I want to be just like you.
Has anyone else ever found themselves thinking that? Watching your favourite sitcom, movie or even animation and there’s a character that makes you think, “wow, I wish I was more like them in real life”.
That’s what I thought while watching the Netflix reality show Terrace House. The Japanese show puts 3 guys and 3 girls in one modern made house in hopes that cupid will fire his arrow at anyone who occupies it. Think of it as a Japanese Big Brother, but the housemates can leave their house and live their normal lives. Just followed by a camera crew of course.
I hate Big Brother, but love Terrace House. It’s addictive.
Well that was until what happened recently…
Hana Kimura was a pink haired professional wrestler who entered the house when an original member decided to leave. I was drawn to her bubbly personality. She was one of those people who could be herself in public no matter what anyone thought and that’s something I’ve always had trouble with in my life.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m worried about what people think, but when I’m out in public there are moments I can go super quiet. I find it difficult to express my excitement when out in public. So seeing Hana do exactly this, made me think, “man, I wish I was more like her”.
This past weekend breaking news hit when it was reported that Hana Kimura committed suicide. At the age of 22.
“No...way. That can’t be right. She was so happy, and bubbly. She loved life!”, I thought.
What made the news even more heartbreaking was that Hana posted her last words across different social media platforms. On Instagram she posted a photo of her and her cat with the caption, “I love you, please live a long and joyful life”. On Twitter she sent out a tweet with the message “Thank you for giving birth to me, Mom. I wanted to be loved in life”. She also tweeted, “Every day, I receive nearly 100 honest opinions and I cannot deny that I get hurt”.
As heart-wrenching than every one of her comments are, it’s that last tweet I can’t get out of my head.
The happy-go-lucky Hana on Terrace House was being shot down by cyber bullies. The person I wanted to be like was going through a battle that was evident to no one. Not even her family.
That’s the thing with seeing someone on social media or on TV and comparing yourself to them, you just don’t get a realistic display of their every day battle.
Social media is the ‘best off’ of someone’s life.
Sure, it’s fine to want to better yourself and use a person as inspiration to do that, but remember that what you see of someone might not be a true interpretation of their life. Hana was a happy soul on Terrace House, but behind the scenes she was facing a battle of hateful comments on her life, appearance, behaviour, etc. A battle that’s goddamn hard to deal with every day.
It’s a similar thing with movie/TV characters and celebrities. Movie characters are written to be a certain way. Their reactions to situations they find themselves is written by a group of writers. That’s an obvious thing to say, but sometimes we forget that when we use them an inspiration of the sort of person we want to be. Celebrities want to show the best of themselves to the world, so you don't often see their daily struggles.
I often go on Instagram, scroll down my feed and see incredible experiences people are having in their life while I sit on my sofa looking at myself in the mirror thinking, “why can’t my life be that exciting?” or “how comes they have all this money to visit these places while I’m struggling with cash every month?”.
This is the danger of comparing ourselves to those on social media.
Lockdown has been going on for 2 months here in Tokyo (though it has recently been lifted), so my last 2 months have been spent watching TV, drawing, playing video games, and thinking about work. Not exactly the most exciting of times.
Visit my Instagram and every day for the past couple of weeks you’d see beautiful Japanese temples, visits to manga and anime events, eating delicious food, attending gigs, you name it.
My Instagram portrays an exciting life for me these past couple of weeks, but in reality I’ve been sitting on my arse. These are photos that have been taken over the past year, but do people on Instagram looking at my feed know that? Someone might look at it thinking, “HOW?! I’m stuck in lockdown and Matt’s been loving life. Unfair”.
It’s dangerous to compare ourselves to others. Instead, if there’s someone you feel like you want to be like then think to yourself what it is about them that you wish you could adopt. Avoid wanting their entire life because you don’t know what troubles they’re going through.
I look at Hana in Terrace House and see someone who wasn’t afraid to express their excitement out in public. If she saw something she liked while shopping she’d burst with excitement. If she went to a gig of her favourite band, she’d sing and dance along. If she went to a basketball game she’d shout and cheer when her team did good things.
These are qualities of Hana that I’ll remember and want to adopt in my own life.
So take the best moments of someone’s life and use them as inspiration, but always remember that along with those great moments, the person could also be facing a very difficult battle that they choose not to share with the world.