I told the story on Poly Land Discord the other day about the time a fan tweeted “senpai noticed me” after I responded to them on Twitter. How much it made me laugh. How incredibly flattered I was.
“Notice me, senpai” is a common anime trope. Classically, a shy ingenue is clutching books to her chest and mooning over some upperclassman she looks up to and wanting them to notice her. “Senpai” is an honorific form of address in Japanese.
And then, when the upperclassmen finally speaks to her, even for some passing reason, said shy ingenue freaks the heck out and cries, “senpai noticed me!” with hearts in her eyes.
There are many iterations to this trope in anime. But they generally follow the same pattern — someone you look up to engages with you and you lose your mind, in a good way.
Anyway, as I was telling the story of this one encounter on Discord, it hit me. A new life strategy. A silly one perhaps — but I’ve found that sometimes it’s the silly ones that work best.
Maybe on down days, I should start using that as a reframe: “Senpai, stop and notice yourself!”
This would have two meanings. The first would be akin to “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Notice what you’re doing, senpai! Be careful. Proceed with caution.
But primarily the second meaning is the one that I think has a lot of utility: “Give yourself some credit, Senpai, you aren’t a terrible person.”
I’m going to give it a try. Because I do struggle with self-confidence, believe it or not. On one hand, this is great. Keeps me grounded, which is a good thing in my opinion. But you can go too far with it — and end up mired or near-mired in self-doubt, a state that I’m much more familiar with.
I think a lot of us are guilty of that. Even if we’re able to inspire other people and impress them, we have a hard time feeling proud of ourselves, or even worthy.
And at times like those, senpai, I think you should stop and notice yourself.