Take a moment and ask yourself
If this is how we fall apart

SU 106-1

This is everything I love about Steven Universe and more – great music, great character development, great use of its fantasy elements to comment on real issues, and some fantastic visual direction.  Also Stevonnie.  It more than makes up for the first few lackluster episodes this season.

We begin with a special combat lesson for Stevonnie, but Connie is pretty distracted about something…

SU 106-2

Stevonnie: I’m sorry!

They break down in the middle of a match, and subsequently fall apart.

SU 106-3

And yes, this will be an image-heavy post, because so much of this episode is told through the visuals.

Steven: What happened? Connie, wait! Hey, what’s wrong?

Connie: I did something terrible at school, and I don’t know what to do!

Steven: That doesn’t sound like you. What happened?

Connie: I beat someone up. […] A kid I didn’t know. He just bumped into me in the hallway, and I was so startled, my training instincts kicked in. I just reacted. I was so embarrassed, I just ran away.

Steven: But you didn’t mean to hurt him! I know what it’s like. Sometimes, you hurt people, by accident…you just have to try not to think about it.

Garnet: Hold the phone. Now give the phone to me.

On the one hand, please don’t ignore your feelings, Steven.  But on the other hand, I’ve totally been there.  That’s a trap that’s particularly insidious for people like Steven who value harmony over expressing their own feelings.

SU 106-4

But fortunately, they have Garnet around to teach them about mindfulness.  I’ve actually found mindfulness helpful myself in dealing with anxiety – it’s often connected with meditation, and that is a part of it, but the practice is mainly about awareness of your own feelings, both physical and emotional.

But since this has to do with fusion, it’s more about mindfulness within the context of a relationship – being vulnerable with your partner so you can deal with your baggage together.

Garnet: For a fusion to work, there needs to be balance. An imbalance can cause your fusion to lose touch with reality, see things that aren’t there, and eventually fall apart. That is to say, if one of you is falling apart, your fusion will as well. To find balance, you must understand your feelings. To understand your feelings, you must see them clearly without running from them.

SU 106-7

Take a moment to think of just
Flexibility love and trust.

SU 106-6

In the first refrain, Garnet demonstrates the process with Ruby and Sapphire, and the butterflies representing thoughts that spiral out of control is pretty spot-on.  Notably, Ruby only deals with one – she gets distracted and upset about it, but once she’s vented her feelings, she’s done.  But Sapphire (understandably) has a lot more worries, doubtlessly compounded by the way she often hides her feelings.

SU 106-8

Here comes a thought
That might alarm me
What someone said
And how it harmed me
Something I did
That failed to be charming
Things that I say
Are suddenly swarming

SU 106-9

Oh, I’m losing sight
I’m losing touch
All these little things
Seem to matter so much
That they confuse me
That I might lose me
Take a moment, remind yourself
to take a moment and find yourself
Take a moment and ask yourself
If this is how we fall apart

SU 106-10

But it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not
It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay
I’ve got nothing got nothing got nothing got nothing to fear
I’m here, I’m here, I’m here
And it was just a thought, just a thought, just a thought, just a thought
It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay. it’s okay, it’s okay
We can watch, we can watch, we can watch, we can watch them go by
From here, from here, from here
Take a moment to think of just
Flexibility love and trust

This scene is just beautiful on so many levels (not least the singing).  But Connie is notably paired up with Ruby here, even though in demeanor she tends to be more like Sapphire…

SU 106-11

Connie: Steven, I’m ready to train! I am so glad we talked to Garnet, I really figured out what I needed to do! I talked to Jeff – that’s his name.

Steven: Woah, you did it.

Connie: I apologized, and he understood! He actually wanted to know if I could show him some moves.

Steven: That’s great!

Connie: It’s funny. I spent all that time feeling bad instead of doing something! It’s like, I was trying not to think about it, and that just made it worse. Now that I’ve got a clear head, we’ll do so much better as Stevonnie!

SU 106-12

But then Steven notices a “thought” on his sword…and guess what happens again when they start fighting as Stevonnie?

SU 106-13

I mean, that WAS a pretty traumatic event that he never really got to process due to all of the other things going on at the time…

Stevonnie: Oh no, it’s happening again! Who was that? Bismuth. Steven! Oh no, it’s coming from me now!

And then all of the other trauma from last season comes crashing in!

SU 106-15

Stevonnie: Jasper. I tried to help you, you wouldn’t listen! I- I told you to stop! I had no choice! I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be- no, it’s okay! It’s okay to think about it. I thought I could, but it’s so much, I can’t do it!

SU 106-16

And then they fall off the arena, and fall apart, because this boy seriously needs therapy.  Seriously.

SU 106-17

Connie figures they need to fuse again because Stevonnie knows how to hover now, so they won’t die from the fall from the sky.  But of course they need to address the elephant in the room first.

Steven: I didn’t want to hurt anyone! I’m sorry! None of them would let me help them, I had no choice!

Connie: It’s okay!

Steven: No, it’s not!

Connie: But it’s okay to think about it!

Steven: But it feels so bad!

Connie: That’s okay, too! There was nothing else you could’ve done.

Steven: I don’t wanna feel this way.

Connie: You have to! You have to be honest about how bad it feels so you can move on! That’s how it was for me.

Steven: Okay.

And this is why Steven needs a Connie in his life.  Because SOMEONE has to get him to feel his own feelings every once in a while.

SU 106-18

Stevonnie: I’m here.

Until next time…

One thought on “Mindful Education

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