• My Relatable pony: Twilight Sparkle

    Happy New Year Everypony! With the start of a new year, and soon a new season of ponies, it’s always good to take a little time to look back and remember why we love these ponies. For me, that means looking at how I relate to my favorite little equines.

    Twilight Sparkle; she started the series as a book-loving loner with a strong sense of duty to her princess. She learned the magic of friendship and has gone on to share that knowledge with others. Her original naivete in social interaction clicked with many viewers and has grown to show that anyone can learn to be a good friend.

    If you’ve every felt like you’ve related to Twilight, then please join me after the break to review 7 of her most repeatable moments.

    I have to be honest, Twilight isn't the mane 6 pony I feel the most kinship with, but there are still moments I see myself in her. For some of us, reading books or simply being alone comes more naturally than talking to others. Seeing a character actually be tasked with learning about friendship is something that hits home. As hard as it was for Twilight to admit, ponies  (and of course people) are social creatures. Friends make life better and they really can be the deciding factor in success.

    So let's rewind through the seasons and point out some of Twilight's 'human' struggle, shall we?

    Season 1: Winter Wrap up: Using magic.

    "There's no way Applejack knows what I'm doing."

    Twilight has so many relatable moments throughout season 1, but her struggle in Winter Wrap-up touches on almost all of them.

    If you’ve ever moved to a different city/school/country/whatever, you already know what I’m getting at here. Twilight is part of a new town and thus a new culture. Even though she’s participating in a tradition celebrated in Canterlot, she’s doing so now with new rules and faces. She’s feeling like an outsider. All her new friends are preoccupied with jobs they do so well, and Twilight is left figuring out her place not only within a new tradition but within her new community as well.

    Joining any new custom can be daunting in and of itself. Props to book horse for finding a way to use her strengths to contribute to her new surroundings by the end. But I completely empathize with her when she uses magic here; it's not really cheating, it's creative problem-solving.

    Season 2: It’s About Time: Returning to warn herself.
    "If I can't talk sense into myself, who can?!"

    This might seem an odd episode to point out, but let’s talk about Twilight's anxiety in this. I was tempted to pick “Lesson Zero,” but Twilight’s time-traveling brought up a human element I know we can all easily relate to: wishing we could speak to our younger selves.

    Of course, I have never done anything I've regretted, but maybe you have a time in your life where if 'you only knew then what you knew now.' Twilight tries to do this. Funny thing is, she learns that her past self wouldn't listen. We can't learn from the past if the past never happened, right?

    Twilight continues to struggle with her habit of worrying even after the events of this episode. She can literally point to a moment in her life when worrying did nothing to help her, but she still struggles with learning to take things as they come.

    Twilight is getting better at managing her fears, but it's a long road. Anyone who finds it hard to control their negative thoughts knows what it's like to feel out of control and yanked around by their emotions. I figure this is harder for people like Twilight because they're also such perfectionists.

    Season 3: Magic Duel: Encouraging her friends while feeling uncertain. 
    "Trust me, it's better if you all stay here while I go get help. Plus, you don't have a choice."

    Have you ever been in a dangerous situation and yet had to encourage those around you? In a frightening situation, it’s not easy to be the voice of reason. I’m reminded of a time I had to comfort a class of kindergartners during an earthquake. I was the adult and those kids were looking to me to know if things would be okay. Of course, they were in my case, but I’m reminded of my feelings of inadequacy watching Twilight comfort her friends during this episode.

    When Twilight reassures her friends during Trixie’s takeover, we see her stepping up to a position she never really asked for. For a pony with crippling anxiety and constant need for mentor approval, I’m always encouraged to watch her hold a brave face for those she knows looks up to her. It’s never easy to be in that position and that is why Twilight is so relatable here.

    Season 4: Twilight’s Kingdom: Watching the princesses lose their magic.
    "Giving me all your magic is only step one, right? What's the rest of the plan?"

    If you’ve ever had to see someone you admire in a weakened state, this moment is for you. Celestia, Luna, and Cadence are supposed to be the powerful and majestic rulers of Equestria. When they give their power over to Twilight, the friendship princess is seeing them in a way no other pony in Equestria will.

    Becoming a leader has meant that, for Twilight, the illusion of the princess' position no longer exists for her. Twilight lives with the fact that Equestria's ruling monarchs aren't the heroes they used to be. Eventually we all have this moment in life like caring for an aging parent or sick authority figure. Still, it's good to know that we can rise up to greatness by trusting the things our mentors have taught us. Twilight is the Element of Magic, and because Celestia instilled Twilight with the wisdom needed to blossom, Twilight was able to become the hero Equestria needed time and time again.

    This was the moment Twilight completely outgrew her role models.

    Season 5: Amending Fences: Missing out on the big stuff.
    I'm sure that book could have waited until after cupcakes.

    If you don’t understand Twilight’s pain when remembering past mistakes than I suggest digging out your old middle school journal and just cringing your way through it. We all have that moment in our lives where we just go, “Why didn't I prioritize better?”

    Twilight missed out on knowing these 5 ponies because she only cared about her studies. Yes Twilight has great friendships now, but her entire foalhood was essentially starved of the joys of youth. Now the pursuit of knowledge isn't bad, but when you obsess over it to the detriment of other childhood memories then it is bad.It's a lesson Twilight is still learning.

    Twilight still has a long way to go in learning to prioritize her time. It's hard to completely abandon her tendency to lock herself away with her books.We all have to struggle through this lesson. But now that Twilight values friendship over knowledge, she's going to have to remind herself not to fixate on books.

    Season 6: Applejack’s Day Off: Following the rules.
    "I'm not even gonna try to think of a better way of doing this."

    This might seem like another odd episode to point out Twilight’s more empathetic moments, but it’s worth the look. Here Twilight has offered to work for a friend so she can have the day off. Twilight is doing everything within her power to complete the task exactly to Applejack’s specifications.

    Even with all the power of an alicorn, Twilight refused to do anything she thinks would be out of AJ’s approval. It’s an admirable quality many of us can relate to: Doing things the way we think it will make others happy. Even when the list made no sense to Twilight, she stuck to it and did her best. I can understand that, but it is okay to question what others instruct you to do.

    Season 7: Once Upon a Zeppelin: Taking your anger out on someone.
    I saw this explosion coming from a mile away and I still felt horrible watching it.

    Okay, this isn’t Twilight’s proudest moment, but it is one of the most human. Taking your anger out on another pony. All the princess wanted was some R&R with her family, but it was hoodwinked away and replaced with her becoming a tourist attraction.

    We’ve all been in a situation where either we felt we couldn’t address the real issue bothering us or there wasn’t an opportunity too. Instead of expressing our frustration immediately, we let it build until we turned on whoever was closest. Star Tracker was just in the right place at the wrong time to witness Twilight reach her breaking point. Learning to properly express ourselves and also apologizing when we do it wrong, is another hard life lesson we know we can achieve with as much grace as Twilight does in this episode.

    Okay, we know I missed some stuff.

    But do you really want this editorial to be any longer?
    Twilight is the pony anyone who has ever struggled with making friends or fulfilling social norms can relate to. We all can understand the challenges she faces and we can’t help but see ourselves in her from time to time. She’s a perfectionist, fears failure, and is often confused by socializing. If you're anything like purple smart then know you are a valuable friend and you're only going to continue improving! Long Live the Princess of Friendship!

    So, Twilight Fans, how do you relate to the element of magic?