Waves of time: kawaii shell, metal core

“Please, Nina. You don’t look like a cartoon. You ARE a cartoon.”

 – A friend of mine, around 15 years ago –


Some days ago I had a sudden revelation while listening to Babymetal and headbanging, and dancing, and yes, also folding laundry in my very adult bedroom. I know that now, my dear reader, you have more questions about Babymetal than my revelation, but it is all linked together, so bear with me.

In that precise moment, I had the kind of realisation my husband had about ten years ago. That revelation brought him to put together his own personal uniform (I spoke about this here). He told to himself: I’m a big nerd and I cannot lie. Likewise, I told myself: “Nina, stop hiding! You know who you are, what you like. Why are you still pretending?”

In that moment I was dancing and mumbling the verses of a song titled Karateby the Japanese kawaii metal band, Babymetal. I felt so liberated. I asked myself why and the answer was that I was just being myself.Then, I asked again:

Then, I asked again: what is it to be myself?

And the answer was: Being a small-framed woman who dances foolishly listening to some heavy metal sung by cute Japanese idols, wearing a Lady Rainycorn tee.

And then I laughed and felt even better.

You see that old photo above the title? Looking at it I can’t tell if the six years old me in that picture is more forced to behave or just plain pissed off. I owe big time to that little girl. She gave me her dreams, her strength, her life. What happens to her is my responsibility. Have you ever tried thinking about yourself this way? It could get sentimental. Let’s proceed.

As I was saying, in that moment, all the earnestness imposed upon me, by myself, by my parents and the world outside, was under my furry slippers and I was jumping on it. I really appreciate adulthood and I don’t avoid responsibility, but being always deadly serious about every damn thing is not the equivalent to being an adult. On a more superficial side, being an adult also does not mean that I should wear high heels or formal clothes or that I should at any given moment show my adulthood in the way I dress and do my hair.

So, speaking about style, I think I am not only going to ditch black garments but a lot of deep colours and formal dressing as well. As long as my future profession will not require a formal attire, I won’t buy anymore a single clothing item that does not give me joy. I already buy funny clothes and childish toys, and I already burst out of so-called adult behaviour from time to time, but all those things are more like gracious permissions I grant myself than the norm. This pattern of behaviour reflects the way I approach life, and if it is demanding for me to have around me silly things to remind me to be a little less dramatic and more carefree, I will surround me with those things. I am ready to break out of my cocoon and became a cartoon full time. Am I abandoning the idea of building my personal uniform? I really don’t know. It’s too soon to tell.

But why kawaii shell? And why metal core?

Because I like and am both things, which are perfectly resumed in Babymetal music. I am the kind person who loves puppies, cartoons, manga, theme parks and sugar coated stories. I am also a person who likes heavy metal and horror stories, and I can be very harsh toward people who hurt me or my beloved ones. Sometimes, friends describe me as a tea and biscuits lady. I know that my looks are reassuring and feminine, also, I started to like even more than before cute things and light colours. So, for the outside, the shell, I go for kawaii, for the cuteness. But for the inside, the core, the same friends used to call me the fairy with the machete because of my dislike of dead branches, attached strings and the like. It’s time for me to wear my red shoes, my neat apron and put in its pocket my machete.

And you, my gracious reader? Did you discover in a lucky, careless moment that you were playing a part for most of the time? Even when all by yourself? I’d like if you share it in the comments, in the meanwhile, thank you for your precious time.

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