Kisa holds a very special place in my heart.  Yuki is representative of how I act towards strangers (and in some other ways), but I think I’m more like Kisa when I’m at home with my closest friends and family.  I often say she’s like me when I was a kid, but honestly, I still act a lot like her depending on who I’m with.  To this day, I still stick to a person I care about like glue when faced with an unfamiliar environment.  I’ve also struggled to speak before, although I’ve never gone totally mute.

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Kyo: Kisa, can’t you even say what you wanna have for dinner?

“It’s not that hard.”  Those words are so innocently cruel.  The people who say that don’t think much of it, but it hurts so much when it is “that hard”.  It makes you feel that much more incompetent or stupid to not be able to do something that evidently comes so easily to everyone else, which in turn makes everything harder and more embarrassing.

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Yuki: I wonder why she was getting bullied.

Momiji: I know what it was. I heard some women gossiping about it. Kisa would never tell anyone herself. But at first, it was her looks. You know, her hair and eyes…they’re different, so they rubbed some people the wrong way.

Haru: That’s the fate of those of us possessed by spirits with different hair colors. I’ve had my share of hair harassment, too.

Yuki: Yeah, but in your case, you switched over to your black side and beat the crap out of them…

Haru: I wasn’t as bad as Kyo. He beat his tormentors half to death.

In the fairly homogeneous society of Japan, things like hair color will draw attention, and often not positive attention. It’s interesting to see how other members of the Zodiac learned to cope with it.  Momiji seems to have escaped bullying, but I think that’s thanks to his emphasizing his Germanness – technically, even if his mother was blonde, it would be pretty near impossible for him to naturally turn out blonde, but it would be a lot easier to swallow that than white hair with black roots, or even bright chestnut, from two Japanese parents.

Momiji:  She told the other kids she couldn’t do anything about her hair and eye color. After that though, they all ignored her.  And worse, even while ignoring her, they laughed whenever Kisa spoke. They snickered at everything she said.

Everyone just laughs at you. And so you become timid, unable to say anything, even though you know that will irritate the people around you. Everything in front of you goes dark. It feels like your mind is suffocating. Your words die.

I was fortunate enough to be able to write when speech became difficult for me, even if typing was still rather hard, too.  That was when I realized that I wanted to keep writing for the rest of my life – it was my lifeline during that dark time, and it always helps me sort out my thoughts and communicate things I couldn’t any other way.

Yuki: I don’t think being weak is a good thing, but getting strong isn’t the answer either. Sometimes you hear society is built on “survival of the fittest”, but we’re not animals. We’re human. (internally) Even members of the Zodiac are human.

Tohru: Yes. That’s right.

There are a good many virtues that can only be learned through weakness, and strength is fleeting.

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Haru delivers a letter from Kisa’s homeroom teacher that makes him want to barf, and Yuki finally opens up to her.

Yuki: Kisa, there was a time when I stopped talking like you. The reason was a little different, but I think the feelings of shame and self-hatred are similar. Your teacher advises you to “like yourself.” What does that even mean? “Good points,” it says…how is one supposed to find those? I only know things that I hate about myself. And because that’s all I know, I hate myself more. So forcing myself to look for my good points is a stretch. It’s an empty exercise. That advice is off the mark. Your teacher has it backward. I don’t think you can like yourself until someone says that they like you first. When someone accepts you, you can start accepting yourself. I think that’s when liking yourself becomes possible. […] Kisa. What do you want to do next? Just leave things as they are?

Kisa: No…no. I need to try…to work it out. Otherwise, it’ll only get worse for me. Even if I can’t be friends with them, even if they keep ignoring me…I have to give it my best shot.

Yuki: Good thinking. Let’s both do what we can. I’ll give it my best shot, too.

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Then Kisa starts calling Tohru “Onee-chan” (big sister) and it’s too adorable.

Seriously, though, learning to speak from your own pain into someone else’s pain is an important step toward maturity.  Yuki utilizes his newfound determination by accepting the position of Student Council President, even though he still has the same insecurities he had before.

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Now that’s the face of courage.

It’s not like I’ve suddenly gotten any stronger. And nothing has changed. I’m still trembling. But let’s still face our fears. The most important thing is the desire to overcome our weaknesses.

Until next time…

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