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

Painful

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I’m watching the scene in episode twenty-one, of season one, of Kimi ni Todoke where Chizuru Yoshida is walking with Ryu Sanada’s older brother, Toru. She’s loved Toru for years and years. He’s always viewed her as a little sister, but she hoped one day he’d view her as a woman he could love. I griped in an earlier post about the horrors of secondhand embarrassment in this anime. But the very real, very relatable feelings, of loving someone who doesn’t love you (or the closely related feeling of doesn’t love you anymore), that gut-wrenching feeling, one has watching this scene is way worse.

Toru is getting married. And it’s not to Chizuru (who he’s nicknamed Chii).

Chizuru finds solace that Toru cares for her, even if it’s not in the same way she cares for him.

Have you had that happen? Or the scenario where there’s a break-up but the other person genuinely wants to remain friends? Realizing they care for you, but they don’t love you in that way. I would find it challenging. If I loved them, I would continue to have those feelings. It would be difficult to stop. I’d just keep hoping that every day, I’d love them less and less. Perhaps space and distance would help. But what’s that pesky saying about absence makes the heart grow fonder?

But in Chizuru’s case, her actual Prince is closer than she realizes. And I think this one is a better match for her (in addition to being the cuter brother). Toru knows his younger brother, Ryu, loves Chizuru and he is rooting for them.

It was probably difficult for Ryu, seeing Chizuru love Toru, because he loves her, and has for years and years.

Ryu was there for her during her heartbreak and held her as she cried. That type of patience, perseverance, and strength, will carry him far and will strengthen his future relationship Chizuru. I hope so anyways. I’m rooting for them!

If I Had a Shoe To Fling…

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

If I had a shoe to fling, it actually would’ve been at Sawako Kuronuma and not Ume Kurumizawa. Why you ask?

Don’t get me wrong. I strongly dislike Ume Kurumizawa. She’s an awful human being, and she deserves whatever is coming her way. However. Shouta Kazehaya grabbed Sawako Kuronuma’s hand, and basically confessed to her, by asking her out. Kuronuma was so clueless, she didn’t even realize what was happening. Kazehaya seemingly satisfied that she at least doesn’t harbor romantic feelings towards Ryu Sanada, is okay to leave it as it is for the moment. But honestly! If I had a shoe to throw at Kuronuma I would have. How frustrating! How dense is she! On top of her thinking Kurumi was a friend. It is clear as day that Kurumi is manipulative and fake. But even so, she would’ve realized that Kazehaya was asking her out if she had been in Kuronuma’s spot! Sigh. I guess there’s next season of Kimi Ni Todoke to watch.

Peaceful

“Reset” by Taichi Mukai, the beautiful sunset, and Haiji Kiyose’s dog, all contribute to this being one of the most peaceful end credits I’ve seen. A commenter on the video link below pointed out the snow scene was a metaphor for Kiyose’s injury and bouncing back. This anime has a lot of beautiful artwork. Check out Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run with the Wind on VRV / Crunchyroll or on DVD (Sentai).

Ahmaud Arbery

Upon reflection of how peaceful this scene is, and how Haiji Kiyose is enjoying his run, I thought of Ahmaud Arbery. Ahmaud did not get to enjoy his run, or the fullness of his life, due to the ignorance, racism, and bigotry of others. He, and many other people, do not get the privilege of enjoying a peaceful run. Or a peaceful life. Simply thinking, “Well, I’m not racist” is not enough. For people with integrity and character, turning a blind eye is not okay. Have the difficult and uncomfortable conversations with your family, friends, classmates, colleagues, and communities. Challenge old ways of doing things if they’re born of ignorance and hate. If you feel your words don’t carry weight, or your words are unable to reach them, inspire others with your actions. How you treat other people. How you respect others who may be different than you. Contribute to a cause or volunteer with an organization that will uplift and unify communities. Shine your light. Share love with the world. Your inner circle, I hope, is full of loving people who truly embody and radiate positive energy and support. I pray people will open their hearts. And I’m not perfect. No one is perfect. But we can do better. As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

On other platforms I’ve spoken about #blacklivesmatter, but inspired by Scott’s post on https://mechanicalanimereviews.com/ I feel it’s pertinent to share that here as well. When black lives matter, then the statement all lives matter will hopefully, finally, be true. Everyone should be free to live their lives, and enjoy all of the freedom we are supposed to have as Americans, without concern that they’ll be targeted due to the racism and bigotry of others. And running without fear should be one of those freedoms.

#irunwithmaud #runwithmaud #blacklivesmatter

Quarantine Watch List

I suggested anime that might make you laugh and lift your spirits in earlier posts, and I plan to share more later. This post I’ll just update as I’m watching shows during the quarantine. During this time of uncertainty and stress, anime has been a wonderful distraction that has positively impacted my mindset, and mood. It has brought concepts like teamwork, perseverance, young love, and humor to my daily life in quarantine. I am reminded how much our interactions with others and relationships can bring meaning to our lives. If I need an energy shift for myself, watching one of the shows below, or ones I’ve mentioned before like Tamako Market, can lift my spirits.

During this time, and always, I pray may everyone be safe, healthy, and well. I’ve been doing distance Reiki regularly. Prayers, and good energy always help. Very grateful and appreciative for those keeping us running; first responders, medical staff, cleaning crews, sanitation workers, truck drivers, grocery employees, delivery workers, and all the others.

If you find yourself at home and want to watch along, here’s what I’ve been watching (the ones marked with * I really enjoyed);

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san / Teasing Master Takagi-san Season 2*

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san / Teasing Master Takagi-san

(yes I watched the second season first lol)

Haikyu / Haikyuu! Season 1*

Haikyu / Haikyuu! Season 2*

Haikyu / Haikyuu! Season 3

Natsume Yuujinchou / Natsume’s Book of Friends Season 1*

My Sweet Tyrant / Akkun to Kanojo*

Arte

Hozuki’s Coolheadedness / Hoozuki no Reitetsu Season 1*

Gakuen Babysitters / School Babysitters*

Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun / Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun *

Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin / Midnight Occult Civil Servants

Miira no Kaikata / How to Keep a Mummy

Momokuri*

Hozuki’s Coolheadedness Season 2 / Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2nd Season*

A Silent Voice / Koe no Katachi*

Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou / Daily Lives of High School Boys*

Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou / Kare Kano / His and Her Circumstances*

Usagi Drop / Bunny Drop*

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run with the Wind*

Isshuukan Friends / One Week Friends

Gingitsune*

Days*

Prince of Stride: Alternative

Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life*

Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life Season 2*

Gakuen Alice*

Nijiiro Days / Rainbow Days

Sukitte Ii na yo / Say I Love You

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club – Season 1

Free! Eternal Summer – Season 2*

Free! Dive to the Future – Season 3