Hidemi Woods
3 min readSep 23, 2023

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A Long Way to Freedom hr670

I have started a video Podcast.

A complex about looks resides in me always, all my life. When I was a child, my mother used to say, “If only you don’t have a nose like that,” by shading my nose with her hand. She daily instructed me that the only way for me to make it through in this society was to be affable to anyone since I wasn’t pretty. Adding to the piggy nose, I was fat, and given a constant notion from my mother that I was ugly. Although I had a dream to be a singer, the complex about being ugly led me to switch my dream to be a radio personality that could hide looks. Then, while I had been suffering many more bitter experiences of my looks mainly at school as a teenager that relentlessly implied my ugliness, there came a big music trend in Japan, in which singer-songwriters who didn’t have good looks and abstained from TV appearances made big hits. I saw a new path appear in front of me. My dream to be a singer was back on and with my own songs this time.

Sadly, that music trend didn’t last long. By the time I got down to pursue my music career in earnest, the trend had died out and good looks had been required for singer-songwriters as well. Although many record companies and music producers contacted me when they listened to my songs that I sent to them, they turned down the offer as soon as they saw me at the first meeting. I had tried to hide my looks as much as possible in the course of my career as a musician because they would work adversely. My complex had deepened further.

I am vain by nature. I grew up hearing my mother say that the most important thing is how we look to others. It seems I’m unable to break her spell. While my life has been a long journey to fix my flaws and complexes, the biggest obstacle is my vanity. I thought it was about time to face off. Now that I’m no longer young, my vanity has been forced to be compromised drastically. Aging has made my looks even worse, my moves clumsier, my careless mistakes more frequent. I’m too old to care about good looks that are way out of my reach now. To get rid of the complex by beating my vanity once and for all, I decided to take on a video Podcast that would reveal my bad looks to the public.

I connected my microphone into my computer and set a photo shoot light that I newly bought. The light got broken quickly and the microphone didn’t work properly on the computer. I ended up shooting with my smartphone. Although I had recorded several Podcasts without a picture for some time, doing on video is a whole different business. Sitting in front of a smartphone with makeup and good clothes feels as if I were in front of others. Because I’m not social, I easily get extremely tense and can’t talk as I usually do. On every recording, I sweat all over from tension. Sometimes my head goes blank and I just stare into space while opening and closing my mouth that utters nothing. I begin to get nervous a couple of days before the recording and feel like running away by the time I start shooting.

However, I feel surprisingly refreshed when I finish, and I want to do more. Since it appears to work as therapy for my social phobia and stage fright too, I think I had better continue. Above all, it helps me to be free from my mother’s spell though it took so long. I should be content to show myself as I am even if nobody watches or I look hideous or I can’t speak as I intend to. And I hope that recording becomes enjoyable for me someday. That would be the day when I have overcome my complex and have won this battle.

~Talking and Reading from Japan by Hidemi Woods~

video Podcast: [ Youtube ] [ spotify ]

Podcast: [ Amazon Music ] [Apple Podcast] [Castbox]

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