I am an introvert by nature, and one of my biggest struggles with Christmas is all the parties. I am scared of parties in which I do not know most of the people attending. I have literally had breakdowns before parties. In individual relationships I do well, but I struggle with social interaction. I love talking one-on-one, because I can quickly go deep and find ways to help people on a deeper level. I can’t go deep in a group, because everyone is staying shallow. I am pretty much an open book and I love people, but I am super sensitive to rejection. And growing up, people often would try to dress me up and change me. Now, I have trouble dressing up for events because I think people are trying to erase the real me. I mention all this because, I believe this really fits with Toradora episode 19.
When we are in love, sometimes we try to change or alter who we are to make someone like us. Sometimes, we try to fit in. We all do it. I tend to give up on fitting in, and hide in the background where I feel safer. This is a defense mechanism, and it takes my focus off of what is around me and I get locked in my fear. I miss what is happening to the people I care about. I think this fits with Ryūji as well. He begins this episode trying to invite Minori to their school Christmas Eve party, but Taiga is being her normal self and yelling at him while he is on the phone. Unknown to Ryūji, Taiga is secretly plotting many things. One of which is a conspiracy to get Minori to hangout with Ryūji. Unfortunately, this means she will be spending Christmas alone waiting for Santa. Ryūji learns of part of Taiga’s plan, and rushes in to save Taiga’s Christmas. He does, but then ends up having to run back to school in a Santa Bear costume. He then releases he doesn’t have the gift he left in his pocket, that is with the suit he traded for the bear costume. Taiga starts crying after she kicks Ryūji out, so he will go meet Minori. She starts to chase after him after realizing that she doesn’t want to give him up. She cries outside here condo building and Minori sees from around the street corner. Minori then finds Ryūji and dumps him.
What if what you want isn’t the best thing for you? What if you must give up something for someone else’s sake? In this case, Taiga tries to hookup Ryūji and Minori. Ryūji makes a fool of himself to make sure Taiga isn’t lonely. Minori, basically dumps Ryūji, because she knows Taiga loves him. Is this not love? Love is far more than a feeling or idea. More than a chemical reaction. It is a sacrifice and is often painful. If you love someone, you will sacrifice some of your own wants and desires for their sake, if you don’t, it isn’t love.
I realized this at a party on Sunday. I was hiding in plain sight, avoiding people’s conversations. I decided to go hangout with my nieces who are in town and play with them. I am sure some people thought I was weird for it, but honestly, does that even matter? Because of it, I got to share with some family friends my passion for missions work in Japan. God changed my perspective and even helped me bless people when I was outside my comfort zone. So whether you need to crawl through a friends window in a Santa Bear suit or what ever else, realize that love will push you out of your comfort zone and it will demand sacrifice on your part, but it will be worth it. Love is incredible and is powerful, but the greatest love one can show is giving your life for a friend. This means love will cost you everything, but is it not worth it?
By the way, this is one of Charles favorite anime, if not his favorite (Editor’s Note: Yep, I would say it’s my very favorite!). Merry Christmas to all of you.