Let me preface this by saying I love Fluttershy, she’s my favorite character.
It’s because of that I say she’s difficult.
I don’t mean difficult is a bad thing, I actually think it’s a good thing. It’s like when people say women are difficult to understand, but it’s good to not be easy to figure out all the time, we shouldn’t always get answers handed to us.
I have to say that Fluttershy from MLP (My Little Pony) is character that is a good example of a show trying to do the hard thing.
You can have a character with a really good flaw and growth arc, and people will love it, and you may never get criticized for it (though I doubt it) but ultimately, we know it’s unrealistic. Who gets over it that quickly?
I think of MHA (My Hero Academia) and the character of Todoroki, he gets a major arc in season 2, but in season 3 we find out he has not completely gotten over what his issues were. He relapses briefly into resentment and hate before snapping out of it, he realizes he has a ways to go still.
No one hates him for this because we recognize it makes sense.
I think of a different character on that show whose arc is similar to Fluttershy’s, Momo Yaoyerozo’s, she has a confidence issue that she confronts in season 2, she doesn’t seem to have that problem again later.
You could say she just completely got over it and moved on, and that the arc was contrived to begin with, and some people do say that.
But Momo’s confidence came initially from never failing, never really doing badly, even when she didn’t do the best, she was always close. Then she fails big time and begins to wonder if she only succeed before because she never was out of her comfort zone. When she regains her confidence, she realizes she can still try and do well even if she makes mistakes. Her confidence over the next season has a more refined feel to it.
It’s not the same as Fluttershy’s story because the reasons for a lack of confidence were different.
And I want to talk about Fluttershy because, though I am far more like Momo now, and sometimes like Todoroki, I used to be Fluttershy.
Watching MLP, I took a quick liking to Fluttershy, I have an affinity for sweet but sassy characters, who doesn’t?
But as I watched more episodes I began to understand why people found her annoying. She repeats her mistakes a lot. She is often irrationally afraid of things. Scared of her own shadow. It seems ridiculous.
What I think is funny is that I’m sure 50% of the people who criticize her for this are bigger cowards than her. I overall don’t think people are especially brave. They rarely do things that make them really uncomfortable, and not often with the grace Fluttershy can at least attempt to have.
It’s been said that courage is not a lack of fear, and just because you are not afraid of that many things doesn’t make you braver than someone who is afraid of everything. Fear is crippling condition to have, and Fear of One thing is just as likely to ruin your life as fear of many things, you just aren’t as likely to notice it.
I am now, at 20, the type of chick who likes hardcore music, fight scenes, and starting controversial conversations. I’m loud, not afraid of being on a stage, and able to stand up for myself.
But I remember that I was once pretty much Fluttershy.
My mom used to get frustrated with how anxious I was all the time, much like Rainbow Dash does. She’s try to talk me out of being afraid to go to social events. I was homeschooled, being around people was something I wasn’t forced to do a lot, but that had nothing to do with being shy, I know plenty of homeschoolers who are not shy. It’s just a personality trait.
I am not shy now. Few people guess I ever was.
I used to be one of those people who think their food or drink got poisoned mysteriously after being left alone for two minutes. I was afraid of mirrors sometimes. I was a hypochondriac. Ironically, I was not a socially anxious person about actually conversations if I had them, that came after years of being told I offended people by accident. But I was shy of starting any conversations.
I’ve always been opinionated, and that never changed. But it didn’t help much. I don’t think shyness makes you less opinionated, since you are less likely to be challenged on opinions no one knows you have.
Like all anxious people, I’d imagine a bunch of ways things could go wrong.
Saying it, it feels so surreal. This is so far from how I spend the majority of my time now, that I’ve almost forgotten I did it.
I think, actually, that that is why Fluttershy gets so much hate. She reminds people like me, who got out of that mindset, what it was like to be in it.
And people do not like to be reminded of it. Remembering being a coward is not fun.
Actually, I do not think Fluttershy is a coward, but it can feel like that to the person. Fear involves torment, even remembering a fear can make you start thinking like that again. Like triggering traumatic events.
I can say, looking back, I was fearful but I’m not sure I was a coward. I gave in to fear a lot, but sometimes I didn’t. A coward is someone who never ever pushes past it, and it is about more than being afraid, a coward lacks loyalty to something more important than fear.
Fluttershy has that.
A coward is selfish. Fluttershy is not selfish, just timid, but timid can be helped because timid can still find something more important than fear.
The cowardice is being afraid to care. Fluttershy has never been afraid to care, and that is her best quality to my mind, she is braver than most of the other characters. It takes major guts to care about Discord. She doesn’t bat an eyelash at that.
There is one more thing though, and that is how easy it is to judge Fluttershy. Even I sometimes want to. But there are so many people like her, should I judge them?
Sometimes I want to. I work with kids, and that kind of shyness is something I see a lot. I wish they didn’t have it because I remember how much I missed enjoying being I wallowed in fears.
But here’s the thing: I’m reminded that God does not despise people who have fears.
God does not like cowardice. But if you are genuinely afraid and wishing you weren’t, God does not despise that. In fact, through out the Bible, Fear is the vice God is shown to be the most compassionate and least harsh toward. Sometimes He gets fed up when people repeatedly disobey Him out of fear, but He’ll be more patient with that than with other flaws.
God knows it is hard to not be afraid, the truth is, not all fears are valid, but fear itself is certainly understandable. The world is dangerous. Without God, we all would be right to be terrified.
But with God, we don’t need to be.
As 1 John says, God is love, and perfect love casts out fear.
God is the only reason I do not live in fear anymore.
But I, who have been set free, still need to be compassionate to those who haven’t been. If I come down on them, I am only doing what I hated people doing to me when I was faird. Fear involves torment because it also involves guilt. Believe me, if you know an anxious person, they feel guilty constantly for their hesitancy.
Actually, those of us who were afraid once can be the hardest on people who still are. Because we got over it.
It’s pure stupidity, to be honest. We think “Oh, I kicked it. I snapped out of it. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps.”
Yeah, it’s idiotic. I’m pretty sure anyone who claims they got out of their fear alone is a liar.
No, we were helped. We shown compassion. Someone helped us stand when we couldn’t get up ourselves.
The reason to be bold is obvious once you have become bold, but never beforehand.
i still get scared, mind you. And I have to remind myself not to be like this. I have the power to now. But it took years and years of small steps.
Fluttershy eventually realizes it’s baby steps to boldness. And she has loving support.
Sometimes when I panicked as a younger Christian, it just helped to have someone tell me it was okay to be scared. That is was legitimate. But that it was false.
Looking back, I want to tell myself that there are always things to be afraid of, but fear doesn’t make them go away, and there is too much to enjoy to waste time worrying.
But I can only say that now because God made that a part of who I am. I didn’t start from that place.
So, Fluttershy is a difficult character because she is an honest one. Fear comes back over and over, but those who overcome it again and again with become Bold.
Until next time–Natasha.