all her friends, including the boyfriend she wanted to cheat on, comment on them making fun of me. They would text me saying how I should drop out of school, how I should just die because I was so ugly, how they would hurt me if I came to class, how they would beat me up when no one was looking. It was horrible. I was constantly afraid. I couldn’t bring myself to go to school, to care about school.
This was when I started contemplating suicide. I was afraid to die, but I was even more afraid to live. I hated my life. I hated myself. I felt ugly, gross, fat, worthless, pathetic, stupid, hated. I couldn’t stand to be alive, but I had hope that maybe things would get better… they didn’t. At least, not right away. Not as soon as I had hoped.
One night, after my mom had worked and saved up to get our house painted, my ex-friend and her friends egged and teepeed my house and car… which they bragged about on MySpace. She ruined the paint on my new car and even the paint on my house. My mom was furious… I was devastated. It was just one more thing to add to all the other things she had done to me. We actually still have the damage on our garage that resulted from their midnight attack.
I believe a week or so passed and I finally went to school. I only went because I had a photography field trip with my photoshop class, and really wanted to get out of my house. I knew my ex-best friend wouldn’t be there and none of her friends, to the best of my knowledge, would be there either. We all had a great time and a group of kids went out to see a late showing of the newest Spiderman movie. I wanted to go but couldn’t get a hold of my mom, so I told them, since she didn’t know where I would be, I didn’t feel comfortable going. They were fine with it. I went back to our hotel room and was reading before it fell asleep. It was around 3am when I was passed out, and woke up to no one in the room. They decided to spend the night in someone elses room, which I didn’t mind. They didn’t seem to either.
Then I get home and there were rumors around the school about how I was too shy and too much of a prude to let one of the guys, who was with the group, in to the room after he came home around 4am. I never heard him knock or w/e, but apparently he did. Then they would spread a rumor about how I was a lesbian who would only sleep with girls in the room (and since we were assigned rooms based on our gender I don’t know how this was my fault) and would continue to text me or make fun of me. They would say how they would hurt me. How they would make me learn to like guys (yes, implying rape) and how they hoped I would kill myself. I didn’t want to give them that pleasure. I wanted to live to piss them off, but I was still scared. Scared what pain me living would bring me. How mad they would get. I was simply terrified.
I went to the principle, to my guidance counselor, everyone, but they would do literally nothing. They told me I needed to deal with it “because this could happen outside of school and I need to be prepared for it.” My ex-friend of course would deny any of this happening when the teachers would call her in the same room as I was in to sort out the issue. She would glare at me or mouth some words to me when they weren’t looking, and would have even more people text me about how pathetic I was and how I should stop going to school or just die because I was so worthless and stupid. I was devastated.
Finally the school year ended. I had a 1.6 GPA due to failing most of my classes my junior year, and not doing well before hand either. I had to take extra classes so I could graduate on time. During the summer before my senior year I would workout a lot, mostly running, which helped me keep sane. I also signed up for a ton of honors and AP classes for my senior year. My mom, who was my constant support through everything that had happened my junior year, and who fought relentlessly for me to my teachers and principal, promised me if I got all A’s she would take me to Japan as a treat. As I had none of these classes with my old friend, I was actually enjoying going to school. I made a lot of great friends and got straight A’s, something I never did before. During this senior year, I would hear rumors here and there about me, but I didn’t care anymore. I realized how working hard and finding strength within your self is so much more important than caring what other people think of you. I grew so much during that year, and I’m really proud of that progress. There was no “ah-hah!” moment for me that my life would improve, but I just kept living. My mom gave me goals to work towards and I accomplished them with my own merit. The jdrama Life helped me immensely too. They were things that seemed so small that made the biggest impact, and looking back at all of this, I realized how fucking strong I became.
This story doesn’t end here. That old friend and I actually became friends again for about 4 years, around a year after high school ended. She seemed to have changed a lot and we were both going through horrible shit in our lives. We bonded over our similarities and grew closer than ever. However, a few weeks ago I ended our friendship for good once I realized how little she had changed since high school. She started going back to old habits and attitudes that once made me fear her. Instead of having that effect now, I just felt pity for her. Some may say I’m crazy for being her friend again, and I probably was, but I just remembered all the good we had in our lives when we were together. We were basically sisters, we had so much common interests, but ultimately I grew up and she stayed the same. At least this time I was able to find closure in our friendship, that we never had before, and I think that is what drew me back to her in the first place. It’s actually amazing how little I think of her now, where before I couldn’t picture my life without her being my friend, I just feel free and excited for the future without all the negativity in my life.
Since the time I was bullied, I have gone on to university. I went to a university in Japan for a short while (before I became ill) and am now double majoring with a minor and certificate at university. I will graduate with honors. I have become happier, stronger, more mature than I ever thought possible. I have lived through the darkest part of my life and overcome every obstacle in my path because of what I have gone through. I have changed completely, all thanks to those who tore me down. I have succeeded where they failed… and I feel fantastic.
It’s amazing how one moment you feel like your life is over, to being able to move on and realize how wonderful life is and how strong you can become. I realize now that, while I may never be able to fully forgive what happened to me in high school, it makes me want to help others who face issues such as bullying or abuse. For that reason I have learned to love myself and love who I have become, and am excited for what the future holds for me.
No matter how dark something may be, no matter how long it happens for, you can always come out on top. Things will never be as bad as you may think at the time, although it feels like it while you are going through them. I hope you all realize this, and continue to live, because you are precious and invaluable and don’t need others who tell you otherwise. Walk with your head held high and learn from their mistakes. Become better than they ever hope to be. Succeed. Live. It’s the best thing for you and the best way to be happy.
I hope my story has helped those who are victims of bullying realize they are not alone.. No one is alone. Mod Ayumu and Mod Manami started raifuonline because we know the struggles associated with bullying and have been helped by this drama in more ways than one, and we hope it will or can help you as well. We would also welcome any submissions of stories regarding how the topics of Life have been apart of your life and how you have grown from those experiences. We will also be willing to listen and offer advice to those who are currently being bullied. We are here to support anyone. I cannot stress this enough, you are not alone.
They see scars, and flaws, and weirdness and they think i’m seeking attention. But I don’t just see pain. I see peace, relief, and a way to get out.
You are entitled to your
wrong opinion. :)
Life by Keiko Suenobu
I want suggest you this manga, I finished reading it yesterday and I believe that is one of the best shoujo I’ve ever read! It talks about a lot of teenage problems (bullism, selfharm, rapes…) and I think it faces them realistically, captivating the reader page by page. I leave here the plot:Ayumu Shiiba is studying for the all-important high school entrance exams. She is struggling to get by, but thankfully has help from her best friend Shii-chan, who is at the top of their class. Test results come back and their friendship falls apart when Ayumu surpasses Shii-chan’s scores and gets into her high school of choice while Shii-chan doesn’t!
Losing Shii-chan is so painful for Ayumu that she starts cutting her wrists for comfort. Hoping for a fresh start, Ayumu arrives at her new high school and finally opens up to a new friend, Manami. But will Manami prove to be the friend that Ayumu truly needs or send her further in a downward spiral?