This post feels like a long time coming, but in a way… I’m not unnerved by that: if anything, there’s solice in knowing that my life is heading in a different direction, come what may.
Today is a Wednesday: like so many days in the PNW—namely, WA—it’s overcast, a memory of the rain the poured down last night, promising a balmy afternoon. Some might not like it, but Washington’s rain has fast become one of my favorite things about the state. It’s a day after the solstice: now the already sparse sun in this region will begin to wan until we hit the darkest night of the year in December. But as my partner so often tells me, I don’t have to think about that.
What I do have to think about—or rather, what I’m choosing to think about— is change. I made a tweet thread a few days remarking on making a difficult, but important decision:
That decision nebulously discussed above was to step back from being a Seasonal Anime reviewer for the Anime News Network effective last week.
This included passing on my current reviews in order to get things back on track because honestly…I’m overwhelmed on a lot of fronts, and wasn’t capable of doing my best there as a weekly reviewer. I’d been falling farther and farther behind on my reviews for a variety of professional and personal reasons, and a choice had to be made for the betterment of all. Truth be told, the decision was a long time coming: I knew that at some point in 2022, I’d have to step back from thing, and have contemplated doing so from Summer 2020 on. Things caught up to me a bit earlier though, but isn’t that how life is sometimes?
It seems that, in so many ways, the lingering trauma of the past two years has finally caught up to me now that I’m able to process it, erupting in vicious depression that’s hard to weather in the midst of the on-going pandemic and also, the last few months before I’m officially out of my twenties. Simple things tower like mountains, barriers that keep me from doing more than stumbling through a day: I’m sleepier than usual, and weekends leave me listless. Like I said, something had to give: it was inevitable that I’d have to change my overall load to something more streamlined and sustainable. It was only a matter of time before my hand got forced into fully admitting that the life I’d been living—at least in terms of a work/life balance—was completley unsustainable, taking away from passion projects or generally just doing the things that matter to me.
It’s was a hard choice: a good choice, the right choice because my reviews for Spring 2022 have… been lackluster. It’s still a hard choice, but when I reflect on my slate of reviews this season, I really don’t like them at all: they standout as some of my sloppiest, least enthusiastic writing, and to a degree… that’s because they are. I was not happy when writing them: I’m not necessarily happy right now as I write this. I am a bit more at peace getting these thoughts out but still. It was helped by a lot of understanding and constructive criticism, but still: there’s a small part of me that’s afriad that I couldn’t be enough, even if that’s just not the case. What’s more real is that I overloaded myself, out of fear of a return to the past two years of liminality and unemployment.
Thankfully, I don’t have to do that anymore: there’s peace to be found in giving up a few things in order to do so much more in a sustainable way.
That all said, don’t worry: I’ll still be staying on at ANN to do long-form reviews for entire cours of anime. I still anticipate pitching at least two articles there on two important topics in the slice-of-life genre. And maybe, in 2023, I’ll return and do two shows at most a season: alternatively, I may just stay on as a long-form reviewer, tackling two shows a month from previous seasons and might just do all my big premiere work at Anime Feminist. I also plan on doing a lot more at AniFem, which is my forever writing home: that’ll include season premiere reviews (I’ve got a seven for the upcoming Summer ’22 season, and no, I’m not covering TMM New because I wanna enjoy it and am totally biased) and some more personal pieces, including some thoughts on isekai because why not? Life is short: it’s a one-shot kind of thing, so I might as well write about what matters to me, you know?
And life is, overall, pretty good: I’ve got a podcast appearance on Anime is Lit upcoming in July, have contracted with Sekai Project for multiple titles including Uso Kara Hajimaru Koi no Natsu!, and have contracted to serve as an editor for my first R18+/Mature visual novel with an additiona J-E visual novel publisher. I’ve done a slew of podcasts episdes for the retro historic anime Dear Brother/Oniisama E on the Chatty AF podcast: I’ve got another episode upcoming for the Translation Chat Podcast too. I’m still doing just as much as before: it’s just that now, I’ll bne able to take more breaks, will be able to do better work, and honestly… can take a breath.
Better, I have a steady day job as a light novel editor that I genuinely love: my work is something I take pride in, something that I really am passionate about, and a job that I do with a lot of warmth in my heart. I also am in a relationship that uplifts me and have multiple faux plants and a nice bamboo tea box that make me very, very happy. Heck, even my bedroom/office/craft space is steadily coming back together after the everything of moving with mental health stuff.
Life is truly good: it’s not with its moments, and I’m certainly still moving through my depression. But life is good, and like I said: my decision to step back from something deeply important to me was hard, but… I also can see all it will allow me to do this year, and how much more sustainable my life will become. I see all the things I’ll still be able to do as an Anime News Network freelancer, and I see a return of the quality I’ve worked hard to establish.
When I started this blog post, I wasn’t sure what I’d say: I just knew it was important to write. I knew it was important to share, especially as I try to revive this blog as more than a record of my articles and more of a record of my work as a localizer and as a catalogue of everything I’m doing. And as I close this article, honestly… I think this was good to share. I feel a sense of closure, and a sense that I’m going to be okay. In the end, that’s what matters the most, isn’t it? This change is ultimately a good thing and like so many things, I can return to weekly reviews in the future. But for now, while things are turbulent and life is changing so, so much, I’d like to simplify and take care of myself so I genuinely can do the best.
If you’ve made it to here, I’d like to thank you for reading this post because honestly… that matters a lot to me. Hopefully, my next post will come far sooner than later: no promises on when, necessarily, but… I get the feeling this blog is going to be full of life very, very soon.
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