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

What to Watch This Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you’re looking for something to watch today, I’d suggest Tamako Market’s second episode, “The Love-in-Bloom Valentine’s.” Below is a blurb from VRV/HiDive.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Tamako Market is one of my absolute favorite animes of all time. It’s a slice-of-life, with humor, friendship, family, a touch of romance, and did I mention a talking bird named Dera?! I watched the subtitled version first, but enjoyed the dubbed version with my family later. They did a great job selecting the English cast, especially Dera, who sounds very fancy (which suits his personality). Kyoto Animation did a wonderful job. This series is heart-warming, wholesome, peaceful, amusing, and relaxing.

In this episode, Tamako and her father butt heads regarding the way their shop should celebrate Valentine’s Day. Tamako believes their mochi shop would have a sales boost if they incorporated Valentine’s Day themed menu options. Even her grandfather seems in the spirit, despite his son’s reservations.

Of course while making breakfast for her family, Tamako doesn’t want to let the heart mochi go to waste!

As Tamako discusses her idea for their mochi shop, Dera is perplexed hearing about “Valentine’s Day.” It is an unknown concept to him. But he learns from television how they celebrate in Japan.

Some of the girls at school discuss buying chocolate, or making it at home. When Tamako’s friend Kanna draws up plans to design a house of chocolate, her friends support her endeavor. Plus we get to see her finished results at the end of the episode! I want to know who was the recipient of that giant chocolate house?! Did she share with the entire class?!

This episode is great for Valentine’s, because it celebrates family, friendship, and romance. While we’re surrounded by love in various forms, it may not be a great day for everyone. There is character growth, as they learn to be open minded, and allow themselves to be vulnerable in showing their feelings to others. It shows how we can support each other as friends. And that it’s okay to like who you like.

English Lyric Translation (from French): https://lyricstranslate.com/en/un-lieu-de-rencontre-place-return.html

Tamako and Mochizou used their cup phone to discuss their plan to liven up the shopping arcade. Later, at the meeting with all the shop owners, Mochizou had the idea for a commercial. He worked really hard on the commercial with Tamako, their friends, and the shop owners, to showcase their Valentine marketing and sales.

After Mochizou flicked Dera off the phone line, he’s flying for his life!

Do cup phones really work?! I mean, if there isn’t a bird sitting on the string.

After seeing how hard Tamako worked with her friends, and the other shop owners, her Dad has a change of heart.

Because this episode discusses various aspects of love, I think this is a great show to watch if you’re looking for something for Valentine’s Day!

LOL so dramatic Dera! Especially for a bird who didn’t know what Valentine’s Day was, thirty minutes ago.

Guitar Care 101

K-On! A Slice of Life anime about gal pals and their friendship. It is slow paced, but good when you just want to unwind, or on a rainy day like today. Watching on Hulu.