Personal Thoughts

Separate Story, Shared Struggle

5 min read

Warning, Yuika G.R.A.D. commu spoilers. I highly recommend reading the commu first.

Porter Robinson recently released his latest single from his second album "nurture", Mirror.

The topics that Mirror discussed, what it brought to the forefront, reminds me of my favorite Idolmaster Shiny Colors character, Yuika Mitsumine. Furthermore, the same problem the two shared, I also experienced to some extent as a content creator, so I wanted to talk about it for some time now.

In this post, you'll be seeing the tale of two different personalities, sharing a common theme within their stories.

A distance admirer

Yuika, as an idol fan, has always admired idols from a far, seeing them as being like in a totally different world. When she became an idol, when she was scouted by the Producer, she applies the high standard, that is the idols she admired so much, to herself. In search of this high standard, and the ideal idol of her dreams, she works hard, and this is shown quite a few times in her stories.

However, she thought that she needs to work harder, seeing herself not as capable as other idols, frequently downplaying her achievements and her own abilities. In her G.R.A.D. story, this topic is tackled, and Yuika does not take it well being confronted about this at first.

Off the high ground

Porter Robinson rose to fame at the age of 18-years-old, with hits like "Language". After his critically-acclaimed album "Worlds", he became consumed with creating something that surpasses it. He applied the high standard, that is his previous works, to himself. In search of this high standard, he works hard, trying out every idea finding something that he was proud of.

However, he thought that he still needs to work harder, seeing himself in the shadow of his creation. In the process, he became fixated on creating music, and looking at how other people perceived him, that it took over his life.

I thought, 'I need to work way harder, and I need to spend way more time doing this. I need to suffer for this more,' and that was a step in the wrong direction. It led to a pretty intense depressive episode that lasted a couple of years where I made essentially nothing. I was consumed with the task of making music. I was crying over it... I didn't want anything else."
- Porter Robinson, The Line of Best Fit

The work that stirred your soul, you can make for someone else

If there's something the two tales have in common, it's the way people, the fans are involved.

Yuika's G.R.A.D. story brings up a point that is quite interesting. From my limited understanding of the story, the interesting point is that fans don't like to see their idol underestimated, even if it's the idol herself saying it. Even if it's Yuika herself downplaying her abilities. It's the point that the producer brought forward to Yuika during her G.R.A.D. story, and it's one of things that has stayed with me until now. Fans form quite the part of being an idol, after all.

On the other side, Porter Robinson's revelation started from his own experience. Listening to works like Bon Iver's 22, Million album, he experienced what music can bring to people.

“When I listen to my favourite artists, when I listen to their music, it fills me with this pensive… like,” he struggles to find the words, “… it makes me feel like everything is okay in the world. I just feel so whole, and there’s so much possibility and I feel so inspired. I decided that giving that feeling through music is really worthwhile, to change people’s lives and remind them that life is worth living.”
- Porter Robinson, The Line of Best Fit

He arrived at the realization that he wants to write music so that his listeners can experience the same feelings he experienced while listening to his favorite artists. "'Cause that’s your role; the work that stirred your soul, you can make for someone else", as "Get Your Wish" eloquently said. With this realization, he managed to get out of his writers' block:

I realized I shouldn’t write music with the expectation that productivity or achievement will fix my problems, but instead with the hope that my honest expression will move people the way music moves me. So when I was really struggling to write and it seemed impossible, instead of thinking, ‘You’re struggling because you’re a fraud, you’re clearly not cut out for this,’ I began to tell myself, ‘Yeah, this is what you sacrifice.'”
- Porter Robinson, Twitter

Am I not fit for this?

The shared aspect of the two tales is the mentality that they have. Yuika Mitsumine doubts her own abilities and talents as an idol. Porter Robinson doubts his own abilities and talents as a music producer. This mentality is called the impostor syndrome. Quoting from Wikipedia:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments or talents and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".

This phenomenon is especially widespread among entertainment and creative people, because of the nature of creative work. As explained by author and expert Dr. Valerie Young, there are people whose living is to critique your work, what you do, and it's hard to maintain confidence when your worth is tied to your latest work, your latest performance, "when even the brightest stars fade quickly, and where success requires that you prove yourself over and over again in ways few others must."

As a content creator, this is a feeling that I share, that I also experienced. Lots of doubt about my own abilities. Things that never see the day because it got crushed. All the days wondering if I should continue at all. Yeah, those days are quite bad sometimes.

It will all be OK in the end

The first step on overcoming this feeling is recognizing it. Yuika's feeling of inadequacy, Porter's feeling of inadequacy, the fact that two of my favorites are also dealing with the same feeling, the fact that I am not alone in this struggle. Porter said it best:

If I was a fan of Porter Robinson, I might, without this context, think that everything this guy makes is really good, and he knows exactly what he's doing. It's both reassuring and scary to know that on every level, people who care about what they're doing are struggling – and that's okay.
- Porter Robinson, The Line of Best Fit

The next step is facing the voices that have been telling you, "you're not fit for this", and re-frame it. This is the lyricism for "Mirror", where Porter confronts his critical inner voices.

And I know you’ll say how I’m a burden
Yeah, do your worst, all at once
I know what you want from me (from me)
I know what you’re thinking
And it’s not the voice of all the others
You’ve only said it to yourself
I know what you want from me (from me)
I know what you’re thinking
- from "Mirror", by Porter Robison

As Porter Robinson said in the comments for "Mirror", it can feel really liberating when most the time, it's the voices in our head, the inner critical thoughts that get in our way, and that we are not powerless about it, that we can do something about it. That it will all be OK in the end.

Closing words

The two tales of two different personalities, sharing a common theme between them. Both of them doubting their own abilities and accomplishments. The fact that my favorite character and my favorite music producer shares the same struggle. Not only I love both of them more because of this, their shared struggle reassured me, that I'm not alone, and gave me reason to move forward.

Thank you, Porter Robinson, thank you, Yuika Mitsumine, for helping me run those final few yards. Keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going, it will all be OK in the end.

Sources: