Let me know if it's too personal for a college essay. Please give feedback.
This is a story about how one film made me come to a realization that changed the course of my
life for the better.
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Wolf Children's exposition played out like the pastel love story that my mother used to tell on the days she wore her rose-colored glasses. Both my mother's story and Hana's were interrupted by a tragic event: They were separated from their lovers and were left with the responsibility of raising children on their own. I had thought that my parents' divorce was inconsequential; it simply left me without a father figure, whom I had already had a number of negative experiences with. But there was no mistaking the eerie lack of nostalgia I felt when watching how beautifully Hana treated her children following the death of her significant other. I could never have imagined how a single movie could so drastically change my worldview.
On the day I first watched this movie, I felt a deep and inexplicable sense of guilt that wouldn't go away. I rationalized it as the result of the incredible stresses I thought I placed on my mother. I thought that perhaps I had done something to cause my mother to have an even tougher time raising me. For some reason, upon revisiting the film for the fourth time, I learned of the true cause of my distress. As I came to this realization, it felt like I just found out about a long lost twin with whom I was separated from at birth. Wolf Children acted as a set of records of the life I never had. The life I could have led without the souring of my experiences following my parents' divorce. Hana's relationship with her children was the opposite of the one I had with my mother. Her encouragement that allowed her children become whoever they wanted was my overwhelming pressure to take up a career that would make me as much money as possible. Hana's willingness to let her children become adults was my mother's inability to let me do anything without permission. Hana's loving protection from harm was my mother's looming acme anvil.
From that point onward, the blindfold had come off and the scars reared their ugly heads. Life began to discolor and soon, my ambitions infected my thoughts like a thousand irritating fleas leeching off my skin. I had been going through the motions of life without stopping to think for myself, and now that I knew the truth, it was all the more difficult to keep afloat. So I left. I left the top science school in the country for an average one. I could no longer compete in a dog-eat-dog school where test scores mattered above all else. I may have had less of a challenge at the new school but I finally had time to pursue what truly mattered to me: Friendship and art. Leaving that school went against everything I was taught, but doing so has kept me alive.
Since then, my awareness of my unusual childhood has informed all of my decisions. I took my revelation as a sign that I need to work harder if I want a bright future. I will not fall prey to self-pity. Rather, I will be strong and determined to find myself despite my beginnings--just as Hana's children were.
Wolf Children gave the chance to move on from what would have otherwise kept holding me back. Without this movie I would have never had the courage to follow my dreams and become independent. My experience demonstrates that storytelling can be so powerful, often in the ways we least expect. I hope to impact others' lives in a similar way with my own stories.