I knew kids just like Hachiman Hikigaya, the ones who didn’t socialize with anybody, nor did they seem to care that they didn’t have friends. Like them, Hikki would rather just be left alone. Or so it seems. Although he loves to extol the virtues of being a loner, it’s easy to tell in OreGairu that Hikki is not completely buying what’s selling, that he’s willing to change. So by the time he gives his famous “something genuine” speech, the shocking display of an intense, tearful Hikigaya doesn’t take us completely by surprise.
But the heaviness of that scene is still pretty remarkable. It’s not easy to watch. It’s not pretty and it isn’t even conclusive or clear. But by even giving such a speech, Hikki is being precisely the model of what he’s asking for: he wants something real, and he’s giving something real.
I was reminded of a manager I had who I really admired. She was positive and encouraging, even in the face of crises. When I came directly under her auspices, though, I found that she complained almost continuously and was far more calculating and gruff than I expected. It really disappointed me, and I started becoming bitter. How could she deceive us this way? And how can I find motivation to work under her?
A small revelation, though, came to me while praying. I realized that we all put up a facade—my supervisor did, I do, and Hikigaya does. In my prayer time, I want to be genuine, honest, sincere. I want to be my real self, even if that real self is sticky and awful and selfish, because I want God to know that I trust him. He already knows what I’m like, but I believe God’s waiting to see if I’m willing to show that side to him out of my own volition. It takes faith to build that kind of intimacy, to purposely show the ugly side of you.
I realized that my supervisor was doing the same with me. I was now in her inner circle and she could be herself. And from that point forward, I appreciated her a lot more, unburdened by a cloud of bitterness and judgment.
In OreGairu, Hikki starts the series trusting just one person we know of, his sister Komachi. But by the end of season two, we come to see that he now trusts three people, having built the beginning of deep, meaningful relationships with Yukino and Yui as well. He has shown them a side he considers ugly, a side that Yui and Yukino know (their surprised looks say it all) is something Hikki would never, ever want to show anyone else. What he had to say was too important for Hikki not to relate it, though. Yui and Yukino have come to mean so much to him that he’s willing to put himself on the line, to become vulnerable, to be hurt.
To be genuine is to be ugly. After all, we build facades to hide the ugliness underneath, to deflect from the ill feelings we have toward others, the desire for things which shame us, the hurts and burdens we carry. But when we give that gift to someone, we show them how much they mean to us, and like flowers rising from dirt, something ugly can turn into something beautiful.