Saturday, January 28, 2023

Being a girl, a geisha, a wife, a mother, and a YouTuber [Kimono Mom]

I talked too much late at night | Q&A

Early in this video, Moe talks about her relationship with Sutan and her philosophy of childrearing. Here is her central insight (c. 02:44):

Rather than trying to figure out how to educate her, I'm trying to treat her as a human being, as an equal.

Think about that, treating her as an equal. What does that mean? Perhaps they're figureing it out together, Sutan and Moe.

The whole video is interesting, but I've quoted a passage starting at about 7:46 where Moe talks about her childhood, being a girl, being married and divorced, and how being a geisha "was the first time I felt proud to be a woman." And that in turn laid the foundation for eventual independence.

I was an office worker when Moto and I got married, but I kept working. I've been in situations before where I wanted to work but wasn't allowed to. That is why I had a strong will to continue working even after marriage.

I was afraid that becoming a housewife would mean losing all social connections. Because I've experienced the daily life where I blame myself for staying at home, not being able to help society, not being able to make money. So I never wanted to go back to being a housewife again.

But as soon as I found out I was pregnant, the morning sickness was so so so bad. I really couldn't walk a step. I was so dizzy all day, I couldn't eat anything. I knew I had to feed the baby, but I was throwing up everything. I couldn't imagine going to work.

And that morning sickness lasted until I gave birth. And I'd hoped to resume work after the baby was born. I did not expect to have to spend all my 24 hours on child care!

Even though I had read and learnt the book when I was pregnant, when I actually tried to hold such a small baby, I was immensely surprised at how hard it was! And while I was raising the baby, I thought, "Oh, I'm back to being a housewife again, I've lost my connection to society."

When I was feeling depressed like that, I met Paolo and learned for the first time that there were people who made YouTube their job. My gut told me I could do it. A week after the shoot with him, I was shooting a video of fried lotus root sandwiches with a single IPhone!

I wanted to work, I wanted to connect with society, and YouTube was the place that made it happen. Because of comments like this from you guys. That's what motivates me now.

Before I met Moto, I took it for granted that I was supposed to serve men. I believed that as a woman, it was the right thing to do to stay one step behind my man. I had been in love and built relationships with those feelings. But, the real me wasn't...

I grew up sandwiched between brothers, and when I was little I wanted to be a boy. Because I thought that girls were more restricted than boys. I hated it when people told me that you're a girl and that I should close my legs or not talk like a boy. My parents educated me and I'm very grateful to them now, but at the time I hated the restrictions they placed on me.

That's why I had always had short cuts, and I hate pink and floral patterns. In fact, I wasn't even good at smiling, because I felt like I was losing when I smiled! Such was my childhood, but as I grew up...

The thing that changed me the most was becoming a geisha. That was the first time I felt proud to be a woman. I don't think it matters anymore whether you are a woman or a man in this day and age. But it was only then that I was able to recognize the feminine in myself. I mean when I was doing that job. Being a geisha is a job, so you are taught manners to talk to your superiors, right? A lot of the things I learned there have been very useful to me now, and I feel very lucky to have been taught when I was a teenager.

I retired from that job and lived in Tokyo, thinking that what I learned as a geisha was common sense. Then when I divorced my ex-husband and had to live on my own. When I was little, I was boyish, and when I was a geisha, I forced myself to be feminine.

Later, I got married, and as a wife I tried to be feminine, and I was expected to be. Then divorced, and I have to live on my own! That meant I had to be emotionally and financially independent. Then, my masculine self was awakened within me again.

Then I hated and got tired of serving men. I couldn't even make my ex-husband happy... There was a time when I thought I'd never marry again, never fall in love again.

That's when I met Moto, or rather, saw him again after about five years. Moto was the only one that didn't create a sense of repulsion in me. Because he had never asked me to be feminine. So from the beginning, it wasn't so much a romantic flirtation, but more like I'd found my best friend, even though we were 18 years apart.

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