Human Interaction, Expression, and Empathy

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I heard of the anime Violet Evergarden, but I had the impression watching it would make me cry buckets of tears. I heard there would be a lost love. There would be heartbreaking moments. But, after hearing that the movie had a happy ending, I thought I could give the anime a shot. I watched on Netflix. The artwork of Kyoto Animation is breathtakingly beautiful and detailed. The scenes and music convey the feelings and tone of the story elegantly. The show addresses a wide range of human emotion, and how humans contradict themselves. And there can be inconsistencies with words and body language. Love, can be in various forms, not just romantic. Violet, who does not possess emotional intelligence, works towards understanding and empathizing with others through her work as a composer, who writes letters on the behalf of other people. Below are some of my thoughts while viewing the series;

-“One day” wishes, should be “today” realities, when possible.

-Our quick evaluations and judgements of others may be wrong.

-Authenticity and genuine relationships require honesty and vulnerability.

-Trying to translate emotions into words can be a challenge.

-It’s more than okay for women not to fit gender stereotypes. The same for men.

-It takes a lot of courage to confess one’s feelings.

-Letters are a lost art. And I want a wax seal!

-Deciding who is worthy of your social circles, based on meaningless assumptions, status, and money, will have you surrounded by people of a similar mindset. Perceived status, based on material items, may be short lived. A person of moral character and integrity will stand the test of time.

-Everyone has scars. Even the happiest person you know, or the funniest person you know, has a wound. Extend patience and compassion when you can.

-Be present. One thing the pandemic has taught me, is the importance of being fully aware and present in our interactions with others and with ourselves.

-Violet is trying to learn what “I love you” means. Without referring to a dictionary, or trying to find a scholarly definition, what IS it? What does it mean to you? Why does it seem different in various forms? Does love ever go away?

-Survivor’s Guilt is real, and affects many people.

-Suicide and the importance of mental health in healing.

-Art can be therapeutic.

-Self care is important and required.

-Addiction to hide pain, just gives you additional problems.

-When faced with our own mortality, our focus turns to who, and what, really matter. Why don’t we live with this focus normally?

-Our pain can provide support to others with similar heartache.

-The letters the mother wrote for her daughter’s future birthdays, was a beautiful and thoughtful idea. The mother knew she did not have long to live and wanted her love for her daughter, Ann, to carry on through her letters. Violet’s tears at the shop shocked her friends. She is a very reserved person, so her sudden onset of tears was unusual.

When I was camping for a week, I left auto-delivery e-cards for a friend for each day I was gone. I wonder if there are sites that do that for future years? Similar idea to the letters Violet helped the mom write for Ann.

-Although seen as cold and unfeeling initially, the comfort and warmth Violet provided Aiden as he passed provided him peace. Knowing that his feelings would reach his parents and his love Maria, were also comforting to him.

-Aiden says, if his parents were to reincarnate, and marry each other, he would want to be their son again. Would you feel the same, if given the option?

-Violet learns to connect to others and builds empathy, but how do people do this in real life? Learned as children? From birth? Through life experience? Reading?

Assisting Roland with mail delivery, and helping with Spencer’s request to write a letter for his sister Luculia, gave Violet the strength to leave her room. She was devastated upon hearing of Major Gilbert’s potential demise and had locked herself away. Her coworkers checked on her and wrote a letter which helped lift her spirits.

Violet, and the viewers, get to reflect upon the ways she’s helped others during the series. As episode 9 concludes, we get to see the Prince and Princess she helped unite, volunteering to help children. The play her client worked on was just released, and it honored his daughter that died. Violet was uplifted seeing how well everyone was doing, and how she played a role in helping them.

Episode 13 of the series, had an air show. The planes would drop letters. People wrote to sons they lost in the war, loved ones who had died, those missing, lost loves, their future selves, and people who they wanted their feelings to reach.

I think that’s a beautiful concept. To be able to make our feelings known. Energetically, I think it’s beneficial to release that emotion and hope the message is received. Cattleya convinces Violet to write a letter to Major Gilbert. The letter Claudia wrote his future daughter was loving and thoughtful.

While this show did bring a lot of tears, it also had poignant and uplifting moments. It had a slower slice of life pace, with beautiful artwork. It certainly had heartbreak and sorrow. But if you’re looking for an insightful series, give Violet Evergarden a chance.

Looking forward to the movie. I hope it’s a happy ending, because I could really use one of those.

https://myanimelist.net/anime/37987/Violet_Evergarden_Movie

I was reminded of an email I received from a friend’s mother after he passed. This was many years ago. I wrote him, knowing he wouldn’t see it, but wanting to express my regret in not meeting him. Hoping that my feelings would reach him. I was having a period of low self-esteem and unworthiness, and cancelled our date, because I felt I didn’t match the positive description he was given of me (we had exchanged numerous emails but hadn’t met in person). It was not long after graduation and I was feeling lost and unsure of my future path. Which doesn’t excuse my behavior, but just to explain my frame of mind. I wrote apologizing, and hoping somewhere, Adam would hear my words. I was shocked to find an email from his mother, writing me from his account. Her letter moved me to tears. As I read her letter, I cried. I still cry looking at it now. I decided that, while open to growth, and learning from mistakes, I wouldn’t feel the need to hide myself like that again. So I am forever grateful to Adam and to his mother. Below is the message. For privacy I edited my name and removed Adam’s last name. Perhaps her words, and Adam’s memory, will help others like they helped me.

Sweetheart,

If there is ANYTHING you may be able to take away from Adam’s death – PLEASE let it be that you are not only good enough – you most certainly measure up – you are worthy of being with the nicest, sweetest, best people who walk this earth.  Adam spent most of his life feeling “less” than he was, and it was only in the last few years that he began to find in himself the incredible man he had become.  Please don’t waste another moment of your life feeling not worthy of anyone – no matter who or what they may be.

Ema, there will ALWAYS be someone prettier, taller, thinner, richer, funnier, smarter, etc… than you or I.  That does not however, diminish who you and I are or the gifts we have to bring to others.  One thing I noticed in Adam over the last two years was the “comfort” he developed within himself.  He had quit dwelling on what he did not have (or what he THOUGHT he did not have) and instead simply began to focus on others.  It is hard to explain, but if you had known him five years ago and then knew him today – the difference was just absolutely phenomenal.  He grew into this quietly confident young man who all of the sudden (actually it took a long, long time) became a wise soul.    Adam did not become richer, taller, funnier, smarter, etc… He simply learned to like himself.

I doubt your good friends feel they have to make up things about you to “sell” you – they obviously see these things for themselves or they would not be hanging with you in the first place.   The next time someone speaks highly of you – believe it.  Say thank you – and believe it.  Accept it, believe it, and then go on with your life feeling good about who you are and all you have to give to others.

Take care of yourself, Ema.  Life is way too short to hold on to regrets.
Barbara

Hugs

I am watching Usagi Drop / Bunny Drop on DVD. NIS America was having a sale, and since I enjoyed Poco’s Udon World, Usagi Drop was a recommendation I kept seeing. I’m very glad I bought it! It’s such a heartwarming anime.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Daikichi Kawachi’s grandfather has passed away. Unknown to the rest of the family, he’d been raising a little girl as his own. Her name is Rin Kaga. While the rest of the family argues over what to do with the little girl, the one they didn’t know about, Daikichi asks her directly if she’d like to live with him. He reminds her very much of her beloved father figure, and they bond instantly. Being a single dad is a huge adjustment for Daikichi. He learns how to do hairstyles (kind of), meets other parents and discuss challenges and seeks advice, changes his department at work so he doesn’t have overtime, quits smoking, spends more time with his family, adjusts his commute to get Rin to/from preschool, and is a wonderful and loving caregiver. Watching their interactions, Daikichi’s life seems more focused, authentic, and meaningful. Both characters have emotional growth. They share funny moments, like when Rin is practicing for her school performance, then remembers it was supposed to be a surprise for the parents, and runs off. I don’t think Daikichi was necessarily unhappy before meeting Rin, but I think he was on auto-pilot, watching the days go by, with every day basically being the same. Together they navigate life and it’s delightful watching them grow as individuals and as a family.

There are many cases of birth parents lovingly (albeit painfully), allowing another family to care for and adopt their child, because they feel their child’s quality of life will be better. There are many reasons, and I imagine it’s an extremely difficult decision. Not knowing my own birth father since he left when I was very young, and having an alcoholic abusive stepfather who left, the sense of abandonment is something I can relate to. Daikichi ponders the concept of abandonment as he worries about his daughter. Meeting Rin’s birth mother in the series, it is evident that Rin’s environment with Daikichi is more stable, safe, and caring. Daikichi’s grandpa knew Rin’s birth mother, and took her in knowing she’d be in a better environment with him as her caregiver. After his passing, Rin is processing the sense of abandonment, loneliness, and sadness she has. She is fearful of her own mortality and Daikichi’s. He helps her process her emotions and let’s her know she has a new home, and that he will take care of her.

What really makes Daikichi a great father, in my opinion, is he loves Rin unconditionally. Not having a father figure myself, I imagine that is a wonderful feeling. The hug scene was touching and left an impression on me. There are so may touching moments in Usagi Drop. If you’re looking for a heartwarming slice-of-life anime, this one is outstanding and I recommend it.