Paragon of Virtue

For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Through this, we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all. Infinite in distance and unbound by death, I release your soul, and by my shoulder, protect thee.
Pyrrha Nkos

It’s no secret if you’ve followed me for a while that I was originally a big fan of RWBY.

And that I’m still a fan of the first 3 volumes, at least. Possibly the 4-5 ones also.

I’m also a fan of the Justice League Animated show (and recently I watched the Snyder cut of the live action movie, and holy cow was it like watching a different film! One I actually lied. I think we should burn the theatrical cut and pretend it never happened.)

So I was talking to my sister about both these things and comparing the characters, and she specifically requested I blog about this topic.

So here we go:

What is a Paragon?

Let’s look at the web’s definition, though most weebs already know what it is, sort of:

“A paragon means¬†someone or something that is the very best. The English noun paragon comes from the Italian word paragone, which is a touchstone, a black stone that is used to tell the quality of gold. You rub the gold on the touchstone and you can find out how good the gold is.” (vocabulary.com)

Most people acknowledge that the main character of any given kids show or movie is supposed to be the paragon. And if I name names, you’ll see a pattern.

Anime has a paragon almost as a requirement, with a few exceptions, like the Shield Hero.

Midoriya (My Hero Academia)

Naruto (Naruto)

Tohru (Fruits Basket)

Natsu (Fairy Tale, Erza would also be one)

Hiro (Darling in the Franx)

Not all of these are perfect examples, the first two are the closest. But you know the characters who stand above the rest, who everyone wants to be like, who they trust to lead them, who they think has some moral insight that they don’t.

Outside of anime, the paragon is less worshiped, but still present.

Captain America (Avengers)

Xavier (X-men, often Logan also fulfills this role)

Mickey Mouse (any Micky Mouse media)

Aang (Avatar the Last Airbender)

So you see paragons are everywhere. That’s why it’s considered a trope.

For a better explanation of how it is used in a story and the pros and cons, I refer you to Overly Sarcastic Productions excellent video:

Love Red’s videos about tropes

So, of course, the two paragons I wanted to talk about are Ruby, from the show RWBY, and Superman, from the DC Universe. Particularly his recent shows and movie renditions.

I’m going to argue that neither of these characters are good paragons, though they are treated like paragons by their writers and fellow characters, and the fans, by and large.

But my unpopular opinion is that they both suck at fulfilling this role, and that is because people lack understanding of what makes a paragon really work.

I think it goes back to our culture’s lack of understanding of what makes a righteous person to begin with.

(I’ve argued that Gaara should be the protagonist of Naruto also, and a protagonist and paragon do not have to be the same thing but they usually are in anime, however I think Gaara fulfills both roles better.)

It’s easy to see why Superman would be considered the best of the best, who can be better than Superman?

Yet, it’s interesting that in every version of the Justice League that’s written where they turn to the dark side, Superman is the first to fall.

I now the premise is that he is the only one holding the league together, so if he falls, they all fall.

I’m going to argue now that that is actually one of the signs of a bad paragon.

1. Instead of people being inspired by the paragon, they instead rely on them, both intellectually and physically.

Ruby is the bigger offender here, but so is Superman.

Lazy thinking is the bane of every group in real life, but it’s also one of the main things that kills fictional teams.

The whole team relies on thsi one person to know what’s right and to know what to do.

Sample:

Yang from RWBY: “She (Ruby) always knows what to do, so I’m going to follow her.”

Flash from JL animated series: We don’t do that to our enemies.

Diana: Speak for yourself.

Flash: I was trying to speak for Superman.”

This is just one of many examples from the shows where the other characters rely on the example of the paragon…to a point where it seems they may not actually agree with them.

I’m against murder, of course, but Diana stopping herself only because Superman would say to, and not out of any mercy of her own, seems like a red flag.

And it’s made more poignant when we consider that both in the Justice Lords episode of this show, and in the video game and movie versions of the Dark Justice League, Diana goes dark once Superman has led the way. Implying she never had any root in herself and her own ideals to resist the pull of power.

Diana’s weakness is not thinking for herself. Flash, who we learn died before the League went full on power mad in the alternate world, would have been the only person to resist the corruption, and he is the only one to stop Diana in the regular timeline.

J’onn, the Maritian, also expresses how he wonders if they can still be a league, how many battles did they win just because Superman was there, he asks.

[I actually think he’s less necessary than they think based on the show at least, but not in the movies.]

On RWBY, Ruby is followed by her sister, Yang, but also by Ozpin, who insists that victory is in the simpler things. Even the theme song says ‘victory is in a simple soul.’

The problem is, Ruby is not a simple soul.

Actually she is full of insecurities, questions, and later on, she resorts to deception and misleading her allies, just because she’s not sure what they will do with the truth, even though she was angry at Ozpin for doing the same thing.

Whereas Oscar, a much better character, is against ding this, but gets ignored because no one respects him.

And Superman, despite Flash’s well meaning optimism, is not the paragon of mercy Flash thinks he is.

Flash didn’t witness the two times Superman tried to kill Darkseid, a villain who humiliated him more than even Lex Luthor, who he just barely holds himself back from killing as it is. But Superman actually had zero hesitation to try to kill Darkseid, and was only stopped, one by Supergirl using reason, and once by Batman, who used brute force (sort of, he got lucky with a boom tube.)

The issue I have with both Supes and Ruby isn’t that they make these mistakes, while being the leaders, but it’s actually my second point:

2. The paragon lacks humility.

A good paragon has flaws, that’s not the problem. The problem is when they pretend that they don’t.

Ruby makes a crap ton of mistakes, but notably, she never once admits it.

As far back as volume 1, Weiss goes off on Ruby for being reckless and a show-off, but then admits that she herself can be a little ‘demanding’ and offers to compromise.

I might be missing something, but I don’t recall Ruby ever owning up to Weiss having a point. She’s just blindly confident that she’ll impress everyone with her skills. Which she does, but that doesn’t make her a good leader.

Weiss also complains that Ruby is the leader of their team, and offers some valid reasons, which in my mind were proven entirely right by Ruby herself several times, and then some, and while Weiss is hardly perfect, Ruby never tries to amend her actions to give Weiss more confidence in her, or acknowledge Weiss might have a point.

“I’m not perfect! Not yet, but I’m still a hundred times better than you.” Weiss, volume one. (I may have paraphrased slightly)

All the way up to Volumes 6-8, which were all horrible train wrecks, including the actual train wreck that happened in volume 6, where Ruby actually says she never needed her uncle’s help, after he saved her butt like 3 times just since his reintroduction in vol 4, and the other times people bailed her out.

Ruby, much like Naruto and Deku on their shows, doesn’t one off win nay fights on her own after volume 2, and that was a draw. Yet she has the idea that she’s independent somehow…why?

Let’s look at Superman for a moment.

In one of the worst episodes of the first JL show (but still far better than the last season of the Unlimited follow up show) Secret Society, Superman pisses off Flash and Hawk Girl by saying:

“At the end of the day, I’m the invulnerable one. Every hit I take is one someone else doesn’t have to.”

While they get mad at this, no one makes the pretty obvious come back: “Sure, until someone has Kryptonite or Red Sun Radiation.”

Something multiple people have had access to, in the show alone, and on his own show.

Superman may be tough, but everyone knows his weaknesses! He’s not invulnerable or invincible. Plus, even Lois Lane has had to save him, not once, but at least 2 or 3 times on his show, and the others saved him many times on the Justice League show.

So where does he get off suggesting that he’s somehow less subject to peril than they are? If he was less reckless about his own safety, they’d actually win their fights faster because they might employ this thing called strategy.

And this leads into point number 3

3. A paragon that never learns

Because of people worshiping them, and their big head, often bad paragons never learn anything from their mistakes.

The entire show of RWBY is proof of that for Ruby, but Superman is a little less obvious.

However, if we consider what happens in the Justice League show, it’s kind of unnerving.

One episode, Patriot Act, points out that after the League got called into question for having a weapon that was worse than a bomb would have been in their watchtower, and Cadmus has issues with them, instead of losing power, the League gains a second base on the earth, but doesn’t’ dismantle their watchtower.

And the only group that was capable of competing with them has been so publicly shamed that they are no longer a threat. Meaning the League is freer from criticism than ever.

Yet the League is still caught off guard by the villains unifying, and almost loses yet again to Darkseid. Superman, rather than show more caution, seems to be overly confident, and has to be saved, ultimately, by Lex Luthor, the most humiliating choice yet.

I can’t blame Superman entirely for that, but he didn’t really back off after the Cadmus incident. I don’t see how getting more power is learning his lesson about hubris and controlling things too much.

What really stands in the way of the League becoming the Justice Lords by the end of the show? Only Flash, anything could still happen to him. How have they learned and become stronger?

This is a problem with the show overall, but especially with Superman. Everyone else changes and evolves over time at least a little, but he stays the same. The same pride and anger under the surface, and willingness to compromise what he claims he upholds.

And finally, one last point

4. A paragon who is only an example when everyone is looking or they have something to prove.

What I detest about both Ruby and Superman, not because I’d hate them as people if it was true, but because they are hailed as such paragons of virtue, is their lack of consideration for anyone else.

If no one is looking, Ruby never gives a crap about helping anyboyd but herself, if shes’ not playint he hor.

Ruby herself is helped both by Blake and Jaune just on her first day at Beacon Academy, but we see her help no one else, nor try to.

While others stand up to the racism against Faunus, Ruby does nothing.

And when Oscar gets beat on for unfair reasons later in the show, Ruby only steps in one time, and that’s when it’s someone who she’d not get much flack for calling out, but not when her uncle or sister also abuse Oscar.

Ruby is nice to Oscar, because she has a crush on him, and once or twice she is nice to Jaune. So she’s not the worst, but she never goes out of her way to help anybody. Nor is she ever more open-minded than anyone else in the team.

But Superman has to be even worse.

I was reading someone else’s post about Wonder Woman the other day, and they brought up a scene where Diana teaches a little girl how to fight to help her have confidence about playing with the boys. The author commented that she couldn’t see Superman or Batman doing this.

I think Batman actually does demonstrate compassion more often, in his own way, when he helps Ace, one of the villains Cadmus created, as well as Baby Doll, one of his sadder villains, and many others. Actually it’s why he and Diana are good together.

But I agree, I can’t see Superman doing it.

Superman is the type of guy who’d say he has to focus on the big problems, fly around and help people, and the little things aren’t ones he can afford to spend time on.

Yet those things are what make us the most human and help us to stay grounded. If you’d take time to help a kid, even if it’s just over something small, then you will remember what’s really important.

He keeps Lois, the closest relationship he has, at arm’s length. At the end of the show, she still doesn’t know his real identity, that we know of. She knows freaking Batman’s, but not his!

I’ve never seen Superman help a kid, outside of his old comics, and then it was to prove a point, that he was Superman…he still helped either way, and I’m not saying he wouldn’t have anyhow, but he got invested primarily for that reason.

Contrast it with Flash, who is a great guy on and off the job, based on how his coworkers treat him. And is a great guy even to the other League members.

Can you see Superman getting Hawk Girl a coffee and blanket? Or giving an old coot an actual fair chance to explain his magic crystal and have a job later? Or painting someone’s fence?

Me neither. The fact that I wouldn’t even imagine it says a lot.

Oh and RWBY has an example of this too. Pyrrha freaking Nikos!

And that’s the perfect cue for me to launch into why Pyrrha is a way better paragon than Ruby, and why many people would be a better one than Superman.

Ironically, almost any member of the 7 would be better than Superman, but most of them lack the leadership drive to be so.

Good Paragon traits

Basically just turn all the bad ones on thier head.

Let’s star twith the last one and work backwards.

Instead of only dong good when it’s beneficial for them also, good Paragons do good when no one thanks them for it.

On Naruto, Gaara sticks up for the rights of people to have life, and for the ideals of mercy, long before he gets made the leader of the army. He works for years to reform Sand Village, to the point where assassination attempt on him by the elders who think he’s crazy or wrong happen so often that his siblings no longer even react to having to save him and each other’s lives at any given moment.

On RWBY, Pyrrha sticks up for Faunus though it gets her little thanks from her classmates. She also helps Jaune with his problems, even when it would get her the opposite of what she wants, or when he gets mad at her.

But what I love is that she’s got bit of a temper too. When Jaune forsakes his team because Cardin blackmails him, instead of coming to them for help, she makes her sentiment clear until he finally apologizes, but she still bails him out of a tight spot.

Pyrrha helps Jaune for his own sake, even when she’s not getting anyth out of it.

She also is nice to team RWBY, paying for their meal and is generally kind and caring to everyone.

Jaune also is a decent paragon, he has more of the traits of pursuing excellence that they have in anime, but he also sticks up for his team and helps people even when he doesn’t have to, as I mentioned above.

Turning back to Justice League, Wonder Woman is far more compassionate than Superman, and Batman is less arrogant. Flash however is the best example, since he combines both those traits at the same time.

Often the traits of a good paragon would be better if they rested on two or three character’s instead of just one, since few people are that virtuous, but if we want to find who’d be a better starting point, those are our choices.

Hawk Girl has the most integrity of everyone in the League, but lacks the confidence to lead, or she might make the better choice.

Point number 2, all of these other characters learn more than the actual paragon characters do.

Granted, not that much, in Batman’s case.

But Batman has a healthy respect for people with different qualities than himself, whereas Superman doesn’t.

Pyrrha is not given the chance to learn much since she (SPOILER ALERT) dies before she really can. But based on her overall humility, it seems like she would have.

Jaune we see does learn from his mistakes and improve, becoming more of a peacemaker in the group and a protector.

And of course, that includes having humility.

One of my favorite things about Pyrrha’s character, as I got more mature about looking at her, was that she isn’t above improving. She has a power that makes it easy for her to win fights by hardly doing anything, but only uses it to give her a bit of an edge, she still trains like crazy to hone her skills. She still thinks she needs to practice. Shes’ willing to team up with less skilled people like Jaune just because she likes his attitude, and to take orders from him despite his lack of experience, unlike Weiss’s attitude towards Ruby.

Pyrrha could roll her eyesūüėíat Jaune, but instead she builds him up. And he becomes the kind of leader she believed in, as he even acknowledges in vole 5 when he said she told him something once, and he believed her.

Pyrrha and Jaune

Pyrrha could win more on a different team, or if she asserted herself over Juane, but she doesn’t. Instead she embraces being treated like a normal person by him, and doesn’t see herself as the invincible, untouchable warrior.

And last bu not least, back to point 1.

A good paragon is not worshiped, they are imitated and respected.

Perhaps this is where Pyrrha, Flash, and the others I mentioned shine most clearly beyond their competition of the canon paragons.

While people talk about imitating Ruby, or Superman, no one actually does it. Or when they do, it’s usually the worst parts of them. Because people always copy your underlying attitude more than your professed one.

Flash copies Superman’s reckless actions more than his selfless ones, the Flash is selfless on his own, that’s why he can take that out of Superman’s example, but Superman never really has any interaction with Flash about this, nor do we see any one moment where Flash is inspired by him to be selfless when he’s actually there.

In contrast, Batman is moved by Flash’es compassion towards his foe the Trickster, in the episode about Flash. And tells Orion that he does not understand him.

Batman actually never talks Flash down, notably, and hes’ shown to be a closet fan of the Flash even in other renditions of the League.

So Flash inspires respect from people it’s worthwhile to earn the respect of, and he is looked up to by kids and regular citizens also just for being so good hearted.

Even if not everyone imitates Flash, they respect his heart.

Pyrrha on the other hand has admiration from her peers and superiors alike, but it’s interesting that in her closet ring of friends, she doesn’t inspire the hero worship that Ruby does.

People don’t look up to Pyrrha to lead them, they want to be like her, because she follows the right thing not just in her words, but in her actions.

Ruby and Superman tell people what the right thing is, Pyrrha and Flash show them what it is.

This doesn’t even mean that I’m arguing for Pyrrha and Flash to be the leader of their teams, I don’t think either of them are suited to that, in fact I thin paragons often don’t make good leaders because of their lack of putting themselves first. A leader ha to have some self confidence.

But like Jaune, and like Batman, the best leaders are the ones who are following the example of a paragon who isn’t the leader, but isn’t a blind follower either, who makes their own choices, but i willing to work with others also.

Pyrrha never turns down help, and Flash is the first to ask for it again after the League breaks up.

Every leader I know of who is also a paragon is the most boring and frustrating kind of protagonist, the most engaging leaders are the ones who learn from paragons as they go.

Like the show My Little Pony’s MC Twilight, who has to learn from all her friends in order to become the Princess of Friendship.

Pyrrha’s influence is felt in volume 4 and 6 especially when we see that Juane, as well as her other teammates, all want to be more like her, they do not say that about Ruby.

Ruby can lead, but she can not exemplify. That’s the problem.

Like Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, Luke might be the leader, but he’s following Obi Wan’s example.

Once in a great while, a paragon may make a good protagonist, Twilight Sparkle sort of grows into being a paragon by the end of MLP, usually it’s done best when it’s like that, one character growing into being one over time.

Which is where Pyrrha having struggles and an arc in volume 3 made her much more like a protagonist than Ruby has ever been, fight me.

A paragon can also become a protagonist over time, it’s usually very satisfying to see that actually.

But the starting point has to be them working together, or it just doesn’t feel right, at least to me, it feels fake.

We are all protagonists in our own lives, but we all should want to be paragons, and if we find people looking up to us like ones, we should never forget to be protagonists also, always able to learn from others.

But when you divorce these two characters from helping each other, your story falls apart, because that’s not real life.

And with that, I think I’ll end this post, until next time–Natasha.

My Own Devices

I’d like to start this post with a song:

I was left to my own devices.

Many days fell away with nothing to show.

… But if you close your eyes Does it almost feel like nothing changed at all? And if you close your eyes Does it almost feel like you’ve been here before? How am I gonna be an optimist about this? How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

We were caught up and lost in all of our vices In your pose as the dust settled around us

Eh-oh, eh-oh Eh-eh-oh, eh-oh Eh-eh-oh, eh-oh Eh-eh-oh, eh-oh

Oh, where do we begin? The rubble or our sins?

The rough draft of this post got erased somehow…I guess I shouldn’t leave things on this site…

So starting over from scratch, what would be a good thing to write about?

I know that my original point was how well this song describes us now. I mean us in the Western World.

You know it’s funny how much depression runs rampant in our cultures, considering we have more benefits than we ever have.

But that’s actually something we have in common with animals.

A study was done on rats, where they were given everything they needed, all the time, never had to work for it.

The rats developed depression, as well as other unhealthy habits, for rats…and for humans.

But you might see the same thing with dogs. They’re bred for work, and when they’re kept as pets but not exercised properly or given any tasks to do, they will also get depressed.

And so do humans.

This life of staring at screens and working from home, and not getting outside and having to really work to solve problems that many of us have is making us depressed. We feel like we have no meaning, because there is no effort.

We don’t have to be fighting for survival, to feel accomplished, any creative goal can help, but most especially if it’s necessary.

I know each generation has its issues with how the younger one has it easier and isn’t disciplined.

I do think there’s some truth in that, though. Even I feel less invested in homework assignments since I had to do them digitally, and it’s just a little too easy now. I know it doesn’t prove I’m smart now, if I succeed, it just proves I knew what the teacher wanted. Many times I could have done way more if left to my own devices.

But the education system encourages me not to be creative, because my grade will suffer if I don’t meet the exact requirements of the assignment. Ever get in trouble for going over the page limit? Yeah…

But anyway, my point is, we don’t have to really work. There are people who do, but the ones who are the face and voice of our culture don’t.

And that is every race, gender, and whatever else.

i think that’s part of the reason we spend so much time fighting each other, really. While history shows people would fight each other no matter what, it doesn’t help that we really have all the time in the world to do it now, instead of having to set aside time to go to war.

All this has got me to thinking.

About how few people under 30 even know history now, they really don’t know that much period. Not science, or religion, or how people work.

You have your outliers, like my cousin, who like to do their own research, but they’re not the majority.

Not that this is unusual, in pampered societies, it’s pretty normal, actually…and then they crumble.

That’s what the song Pompeii is about, really. How when we’re left to ourselves, to follow our own whims, we get buried in our sins, until disaster strikes, and freezes us that way forever.

And how can you be an optimist about this? When there is only one outcome ever to societies in moral decay like that.

 “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25, 17:6)

Both those instance talk about someone doing something pretty stupid and wrong. And also it says:

“Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7)

We are wise in our own eyes now aren’t we?

Like all this prattle about not getting married and staying single that I wrote about before. What is that but being wise in our own eyes.

And we don’t seem to care what generations of humans before us said or thought. We’ve got it figued out now.

I mean because with zero experience, zero study, and only the corrupt examples of current culture to go by, clearly we’re well informed on these issues.

But the depression of this age has gone so far now, that a lot of kids don’t even care anymore if they’re right.

Case in point, just yesterday, I was in YT comment thread with someone who said that truth doesn’t matter tot ehm.

I was asking them why they bothered to watch the whole video of a debate if they didn’t care about the truth or what was right.

I got no answer to that so far. I probably never will.

At this point, admitting you hunger for a definitive truth is like a weakness to our relativistic young people–and some older people also.

Of course the dismissive attitude of older people isn’t helping.

I mean, who let the kids watch PBS and Disney Channel and Cartoon network? I noticed the bad messages of those channels when I was a kid. I’m not surprised the people who never questioned it have now swallowed it hook line and sinker.

I mean, you take a whole show like Dora the Explorer, and you go on a quest through a fake map, looking fora fake item, learn a few Spanish words…and you call that exploring?

Nothing against Dora personally, it’s an okay show for entertainment–but it’s not really educational. And it’s not even the worst one.

It’s hard to blame the young, they’re just doing what they were taught to do, and by the time they realize it wasn’t right, they’ll have a lot of regrets.

Still we have our own responsibility. And they do choose not to think, not to try, not to explore for real. And that’s on them.

I bring all this up, but do I have a solution?

I think the solution is the same as it’s always been.

Person by person, the only thing to do is try to get people to understand the condition they’er in.

Debate isn’t always the best way to do that, I admit. Though it works for some.

I’ve had most people just duck out of arguments when they realized I was going to win because I was better informed than them, or just straight up insult me.

But people can’t always be so quick to dismiss if you touch them on a personal level.

We need both.

But it’s hard, there’s so few people fighting these battles compared to the people who are casualties in them.

But that’s how it usually goes. We preserve a remnant of the people. The majority of them don’t want to be helped.

Some will literally say so, I have grandparents who would say that.

We love our sin so much.

We love being able to do what we wnat.

And now it’s not a secret, you’d even hear it hailed from the streets and the theaters and political campaigns that we’d rather die doing what we’d prefer to do, right or wrong, then live submitting to God’s will.

I saw this comment today, it was like this: I don’t believe in God because there’s nothing about same sex relationship in the bible and He’s not okay with them.

First: There’s actually plenty about homosexuality in the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah, the books of the Law, and Romans 1 all talk about it. (It’s called Sodomy in the old Testament)

Second: I find that these types of objections completely misunderstand the nature of God’s existence.

You see, if God exists does not depend on our personal preferences. He either does, or He doesn’t.

If He does exist, He is the final say on what is right and wrong. You, as His creation, don’t get an opinion.

Sure, against other humans, you do. But not against God. If God was in front of you and He told you, that would be the last word. And if you saw God, in His Glory, the last thing you would dream of doing is arguing with Him.

See, the point of contention is not if God supports what we feel is right.

If God is the Reality, then that is the reality we have to deal with. Even if He was the bloodthirsty God of many religions, cruel and spiteful, which would be bad for us. But it would be Reality, there’d be nothing we can do about it.

Thankfully, God is not like that. But He’s still unchangeable. Your preferences donesn’t come into it.

You may not like it….and God has never said we have to like doing what He says…but He does say we need to do it.

As a Christian, I do find that the rewards of serving God is that if you do it long enough, you will start to like it, and then eventually, you won’t be able to do without it. But that’s sort of an insider bonus. The bible promises that one day everyone will have to submit to God’s will, whether they like it or not.

It’s a bit like Gravity. Many of us wish we could fly, and though we can sort of, using machines, we have to borrow that from things God made that can defy gravity, we ourselves can’t defy gravity more than a few feet in the air before it yanks us back down.

In the same way, we can’t defy God’s design for very far in our moral lives. Maybe if we had the “help” from the devil, we can go farther…gross.

But that’s short lived, and on our own, the consequences of our actions will always pull us back down to the ground eventually.

Christians believe that one day God will set us free form the law of Gravity, just as one day, we don’t need the Law of morality anymore…because we’ll become things that don’t need gravity, and things that don’t need law. We’ll have a new nature.

Like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

But until then, this is what we’ve got. We have to work with it.

I’m not an optimist about Mans’ ability to fix this world. I think we’re as doomed as Pompeii.

But I always knew that.

But I still have hope. I hope in God’s ability to always save some people, as He promises to do. And in that hope, we keep trying to be a part of that.

I think that’s about all for now.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Loving Ourselves

Well my last post seems to have gone over well, so I trust I’m striking a chord with some people at least.

I talked a lot about being arrogant in that post.

What I don’t want to do is come off like I’m blaming Gen Z and Millennials for this.

While I do blame them in some capacity for making their own decision to embrace all this insanity, I can’t say they’re particularly stupid or evil compared to the rest of humanity.

It’s been pointed out by smarter people than me that the age of Moral Standards we’ve lived in for the last 200 years in the West, give or take a few decades or centuries depending on the country, was not a usual thing for humans. It’s the anomaly.

From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance to the Revolution era, it was a very unusual period in history compared to before, especially the pre-Christian era.

Up till then, the general consensus from all people’s was that everyone else was corrupt, and only their culture stood out, and some of them didn’t even go that far.

If you read what the Bible describes people doing, it would shock you how sick it was. Even now, we haven’t gone that far–as a whole–though some of us have.

And God somehow still had hope for those people. It boggles my mind. But He was always looking for the Remnant.

What big movement preachers tend to overlook, though they mean well, and I wish what they talked about was more frequent than it is–is that Positive Change, as well as Ethics being Preserved, is usually the work of small amounts of people.

A few thousand out of many thousands, is usually the biggest amount of people who work together on it.

It can be as few as 8, like the story of Noah (the legend is found in almost every culture in the world by the way, often with the same number of people surviving as the Bible says.)

God has His eyes always on the few.

Jesus even told us “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way to Life, and few will there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14)

Which seems harsh…but Jesus is just telling us how this works.

The Masses of people are not concerned with morality that much, and if they ever are concerned about a few things in general, it was the phenomenon of the past thousand years to see that, it wasn’t common before.

That’s why some historians have the idea that Man’s Consciousness is evolving. They look at our moving toward higher and higher ethical standards, and or at least more discussion about them, and they say we improved.

But if you look at the bare facts of history, you’ll see each age has its own problems, and they repeat. We’re not smarter as a whole, it’s isl that those of us in each generation that do See Clearly, see a little more, because wise men learn form history and they build off of it, but foolish ones ignore it and they always have.

That was part of the thought that’s been rolling around in my head for several months, which is just this:

Things that people predict will happen if a country doesn’t change it’s course always do actually happen.

And no one listens because no one ever has listened.

You see, a lot of social commentators say that the problem is people just don’t realize what is happening.

But that is not true.

Sure there’s secrete scandals still, there probably always will be as long as mankind is in power.

But the problems that are eating away at us are ones people predicted and called to attention for years, and decades, and even centuries.

Just like in the Bible the Prophets told the Israelites what was happening. And the Israelites didn’t listen.

It’s so hard for us to admit this, isn’t it? That we do what we do, knowing exactly what will happen, and we do it anyway.

Example:

If you got any person to answer you honestly on the subject of depicting violent in movies directed at kids as much as we do, they’d have to acknowledge that statistics do point to violence in entertainment having a bad effect on kids and their development.

[See articles here: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-And-TV-Violence-013.aspx#:~:text=Extensive%20viewing%20of%20television%20violence,to%20imitate%20what%20they%20see.

https://www.bartleby.com/essay/effects-of-tv-violence-on-children-F3CEVXSZTC%5D

But would they stop promoting that stuff by watching it, talking about it, reviewing it, and in many cases, showing it to their own kids.

My father did, and he’d be one of the ones to say it was a problem.

You see? We know…we just don’t care.

That’s always the way.

I’m glad that my faith was never in humanity to begin with, because living in a world where everyone’s corruption is exposed so much via internet would kill anyone’s faith in humanity.

We hope for the best from people, but we cannot depend on it, unless we know them very well.

But that’s not really mean to be a depressing thought. The Bible has said that for years. All these angsty pop culture hot take people are just agreeing with an old teaching, that’s all.

It’s like G. K. Chesterton said, if we try to hit on anything original an good, we’ll only find it was Orthodoxy the entire time.

Even the idea of Self Worth is Christian, though it’s been taken way, way out of it’s proper context, as always.

I don’t know if there’s a better or worse thing to worship other than God. One could make the case for it, but it’s kind of a matter of opinion whether the worship of success and domination of a few hundred years ago is really better or worse than the worship of tribalism and self fulfillment is now. Often both at the same time.

Humans are not better or worse than we’ve been in the past.

But we are regressing out of the progress the last centuries brought us in at least realizing how messed up we were.

People used to admit that there was a lot wrong with human nature, even if they didn’t see it in themselves.

But now we’re really trying to deny that Human Nature is corrupt.

Telling people to “Be themselves” no matter what.

Yes,the message to be genuine is a good one.

But predictably, since other messages were neglected, it’s become “be yourself even if that you is a terrible person.”

Women will admit to be aggressive b—-s publicly now. Like ti’s something to brag about.

“I’m so mean, yay!”

Or “so evil” I hear that one a lot.

“I have no soul” guys say that one too.

“no heart.”

Wow, so brave of all of you to admit to being inhuman. Hip hip hurrah.

I think actual people who are jerks have always been proud of it, if they weren’t arrogant, they probably would be jerks.

But at least it wasn’t approved of by the entire culture before, not for a long time, but we’re swinging back that direction.

Let’s just remember that in Greek Culture, which is where we get a lot of our ideas, rape and kidnapping were normalized parts of their mythology that no one thought twice about. It’s possible to be completely blind to the obvious.

Actually we’re blind to the obvious most often, because we just don’t want to see it.

2 Timothy 3 says this about it:

“But know this, that¬†in the last days¬†perilous times will come:¬†2¬†For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,¬†3¬†unloving,¬†unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,¬†4¬†traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,¬†5¬†having a form of godliness but¬†denying its power.”

Even if we ignore the ones I didn’t emphasize, though they are still prevalent, look at how much those words sum up not just our complaints at a culture, but the things we actually praise.

Romans 1 says that people, known such thins are wrong, not only practice them but approve of those who do.

In 2000 years, nothing has changed.

Ecclesiastes says there is “nothing new under the sun.”

It’s been dawning on me that while I appeal to people’s desire for morality when I debate them, I am assuming they care at all.

But I think less and less of them do.

Aside from the SJW crap that they are programmed to react to, without understanding it at all, they really don’t care about higher thought.

These things have no value to them. They live for entertainment and pleasure. For Self. And no one tells them this is unacceptable.

It’s not a mystery why the Media promotes this. Selfish people buy more things, and care less if you exploit others to provide them with those things.

But it’s sad how the schools and churches have promoted it so much also.

They have us so much under their spell, the Overlords’, that we can be told this point blank, even by our own commercials on TV, and we simply don’t care. Just keep distracting me. The world is a dark place.

Well in Quasimodo’s words to Frollo “Well now I see the only thing that’s dark about it is people like you!”

See, the people who tell us to stay away form the world because of its evil are the same ones making it evil. They don’t want us to catch on, do they? Called Gaslighting.

Because if we did catch on, we might stop them, and evil men fear having their deeds exposed, don’t they?

They hate and fear those of us who know better and have pure hearts. And like Fagan from Oliver Twist, they want to make sure anyone who does is corrupted.

A lot of anime has this theme also. What is Japan trying to tell us, huh? That people who are naturally more inclined to do good than the rest of us are feared the most.

Don’t you fear someone who seems like a better person than you, sometimes? I know I have.

I’ve mostly given up thinking of it that way, we’re all human. But I can do that because I have grace, the people who don’t are still afraid, we remind them of their own death the Bible says.

People have accused Christians of that ever since they first appeared.

I have to recognize as I write this that a lot of people may not even be ready to hear what I’m saying.

They may not even be to where they see a piot ot all this.

I can hope it resonates with someone who is ready, who needs it.

Like “wow I’m not crazy!”

My advice, if i’m qualified to give it, is if you have found yourself noticing all these problems, don’t waste time being chocked by them.

Try to find that remnant of people who still believe in the old values, and stick with them.

And reach who you can. There’s always some wheat among the tares of each generation, perhaps more than we realize, since many of us give up trying to reach them.

It’s not our job to decide who can receive truth and salvation, we are supposed to shoot our shot, and let God choose how it lands.

I don’t know what all our fates will be, and I ‘m not suppose dot know, but I know that we can’t control destiny, only how much we want to take an active role in it. There are still things that will happen no matter what, but there’s a lot we can change also. So we are still supposed to try.

That said, for now I’m done, so until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Content With Singleness

Wow it has been a while.

I’ve been working on other stuff, so I kind of neglected this blog for a bit, but, it has given me time to think about some new topics of conversation.

Like for example:

Isolation.

So I like to write about relationships, as you know if you’ve been here a while, and I like to write about the nature of love, fear, and so on.

But with all this, the global spy search engine tends to recommend me videos of people talking about their opinion on relationships.

I might think they were outliers, except that even in my own college classes people express the same views.

In my last class, I heard people talk about how being in committed relationships was hard, expensive and so on.

In the same class, a guy also asked some of the girls in the back row if they’d ever consider getting a Sugar Daddy (not him, he was just weird and the topic had come up in the lesson for whatever reason).

On said no way, it would be too awkward, even if it was just to fake date.

The other said she’d do anything for the right amount of money.

I thought “I can’t believe I’m listening to this conversation in the middle of a class.”

What happened right?

I blame the internet mostly.

To use the clice phrase, we’re at a point wehre this is reality? MEn think it’s too much effort to commit, and women think they’d do anything for money in some cases.

Now sure, that’s just one girl…but her attitude is becoming more prevalent.

I don’t know how this happened, where we’ve taken the shame of the diea of doing sex for money.

People call that “slut shaming” now.

Liek being alsut is someting to be proud of.

Even if you had no moral obligations, i’s apoor healthy chioce at the very least, so that’s like saying peope should be proud of smokin gor drinking ro drugs.

That’ll be it next, watch. “Junkie Shaming” the new crime.

IT always baffles me how poeple never stop to think that the reason orgarian might be pushing for this “no shameing our poor decisons” is because they make money off our addictions.

Anyone notice those ads that are oopenly mocking us for our addciotn now?

The ones that are like “You can seek social validation wihtout lagging out.”

“You can game all night etc.”

“Lose to a 12 year old.”

Ha, ha, ah.

Why don’t they just say:

“We know you have no self respect, no purpose in your life, and no value as anything but a consumer to up our numbers, please keep paying us to feed your addiction to screens so that you never think about the world outside your little bubble that might actually have real problems.”

You know in the classic “Fahrenheit 451” the people live in houses where the walls are TV screens, and some you can interact with, making your life more and more into a work of fiction, till they can’t even understand the format of a book, or have a real conversation with a real person anymore.

In an anime of all things, “Darling in the Franxx” People replace real human relationships with a machine-forged connection, and replace sex with happiness stimulation, and food with this weird energy they input into their bodies directly.

They become immortal…but at the price of ceasing to be human beings. At the end they all turn into pure spiritual mental energy and become part of the hive mind. [Sorry for Spoilers, but I doubt anyone reading this would care about those.]

The show isn’t that good at exploring the concept intellectually, but it’s certainly unnerving.

It used to be a joke that we were becoming like machines, but, now people are really starting to just take that seriously.

At least here, to be fair, it’s not global.

But I’m talking about the West, were I live, naturally.

You don’t need me to tell you this, though, you can see it yourself.

If you watch our shows now, even actors are becoming more robotic and fake in their delivery. The goal isn’t to come off as a real person anymore, it’s to be quippy and mock modern culture.

It’s actually become modern culture to mock ourselves, anything and everything, and nothing can be taken seriously.

I listen to people talk sometimes, and it’s like they don’t even know how to be serious at all.

Their tone, their facial expressions, they seem devoid of real purpose…you wait for the joke to be over, but it’s like it never is…until you offend them, then no one has any sense of humor.

I’m not sure how we compartmentalized our lives to this point, it seems like someone took great care to ensure that we did, however.

I can feel the draw myself too. I live in this culture, and I’m tempted by it, same as everyone else.

But at least I still know I’m tempted. As C. S. Lewis pus it, if you can feel the spell working, then you’re not fully under it yet.

Which is found in the Silver Chair, which is actually a book that coves the temptation of distraction and dulled senses a lot. I never liked it, it was unsettling, probably because it hit too close to home.

Actually Prince Rillian in that book acts a lot like people do now. Unable to take anything seriously, unless it’s an insult to the very witch who’s keeping him under her spell. Then he becomes very angry.

He’s easily distracted. Flippant.

But when he breaks free of the enchantment, he becomes clear headed and implores them to help him.

Later the witch tries to re-enchant them all, dulling their minds again, but their friend Puddleglum uses pain to clear his head, and tells her off. Freeing them all finally so they can kill her.

The moral of the story?

Real sensations are what block out the fake ones.

All of us can go along the way we do, until something truly bad happens.

But it seems the Overloads known as the entertainment industry are trying to take great care to tell us that suffering in the land can be remedied only with more distractions.

How many people got movie streaming services during COVID?

A lot of us realized the value of real interactions, but a lot of people, especially younger ones, fell more deeply under the spell of using screens for everything. (I say with irony, because I’m using one right now.)

So let’s talk about this: Why did this happen?

How did we become so distracted?

I think we all know how it slowly became more and more normal to stare at screens.

But let’s talk about the real reason it’s so appealing.

People now use the excuse that they have too much social anxiety to want to make friends, leave their house, and try anything really.

But that’s not it.

I’ve no doubt that many people do have anxiety, but most of the ones I talk to don’t really have anything that crippling, they just have insecurities, and we all have those.

If you can talk and read emotional cues like a normal person, I wouldn’t say you have anxiety, per sec.

But I don’t believe even the insecurities are the real reason.

To put it in blunt language, people of the younger generations–which is starting to see anywhere form 12-40 years old, who voice these views, are often arrogant, self absorbed twits.

It’s not really that we’re afraid to socialize, it’s that we’ve decided three fundamental things.

1: Other people are a lot of work

2: Other people are annoying, and they sometimes find us annoying,

3: Other people are just not worth our time.

Why is everyone we don’t like toxic now?

You notice that?

Some people are toxic, but we’re slapping that label onto every single flaw.

Throughout human history, many individual have not particlayr liekd ohter humans, that’s not new.

What is new is broadcasting that fact with so much flippancy, and so little remorse for it.

I mena, there’s been many cruel societies, but they had families, they had gatering to celebrate, and not showing up still made you kind of an oddball.

Now u can laugh it off.

What I find particualrly delusional about this new way of thingkin is taht poepel ac tlike it’s speical.

Like, “oh wiat, human interaciton is hard? Who knew? It’s not liek we’ve writtne, sung, and performed aobut htat for hundreds of years.”

Yeah, it is hard.

Everything worth doing is hard.

But you don’t duck out of doing it just because of that.

See, we’re not shying away from each other because we’re scared–we’re doing it because we’re spoiled.

We can have a fake form of humanity projected into our homes at any minute of any day at any given time.

We can have porn, and pay for sex if we want the real experience (real being subjective there), so we don’t need to commit to a willing relationship. It’s normalized now to pleasure ourselves if nothing else.

You know. I don’t do any of those things…and I don’t feel I’ve lost anything in my life. I’m kind of glad actually, I feel like they create weird habits.

I guess I’m writing this because I think the real wake up call we need might not just be about politics and religion.

To even get there, we need connection.

The Bible says that God Himself said, even before there was sin, there was one thing that was not good.

And that was: “It is not good for Man to be alone.”

God said man needs help. A supporter. A life saver. Something we need desperately.

Man wanted companionship, but he also needed it.

Don’t we all want that? Most of us don’t admit it, but just being wanted can feel cheap. We want to feel we contribute something also. But just being needed can feel hollow. We feel like it should be both. And it was supposed to be both.

As always, we’re ever rebelling against our Creator.

One would think that we’d at least want to be around each other.

But we should remember that Adam and Eve turned on each other immediately after they turned on God.

People ask sometimes how Christians can believe something that sounds that much like a fairy-tale. The fruit, the trees, the snake.

I don’t find it so hard to believe, because I see all this played out all the time, every day. Even if the facts weren’t true, the principles are on point.

The story of Ed gen isn’t actually about knowledge being a bad thing, like some people say.

Ir’s about trust.

Do you trust God, or the devil?

Do you trust your spouse? Or God?

And when you break the trust of God, and your spouse, guess who wins? Not you. The devil.

Love is about trust. You can’t have love without trust.

And we are so determined not to trust anyone now.

I watched one video, where a woman said she got divorced after 5 years.

I’m thinking “Five years? Unless he was a deadbeat, a cheater, or an abuser, what problems would you have in 5 years that couldn’t be worked out if you were willing to grow?”

You can grow out of a lot in 5 years, so if things weren’t working out, the problem was probably one or both of them didn’t want to change at all.

And what is the idea with expecting to get married, and not have to change anything about yourself?

The idea we’re fed is that people who love you accept you the way you are.

Well yeah, they do.

But that doesn’t man you wouldn’t have to change.

You may put up with someone’s flaws, out of love, but that done mean you like it, or that you should. Flaws often hurt us more than anyone else.

And then there’s the things that aren’t sin, but you still need to be able to let them go.

For example, what if you’re allergic to a food? Should your spouse eat it in front of you? Maybe if you’re okay with it…but what if you aren’t? It’s not a flaw to eat food…but it can be a point of contention.

I’m just using this to illustrate. And yeah, I’ve seen couples fight over things that stupid. Who hasn’t?

I’m not saying someone should be telling you how to change. But if you annoy them…you might want to think about compromising.

And you now…not all of our personal habits are worth hanging onto.

We’re told now that “Self” is the most important thing.

There’s fear at the base of that.

“I can’t trust anyone else to love me, so I have to love me.”

My therapist once told me to try to give myself the kind of parental validation I didn’t get.

That didn’t work. It did work when God helped me.

It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. If everybody out there is so busy loving themselves, they won’t try to love you.

Someone has to be willing to be different. But more people were willing to in the past, when an relationship based on helping each other was considered normal and healthy.

Now people say you shouldn’t need your partner.

And then it’s okay to bail on them. Because you don’t need them anyway.

Like…you can need someone and still learn to live without them. If they do leave, or die perhaps. Things change. But then you learn to need someone else. We’re not made to not need each other. Literally.

And if you don’t see why you need other people…That’s proof that you do.

Anyone who is arrogant enough to think they are doing fine on their own already needs others way more than they realize. It’s just insane to not need anyone.

I’m not here to say you can’t live alone, sure, you can live alone in a house, or apartment. That doesn’t mean you’re alone all the time.

Being alone is supposed to be a punishment, in the prison system. It sounded like a lot of people wouldn’t even mind it, if they had WiFi.

Ugh.

I’m so sick of this.

You know, I consider myself an independent woman. I don’t let other people make my decisions for me.

But I rely on my family all the time for things.

I don’t mind relying on men either. Not for everything, but it’s reasonable for some things.

And I really, really don’t see what the big deal is about it.

Why is it so bad? We’re all born needing everything done for us. All we can do is relieve ourselves, which is a metaphor in of itself.

And we learn our whole life to do more things for ourselves, but we do them with other people. If we stop learning form others, we’re saying we arrived.

I think in marriage you have to learn from each other. That used to be the philosophy of a lot of people. You can’t remake your spouse (at least not without breaking them) but you can teach them, and any decent person was expected to learn.

Not now.

And it’s not good for us.

Depression is at an all time high, mental illness of every kind, low self worth.

But our arrogance is through the roof.

You can be arrogant and still have low self worth. You have an elevated idea of your own rights, but a low idea of the value of you even existing to exercise them.

Figures, as soon as we believe we’re the only ones who have any say in our lives, we feel like they have no meaning.

Men especially need other people to feel like they have meaning in their lives. Women do better amusing ourselves even with indirect contact, and having hobbies, but we still need other people too. I do think we tend to cut ourselves of from them less in general

Also, little tip ladies. if you’re gong to complain about the bar being low for men, maybe you should make sure you’re giving them something to actually impress anyone for. Do you really want it to just be about sex?

I have high standards because I have high ones for myself.

This is what I aspire to be:

  1. Kind
  2. Honest
  3. Smart
  4. Interested in His ( and other peoples) interests, at least enough to be supportive.
  5. Brave enough to confront a problem and also to admit when I’m wrong.
  6. Humble enough not to take myself too seriously.
  7. Confident enough never to not value my part in a relationship or my worth as a person
  8. Determined enough to always try to find solutions, not just gripe about problems.
  9. And relaxed enough to let stuff go that doesn’t really matter.
  10. Not ever thinking I have all the answers, or that I have none of them.

This is just the short list.

I am not all of these things all the time, but I do try to be them.

I’m not expecting someone else to always be like this, but I do expect them to think values are important, and to act be trying to meet them, even if they have slip up.s

I’ve seen enough of people claiming they have values and then not doing jack to fulfill any of them.

And I’m even more scared by people who now don’t care, and don’t think they need values. Except spitting out the SJW programmed ones.

I wouldn’t even mind as much if most of them were honest about it.

Like, I’d rather have someone who is fully convinced that Pride is a moral cause, but at least really believe that, then the many people I know who just say it because it’s what everyone says, they don’t know why they believe it, they don’t care either.

Someone once asked a man on the street what the two biggest problems in our society were:

The man answered “Don’t know, don’t care.”

The questioner said “You’re right, those are the two biggest problems.”

And they are.

We don’t know what’s happening, we don’t know the facts, we don’t know each other.

And when you don’t know, you can’t care.

And we choose not to know, and we choose not to care.

So if I have anything to add to this, it’s that there’s only one solution.

Make a different choice.

That’s literally all you can do about this.

Then teach others to do the same.

We may not stop the culture from doing this, but we don’t have to do it ourselves.

As an aside, i found an article while I was trying to find the quote for this chapter that sort of confirms what I was saying about trust, if you want to check it out:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1996/01/28/americans-losing-trust-in-each-other-and-institutions/35525131-ce9b-4815-81a4-cc7a6ab2aebc/

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

So I watched Encanto…

One of the unsung perks of babysitting in this country is that you get to use people’s streaming accounts even if you don’t have them. I’ve watched a crap ton of Netflix and Disney Plus because of babysitting.

That’s how I watched Vivo…which is a better movie than Encanto, bite me.

Funny because Lin Manuel Miranda worked on both, I just think Vivo’s plot and themes suited his talents better than a Disney Girl musical (since now we aren’t even pretending they’re princesses…although this movie might as well have been about a princess.)

I’m not going to hate on Encanto, it was an enjoyable ride, but after watching it, I do think it is inferior to its predecessors.

I’m sure all of you are too nice to hate on me for saying that, but if I went on a different platform, I think I’d start a riot. Everyone seems to love this movie.

Well, it’s mediocre, sorry, not sorry.

I won’t deny the animation was gorgeous, a joy to watch. The songs were…predictable. The only one I thought really stood out as creative lyrically was the “Pressure” one. Then, Imperfect was okay, and “WE Don’t talk about Bruno” was impressive editing-wise, but lyrics were a little weird, I thought.

But I’m not much for modern musical movies, to be fair. I like old ones better.

i have before unashamedly said that I like Disney movies–some of them–and that Frozen is actually my favorite movie, for personal reasons. See: Why a DP movie is my¬†favorite. Why a DP movie is my favorite part¬†2. I don’t think it’s the most amazing movie ever made, but it stands out form other Disney films, I’m not the only one who thought it has a different vibe, wrapped up in a Disney package, it still somehow felt unique. Thought he haters will never admit it.

Encanto is a beautiful mess, that is my honest opinion. I was interested in the plot while watching it, and the 3 year old I was watching it with loved the music. But I kept waiting for the movie to make its point…and by the end I was just…non plussed.

Encanto basically has two or three over arching themes, and it tries to bring all of them together at the end, but it doesn’t finish any of them. The ending was one of the most rushed I’ve seen in a Disney film, and the characters were not well flushed out. We only get depth on Luisa and Isabel, and it’s dropped after one song.

Abuela’s character being the cause of the magic disappearing was predictable, I called it form the beginning. But that wouldn’t have been bad. I thought it actually added to the idea that families often miss the obvious when it comes to their problems. It’s true in my family, for sure.

I actually thought they were going to do a Brave thing, and make it both the older and younger women had pride and selfishness, and that was the cause of the rift. And the magic of the family was tied to their unity.

The movie implies this, but doesn’t say it.

I could put that down to a wish for subtlety, except every other theme in this movie is blatant and shoved in your face, as with most kids’ movies, so why they would hesitated to spell it out for us, if they actually intended it, I don’t know.

I don’t necessarily mind blatant messages, I think kids need things to be spelled out for them, and adults who watch kid content should be prepared for that. But I think you can do it tastefully and creatively. Just singing it to save time is not tasteful.

The imagery in this movie is probably its best feature. The lights, the candle, the sand, the cracks.

I kind of thought Bruno’s character was less impressive than he could have been, he was exactly what I expected, and the goofy, kooky character seeing the future and then hiding…well, it’s a little old. But it’s not bad, so it’s more of a personal wish than a criticism.

What actually made me mad about this movie was the ending. The first half was quite good, but it was like they ran out of run time. Isabel and Mirabel get over 20 years of disagreeing, (or 18, or whatever it was) and it takes 2 minute of one song for them to suddenly understand each other?

I was the scapegoat and my sister was the golden child, it took us months of disagreeing, and years of tension before that, to work out our differences. Especially when our dad poured gasoline on the fire.

And another thing, I found it stupid that only Mirabel was yelling at Abuela at the end. If Luisa and Isabel were really that miserable, seeing Mirabel do that should have just burst the dam. Especially for Isabel.

Also the magic was so poorly explained.

I know that magic does not always need to be explained in a story, I actually don’t like it when it is, like, We didn’t need an explanation for Elsa’s magic–and the one we got made no sense.

But in this movie, the magic disappearing is the whole point, so that is the time to explain how it works, the entire point of most of the film is Mirabel trying to understand the magic, so explaining it was totally necessary.

And what is explained…nothing!

I mean, I guess the magic relies on the family’s…bond? But then why doesn’t it crack every time one of them fights? The one lady with the weather powers should be having cracks every 10 minutes. Isabel and Mirabel should have been causing issues all along. Then Abuela’s obsession with perfection might actually make more sense.

Or how about this, make the fact that Abuela herself actually has no gift, and just guards the candle and house the reason she doesn’t like Mirabel. Mirabel reminds her of her own mortality, and humanness, and we tend to project our insecurities onto other people. So when she’s yelling at Mirabel, she’s really upset at herself. And Mirabel annoys her by not being as stressed about it as she is. I’ve known that to happen to many people in real life, myself included. Misery loves company.

This is almost implied in the movie…but never enough to be sure it’s actually what it’s saying.

Also, the conflict of this movie is set up poorly.

We’re supposed to be wonder why Mirabel has no gift, right? Well that question is never answered. Ever.

Then we’re supposed to wonder if the gift is becoming a curse…

But the thing is, Mirabel’s mom is a really nice lady, and supportive of all her daughters, and so is their father. Isabel is so driven to be perfect…why?

I can’t recall her ever actually being told she was doing something wrong. Maybe she just wanted to avoid it ever happening, but most people aren’t afraid to fail until they have failed in a painful way, and we never see her do that. Perfectionism comes from not being able to control things when you were a kid, but we get no such story with Isabel.

We never see Luisa told it would be selfish to take a break. She just assumes it.

We’re meant to think Abuela made them think this way just by her example…but even if that is true, no one ever questioned it before? And why do none of the men feel this way? They seem carefree, and happy-go-lucky. No pressure there.

And while the townspeople take advantage of the family’s gifts, they aren’t ever pushy about it.

So why are these two girls so driven? Isabel says she was going to marry the guy for the family…but they never push her to do it, they just assume she wants to marry him. If she’d ever spoken up about it, I’m sure they’d have been happy to push Dolores forward instead. Why does it need to be Isabel?

And by the way, Dolores character had the potential to be so much more compelling. Imagine if you could hear everything? Everything anyone ever said about you? That sounds like a curse to me. Maybe that’s why she tries to be invisible, so people won’t talk bad about her.

Would make relationships difficult, and relaxing. She’s shown to be jumpy, but she doesn’t get her own song, and she doesn’t ever get a moment to explain it. A total waste of potential. I’d say her life is way harder than Isabel’s.

I mean, when the main conflict of your story is your MC just isn’t special enough….what the heck movie? Is that what counts as drama these days? Her family loves her, and the one person who actually is hostile to her, Isabel, is not even in most of the movie, and resolves the conflict in 3 minutes…yay!

Mirabel is all like “I can’t embrace Isabel!” and then 5 minutes later “Oh my gosh, I was so wrong about her!”

Uh…you weren’t really, you just didn’t know why she acted that way, she still acted like a b-word. And perfectionism is no excuse to bully your sister, Isabel. How about an apology?

Nope…nothing.

I mean Isabel could have said she envied Mirabel her freedom to do whatever she wants. Built on the trapped by your gift thing…but nope.

And another thing, if Isabel is so stuck…why doesn’t she want to try something other than growing flowers? Her whole rebellion is spraying herself with colors and growing cacti…who in the heck said she couldn’t grow cacti? Cacti are useful, heck her mom could use aloe to cure people, everyone would be all over that. And she has a whole room to experience with crazy flowers in, and no one else seems to care…what exactly is holding her back?

I mean, Abuela only cares when it becomes convenient for the plot, she never reprimands Isabel before then.

Movie, stop expecting me to assume domestic abuse, actually show it if you want to use it, you coward!

You now that just ticks me off about this film, and every other kids’ media I watch these days. Domestic problems are assumed. No on’es family is actually good, no one is actually happy, it all hast o be fake. You can bet if I see a nice character, I’m going to find out they have skeletons in their closet later in the story.

And while no human is perfect, not all of us are as royally fricked up as the movies imply. Sometimes we just get frustrated once in a while, and guess what, we move on! Some of us actually deal with it in a healthy way. Geez! What is the problem Hollywood?

I think it’s on purpose, the idea of contentment just doesn’t sell, so every character has to have a dark side.

Frozen kicked off this trend–but you know how Frozen made it work?

Because we actually see Elsa’s powers backfire, we see her parents tell her bad advice, we see her fear of herself grow–the movie accomplishes this in 10 minutes. We all perfectly understand why Elsa is afraid, how it affects her, and that Anna is unaware of it.

Then when Elsa goes berserk, we know why. It’s not random, we see the causes.

And her problems instead of being over in 5 minutes, take a whole movie to work through. And are revisited in the shorts and the sequel–which are not great, but at least they aren’t delusional enough to say Elsa is never going to doubt again. Of course she will, but she now lets herself be helped, that was the difference.

Where is this in Encanto? Or should I say Donde esta en la cinema Encanto? (Pretty sure I said that wrong, but my Spanish is not great, and the constant switch in the movie was not as charming as they thought it was. I was just left feeling like the whole thing should have been in Spanish, or English, pick one.)

Nada! Nunca! It’s not there. You won’t find any deepening, or further introspection of any of these characters. One song, that’s it.

That’s one of my problems with the movie.

The other one is the Magic itself, and the Miracle. It’s never explained.

And why Mirabel does not have a gift. She wanted to know.

I think the movie’s biggest mistake here was that when Mirabel went to get her gift, the door began to form…but then it stopped.

If she was truly just not meant to have one, fine. But then why did she start to get it and then it stopped? The candle changed its mind? Hmm?

Sure seems like something went wrong, not looking at Bruno’s excommunication or anything.

And if the family splitting is what lead to the magic cracking, than it would have made perfect sense that Mirabel’s lack of gift was because it weakened after they sent Bruno packing. Like, it literally seems like that’s what they are implying.

Mirabel even sees the same cracks as Bruno. Which could have been taken as maybe she was going to have the same gift as him, because he wasn’t around, but because he still is, she couldn’t get it, and it broke.

Then restoring Bruno the family, and fixing the house should have fixed her problem. But she still has no gift at the end…even though she restore the magic, so she has magic, but no gift….because logic….

You have all the set up to make this make sense…but no pay off? Nothing.

Because oh she’s just special enough without a gift…

(How can not being special be what makes you special? It’s a logical fallacy.)

Well if that’s true, why restore the gifts at all. If it really had become a burden, then just let it go, accept change.

Wasn’t that the message? If you hold onto the past too tightly it crushes the very people you were trying to protect…I thought that’s what they were saying.

But I mean, i’s Disney, so of course the Magic shouldn’t have disappeared at the end…but Mirabel still can’t have a gift because reasons.

Even though it clearly show she didn’t get a gift because something went wrong, setting it right doesn’t give her one…why? She doesn’t want one anymore?

I fail to understand you movie.

I thought they all should have either lost their gifts for good, or never lost them at all. Maybe they just could have corrupted, been twisted, like in Frozen. Because they were used wrong. That’s more true to real life anyway. We don’t lose our talents because of stress, but they do become less pure.

So in the end, this movie has two messages. Or three really. 1. You don’t need a gift to be special, because not being special is what makes you special. (Cure the Incredibles rant about celebrating mediocrity) 2. If you put yourself into one box, it will crush your spirit, it’s okay to have more than one interest and to take a break. 3. Holding onto the past is bad. Embrace the future. (As long as you do it by not forgetting what made your family special in the past and reigniting that flame….get it? Because it’s a candle, we’re so clever).

How did anyone like this movie’s ending? I get liking the songs and story, but the ending? It makes no sense. None few these three messages is finished. Nothing is explained, and there is no truth. Everything goes back to being exactly how it was, except that Isabel goes disco tech, Luisa takes naps, and Dolores gets with the guy who’s about as deep as a kiddie pool.

Mirabel is not a different person than before. And the town is the same…so yeah…

I really thought there could have been something really good there. Heck, even all three of those message together would have been okay, if they were finished. But they aren’t. There is no point of resolution.

An apology is not a resolution if the problem is that complex. That worked in Brave because the mother -daughter conflict is present in the whole movie, shown to be the core of its problems, and is explained as the way to resolve them. Merida humbling herself makes sense, because Pride was her problem.

But the whole family conflict in this movie is so shaky. Not everyone is unhappy. The problem are so minor that literally two conversations fixed them, and Bruno comes back with no fanfare whatsoever, and Mirabel isn’t even the reason.

Mirabel was actually mostly useless, she spends most of the movie making the problem worse, and in the end is the reason the magic goes out…so way to defy negative expectations there, movie.

Guess she really was the bug in the system…and maybe it deserved to crash and burn…so show that. Don’t just make it all go away because apologies!

Ugh…

Perhaps I am oversimplifying. But it was still poorly done.

Encanto is, in my opinion, a product of our culture.

Fewer and fewer movies and show have any definite meaning now. And fewer and fewer people seem to notice it. We are becoming incapable of discerning structure and payoff in a story.

As long as the label diversity is stamped on something, we swallow any amount of lazy writing, and Hollywood knows we will.

Encanto is a badly written movie that would not have stacked up to a 90s Disney Movie, and they have very weak conflicts usually, but at least hey are clear. Ariel may be kind of a bratty teen, but at least I know why. I know why Aladdin wants to be a prince, even if he’s a liar. I know why Mulan is going to war ( and that is one of the best Disney movies there is).

I don’t know that with Encanto. It would have taken like 1 extra song, and 5 minutes to explain, but it’s not there. They could have cut the unnecessary songs and put in actual story, they could have not rehashed the begging like 3 times for padding. It was fixable. How did someone not say “Uh guys, we didn’t answer any of our own questions in this script…can we like…fix that?”

But no one cars, becuase diversity!

I can’t say I see what a magic house really has to do with Columbian culture. Or how themes that are so clearly modern are really representing what makes it special. Kind of the running joke of representation in Disney is that it’s…you know, based in fictional countries, so you can’t really represent real ethnic groups…

I mean, people complain about how all the old movies had white characters…but they were stories form Europe, of course they could have white characters. Whenever the movie were set in other countries, they changed the ethnicity…I never really saw the issue. People just like to complain.

And I don’t mind if a movie is set in a Mexican, or Colombian culture, if it’s good. I enjoy movies like that.

But I won’t approve bad writing just because it was packaged in a nice look, and fun songs.

I’m sure it would be fun to watch Encanto, but it has no meaning. It is gutless, it doesn’t commit to any one message, because it doesn’t have to to be liked, and the creators knew that.

But I think this in underminding our chilrend’s abilty to tell when there even is a emssage in osmeitng.

Implied messages that are not stated are usually called propaganda. Subtle, but propaganda. When a message is boldly stated, it opens itself up to criticism.

But if it’s vague, you can’t really criticize it. So it is gutless, but the implicates are enough to squeeze it by the virtue signalling SJWS, so they think it has meaning.

If you still think I’m being too harsh, I challenge you to take Encanto, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Moana, take a pen, and write down each main element of those movies. each character’s conflict…and then how the movie resolved it.

I defy you to find a way it really was fleshed out. It’s implied, that’s all. Implications don’t help us in real life. People need actual ideas if they will change.

But if you can feed yourself with colorful, but empty visions of meaning, you can fool yourself into thinking you’re being cultured, but you are really being conditioned.

Encanto is not evil or bad in of itself, so much as it is just lazy, but what scare me is it never would have been praise so much a few decades ago, and now it’s haled as top tier.

A Goofy Movie did family conflict better, sue me.

Well, I think I have ranted enough, this movie is not horrible to watch, but I can’t endorse anything it says, as it says nothing whatsoever. That’s my verdict. Watch it for a good time, but don’t expect any substance, and you’ll be fine.

Try Brave or Frozen if you want the exact same message but with an actual message. Or any of the renaissance era movies.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

At the end of a fast…

I decided to follow up my previous post.

Mostly because I think the perspective when you start a fast and when you end it is totally different.

I mentioned before that I have a hard time with the prayer part of fasting.

Well, I decided to do something about that finally, at the urging of the Spirit, I think. And start committing more time each day to God.

So far, it’s not anything spectacular.

But I was watching this YouTube video the other day after I had already started, I’ll try to link it here:

But this lady is talking about how 1st century Christians had it rough, and how we in the West, 21st century are spoiled, I’ve heard it before. I’m tired of it, you know?

But then this part of the video, at the end, that she impressed me with is where the 1st Century Christian makes this summary.

Basically pointing out that we have the Bible, we can meet freely in public, and we can openly have our faith…but we don’t read the Bible, we shirk church, and we hesitate to tell others about our faith. And our pastors often encourage this attitude instead of rebuking it.

And this lady says “I (the 1st century Christian) can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I have it better.”

And I thought that is just so true.

Of course, as many commentators were quick to point out, there’s many countries where it’s still deadly to be a Christian. We in the West can feel like the world revolves around us.

I believe God let us be the safe haven to persecuted Christians for a purpose, so we could support them and give them refuge…but a lot of us don’t even remember that it’s our job. That Paul told us to remember those who suffer for Christ as if it were us ourselves.

I suppose it would do no good to worry about it, but, I do think, I could be more aware of it.

Of course it’s getting more dangerous even in the West, but we’re still a far cry from the East and Middle East.

But it’s a more mature attitude to realize that for all that, it’s better to be real about your faith, even if you’re suffering, than it is to have no real faith, and have it all.

Why do we do this, in the West? We squander what we have, and waste our oppertunities.

Not everyone may be a door to door evangelist, or a street preacher, and nowadays, that isn’t received so well anyway.

But tagging Christian Instagram posts and tweeting Bible verses is not exactly witnessing.

I’m sure it blesses some people, but it’s not witnessing in of itself to do only that, and not get more personal, and that’s where we seem to freak out.

I remember this line from “The Devil Wears Prada” where Nigel confronts Andy about her superior attitude towards the fashion industry. “Most girls would die to work where you only deign to work.”

Couldn’t that be said of us? “Many people would die to do, or say, what we barely deign to do or say.”

I don’t mean to be too harsh. Many of us here have found ways to influences others and minister to them even in our wealthy and overstuffed culture. And I’ not hear to disparage that. What is this blog but my attempt to use the internet as a way to tell people about God, instead of just distract them from Him.

But we can’t deny that, at the very least, we brush things off much more easily than our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world do. We examine ourselves less, and we compromise with the world more.

Case in point:

Pre-fast, I’ve been exposing myself to more and more sexual content in fiction on the net. I don’t do it on purpose, but I read stuff that has it, and I can’t always scroll enough to skip it. (They ought to make some kind of button for that.)

I don’t think it really affects me…at least, at first I thought that.

But sure enough, those thoughts end up in my head more.

I find actually, that for someone like me, the biggest trap of sexual content is not that you start to lust after the characters or actors involved, I don’t, but it’s that you start to read it into everything. You assume it’s there, even when it isn’t. And your mind supplies the subtext.

Even if you don’t like it, you expect it, and it becomes part of the experience for you.

Post-fast, I read something last night that was like that, more than I expected it to be, and I felt so disgusted it surprised me–because I haven’t been feeling that repulsed for a while.

But I just felt like God was looking through my eyes at it, and it embarrassed me, even if I didn’t intend to see it. I scrolled right quick, but I still felt dirty. And yes, I repented, but it was still jarring to have that experience again. In a way, though, it was relief, at least it still bothers me.

Sexual content is tricky. You can be disgusted by it and still find it addicting just because of the way our brains and bodies are wired. Why else do we like cringe comedy?

And we like that judgmental feeling of being above that, but still viewing it.

I know a lot of Christians who fall into that trap.

The good news is, if that’s all it is, you can get out of it fairly easily. Just cutting out the source will usually do it.

A real sexual addiction is much harder to kick, but not impossible, with God. I’m thankful I’ve never had this problem.

Some people would argue that it’s not bad as long as you’re not engaging in it…I don’t think that’s biblical.

But I give into temptation to let it slide.

And I honestly think, that’s more our temptation as young Christians. The devil doesn’t tell us to think it’s good, not at first. He just tells us to let it slide.

Let it slide when you see LGBTQ content that you know is unbiblical, but it’s popular, so don’t knock it.

Let it slide when you see a sexually charged scene, because it’s not like you’re doing it.

Let it slide when people are expressing attitudes that are anti-Christian in a blatant way.

And i don’t mean that they just aren’t Christian themselves, of course we’ll encounter that, but some creators go out of their way to pollute and corrupt Christian ideology when they write about it, I do think that’s dangerous. If you don’t know your bible especially, you’ll believe anything people say about it.

I remember I was watching this Tiktok compilation of people who left Christianity, out of curiosity, thinking maybe I’d understand it better.

And, it was full of bitter, ignorant people who clearly didn’t really know what Christianity taught at all. Their church either failed to explain, or they weren’t paying attention.

And hey, sometimes it’s that you’re not paying attention. Even the worst churches are bound to get something right, I find most people who complain pick and choose what they listen to from a church, instead of listening to all of it. My father could go to a church that taught basically what his Church taught, but find the one point they didn’t express the same way as him, and make that all he heard. And one time I remember he said he didn’t like a worship song’s lyrics, and then misquoted the lyrics to mean something that the song did not actually say. I was astounded by how he could convince himself it was bad, when we’d all heard the same thing…I thought.

One person in the compilation mentioned reading the whole bible all the way through (which in one sitting, or even over a few days, I found questionable, even I can’t do that and I read very fast) and saying she found so many contradictions.

I’ve read the same bible all the way through more than once, and I was like “What contradictions?”

A lot of minor discrepancies are just misunderstandings, which if you research actual scholars, can be cleared up very easily. They can also be mistranslations, depending on what version you use.

And other contradictions the Bible itself will explain, and acknowledge. They are not really contradictions. The God of the Bible is a collection of paradoxes, much like humans are. He’s Just and Merciful. Stern and Kind. And we’re told that we will perceive Him through the lens of how we ourselves act.

Which is just true of world views in general. Ever notice how prideful people think everyone is proud, and selfish people think everyone is selfish? And kind people tend to see more kindness in others. It’s because we look for what we put out.

Maybe I’m just too biased to see the problems with Christianity, but I’ve heard a lot of criticisms launched at it that only proved the people didn’t understand what the religion actually teaches, and only believed some twisted version of it they got from someone else. I mean, if I want to criticize Hitler or Marx’es philosophy, I would read something they actually said, or did. Not just what their enemies said they did. That’s just smart.

All this to say, just because someone disagrees with you does not make them worth listening to. They could be lazy, ignorant, and stubborn. Taking criticism of the faith fro people who actually study the topic is more useful.

But I think we’re a little too trained to listen to all complaints against Christians, from everyone, regardless of whether they are the kind of person who’s likely to be honest about it or not.

To get back to my original point, I think due to all this confusion, we are worst off than early Christians in some ways. Though we have a lot more opportunities.

But valuing God for Himself is the best gift we can have, and that is the thing we struggle with. We devote our time to so much else.

Now, when I started my fast, I only stopped doing one thing. I kept all my other distractions the same.

But you know what? I stopped wanting to do them as much.

Funny, but watching movies, and reading fics just didn’t seem quite as important without this other thing I was already sacrificing. I still did it, but, I just didn’t feel the need to as often. I began doing things outdoors more, interacting more with my sister instead of just sitting alone doing my own thing.

My energy improved. I felt tired at first without the high of my addiction, bu over the last week as I replaced that more with outside time and time with God, and have recover form being sick, I feel much more energized. My mood is better.

You see, this is what I was saying in my other post. When you give up even one thing, you realize how many things you don’t really have to have in your life. It feels like you do, but then it’s gone, and you find there’s always something else you can do. We don’t rely just on one thing.

Fasting makes me a little more disciplined that before, even if it’s for a short time, but usually, after a fast, discipline comes a little easier for a while, that mindset sticks with you for a bit. Eventually, you do lose it, that’s why fasting is supposed to be a reoccurring practice.

My family is also nice enough to encourage me to stick it out, and not to give it up. Which is always helpful. And to help me occupy my time in other ways.

I find that even doing other things, my thoughts center more on God just because I am aware that I am not doing something, for Him.

(I hear this works in marriage too, for making you feel more loving to your spouse because you know you’re doing or not doing something for them, even if they don’t know. Try it.)

Perhaps the most embarrassing thing I’ve realized though, is that my lack of interest in God is mostly my own fault.

When I get bored with Church and worship and prayer, it’s because I have filled myself up with other things.

I remember the Avatar movie (the blue one, not the travesty of the kids show’s live action one) where the Tsuhik (not sure I spelt that right) says to Jake:

“It is hard to fill a cup that is already full.”

While that movie is far from perfect, I do think they nailed one thing about having a simple, spiritual life. Jake later says “They don’t want anything.”

Funny, when you are filled with Spirit, you really don’t want a lot from the world.

And when you are filled with the world, you don’t want a lot from the Spirit.

We can’t have both.

I think, once upon a time, God made it so we could. The world was made to be pure, and being full of our lives here, and our lives with God, would have been one and the same.

And someday, God promises, He will put it back that way.

But till then, the world has fallen to evil, and if we fill ourselves with it, we turn from God. It happened to Solomon, the Wisest man to ever live before Christ.

And if I think I’m beyond that, I’m kidding myself.

Fasting does humble a person.

I’m not saying I’m a new woman, I think that’s more for God to say. I’m saying that I just have remembered somethings I was letting slide, as you might say.

Not all change is dramatic, you know.

Man, we are so hooked on that in church though. The breakthrough, the breaking off, the strongholds, the mountains moved…

Which is all good, in its time.

But so much change is quiet, gradual, or if it sis sudden, it’s private and not something to yell about until we’ve walked it out.

All my moments of real breakthrough were alone, or silent, or quiet. I have always wondered why.

But when I saw others have big, loud moments…but remain unchanged afterward, I started to wonder if Gd maybe did it that way on purpose. Maybe when it’s big, an d shiny, we focus on that too much, and forget the actual change.

A change of heart happens in an instant, perhaps, but it happens inside. And it’s better to show that with how we act before we tell someone.

We want to hear it right away now. We ask people what they feel or think right after we pray and talk.

But, usually people need more time than that to know if something really stuck with them.

There’s a resewn God is always telling us we have to be faithful, i. e. consistent with our religion. We can’t just do it every once and a while and expect it to change us.

I’m only saying what hundreds and thousands of other people say in the church…and maybe we all say it because it’s true.

So hey, if your Christian, and you’re not liking what I’m saying…oh well.

And if you’re not Christian and you read this anyway, that’s amazing! I hope you got something out of it.

You know, I kind of hope I am making some Christians uncomfortable by saying we need to quit it with the big showy stuff so much. Good.

I know I do have a lot of readers from out of country, though, and maybe you live somewhere where what I’m saying couldn’t’ possibly apply on a cultural level.

Still I think the truth of faithfulness is something all of us need to hear, even if we’re somewhere where our faith is tested everyday. Because it’s just another kind of discouragement.

Suffering and abundance are both tests of our faithfulness. Who knows which is really harder? All I know is we have to face whatever we have, now, if we really want to please God.

I hope I will keep this going, and learn more from it. I’m only human, but God is God.

If I can end my fast, but still maintain some discipline and boundaries, that’s a net gain.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.