November 01, 2022

Through the Lens - Issue 25

Through the lens for amirisu by Masako Nakagawa


Through the lens for amirisu by Masako Nakagawa

Growing up, I thought one of the best things about becoming an adult would be finally achieving freedom. I would work to provide for myself, and do what I liked while taking sole responsibility for my actions. No one would be able to restrict my freedom. I firmly believed in this as a teenager living life under my parents’ supervision and protective rules.

Dreaming of freedom, I went abroad and lived on my own before I eventually returned to Japan to begin working. Going about my daily life was more liberating than I had ever imagined, for even when I was reckless, there was no one to rebuke me, and I no longer had reason to keep little secrets.

As I whiled away my days and nights, stretching my wings, I soon came to realize that with this freedom came isolation, too. I began to see that what I had thought of as nothing more than a "restriction" or a "constraint" can sometimes be a feature of deep love. I felt this even more acutely when I was sick or worn down. I had succeeded in establishing the kind of freedom I’d always wanted, one that didn’t involve anyone except myself, but it also meant I was missing out on meaningful connections with others. You never realize how important something is until you’ve lost sight of it.

Recently during a rainy typhoon, I remembered looking up at a similar sky when I was on my own years ago, feeling lonely and sick with a cold or other ailment. My definition of freedom has continued to evolve since then, and my basic stance of taking responsibility for myself remains unchanged; but those young days, when I first realized that I could not live life totally alone, taught me the importance of connection.

People live their lives through connection, by supporting, helping, loving, and protecting each other. The thought of losing a loved one can make us feel weak and defensive, on guard, but at the same time, that weakness can bring great joy. I want to savor life’s precious connections and its miracles masquerading as the “ordinary everyday.”

                  Masako Nakagawa