Pat yourself on the back for having great taste. It may have been fate, an errant drama episode, a song, a funny or ridiculous challenge they did on television with smiles on their faces, a random Youtube link, or an evangelist/enabler friend tripping on her feet telling you about this “boyband who’ll change your life”—at the end of the day, you chose them. You. You saw them for who they really are, and for that, you’re automatically a member this secret club (albeit with millions of members) who’s in possession of a certain nugget of truth: Arashi is a rainbow that has no end. What we give to them, they give it back to us, twice over.
They have, and continue to work hard because fifteen years later, they still can’t believe the dumb luck, the miracle, as the five of them say, of the five of them coming together and clicking. Maybe it’s too much to call them soul mates, but in your heart, you know it’s destiny. Think about it really hard for one moment. In all the possible permutations that could be formed from the pubescent lottery that was Johnny’s Jr. at that time, Arashi ended up being the five of them. Five different personalities with different talents and motivations. It couldn’t have been any other five.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the scale of everything they have given us, everything they have worked hard for: all the concerts, the TV shows, the songs. Don’t worry, that’s the right reaction. Be overwhelmed. Every time Jun fussed over a stage plan or a set list, every scene where Nino poured his heart out and melted into nothing but raw emotion, every moment of anxiety powered through and every hard-earned laughter that Aiba has worked for, every stanza of rap and line of news report that Sho had to write and deliver, every flick of the wrist and vocal acrobatic that Ohno has done—all of that dedication and love was for the ideal that is Arashi. And for you, No. 6.
Their rhyme and reason has always been each other—and you. Us. Go ahead, feel thankful, feel proud. This is as much as you as the five of them. It’s a two-way street.
Yes, the world will always change. Arashi won’t always be number one. But to you, in a special corner safely tucked away in your heart, Arashi will always be important. (You don’t even have to ask or worry about them: for the five of them, Arashi has always been number one. They will always love Arashi more than you do.) It doesn’t matter what kind of fan you are: fandom may be your daily bread and butter, or fandom may only be for now—maybe you have been away, or have been growing out of it, have moved on to other groups. Maybe, for you, being a fan is equal to faint remembrance of falling in love with them for a moment in time. No matter what kind of fan you are, something will always be true: at one point in your life, they meant something to you. Arashi has been, and is, part of you."
Hit the pause button for a second.
Your fault? Their fault? How is that a useful approach? The end of a relationship may be painful but it’s only a failure if you didn’t learn what it had to teach you. No one can stop you from growing.
Stop and see. Don’t draw conclusions, don’t impose your own feelings. Take a good long look at yourself, your actions, the men you have chosen, their actions, and the outcomes.
Are the men you choose somehow injured or in need of healing? What are you seeking when you enter a relationship? How much peace and love can you experience by yourself, totally alone? Are you seeking a lover or avoiding aloneness? Do you become clingy, fearful, or overprotective once you taste happiness? These are just a few common lines of inquiry worth exploring.
My point is that fault-finding isn’t useful. Thorough examination is.
The mind can fall into the habit of compulsive thinking. You can’t help but to start questioning your value, decisions, personality, whatever. Thinking becomes cyclic and painful.
Whenever there are thoughts present that are causing you distress, it means your mind has started using you. The mind is a tool we are meant to use but when the tool starts using you, things get out of hand. What is needed isn’t to get rid of these thoughts but to no longer react and relate to those thoughts from a place of fear and suffering.
You want peace. You want to love and to receive love. Let those aspirations guide you. Right now you think that if these thoughts weren’t there, you would be happy. But that isn’t true. At one time, those thoughts weren’t there and look where you are now. The presence of certain thoughts or their absence is no guarantee of any measure of peace. But if you can meet all thoughts and emotions with a mind of peace, openness, and awareness, then it doesn’t matter what is here in your head and in your moment. You are ready for it.
Daily meditation is essential.
I would also recommend the book The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron. It is a masterpiece.
#nick hornby #books