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.

Killing God With the Power of Friendship: an anime conundrum.

Okay weeboos, let’s do this.                              image (27)

If you’re not into anime, stick around, this should still be interesting.

You know the famous (and depressing) philosopher Nietzsche? The guy who reputedly said “God is Dead.” Or, that God never existed and the idea of Him is what is in fact dead.

I am starting to think almost every single writer in Japan is with Nietzsche on this one.

Since I got into anime about a year or two maybe ago, I’ve seen maybe 20, not nearly as many as die hard fans, but a fair amount, and I’ve heard the plot of other ones from reviewers and my sisters.

And I started noticing a really weird common thread in Shonen or sometimes Isekai anime.

Shonen anime is basically superhero/special power adventure type shows.                                                                   katsuki-bakugou-my-hero-academic-4k-3o

Isekai is AU, or other world based shows, where the premise usually starts with an ordinary guy or girl somehow being transported to another world, sometimes through reincarnation, sometimes a summoning, etc.                                                          HappyColor_19332

There’s a few anime that are kind of a combination of genres that also would fit what I’m about to describe.

Nearly every anime of this sort that I’ve seen ends in, or has some plot at some point, that involves defeating a character that is said to be either a god, or basically the equivalent of a god, or maybe even The God.

The character is typically a villain, of course, and usually cruel and power mad and ready to wipe out or enslave the human race.

An then the protagonist will either use paragon powers, or the power of friendship to do what everyone swore was impossible for the whole show, and kill this god character.

If you think I’m wrong…well…

Naruto, easily one of the most popular anime of all time, ends (SPOILER ALERT) with Naruto and his team effectively killing or defeating at least, a god and…maybe another god? It was unclear (honestly most of the fans agree it was bizarre).

Fairy Tail, another really popular and really lengthy anime, also ends with a character who had basically become a god (or was cursed by the gods) being killed. Two characters, actually. Along with a host of other very powerful, god like people. There were even “godslayers” in the show.

I recently started Katana Maidens, it ended the first half with defeating an evil goddess.

What’s funny is if the show doesn’t kill the god, they end up subduing it to the hero’es side. Like, the heroes will still beat it, it’ll just become their friend then.

Examples include Dragon Ball when it got to Beerus (weird but funny)

Probably Fruits Basket, so far it hasn’t concluded.

Freaking Boruto advertised the killing god ending in the first episode

Full Metal Alchemist, from what I hear.

Not to mention a crap ton of video games made in Japan also have you fight gods or fate, and defeat it.

Speaking of Fate, if we counted the amount of anime that have people declaring they’ll change or resist Fate, we could count a lot of  Rom Com or slice of life or sci-fi anime also.

And it’s starting to trickle into American Media influenced by anime.

 

she-ra-season-5-netflix     NetFlix’es She-Ra ends with a character who claimed to be like God dying.

The freaking Guardians of the Galaxy kill a god in their 2nd movie. Thanos gets killed in Endgame.

But those examples are a bit more shaky, Anime is what has the gods actually have followers, and a lot of power and they are almost always evil, or else stupid or lazy like Konosuba’s (I suppose that beats evil.)

Personally, I prefer anime that just stay off the subject, because once they introduce a god, the show always gets much, much darker.

Oh, yeah, that new BNA Netflix show also has a god battle in the end… I guess I won’t spoil what happens (I think the show really wasn’t that good but some people like it.)

I’m sure a hardcore weeaboo could name a bunch of stuff I’ve missed too. But I think you get the idea.

What the heck is with this trope? No one ever talks about it, but it’s everywhere.

And if we extend it to how many anime have a weird Catholic-garbed religious sect as the evil villains in at least one arc, then pretty much every shonen and isekai would now be on the list.

As a Christian, I find it pretty creepy when elements related to my religion are turned into some weird cult thing on a show. I hear that most people in Japan don’t even know much about the Church, they just think the outfits look cool, and the symbolism. Ever wonder why so many anime villains wear crosses? Yeah… I don’t get it.

Personally, I really think the writers could bother to look it up before using it, a lot of Christians watch this stuff. Why be insensitive?

Not that Christianity being villainized is anything to be surprised at.

As I noticed this trope, I began to wonder why it was so prevalent. My sister told me that in a video about Christianity in Japan, people admitted that it was rare, and that people there are often afraid of religion. They might acknowledge Buddhism a little, but they don’t have deep beliefs in it.

Kind of how many people treat yoga and other Eastern teachings and practices. Like a buffet you can pick and choose from.

I think that it’s interesting that anime comes from a culture of not very serious religion, and it itself often treats God as the problem, an obstacle in the way of harmony, peace, and our own human happiness.

It makes me kind of sad actually. God is so different to me.

Many people, even Christians, think of God as distant, angry, or cruel. Unwilling to help us. Thwarting our plans, etc.

God does do that.

But I don’t think most people stay away from God because they think He’s cruel.

I don’t think, at the heart of anime and possible Japan, if one could know that from its media, is truly the fear of a cruel God.

What the real fear seems to be is of the all consuming nature of God.

We, in general, are okay with dipping our toes into religion. Maybe trying church once in a while, maybe reading a little about it, maybe praying to God, maybe not any specific god.

Even Christians live distant from God. Many religions teach that God or the gods are distant on purpose, only a few enlightened people can get close to them, only a few should. The rest of us should just live ordinary, good lives.

Generally, only the best and brightest of us humans can approach the gods. See Greek Mythology, Egyptian Mythology, any mythology…

Christianity shocks people, and scares them, by bringing God too close. It slaps you in the face with it, and pins you down till you squirm.

We’re told that God searches the hearts of men.

David even prays for God to strike his enemies in the face, a very personal kind of blow compared to just “smite them”.

And the story of the Israelites at Mount Sinai, when they begged Moses to go speak to God for them, and they wouldn’t themselves, they were afraid they would die.

God’s might and power and holiness are what scare us the most about Him.

In my own life, I grew up knowing God was good, but the sheer greatness of Him frightened me. I thought God would control me in a way I would hate, and I could never escape it, so I hid from Him. (Sounds like an anime to me.)

Later I found out God doesn’t force us to do things in that way. Not when it comes to accepting Him.

God can be puzzling to people. Eastern religion tries to reconcile the good and evil in the world by saying there must be an equal amount for balance.

The God of the Bible can seem like a collection of contradictions. He is Just, He is Merciful. He is a still small voice, he is in a whirlwind. The list goes on. But always, He is Good.

It’s overwhelming all right.

I understand fearing God. But I don’t know how anyone could believe God was defeatable.

The arrogance of anime is astounding. Especially since it comes with a lot of very wimpy messages.

They go to great lengths to kill the god characters…and ironically, they kill their own moral standing.

If you think about it, if God is real, or the gods are real, and they are in control of the world…then if you kill them, you’ve kind of doomed us all.

I find many endings to promising animes unsatisfying. They can’t commit to a message. Naruto most infuriatingly ended the show still never answering Pain’s excellent question about how he intended to heal the world.

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I think the writers must know deep down it’d be ludicrous to say one human could do all that, but they have cut off their only viable option, a Divine Being… so they are forced to just leave the question open ended.

Think about how many anime end with “basically everything went on the same way it always had” That’s not an ending. That’s… stalling.

Characters usually talk like this “I think maybe this…” or “I have hope that somehow…” Like, they never know anything. They never have logic, or an argument, or proof. Just blind hope in… nothing. They hope for hope’s sake.

It just doesn’t work for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy many shows, and I like the more pure characters and romances. Those can be done decently well.

But the moment any major statement about the world is made, it’s weak.

The reason is obvious. Without God, there is just no moral standard anyone can possible be made to conform to. Maybe you can just pick one out of thin air (I doubt it) but you have no right to complain if other people disagree with you. Meaning Unity is virtually impossible.

People complain about organized religion without realizing it is the only reason society can even exist. Religion decides morals, morals decide the justice system, and no society of 5 people, let alone 5 million, can survive without a justice system.

Without God, what gives our lives meaning? There’s a sadly high suicide rate in Asia, Japan is no exception.

A lot of anime try to encourage kids not to kill themselves over failed work or grades or goals, to keep trying.

As if trying ever cured depression.

I appreciate the effort, but it’s hopeless. It’ll never work.

The ones that say love is the reason to hang in there are much closer to the truth.

I’ve mentioned that I deal with depression, sometimes suicidal thoughts. Though, I more of mean, I wonder why I don’t give up. I wonder what keeps me going. When so many people take that way out, what gives me any reason to believe I won’t or can’t?

It’s weird, but my dad often got depressed over work and feeling useless, so anime can be very familiar to me. And it make me sad the same way my dad would make me sad. It causes me to wonder, what will my answer be to the same failures and disappointments? Will it be his, or will I have a better one.

Slowly, God is helping me answer that question.

The more I learn, the less I think the “Try harder” message will work.

And the less the “killing God” message seems like anything but emotional suicide to me.

I know I can’t assume Japanese people really think that way.

But, if they did, I would feel very sorry for them. It’s all about being strong enough yourself to face life, not needing anyone, not needing help. Definitely not needing God.

(The implied message often is, no one will be there to help you anyway.)

But what other foundation could someone find their worth in? God made you, God put you here for a reason.

In the end, trying to protect yourself from God is like trying not to breathe. It’s the very thing you need to live, and you can’t get away from it.

God can be like water. Try to block him out and the pressure will build up until something explodes. But accept Him, and it’s like going into a pool. At first it’s a shock, but then it’s a relief.

Anyway, that’s enough for now, maybe I’ll explore this more in the future. Until then, stay honest–Natasha.

 

Weaknesses (READ: Strengths).

As you probably know, I love kids shows.

I mean, you get the same themes as adult shows, without the stupid, needless drama of sex and profanity and angst (not that those are never good, but overused.)

And I’ve talked about the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic show before and how much I like it.

Today I thought I’d talk about something this show did well that I don’t see often in any form of writing, books or shows.

The show, for anyone who doesn’t know, relies heavily on the symbolism of the 6 elements of Harmony. The elements are embodied in the Mane 6 (pun intentional) characters. Here’s a run down for the novice to the MLP universe (skip if you already know)

MLP Wallpaper- Elements of Harmony by jhayarr23 on DeviantArt

  1. Magic (Twilight Sparkle, the main, main character.)
  2. Honesty (Apple Jack)
  3. Generosity (Rarity)
  4. Kindness (Fluttershy)
  5. Laughter (Pinkie Pie)
  6. Loyalty (Rainbow Dash)

Elements of Harmony | My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Wiki | Fandom

Much later we find out all these elements are reflections or expansions of 6 original elements of older ponies. Which were

  1. Sorcery
  2. Strength
  3. Beauty
  4. Healing
  5. Hope
  6. Bravery

I thought this was really cool, they are all similar, but just different enough to make you think about it (take notes Miraculous Ladybug, this is how you do lore).

Overtime the show does a lot with exploring what each element means.

One of the criticisms of the show by some fans is that each of the Mane 6 characters sometimes demonstrate the opposite of their elements, meaning that it seems like it doesn’t really fit them.

The most common complaint is that Apple Jack, the element of Honesty, lies a lot, in fact, I’d say in most of the episodes about her specifically she lies or struggles with honesty and fair play.

Applejack | My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Wiki | Fandom

Rarity also can be a bit selfish and ungenerous, despite being the element of generosity.

Rarity | My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Wiki | Fandom

But I gave it some more thought and I realized it wasn’t just them.

Fluttershy, the Kindest pony has a lot of episodes where she is not kind. She gets a dark side, gets too absorbed in trying to be less shy, to the point where she bullies other ponies.

Fluttershy_Trotting,_Staring_at_You

Pinkie Pie actually gets depressed more easily than any other of the mane 6, and it’s visually shown.

Pinkie Pie | My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Wiki | Fandom

Rainbow Dash often lets ego get in the way of being loyal to her friends. Or, she goes overboard.

Rainbow Dash My Little Pony Pinkie Pie Applejack, rainbow ...

Twilight, the Magic element, struggles with magic constantly, making mistakes, having to work on control, and meeting other ponies more powerful than her.

Twilight Sparkle | My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Wiki | Fandom

(One might wonder what magic represents in the real life application of the show, and I think the best answer is it represents wisdom and understanding of how to use the other elements. Twilight most often figures out the best application of the other elements, and how to make them work together. Magic is mostly knowledge on the show. It’s studies by scholars, so it makes sense.)

Twilight also often lacks understanding of friendship situations, especially when they involve her, and has to learn the hard way.

What’s interesting is that she begins the show by not valuing friendship at all, and then becomes the princess of friendship halfway through. Making her the alleged expert on it.

If her element is understanding, however, that’s a bit ironic isn’t it?

But it’s this aspect of the show that I think gets overlooked by many fans. Twilight’s journey is the same as her friends.

They all begin with some innate talent in understanding their elements, but the show is about how all of them grow into being better examples of those elements.

You could say that becoming the elements at the beginning of the show was like being chosen for their potential, and the show is how they grow into that potential.

In this way, their constant struggles with fulfilling those roles makes perfect sense, and is much more compelling to watch, otherwise we’d be getting what a lot of shows do, having the specified characters just preaching at others constantly. Which is okay, but usually means they’ll be stolen, corrupted, or killed off to create drama because there’s no learning curb, they are already experts.

In another way, it was a smart writing choice, because I know from my own efforts that if you set yourself up as an expert in any field to begin with, you’ll come off as a fool, since we humans are always learning, and writing about something is a great way to learn about it more.

The writers didn’t put the pressure on themselves to fully understand all 6 elements at the beginning of the show, instead they gave one example in the pilot, then built on it season after season till by the end they do have a very in depth take on each, but they didn’t start out that way. Which is fine.

I write about the steps to overcoming abuse, obht in fiction and in nonfiction, and I’m still learning about it. If I tried to sa I already had it down, I’d be ridiculously arrogant, by saying I am still learning, I give myself the freedom to revise and build on it.

But this is something a lot of young writers gt wrong. The Bible actually warns the Church not to let new believers become teachers because they are too green and might become prideful.

It’s very true.

The principle of maturity has nothing to do with talent. It’s entirely possible a brand new christian may have a strong gift of teaching, I always have had that gift myself, and it got even stronger once I committed to Christ, because I had more inspiration and less fear.

And I probably have more of a natural talent than many of the pastors I’ve known, but that has very little to do with being able to actually teach.

A good teacher needs to be humble, open to learning from their mistakes, and able to not take all criticism seriously, since people will criticize you more for what you do right than what you do wrong, 9 times out of 10.

A young christian has too much enthusiasm and not enough experience, They may believe, they may even have more raw faith than a 10 year old christian who has hit a rough patch in their life, but what they don’t have is experience of temptations and weaknesses to give them empathy and humility.

And a teacher with neither of those qualities is going to do more harm than good.

The Bible is always practical, if you just know human nature.

The same principal applies to any field. Newbs don’t make good instructors. They may be better than the teacher at doing the thing, but that doesn’t mean they know how to teach it.

I once let one of my Sunday school students who knew the lesson already try to teach it for a single minute. Then I encouraged the others to interrupt the same way they do with me, and get distracted. (I didn’t even have to help that much, they did it on their own.) My student gave up before the minute was even over. They realized quickly that getting the class to listen to requires more than a good memory of the lesson.

I had to smile because I had the same experience when I tried teaching for the first time.

So, I think MLP is actually very right to show that an affinity for something is not the same as being an expert. The reason MLP stayed good for 9 seasons is because the progress makes sense. The students become mentors, then eventually teachers, as they learn their own trade better, but they start off making all the mistakes we would all make.

The Bible talks about the principle of turning strength into weakness and weakness into strength. (Joel 3:10, 1 Corinthians 1:25)

One of my favorite books, Hinds Feet on High Places (Hannah Hurnard) explores this principle much more fully, showing how all our weaknesses and flaws become our greatest strengths, because we allow God to help us more in the weakness we can’t deny, then in the ones we think are not so bad, and so those become our strengths.

The good thing is, that all grows with time. My fear was something I knew was a weakness, but later I began to notice problems with being too vindictive and willful. My willfulness is something I see as both a strength and weakness, and I’ve treated it as both over time, and God has brought to light how sometimes I need to strengthen it, and other times I need to bend.

My natural inclination is to be willful, so it’s harder to refine it then to encourage it, yet I need to do both.

I think MLP shows this best with Apple Jack, who can take honesty too far more often than the others misuse their elements, (except maybe Twilight who often gets too caught up in trying to understand magic to actually be a friend,) but Apple Jack’s is easier to recognize.

But Apple Jack also has a hard time telling the hard truth. So sometimes she has to encourage the blunt side of herself. It’s a great way to show the two sides of the same coin.

I think that’s about all for now, in conclusions, MLP is a really good show, and we don’t get many like it anymore.

And weaknesses become strengths. If you want more proof, look up how many great speakers once had speech problems or stage fright, and you’ll start to see how often this is true in real life. Until next time–Natasha.

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She-Ra Season 5 tanked the characters.

I have not really admitted to being a She-Ra fan on this blog, and the truth is, I’m really not a fan. I got vaguely interested in the show because a reaction channel I like talked about it, I mostly just watched it to laugh at it, but then I got interested in the depiction of abusive relationships–for obvious reasons.

So, I watched up to season 4 and then when season 5 came out last week, I watched it too, interested to see how they’d wrap things up…

SPOILER ALERT (duh)

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Now, to be honest, my emotional investment was low in everyone except Entrapta and Hordak, and that part was pretty good, so I enjoyed some of the season.

I was never the biggest Catra fan, but l had moments of enjoying her arc also.

But in my opinion, about halfway through is where they dropped the ball, and they dropped it off a cliff.

I’m aware a lot of you readers probably haven’t even heard of this show, as I have international followers, and followers who probably have better stuff to do than binge Netflix kids shows.

Why should you care?

Well, in what it becoming the typical Netflix American fashion, this show tackles both LGBTQ issues (if by tackles you mean subtly promotes the lifestyle in a cotton candy way that you’ll never see with a real gay couple, at least, I’ve not seen any act that way) and abuse. I can’t really explain why it’s so popular to tackle abuse on kids shows now, but I’m not against it if it’s done right, since I certainly wish I’d seen more about it before so that I knew what I was experience was at least not right.

I don’t think they need to call it “abuse” because kids should not be taught to throw that word around until they can understand the difference between abuse and discipline or acts of anger from an equal.

And just to be clear about why I’m going to criticize the show, this is how I qualify behavior as abuse:

  1. Power. Power is the absolutely crucial element of any abuse. Power over the other person, not power to enforce what’s right. Verbal or emotional abuse is just as much about power as physical abuse is, and can be more effective and harder to trace.
  2.  Confusion. Discipline is given for a clear reason, or should be. Abuse can be about one thing one day and the opposite thing the next day. The victim is constantly confused about why they are in trouble.
  3. Justification. Abusers justify what they do with crap reasons that put the blame on everyone else. they don’t just have outbursts of temper, they say those were appropriate reactions. Without the other two elements, justification isn’t abuse because all of us do it, but when someone does it with that kind of malice, it’s become abuse.

Another element that doesn’t have to be it, but usually is is that the two people are not equals, one is a parent, boss, or tyrant figure, and the other is their subordinate or dependent. It can happen between equals in a different sense, where one tries to usurp the other and become the top dog, no matter what the cost.

So, if you watch She-Ra you can probably guess the rest of my thoughts from here on out.

She-Ra depicts it’s MC Adora as the victim of abuse from Shadow Weaver, one of the main villains. then Adora’s “friend” Catra overthrows Shadow Weaver and starts posturing and acting like her…and trying to kill Adora.

I’ve had many a rant about Sasuke and Sakura getting together after all the crap that no one ever calls them out for (except the fans).

But this show managed to trump the bad idea of that ship.

So, after a redemption arc more rushed than necessary, Catra and Adora get together…

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Okay, here’s the deal.

You spend 4 FREAKING SEASONS portraying the stages of leaving an abusive relationship, gaining Independence, discovering who you were meant to be, and learning to communicate with healthier friends. You do a decent job with all that. Have some real cathartic moments of characters calling each other on their crap. Have your MC learn to stop taking blame on herself for stuff beyond her control, choose her own path, etc.

You do ALL THAT right,

And then your big answer at the end is to GO BACK TO THAT PERSON who abused you and make nice with them, and then get in a romantic relationship?

‘Cause that’s realistic.

I mean, it’s not uncommon for victims to go back to their abuser, but it is uncommon for survivors who get out of it to ever willingly put themselves back in. Even when the plot demands it, Adora is hesitant to trust Shadow Weaver.

Someone would say “Catra isn’t Shadow Weaver, Catra was a victim like Adora, so it’s different.”

Ah, no. No, no, NO!

There’s a few reasons that won’t hold up.

  1. The obvious one? Catra tried to kill Adora several times. I know, I know, if people can ship Sasuke with Sakura and Harley with Joker, that won’t stop them. But consider what the point of Adora’s whole arc at the end of Season 3 was? She gave up trying to talk Catra off the ledge, and just stopped her. My World's On Fire, How About Yours? — So when I first saw the ... It was great. In Season 4 she’s in the next stage, learning to just not care what Catra says or does to try to get under her skin. (It’s a fun phase, you feel so free). Season 5 marks the time for Catra to have her own arc, of learning to let go of control, to not give in to anger, and to forgive. Then either at the end or in a future season, a reconciliation could happen, but by no means would it be romantic. That would take years, if it happened at all (which it wouldn’t just to be clear. Once you’re out, you’re out. Unless you’re still married, maybe. A kid isn’t going to move back in with an abusive parent. Sorry.)

2.   Adora was already moving on. As I just said, Adora had gotten over a lot of the anger and guilt she felt over Catra, she realized it was Catra’s choice to screw over the world, not hers. She wasn’t even obsessing over stopping her, she was treating it like a chore. You don’t want to, but you have to.

And that, my friends, is the best place to be in.

As someone who’s kicked an abuser out of my life, let me say, I don’t enjoy reinforcing that. I don’t like making him suffer. I do get catharsis out of seeing the same tactics no longer work on me or anyone else, but I know it’s not over. I have to see this through till the end, but it’s not all I think about.

3. It would never, ever happen.

Even in fiction, two victims of the same abuser who were raised together are not going to end up in a relationship, and this is why:

When an abuser has multiple victims at the same time, usually a parent, but it can be a boss or tyrant also, they will pit them against each other to curry favor. They get a kick out of making one scapegoat feel small, and the other feel dependent on them for their self esteem.

Case in point, I’m the scapegoat in my family, and one of my sisters is the “good sheep” (commonly called Golden Child) but when she caught on to the abuse and began calling it out, she fell from grace within 2 weeks. No joke. It took about 3 days to go from being the good kid to the same basket case as yours truly. Why? She changed, but our dad didn’t.

The scapegoat will realize what’s happening to a certain point, and resent the abuser, and usually, they’ll resent the Golden Child too. Sometimes they get over it and realize the other person was also a victim, like in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (a much better handling of the same dynamic), other times they turn on their fellow victim, like in the new show The Dragon Prince, with Claudia and Soren (another much better depiction.)

The Best Nebula Quotes From MCU Movies, Ranked By Fans Assorted Thoughts on The Dragon Prince Book Three | Manic Expression

Even if you reconcile, you never get away from the fact that they were in that with you and will always remind you of it. Ideally, you both go on to live independent lives, and stay close, but you know you can’t be dependent on each other, or the cycle continues.

Growing apart is actually good for abused siblings, because abuse traps you into one little circle of people. I hardly ever had friends over growing up, play-dates didn’t get set up, nothing. I think there was just this instinct to keep to ourselves. It’s not malicious on everyone’s part, it’s just there, darkness hides, that’s all there is to it.

People who marry victims of abuse may find the family will either make them a part of the cycle, or always resent them for being outside it, and it causes more problems in marriage than most realize. If two abuse victims get married who never got over it, then it’s likely they’ll become part of both cycles in some way, directly or indirectly, and so like attracts like, it’s what’s normal to you.

All this to say, Adora and Catra’s best case scenario always should have been parting ways at the end of the show. Even if Catra had joined Adora at the start of it, eventually she would have needed to find her own path, apart from Adora, to find out what it’s like to not revolve around Adora and Shadow Weaver.

Adora’s whole journey in seasons 1-4 is learning not to revolve around Catra and Shadow Weaver, which the ever unhelpful Glimmer does not make easy.

Certainly, once Catra started trying to kill her, any chance of being close like they were before was out the window.

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I am all about forgiveness, but I am not about stupidity. We have flaws. You can forgive, but some things you should not forget. You need to remember, so you value your freedom.

It’s like how we remember 9/11 and Memorial Day, and JFK’s assassination. How the Israelites remembered being set free from Slavery on Passover. You need to be reminded that freedom is hard, costly, and has to be maintained. Or you’ll lose it.images

In my mind, Season 5 was doomed as soon as Adora went back for Catra after Catra told her not to. Not because I was against Catra getting saved, but because I think it needed to be someone other than Adora. Glimmer, Bow, Entrapta, anyone it wouldn’t have been codependency with.

They could have still saved it if Adora had understood what needed to happen after saving Catra, but she goes right back to blaming herself, worrying, and saying she “doesn’t want to lose her”.

On most shows, this would be a red flag that the person was getting too obsessed with the other, but nope, its okay now, because…uh, no reason really. The fans wanted the ship, I guess.

Catra’s arc is undermined by the fact that she is not letting Adora go, but still basing her self-worth on Adora and Shadow Weaver.

Even to the point where Shadow Weaver successfully manipulates her into running off again, so, she learned nothing, really.

This “ship” hit all the wrong branches on the abuse-victim tree for me, and it was infuriating to see it be endgame.

I both think it was never going to be romantic once it was depicted as two abuse victims trying to deal with their past, and that it should never have been romantic once they were free already, and that even if it was going to be at all costs, they could have at least tried to be mature about it.

But nope, let’s just kiss and do the love defies death cliche (I love that cliche when it’s done right, by the way).

Now, you may think, I just don’t like gay ships.

But let me counter with this, I watch a reviewer of the show who does support gay ships, and he has made the abuse comparison in each season of the show.

Here’s the problem, he still ships it (and no, he’s not gay himself, he just wants to be progressive.)

Now, he called it abusive, before I did, in fact. But he still ships it. Do you see the problem here?

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I suppose someone who hasn’t been abused can make glib comments about it, but overlook it in the end if they get the butterflies from the sickly sweet shipping moments.

But let me spell this out for anyone who might think I’m being too harsh:

Abuse is hell, at least, it’s pretty darn close.                         images

Abuse tears apart who you are, and gives you nothing back but poison. It’s selfish, it’s isolating you from anyone who might help you.

When you are finally out of it, you dread somehow getting tricked into going back. You have depression, guilt, fear, anger, rage, grief.

It can feel like you’ll never be a normal person. You’ll never have a happy life. This will blot out the sunshine forever.

All this can go on for years, at the very least, months.

And that’s AFTER you got OUT. Not even mentioning what it was like while it was happening. Not feeling safe any day of your life because that person is there, or will be, or may find some way to hurt you even if they aren’t there.

Words can not describe the amount of loathing I would feel to ever willingly subject myself to that again, as well as the paranoia that I someday will. The only thing that keeps all that at bay is knowing God is there, having my back. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I was not a Christian and the same thing happened…yikes.

So, seeing someone dismiss that on the grounds of “cute shipping moments” kind of makes me want to throw up.

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This is my issue with the show, in summary. They threw out all that good writing in order to ship the characters, which is a terrible example for kids, and gay people, for that matter. Don’t get back into an abusive relationship, just don’t.

There is no going back. Even if you forgive the person, and miracle of miracles, they are actually sorry and learn to be better, distance is what maintains that.

Abuse is about control, distance is the sincerest form of repentance for an abuser, and the truest form of freedom for a victim.

In a perfect world, with perfect people, it wouldn’t matter. But the world isn’t perfect.

And that’s also my other problem with the show’s ending.

It’s a pastel pink, gay paradise. Literally. No one mentions the people who just died, we see no funeral, no one mentions Angella even though her husband is just getting to see his home without her for the first time, no one talks about all the damage they’ll still need to repair.

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And no one even thinks about how Catra still has a crap ton of issues, and needs to resolve them without Adora’s help.

Nope. Best friend Squad, my foot.

They make it look perfect, because any acknowledgement of the real problems that still need to be dealt with breaks the illusion that this could actually be the ending.

Don’t say “Disney does it all the time” not the same thing. At its worst, Disney doesn’t end with abusive relationships.

Paradise is a good ending when the main problems have been resolved, or the path to resolving them has been made clear for the audience, not when there’s a lot still to do.

Freaking Naruto ended better than that… and it was awful.

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Anyway, yes, I did turn this into a rant, but I hope it’s clear why I feel so strongly about this.

To me, it seems the writers must not have talked to anyone who has been abused, because it’s just so repulsive to you if you have gotten out of it.

I don’t by any means wish to make my abuse story a badge of identity to myself, I detest that mindset.

Force Captain Badge | She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Wiki | Fandom

 

But if the subject comes up, as it clearly did, I think I have the right to call them out for doing it wrong.

I still liked some things about season 5, but the conclusion is not one of them.

Until next time, Stay honest–Natasha.

At First Sight–3

Okay, last couple but first, I hit 1,000 likes on this blog! (Cue trumpets and streamers).

Party Streamers Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Thank you all so much for coming around and reading my stuff, I never knew if this was going to work out, and after about 4 years, it’s been a really fun journey of finding my writing style and interests. If I went back, I could trace kind of how I grew up through this, I started it when I was 16, and I’m 21 now. That’s an important chunk of my life and this is like a documentation of what I was into and learning all that time.

Okay, now that I’ve acknowledged that, let’s get back to the show:

Interlocking Rings Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

My favorite couple was Jamie and Doug, mostly because I freaking called it, but also because Doug was just this gem of a person, and he was actually funny. No joke, he did stand up comedy as a hobby, and his down to earth approach to the whole experiment just gave it legitimacy.

If everyone who tried it had Doug’s attitude, it might be a good idea to do.

Jamie was a basket case, but no more so than I am, or anyone else who’s had a hard childhood and been left to deal with it was best as they could.

I did like that Jamie admitted her issues, and worked to overcome them. The whole thing was a trial by fire for her, she had problems with trust, and committing and feeling safe, getting married was like the “kill or cure” method for her, much like for Jason.

but Jamie was humble enough to admit she got herself into this and she needed to give it her best shot. Also, I would have been psyched out by the pressure too, so I couldn’t’ really judge her for crying and panicking, I’ve had those moments.

Like Jamie, when I’ve put a lot of thought and effort into something, I can break down when it suddenly grew from an idea to a reality. As a teen I was sometimes shy, and anxious about being away from home. I’d go to Church camp, or on a mission trip, and some break down would inevitably follow, because I bottle my emotions up and don’t ask for help till I’m so overwhelmed I get physically sick.

I’ve worked on that lately, but I sometimes still wake up and have gagging episodes of stress induced reactions. (Also allergies and environment contribute).

Or I get really drained emotionally because when I feel things, I feel them keenly. I think it’s an empath thing.

Anyway, Jamie’s reaction was too real for me because of all that, but Doug was the kind of person who would have made me feel better. Calm, not taking it personally, funny, and patient.

See, the breakdown is kind of an unintentional self-sabotage. You believe you can’t do something, so you go into panic mode to get other people to come to the same conclusion, you think they will. When someone believes in you regardless, and encourages you, it’s a bonding moment.

Like Jamie, I have trust issues and have had to pull myself together so much, I don’t really know when to let someone else help me. By the time I realize I need help, I’m really worked up.

So, again, this show was kind of enlightening, maybe the reason I am this way is like her, it’s my response to the past. Like her, I also know I am this way and want to work at it, but my own weakness trip me up.

Doug was great, he deserves respect for how much he put up with, and he didn’t grudge her for needing time. Jamie herself alter regretted being quite so challenging, but we all know, she almost couldn’t help it, she was fighting her demons as hard as she could, and she went along with the counselors advice even though she admitted she wouldn’t have been comfortable doing it if it was just up to her.

her guts to do it regardless matched up with Doug’s willingness to put in the work. They were the best match. I wondered why the experts seemed to doubt it would work out. It might just have been to create tension, bu they thought Jamie might be too mistrusting.

It’s rough because she really was struggling, but you could tell Jamie is an overcomer. She works on her flaws. It’s not always a pretty picture to do so, but life isn’t always picture perfect.

And that’s why I think maybe we can learn the most form their example.

Even assuming you find someone who is not abusive, not selfish, and not a quitter, you have to make it work. It won’t work for you by itself.

Doug expressed his attitude that it was too much to expect it to go perfectly. he hoped for the best, but he was going to give it his best try even if it wasn’t what he wanted. Jamie did end up being what he wanted, and he put work into it. Jamie kept pulling back, and then trying again, it was a long process. It almost ended when Doug lied to her.

But Doug showed way more maturity than Vaughn did, in that he took responsibility, did not justify his actions, admitted he was still working on it, but then said it really wasn’t important enough to toss the whole thing out over.

and yeah, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Jamie was hurt by Doug, certainly.

The people close to you can and will hurt you, deeply, where it counts.

It’s not even because they are flawed, though that’s part of it, it’s because people are easily hurt. We misunderstand each other, often without meaning to we base our assessments of each other on assumptions.

I have friends who have triggered my abandonment issues by doing things that aren’t really that bad, maybe aren’t bad at all, but any little lack of engagement can make me feel like they are losing interest in me.

Why?

Well, I had a dad who told me he would give up on trying with me multiple times, till I could predict when he would say it. I realized it was cowardice after awhile, but also the message that I was not worth enough to him to push past his own insecurities was hammered in.

And that, by the way, is very painful.

Cinema has a habit of making insecurities and backstory justify everything, as I mentioned in the last post. But they don’t.

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I know because the people who succeed most as what really matters, they do it because they push past their insecurity.

If you know you are insecure, and you let that define your life. You don’t risk love because you  know you tend to mess it up, you don’t risk trying to win because you know you will fear failing, then you are giving in. You let the darkness win. End of story.

It will always be the end, until you yourself decide you’ve had enough of unhappiness.

In my life, about a year into being a Christian, God presented me with the challenge of choosing to heal, to lean into His love, and not let people define what I could do.

I am still living that out today. My life is far from my dream version of what I want. But, in 8 years, not everything you want will happen.

The point is, even if I’m still waiting for some things, I have changed.

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I choose to love people even though I not only know to expect hurt, I actually can predict exactly how it will come. Being an empath, I can gauge what people feel about me, and if they are really concerned about me, or themselves.

It made my past more hurtful, because I stopped being able to lie to myself about my dad. I knew he didn’t love me, I knew even, that he hated me.

Yet, I did not stop loving him. I still do.

I don’t love my dad because I get something gout of it. At this stage, it is doubtful I ever will get a thing out of it. But he is my dad, he’s a person, and I can understand him, even if I don’t look up to him.

I would want to be loved despite my flaws. Jamie and Doug’s story hit me about where it counts the most.

Before marriage, you may know the person, but you won’t really, truly know them, know what sets them off, what they fear most, what they hate, until yo live with them nonstop.

You can go into it with the attitude that they’ll help you fix all your problems and won’t ever have any of their own that aren’t minor.

Or, you can do what Doug did, and realize that no one is perfect, everyone has a past.

Doug didn’t judge, he just accept Jamie and her family as what they were. Warts and all, as the saying goes.

His outlook was that he could not be disappointed, if he didn’t put unrealistic expectations on her. He was hurt a little, but he didn’t go into a tailspin when it didn’t go the way he wanted, because he knew it wasn’t all up to him.

He knew also that Jamie was dealing with past memories and he couldn’t expect her to not react based on that sometimes, but he had to be responsible for himself.

I don’t think he’d put all this into words, it was just in his actions and manner.

 

And hey, guys, that’s all it has to be. Don’t worry about trying to say all this stuff. Just do it, and the girl will get it eventually, if she’s Miss Right.

But this can just as easily be a Man thing too.

Women have a harder task in marriage often because men will resist help even more than we will. Men get told that’s normal. Jason and Cortney kind of ran into that problem.

But, when God made Marriage, it was actually the needs of the Man he was considering. Eve was made for Adam to solve the problem of loneliness, to give him his other half, because as our modern lingo has put it “I can’t do life without you.”

Adam really couldn’t do life without Eve, plain and simple.

And men, if you’re reading this, this is great news for you. It validates the fact that you have needs, just as much as women do, and in fact, God designed companionship with that idea in mind.

It’s like Women know this more because we are made to be the answer to the problem. I mean, you’d better know what problem you’re supposed to be helping, right?

So, if the first man himself, even before sin, needed a woman, then every married couple should know that the man need his wife’s support just as much as she needs his.

(It’s kind of telling that it took God to point this out even in the first story, though. Men still don’t always get it. Until they see it.)

So, ladies, don’t think your man doesn’t need you to be patient, caring, and not take things personally with him either.

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And personally, I am expecting my husband to need that. In fact, I expect him to probably have less of an idea why he needs it than I do. Again, women tend to know more about this. I’m okay with him not getting it right away as long as he know sits important, and thank God women are naturally more patient then men, usually.

See, it makes a kind of sense doesn’t it?

Anyway, I think the real difference can be most women will not just be supportive silently, like men are, they will explain it. But there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you don’t over do it.

Jason and Cortney also demonstrated this, Cortney was far more verbal about helping Jason, but Jason still did it, he just didn’t talk through it as much.

And we need both the words and the deeds, sometimes women don’t need to explain it either, other times men need to be able to explain it.

Doug and Jamie illustrate why, actually.

Now that we have a fallen world, misunderstanding is not likely, it’s guaranteed. I don’t care how in sync you are, you’ll misread each other.

Case in point, my sisters and I can guess what the others are going to say, we talk in unison all the time, some people think we’re twins (we are all at least a couple years apart and it’s weird.) Plus, I’m an empath and can read their emotions really well. And we still have miscommunications almost daily over dumb stuff. We have almost all the same opinions on things, and yet we still step on each other’s toes. And we’re all girls.

So, you can bet two people of the opposite sex who have not grown up in the same house are going to the same thing, probably way more often than we do.

It’s okay, just accept it and don’t let it get to you. I think more couples need to hear that advice.

Anyway, in summary, Jamie and Doug just basically showed how to be married, not just how to date, and be a friend. Marriage means sharing all your problems, event he ones you can’t help each other with, but you still need to talk about, just so you know it.

Glad they stayed together and got their own spin off show. Which I may watch if I can.

And so, that was my experience of Married at First Sight. Did I surprise you with what I took out of it? What I didn’t like?

My thoughts on the experiment are that they got lucky, because they missed something that the two couple who succeeded demonstrated.

You just can’t plan for this one thing: Drive.

If people choose to make it work, they can make almost anything work. If they don’t try, then no matter how compatible they are, it won’t work.

Monet and Vaughn were the most compatible by the test scores, but Vaughn didn’t know how to live with anyone.

The other two couples got that they had to make it a success, no one else could do it for them.

So, they did. Because both people were on the same page.

Marry someone you know will work at it, that’s my takeaway.

And no test can predict that. It’s a choice moment by moment, and it can be undone at any time, the person has to daily decide to do it.

So, no, I’m not about to let scientists choose my husband, but it’s also not really worse than choosing one without asking any of the real questions. It’s not invalid, it’s just risky. Better to know yourself what you should look for in a spouse.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Can check out my other writing on Amazon and Wattpad 🙂

 

 

https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj

Arrival at UA by worldwalkerdj

At first Sight-2

Picking up from the last post about “Married at First Sight.” I’m going to talk about (cue MC announcer voice):

Couple No#2

Ugh… Monet and Vaughn.

First of all, I like Monet fine. She’s got sass and guts, and I think she tried to be the mature person.

If you clicked on this post because you watched the show, I bet you know what the attitude towards Vaughn was. People did not like him, and with good reason.

I feel bad for the guy in a way, but he was one stubborn jackass, and he said a lot of stuff on public television to incriminate himself, so I think it’s fair game now to critique what happened.

Now, Vaughn came off as kind of self-satisfied even before the marriage happened. He seemed to have high standards, but not about the things you’d think would matter. He and Monet both wanted a more traditional set=up, the man leads, and takes charge while the woman cooks or supports.

Monet was no cook, as it turned out, and Vaughn didn’t let that one go.

However, Monet also didn’t like that Vaughn lacked direction in his life, he had a job, a  nice set up, had been in the military, but didn’t have a real life goal planned out.

What bugged me and my sister about Vaughn was how familiar he was. He hit all the sore spots we’d had from our father. In fact, we recognized the exact same turns of phrase, tones, and ploys that out dad used. Word for word, sometimes.

Like our dad, Vaughn was always changing what he said. He’d want one thing one day, and the next day another. A classic sign of an abuser is their changing their wishes every other day and blaming you for doing what they said to do the day before.

Vaughn also attacked Monet’s personality, even though he asked for bubbly, her cheerfulness wore on him, apparently. He didn’t feel like talking, he did feel like sex a lot, and they had sex a lot. Mistake one, I thought.

I am not against sex in marriage, of course. But getting right to it and not setting up any kind of trust or parameters first was probably appealing to the baser instincts in human sexuality, and that’s not a great foundation fro marriage.

I personally would not have had sex with someone I just met, because in my mind marriage is binding once you’ve had sex, annulment is only acceptable when it hasn’t come to that yet. The Bible teaches that it’s sex that binds a couple together spiritually and physically, and so the only grounds for annulment would be if that binding hasn’t happened.

The Bible says that even if you divorce, if its for any reason other than infidelity, to remarry is to commit adultery. There is grace, thank goodness, as many people remarry before becoming Christians, and the word is clear that we should not leave our spouses over that, don’t add another split to the first one, but don’t make that mistake again.

This made rooting for Monet and Vaughn complicated. I would not live with a man like that, but I wouldn’t consider myself free to divorce and remarry till he cheated. I have little doubt he would have, however, from his attitude. And them, it’s fair game.

But even so, it’s a tragic thin to divorce, and why this experiment was risky.

It was frustrating to watch this couple, because the longer the show went, the more signs of abusive behavior Vaughn showed. He didn’t hit her (that would have put an end to it at once, I think) and I don’t think he’d be the type to do it, he was more of the passive abuser. The emotional manipulator who tries to make themselves out to be the victim, while contradicting themselves and criticizing you for what they praised the day before.

Vaughn also did what I thought he would do, after seeing how he and his mom interacted on camera, and got her involved in their fights. Which, guys, you should never do. If your mom has to take your side against your wife, you’re relying on her too much. your wife had better be cheating on you or abusing you if its gotten to that point. Same thing with husbands and fathers. No woman should get her daddy to chew her husband out unless her husband is violent and dangerous, or cheating. I think that’s just common sense.

It’s your parents job to parent your significant other. It’s beautiful when in-laws can give nurturing care to each other, but they are not “raising” your spouse. Respect has to be maintained.

Sorry for that soapbox moment, but jeez the counselors should have told Vaughn that.

Actually, I was amazed these “experts” did not spot this behavior a mile away.

I think I figured out why, since the whole thing had to be anonymous, they didn’t ask the parents and friends of these people what they were like.

But hear me on this, if you’re single, you will never get a real idea of someone’s character till you ask the people who have to live with them or interact with them on a regular basis. Even workplace people will know more about them in some ways than you will, as their SO.

The guy I’ve been crushing on for years has a great family, and I’ve some knowledge of how he interacts with them. Not as much as I need, but enough to look promising. I have lots of friends who I can tell a lot about by how I see them talk to their families. One family interaction can speaks books worth of knowledge about a person. Even if it’s 5 seconds long.

The audience found out later that Vaughn told his mom how Monet was treating him badly, and omitted that she apologized. Color me not surprised, I expected as much, my ad used to dot he same thing, still does for all I know.

Vaughn talked to Monet just like how my dad would talk to my mom, but to Monet’s credit, she saw through the bull-crap. Not being in love gave her no room for blinders or rose colored glasses, I think she held back during the initial filming out of consideration for privacy, but later she called him out on it beautifully.

To my chagrin, the experts and show host did not really side with her enough. They didn’t admit to making a mistake and not accounting for Vaughn’s destructive tenancies.

Now, the thing is, his mom would not have called him abusive. He’s her little boy, though she did give him some flack for how he acted. But you don’t need the relatives and friends to tell you they’re abusive, you just need to know to ask the right questions. Here’s a few to try:

“Does he/she take responsibility when they screw up, and apologize quickly?”

“Does she/he try to fix their mistakes, or do they repeat them?”

“Do they use the phrase “no win/can’t win/don’t know what to do to make it better a lot?”

“Are they consistent with what they say they want? Do they ask you to do contradictory things like be supportive but also call them out on their crap (not that you shouldn’t want both, but do they change it from day to day)?”

“Do they say you are not making it possible for them to be happy?”

and

“Do they come to you every time someone hurts their feelings and ask for sympathy?” (If you are a parental figure, and they are a grown adult. Clearly a teenager can still do this without it necessarily being a red flag).

If you answered no to the first one, and yes to the others, warning.

Now, if your spouse or SO displays only one of those behaviors, or displays them with only one type of person, namely, not just the ones close to them but one personality type, then I’d say they might not be abusive.

You can have some symptoms of abuse, but it hasn’t permeated your whole life and outlook and you can probably be made to see its wrong and grow out of it, with enough time and patience. Even if not, if you are only like that with one or two people who are not your family, it probably won’t wreck your marriage.

What that means is that being abusive is not your characters, it’s just a flaw in certain parts of it that may not dominate your life, most of us have flaws that could be seen as manipulative and abusive if dialed to 90, and if they were like that all the time, but to be clear,  a husband is not abusing his wife if he says once in a while that she could nag him less, he is abusing her (emotionally) if he says that every time she has a problem with him.

Likewise, a wife is not abusing her husband if she sometimes cries to get her way, or uses other lines like “don’t you love me?” if she only does it once in along while and can be reasonable at other times, it may just be an old habit she’s not completely over, but if she does it so regularly you can predict it, that’s probably deliberate manipulation.

Not manipulation is abuse, and some manipulation is actually good. People like to feel they are being managed if it’s respectfully and shows an understanding of who they are as a person, and is not using them. It’s the secret behind “sweet talking” someone into something while they know you are doing it.

Needless to say, that wasn’t the case with Vaughn. Monet was right to say he didn’t want to be helped. Even in public, he blamed her and would not recognize his faults or unrealistic expectations.

He wanted a wife to meet his needs, but he did not do more than the bare minimum to look good for the public.

Another thing I learned from watching my parents, and that Vaughn replicated:

Touching gestures can be part of abuse.

My dad bought us gifts after telling me “f—you” as a parting shot while leaving us to manipulate my mom. He said “maybe you’ll appreciate me more if I’m not around” which is a line Vaughn used too, straight up.

My dad would be docile a few days after a big blow out. I don’t know if he got sex out of it, I don’t want to know, it’s not my business, but he would act nice. Another tried and true abuse tactic.

He’d get the flowers on Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Birthday, etc. He’s been doing that since moving out too.

What was telling to me, however, was how little he understood about my mom. I came to realize that he never asked her what she liked, or tried to learn, just as he never did with me.

Once I told him that my mom didn’t like being praised lavishly in front of all of us, that she found it awkward, but my dad would over do it just to make a point of it, and demand we follow his example, like we were bad kids if we didn’t.

When I told him she didn’t like it he was stunned, and asked her if it was true, she told him it was. She never told me that, but I knew my mom.

I, for one, am okay with praise in front of other people, but my dad didn’t often praise me in front of people, he would tell them my faults however, real or imagined, to total strangers, to other people in the family.

I had my well-meaning uncle give us a talk about respecting parents that demonstrated how little he knew about us. He noticed I had tension with my dad, but failed to notice how my dad talked to me, and did not hesitate to embarrass me in front of others. Probably he did not know, a family has plenty of trigger words that only make sense to them.

If I said “You don’t like to play games with me” to you, you might not take it personally. Or “you don’t usually do nice gestures like…” maybe for you, that’s just an observation about your personality. But suppose you have a history of fighting with someone over that very thing, now, you’re embarrassed. See?

Vaughn did the same thing to Monet, insulting her personality and ways of showing love, and getting his mom on his side, to where his mom talked to Monet about it. That was on her too though, she should have known better. She gave good advice, but she didn’t have the whole story. I didn’t blame Monet for being mad, but to her credit, she did her best.

But Vaughn, of course, didn’t treat his mom like that. Abusers are rarely abusive to their parents, in my experience. They feel powerless with them, or have an idealized vision of them, as above reproach. he compared Monet to hims mom and what he saw with his dad.

But for context, Vaughn’s dad die when he was 12, too young to see a lot of flaws in his parents. There always are flaws. Learning them is rough on kids, but essential to learning that people aren’t perfect and you must not expect them to be. Kids who don’t learn this with their parents have a harder time adjusting to their spouses quirks. As observed by the author of “Pygmalion” (better known to most people by it’s screen version “My Fair Lady”.)

(Now my parental figures are so flawed, my husband could probably surprise me most by being unlike them, more on that when I cover Jamie and Doug.)

Vaughn never learned that marriage is hard, and he seemed very arrogant. If he was unfixable, only God knows, but he was not ready for a relationship. Even having his flaws called out on TV and pointed out by many viewers did not humble him and if at that point you can’t reexamine yourself, I don’t know what would help you. Monet has my sympathy and respect for standing up to the host and holding her ground.

Here’s one last thing I took from their example, and it was really eye opening, don’t skip this part, trust me.

Media likes to sell us the line that abusers have been abused, and maybe 9 out of 10 times that is true, but Vaughn proved to me that it is not true every time.

Also, destructive attitudes are a choice. Her’es why this was odd for me.

My dad always blamed his past (red flag) for his bad parenting. He’d say he never got shown the right way, his parents were awful, etc. They were, but it wasn’t why he was abusive.

See, abuse always comes down to control, but a man may feel out of control for many reasons.

Vaughn, it could be, missed out on a father figure teaching him what it was to be a man, but here’s the thing, I don’t know that it would have made a difference.

His whole attitude was self righteous because he thought he knew what a good marriage looked like, only very careful parents would have caught that, and he hadn’t been in enough relationships for them to have done so.

I had accepted that my dad abused because he was abused, but Vaughn changed my mind. He wasn’t abused, clearly, yet he was still abusive.

See, you can develop wrong ways of control without it being shown to you, human nature is what it is, after all, the abuse starts with someone, doesn’t it?

My grandpa was a lot like my dad, personality wise, but he had a very happy remarriage with my step-grandmother. She managed him, he let her. It wasn’t abusive, though far from perfect. To the last, he really cared about her, and didn’t act like she was around just of his convenience. It was really sweet.

Actually, my grandparents ton my mom’s side also were married a long time, while her mom remarried a lot of times, so it really doesn’t run in the family.

My dad’s mom is abusive, but she is far less aware of it than my dad is, and its more of an annoyance than anything to take seriously. She can still be kind sometimes. She just can’t see why it’s wrong to talk the way she does. But her verbal abuse was from misery, not control. She never controlled anyone but her husband all that effectively with it, she just grated on people.

My dad is worse than either of them, because his abuse was personal, it was often intentional to some level, and it worked. Far, far too well.

In the same way, I don’t think Vaughn had abusive parents. I think he liked control. But he is not your typical image of the guy with his life falling apart who take sit out on others, that’s actually the problem. he thinks he’s got it together, and he has no need to improve, any woman would be lucky to have him, clearly the problem was with Monet.

Well, I think I’ve explained it thoroughly. If you take anything away from this, I think it should be what I took away, that you decide who you are. Not your parents. download (7) 6486314-images

You can end up worse than your parents. Anime has it wrong, backstory does not explain everything.

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I know people who’ve gone through emotional healing for their past and still suck at relationships because they have not taken control of their future self.

Also, you are not destined to be abusive if you were abused, thank goodness. Just don’t marry someone like that.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.