Let’s Talk About: Twilight Sparkle

Wait, what?

Yes, I mean the main protagonist of My Little Pony. I had zero intention of ever watching this show, but my boyfriend is a fan of it and urged me to watch it. Eventually, I gave in and watched the first episode. I was instantly in love with Twilight. But I don’t like what happens to her.

Let me make my annoyance obvious. In the episode summary on Wikipedia, she’s referred to as an anti-social pony. Anti-social.

I hate this. I despise introversion and being reserved are seen as negative traits. Why? The second episode revealed why these events were necessary. That doesn’t help because it still portrayed Twilight preferring her alone time as a bad thing and her preference only changed because of an emergency matter (I’m not going to rant on why Celestia thought it was a good idea to form an entirely luck-based plan instead of be directly upfront with Twilight, or I won’t shut up). I know it’s a common thing in cartoons for lifelong bonds to form instantaneously, and I’d absolutely expect that in a cartoon with friendship as its theme. Except maybe that’d be a reason to have the friendships form more realistically instead of in such a cliché way. I love my best friend like she’s my sister, but I sure didn’t feel that way a day after meeting her. But cliché formulas are also common in cartoons, especially ones intended to have lessons taught through the episodes.

I probably seem strange to have a rant about this. After all, I have a best friend and a boyfriend, so why would I be bothered by a loner character learning about the “magic of friendship”? Easy. I just said it. It only happened because of an emergency matter. No relationship works like that! Friendship and love (of all types, not only romantic) are amazing things, but they don’t happen instantly (before you argue with parenthood: oxytocin). Strong bonds don’t form overnight in any situation. I am more outgoing than I used to be, but that took years. I wasn’t suddenly no longer an introvert or reserved because I met my best friend one day ago. Guess what? I’m still introverted and reserved, and I still despise most people, something working in retail has actually made stronger due to being in constant contact with people. Whatever percentage the number three is of the human population is the percentage of people I like having around.

These two episodes would’ve worked better as a season finale, not a season beginner. I could almost understand these traits being portrayed negatively if Twilight was evil, but she’s not. In fact, despite being obviously unhappy about being sent to the festival/party, she was polite to the others while trying to get away from them as quickly as possible, and if memory serves, she did help when one of them almost hurt herself by accident. She’s not mean, and wanting only her books as company doesn’t make her mean, bad, or evil.

I’ve yet to watch another episode because this kind of treatment with introverted characters puts me off watching anything more of whatever media it is. However, I went through her character list on TV Tropes and it seems, for the most part, she still keeps her introverted personality and she does slowly change over time instead of instantly. That sounds much better, though it doesn’t change my opinion about the first two episodes. The downside is, if TV Tropes is accurate, she rivals Pinkie Pie in exuberance by the latest season. I hate to admit it, but I find Pinkie Pie annoying, as I greatly dislike overly energetic characters who behave like they’re drunk on happiness. Of course, I doubt I’ll get as far as seven seasons anyway. It took me over three years to get to the fourth season of Sailor Moon, and I’ve only watched three episodes of that.

If I do continue watching MLP, I’m hoping to find Twilight’s friends aren’t the pushy type who will continuously try to “pull her out of her shell” and nag her half to death about “opening up”, and will instead respect her wishes if she wants to be alone to study, read, or whatever else. I don’t think it’s wrong (however cliché it may be) for loner characters to go on to learn about friendship and love, or even for their personality to eventually flip a 180. I do think it’s wrong if the path that gets them there portrays that part of their personality as an issue and to be dealt with by forcing them into such situations (as with Twilight) instead of letting them develop willingly. And for heaven’s sake, I hope Celestia is more direct and upfront instead of continually being cryptic and secretive, but since when have mentor characters ever done that? But that’s a whole different rant for another day.

Social Awkwardness

While I like being shy and considering myself a wallflower, my wish for this Wednesday is that I wasn’t so socially awkward.

Sweet and Shy

I don’t know if being socially awkward and being shy are necessarily the same, but I think the latter merely makes me a little afraid of meeting people while the former makes it hard for me to talk to them. I cannot flirt, I cannot pick up on social cues, and I tend to embarrass myself. Merely asking a friend or other person to meet up somewhere comes out awkwardly!

Maybe my desire to remain indoors or alone is the cause of this. Maybe I just have a low social need that’s easily fulfilled with online conversations. Then again, maybe social awkwardness and shyness are related and the only way to get rid of the former would be to get rid of the latter. But I like being a shy person because it feels easier to be alone, so perhaps I will just have to put up with being socially awkward.

Why Does My Silence Bother You?

I am a quiet person. I like to keep to myself and stay away from the unknown. I hate loud noise and revel in silence or softness. While I generally like the outdoors, I prefer to stay indoors, within the confines of my bedroom and pretend this is my world where only I exist and my mind is a portal to the outside world.

In short? I’m an introvert. One on the far right of the scale at that. The problem is this seems to bother some people. Actually, it bothers a lot of people.

As far as back as I can remember, I’ve basically been told something is wrong with me. As if it’s not right to want quiet, to want to be alone or to dislike constant interaction. I have been called unfriendly, anti-social, rude, mean, abnormal and other unkind words. If there is one comment I remember vividly that infuriates me more than all the rest, it’s this one:

“Stop acting shy.”

I hate that line with a burning passion. While I know introversion and shyness are two different traits, I happen to have both. I am awkward and painfully shy. It’s not an act! An act is fake. My shyness is real.

Why would I repeatedly act in a way that people criticize me for? Why would I act in a way that even I don’t like? Why would I act in a way that renders making friends or talking to strangers difficult?

What also annoys me is that the people who would attempt to “pull me out of my shell” would be the same ones asking me to be quiet when I finally did. If you’re just going to tell me to shut up, why did you want me to speak in the first place?

I’m not an open book when it comes to people I don’t know well or trust. To be honest, I don’t understand those who are. But I suppose they feel the same about me. They can’t understand why I’d rather sit against the wall with a book than be in a chatty group. The difference is their need for interaction and to know everything doesn’t bother me. I don’t ask them to be quiet. I get up and leave without a word so as not to interrupt them. So why is it okay for them to interrupt me and try to get me to open up against my will? I don’t mind being asked once, but I do mind being asked repeatedly. Is a person who wants to be alone that much of a rarity?

I live in a family of extroverts. I can’t count how many times I’ve been told I should be out at the mall with my friends every weekend. Ignoring that all my friends happen to dislike malls (yay!), what are we supposed to do anyway? Stand around and talk? We can do that at one of our houses. I was once told I should dress like a fictional character I liked. Her outfit was a midriff-bearing tank top and mini-skirt. While I’m not opposed to either, and I have worn the latter to school a few times, dressing in a different fashion to that fictional girl did not make me an abnormal teen. The person who made that comment also told me I should be in cheerleading, a sport I dislike more than the rest.

These ideas came from the way media depicts teen girls and my family thought I was abnormal for being different. I was shy, introverted, covered most of my skin and preferred art and technology over sports and constant going out. I am still that way and probably will be for the rest of my life. And after years of being hurt by these comments, I’ve finally realized that’s okay.

It’s okay that I’m shy. It’s okay that I’m quiet. It’s okay that I dislike loud noise. It’s okay that I have “quiet” hobbies. It’s okay that I like being inside. It’s okay that I can’t deal with constant interaction. It’s okay! I’m normal. I’m me!

Oh, that felt good!

(Note: I realize not all extroverts behave this way toward introverts. All but two of my friends are extroverted and we have never had an issue.)