The essay
Written April 29, 2008

If there was a time where I had a life-changing experience, it would be when I first learned who hide and the members of X were. I can remember the day, but not the exact date--I think it was May 5, of 2007, one year ago. I had gotten into Japanese music as a whole just a few months before, and I was eagerly exploring which new bands to try out, hoping I would like them. I'd seen X Japan's name around a lot, but at first, I was afraid to try them, because their early visual looks scared me off. When I tried them, I wanted to like them the way everyone else did, but I couldn’t do it. To me, they were an older band that everyone talked about, but I couldn’t understand what was so special about them.
But that was before I learned who they were, and their history, and so finally I took a trip to a site called Wikipedia to learn more. Though Wikipedia isn’t entirely credible, since people can change the information, I was a little sceptical about using it, but I decided to give it a try. As I read more about them, I noticed that hide had his own page and clicked on it. Up until that point, I just knew him as the other hide, since the one I primarily knew at that time was HYDE. I'd known he was no longer living, but I didn‘t know what had happened, or when.
Nothing had or has affected me as greatly as reading the entry about hide s death. I hadn’t even known his name for a day and, right there, just because I read a few words about him, I found myself crying. It was at that moment that the door opened completely for me--X Japan was no longer just a band, and their music was no longer just okay. Somehow, they became my source of life, what I clung to during the entire month of May as I rode the emotional rollercoaster of depression, trying to personally cope with the fact that hide had been gone nine years, and I had joined the crowd of grievers much too late. The amount of time, the shock, and the surprise of how important he became to me shook me so greatly that I didn t know what to do with all of the emotion.
I fought with my emotions for the rest of that month, trying to figure out why I couldn t just get over it, because even when it seemed like I was fine, I would go and relapse into a period of deep sadness. I posted endless poems and notes on my Facebook that seem immature and pointless to me now, but at that time, they were my way of getting my feelings out before they hurt me. Gradually, I climbed out of the pit of depression and got to work learning all that I could about hide and X, gathering a large collection of information, music, videos, and much more.
Throughout the rest of 2007, my love for X grew and grew, unable to be stopped. With other obsessions , I would fixate on them for a while, and then grow tired of them, but with X it was another story. There was no way to just stop liking them, because there was always something new, something different I hadn t learned or discovered yet, or something I had missed. And, without knowing it, they helped me stop being so afraid of everything. As a 15-year-old, I had been insecure, shy, timid, and unsure of myself, not wanting to experience the outside world in fear that something would happen to me. But with X, I finally overcame my fear, and became braver, and stronger.
As I have grown with X, I have faced discrimination because of my love for them. I have been personally insulted, rejected, stared at, made fun of, everything. But even through all of that, there was no way that I was going
to let go of X. They have become a part of me, essentially, a part that I hadn’t known was missing, and a part that can t be taken away. When I first listened to them, I gained a sense of nostalgia, as though there was something strangely familiar about them that I couldn’t remember, something I d forgotten a long time ago. There are certain songs that this nostalgia becomes stronger with (such as zilch s Easy Jesus ) that make me wonder if I have heard them before, somehow, though none of my relatives have ever heard of hide or X.
As I sit here and write this, I remember back to the times when, last year, I would regard every passing monarch butterfly with a smile, watch the sky in the evening for pink clouds, and even look out the window of the airplane on my way to Europe in a desperate hope of some kind of sign, something that would tell me he was there. But I ve learned that there doesn’t have to be a sign--he is there, everywhere, in everything, and he s not meant to be searched for or found. He just is, as immature as it might sound.
One year later, I no longer read hide s name, see his face, or hear his music with an air of sadness around me. Everything about him is happy--that s the way he lived his life, and the way he would want us to live as well. There was never a time where we saw hide depressed, an exception being X s Last Live, but even then he was upbeat, cheerful. I can t turn around and tell new fans or those who are still depressed to pull out of it, because once, I was one of those people. I still do get occasionally misty-eyed over certain things, but it s no longer the constant ache I felt before.
To this day I wonder how I would have been like if I hadn’t discovered X, and what kind of person I would be. I think I would be entirely different--I would have different friends, a different favorite band, different hats and accessories, different cds, different pictures on my wall, the list is endless. On the day I first clicked that link, I would never have known what I had just thrown myself into, but I m happy to be where I am today. I ve said before, and will say it again: There s no better time to be an X fan.


The poem
Written April 30, 2008

I stand at the end of yet another long road
While the dreams woven faded and into time flowed
I hold in my hand the last sanity
That keeps my heart beating and myself, me

As I look up with reverence at clouds going by
Though pure my heart is, no angel am I
There is much I have done that stains my white heart
Yet one thing remains, one sacred part

The sky above me is colored and bright
A rainbow of hues, in shining twilight
Through the purple and gold, there shimmers soft pink
And as my eyes find it I smile and think,

I have come a long way to find myself here
And I could not have made it without something dear
Something to guide me through pleasure and pain
Something to cling to in endless dark rain

Notes in the air play a faint melody
Of a voice that exists but in my memory
The echo of time that cannot be brought back
Of a day when the world s light turned black

From my eyes fall the tears that I ve hidden inside
Months have gone by since they were last cried
But it s time now to cast off the sadness and hate
At last it is over, the endless long wait

The wait for the day to honor the name
Of the one we remember with fortune and fame
But with eyes and a smile we could never forget
And then I remember the dusk that falls yet

The roses are falling like teardrops, deep red
Bringing the tears when there are none left to shed
I try and I try to find the right words to say
To honor the name that s remembered today

But no words can describe all you mean to me
Because my one shining hope, that last sanity
Beneath the bright sky, I at last understand
That the dream I held so close was your hand.

In April 30, 2008