Why not just reconcile?

I hit 200 followers! *party noises* thanks you guys!

Want to hear a crazy story?

Life happens weirdly doesn’t it? Yesterday we were just minding our own business, and we got a message that our dad was having a medical emergency, alone at his house.

My energetic aunt who lives, like, a 1,000 miles away from us, was somehow the one trying to organize all this, and my dad was calling a bunch of people, but didn’t think to just call a taxi.

Later we found out, to add insult to injury, he’d actually almost passed out several times earlier in the day, but neglected to go to the doctor then, instead he still drove home. I believe they call this “dumb luck”.

After he finally was taken to the hospital probably an hour and a half after he should have just called a taxi or 911, they discovered he had a heart attack and he went in for immediate surgery. The attack was bad and could have killed him.

I haven’t talked to my dad in about 18 months, give or take, and this was the first time I spoke to him, but, with an emergency like that, it would have been cruel not to.

Getting on the speaker, we all talked to him. Almost the first words out of his mouth, once he said “I really would like to talk to the girls in case this is the end for me” or some rubbish like that, were “God has really been working on my heart, and I’ve changed a lot… and I believe with forgiveness should come reconciliation, that the Bible makes it clear they go together.” (I paraphrase a little for clarity, but I assure you I am not exaggerating, I don’t do that, the truth is bad enough on it’s own.)

I suppose it sounds innocent enough, to someone outside the family, but those of you with toxic family members know hot there are certain phrases and words and tones and references that have been built up over the years a s part of an intricate web of manipulation, usually disguised as harmless so that others don’t catch on. But the family members know themselves what it means.

You see, my dad will use the bible as a weapon to cover his own bad behavior. He’d yell at us and rage and throw fits, and use “honor your father” as an exude, ignoring “don’t provoke your children to wrath.” He’d storm about not being respected as “the head of the house” but ignore “love your wives as Christ loved the church.” You’ve probably met people like this too.

Abusive parents tend to use love as a requirement only when they want love, and then deny it to their victims especially children if they are the most insecure about children, or their wife, if they are more insecure about romantic relationships. Depends on their own background usually. Most of the time, it’s both.

My dad also swore to us more times than I can count that God was working on his heart, and he was a different person. He treated us exactly the same every time, and treated God the same too. My dad lives in a fantasy world when it comes to spirituality. It’s simply a game of rules and appearances to him, not depth.

He also said he’d been healed of a lot of stuff, I don’t buy that for an instant.

Later on, he told us that if this was his last request to us, he wanted us not to hold any bitterness or resentment in our heats because God wouldn’t like it. And that he loved us so much, and missed us, blah blah blah.

He didn’t ask once how we’d been doing, my sister told him, but he barley listened. He talked about how he’d been doing most of the time, and how he might die, (though it wasn’t actually that likely), yada yada, and reconciliation, and it was so nice to talk to us again. It was almost worth it for this to happen just to be able o talk to us…

I sympathize with the fear and terror of a medical emergency, I’ve driven my sister to the ER when no one else was home and she was throwing up and having other signs of a concussion. I’ve taken care of my other sister after she fainted from sun poisoning. I’ve had terrible moments myself, especially last year. I am not one to put that down.

But, none of us use medical emergencies as an excuse to be vindictive and manipulative. Amidst all this chaos, my dad still managed to impress me with how petty he can be.

I mean, if it truly could be your last words to your children and wife, would you spend it going on about how terrible you were doing, and how they made you so lonely by not calling, and poor you.

I know I would want to spend it saying things that would leave good memories, if nothing else. It’s not he time for final digs.

I concluded he never really believed he was going to die, as indeed, it was past the point where that was likely anymore. It was an attention grab.

It may sound terrible of me to think so, but his mom pulls stuff like this also, and he’s done it before, and it’s really much sicker to do it at all than to realize someone else is doing it.

I suppose we knew deep down he used his health to manipulate us for pity and attention, I just didn’t think of it much with all the other, more violent stuff, but this one was always so blinking unfair because how can you get angry at soemoen who’s sick? Even if they are making it worse on purpose?

The man says he intends to go right back to work instead of resting like you are supposed to do, I doubt he’ll actually do that, but he wants us to talk him out of it. These tricks are as old as our lives.

I don’t intend to try, but it’s very frustrating to hear someone be such an idiot, and just to garner sympathy.

My aunt was no help, she just encouraged it, and event old my sister “can’t you put aside your feud for a short time?”

Yes, a feud, that’s all 20 years of abuse, neglect, and folly was… sure.

Because none of us have proof of physical damage, our family has elected not to take us that seriously, at least, the one who listen to my dad and aunt in the first place.

Based on my studies and comparing to others who’ve undergone the same treatment, we more than qualify for all three types of abuse, with Emotional being the crowning one.

My dad is something called a “dark empath” if I understand right. He know what you want to hear, and need to hear, but instead of genuinely giving it to you out of compassion, he gives it in a fake twisted way, that always brings the focus back to him. I’ve almost never heard the guy shut up about himself in the whole time I’ve known him.

In conversation with me, it has never been about me. Same with all of us, including my mom.

He’s not totally without sympathetic feelings, but it’s a superficial kind that always ends up becoming about him after about 5 seconds. I don’t doubt he feels bad, but empaths can take our feelings into themselves, and then reflect them back. A dark empath can do that, in a bad bay, making the misery all there own and expecting you to feel sorry for them, when you’re the one suffering.

In proof of this point, my aunt entered her late son’s name in a walk-a-thon for charity that she asked us all to participate in. She asked my dad not to start telling stories about the past and making it about him. That was what he immediately did after she asked, including telling them her embarrassing nickname and encouraging us girls to participate. I declined.

My father is cruel, he was cruel as a kid, he’s cruel now.

Yet, he has the audacity to say he loves us so much while crying and acting like he’s in the worst pain in the world. Like we ever did anything to him. Sheesh.

Okay, as you can tell, I am blowing off steam and I may regret being so raw after I’ve had a few days to think about it.

But I bet you’ve felt the same, and maybe you even understand why it would bother me how he acted.

But is it worse that none of it really surprised me? I didn’t call him when he got Covid-19 because I knew he’d say stuff I didn’t want to hear, and I wouldn’t be comforting him at all, save for the sick satisfaction he gets out of having us pity him and kowtow to him. Perhaps he imagines he is making us feel guilty.

And I called this time only because it might have been my last chance, and however terrible a person he might be, I don’t want anyone to die without hearing some last kind words form the people around them.

I didn’t expect him to really appreciate that, and I was not disappointed in that, but he went further than I would have believed, it took him less than 5 minutes to say something manipulative.

All the nice things he said just because he’s been told to say them. It’s nauseating. I felt my throat tighten up.

I wanted to laugh, my sister held me back, she felt the same but didn’t want me to visibly show it while he was still on the line, especially since we were on speaker. I held back, but if he hadn’t been about to go in for heart surgery, I’d have given him a piece of my mind.

I hope you understand I am not advocating bullying someone who’s potentially dying or in a lot of pain. I am saying it was out of basic decency that I didn’t do that, but I assure you, had our position been reversed, he would not have afforded me the same courtesy. That’s how delusional he is.

I believe we have to show mercy, so I told him I loved him, and we’d forgiven him. That was when he came back with that “reconciliation” crap.

Since he brought it up, and some of you might have similar problems, perhaps I should answer here what the Bible’s idea of reconciliation is.

In the Old Testament, there are far more examples of reconciliation than in the New, because it talks more about people’s stories. The best examples or Joseph with his brothers, Jacob with his twin, Esau and also his uncle Laban; David with Saul; Hagar with Sarah, and Hosea with Gomer.

In only two of those examples did reconciliation involve establishing close contact, or living in the same house. Joseph, and Hosea both stayed in close touch with their family, though we don’t know how often Joseph saw his brothers, or how much Gomer reciprocated Hosea’s love (that was a direct assignment from God to give an example of loving an unfaithful woman. But Gomer was not abusive.)

Joseph did not reconcile with his brothers until he was in a position of power and it was entirely safe to do so, and after testing them to see if they really had changed. Once they proved they had truly repented and regretted their wrongs, he revealed himself.

This is where most therapists will leave it, if you have proof they changed, then you can become close again. I don’t think Joseph intended to kill his brothers if they didn’t change, but I doubt he would have revealed all to them in the same way.

In the other examples I listed, peace was made, and the people went their separate was to live out their own lives. Even Hagar eventually left Sarah’s service, and she was a slave who couldn’t legally do so on her own, but Sarah chose to send her away, and God made it to be for the best. Later in the New Testament, Hager is used as a metaphor for how the slave to sin must be driven out so the child of the promise (us) can flourish. A powerful symbol for abuse also.

“Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”” (Galatians 4:30)

So, my dad has no real basis for using the bible as leverage here, but it’s an old trick he clearly thinks we will still fall for.

As for the New Testament, it was actually or inspiration for kicking him out. When we talked to our mom about it, we reminded her of how Paul kicked some people out of the young church till they could learn respect for God and stop teaching false doctrines. Two people who tried to deceive the believers dropped dead on the spot (harsh, I assure you it doesn’t happen often, I’ve near heard of another case, I think it was just to make a point).

Paul also says that while we are not to judge the world for being the way it is, we are not to associate with people in the church who claim to be holy but still act like the world.

“I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.” 1 Corinthians 5:11 (This version includes “abusive” others don’t, but the idea is there.)

This gets me to thinking about how people tend to split into two camps about abusers:

There’s the people who are so angry about it they stop seeing abusers as human. You should see the death threats against fictional characters that Webtoon and YouTube are littered with, and probably concerning real life stuff also.

Then there’s people who recognize abusers are still wounded human beings, but use that as a reason to stay with them and give them a sort of emotional life support that just barely keeps them functionality at status quo, usually worse.

I am not in either camp, but I do lean more toward staying away from them, as I think the Bible teaches to do anyway.

There’s an anime coming to mind that depicts this struggle well, called Torodora

Image result for Toradora images

(Tiger Dragon for you language buffs) in which the main girl had a toxic father, and the main guy encourages her to “reconcile” and give him a chance when he shows up randomly in her life, her dad says all the right things, and seems really repentant.

Image result for Toradora images Taiga and her dad

Then after things go well for a few weeks, there’s a play that Taiga (the girl) is going to have the lead role in, and her dad promises to come see. As you can guess, he doesn’t show up, and instead of calling her himself, he calls Ryuuji, (the main guy) to ask him to tell her for him, that something came up.

Ryuuji can’t understand how the guy could be such a jerk, after seeming so sincere, then Taiga’s best friend drops the final death bomb on him by informing him that the same thing happened a year or so ago, same act, and Taiga went with it, only to be disappointed. Ryuuji feels horrible for not listening when she warned him, and pressure in Taiga based on his preconceived notions of her situation, but he learns from it.

Ryuuji makes the same mistake I’ve made myself, and have felt other people made with me, and still do. He judges by his own experience and the very few things he sees about someone else.

People who haven’t had abusive parents tend to hear how we victim-kids talk about our parents, and think “Wow, they’re a brat.” Because we’ll say things like “My parents don’t love me” and “Yeah, that’s my dad, what a jerk.” “I just can’t believe him” “I don’t miss him” etc.

And yeah, bratty kids do say it, but we have to remember, everyone who fake whines about stuff that’s not actually bad is doing it in imitation of people who have had serious problems.

Like people jokingly say they have depression because depressed people abound so much right now, but it’s not a joke to someone who really has it, and it probably feels like overstating it to them, whether they say so or not.

Or people saying they have a problem with binging when they really couldn’t, while people suffer with real additions around them and don’t think it’s funny.

It’s the same with having bad parents, people will joke and whine about it who shouldn’t precisely because of the attention it gets them to sound like people who do. It’s the difference between real and fake ailments.

And anyone with experience with learn to tell the genuine victims from the fakers very quickly. I’ve gotten fairly good at it myself in a short amount of time.

But I’ve been treated like a faker. Faking my problems to get attention has always been disgusting to me, I can’t say that even as a kid I would do that very often, if at all, and as an adult, I don’t pretend to have problems I don’t have.

The lasting damage from being emotionally abused is that I assume everyone disapproves of me, constantly, and it’s taken a whole year and a half away form my dad to even crack that image enough for me to see some light on the other side. I hope one day I will not feel that way at all, but it’s been hard to shake, even after years of trying.

My aunt has been treating us like fakes who are making a mountain out of a molehill, and our dad talked to us the same way. It’s like it’s nothing to them that we got so miserable we had to kick him out or we’d run off ourselves. They don’t get it.

Well, people who refuse to see the obvious cannot be taught, it’s the sad truth.

Remember my last post, when I talked about PH, and how the truth sets Lauren free?

See post here:

New Kitten

So, I got a new kitten last month. Yeah, I can’t believe I didn’t post about it sooner, but I was writing so much for other projects. Yeesh. BTW, I now have a fanfiction on Wattpad that’s hit 1.9k views! Yeah it just blew up since March. I will link it here if you want … Continue reading New Kitten

I review more of the Chosen (i. e. banging my head on an imaginary desk)

[This was going to be published sooner, but the site started giving me editing trouble, so sorry for the long absence, peeps.] I enjoy The Prince of Egypt, the Nativity Movie, many smaller portrayals of Jesus in film, and Veggie Tales, which is not words for word. Back with another post about the Chosen. Sine … Continue reading I review more of the Chosen (i. e. banging my head on an imaginary desk)

Well, it does when she accepts it, there’s plenty of truth she’s still fighting in the story, that’s at the basis of her dysfunction.

And to tell the truth about yourself is very, very hard.

For me, it’s a question I have a lot. Am I a worse person than I realize? Do I lie to myself. Am I not as kind and compassionate as I think?

But even asking that question, in earnest, shows I am more those things than someone like my dad, who will make excuse possibly to his dying day, if yesterday was any indication. I know his father did, I visited him just a day or two before he died. Still full of dishonesty, though he had made huge strides in forgiveness compared to how he’d been a few years ago.

I will say, trying to be better than your abusive parent is a low bar, my dad aimed for that, and failed because he had a warped perception of what “better” really meant. If better meant not smacking us as hard, and raging at us over every little thing, he only succeeded at one of those things. If better meant being less selfish, he never succeeded at all.

“It’s been a long road losing all I own, you don’t know what you got until you’re gone, and it’s a nasty habit, spitting at all you have,

but if you’re doing all the leaving, then it’s never your love lost, if you leave before the start, than there was never love at all.

Heaven knows I’m prone to leave the only God I should’ve loved, but you’re far too beautiful to leave me.” (The Oh Hellos, In Memoriam.)

You shouldn’t aim to be better than someone else, you should aim to be as good as you can be. As loving, as pure, as brave, as wise, and then you have no real limit, you can always grow.

My family and I will find some way to deal with the crazy of our relatives, but we don’t intend to be a part of it.

My sisters and I laugh about how whacked our situation must sound to people who don’t know the intimate details. Our little unit was supposed to be the “normal” one in the dysfunctional family that was the stuff TV shows are made of. My grandmother once attacked some police officer. My step family got into occult stuff. My uncle was in a cult for years. Because my mom is the “sane” one, no one could believe she married my dad, and it’s the main reason us girls turned out as normal as we did. No one thought we’d be the ones to kick someone out and actually mean it, not just doing it for a power move like the rest of the family.

I am learning to think about it less often, I’ve gotten used to it.

I wonder what my dad would think if I told him we’ve been perfectly fine this whole time without him. In fact, we rejoice in his absence, and all of us have had nightmares about him returning. I’ve said I’d go through it all again before I’d live in the same house as him ever.

You can’t imagine till you’ve gone through it what an utter relief it is not to feel your life and happiness depend solely on one person.

I’m sure he can’t fathom it. He thinks we’ll cave. We’ll get tired of this. He doesn’t know I’m already planning my whole life out without him in it as more than a vague figure. Sometimes, the abuse seems unreal to me, like the difference between then and now is so great, I almost can’t believe I was ever in that place.

I am getting used to not being treated like dirt, and I’m determined never to go back to that willingly.

Because I am doing better, it’s easy to question if we have overreacted. If I were just going by my awareness of it, I might think my aunt was right.

But, I know what God has directed us to do, and I do have people to confer with to remember what happened. I don’t think we should harp on it, but it’s important not to forget, because you have to be able to protect yourself by setting boundaries.

All this progress could go away if we let ourselves be deceived again, but we don’t have to let ourselves, it’s a delicate matter, but it’s not impossible.

As far as I’m concerned, reconciliation means we forgive and can be on peaceful terms. We are ready for that, my dad is the one incapable of letting it go. So, it’ll be on him, and there’s nothing more I can do about it.

And that’s okay.

And if you have someone like that, just try to believe, it is not your job to take care of them. You don’t owe them anything.

All we owe each other in this life is love, and respect for each other’s humanity, anything beyond that is something you have to choose carefully to offer the trustworthy people. No one can demand it, if they try, they won’t get it.

I think that’s all I got for now. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

True Beauty

Sigh… okay let’s talk about another Webtoon.

I won’t be the first person to express frustration with True Beauty. It seemed like it would be a story about what makes someone truly beautiful, not being make-up, or clothes, or hair, but what’s inside. For a Korean story, that’s quite a risk.

I didn’t know this ,but my internet savvy sister informed me how Korea is kind of obsessed with external beauty, that plastic surgery is not uncommon there, and people try really hard. Maybe that’s the reason behind the k-pop craze.

I’ve seen some pictures, and I think it all looks a little too plastic for my tastes, plus I don’t really like feminine looking men all that much, I like men that look like men. I mean, the idols are cute, but I couldn’t see myself dating one.

I also found out age is counted differently in Korea. I’d be 23 there.

With a culture like that, it’s not surprising that the huge influx of webtoons from Korea (most webtoons are from Korea) focus on the damages of being obsessed with appearance superficial stuff like singing, acting, etc.

I currently read “No Longer a Heroine” and “Your Smile is a Trap” two stories that focus a lot on those subjects. True Beauty does give some attention to it, but the fans began to get annoyed with how long the MC (I can’t spell the names) kept obsessing over it, and over which of two hot guys she should ed up with.

If you read it and care about my opinion, I’m team Suho,

Fan casting of 9 characters in True beauty

but I don’t enjoy either ship very much, I just find Suho more likable overall (and his is the only name I can spell, let alone pronounce). I don’t dislike the other guy, on his own, but all his interactions with the MC annoy the crap out of me.

Anyway, so in short, the fans feel the story promised one thing and delivered another. This is not uncommon for anime, from what I’ve seen, but for Webtoons, it actually is. Most of the ones I’ve read deliver on their message fairly well, I was quite impressed. They handle story way better than most shows I’ve seen do. Perhaps part of it is the lack of studio interference, let’s hope it stays that way.

I can’t accurately theorize about why the author chose this route, I actually believe their goal is still to explore the theme of true beauty, but they are not sure of the best way to do that at this stage. I think they set out to do that, and got caught up in the romance, but maybe I’m wrong, maybe they are just basic. It doesn’t really matter, I try to judge a story by its potential.

The trick with that though is, judging by potential can miss the point. My favorite anime is MHA, and the biggest haters of that show tend to criticize it for not doing what they think it should. My old fave, RWBY, got heat for the same reason.

While MHA is still good, RWBY devolved due to studio interference and too much fan hate into something that no longer make any kind of sense or even resembles its original self. It’s no longer about potential so much as the loss of anything meaningful at all.

But MHA drew me in because the author constantly subverts tropes and uses them in a new way. The angry character is sensitive and level headed, the ditsy character is actually grounded, the hero can sometimes be too naive, the villain can be evil but still able to be a foil for the hero without making him/her sympathetic. So, in the end, what I expected and din’t get was a good thing. The potential of the show is unlimited as long as the writing style stays that way it is. It’s not perfect, but it is unique.

So, as I said, Potential is tricky many fans are presumptions and pretentious about it, and I don’t want to be there. I will say, I was never really a fan of this comic to being with, I was on the fence, so I don’t think I’m blinded by fan-passion.

The reason I think it’s fair to criticize this story based on potential, is because there’s actually nothing of substance in the story, except for the backstory of the two male leads, which was quite heartbreaking. The MC isn’t a bad person, but she does nothing noteworthy at all, she has nothing profound to add to the story, and she is annoying.

I’m actually not that invested in the message of true beauty being only inward, as I don’t really believe that. I believe beauty is outward, inward, and beyond. Music is beautiful, so is art, so is virtue. I find stories that say that outward beauty doesn’t matter to be just untrue. The Bible actually doesn’t support this idea despite what is popularly believed. It tells us not to obsess over outward adornment, but many stories in it support being a s beautiful as you can be. Ruth, Ester, Abigail, Sarah, and others were all renowned for their beauty, and tried to be beautiful, at least in 3 out of 4 of those examples.

I personally believe if you don’t try to be your best self, outward as well as inward, you don’t respect yourself. I try to look good even when I’m not wearing make up and am in my comfy clothes. I still coordinate and clean up and brush my hair. I never leave the house with the kind of sloppy, messy bun I see other women walk around with. It’s not that I think I’m better than them, it’s that I think my appearance tells people I respect myself and I respect others. I have almost never been hit on or disrespected in public. I think the facts speak for themselves.

Given that I have this attitude, what drives me crazy about True Beauty is the MC’s toxic attitude toward herself. Her family doesn’t help her much, but still, she’s so grating. She acts like her face is the worst thing ever. According to the other characters in the story, she’s actually cute, even without make up, but she uses make-up to change how she looks.

True Beauty- My First Impression | Shoujo Amino Amino

I guess I shoudl address this since it cause a lto of conroversy in the world of make up.

I did my time watching tutorials on YouTube, I could even link my favorite channel below. I got into make up tutorials because they were artistic, I wanted to learn how to imitate characters I liked, and do themed looks, like Seasonal, Disney, Princess, Fairy, etc. So, I learned about changing how your face looks for costume sake. And I actually applied it while I was doing Shakespeare plays, I did a really amazing amateur job to make my sister look old and decrepit when she played Shylock. Since I didn’t have professional make up to work with, it didn’t show up much on stage, but up close it was quite impressive. I’ve done other looks since, with moderate success.

My own make up, I don’t use to change how my face looks, I lean into my natural beauties. I enhance my eye shape, rather than change it, and I bring out my lip color and skin tone by picking colors similar to my own.

I am blessed with very good base features to begin with, I can go out without make up on and feel perfectly confident of my appearance. Make up is a fun thing for me because I don’t take it so seriously, and I’ve seen other girls who have confidence say the same.

That being said, you can see why someone treating make up as a life saver would be unrelatable for me. and someone hating on their natural face is also weird, as I just don’t do that.

Yes, the thought crosses my mind, but I don’t humor it. I think every woman has temptations to judge her face too harshly, I think men do also, but for me it is a temptation, not a compulsion.

You may say (though I doubt you all would really judge me on this one) that it is easy for me because I am naturally pretty, and I don’t have a toxic family telling me how ugly I am all the time.

Well, to that I would say: You haven’t read this blog long enough, go back and check out my abuse category.

I grew up believe I was ugly. I didn’t like my nose, or my face. I thought my eyes were scary. I have very sculpted eyebrows naturally, and dark eyes, and I used to think I looked angry all the time, other people sometimes thought I did. But some people began saying they were pretty, and my mind changed.

But once I hit puberty and began doing make up and outfits on my won more, I wanted to be pretty. I still wan’t sure I was. I asked my family, my mom would tell me I was digging for a compliment (and she sounded so disdainful about it, I was shocked) and not answer usually, sometimes she would say I had nice eyes or a nice smile, but when I would still be insecure and need to hear it again, she’s say I was digging for it.

My dad was decidedly worse, I would ask how I looked (and not even direct the question to him) and he’d answer “Hideous” every single time. I think he complimented me one time in 6-8 years about how I looked. Once he asked if I was going to use make-up, I said I didn’t need it (tried to be confident, you know) he said “It wouldn’t hurt you to use a little make up and style your hair.”

My hair has been praise more than any other of my features. It’s a unique color, wavy almost curly, and long and soft. I usually leave it alone because it’s naturally styled for me by being wavy and curling it doesn’t really work, it’s too thick. And everyone else loves it, but my dad…I think he was being spiteful, quite honestly.

These memories don’t hurt as much as they once did, but they do serve as a reminder to me that my confidence is not because of my parents, but in spite of them.

So yeah, I did not have a family who lifted my up. I did make some friends who did, and it was through that, and reading some good books, and prayer, that I began to feel confident. I now can look at myself and think I look really good. I owe that to God and better friends and sisters who thankfully did not inherit my parents dysfunctional traits (or are working to overcome them as I am).

One thing that also change it for me was learning to give compliments and look for beauty in other people, even if I found them unattractive at first, if I looked long enough or know them enough I could see something pretty or handsome about them. Doing that to others taught me to give myself a bit more credit too, I realized if I could see it in them, they could probably see it in me.

Sometimes when I feel bad about my face, I think to myself “Well, I may not see it, but other people think I look good, so why feel down about it?” And that snaps me out of it pretty quickly. Really, almost everyone can be thought attractive by others, people have very diverse tastes. Some people like chubbiness, some like stock, some like beard, some like unsaved legs for crying out loud (actually, most culture don’t care about shaved legs, that’s very American, I think Asian too).

Given that I has this background I do, and I still became confident, I have zero sympathy for the MC of True Beauty. It’s not necessarily he choice to have issues to being with, but I actively sought out a way to overcome those issues, I put better ideas into my head, and she doesn’t. She goes to online forums that only encourage a shallow way of thinking, surrounds herself with friends who also care too much, though not as much as she does. And she doesn’t take care of her skin or body, to be the best natural self she could be. Then she whines about being ugly. I’m like “Girl, you chose this, it’s not like you couldn’t be pretty if you took care of yourself.”

I mean, if she stopped doing make up for a few months, took care of her skin, and ate less sugar, she’d be fine. But she refuses to drop her beauty facade for even a week.

At the end of the day, the cycle she’s in is one she made for herself, and it’s not anyone else’s fault, she’s not ugly, and she doesn’t have to do what she does, but she does it because she prefers the shortcut way to beauty.

And that’s the thing, True Beauty takes work. Being beautiful outside and inside.

I take care of my skin. I use facial scrubs, I use lotio, I wash it usuallyy at lesa once a day before bed. I put on chapstick. It all take a few mintues tops. When I feel like it, I do more, but doing at least that much has given me pretty cldan skin. And this is not reaching for the stars. Every woman who can fofrd make up can afford skin care, if we prioritzed that instead.

I didn’t use to think skin care was that improtant, but I’ve learned it actually seems to reduce stress and helath issues when my skin is soft and clean. IT just geels better, getiing tocxis and dirt off. So, hey, d it for you r mood if not for your body.

Plus, thats workin with wha God gave you.

As for body type, a think that the MC also gripse about, there is such a thing s style.

My sisters and I have tihs issue. I have a body type that is perfect for store-boufth mainsteeam clothes. They are all desgien to look good on someone with my specofic body type. I’ve been told I could model. I don’t think I could handle the ahssle and pressure f it, but I have noticed that my figure is the right kind. I am tall also.

Most people don’t reali that mainstream clothes are desgined to look good on only one kind of person. That’s becuase it’s easier to seel in mass that way. And if you don’t buy off the rack, you’re stuck with it.

However, there are away around it. My sisters and I use belts, hats, scarves, and different match ups of clothes to create our own unique mesh of styles that accenuate our good points.

My poont is:t’s not that hard to be beautiful.

But even if you do have deformities, or health problems whtat affect your appearance, you don’t have to think you’re ugly.

Even if you are ugly, it does not have to matter in the long run.

The truth is, bueaty only matters in circles that focus on i. If you don’t have that natural beuaty that people cracve, don’t run aorund social media, the entertaiment indstry, and modeling and other beuaty themed careers. Beuaty of that sort is just a gift, like any other, to be enjoyed, and used if you like, but it’s not quintessential to a good life.

IF you respect yourself, others will respect you even ifyou are truly ugly, and fe people are. Most are not as ugly as they think they are, even if they are plain.

And plain people can still be beautiful. Inner light shines out, it doesn’t matter whether you have a good face or not.

In the end, certai cirlse of people will never call you beautiful if you don’t meet a sstandard. They will not call a fat person beautifl even if they are, because fat is a disqulaifier for them. IT’s not based onre ality.

I actually see no real issue with this. If I’m casting for a role that matches a certain despeciription, it doesn’t matter how hot someone is, if they don’t match that depcirptin, I can’t use them. For better or worse, the moern beauty industry has one standard, and that’s thwy they are looking for. May of the peole in it might admit it’s narrow, and beuaty is bigger than a singlual body type, but it’s impossible to amek it competaive that way.

And competiton isn ecessary to have beaty be a sourc eof income.

And if you think hat’as unfair, tough. Becuae I think penty of peoel who support their family with their face, and take good care of their body and larnt he art of make upa nd style deserve some reward for it. Ther’s nothing worng with any of that. tRaing you boy like a canvas can incease your respect for the body. Just as becoign apainter yoursle finceras yoru repsect for paint and canvas. I love paper and pens in a way other s don’t because I am a wirter, I love books ad their smell and feel becuase I am a reader, I love the detail of FRench and ASL becuaes I am a language buff. I don’t see why beuaty is any different.

the insiantiy is that people don’t see it as having enres. They think all beuaty is one way. Mainsteam beuaty could be seen as the genre of fanstasy. That’s the goal, to be better than reality, or at least markedly different. Not relaistic. No one want s realizm in fantasty.

But the genre of beuaty could also be in athethic beauty, or old fashioned beauty, or a materanl family kind. I see beuaty in allt hose areas, I don’t expect a stay at home mom to look like a model, but she can be beuatufil, just in the way that makes sens for what she does.

I hope my poinnti is not too compbulted, It hink I got on a roll.

You see what I mean? Beuaty if different for differnt people, and honeslty, the people in the copetive egine often understand that just fine, it’s their job to conform to the standard os their profession, they wose ones will stay out of the other genres.

IT’s us who try to comibne them all into some disgusting mess that no one can keep up with.

YEs, the mainstream doe stkae it too far. ED should not be a common problem for models and actors.

But, it’s not all evil either.

I think Miss Congeniality made a good point about this, if you put no effort in, it’s not jsut that you think beauty doesn’t matter, it means that you think you can be subpar on purpose.

And any area of life you settle for less than your best in, you are still falling short.

IF the best osme people cna do is be 300lbs and happy, that’s all good. IF you can’t lose weight, don’t feel bad. IF you can’t gain weigh, (I can’t) don’t feel bad.

But if you choose to be 200lbs when you could be 180;bs with better helath decisions…well, I don’t want to listen to your girping. which is my issue with True Beauty.

If you choose to be unattractive, and have unattractive attitudes, I don’t think you deserve much pity. I hop you get help, but if you refuse it when it’s offered, why should I feel sorry for you? Or try to build up your ego when you will knock it down yourself?

There are people who have made bad choices and are now sorry. That’s not who I’m talking about. I think recovery is admirable and important, I ought to after all the recovery I’ve been doing.

I mean the ones who park there forever.

Depend upon it, how you treat your outwear self does effect you inward.

The MC becomes a liar and a hypocrite. I just got to episode 94 or so, where she chides her bf about not being honest with her, and then realizes she is not honest with him either. She evens talked to her her ex about this, and he encourages her to be honest, her sister encourages it also. But she stills flips out and runs form her bf the second he sees her without make up, and almost gets hit by a car. At that point, as her bf, I would have yelled at her and been really mad. That’s just stupidity. He’s very nice about it, instead, but that says more about his insecurities than hers.

Pin by CarrieMaxwell on *Web Toon saves* | True beauty, Photo editing vsco,  Anime people

I mean, if I found out my SO was hiding their face form me, for months, I would feel insulted. It implies they don’t trust me.

Now hear me on this, it’s true she’s insecure, and she’s got problems, so she believes he will be disappointed no matter what. All that is real, and I won’t make fun of it or diminish it, I have issues too.

But this is what I think: If you are going to be with someone, romantically, you need to be wiling to show them your ugly side, even if you believe they will hate it. It is only fair to them,and if you really love them, you will not lie. It may be hard for you, it may be all you hear is screaming in your head that you’ll be rejected, but it doesn’t matter. You must be vulnerable to be a in a real, loving relationship.

I have a crush, and I have not hesitated to tell him I had an abusive past, and now have no father. He has not stopped being my friend, or treated me differently over it, but if he had, I’d have wanted to know that sooner rather than later.

Does that mean my crush should be my bf? No, but it means, I didn’t hide anything, if it was to happen.

And it wasn’t always easy. I know some people see others as damaged goods. They have terrible reactions to hearing you were a victim. Or they are overwhelmed. That may happen to me, it actually did, with someone else… but, I refuse to act like I have anything to be ashamed of. I’ve found people to be much more sympathetic because of that.

And I don’t judge others as much now that I’ve come to see it in myself. If someone complains about their parents, I don’t assume that thy are just bad kids, I’ve learned it can be quite real.

One more thing:

I don’t like the attitude of True Beauty that you need your boyfriend to affirm he will not stop loving you if you don’t look the same without make up. If that is even a question, you are dating the wrong guy. Or girl, gents, if you have that problem too.

Hey, he may be surprised, but if you change your face, he has a right to be surprised, who wouldn’t be? It doesn’t mean you’re ugly, you idiot (I mean the MC.)

If I gave myself slanted eyes with make up and then took it off, I’d expect someone who didn’t know to be a little stunned.

If anything, the guy should dump her for lying to him for months, but he did the same so I guess he can’t talk. Great foundation for a relationship, I know. Ugh.

I detest dishonesty above almost all else in a relationship, and I don’t practice it myself. Sometimes I think I get lied to without knowing it because I expect others to be as honest with me as I am with them.

That’s a discussion for another time, however.

To wrap it all up, true Beauty is something hard to quantify. I think if you glory in looking good outside, that is part of your true beauty, and as long as you are not prideful about it, that’s fine. If you don’t care about make up and clothes, but you still respect yourself and take care of yourself, than true Beauty is in that. It’s also in your soul.

But if you treat yourself like you are ugly, you become ugly inside and out. That’s the end of it.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Link to my favorite Make-up channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/charismastar

More about MHA ships, and what they tell us about our culture.

Another fun post for me, let’s talk about shipping wars in MHA.

I have strong opinions about this, but if you’re not a fan, this probably won’t seem very interesting to you (then again, who knows, maybe I’ll surprise you.)

What I think it intriguing about the “Art of Shipping” (yes, I’m sticking with that) is when Fandoms all agree about one basic aspect of the ship, and the MHA one is perhaps the one I’ve found this trend in the most, though the Naruto one has the same thing.

Bascially, if you take out the ship haters, and the people who ship anything just because they want to see people kiss/bang, you are left with a few groups of shippers who have actual reasons for liking the ship (yeah, salt). And to my surprise, those odn’t usulaly come in differeent flavors. We all agree onw hat we like about a ship.

To take the top canon ship for example, Dekuraka (Deku x Uraraka), many people find it boring, but those who don’t all seem to agree that the nice thing about it is the anime staple of pureness and puppy love. But even more, people like Uraraka trying to respect Deku’s life by not complicating it (I personally don’t agree with her philosophy of love, but it’s more anime acceptable.)

I don’t have much more to say about that one, since it’s not the one I find most interesting.

I could list after other simple ones, like “Kamijiro (Kaminari x Jiro), Kirimina, (Kirishima x Mina), Whatever the Froppy x Tokayami one is called, and more.

The ones I see the most fan stuff made for are Kamijiro, Todomomo (Todoroki x Momo), and usrprisingly, Kachako (Bakugo x Uraraka). I’m not gcounitn the homo ships because I don’t support them.

But I suppose I should say a word about it.

My overall issue with yaoi or yuri shippers (BL and GL for non weebs), other than my religion, is that I find the ships extremely boring. It’s all about the homo part, and rarely about anything deeper, so there’s not much for me to get into if I see it.

Kirbaku fans at times try to accomplish something deeper, and Tododeku fans, but it’s usually no deeper than “They like each other despite have difficult personalities, or trauma” and oddly, the Tododeku people focus on that less, despite the more canon basis for it, while the Kiribaku venture there usually only for humor. If there are exceptions, they don’t frequent the forums I’m on.

I find homo ships to be shallow for the most part, and I have not seen enough counterexamples to change my mind on that. So, I will stick to the straight ships for my point.

Todomomo is my favorite, or my first favorite ship before I learned about the other one. I liked the dynamic after the episode “Yaoyerozu rising” where most of us got on board that ship. but I also liked the CD drama (semi-canon stuff) because it did what I’ve actually never seen an anime do, maybe why it was snuck into a CD drama.

Todoroki, in said CD drama, actually opens up to Momo, in a nuanced way, about his feelings about his family, though he immediately becomes embarrassed about it. I’ve read that that’s a cultural no-no in Japan. Momo seems to be unsure what to say for that reason, but then tells him she’s not just “Someone else” (like a random stranger) but she’s his classmate. Meaning that it’s okay to talk to her because they have a solid relationship as fellow students.

For anime, that’s about as bold as it gets, and it’s cute.

More importantly, it’s what’s at the core of this ship. The theme of Todomomo is helping each other deal with your past, and your insecurities. Mostly the fans make cute stuff about them building each other up, inspiring each other, etc. But the more hardcore AU (alternate universe) writers have tried swapping their backstories. And seeing how Todoroki does with Momo as the traumatized one. I prefer it as it is, but I find the more different the AUs are, the more it tells you about what the fans agree about. As I said, it’s the theme.

More about themes in a second.

My other fave is BakuCamie (Bakugo x Camie,) which hasn’t gotten a lot of love since Camie has barely been in the show, but the Manga fans are more into it.

What my sisters and I got hooked by with this ship was the potential for shared difficulties. I didn’t really like it at first, because I thought Camie was supposed to be an airhead, but after I did some digging and my sister gave me the pitch discussing it, I came around.

Bakugo and Camie both have the experience of being targeted by the League of Villain solely, instead of in a group. While Camie cannot remember hers, and Bakugo and probably never forget, their victimization led to some of the same things. More people freaking out about the League, and victim-blaming.

We see Bakugo get victim blamed by the media and heroes. Because he is angry so much, they say, the villains are trying to turn him. (At this point, did anyone even know for sure that was their goal? I don’t remember it being stated in the attack). And while typical in anime, it’s pretty sick to blame a 15 year old kid with anger issues and bad parenting strategies, for being kidnapped by villains who already attacked his school once, and who he kicked the rears of so they might very well be out for revenge or to eliminate a threat.

I actually started loving Bakugo in season 3, and I wan’t the only one. Surprisingly, he doesn’t really get mad at anyone for blaming him, maybe since they don’t do it to his face, or because he blames himself too and his mom doesn’t help(I like her, but I would not want to be her kid).

Camie, on the other hand gets victim-blamed by her own classmate, giving us a peek into the very different Shiketsu dynamic than UA’s very supportive class system (pardon my terrible joke). Shishikura is an ass, and I was glad Bakugo kicked his rear in the exam, but he still gloats and looks down on Camie for her “flighty” or ditsy personality, saying she got kidnapped for that reason.

Now, we are presented with a surprising similarity here, Camie has everything Bakugo lacks. She’s subtle where he’s blunt, friendly where he’s antisocial (or shy), and relaxed where he’s a live wire, she’s got all the people skills to be a fan favorite in the hero world, and in the real world, yet… she and Bakugo are both blamed for their personalities.

What the heack is wrong with these people?

I notice that in anime, often it doesn’t matter what the reason was, if you lost, you are a loser. there is no honor in defeat, even if it was the best you could do. If you are wronged by someone, it’s your fault for not being smart enough or strong enough to evade them.

It doesn’t matter that Camie was drugged, and Bakugo was jumped in the woods by a trained magician,

Atsuhiro Sako | My Hero Academia Wiki | Fandom

they should have somehow been able to avoid that if they just weren’t so… them.

Yeah, there’s too many layers of NOPE in that way of thinking for me to even get into without turning this post into a rant, but, it’s very very common for characters in anime to spout that sort of thinking. And it’s very damaging, even in the fictional circumstances.

That being said, the fans have tried to remedy that problem by making Bakucamie about them helping each other heal and gather strength to keep going. Also making each other stronger. Camie smooths Bakugo’s rough edges via humor, making him more friendly, while Bakugo defends Camie from getting attacked by snobs by just being around her. That’s the general feeling…but also, people feel he just gets her, in ways no one else does.

To me it makes sense, Bakugo attracts weird people. Ones who don’t feel like they belong, or are ever strong enough, because just being around him makes you feel stronger. That’s true even for a fan watching the show. We all love Bakugo because he speaks to that crazy side in all of us that we want to be confident about instead of insecure.

See, it’s not about the anger. That’s just the vehicle that makes it funny, also the only way shonen anime know show to do confident characters without making them flat and stoic(prove me wrong), it’s that Bakugo embraces what he thinks, even if it’s not always flawless, and we want to be able to do that.

The reason fans have been drawn to Camie as a shipping partner for him, since her introduction, is because Camie is the same way, only she relied more on humor than anger. But Camie is unashamedly who she is, and blows off Shishikura’s criticism like it goes over her head.

The fans have read into it, however, the suspicion that Camie is not really oblivious, just knows better than to acknowledge priggish slights at her personality, since it only encourages them. We think that her ability to throw shade at Bakugo proves that she is not oblivious, just sly, in a good way.

Actually, Camie is the one who intiatilly suggests the idea that works, jus in the one ar she’s in, and my faoviretie thing about Horikoshi’s wriitng is how he subverts sterotypes. Bakguo is angry, but he’s actually sensitive, Camie is an airhead who’s actuallys mart. It would be in form for him.

I think th emanga has alreayd added to this, but I’ve only watched the show, and manga spoilers woudl be mean anyhow for any fans reading this, so I’ll stikc to fan stuff.

I was surpised, whien I was diggin for more Bakucamie content, to find a theme of deep emotional/ menatl helahty issues. I found a comic about crying that remeind me of a depression uote I saw once:

Not the full strip, you can find it on Google somewhere.

This isn’t the only fan creation like this, I found one about bulimia, and another where Bakugo was depressed. I thought those were extreme, but I noted that the theme is still they help each other, they lift each up, and the make each other better.

And I found way more serious ones than humorous ones, which surprised me because Camie is meme gold, and I expected more fan made stuff about that.

The themes can surprise you, but, I think that it’s telling when a ship spareks the imagination in almost hte dsme way.

It leads me to ask, why?

I mean, people come form all walks of life, with different goals. How is it we see the same protential. To me it means that ships strike our core needs, and that’s why, I often find shippers understand the characters far better than fans who stick stirctlyt o plot.

In fact, when I’ve watched reviewers who focus on plot, and think ships are a waste of time, I usually end up shocked by their take on the character and show’s tone overall.

To be fair, shippers can also ignore a lot of important red flags in order to ship. I ignored those because it really has nothing to do with my point, but yes, it has it’s drawbacks.

I guess it’s also fair to mention that Bakucamie’ does have a red flag in that, Bakugo can be qutie mean verbally. Though, he’s not suuallymean to Camie, but if you want to get in deep, you could arug he’s not really suited to being ina relatinship period.

I’d answer that, irl, I might agree, or I’d at least proceed with caution, but that fans only have the present to work with when they ship, and Bakugo is already growing out of his meanness, so in a few years, he could be totally fine, and we can look ahead. Realistically that ship can’t happen until they graduate anyway.

Todomomo has no red flags and is probably the purest ship on the freaking show (I don’t think Dekuraka is as pure simply because Deku is too self destructive to be attentive to a girlfriend, as of now, imo, but I don’t object to it.)

It’s interesting to note that as stupid as most of us find shipping wars, shipping is one of the only things fans go to war over. Other then political controversy, and problematic content, shipping is the top positive aspect of a show that people fight over.

And with a vengeance.

Why do we care aso much about it?

Like I said in my I ship it! post, Love, even fictional love, is powerful. And we can’t help but get involved in it. I sometimes are about couple I really hate, just because I can’t gt away from thinking love is important.

Often shipping is the biggest focus a story puts on love. Stories that focus on different types, like Violet Evergarden, tend to not create as much shipping controversy.

But what the critics of shippin fail to realize is how much it upholds the basic need we have for emotional peth in a story.

If we focus only on action, and plot, and drama, it becomes stale. I get bored of superhero shows that don’t include relationships.

And parent-child stuff is often made the problem, rather than a good example in stories. Friend-friend is usually better, but more rare. “My Little Pony” stays fresh to the very end because Love and relationships never feel truly old, even if you’ve seen it a hundred times. When a show is built around it, you keep people reeled in. A more grotesque example would be classic soap operas.

For the average show, though, shipping is the main exploration of love, and relationship dynamic. And while you can’t build a show on it, you cannot really max out the potential of any character driven story without shipping. At least, I’ve always felt dissatisfied by one.

Before I close this post, I’ll return to why I think these two ships in particular are important to look at.

Whether they become official or not is not really the pint, it’s that they took the direction they did.

People are really hungry for healing right now, especially after last year. They are drawn to ships that center around characters helping each other be whole and happy. It gives them hope.

Sometimes, too much. Just go on Webtoon sometime and see how important people find this stuff. They say they live off of it… literally.

You learn a lot, that’s the truth. When you can’t get out an talk to people, fandoms sure are a great (and terrifying) place to learn about them.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

I ship it!

Since I got tired of writing only super serious life posts, I’m continuing my Christmas break (lol) with a post about one of my favorite things to do in fandoms. You guessed it from the title, I’m a shipper.

I am that kind of shipper who views shipping as an art form, I never multi-ship, and I put hours of thought into my OTPs, and NOTPS too.

Note: For those of you not in on the fandom lingo, here’s a few terms

Ship: Noun: Short for relationship, usually means erotic, but can mean friendship, if you specify it as such. Verb: To support or hope for said relationship, usually by making fan content or subscribing to other fan’s content, but can just be casually enjoying it on the show or book.

OTP: One True Pairing, your favorite couple, that you cannot see being satisfied with any other pairing, think of it as the soulmate of fictional relationships. Initially it meant the one pairing of the source material overall that you liked, but now it more of means the pairings for each character you prefer, so you can have more than one. For example, your One True Pairing for Batman can be him with Wonder Woman, or with Catwoman, while your One True Pairing for Superman can be with Lois Lane, or with Wonder Woman (depending on what DCU you follow) and you can have both, but Wonder Woman can’t be in both, you have to pick, otherwise it’s called being a multi-shipper.

NOTP: The pairing in a fandom you absolutely hate, usually because you like a different ship more, in my case, it’s because my NOTPS are usually abusive relationships that I find horrifying that people ship at all.

Shipping War: When fans take shipping WAY too seriously and attack each other and the author over it. A debate is not a shipping war per sec, but fans will fight on social media and leave hate comments on the opposition’s videos, like it really make s a difference, and riot if the source Creator doesn’t do what they want, it’s all a joke until shows actually lose ratings over it. No rational fan likes shipping wars.

Just like in my previous post about RWBY, I am making the case that caring about this stuff is not only important if you’re a fan, but also if you’re not, because fandoms are influencing your life way more than you realize they are, unless you are in one.

Seriously, I make friends over this stuff, and other people lose friends over it, and that’s just the beginning of the way fandoms permeate the culture. And that’s global, for the most part. Think how Frozen became a world wide sensation in like a month and it still is 6 years later.

If you still aren’t convinced, then hear me on this: Fandom Logic has permeated even our political social interactions… in fact, if I’m being honest, Politics are the original Fandom.

LSU Press :: Books - Politics for the Love of Fandom
This book goes more into the subject, if you’re interested, I just found it while researching this post.

So, that being said, I’ve learned quite a bit from participating in a few, you really see the good, the bad, and the ugly side of people’s art and love of art and values through fandoms.

And shipping is an especially good way to learn this, since as a woman, I find relationships to be pretty much the most important thing there is, and plenty of men I know or know of take the ships very seriously too. Though they tend to blame the overall show’s tone for what they don’t like, while women tend to focus on the characters themselves and whether or not they have chemistry. I, an intellectual female fan, do both.

I had my days of fan-raging out over stuff I didn’t like, and I sometimes indulge that around people who agree with me almost 100% (who doesn’t) but overtime i realized that it fixes nothing, and no one will ever see your point if you just yell at them. I’ve started being able to calmly discuss things with other fans, and actually diffuse it if they get too worked up. Though it doesn’t always work. I do this more with politics, religion, and other real world issues now too, actually, learning about one helped me learn about the other.

There, I think I’ve justified talking about this so seriously enough now, let’s get to the meat of this post:

Shipping: Why Bother?

So, the top annoying things i hear in fandoms about shipping is the self righterous snobbish comments about it not being improtnatn who gets with who, who kisses, and waht not. That we should focus on the plot.

I fine this stupid and concerning for a couple reasons. The first being

  1. Nothing in the story is real, so why does it matter which particular element people focus on? Are you really saying the plot is more “real” than the relationships, because usually the plot depends on magic, superpowers, or a political system that’s not actually in place int he real world, while relationship dynamics are a real thing, more people care about than they do the so-called “important” stuff.

2. Sex, kissing, and all the rest that goes with are important. That’s literally how we get new life, and have a future on this planet, and in a story it works the same way. Strictly speaking, without couples, there is no real continuation or progression of a plot. Stories that don’t develop ships end up in a weird loop, of never changing dynamics. Even freaking Star Trek eventually added ships to change stuff up and that’s one of the most popular sci–fi shows of all time. Dr. Who has a ton of shipping. Shipping changes stuff in ways other plot points don’t. in franchise like the MCU, adding a next generation of kids because of the couples gives you the opportunity to go into themes like legacy, and carrying on a hero’es mission, even when the circumstances have changed. Yo just don’t get that without a romantic subplot to set it up.

Actually, even stories that keep romance out of it usually have a mentor-ship arc, which is basically a variation of a parenthood arc. So yes, I find it quite important.

That said, I don’t think most fans actually hearken to the idea that shipping is unimportant. Some do find it stupid to argue over it.

I think, in one way, they are right, arguing based on personal taste is a colossal waste of time. I think of the shippers of Zuko x Katara vs Zuko x Mai, yeah, I prefer one, but neither is toxic enough for me to argue about it. In that case it is more of a minor annoyance.

But then, if a ship is promoting a lifestyle, mindset, and set of behaviors that is simply wrong, and that may influence what younger viewers think is acceptable in relationships, I think it is the job of viewers and fans to call it out. After all, we contribute to it if we support this stuff. Which is why I find the shippers of Harleyquin and Joker to be quite scary. The tags “EVIL LOVE” are insulting and degrading the very nature of what love is. Love is never evil, if it’s evil, it’s not really love, just a sick impersonation of it. Why would you support such an abusive relationship?

At this point someone usually argues that it’s just for fun. To which I respond “Bullcrap”

People take this stuff dead seriously, and more and more science supports that fiction affects our brains almost the same way non-fiction does, in fact, it effects us more simply because we consume more fiction than reality, in this culture. We’ve substituted local gossip for shipping discussions.

And, if the amount of toxic relationships in the culture is any indication, we really to believe this crap is normal.

It astonished me after watching Naruto, how many fans saw no problem at all with the way the ships ended, even though at least a couple of them are toxic, and most were not developed at all. But the alternative fandom ships were almost worse, making me wonder if people honestly thought this was relationship goals.

I think people do purposely choose to ignore the red flags in these ships and put the best possible spin on it, and hey, it’s a show, so why is it not open to interpretation?

I used to be more lax about that, but after realizing that in my own life, my family and I had made the same excuses for my dad and my other relatives that people make for fictional characters, I had to wonder, is there really a line of reality?

We use backstory to excuse a lot, and in real life, we do that too. My dad uses his own tragic backstory to excuse all of his behavior, even what is not explained by said backstory (and his is a very anime type kind of story too. Not in a nice way.) I have a prime example of what it might be like to live with an anime protagonist post the show. Allegedly, my dad moved on, overcame his trials by his own efforts and hard work, married happily, settled, and had 3 great daughters. What more could you ask for if this was an anime?

Yet, nothing was truly happy in my household, my dad still related to my mom, me, and my sisters in exactly the same way he related to his toxic family. He didn’t ever have satisfaction in his line of work, even though it was something he enjoyed he stressed constantly and complained and abused his employees.

So, I maintain, if a character has unresolved issues and is shipped anyway, it will remain toxic whatever the fandom chooses to believe. And, an author is probably writing from their experience, so it raises concerns about what they think is okay.

One of the reasons I mentioned that I do not like the Bumblebee ship in RWBY (that’s a gay ship between Yang and Blake, two Main Characters) is that I believe its toxic, and since this is the focus on this post, let’s dive a little bit more into why that is:

I said that Bumblebee was pushed to pander to the fans, and that it took the focus off both character’s development, but I didn’t really go into how it actually works. And since it’s hardly addressed at all, this should be short.

The dynamic of Bumblebee is mostly to be gay, and even LGBTQ fans complain about that very thing, I’ve seen it. If we remove that element, all we have left is a few funny exchanges in season 1, a single heartfelt conversation that was mostly Blake being defensive until the end is season 2, absolutely nothing important in season 3 except Yang trying and failing to save Blake from her psycho-ex (which at that pint in time Yang would have done for any of her team), nothing in season 4 at all. A angry gripe session of Yang in season 5 where she blames Blake for leaving her, and doesn’t try to understand until Weiss of all people point sit out to her, and even then she seems hesitant, but sort of accepts Blake back into the team. In season 6, they spend most of it being uncomfortable with all the unresolved tension and changes in their lives, ending it by tag-teaming Adam to death and reassuring each other they’ll be there for each other. Great!

Vol 7 we get more of nothing, except Nora hinting that they are a thing–Nora, mind you, not them–and Yang saying the wrong thing, and Blake being weird about it, and then both of them discussing what’s going on without having anything notable to say about it, I don’t even remember what they talked about.

In vol 8 so far, we have zero conversations, while they disagree on the plan of action, and Yang worries Blake will look down on her for someone vaguely defined reason (seriously, it makes no sense, Blake did pretty much exactly what Yang is doing in volume 5, of course since they’ve never TALKED about it, maybe Yang is unaware of that fact).

Great history isn’t it? The amount of time Yang and Blake actually spend together NOT making each other uncomfortable is… maybe two scenes? Out of 8 volumes. Yeah, this just doesn’t work for me.

Aside from the dynamic, I also put a lot of thought into personality. Like parents and family usually do for their children, you think what will bring out the best in the other person, what they need, and you look at their track record for clues about any pattern they have in relationships.

Yang has a total of zero relationships that we know of, other than a very negative mother-daughter one, a decent Father-daughter one, and a questionable sister-sister one. She’s consistently annoying and angry at all her other friends and doesn’t listen to any of them except Weiss on one occasion. Terrific. (I didn’t dislike Yang initially thought, I thought she was a good character in volume 5, it just got dropped after that).

Blake does have one relationship, or one and a half, under her belt, and that’s actually my main concern. It was an abusive relationship with Adam, the guy who tries to kill her like two or three times afterward. Since that relationship ended (a straight one I might add) she’s been busy running form her problems, and being pretty reliant on other people for her self-care. It takes Yang really beating it into her head in vol 2 for her to rest a little, with help from Sun. And then Sun has to follow her home and risk his life a couple times for her to get that she needs to stop hating herself and trying to be alone.

I didn’t think all this made Blake a bad character, I could relate to some of what she felt, and it was a good story. However, to me, her development with Sun was a crucial part of it. She was learning to talk through stuff with him, not carry it all inside. To open up to help, and be less defensive and sad. It was solid. She also was strangely unhung-up over Adam while she was around Sun.

Once Sun left, Blake goes back to being freaked out by Adam, and Yang doesn’t really make a difference here. They don’t talk about it more than once, and Blake just ticks Yang ff that time. Then after they kill him, Blake is upset but resolved to be better. I thought that was good for her…but then it’s just kind of gone in the next volume and Blake is acting awkward and insecure around Yang…

And she was literally flirting with Sun a week ago in the show’s timeline.

To me this makes it seem way more like Blake just can’t not be a relationship to have self worth, she relied on other people to help her get through things not in a good way, but in a, “If I don’t get this kind of attention, I shut down” kind of way. She makes no move to talk to or bond with the other characters, and she and Yang continue to not work through their unresolved issues. Which seems far more like her relationship with Adam than with Sun, and not what we should be going for if she’s really learned something.

Together, their dynamic seems codependent, when it’s there at all, most of the time it isn’t. Yang has abandonment issues, and she gets mad at Blake for leaving her… that’s never talked about either. And she never admits that’s she pushing her issues onto Blake when she has no right to do so, as Blake never made her any promises to stay, and quite actively pushed her away most of the time. Blake’s whole aura is “don’t rely on me” Yang, like most neglected kids, is drawn to the familiar, hoping someone will make a different choice and somehow heal them, and sets herself up for disappointment when Blake does what people like Blake do, and runs or refuses to talk to her.

Yang is also angry, which is what Blake’s past failed relationship was like, so it hardly seems healthy for Blake either.

Being with someone like your abuser doesn’t fix trauma, it doubles down on it. Even if they are not “as bad”, it’s still poison.

My mom had an abusive father, he’d get drunk and yell at her, I don’t know if he hit her, she’s never told me. But he’d be angry, inconsiderate, and a jerk. Her mom was stable, but had to work to compensate for her several useless husbands, so my mom was left to mother her younger sister and take care of herself. My mom ever needs anyone that much even tot his day, 40 years later.

My dad ensures that you can’t rely on him, he yelled and stormed at my mom, and made fun of her weight, her singing, her personality, and no matter what we said, he wouldn’t stop. He recreated her trauma, and it didn’t fix a dang thing.

I tend to gravitate toward people who are negligent with me, or toxic, only I don’t realize it till later. It’s scary.

That being said, if Yang and Blake were real people, this relationship would be a bad idea, and in my opinion, it would not last. Blake will get tired of repeating the same patterns, she at least seems to learn slightly. Yang never learns, and will likely just go from person to person, unless some serious character growth happens.

If a fan were to say I was making assumptions, I’d retort that volume 1 and 2 establish Yang as a bit of a violent flirt, and in her own words, she prefers to drift “with the flow”. She doesn’t go through much to change that between volume 1 and 6, so… yeah, I don’t think she’s over it. She tends to be disrespectful to all older women she meets, Maria, Winter, the Ace Ops Females, and any others handy, because she has mommy issues. Then she turns to younger women to try to heal that. At least, it looks that way.

Now, I got all of this by actually watching the show and paying attention, and I’m pretty sure the writers down’t do that. No one seems to notice Yang has a pattern, which you’d think it would have to be intentional, however based on my own writing experience,it’s really not. I write character who consistently play off other characters in patterns, without even trying, because that’s how the personality tells itself to me. Yang has been given Mommy issues, she acts accordingly without the writers needing to plan it, we write what we know.

I wouldn’t have to try to give a character Daddy issues, I do have to try to give them a good relationship with the males in their lives. That’s how it is.

So, I spent a lot of time on Bumblebee to show you how this analysis of ships can work, and why it’s important. The level to which you can recognize these patterns in fiction may mirror the level to which you are aware of them in your own life and your family’s.

It’s not coincidence the at the people who hate Bumblebee also give the most thought out critiques about the show overall, usually. They see that common sense is being thrown out along with the continuity.

I notice most underdeveloped ships are toxic, actually, it’ like without the time and effort to think it out, we default to toxicity, because it’s toxic to not put in effort to something.

Bumblebee is like a n archetype for the main problems with shipping. Things are overlooked that should not be over looked, things are excused that are not excusable, and trust establishment is traded for cute fluffy moments, which to me are never cute if there’s nothing there.

Contrast that to a shoujo like “Lovely Complex” where both Risa’s falling for Otani, and her winning of his trust and affection are drawn out to a length that’s believable with plenty of emotional ups and downs along the way, till the climatic moment where they kiss and he returns her feelings, and you’ll just see the difference. It can be hard to re-watch because it rings so true. I’ve felt a lot of those frustrations, and the show’s message that true love never gives up is a good one. It even matches the Bible when it says “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

Fiction is a great way to experience love as we believe it should be, to give ourselves an idea of what should happen if we could love the way we want to.

I find it highly disturbing when people’s fictional love is worse than my real life love experience, mine isn’t so great, but I’ve still been blessed with some real friends and good family members. When I dream of love in the future, I dream of something better.

Another reason I find shipping just to pander to the audience to be a really bad idea. An author ought to be lifting our gazes higher than we’ve been before, to help us see what we should be looking for, even if they don’t know very well themselves, they need to strive for ideals.

You do often end up with the trashy romance novel tropes if the author has no actual experience to back it up, but Jane Austen was single, yet wrote some of the best romances of our English literature, so if you have a keen mind and an observant soul, I don’t think that has to stop you.

Again, effort is everything here.

When I ship character in my own writing, I test it out as a friendship first, I explore the strengths and weaknesses, and I honestly ask myself if I can promote this kind of dynamic to my potential audience. will this become abusive? Is it encouraging an unhealthy attitude toward love? That sort of thing. Once I find a way to make it good, without being too perfect to be believable, I set the wheels in motion to turn it into a romance. When I introduce a character just to be part of a ship (all writers do it) I try to flesh them out so they contribute more than just that to the story, at some point, the ship may not even be the main thing they contribute.

Since I began taking this approach to shipping, I noticed that fandoms have circles of shippers. People who ship just for the sexual excitement, and people who are looking to learn and benefit by the ships, and raw inspiration for their own lives. You tend to find more single people in the first circle, and people who are probably since for a reason, in the second you find more people who have successful relationships, and enjoy talking about them. That’s pretty telling right there.

Some fans ship superficially, and root for one character for no particular reason other than they are hotter, and they like that dynamic better. The “bad boy” “sad boi” or “angry boi’ thing turns them on, ( usually it’s women, if it’s men…normally it’s just how thicc the female is..sadly, there’s some exceptions, but superficial shipping is grossly predictable).

The ones like me and my friends tend to ship more for development’s sake. We wait to see who will be the healthiest, sweetest match, and go from there.

People still argue over the best option, but these debates tend to be more civil, not always, but usually, and we can see the other person’s point a little, because we actually think about the ship from different angles.

It’s like how in real life, when you want to marry someone, you can’t just think of the butterflies,you have to think of finances, family, location, the future, all that. And with the fight person, that can be exciting or at least you will get stronger because of it; with the wrong person, that stuff causes everything to fall apart. (And you may be the wrong person at times).

One thing I no longer ignore in shipping is family. I used to, but now I realize that behavior that is sown into you will come back out in some form or another.

In the MHA fandom, I love Shoto Todoroki’s character because the show takes the time to show how he acts like his father even when he doesn’t intend to, and then he confronts that and changes, proving he is not his father, but giving a realistic portrait of how it is for all of us from toxic backgrounds. On the other hand, we see Uraraka, who has great partners, often acts insecure despite that, showing we still have to choose to benefit from good parents. Both these characters carry that into their potential ships, and to my surprise, I have found fan content that addresses that, plus content from the creator himself has.

There are case where the victim of abuse will not abuse their spouse and kids the same way they were abused, my dad didn’t beat us, for example, but he was still violent in other ways. And usually if it doesn’t come out in the same kind of violence, it comes out in overcompensation the other way in self defense. Leading to neglect, and emotional distance from the family.

With all human efforts to fix things, you have to pay the piper. You aim for one thing, you get it, you lose something else. It’s just how we are, we can’t be everything, only God can love without compromising, and enable us to do so.

Why does all this need to trickle back to shipping? Though. It’s not real, it can’t make us happy.

That is true.

Actually, the best shippers are the ones who don’t rely on ships to make them happy. I’ve done my time looking to fill my emotional void with romance writing, but the older I get, the less it works. I find I am more interested in seeing what I can apply to my own life, and what I can’t. I prefer to write ships that way too. Too cotton candy, and you lose any sense of reality; too toxic, and it ceases to be helpful. It’s not that complicated, but boy does it require effort.

The startling truth that most non-writers don’t know is that writing romance is freaking hard. It’s a challenge, even for subpar writers, to build a whole relationship in a story.

You see, Love, even if it’s in fiction, is never easy. It’s why series like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey start one way, and end another. You can’t write just about sex and feels all the time, romance eventually forces you to look at your own life. even if it’s clumsily done, some element of actual love starts to find its way into any ongoing romance. If it’s longer than one book, or one season, the writer can’t help it, they start to change the story around it.

Love is not stagnant. Sexual love has phases, just like every other kind, and each one is glorious in its own way. It challenges you. The act of sex itself is not really just about physical pleasure, anyone who takes it seriously knows that, it’s about giving, and learning to receive. Learning together. That’s why it makes a good metaphor for love in general, and God compares the Love between Him and US to a romantic love. It’s because it takes you so high, yet it requires all you got to give, or it dies off.

Even in fiction, Love is powerful. It gives people hope to read about it even when it’s not real, because they hope, somewhere out there, it is.

Which is why, we need to be so, so careful what we call a good idea in a relationship. Hint: It’s not choking someone else.

The rise of kinky shipping in fandoms is not something I see as a good sign. and there’s some evidence it’s on the rise in our real world relationship too, to the point where we’re no longer feeling ashamed of it.

Now, I’m not talking a fetish for a particular body part, I don’t really see that as much of a concern, widely. But normalizing violence in relationships, it’s a problem. People other than me notice that kids try to imitate anime, with it’s violent love tropes, and its harmless to a point, but then it’s not.

Plus, I’ve said before I think fiction is where people with unhealthy parents often turn to find something better to base their own ideals on, and it can’t be made light of in that way.

I guess, lastly, I hold even frictional love to be sacred, in a way. The same way fiction that riffs on good parenting is disgusting, fiction that promotes abuse is disgusting. To give glory to something, even in the imagination, that is base and vile is still wrong. In fact, making light of abuse is arguably only helping it continue to circulate. Because I believe in the Bible, I believe Love should be taken seriously, though it’s perfectly fine to be lighthearted about it, if you are lighthearted because the people are happy and trust each other.

This basically became an essay about shipping, but that’s how I roll.

I still have more I could say about this, but that’s enough for one post. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

My (updated) thoughts on RWBY.

Well, it’s been over a week, and I thought I’d take a break from blogging about my life and instead return to a well worn subject: Things I watch.

Namely RWBY. Volume 8 has been releasing since last month, and will be going on hiatus after this week till February, I hear, so it seems like the perfectly imperfect time to talk about the show again.

I started watching RWBY about 2 1/2 years ago, when Vol 5 was out and Vol 6 was coming in, I think, 6 months or so. I blogged about it back then, and I’ve mentioned it since and used the characters for references in other posts, so if you read that stuff, you probably remember my interest in it… but if you’re new, stick around, this is never boring.

Breakdown

If you don’t watch RWBY, I’ll give you a brief break down. It’s center around 4 girls who are on a team of huntsmen (like superheroes combined with special operatives, typical anime idea), and their quest to save Remnant, their world. The first 3 volumes focus on developing the characters and their dream and goals, and the next 5 focus on world building, and explaining the main conflicts of the story.

It’s been said by many other fans that the show is inconsistent about what those conflicts are. Volume 4 focus on revealing the BIG BAD, Salem, the archetype of evil in the world. The she-devil, basically. The ruler of the monsters that devour people, only humans too, no animals. Volume 5 focused more on the racism in the world because the show tries to be woke (not that I minded the theme if it was consistent), Vol 6 goes back to explaining about Salem and Ozpin, the alleged Dumbledore/Professor X of this world, and their history of a very Magneto vs Prof X kind of struggle, with some Thanos MCU type villain stuff thrown in, and healthy dose of probably the worst mythology of gods I’ve ever seen. It really makes no sense.

I didn’t really mind this too much though, I was still invested up till Vol 7.

But last year the show just took a weird turn, and fans have been arguing since about why it has and who’s to blame and if it can get back on track.

And why should we care?

Because I think the problems with RWBY are ones that reflect our culture overall, and the show is just a particularity cringy example of them, but I see them everywhere, and it’s pretty telling about the mindset people have nowadays.

First of all, the writers do not know how to write. I tried hard to believe they did, after Vol 3, the last one Monty was involved in, and Vol 5, the last one I actually liked the ending of. Partly I had the benefit of getting to watch all of them consecutively, so the slow pace didn’t bother me, I now understand why the older fans must have found it frustrating.

I still maintain that Volume 5 is not the train-wreck everyone says it is for the simple reason that it accomplishes something, it has two story threads that it keeps up with consistently, even if they do drag on in places, and the ending at least makes sense, once it’s all tied together, plus gives us a few emotional moments.

Volume 6 seemed okay to me up until the last episode where I just couldn’t buy Cordovan letting them go, it was too convenient.

Volume 7 however, has the real problems with writing in my opinion.

Now aside from this blog, I write original stories, fan fictions, and papers for college classes when necessary. I read other author’s writing tips whenever I can. I read classics. I watch videos breaking down story structure, tropes, and character development. I don’t agree with all of it, but I’m well immersed in the community and culture of writing, and I’ve personally encountered the difficulties I’ve seen in this show, and others.

So, I don’t criticize writers lightly, I feel it’s tough to be a writer, especially with someone else’s show. But since I write fan fiction, I am pretty familiar with how you convert other people’s ideas into your own story. I’ve gotten very good at it, by trial and error.

All this to say, I did not go from being a fan to a hater willingly, on RWBY, and I think that’s important, because with art, it’s the people who truly want to love it and polish their own skills who should be talking about it, not the people who just want to get what they want. I don’t criticize art lightly.

I have my preferences, but I critique things differently based on personal taste, than based on actually deep flaws. Like, I hate Belle in the Disney Beauty and the Beast, I always have, I don’t think that makes the movie the worst princess movie, I’d argue it’s better than most of the other renaissance movies plot-wise, but I loathe Belle. It’s not my cup of tea. Still, if someone else likes it I don’t question their whole outlook on movies and stories in general.

Versus Naruto, where the people who praise Itachi and Pain and Obito scare the crap out of me. How the heck can you excuse literal mass murderers on the grounds that they “thought they were doing the right thing” especially when Itachi admits he knew it was a horrible thing to do and still did it… ugh.

So, with RWBY, I’m not going to be superficial. Yes, I find some new elements very annoying in the later volumes, but those are not really what bother me, I might even get to like them if the other problems weren’t there, and if the problems weren’t there mostly because of our culture’s very strange approach to shows and content.

You can find whole videos explaining in detail what’s wrong with the new volumes, I recommend the ones by Vexed Viewer if you want the closest to my opinion, and he was not always a hater either, I think. He is mostly fair and doesn’t just whine because it didn’t go how he wanted it to like some other fans I’ve watched.

So, I will just briefly describe what I mean, I can’t possibly be as thorough here as a whole video could be to each separate item, or cover them all.

But I think the three main things that bother me are:

  1. Changing character’s personalities and values and goals completley from vol 1 to volume 8, or even vol 7 to vol 8.
  2. Forgetting the lore established earlier, or changing it to be plot convenient.
  3. Pandering to one part of the fandom, and ignoring the other part.

Let’s start with number 1.

I loathe character inconsistency more than almost any other flaw in storytelling. So, I denied RWBY had changed its characters for a very long time, but vol 7 finally did it for me. Winter was the last straw.

I loved Winter Schnee in vol 3, and if you follow the short stories the company releases, we find out a little more about her, she’s a great character. Also a victim of familial abuse and neglect, she has a lot of traits I could relate to, we’re both the older sisters, we both tried to protect our younger siblings from our parents, an both feel the need to be strong, independent, and not let our guard down easy. We also both have tempers. That was all established with only a few scenes, a great VA (Elizabeth Maxwell is superb), and a little manga detail that is considered canon. Winter is awesome. Volume 7 did something to her I just couldn’t get behind.

I am not going to say I expect Winter to be perfect, I thought she’d probably be loyal to Ironwood to a fault, (I actually wrote fan fiction dealing with just that subject), but what I wrote and believed, is that someone as independent as Winter, who questioned her father enough to abandon her inheritance and join the military, and who is capable of being a top level Atlas Elite, basically the right hand woman to Ironwood, would really be so much of a sheep as to follow all his terrible orders in vol 7’s finale without so much as a word of protest. I also don’t believe someone who spent most of her time at home taking care of Weiss and preparing her to be strong, would immediately turn on her and tell her to run away… and arguably, before Weiss had really done anything worthy of being arrested other than disagree with Ironwood.

I’m sorry, it just doesn’t compute. Winter’s loyal, but that loyal?

Thankfully, vol 8 seems to be suggesting she’ll reconsider, and maybe she can be salvaged, but I still think it’s bad writing to make her such a predictable person when her best trait in vol 3 was being able to show us two very different sides to her in just two or three scenes. I’d say she was one of the best written characters of the show. It’s hard to tell people so much in so little time, I’ve struggled to do it myself. But experienced writers do it all the time, most really good movies establish a character in the first 10 minutes.

Winter is a personal peeve of mine, perhaps, but she’s honestly the least of the examples here. The main cast have much, MUCH bigger issues.

As most people have acknowledged, both Blake and Yang have gone downhill since vol 6. Yang got really good development in vol 4 and 5, and Blake had an actual arc (rare on this show) with Sun, her love interest (more on that in a second) and then vol 6 hit and… something just went off the rails. I didn’t care about the PTSD that much, because it’s not the same for everybody, and not everybody has it the same, but Blake just seemed to forget about the faunas after spending two volumes getting involved in taking back the White Fang. Yang seems to forget about her Mommy issues with Raven (and by the way, she’s still not bothered to tell anybody that Raven is the Spring Maiden, which could be kind of important, since Cinder is going around hunting down maidens and also knows Raven is one. Yang may not know that, but still, if they want to put the relic back, it might be kind of important!) They kill Adam (which was great, I never liked him, though a little rushed I thought) and then volume 7 has them making goo goo eyes and forgetting to ever discuss their unresolved issues. Vol 8 is doing even worse with it so far.

About the ship, I never liked it. I don’t ship LGBT stuff anyway, but I can acknowledge when it’s written better and when it’s not. And this has to be almost as bad as She-Ra’s, but at least one of these girls didn’t try to kill each other.

But they’ve never talked about Yang’s anger with Blake for running off, Blake’s weird behavior about Yang’s arm, or either of their trauma with Adam. I’ve never seen them “Talk” really openly and unrestrained, since volume 2. 2! Yet somehow I am supposed to think they are a good couple? Heck, Weiss and Yang would make more sense if we went by actual communication.

Of course my chief annoyance is that Yang was straight in vol 1 and checking out the boys, while Blake was interested in Sun from that volume all the way up till volume 6. 6! and they dated a couple times. But nope, I’m supposed to forget that and believe she liked Yang the whole time and Yang went from straight to gay in the course of one year with no circumstances prompting it whatsoever.

You know, even if I wrote this kind of stuff, I wouldn’t just change it half way through without any development. In real life people transition from straight or gay due to a myriad of circumstances and steps, it doesn’t just happen. There’s no struggle in this show, no reason for it. It’s just inconsistent. And that is bad character writing.

There are fans who justify it for literally no other reason than that they “need representation” that they don’t get as much as us straight people, so even if it’s bad, they still need it.

Well, first of all, that’s pathetic. I don’t appreciate bad portrayals of Christians in movies just because it’s so rare to find us portrayed at all. Do I need the world’s approval or endorsement of my lifestyle? No.

Second, is it the job of writers and artists to boost the self esteem of their fans? It’s nice when they do, I don’t mind when shows choose to tackle hard subjects because they want to contribute something. But when the fandom is demanding it, and throwing a fit if they don’t get what they want, and saying they are “owed” representation, then where exactly do they get off?

I ask, is it a writer’s job to endorse your personal choices? Or to even care to validate your identity, if you choose to base it on something as flimsy as sexuality or race? Why do they need to do that? They are just trying to tell a story, why does it need to have a political message?

If that is the point of the story, I have no issue, I just won’t watch it if I don’t want to see it. But if the story was initially about something else, and that got added only because it’s “woke” and the fandom clamored for it, then that’s extremely irresponsible of the writers and extremely insensitive of the fans.

When I criticize a show for not doing what I want, I do it because I think there is a standard of morality that every good show has to follow: good is good, evil is evil, truth is important, Love is the most valuable thing there is, Unselfishness is better than selfishness, etc. How each piece of art interprets those themes is up to them, I learn a lot from the differences.

If a political agenda is thrown in there, I sometimes don’t mind if it’s tastefully done, but then there’s Zootopia, something that’s jamming the comparisons down your throat till it’s not a story anymore, it’s one 90 minute long metaphor that I’d have been able to read much faster if it was in book form.

Pandering

This is point 3 also, the writers of RWBY pander to the fans who have a political agenda. They pander to the ones who think race has to be talked about in every single work of fiction, and that Gay Pride deserves to be reinforced in every single show and movie there is.

Which is kind of like saying if every movie doesn’t have at least one romance, it’s bad. And if every movie doesn’t have at least one black character, it’s bad… oh wait, they already do say that.

Yes, because the color of someone’s skin is what decides the quality of their work… oh, wait, that’s racist… then why do black people have to be included? I don’t care if they are because they are good, but why are the races of classic characters altered just to be more inclusive? Isn’t that a bit untrue to the original author’s work? Why should we change it just to appeal to people’s political agendas? You know, that used to be called propaganda.

Not to belabor the point, but RWBY has been doing this for the past 2 years and it’s not surprising that everything interesting about Yang and Blake has been completely forgotten. They aren’t in the story to be characters anymore, they are in it to make the fans happy.

If you are going to ask me why the fans shouldn’t be happy, then let me explain what I mean.

I think pandering is okay if it’s harmless, like Easter Eggs, stuff that doesn’t change the plot, it’s just there to be cute, funny, or show the fans the writers appreciate them. My Little Pony did some great stuff like that in its filler and Easter egg episode’s.

I think listening to criticism that is well thought out and shows an understandinf of the plot and direction of the show is perfectly fine.

But I do not think doing a major twist or change solely because “the fans wanted it” and “representation is good” is a reason to include anything. It’s always clumsy when it’s done for that reason anyway. I can’t name one time it’s felt natural to me when I watch, and even the supporters of it admit that. They know it’s just there to “represent” them, not because it feels natural.

With every good story, the plot twists are surprising, but fit naturally into the rest of the story. Things build off each other. They make sense. The changes in Ozpin’s character worked well, we always knew he was suspicious and irresponsible, finding out why and how, made sense (though I hate the gods part, it’s so badly conceived), but by contrast, Ironwood acts one way in vol 3, continues to act that way up through half of volume 7, then snaps, and goes full on dictator villain.

I thought he would corrupt because anyone who would jam someone’s soul into someone else’s body is already crossing the moral line and then some, but to become heartless and domineering to that point in the course of literally one day in actual story time… how? Why? Why wouldn’t he hesitate? Why is no one questioning this sudden callous, irrational behavior? And how is he stupid enough to let Watts hack Penny, a twist my siblings and I predicted since the ending of the last volume, and possibly before, according to my sister, and yet the people who designed Penny can’t predict it…what?

Sue me for thinking there would actually be explanations for this…

Though stupidity is a minor annoyance for me, since it’s usually inevitable with shows that go on for longer than 3 or 4 seasons. It’s really hard to keep a story going that long, especially without an original ending in mind, and characters tend to be dumb when the plot calls for it.

But stupid and immoral are not the same thing.

Vexed Viewer actually pointed out to me that in volume 7 team RWBY is against focusing on the world instead of Mantle, but in vol 8, with no apparent transition, half the team suddenly thinks they should focus on the world, and the other half thinking they should focus on a single city. Which they haven’t a prayer of saving anyway, as they all know deep down. So, basically, Ruby agrees with Ironwood… so why turn on him, and make yourself a public enemy then? Why not compromise? Ask him if you and your team could help Mantle privately, while some of you help with Atlas… why not do that? Jaune could come up with that plan in 5 minutes… of course, he wasn’t there in vol 7, so I guess that explains it, Ruby is just dumb.

I liked Ruby, honestly, up till vol 7. She wasn’t my favorite, but she has a personality, I believed in her intentions. Now I can’t understand what she’s doing at all. She wanted to help people and be a hero, now she’s acting like she has to single handedly have all the answers and no one can do anything unless she approves of it…which is the opposite of how she was in vol 1. She didn’t want people to think she was special.

This isn’t an arc, however, because at no point did Ruby ever come to grips with being special, she just suddenly starts thinking she’s the bees knees, to use Yang’s term. And Yang actually puts pressure on Ruby by saying “she always knows the right thing to do” and then takes zero responsibility for Ruby making bad decision because she’s forced to do it on the spot and no one else will step up and have an idea. Then Yang, the biggest supporter of Ruby as a leader, turns on her with no warning and says she’s been making bad choices… yeah, Yang, and you were right there questioning them the whole time right? No, you weren’t. You never questioned any of them till now.

I hesitated to use the word bad, but this is bad. Objectively, it just isn’t consistent or built up to at all.

Some might say I am biased because I am A Christian and these changes go against my world view.

Well, I would still disagree with the moral direction of these decisions, but I do criticize Christian art also, when poorly written, and one of the worst ways it is is when conversions are rushed. They just happen for no reason. No drama or progress. Or depth. A Conversion is the most common arc in a Christian story, though there are others.

So, if I compare RWBY to my own standards, I still think it’s being badly done. But the change is recent. Up till vol 5, I didn’t think the characters had changed drastically.

I can’t say exactly why it changed, but I think the moment I would pinpoint as the real change was the death of Adam. Adam was a useless character by that time, I agree he could have been more interesting, but I hated his guts too much to care about it, and I don’t think his death hurt the show in any measurable way. People bemoan the lack of importance more than the actual effect of it. However, it was then that the Bumblebee ship began to be pushed for no reason, and Yang and Blake both started saying weird stuff that made no sense.

However, I really wasn’t sure it was going to go bad till the end of vol 7 when all the characters started doing stuff I couldn’t understand at all, turning on each other, and playing right into Salem’s hands. Like they are doing this on purpose?

Now in vol 8, Ren is pointing out the obvious, that the characters are not ready to be heroes. Well, great, that’s what the fans have been saying for years… so, you’re agreeing with us… and then what…?

Personally, it almost seems like the writers are admitting they have no idea what they are doing or why, and are hoping they will stumble upon the answer.

As a writer myself, I know that if I had any clue where I was going with the story, I’d have set it up by now, I wouldn’t be waiting for 5 seasons to get to the point. I would have had the characters actually change and grow by now, having petty fights in the team should have been a thing back when it first assembled, not now. Now when they can’t afford to be disagreeing and having resentment.

I can say this because I’ve written very similar stories and had to time this out myself, I’m not just underestimating the difficulty of doing this.

Now it’s true I have no fanbase to please, but I am not overly concerned with pleasing the whims of people, I want to go for something meaningful. When you change whole plot points just to please fans, you have a real conflict of interests.

To go back to Bumblebee (which is truly the poison all this started from if you track it because it’s the first time the writers did something just to appease fans) it was never really established for five volumes, while BlackSun, the ship between Blake and Sun, was built up in every volume. They had moments in 1, 2, 3, 4 , and 5. with 1 and 5 featuring Sun as important in two major steps in Blake’s life. Sun, in fact, gets Blake out of the hole she digs herself into on both those occasions, plus they date and flirt in between.

Now, ship or no ship, Sun is huge part of her arc, and it would be wisest to keep him relevant since that would encourage building off her arc. As soon as he’s gone, the show can’t really drive Blake forward because her parents and friends who were helping her grow are gone and she’s on RWBY, where she doesn’t really have anything to contribute, since racism is not the focus of that team. Since Blake has nothing to add to the central themes of wanting to be a hero and telling the truth, as she’s never been great at either of those two things, and does not even call on her bad experiences to help the others avoid making her same mistakes (something that would actually be useful right about now).

And then they push Yang, but don’t do any of the actual work to make that believable. One talk in volume 2 doesn’t cut it.

Losing both Blake and Yang’s depth affected the wider plot, since if Yang talked about Raven, the drama of volume 5 might actually have led to something with the girls and Qrow. If Blake talked about Adam, maybe they could have used the White Fang as a guideline for how to help resolve tensions in Atlas. But no, nothing. Because ship, ship, ship.

Lore

Lastly, my second point. There’s one glaring problem with the lore. It might be overlooked if it was the only problem, but it adds insult to injury.

Penny has become a maiden… even though she is a robot. Maidens had to be girls, had to be young, and had, we thought, to be human. Otherwise, why the heck would they not try to put the power into a machine before? And Penny has a soul, allegedly but it’s a man’s soul, since it came from her father. There should be no way she could take on the maiden powers.

It’s one thing, but it kind of throws off the whole build up since volume 3 of the rules and lore around the magic, and makes you question if the writers just want any excuse to do what they want and make Penny important. Which I wouldn’t mind, if it was following their own rules.

Is someone holding a gun to their heads and making them break the rules they wrote into the show? The world may never know.

I think I explained already why I think this is important. I guess this turned into a post about the intergrity of writing and art in general. Which I could defintely follow up with some other posts expanding ont the differnt points.

But for now I think that’s enough to mull over, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Fruits Basket: So far

Sorry, it’s been a while, I tried to write, didn’t end up finishing anything.

But today the final episode of Fruits Basket season 2 aired for non premium users, so I assume I can now talk about this show with no fear of spoiling it for anyone who was invested enough to care, and for anyone who’s not into anime, but reads my posts anyway out of curiousity, welcome.

I won’t bother with a full review of all the good and bad elements of the show, writing, and art. I do really like the art style, and I will commend it for how well they do facial expressions, particularity the eyes, since it contributes to how one reads the show, but other than that I don’t want to get into all those logistics.

We’re all here for the in depth hot take right?

Well, I probably couldn’t’ make any observations about the depth that hundreds of other people haven’t made and microscoped far more than I have time or energy to do, plus I think the show speaks for itself character wise, and doesn’t need a lot of dissecting.

But I want to talk about the themes of the show, that’s what makes it most interesting for me, though I do love the MC Kyo (best boi), Momiji, Haru, and the two best friends of Tohru, (the main main character,) Arisa and Hana

So if you don’t know, here’s my short synoposis of the important stuff:

Tohru Honda is an orphan, homeless girl who lives in the woods because she’s got a complex about being a burden to people and her granddad wasn’t ready to take her in yet, she gets found by one of he classmates, Yuki Sohma, and his cousin (sort of) Shigure, turns out she’s on their property. After her tent gets buried in a landslide, they insist she stays with them until her granddad can take her in.

Just as you think you see what kind of anime this is going to be, andother family member, Kyo, crashes in the window, and accidentally Torhu bumps into his chest, he turns into an orange cat, then the other two try to help and turn into a rat and a dog.

First Impressions - Fruits Basket (2019) - Lost in Anime

Turns out the Sohma family is cursed, 12 members of their family are possesses by the spirits of the Zodiac, 13, as it turns out later there is also a god character.

Tohru is surprisingly okay with this, like any true Disney Princess type would be, and agrees to keep the secret. A lot of hi-jinks ensue, she meets all the other zodiac members, including the psychotic Akito, and the… strange but lovable Ayame, Haru, Rin, Kisa, and all the others I can’t remember the names of, plus Kagura who is kind of likable at times and not at other times.

With time we learn more about the backstories of all the Sohmas, most o them are tragic, a few had happier lives but were burdened with knowing how bad it was for the tohers, and knowing that evenutally Akito would want all of them to come live with her. This same Akito who tries to flat out murder one of them, and beats up and mentally and verbally abuses the others.

Akito is strangely isolated, depsite supposedly being in charge. I hated her at first, and then I started to pity her over time. At this point, the only thing I really couldn’t get past was the attmepted murder, it feels too unreal…or too real, not sure.

I didn’t know when I started the show that it was written to be an in depth metaphor for abuse and family sins, I saw an ad for it, but no one I knew had watched it so I went in pretty blind.

Something that still boggles my mind about it is that the week my sisters and I watched it, was the week my dad was gone ballistic and we were trying to come up with a plan to get him out of the house, and then he did move out. Needless to say, Fruits Basket could be triggering for me, for both of us, but it was also a bit cathartic to see it enacted out and see other characters mirror our own feelings.

And yeah, I’ll get this out of the way now. Yes, Akito does remind me of my dad. The temper tantrums, the mood swings, the long speeches telling people how much they suck, the manipulation, the promise of love that everyone, even the recipient knows is bullcrap.

I don’t know that I really see myself in the other characters too much, because the striking difference is that most of them don’t talk about it being “wrong” for Akito to act the way she does. They are still in the cycle where you just can’t question it, it’s just normal, but they imply it. Most of them are more apt to blame their parents or themselves for being monsters.

Akito uses the word “monster” a lot too. It’s notable because that’s what victims of abuse often feel like they are made into, a monster. I felt that way. My father felt that way. Turns out when you are not loved properly, or worse, when out of love you are told that these terrible things are true about you.

But the way the Sohma family curse is handled is perhaps the most spectacular aspect of the show and manga.

My expectations kept getting subverted, in a good way, watching. AS a Christian, I know a lot about curse, especially family ones, what most people call inherited traits, if they have a name for it, addictions being the most easily recognizable one medically speaking (that’s self inflicted) I don’t know that the name really matters much, but I find Curse the most appropriate term.

Like FB states, the curse is a bond. Shown by the woven cords anime likes to use to symbolize an eternal connection. A bond that Yuki (I think) tells Tohru was initially meant to be a good thing, but somehow overtime it became a loss of freedom and choice for the cursed members, and became toxic for the whole family. We later find out that when the animals meet Akito, they cry and feel both an attraction and a revulsion, “beloved” “Hated” they think, “Come closer” “get away.” Etc…

Very much true to real life, with abuse. There’s a sickening sort of attraction. I still sometimes feel it thinking of my dad. I got to where I loathed the sight, sound, smell, feel of him and anything that reminded me of him, but I would still be drawn to be around him and want his approval. Over time apart my revulsion has died down more, but if I try to picture being around him it often comes back, I am still healing.

Interestingly, I was told I cried whenever my dad held me as a baby, somehow I picked up on the unrest in my house hold, babies can sense stress even in the womb, it’s proven. But I yearned for closeness with him as I got older. Drawn, and repulsed, as long as I can remember it was like that. He was always very rough, he’d hug a little too tight, too long, something I found out was symptom of BPD, who knew?

It was strange, the hug thing, like it was purposefully too tight, like the intention was to cause pain, even while gratifying himself, I know because I used to do it to, on purpose, I’ve become gentler, I wasn’t always that way, I think I picked up the habit from him.

“I still taste you on my lips, lovely bitter water. Terrible fire and fuel to burn is honey on my tongue, and I know I shouldn’t love you, but I do”-The Oh Hellos

The Sohma family bond was forged to keep them from being alone,just like God created family in order so man wouldn’t be alone, but as man corrupted, so did family. We aren’t told why (so far) but clearly the same thing happened to the Sohmas.

It’s a truth that we humans are too messed up to stay bonded generation after generation and not corrupt, it’s why we have to leave our family, we have to explore. Ever wonder why evil empires almost always have a primary family in charge? It’s not that family is evil, it’s that when you inbreed, and try to keep a family the same, not letting the members forge new families like God said “to leave father and mother and cleave” to your husband or wife, then the same sins become out of control.

Staying connected, but not staying so close you can’t breathe, that’s the key.

So, FB is quite accurate. But it goes even further. Characters struggle with love, being able to love freely, or love at all, and we learn more about the curse.

The Curse primarily affects love, there seem to be physical effects also, some member get sick easily, some get abused by their parents just because they are cursed, both in some cases. And of course, animals follow them around…some of them. Let’s hope a tiger doesn’t show up some time around Kisa… though that might solve her bullying problem (also apparently int he Japanese Zodiac a tiger is different from a cat, even though they’re the same type of animal…? I guess they both get picked on a lot.)

But all the Cursed members either can’t love properly, or they fall in love and it goes wrong. Usually because of Akito, but it seems to go wrong even without her help too, there’s often something too desperate about it, as you would expect.

Being emotionally unbalanced is a part of the curse too. It also seems to effect only some people, Haru goes dark and destructive, Kagura had moods swings and destroys stuff, the monkey, whatever his name was, is way, way too insecure… I mean sheesh.

In Season 2, Tohru decides she wants to break the curse, but no one knows how. She decides to join forces with Rin, who is also desperate to break the curse, but neither of them have a clue, they are just trying not to despair.

Tohru has of course, fallen for Kyo, the cat, and gotten close to Yuki (rat) in a more platonic way, as well as the other younger members, and Hatori, the doctor/seahorse.

It’s basically Beauty and the Beast with abuse instead of pride as the big shadow over the family.

Then in the final episode today, we find out that one member has already been freed of his curse, but not told anyone till Shigure called him on it. Kureno, the former Rooster.

Kureno is not my favorite, I don’t get him, and I’m puzzled by his role in the story, plus he’s shipped with a 17-18 year old and he’s like 27. Age gaps don’t bug m too much, but the guy is weird and he’s Akito’s sex toy, so I’m not sure how to feel about that. He needs therapy.

But his role in the curse is interesting. He got freed one day of being an animal, but he doesn’t know why or how, he remembers nothing significant about it it would seem, but Akito flipped out and got so hysterical he promised never to leave her anyway… which as Tohru points out, is basically just the curse without the animal side effect, but that’s family soul ties for you.

Kureno feels guilty for being freed while the others are not, so he keeps it to himself. Contributing to the cycle. roving he is not in fact free.

I was puzzled at first, I got this spoiled for me when I looked up info about the show, but I didn’t know exactly when or how it would happen, so I forgot about it. I thought the curse would be broken with love, but Kureno seems not to need love to break it.

But then I thought, maybe this twist is good. I’m not going to be that girl who justifies everything just to keep liking the show, but there is a way this could be better.

Since we’re not clear on what the curse is, we can assume it affects everyone differently, perhaps if just needing to love someone else truly was the answer, it would have been discovered long ago, after all, all the Sohmas have fallen in love, right? Or most of them have.

The only hint from Kureno’s story is that is might be some kind of revelation. Whether that comes form love, or from some other source, who knows.

In real life, though, sometimes the moment when you are freed from your family really is hard to pinpoint. I’ve had times of relief, where a cloud just lifted off my mind, but I know that I built up to it over time with prayer and consideration and better choices. I know people who’ve not had that moment yet. I haven’t had the ultimate one where I realize I’m over the damage.

I understand Kureno’s survivor’s guilt. I get it too. While his life isn’t easy, he feels it could be easier for him to leave, to be free. But the very knowledge keeps him bound up.

It proves the curse is in their minds just as much as their bodies. In a way, his freedom made him more bound than ever. Which, I can attest to, without God, freedom is just another form of bondage because you have no skills to be free, most freed people just end up slaves again in another relationship.

Why the curse is accurate in another way is that death doesn’t stop it, it reincarnates. While I mostly think that’s a stupid idea, it works excellently to show generational sins. Death cannot be he answer for the Sohmas, but life seems not worth living for them, most of them sink into a kind of resignation.

Which is quite dangerous. It’s giving up. It may not make you into a psycho, (though it usually does eventually), but it makes you like a robot.

Kureno was the most resigned of all because he chose to remain chained when he could have been free, recognizing Akito’s hold on him didn’t just have to be the curse, it could be through pity also.

But Akito really hates all the people she loves, she knows she will never have complete security, she fears the breaking of the curse because it would leave her alone, and her mind is the most wrapped up in it. It makes sense, all the others are just bound to her, but she is bond to all of them, making her even more stretched between two worlds, two feelings, two desires. Freedom is something she seemed to give up on a long time ago.

I won’t ever justify abuse, but I do understand it. I understand it because I see the same profane love in myself as in an abuser. I don’t believe there’s a single human who never hast hat temptation. My favorite book is “Till We Have Faces” which is C. S. Lewis fictional exploration of Profane love vs Holy love. Most of us call it Unconditional.

Parents say they love unconditionally, and bless them, some of them really do. I love those parents.

Some, however, mean that it don’t matter how bad you screw up they will love you…as long as you don’t leave them, don’t stop loving them.

True love is love even when there is no love in return, it’s giving whether or not you get anything, but it’s not the desire to not get loved in return, it’s the constant hope that you will be, and even if you aren’t, you recognize love is the Right State of Being, and you will not come out of it for anything so petty as demands.

But a True Lover can receive love better than anyone else also, because they know it’s worth, they will not scorn it, because they know it can’t be bought, they will not worry about deserving it. That’s why to understand True Love is to be emotionally healthy in every way, and none of us are,

But the closer I get to Real Love, the closer I get to being whole. I at least now know what not to want.

FB does not present this kind of love as a whole through the main characters, it presents parts of it. We see it the strongest in Tohru’s mom, her best friends, and in Momiji, (the rabbit and also one of the best people on the show).

That's a Secret | Fruits Basket Wiki | Fandom

People who both give and receive love much more freely than even Tohru. Tohru is loving, but she sucks at receiving it. What’s great about Momiji is he’s so open. He hugs Tohru even if it changes him into a rabbit because what does he care? Hugs are more important than curses, right?

Breaking the curse would be simple enough if it was just the animal things. A Christian could do it in two minutes.

But breaking abuse just isn’t done in minutes, or days, or weeks. As long as the curse is tied tot hat, it will be a process. Even if the beast part goes away, they will have to heal.

I think that is the real point of the show: Healing is a process, and if you don’t give up hope, if you stay open to love and face your demons, you can get there. And those who give up, draw back, and embrace their darkness will become worse than they were before.

I look forward to Season 3, I will probably refer back to this show again when I write more about abuse and recovery and anime, but for now this seems like a good place to stop.

If you watch it, what did you think of the ending? What do you think will happen (no SPOILERS) and who do you relate to the most?

Until next time–Natasha.