Ever since I was a small child I experienced feelings and sensations that I could not explain. Strange homestickness, odd word choice, strangely advanced reading and writing level, etc ect. I had a terrible fear of elevator crashes (I had recurring nightmares where I was an adult man and died in an elevator), and a terror of choking to death on my own blood, to name a few.
About 16 years ago, when I was around 13-14 was when I seriously started to understand my identity. I happened to walk by my brother watching an episode of Digimon 02 (a show I didn’t because I considered it childish and overly commercial) and was struck full force with something akin to deja vu for what was going on on the screen. A young boy, giving an interview for the camera. I told my brother ‘he’s the villain, isn’t he?’. My brother shrugged.
I sat down and watched. And I kept watching. Each episode of the show was painful, something akin to torture (and not just because its a terrible show). I wanted to stop watching, but I could not get it out of my head. I thought about it awake and asleep, and home and at school.
had to stop watching about 20 episodes into the series when the
character i had identified with had a mental breakdown, realizing his
wrongdoing. I felt literally sick to my stomach. I had to excuse myself
and go lie down. Over the next week I had a series of terrible, lifelike
nightmares from that character, Ken’s perspective. I woke up crying and
clutching the air for someone who wasn’t there. Someone who had
disappeared in my arms. I dreamed I wandered the digital world like a
desert, a hated, doomed pariah for what I had done.
It wasn’t until much later I learned that this almost perfectly mirrored what had happened to Ken on the show- what had happened to me in my previous life. After Ken’s breakdown, he fell into a melancholy, nearly a coma that lasted for days, where he relieved the painful parts of his past and his sins.
But I was 14 at the time. I didn’t know or understand what was happening. I couldn’t assign any meaning to it. I tried to put it out of my mind, and live my life. And I did live my life, interspersed with strange visions and memories that weren’t mine.
I was 19, in 2005 when I first found out what otherkin, and otakukin (what fictionkin were called at the time) were, and slowly over a matter of weeks, everything snapped into place. The memories, the dreams, the deja vu. I was Ken Ichijouji. He was me in another life. I share his soul, his memories, his passions and his sins.
I remember so many things. I remember Ken’s brother- my brother’s funeral. I remember feeling like it was my fault, for wishing he’d go away. I remember not being able to look his photo in the eye. I remember the smell of the rain from a high balcony overlooking Tokyo. I remember my first glimpse into the digital world and feeling like I was finally worth something. feeling like a king. I remember the very moment that all slipped away, and I fell to my knees in the sand.
And I remember after. I remember things that would never be in the show. I remember growing up. High school, and first dates, and my mother’s face as she got older. I remember the cold, lonely apartment after my divorce. I remember birthday parties where everyone scent their regrets. I remember working as a police detective, and not bothering to feed myself, aside from the occasional bowl of noodles. I remember the smell of those noodles, and the feeling that somehow I still didn’t deserve to be eating them. And I remember dying on a clear day, when an elevator in a high rise corporate building mysteriously malfunctioned.
And that is what led me to identify as a ‘specific character’- as a man who lived and breathed and fought and died in another world. That is who I am. I have had other lives, and that is just one. Maybe another time I’ll speak of how I came to know myself as Vriska. But for now, I think that is enough.