My Journey of Self-Healing Through “Your Lie in April”: Part 1

Preface: I’m a huuuuuuge anime geek. I read manga here and there, but I adore watching anime. I recently started an anime called Your Lie in April. I’m only on episode 14, and it’s honestly changed me. It’s an anime about a group of friends, specifically about a hurting former-pianist boy and a carpe-diem kind of violinist girl. I adore the main girl, Kaori, the violinist; she’s everything I hope to be and everything I feel. She embraces life at its roots; she’s compassionate; she thrives in the moment; she gives her heart to her music. However…I found myself completely and totally aligning with Kousei, the pianist.

My point: I’m no musician. I have no natural talent, even though I took lessons for years. I love music and I’m always in awe of those who dedicate their talents to it. But the real reason I found myself walking side by side with Kousei was his trauma…and his healing.

The show reveals that Kousei can no longer hear the notes on his piano due to grief and some sort of PTSD after his mom’s passing. She was loving and she taught him everything about piano, but once she became ill, fear drove her to make her son into a perfectionist. She emotionally and physically abused him, and once she died, Kousei blamed her death on his lack of perfection. So he stopped playing. But Kaori, the violinist, showed him how to play freely and for his own reasons, and in this last beautiful episode, he not only found a way to embrace and live with his trauma but also he became his own musician…his own person.

And I bawled like a baby. Because I get it. Because I am him. Because I want to be free like him.

Like I said, I’m no musician, but I am a scholar. And a writer. Words and stories are my instruments. And the ghost that haunts me? My dad. He’s alive, but our relationship couldn’t be more severed. He never physically hurt me, but the emotional, verbal, and mental abuse…those scar in a deep way too. He demanded perfection in my arena, my art, on every test and performance, in every essay and short story. Like Kousei, I became a robot, perfectly pounding out the words exactly as I was expected. I got perfect grades. I excelled at everything in school. But I lost passion for what I loved.

But I too had my own Kaori, my hero to shatter my glass prison: my friends, my God, my literary and gaming heroes…myself. It’s been a couple years now since I had my moment of breaking away, like Kousei did in this last episode, when I sat down, cried my eyes out for all the ways I was broken, and then began to put myself back together…but not for my dad. For me. I remember promising to myself that try or fail, in everything, I was going to do my best and be excited about life for me…not for him. I would not dedicate my life and purpose for another person again. Yes, I still do things for other people, and quite happily too, but I do it because I want to or because I’ve determined I need to. I would not live and die for someone else’s expectations for me. And Kousei…through this whole first half of the show, has had that same battle. It’s beautiful and painful, and I’m so glad that it takes nearly half the show just to get him to a point where he’s ready to move on. Because in real life, one episode is not enough to separate yourself from that kind of pain.

I’m barely halfway through this show, but I’m completely memorized by it. It speaks to the soul, those emotions and thoughts and moments you have that can’t be perfectly encased in an image or words. And I’ve needed it. It’s been a few years since I pulled out the emotional dagger from my back…but I’m still healing. I might have to deal with those scars forever. But this show, especially through Kousei, has taught me something incredible that I think anyone who’s ever experienced abuse needs:

You will grow. You will flourish and express and cry and laugh and be you after all this. You won’t be stuck forever. Yes, you might have to stitch yourself back together every once in awhile. That will still hurt like hell, and people won’t always understand. That might never go away. I can’t speak to that…I’m still pretty young; I’ve got a long life of healing ahead of me. But you’re still going to be amazing. No one has to take that from you. Find good friends, heroes, mentors…find something or someone that will listen to you talk about the weather or bitch about something selfish or cry about how empty you feel at 2am. You need someone that can do all 3. Find a Kaori. But don’t forget to be yourself too. You…we…will get there. Piece by piece. Note by note. Word by word.

The end of this last episode hinted towards further loss, even after we find our footing. Life will hurt at times…but we’ve been given the great adventure of living it. So let’s not stop now. I look forward to the rest of this anime, even though I know it will be sad. I’m looking forward to the encouragement it will provide on how to deal with loss after emotional trauma. Because this show…it’s handling all of this so well. Yes, we all love our Pokemon and Attack on Titan and Lucky Star…but some people really do need this show, because it reminds us that you can triumph, even in real life, even after the worst happens.

And please, I encourage everyone to watch this anime. It’s been so soothing to me, even though it’s reminded me of a lot of personal wounds. Please watch it. I look forward to writing more on it later.

~River

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