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It's ok to let go.



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Absent

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I must preface this by saying that I needed to write this quickly without much thought. I had to feel this out. I couldn't hold on to this for long, or else it would become something else. My thoughts might read as contradicting or incoherent but I had to get them out. Hopefully some of y'all might connect with some of it.

It's hard you know. It's hard to admit that something you love, something that gave you comfort and confidence might not be for you anymore. Yes, I'm talking about Kingdom Hearts, but thinking about it, this goes further and broader.

This won't be a rant or trashing of this series, or any other for that matter. This is a personal introspective look to my feelings and relationships with the media I've consumed. I must admit, I've struck a low point and yeah it sucks, but when you're left alone with those thoughts you begin to think and feel...a lot. When I'm feeling those doubts and emotions, I turn to media, especially movies and series. So I started watching one my favorite political space operas when a line struck me. A line that is severely misunderstood by its community.

Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.

But why? Why should I let go of things that bring me joy? Comfort? That doesn't make sense! Why would they say something like that to a character that needs the opposite?! Why did the writer or in this case, the franchise creator write that. Attachment is a key principle or theme of that series, one that again, is misunderstood. Attachments are the binding connections between us? Are they not? But then again, if you're bound, it can be tugged and constricting, creating a tension between the two. Is that ok? Not every bond is perfect but ideally it shouldn't have to come to that, I least I think so. And that's how I feel with Kingdom Hearts and select media.

Recalling the quote and its message, I think that my attachments to these series might have been warped by fear and insecurity, which in turn feels like I lack control. Control. If I can't control or have it, then is it really mine? Or am I approaching this with the wrong mentality? That's the thing, isn't it? I fear losing something I love, something that shaped and brought me solace. I'm scared to let go.

What does it mean to let go then? Who am I saying goodbye to? The kid? The kid who saw that commercial in 2002 and was temporarily transported to another world? The kid who found peace with characters that raised him through the 90's and early 2000s? The journey he had until late 2013? The feelings of grandeur, of sadness and loss, of brimming joy! The persona that was molded and hardened by those games and movies. How can I say goodbye to myself? I still remain so how I can do that?

It's scary. I don't want to let go of that. At least I think I don't, but what else can I do? If not then, all that I have left is intoxicating nostalgia and resentment to what is, because of what was. That's not to absolve any franchise of questionable choices, like sexist or shoddy writing, but ultimately I have control over me. I control my feelings on the matter, not some old Japanese man and his team. Because it is so easy to blame then, and make myself the saint. The victim in all this, after all i'm losing something dear to me while they continue. But it doesn't matter, the world turns and I have to catch up, lest I'm left behind in my nostalgia and brooding. If I'm left to those thoughts, then they will fester and turn into hate, which if i'm honest, I've felt already.

I don't want to be hater, cause the bitterness isn't pretty, despite the short pleasure it gives. It can be addictive even to relish in that anger and resentment. I think it's because it validates the experience you had as valid but to turn to that anger? Ultimately, it's not healthy because it's obsessive, and if you truly love it then you shouldn't fear it? Which connects to the ultimate message of that space opera.

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.​


That's where I'm at. At the end of it, suffering over something that I love. What's left to do?

Unlearn.
Let go.
Ease myself of that loss.
Rejoice of what once was.
But I will not mourn.

It all remains in some form, be it memories or feelings, but it has to be channeled into something of value and betterment. Hopefully I can arrive at a space where I can operate it with indifference instead of anger. Like I said, it all remains in some form.

PS: I wanna thank my therapist for this exercise.
 

Rydgea

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This is beautiful, Absent. I feel like it should be a featured article. Or, at least, I would like the whole of the fanbase to be able to see how they might try taking on new perspective. I know my feelings towards this series have continued to change over time. I have some deeply personal attachments of my own to this series, and I think that's why we feel so passionate about it. It definitely takes a level of awareness to step back now and then and distance yourself from something you used to really love instead of letting the disappointment wash over everything. I think your therapist gave you a great action item.
 

Blue Firework

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Thank you so much for sharing this. I think this is a message a lot of people need to see.

My relationship with Kingdom Hearts is similar, in that it was a friend, a support, and a comfort during my childhood when everything was up in the air and I was alone. After KH3 came out back in 2019, my love for the series has been tainted greatly. I would say I was a superfan before then; now I passively care about the series; I'm ok with not purchasing the games on day 1, and I don't really care to keep up with the plot. The transition has been weird and hard.

As I've begun to move into a new phase of my life, I've been reexaming a lot of the attachments I still hold on to and have been learning to let them go. I don't think having attachments is a bad thing. Life is crappy, and having things that are important to us and that we care about help make our time on this floating rock meaningful. But as we grow and life changes around us sometimes these attachments can hold us back instead of supporting us and propelling us forward.

Life is always changing. We are always changing. Things that once were important to us may no longer be important to us. And that's ok. That doesn't invalidate what these things meant to us before and how they shaped us into the person we are today. It just means they have nothing left to offer us.

The world is vast; there are so many things out there to explore and to discover, to love and enjoy. Learning to let go allows us to free space in our hearts for new experiences. It allows is to live in the present and appreciate what we have in our lives currently instead of being stuck in the past and mourning for the things we have lost.

As you've said it's ok to let go. But know that by letting go of Kingdom Hearts, you are not letting go of yourself, of who you are, and the experiences that have shaped you. I will always cherish the games in 1.5+2.5 and all of the memories and good times I've had with them. But Kingdom Hearts belongs to my past and I want to move forward and see what new experiences and discoveries are there for me to find.
 
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Sonofjafar

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Does a growing up really require letting go of your love for a video game franchise. Like I get where you’re going with this but you can still be an adult and love a franchise for what it’s done for you. As for the problematic elements you listed, Disney has a huge adult fan base despite the fact that one of their most successful films from their golden age features a black crow voice by the same guy that did Jiminy Cricket. You don’t have to let go of something you love for the sake of “growing up”.
 

Blue Firework

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Letting go of Kingdom Hearts has nothing to do with growing up. The series has been around for 20 years and has changed over time. The people who are fans of the series have changed over time too. So has the world around us. As time goes on relationships change, and that includes our relationships to our attachments. Sometimes we grow in a different directions from our attachments, and our relationships with them become jaded and strained.


Letting go is about accepting that our relationships to attachments are ending or are over. It's about accepting that putting energy towards something that we no longer enjoy is exhausting and won't change anything. It's about recognizing that we have irreconcilable differences with these attachments and instead of resenting them for not being what we want them to be, we let them go and allow them to be loved and cherished by those who still do.


All things must come to an end at some point. Letting go does not invalidate the experiences that were had up to this point. It's about moving on, letting ourselves and what we are attached to move forward in our own directions.


This doesn't just apply to attachments, but all relationships within our lives. It's important that we take the time to cherish and make the most of what we have in the present and holding on to relationships and attachments that not longer serve us prevent us from living in the present.


I will always love Kingdom Hearts, and I will keep an eye on the series as it goes forward and will probably play the games as they come out. And I truly hope the series continues to grow and succeed and touch the lives and hearts of many more people in the ways that it helped me. But my deep attachment with the series no longer serves present me, but belongs with a past me. And I want to be present with the relationships and the attachments I have with me today.
 

Rodin

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It's a beautiful post @Absent and it sums up a bit of my own experiences recently. I realized my dislike of the Xehanort saga led me down a toxic road so I went through something similar. And I'm trying to avoid repeating this mistake for other franchises.

Honestly I'd be more excited for KH4 if Sora wasn't involved. So it's best if I just devote my time and passion elsewhere than hoping for something that won't happen.
 
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okhi12

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I understand the way you feel. I'm still attached to the KH series but I was recently feeling the same thing about the A Song of Ice and Fire books. I've been a huge fan for ten years, but after the TV series disappointing final seasons and the long wait for the sixth book I started hating it. Little by little, without noticing it at first, I became increasingly angry and tired of it but refused to let go, to the point I didn't want to read anything else fantasy-related until ASOIAF was over even if that meant not reading fantasy literature anymore. I tried to read the series again while waiting for the two remaining books but I couldn't, it made me felt worse. It was last year when I realized feeling that way wasn't worth it and decided to finally let go. The transition until I've finally felt at peace about it spanned several months but now I'm relieved. Two months ago I started reading the Mistborn books without any expectations and I'm loving them.
That said I'll probably read the remaining ASOIAF books if they are ever released, but I'm not obsessed about it.

You're doing this the right way. You understand your own feelings and what's the best way of dealing with them.
In the end KH is just media, no matter how important it was for you. Consuming media is a hobby, not a responsibility. You can't hurt its feelings if you distance yourself from it. You don't have to look back if you don't want to, and if you ever miss it it will be there. Don't be afraid to let go.
 

2 quid is good

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I resonate a lot with this post, and with regards to KH nowadays I'm mostly outside looking in. However... I can't bring myself to say "I don't think this series is for me anymore" because while that may be true, from all the perspectives I'm seeing I feel like the direction the series is taking is making it unappealing to a LOT of KH fans, casual or otherwise, leaving only the diehard minority.

It's petty but I don't want to "give in" to the people who tell me to just not be a fan anymore, because I think that the faults of the series should also actually be acknowledged. However, yours is a much more healthy mindset, and it makes me wonder what I actually expect will happen, and how I should even be reacting to it.

I'm still the furthest thing from a hater, regardless of how facepalmy most things post 3D has been for me, and I came to the same realisation as you a while back too - it might be addictive to give in to bitterness but it leaves you so drained and empty afterwards - so primarily when I ever feel bothered enough to talk about KH with friends, I mostly talk about the many things I still enjoy about it. To me at least, I kinda decided that I didn't really want to let go of it just quite yet, and I definitely don't feel that all encompassing passion for it as much as I used to, I look at it in quite a detached way and I think that's better for me. Maybe post KH4 I'll get to the point where I truly don't care at all but truthfully, I want KH4 to be so good it compels me to stay (even if it's just a little while longer)
 

Absent

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I’m glad and thankful I could connect to others with my feelings. Obviously it won’t be easy and perhaps it might take a long time to reconcile these feelings but it’s fine. Eventually the pieces fall into place.
 

kirabook

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My method in dealing with things I don't like in something I love is to chop it off. I imagine it as a rotting arm on a person and chopping it off with a giant knife and keeping all the parts I do like. It's kinda a delusional thing to do, pretending that stuff you don't like doesn't exist or pretending like it happened in a completely different way in your mind, but that's what fanfiction and fanart is for. For me anyway. I am fully invested in that culture if I like the series/franchise enough to begin with.

If I stayed upset or obsessed over everything that was wrong all the time, I don't think I could love anything. Sometimes I wonder if I truly have feelings of love or hate because I so easily move on or "chop" things off, but I choose to believe I just have a lot of love to give and not enough time to hate for too long.
 
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