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.

A gamble–analysis of Gambit’s character in X-Men

Someone actually requested I write this, that’s a first.

And I’m happy to oblige.

Like I said in my post about Rogue, check it out here if you haven’t: When you know you’ll hurt people who love you…, I hadn’t heard of Gambit before watching this show.

At first I didn’t think I’d like him, I’ve seen the flirty, player boy character one too many times on shows and movies to really be into it anymore.

But as with the other characters, this show surprised me by making him seem real, and likable, and he’s actually my second favorite male character.

I’d have to rank the characters as:

Rogue

Wolverine

Gambit

Storm

Beast

And of course, Nightcrawler holds a special place in my heart as the two time side character. It’s impressive how characters that show up only twice in the whole show were still iconic to fans, that’s some good writing.

Suck it Avatar. We don’t need to make them almost die to be relevant.

(Kidding, I like Avatar too, guys. I just don’t like Jet…)

Anyway, so about Gambit.

Full disclose, I’ve never read any X-men comics, I honestly probably won’t just because there’s so many comics, I wouldn’t know where to start to get the really good versions of them and I can’t spend that kind of money hunting through it all. Spiderman was my peak comic book experience. Nothing else has really felt as cool since.

So I have only the show’s limited focus on Gambit to go by.

But the show does a good job with the other characters, so I’m going to assume he’s depicted pretty accurately and analyze him.

I was asked specifically to talk about his hang ups.

Now that be a tricky question, no?

Forgive my poor Cajun accent in writing.

The fact is, like many characters, Gambit is not much for talking about his issues. I think he thinks he’s the strong, silent type.

I actually like that it’s not exactly true, and his idea of himself is probably not actually his character.

Gambit turned out to have a surprisingly soft, compassionate side, even from episode one where he takes it upon himself to protect Jubilee after only just meeting her. He can be a bit too flirty and rude at times to Logan and the others, but he’s always there when they need him.

Ironically, Logan complains about Gambit’s attitude, but acts the same way, must be one of those like forces repel things.

The show doesn’t hint at any thing between Gambit and Rogue until the episode “The Cure” where Logan drops the bomb that Rogue kind of likes him.

Could have fooled me up till then…the show kind of just threw ships at us, but luckily, they were usually likable…usually *cough, JeanxScott is the worst ship *cough.

Well, naturally, Gambit takes that as an invitation to start flirting with Rogue every single scene they’re in together.

Of course she finds it annoying, but secretly charming, because he’s not afraid of her.

I mean, sure, she wants to slap him in that over-confident face sometimes, but, it’s refreshing.

And of course, it leaves us more mature audience members asking ourselves “But why isn’t he afraid?”

It’s not even that Gambit is impervious to the dangers of Rogue’s power, he gets zapped one episode and is kind of mad about it, but it doesn’t stop him from hitting on her afterward.

Oddly enough, he seems to drop the whole issue of being able to touch her at all, and just keeps pushing for a relationship of some sort.

I don’t know if this was stupid or genius on the show’s part, sticking the flirty ladie’s man with the untouchable woman, and saying “hey, this is a great idea!”

My sister says they are kind of a thing in the comics too…I’d say the same irony is there.

I think that some of the appeal to Gambit, might very well be the danger. He seems like that type of guy. Other girls are too easy for him to get, Rogue’s a challenge, both with her power, and with her constant rebuttal, but not quite refusal.

And some men like a challenge, right?

(Wish I could find one)

I think I said this before, but how funny is it that his name is Gambit, and it’s a gambit to try to be close to someone like Rogue.

She’s got a lot of baggage, even if her power wasn’t an issue.

They do get one kiss one time when her power has been neutralized by some device, (it doesn’t last), and Gambit says he loves her, something he never told anyone before, according to him.

This is an interesting detail.

In his backstory episode, some blond b-word claims that Gambit has been with a lot of women

(To which we all say “we know!”)

But “loves only her”…which is not true, but okay, they were engaged once…given that Gambit left her at the alter and ran away, I guess it wasn’t that real.

Maybe he did lover her in a way, but in his words, they were both young, and he was scared.

Well, he sure stepped it up, huh? Went form crazy blond woman to country girl who’s not able to touch people…don’t know if that’s brave or delusional.

I do ship it, for the record, but I mean, anyone ever wonder how in real life this stuff would work?

Gambit at least seems to think that whatever he’s got with Rogue is special.

Rogue however, doesn’t really seem to trust his words. As she continually rebuffs any attempt to get closer to her. She’s willing to sort of date at a distance, but not to commit.

You’d think Gambit would be the one who could commit, but honestly, he seems pretty devoted, all things considered, she’s the one who can’t settle down with the idea.

Gambit lets Rogue have her space, because being a stalker wasn’t cool in the 90s, I take it. But he’s still persistent.

So the question for all of us is, how serious is this guy?

That’ the question about Gambit at all times though. No one in the X-Men really seems to trust his intentions. They all turn on him as soon as Bishop accuse him of assassinating someone. Though Gambit clearly had no plans to do so, and was framed. But the others seem to feel their suspicion was justified, even so, since he never tells them anything about himself.

I mean, if my life history was being part of a gang war/cult that worshiped some forest goddess and paid a weird tithe to her, and almost married the opposition gang’s nut job…I might hesitate to explain that to the X-Men, too.

Though Storm would probably get it, she was worshiped once. Actually, she says she knows Gambit the best, maybe that’s the reason. She feels normal to him.

Rogue stands up for Gambit, but is not especially confident in him.

Gambit is kind of hurt by this, but doesn’t seem to hold it against her so much as he just accepts no one will trust him and he’s on his own.

Actually, Gambit believes in no one and nothing, and doesn’t trust people, as Logan says, or Scott, I forget who was being the biggest prick in that episode.

In the episode with Nightcrawler (which is by far one of the best in the series, I unbiasedly think), Gambit professes that there’s no God and nothing out there for anyone.

I find that funny since he used to pay tribute to a goddess, but then again, maybe he thinks God is indifferent because of that weirdness. That spirit kept them warring against each other, and hurting each other, maybe they’re better off on their own, in his mind.

It’s kind of sad really. Gambit has been burned by his family, as his brother betrayed him and jumped him into the gang. His ex was nuts and tried to off his friends and his brother, and their deity was kind of vindictive…

And then the X-men are suspicious of him too.

Maybe his perspective that he’s a loner makes sense.

So why does he pursue Rogue? Is it because he knows it won’t happen, so he’s essentially alone still?

My theory is that at first, yeah, that probably was it. It was exciting, and there was low emotional risk in his mind because of her “issues” with being close to someone.

I’m trying to think of a PG way to say that they can’t have sex…and I can’t, because I know everyone is thinking it even if I don’t say it.

It is kind of a roadblock though, what is marriage without sex right? And romance for most people has to involve it at some point.

However…

I think Gambit actually fell for Rogue for real along the way.

She is pretty easy to love, even as a fan. I mean, she’s sweet, feisty, and caring, what’s not to like about Rogue. Her crippling insecurity is her biggest problem, but it is understandable, and she’s not what I’d called Toxic over it. Just confused and scared and sad.

I’m surprised Gambit was the only one, honestly, but I guess the show thought Jean was the one who’d have multiple men after her…because she’s got the personality of your average pick me girl in a Wattpad fic…or nay other rom-com…

Go figure.

Actually, it is harder to write a triangle around a girl who’s actually got a personality, because it’s easier to see who’d be a bad match for her, people won’t get behind a ship so easily if the chemistry is in questions. Look at Avatar. The only thing fans complain about is how that show did ships. (For good reason, not a single one has chemistry except possibly Sokka’s.)

Gambit probably just flirted with Rogue at first because, well, that’s what he does. But sometimes you pretend something long enough, you do it for real. Rogue is just easy to like…and then before he knew it, it was real.

That’s my guess as to why he didn’t get bored of it.

I mean think about it, she’s fun to tease, but any man who didn’t really like her would get tired of teasing a girl who he’s never going to be able to get in the you-know-whats of.

But no, it just goes on forever, apparently.

And one has to wonder what point Gambit sees in it, honestly.

I’m not sure he really thinks that hard about it, actually. He seems like a guy who acts more on impulse most of the time, and habit. I get the feeling that in his mind, he likes who he likes, and it don’t matter really what the obstacle or realistic expectations of it are.

But there are moments where he shows a bit more real emotion about Rogue, that indicate he’s not just kidding.

He’s quick to worry about her, quick to notice if anything is bothering her, and quick to get jealous.

Jealous of what, really, what can she do? She can’t cheat on him.

But he seems actually jealous of her affections and attention.

I think it’s interesting.

Rogue raises all kinds of issues about our own insecurity, if we pay attention to her character. And that’s cool, I really like that.

But Gambit raises the question of what really is and isn’t love. What are we really in a relationship for?

You know, the Bible doesn’t give sex as the first reason to institute marriage. That sounds kind of wrong, actually.

I mean, who gets married just so they can have sex.

I really hope no one reading this answered that in the affirmative…

Sure, sex is nice, and important…but it’d be a stupid thing to base your relationship off of.

Honestly, I think it’s great being a virgin and just not having the whole sexual compatibility thing on the table, I get to focus on what really matters, not just hormones.

I’m sure none of us believe Gambit is in that exact position.

But who knows, maybe he’s had enough of superficial relationships, and is realizing they just don’t make you happy, they aren’t real, they don’t satisfy.

Rogue is too much of a challenge to have it not be real, if your’e going to keep pursuing her. Maybe that’s the appeal.

Maybe he likes the idea that someone has his back. It’s rare to find any friends as devoted as the X-men, and Rogue in particular never would abandon a friend. Sometimes to her own detriment, but there it is.

We all like to feel special, Gambit may also find it flattering to be preferred by someone who has no reason to impress anyone. I mean, I can’t lie, it would make me feel pretty special too.

To be honest, I think what makes the ship so interesting is simply that’s it’s not that easy to figure out.

I think that it’s more real, because there’s probably so many factors that could go into it.

The thrill seeking aspect of it is balanced out by there also being a trust aspect.

One line Gambit does say to Rogue that’s interesting is early on when she reminds him, none too politely, that she put someone in a coma the last time she kissed them:

“Maybe it’s worth it, no?” He says, with a very punch-able face, I have to say.

I can’t really blame Rogue for going off in a huff after that.

Still, if you unpack it, isn’t that the question?

Rogue has no self worth whatsoever when it comes to love. She believes she’s not worth anything, no risk, nothing.

I have to wonder, even if she lost her power, would she accept herself? I think she’d still push people away. She’d find some new reason.

I did the same thing. Without my father around to bully me, I found other ways to look down on myself.

Gambit seems like the last person to take love seriously out of the team, but maybe, just maybe, he’s kind of hit on something.

Maybe it is worth it.

He might be cocky, arrogant at times, and often stubborn…but, love isn’t really about being perfect.

It’s not always the most innocent people who actually understand love the best, sometimes if you’re too nice, you can’t accept other people have flaws, and you don’t know how to love them.

Church people know this struggle.

But on the other hand, if you’ve hit the branches on the tree of poor life decisions…then maybe you’re a little easier on people.

I think the show raises the same question to the fans as Rogue has.

Can we really trust Gambit? Is he for real? Or is it just some joke.

Rogue seems convinced she’ll wake up from it one day, and will look foolish for ever trusting it.

Sure she likes him, but she doesn’t want to love him, because she gets hurt then.

But it also hurts to be strung along. Gambit is not one to complain, but…

Come on, it would bother anyone.

It’s sort of like Rogue is saying that just love is not good enough, she won’t be satisfied without the touch aspect being resolved. Though she claims to be okay wither herself, we all know it’s not true.

Like I said in her post, how important is touch to a romantic relationship?

After I wrote it, I was reminded of the stories I know about people who are paraplegic, some all over their body, and who are still married.

People who have cerebral palsy, or some other disease, often can’t move normally.

There was that famous guy who had no legs and no arms, but got married and had a kid.

I’ve heard that Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife weren’t able to be intimate after a point because of his disease, and Eleanor said that there was still love even without that.

Hormone driven fans are often obsessed with sex and kissing and touching in shipping. Rogues’ a real challenge, most people probably just prefer to fix her problem, in fan fiction, and not deal with it.

I think that her problem is probably fixable, based on the show’s logistics.

But I think that’s not really the point.

Rogue is not going to get love just because she can be touched. If someone can’t love you without that, they don’t really love you. That’s the hard truth.

Sure, they might like you and want to get with you, but that’s not love.

In our over-sexualized, lonely culture, it’s hard to imagine any love without sex.

Or some form of touch.

Anime kind of has this stigma both about kissing and being intimate until the relationship is further along, and also about even using the words “love” and showing care for someone.

We’re left starved both emotionally and physically from watching it. I think that’s why fans rush to the perverted side of it so quickly.

Where you have no emotional connection, the sexual seems like an appealing substitute…but it’s empty too.

Love is not about sex, and it’s not about giddy feelings. That’s a nice part of it, sure.

But I kind of like that with Gambit and Rogue, it really can’t be about that. Even if, someday, her problem was resolved, it still couldn’t have been about that.

If Gambit showed hesitancy, we’d all have to hate him, even if we understood it. Not many men, or women, would want a part of that.

And it is sad…but, as I said, real life couples have to forego physical intimacy sometimes.

It’s almost a crime in people’s eyes now to suggest that maybe, just maybe, it’d be okay not to have that.

I mean, if you met the love of your life, they suited your personality, they were loyal, caring, and funny…but they just couldn’t have sex…or touch you…would you abandon them?

I remember story I heard on reddit of a guy who married a woman who was asexual…that is, she could have sex, but didn’t enjoy it the way other people do.

He said it was almost a deal-breaker, but he was glad he stuck with her. They had a great relationship, and she’s a loving wife…that aspect is just not as prevalent, but he’s learned to live with it. She has to make sacrifices too.

I’m not saying I’d choose it on purpose, but you know, maybe it’s is worth it.

It would be weird to want that, upfront, but it’s not weird to accept it, if you love them.

I’m not sure I can say for sure if Gambit is deep enough to think that out, but he does hint at it.

The guy who does’t trust anyone is still willing to gamble with love.

I feel like he’d be the most shocked if it ever worked out.

In the end, Gambit and Rogue are too similar. They are drawn to each other because they both think no one will love them.

What keeps them hooked is that the other person never quite ruins it. They rebuff, and argue, but they stick together, and drop hints, and there’s something deeper there.

It’s not really the tease of romance so much as it’s the draw of being loved itself that has these two caught.

It’s like “what if they did love me?”

It seems like a 10 to 1 chance against it, that it would end well.

But Gambit is willing to roll those dice, because really, what does he have to lose? The X-men only get a few chances in life for some things, you’d better take them.

Rogue maybe doesn’t see it that clearly, but she’s still pulled in by it.

They are also opposites, Gambit is willing to risk it all because he sets little value in his own safety, Rogue is not wiling to risk anything because she exaggerates the importance of her own danger to others, and thinks she’s worse than other people.

Sticking them together was a crazy idea because they repel with their hangups, but they also attract.

And, it’s a gamble, really, trying to see how it would end.

I tend to always think erring on the side of love is better. If we don’t have love, our lives are empty anyway. Love is risk, but it’s more of risk not to have it.

But some people don’t feel that way.

I think the show itself couldn’t commit for that reason, and I don’t know if the comics ever did.

Superhero fiction tends to be afraid of committed love, something about it seems alien to superheroes, their lives are dual, masked in deception, usually.

The X-Men were always an oddity in Marvel, because they didn’t hide their identities, and live regular lives managing their powers. I don’t think there’s a DC parallel to it.

The X-Men could have relationships because they acted more human. Superman needs no one, Batman refuses to need anyone, and many others just have too many issues and bad luck.

X-men can have diversity in how tragic their stories are and how hopeless they seem, so you can root for them with more hope.

But in the end, it’s still a superhero show.

The main thing is how we’d answer the question ourselves.

What part of love do we value the most? Why do we want companionship?

How we answer that is what makes for a good foundation for romance.

Less of a buzz maybe, if you pick true companionship, but it lasts longer. And it helps more.

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

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What I learned from Fasting

It’s the new year everybody!

Yay!

I haven’t made my list yet, not sure what I want to happen this year.

But my church always does a 21 day fast at the start of the year.

I don’t really fast food, I think I might be hypoglycemic, not eating makes me feel really sick, really fast, and no sugar will have a weird effect on me too.

I’ve tried food fasting in the past and never got beyond 1 day at most, and that was torture.

Sometimes I fast a particular food instead.

But after my scare last year of dropping 15 lbs, and thankfully, gaining them all back, I have decided to just be happy to eat normally.

So, I tend to fast things like movies, TV shows, or writing too much.

Fasting could really just be called abstaining since it’s not always about food and water.

While it’s gotten a bad rap thanks to the rise of bulimia and Eating Disorders, fasting isn’t unhealthy when it’s done in the right proportions. It cleanses your system, uses up excess sugars, and for most people, won’t make you feel all that bad. (I’m an unfortunate exception.)

While fasting is not commanded per sec to Christians, Jesus said that his followers would fast when he was no longer with them. Which would be now.

Not every godly character in the Bible fasted, but many prophets, kings and judges did.

While I have no fasted food that often, I have learned somethig just from what I do fast.

And I thought it might be worht writing about.

True Confession:

I’ve alwas been terrible at the prayer and worship part of fasting. I’m told that’s why I haven’t had better success with it.

I used to try it and felt no different, so I didn’t bother.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to be demanded to do things. So my relationship with Spiritual Discipline has always been tempestuous. Either I got carried way denying myself because it was so counter-intuitive, or I didn’t do it at all.

I still struggle with that.

Spiritual Discipline has been neglected a lot in the Western Church. My church does practice it and encourage a handful of them, but there’s a bunch we don’t really address either.

I hear Catholics do some, but most Catholics I’ve met weren’t serious enough about the faith for me to ask them about it.

I know that one discipline is silence and another is solitude. That’s hard now. We almost never have to be alone with our thoughts.

Actually that’s where I found fasting things like TV and movies to be helpful.

I have images and sounds playing through my memory all day, every day.

I had that before I had TV, honestly. The same things used to happen with books. We have to have something to fill up our thoughts.

Better that then anxiety. I suffered from anxiety so much in the past, even as a kid, I used to use books to escape, then I used TV. Now I use writing as well.

None of those things are bad, but you get to rely on them too much. They aren’t perfect substitutes for God. But they do distract you.

When you give that up, even for three days, the difference is immense.

24 hours without TV and I feel like a different person usually. A whole week, and it’s like I’m more clear.

Already, in the last three days, I’ve been bored, listless, and blue ( not fasting TV, but I don’t think yo all need to know what I’m giving up. It’s a private matter, I’m just using TV as an easy example.)

I fill up my days so much with this thing, I don’t know what to do without it. I push aside prayer, worship, and even physical exercise because I do it so much.

It’s too much and I know that, but I don’t want to stop.

Fasting can be like a self chosen intervention.

It’s never easy, but because I have been doing it for years, I do escape the lie many people believe, which is that it’s not possible.

I learned at a young age to use self control because of fasting. Not perfectly, but at a level most kids don’t reach. Most adults don’t either. How many of us really try to control ourselves from giving into urges.

Heck, they tell us that’s unhealthy now.

It’s really not. Most doctors would probably tell you you should not give in to every urge you have all the time. Especially if you’re an addict.

I was watching a YT video last week “Why you’ll marry the wrong person” and this man was saying that we’re all addicts to something, whatever we use to keep from being alone with ourselves.

I felt a little called out, to be honest.

I used to be okay with being alone with myself, but it got to where I had anxiety every time I was alone with my thoughts.

But then again, that could be just a result of overstimulating myself so much to begin with.

Our brains get addicted to screens, and if we get off them for a brief time, we can feel withdrawal. We’re not necessarily depressed, so much as we’re empty.

You can tell because the depresison goe waway while you’re on the screen, but ocmes back once you’ve been off for five minutes. That’s addiction.

Some addiction to screens is inevitable for us, like some dependence on sugar is.

But there is a way to cut down on your absolute dependence it, and for that, fasting is ideal.

Also turn on the blue light filter on your screen if you have one, that helps, the blue light is addictive and stressfull.

I used to be very judgmental of people who were on their phones all the time, till I got a smartphone. Then I understood.

I don’t play games on mine, in an effort to stay on it less. But I do edit, and read web comics on it. I do use it to play music. And I’m not even as bad as I used to be.

Cutting back on it is hard. And if I’m not on my phone, I’m on my laptop, like I am right now.

I still read real books, though, and it’s amazinghow revitalized your brain feels after a few chapters if you stick it out.

Since I started this fast, I’m both more tired at night, and more ready to go to bed on time. Less stimulation to keep me up. My sisters too. We’ve gone to bed at 1 AM for months, but since I started this, we’ve been going to bed by 12 am or even before 11 pm. Go figure.

I’m not anti-screen. I do like moives, and I like being able to write faster and edit faster on a screen. It’s a nice thing.

But I am against being mastered by anything, as Paul or Peter wrote in the bible. All things are lawful for us, but not all things are helpful.

My family has always been against a lot of technology in our lives, my mom didn’t all of us to have a TV. And she was against having a computer that played movies for years.

I can see why, my Dad got addicted to it as soon as we got it, and to video games.

I almost ended up that way too.

But when I was 13-14, I started fasting. Actually I think I started at 12.

I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, and some stuff makes me cringe now, but the effort was there. And when I did that, I learned to control myself and my urges to play on that computer.

Also seeing my dad’s addictive behavior scared the crap out of me.

Years later, it’s still a temptation, but it’s not as big of one. I can abstain if I want to. It’s good to refresh that every once in a while.

I worked it out.

I think God put me on the path just for that reason.

And while my mental health is not always as good as I wish, it’s much better than most of the people I know, and they don’t all have that practice. My critical thinking ability is also far better, as is my reading comprehension.

I don’t believe this would be so rare, if we had more limits to our screen time. The kids I know whose parents limit their screen intake a lot are much smarter and usually better behaved. I know my sisters and I were better behaved for our babysitters as kids.

It is what it is.

Fasting taught me to set rules for myself even if my parents no longer did it for me. I think my mom taught me restraint, having limits to desserts, TV, and game time. And in turn I learned to employ it on myself.

With lots of prayer also.

It’s now been almost 2 weeks of my fast, (this post is late because I got sick), and so far, it’s not yielded miraculous results.

But you know, I don’t really think it needs to. I used to think that fasting would always be like the big ones in the Bible. Spiritual awakening, breakthrough, seeing visions, or whatever.

It’s easy to forget that fasting was regularly practiced as a reminder to focus on God, and things that are more important than our physical comfort.

For me, sacrificing just one of the many distractions I fill up my time with, reminds me that I can live without that thing.

We have a very desperate culture now. People often “jokingly” say that they won’t kill themselves just so they can find out what happens next in their favorite anime, TV show, or web-series.

I knew MHA was becoming a little too important to me when the news that season 5 would be delayed made me feel suicidal for a second. I hadn’t realized how contagious that way of thinking is.

And we should call it what it is, idolatry. We’re worshiping these shows.

Some people aren’t even subtle about it, they call the creators their “lord and savior.”

Is it supposed to be a joke? Maybe.

Ever notice that some things can be a joke, but still totally serious also.

See, worship isn’t always about thinking something is worth devoting your life and purpose too.

The Bible mocks and reproaches people who bow to wood, and stone, and gold gods. Saying that they will use half a block of wood to burn, but the other half to make a god, and will bow to it.

God apparently finds this ridiculous. And so do we, on paper.

But we’ll devote endless hours of time to 2D characters and mediocre story writing, just because it’s our crap, you know…and we know it’s crap, or it’s not real, but we don’t care. How is that really different from burning half the material we made our god from?

You can use firewood and not worship it, and you can watch shows and not worship them–but, if you’re surrounding yourself with people who do, it’s so easy to become twisted by that. I know plenty of Christians who compromise their morals for shows.

And maybe I have t oo, much to my shame.

I’ve cut way back on my anime viewing, I think my craze is dying down. I still enjoy a few, like any other medium. I did the same with Webtoon. I read it like crazy at first, but inevitably, it didn’t satisfy me, and now I just read a few episodes on an average day, sometimes none at all. Take me maybe 10-20 minutes. That’s probably harmless.

I confess, I make the same mistakes as everyone else. I think that my need for emotional fulfillment can be met by fiction. Even in creating my own.

And what is an idol, but fiction? It’s a fictional god, isn’t it? Back before we had common forms of entertainment, worshiping an idol was a nice distraction…people used to worship idols by having sex, did you know that? Not too different from anime and it’s fan service, and husbands and waifus, now is it?

Except you can’t actually have sex with an anime character, so we’ve traded something that was at least partially real, for an even more twisted version of it.

I mean, having a crush on a fictional character is normal, but…the kind of stuff people do to fetish-ize it…that’s not normal (and I don’t crush on fictional characters as it is.)

What I’m saying is that, when you get caught up in this temptation to worship and go after other things, a fast may be the best way to recenter yourself.

Mine hasn’t changed my whole life, but it changes a small part of it. I have to think about God a little more, and remember that what I’m fasting was not enough for me anyway.

And while I may not feel high off of God’s spirit right now, and fasting doesn’t always make me feel closer to God, I have learned that it’s not necessarily the purpose of fasting to do that. It can, and I have seen a slight improvement from it…but fasting is to re-evaluate priorities, and realize your mistakes.

I realize, I have mistakenly made certain things too important in my life. I realize that I need to think more about how I spread God’s word, and His message.

I realize that the ways I do it, like through writing this blog, may not be how I wish I could (I love writing, but I love interacting with people in person also) but it is available to me.

I may never know if it really helped anyone or not, but I can put it out there, that’s all we can do.

I am reminded that whatever else changes in my life, God is my constant.

And, I am reminded that all the things of this world are temporary.

Time was that the thought of losing one of my distractions would give me a panic attack.

And I own’t say I wouldn’t be upset now, but now I do stop myself and think “But if that happens, I still have other interests, and God can still use me in other ways, and I’ll get through it. It won’t be the end of me.”

I realize I am unique in having this understanding, not because I am especially good or free of temptation, but because I made it a practice to go without things for years, and to learn that I could bear not having them. You can live without anything, just about.

And I guess that is what I learned from fasting, to sum it up.

I hope this was interesting or even helpful to you.

If you now feel like you may want to try fasting yourself, I am no authority on it, but I do suggest starting small. Try 1-3 days of fasting a food or item or hobby.

If you think you can, try a week or even two weeks of no TV or whatever your addiction is.

You can also set aside one day to not watch TV or be on your phone, I’ve done this, with pretty good results. Brain break, right?

Another thing to try is setting aside an hour or half an hour each day to just not be on your phone, and to have fewer distractions, quiet time.

If you can get up to a month or even more than that, that’s about the Bible’s usual limit, 40 days. Anything longer than that is more of a lifestyle change than a fast, but a fast is a great time to ask yourself if you do need to make this a permanent change in your life.

And don’t brag about fasting, Jesus warned us not to do that. Only tell people who will need to know just so they know not to tempt you. Like I may refrain form making cookies while my sister or mom is fasting sugar, or I may not talk about shows or YouTube vids if they are fasting that. It’s different for everyone.

If you can, fast with your family, makes it easier to stick to it.

Remember also, something doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you fast it, it just has to be a problem for you. Don’t preach at other people that they shouldn’t partake of the thing you’re fasting from, unless they are rubbing it in your face, it’s really none of your business what they do.

Other than that, the rules are up to you and God. I’m just laying out the groundwork for how the Bible says to treat fasting. Not to be depressed about it.

Really, God would rather us not fast at all it would seem if we can’t do it with a good attitude. Repenting during a fast is okay, normal and expected. But whining about it is just annoying.

(And I need to watch myself for that too, I’m realizing. Wry comments can so easily become complaints.)

With that, I think I’ll leave you to decide, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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Finding the Ideal Man using Justice League

After my very serious last post, I thought I’d do something fun.

I was telling my sister the other day how I could use the Justice League Animated show to pick out what I did and didn’t want in a man, and then I thought I could so turn this into a blog post.

So let’s dive in:

What is the show’s philosophy about what makes a good man?

The early season of Justice League, with just the original 7 members, is the best one, I think. The writers also tackled more hard topics back then.

Before I get into the individual characters, I think it’d be helpful to look at how the writers defined good men.

You’ll never hear those words specifically used, but it was funnily enough, usually episodes that centered around Wonder Woman, the feminist icon, that examined what makes men good. (In hindsight, that was low key savage as heck.)

In The Savage Times, when Wonder Woman meets Steve Trevor, she’s impressed that someone without powers and special abilities is willing to risk his life in battle. Later, in the episode Fury, she acknowledges Batman to have the same heroic qualities. (I mean, and he’s Batman, so there’s that.)

Other than these episodes, the show mostly doesn’t make a distinction between genders, but displays courage, honor, honesty, and loyalty as the traits the heroes should have. As well as Compassion and naturally, Justice.

Breaking Down the Characters:

While I love the show and still watch it from time to time, even though I’ve seen most of it 10 times over, over time I have changed how I feel about the characters.

If you do watch the show, I’m probably going to insult at least some of your favorites, but hey, I don’t care if you like these characters. I understand why people do, I just don’t personally anymore. Too much negative experience with some.

I won’t bother with the female characters, since A, I’m a woman. And B. I don’t know if I’d pick either of them as a great example of womanhood, but I do think both of them change over the show more than the male characters do, so at least they can grow. That being said, this post is more about what I look for in a man.

I will freely admit, I am biased towards my favorite, the Flash, but he wasn’t always my fave, and I don’t usually let my biases influence whether I approve other characters or not, I just don’t enjoy them, but if I’m criticizing, it’s because I thought it out.

Let’s start with Superman, the big guy:

In all fairness, Superman is probably not on my hate list, but he’s not on my top 3. I usually just feel neatural about him.

Over time I’ve started to think that’s because Superman purposefully lives his life in a way that keeps people neutral.

Now, when I say a superhero is not what I’d look for in a man, I’m not actually saying I think they’re a bad person. Plenty of good people are just not ready for, or suited to, romantic relationships.

A romantic relationship, as even Jesus said, requires a lot more growth, maturity, and self sacrifice than any other form of relationship does, from us. We’re naked to each other, both literally and emotionally, in romance, and that’s not something everyone is ready for.

Which is my chief complaint against Superman. He’s a great guy as a friend, son, and mentor…

But with Lois, both in the comics and the show…not so much.

The comic version of him, at least early on, was way worse, I admit. I remember one issue where he literally tells Lois “Maybe I will marry you….someday.”

And…it’s like…played off as a joke…

But I’m thinning “So you play with her feelings, toy with her, get jealous if she flirts with anyone else (which happened multiple times in other issues) but you won’t put a ring on it and she’s just supposed to be okay with being treated like a convenience?”

I’d put it down to it being the 50s and 60s, but…to be honest, marriage expectations were higher back then, and a young man not proposing to a girl after so many years of dating was kind of seen as irresponsible and weak…so yeah.

Superman just doesn’t want to trust anyone with his identiy, usually.

But…I mean…you know, worst case scenario, everyone finds out you’re Clark Kent…just form a new false identity, you’re superman, are you really worried about someone killing you?

And if you can’t trsut the girl…why are you dating her at all?

It’s not about logic with Superman, it’s about fear.

On the show they do a better job of showing this, they depict how he’s afraid of his powers sometimes, especially since Darkseid used him against earth.

Superman does become more arrogant later on in the show, probably in a suppressed desperation not to ever lose control of a situation again.

Lois, being the sassy queen that she is on that show (best version of her) is never afraid to call him out on his BS.

But…I don’t recall a single time he ever listened to her. He brushes her off, dismisses her concerns, and honestly, at times I think he kind of acts superior.

Lois has good points every time, but for all Superman pays attentin she might as well be the airhead she is in the comics.

Though on this show she saves his life two or three times, so you’d think he’d be alittle more grateful and respectful.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I don’t actually think he even thanks her once for doing that. So…yeah.

Again, I don’t hate Superman, but I think Lois could do better. Take the glam off of him being Superman, and he’s a guy with a lot of insecurities, which is fine, but not if they control him.

We all have our fears and hang ups, but not all of us let that make us into people who won’t listen or trust people who prove themselves to us time and again.

And while Superman has had issues with people setting him up, they are always his enemies, none of his friends have ever betrayed him, so I wonder what his possibly excuse for being so wary is. People who’ve been abused often can’t help but mistrusts others at first until we do therapy and growth, but Superman’s past is pretty healthy all things considered.

Not that he still can’t have trust issues, but what’s his reason for not addressing them?

He lets no one get close enough to call him out on it.

And it’s not just Lois, other league members like Batman, Flash, and Green Arrow all confront him and he ignores all of them, and it takes blowing up a deserted base of government workers to make him see a problem with his actions.

All things that might be forgivable, but don’t bode well for any relationship he’d ever be in. If he can’t listen, then forget it. You’d never resolve any issues.

Men who can’t admit faults scare the crap out of me. So do women, for that matter.

That said, if you like Superman, that’s cool, he’s a fun character in many ways, but, I’d never date him.

J’onn J’onzz:

Not much to say about our friendly neighborhood Martian Manhunter, because he’s not featured a whole lot in episodes that deal with relationships.

But we do know he’s lonely often, and tends to go by the book about interpersonal issues as well as public ones.

He actually does have a relationship later on in the show, and it seems to be going well. I could believe that.

Though he can be stoic, J’onn is caring, compassionate, and not overly stubborn about his own faults that I can tell.

I feel like characters who don’t look human are often written to have less human flaws in fiction, maybe it’s just me, but just about the only flaw J’onn has is he doesn’t always do the right, or human thing, in favor of doing the “smart” thing.

While you can argue that maybe that’s not bad, it is easy to slip into ignoring a lot of people’s needs if you carry that logic too far.

But J’onn laughs it off fairly easily when he is proven wrong, so it’s not too serious of a flaw. He also can be quit salty when the other members do things hypocritically, which is fun.

While J’onn is not my type, because I like a man with more of a sense of humor, irony, and friendliness, I would approve him for dating to the right person. He’s got the necessary humility and doesn’t seem too hostile to critiques or conflict resolution…plus he could read your mind, so that’s bound to make communication easier right there…a little unfair, actually.

Green Lantern:

I’m about to piss some people off.

Sorry, not sorry.

Green Lantern is my least favorite Justice League member, period. even out of the wider cast.

Actually when I returned to the show after years of not watching it, it surprised me how little I liked him. I used to think he was fine when I was a young teen, young teens are honestly the worst judges of character in the world. Children and older adults are much more perceptive.

GL can be funny, but that’s about it.

In my humble opinion, he’s an ungrateful ass to his friends, and arrogant to them also.

He thinks it’s my way or the high way all the time.

Even more concerning to me was that his ship with Hawk Girl gets off to a pretty rocky start.

Hawk Girl is actually pretty cool to him at first, I thought. She helps bail him out when he gets framed for blowing up a planet, and tells him “that’s what friends are for.”

I don’t really see any issues with how she treats him from that point on to the War World, or whatever. But there Green Lantern snaps at her about her attitude.

She’s quiet understandable pissed off by this, and bothered.

Green Lantern apologizes later, by saying he was “too hard on her.”

But I don’t find that very satisfactory.

I mean, was it your place to call her out on that? Did you have a close enough relationship for that? And what exactly did she do anyway?

To me it’s more like he was wildly out of line, and should know better.

My problems with GL continued though, aside form Hawk Girl, I think he treats the Flash pretty disrespectfully–because he can, the Flash won’t retaliate– and is often lacking in compassion to the people they’re helping, even thought the other members say they should help them.

He’s ungrateful when they help him.

And in the episode where they’re all fighting and trying to do team building, he takes a very militant approach to solving issues that are much more personal and emotional.

Still GL in the early show was a bit more bearable, there were some funny moments.

But the later showed killed the character for me.

For one thing…he’s dating Vixen

And he can’t even do that properly, he’s negligent to her and acts annoyed when she wants to go out on a date.

But what peaked it for me was when he told Sheyara about them having a son in the future. Only to add that he didn’t want to break up with Vixen and be controlled by it.

And I thought…” then why did you tell her? She never had to know, Jackass!”

Thenhe gets pissy when she dates someone else…wow…due, just…wow..

This is not healthy behavior.

And so monumentally unfair to Shayera. She’s been through enough, losing it all, you need to tell her that even if the future declares it, you won’t just choose her.

How does that make a woman feel?

Horrible, I guranntee it. Her guilt wasn’t bad enough.

There’s no real point to telling her that anyway, it’s not like it can influence your decisions if she knows or not, unless you were hoping to convince her not to date anyone else, in which case…frick you man.

The amount of insensitivity in this, it’s not how you should treat anyone, let alone someone you claim to love.

Some could say I have too high standards.

Well, I guess it is true that the people closest to us hurt us the worst…but is it too much to ask that there be a traditional reason for a decision? Not just him weirdly wanting to clear the air?

After that I kind of thought Sheyara should just dump his rear end for good and find some one who actually treats her right, the show never does resolve this conflict anyway, that I recall.

It says a lot when Vixen, her rival, treats her with more respect and consideration than her actual love interest does.

So it’s a hard pass on GL for me.

I also think he’s judgmental, which I hate.

Batman:

Well, Bats is my second favorite male in the league, mostly because he’s funny, though not usually on purpose.

His main ship is with Wonder Woman on the show, and while…it’s not perfect, they have a much better rapport than Superman and Lois, or GL and Hawk Girl.

You never catch either of them dunking on the other for stupid reasons. Batman is actually the first to believe Wonder Woman is a capable hero, and she tends to see a side to him that other people don’t.

He’s also the first person she asks for help when she has an emergency, and he delivers.

Their trust in each other is affirmed several times throughout the show, and batman even finds her more belligerent temper to be funny or endearing at times, instead of off putting.

So the signs are good that Batman can handle a challenge, especially one that would scare most people off.

Wonder Woman is also the only non-spoiled rich, crazy, or kleptomaniac ship for him I know of, which I thought was a plus. She’s weird enough to satisfy his need for not liking ordinary people, but she’s sane. And a good person. Hurrah!

Suck it Catwoman.

But anyway, as far as Batman goes, he does have trust issues.

He trusts Diana though, as he’s quite open about, and his issues don’t really revolve around her, but more of the idea of getting close to someone in general.

I’m pretty sure she’s the only woman he ever admitted that too.

Of course, it’s all total BS, since he used to cozy up to Catwoman with zero regard for that.

Also it kind of feels like the writers shoehorned his problem with it in, since he has none in earlier episodes.

But assuming it’s legit and not BS, then I think his problem is really that Diana is the type of person he could actually be happy with, and that’s what scares him. He’s afraid to risk it, and disrupt his life.

And of course, where would they live anyway? Imagine Diana going out of Wayne Mansion, right?

But you can work around that. For crying out loud, he’s a billionaire, move? Have a private house, like, get creative man.

They’re just excuses.

But I’d hold out more hope for Batman to be able to grow up a little, despite what the authors ultimately did in Batman Beyond (because he’s not allowed to be happy, you know, ruins the edgy aspect), because he’s at least aware he has a problem. He also treats Diana way better than the other men treat their girls. At bottom, Batman is actually a pretty affectionate, compassionate guy, who hides it behind being scary. Which is shown both on his own series, as well as Justice League.

He also is pretty cool to the Flash and doesn’t berate him like the other often do, and shows up for his big event.

Batman also has the ability to appreciate qualities in others that he himself lacks.

It’s a 50-50 chance on whether he’d chose to overcome his issues, but if he did, I’m convinced he’d make one of the best partners out of the bunch.

Not maybe my type per sec, but I could at least see myself being friends with him, so that’s a start.

Biggest flaw is that he doesn’t take people saying no to him well. And tends to ignore criticism. I think he gets better about it–and to be fair, Diana’s about the only one who gets away with teasing him about it and not getting the Batglare, so I ship the heck out of it to this day.

Fight me, it was the best relationship on the show.

The Flash:

I saved the best for last.

I never crush on fictional characters, but I think the Flash has become my one exception to this rule.

What can I say? He’s just so good.

I don’t get too wound up about it, it’s just that every episode he’s in, he somehow fails to do anything to tick me off, and manages to be the best part of the league.

Now I know, he may not be everyone’s flavor, I’m not like a Jonas Brothers fan girl, okay?

But I evaluate.

One of my favorite things about the Flash is that, unlike the others, he’s not too polished, he’s not perfect, and unlike most of them, he doesn’t hide it.

He can be a bit reckless, thought not stupid, as he’s accused of being. And he does flirt too much in the first season.

But, he was the youngest member, and probably only in his early 20s when they started.

And I’ve met real life 27-30 year olds who act worse than him, so, age isn’t everything.

Plus, he grows out of it by the later season, so I think we can overlook.

I think after how I was raised by someone who’d put on a fake spiritual face at church and around people he wanted to impress, but torment the life out of anyone who was actually at his mercy, I’m just over people who act like they have this uber high standard, but are jerks to people close to them.

(Looking at you GL)

Flash on the other hand, goofs off on the job, which is hilarious, but is easily the most compassionate to people on a private basis.

He plays peacemaker between Wonder Woman and Hawk Girl (unsuccessfully, but he tried).

He’s willing to risk his life to help GL get out of a death sentence.

And my two personal favorite moments, are when he actually talks the Humanite into helping him bring Christmas Cheer to the kids at an orphanage, and talks his enemy the Trickster into surrendering just by being nice to him.

Flash also is said to help people with trivial tasks like household chores. And volunteers his time to lift the spirits of kids at an orphanage.

Something I never catch anyone else doing in this league, except maybe Batman as Bruce Wayne.

But Flash is a stand up guy both in and out of costume, both with people it will help him with, and people it won’t.

He’s also not afraid to call out the other league members if they cross a line, he even managed to stop Wonder Woman from straight up murdering a guy for killing Superman…which is taking you life into you hands right there.

On top of that, he’s funny.

I might swoon, to be honest…

Okay, okay, maybe this is not everyone’s type, but I guess personally, I don’t see what more you could ask for without exceeding human limitations.

Flash has his bad moments, but is the first to apologize usually, and the first to forgive, like when the league splits up briefly and then gets back together. He’s insecure sometimes, but tends to brush it off quickly.

He does nice things for the league even off the job, like getting them coffee, or blankets, another thing I don’t see the others doing usually.

He’s down to earth, and despite bragging a lot, actually has the smallest ego in my opinion, it’s mostly just for show.

He’s humble enough to brush off the other’s snide comments at him, though I find GL’s especial to be a little too cutting to be friendly.

And he forgives Hawk Girls the fastest and treats her the same even after her betrayal.

All in all, the only things against him are being too flirty, and sometimes too quick to speak and unable to reads the room.

I find those to be pretty minor flaws. Nothing to dump someone over. Just put him with a girl who’s good at that and he’ll be fine.

Sorry for gushing, but I get on a roll about Flash, I think he’s underrated sorely by fans.

Basically, the Flash could handle a relationship with a woman, because he checks all the boxes for his other relationships that would make you a good bf of husband.

Though as a fiend, he could get away with less effort, he chooses not to. He makes everyone around him feel special, and he’d do that for his SO if he one. Most men tend to treat women how they would treat their friends, after a certain point. So if he’s nice to his friends, he will be to you too.

At least my dad was a jerk to his friends as well as us, so I’ve seen it work the other way. And I’ve observed the same rule in my guy friends.

But fair warning fellows, that’s not true of women. Women will treat men differently than they do each other, anti-male brainwashing is rampant in this culture.

I’d suggest finding a woman who either is fed up with that crap, or who is able to learn, and if you explain it to her that it’s a double standard, and she listened, then there’s a good chance she’ll learn better.

I mean, men do frustrate me often, I admit. I’ve yet to find one at all like the Flash. It was a different time, you know, when men were taught to be somewhat confident. But I know there’s some out there still.

Flash might be a little too good, but in all fairness, it’s not like we see all there is to these characters. You can’t depict all of the quirks of a human being in fiction.

But you can look for the red and green flags.

Most of the members flash too many red flags for me to support shipping them, and I would look for it in a boyfriend.

But in my opinion, humiilty, compassion, honesty, and a snese of humor are the most importnat personailty triaits while and unwavering moral code is the most important foundation.

Beyond that, hobbies, tastes, and looks are really all a matter of taste and not that important anyway.

I actually think dating someone just because you have the same hobby is one of the stupidest ideas in the world. 10 years form now chance are one or both of you won’t be into that hobby anymore, and if you have no character compatibly, what will you do?

That said, that wraps up my analysis.

So did I convince you? Or do you think I overlooked some details?

Do you have any fictional examples of an ideal man or woman?

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

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Enemies to Lovers and Crackshipping

Hey, it’s been awhile. I know, I’m sorry, I was writing other stuff.

I decided to do another fandom post, why not?

Let’s talk about crack ships.

I’ve been on Wattpad a lot lately (uploading fan fiction) and I discovered that peopel acutally write whole fics that are just analyzing ships…and people actually read that.

Okay, to be honest, I read it too, but I thought I was the only one who cared why people ship things. Like, I like discussing pros and cons, but from what I see in fandoms it usually is just “It’s cute and sexy so I ship.”

I never ship stuff based off that alone, usually. But I enjoy cute and sexy as much at the next girl, I suppose.

(my version of sexy is probably pretty homeschooled, though.)

Anyway, in the mha fandom there’s been a ship since last year or so that’s gotten a following for being a crack ship, and it got me thinking why do people ship crack ships?

I always thought it was sexual addiction, honestly. I mean, I’ve shipped a crack ship maybe once or twice because of a fan fic I wrote where it kind of made sense, but I don’t take it seriously outside of that. So I never got it.

And I was a little judgy about it, to be honest.

But I really don’t care if people ship Jack Frost x Elsa, or whatever, if they want to do that. The crack ships I find disturbing are the ones between adults and kids, or siblings, or other inappropriate people.

You can ship whatever you want if it’s not creepy, I think, but don’t make it creepy, guys…

So the ship that got my attention on all of this was DustBunny, or ShigarakiXMirko.

I never heard of it till I clicked on this one video on YT, and I thought “this cannot be a thing…what?”

But then I watched it and it was funny, and I thought “okay, I see why people think it’s funny, but is are they serious?

And a lot of fans think shippers are crack heads, especially crack shippers, kind of goes with the name…

I’m here to say you all should just screw off if you’re going to seriously think that shipping is weirder than the stats arguments you other nerds get into over shows and movies and books.

I mean critisize me for shipping if you think it’s bizarre, but don’t act like it’s weirder than what the “intellectual” fans do, for crying out loud. I can’t stand hypocrisy.

Anyway, I’m not trying to start a fight, just saying people should stop acting like it’s better to be a weird fan for one thing than for another, it’s all the same, isn’t it?

Except people who consume content just to get sexual pleasure out of it…that’s weird.

Anyway, why should any of you care?

I assume you like ships if you’re reading this, so let’s ignore that part.

Is it worth it to analyze a crack ship, that’s the question I want to answer.

[I’m also going to talk about why this particular kind of Crack Ship is so popular, and why I think it matters in the second half of this post, so read to the end if you want the deep stuff.]

Firstly, I think it depends on what you mean by worth it.

Will it make it more likely to happen? No.

We all know crack ships will probably never happen, ever.

But is it worth it to ask why people like it? Sure.

There’s always people who are in it just for the sexual content, but there’s always some people who actually put real thought into it.

And if you can’t judge humanity by the person, I think you can’t judge shippers by them either.

I mean romance is something most people want, so why let the perverts out there stop you from appreciating it, that’s my attitude.

And whie you don’t have to ship Dustbunny to understand what I’m saying, I’m going to use it to illustrate what I mean:

First of all, a crack shp has to be between people who it doesn’t make a whole lot of canon sense for them to be together.

The reason is that it strongly appeals to some people to change canon.

Some are just perves, again, but for the more serious cases, I notice a trend.

Crack ships tend to pop up around characters people think are lacking something. Whether it’s that they are lonely, or perhaps morally bankrupt, or too arrogant, people use a ship as a vehicle to imagine character development within.

And whether the two halves of the ship even know each other is not really the point. The person is picked base on the trait the shipper thinks will help the other person the most.

Case in pont: In MHA, Shigakria and Mirko have never met…and may never meet, quite frankly.

But that just makes it better for a crackshipper, because there are no limitations that way.

They won’t look at facts, the look at possibilities.

I call it “what if” scenarios, (and that was before I found out that was a kind of fan fiction, btw)

And you may ask “if it’s not going to happen, then who cares?”

My answer to that is: You can’t go through life thinking of what seems like it’s possible, and expect to ever exceed very mediocre expectations.

I mean, everything looks impossible and unlikely to us until it happens. When you were a kid, driving a car, tying your shoe, or riding a bike seemed like it would never happen. It was a whole new world of rules and skills you did not have. When you didn’t know how to read, reading seemed out of reach. Books were a thing you didn’t get.

Then you learn those skills, and you can’t imagine not being able to do it anymore. When you really learn something it’s hard to forget it.

It’s called expanding our horizons.

Stranger things have happened in real life than it would take to make most crack ships happen, if you chose to take that route.

2. The second objection that might be made is that ships like this are creepy and weird, not becuase of age gaps or being related, but because they are built on nothing and are often between characters on opposite sides of the good-evil conflict.

That’s more likely because if they were on the same side, chances are they would interact, and it wouldn’t be 100% a crack ship then, there would be come canon material for it.

So a hero-vilia ship is usually a crack ship, I’ve seen a few canon ones from time to time. I actually usually enjoy them. You can’t beat stakes like that.

But mostly, it’s crack.

Sometimes they are creepy, I’ll give you that. And it’s probably always going to be weird.

But there are some objections I think miss the point.

One being: He or she is a villain.

Duh, that why people are shipping it, for the redemption arc part (more on that later)

Two: There’s a slight age gap.

An age gap of 5 years or so is not worth making a fuss over. Maybe after 8-10 years you could question it, but I think it’s only creepy if it’s between an adult than teenager/kid.

People will throw the age thing in there when it really shouldn’t mattter. Only dating people who are with 1 or 2 years of you is going to be pretty limiting, especially since people are at such different levels of maturity at any given age. I’m more mature at 22 than most of my older family members three times my age are. If I let age be the only factor I’d be in a tight spot.

Crack ships do often have bad age gaps though, but as I said those are the ones I do think are wrong.

The ones that are small, and that the only reason people are objecting…I just don’t get it. Pick a real reason, man.

Back to the moral question:

I think me and some other people wonder if it’s really okay to ship heroes and villains.

I mean, my whole objection to ship  Toga from MHA with anyone, hero or villain, is that she’s psychotic, kills whoever she likes, and shipping her with anyone is kind of like saying you want them to die. (Which makes me wonder if all the people who ship her with Bakugo have ulterior motives.)

I don’t find it cute, sorry.

I think that’s one other objection that is valid.

People contemplate that crack ships ignore very important parts of the characters. Like that they are killers, or abusive.

Sadly, canon ships also do that, as Naruto proves…but yes, fans do it more.

It’s very true. Toga is one example. But you could name a bunch more if you’ve been in any fandom for a certain length of time.

And I don’t support that. I think if to ship someone, you have to ignore part of who they are, a big part, because it’s just too repulsive otherwise, then you cannot ship them. Unless you intend to rewrite the character entirely.

But then…it’s not really them anymore.

When I was younger and less mature I used to think that approach made sense, but now I don’t. If I have to change a character to like them, I just should like them. I can be mature enough to admit that.

Like, could I like Toga if I ignored her psychotic tenacies? Sure…probably, I’m not immune to the weird cute act the author pushes with her (why doe anime do that?).

But I refuse to overlook part of character in order to like it. She may be cute-ish, but she’s psycho, and not in a joking way, in a legitimately will murder you type of way. That’s not okay with me. If I wouldn’t ship it in real life I won’t ship it in a show either.

But I don’t think Dustbunny and other ships like it are on the same playing field.

You have to look at the characters involved. Shigaraki is not like Toga. He’s crazy…ish. But we also have signs that he can be more human, self controlled, and mature than she’s ever going to be.

And then if you are caught up on his backstory, you have a reason to think he was not naturally the way he is. All For One has trained him to be sick and twisted. But if you can be trained one way, you can be trained another.

I was watching one video and some idiot commenter was saying that Shigaraki justifies his actions because of his trauma, which is just not okay, because characters who have it just as bad as him are still good.

And I thought “When has Shigaraki ever justified anything he does because of trauma?” I can’t name a time. He claims he has the right to do it, because AFO taught him that, but he never says it’s good, or that it’s okay because of what happened to him. He does not really seem to think about what happened to him as unfair, he thinks he is just made to destroy (again, thanks to AFO).

Seriously, do we even watch the same show. Dabi justifies his actions because of his past, so does Twice, so does Spinner. All a bunch of victims, really. But Shigaraki doesn’t. He is brainwashed into thinking he should destroy by his ever helpful and despicable master. Talk about blaming the victim.

Unlike Toga, who actively seeks out twisted things as part of her whole schtick about doing what she wants.

Shigaraki is always referring to AFO teaching him to be this way, like he knows he didn’t come up with it himself.

That give the redemption arc fan a hope he might be made to see it’s all a lie.

Not much of a hope, perhaps. but there is some.

(And for the record, I’m still saying it’s going to happen, though not because of this ship, but I think if I’m trope savvy, that’s what’s coming. )

I guess this is kind of a hot take on Shigaraki’s character, as well as the ship.

The reason I need to talk about both is because people object to the ship because they think he’s a schmuck who cannot be redeemed.

And that’s hypocritical, because most people who complain about that will ship other stuff if they like it, regardless of how bad the person is, but whatever.

If that was true, I’d agree, it’s useless to ship. It’s like shipping Emperor Palpatine with someone, I’m sure people do, but decent people don’t talk about it.

But I actually like ships for villains who are more victims of other villains, because the ship is sort of a vehicle to introduce the idea of happiness to them. Something they would fight for, something they might defy their programming for.

I mean if you won’t do it for love, what will you change for?

I was watching a video about the enemies to lovers trope earlier today that basically summed up how I think of it.

It’s hard to reform villains in a way that makes sense in story. Either you do what Avatar did, and humble them through hardship and the truth about their past, but that is not going to work for every villain, obviously, if they already know their past and are evil because of that.

Your other option is for the villain to start to care about something.

(We’re gong to ignore the Naturo/shonen anime standard of beating them into submission and then they somehow have a change of heart. That never works irl.)

What would the villain carea bout?

Maybe there’s a vague good concept you could try, but most often, it has to be another person. What else can get past our defenses?

It can be their son or father, like in Star Wars, but family is always a gamble at the motivation for reforming. It might work, but then, if they cared about their family at all, why would they be evil?

MHA did this with Endeavor, but Endeavor also change because he realized getting what he wanted was not really what he wanted, and he didn’t get it the way he had wanted it anyway. That humbles him, and he starts looking to be a good dad as an alternative goal to outdoing All Might.

Very well done, but rare in real life. I would know.

So, what many authors do is use a romantic love interest. The reasons are simple.

A: Romantic feelings are some of the most powerful ones we experience, they can make people do both good and bad things, crazy things, or beautiful things, depending on what kind of person you are.

B: A Love interest is usually someone new, someone the villain cannot already resent the same way they would old friends or family. Someone who can surprise them and defy expectations.

Most redemption arcs turn on the idea of “new”

I mean, it’s biblical isn’t it? A new life, a new heart, a new spirit, that’s what we’re told. A new beginning.

You need the “new” Much more than the old to redeem someone, both in real life and in fiction.

Because it’s “new” You always run the risk of people rejecting it, but if they can accept it, that’s where real change comes in.

And that is why Enemies to Lovers is so popular. It allows both people to become new, and do new things, have new feelings. But still be themselves.

And, what no one talks about, but I think we should, it’s also most of the Bible, if not all of it.

God’s dialogues with the people of Israel, Judah, and then the Church, all read like they’re describing an enemies to lovers ship between a hero and villain.

God leaments the poor decisions His people make, and gets angry at them, but then He promises they will become new, and He would love them and heal them if they just come back to him.

We all crave that in the enemies to lovers story, and any other romance story.

Gd compares his relationship with us to a marriage for a reason.

Marriage captures something about God and us that no other relationshp can.

Friendship relies on the idea of being equal to each other.

Parent/child, relies on the idea of being unequal but still loving and giving to each other, even knowing it will never be an equivalent exchange.

But the idea of lovers is more than that.

Romance doesn’t even ask if you are equals (unless you want to kill it), it doesn’t ask who’s giving more. At the peak of romantic feelings, both people only care about seeing and drinking in the other person.

And so, it makes sense that for God, the absolute climax and epitome of closeness to us is where we’ve forgotten who’s more powerful, and who’s able to give more. We give all of ourselves, and God gives all Of Himself, and who cares which is more, none of us will think of it anymore. God never seems to think of it at all except to teach us humility.

The pinnacle of Love is to stop caring about measuring or defining it by anything, and to just do it, be it, really.

I now, a lot of us can’t imagine that. I’ts pretty much a forgotten idea, but I still find traces of it sometimes even in modern stories.

Now, a fiction trope can not begin to encomapps taht, but I would defend the Enemies to Lovers trope at one of the few that can even get a taste of it.

Relating all this back to Dustbunny, I won’t claim it’s quite what I’m talking about.

But my goal was to defend the legitimacy of shipping these kinds of ships. Even if it’s mostly for fun, we need the idea that people an be redeemed, especially by love, to stay alive.

I’m actually kind of concerned by how hard people find it to understand this simple idea, we want redemption.

We’re made to want it, and people who hate on fans who vie for it are…well, kind of pathetic. And it’s almost inhuman.

Hate on a ship for any other reason, but hating it because it requires redemption to work…I mean, do you know any healthy couples in real life?

The truth is, peeps, there is going to be an element of enemies to lovers in every real relationship you ever have. We are all the villain sometimes, and we can hope, we are all also the hero. I’ve been both, you have too.

And if we cannot, even in concept, agree with the idea that we will need redemption, and that it will come because of love, I don’t think we should be in a relationship at all.

If you cannot admit your’e the villain sometimes, but also rise up to being the hero, you are not ready for love. Even the more family affection type of love has elements like that in it. And deeper friendships do too, but superficial ones don’t.

That’s where it is people.

My opinion is, if you hate on enemies to lovers for the sole reason it’s that, you have issues, and are probably a narcissist. We all have to change, we all have to transform. Especially in marriage.

Someone else said that the beauty of Enemies to Lovers is that is is someone seeing all the worse parts of you first, and still being able to fall in love with you. We all hope to have enough good in s for someone to love us even if they see our bad.

I think that is so true.

And hot…just saying.

But even for me, who’s never dated (not for lack of wishing), I can see why it appeals to us.

We’re all insecure. It’s been popularized to just own it and like that you have flaws, but that’s bullcrap. If you like your flaw, it’s not a flaw, is it?

But the more honest among us now that, and we just want someone to look past it.

I was taught from birth on upward that my flaws were too big of an obstacle to love me. That my pain would make it impossible for me to be cared for, and that my boldness would drive everyone away.

I still struggle with believing anything different than that. I’ve met a lot of weak people who refuse to get close to me because of my edges.

I’m not a mean person, no one would tell you that, I just have a lot of fire and at times I may be harsh without knowing it. Working on that. But never with any real intent to be cruel. Some people get that about me, and others refuse to.

I have learned though, that people will back off from whoever they think is tougher than them.

So maybe I like that Enemies to Lovers trope for that reason. It happens in real life, people have attested to it, and I hope that there is someone who will treat me that way.

I like the idea that what repels some people about me would attract someone else, the right person. I just have to find them.

I think also, the loneliness factor is thing. Villains are lonely, so when the trope is hero-villain specifically, we can relate. Heroes can be lonely too.

As Shakespeare pointed out, we are the most like God when we show mercy, and that is what Enemies to Lover is about. having mercy, maybe on ourselves as well as the other person, since often there is a moment where one or both halves of the ship realize they were wrong and did some bad stuff.

It’s about hope, too.

Basically, it’s like God towards us, and I find that beautiful.

the Bible says “love covers a multitude of sins.”

It better, right? Or what would all of us do?

So with that really in depth take on this, I think I’ll end, and I’ll see you all next time–Natasha.