• Editorial: My Relatable Brony

    I finally watched the ending of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, but I'm left with a lot of feelings.

    I'm not sad that the series is over, but I'm not happy it's over either. I'm certainly not depressed as I feel the show got to end on its own terms and everything is good. So what am I feeling and am I the only one who has this unexplainable emotion haunting them as the series closes?

    Of course not. So if you also find you're in a state of emotional confusion, this just might be your post. Let's examine how we feel about friendship is Magic and maybe enlightener vocabulary as well.

    This show has meant so many things to so many people. There's no way I could possibly nail exactly what any one of us is feeling with perfect accuracy because this is all very personal for us.

    However, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to revisit some of my memories with My Little Pony to make the point of this editorial. (Plus this will encourage you to SHARE HOW MLP IMPACTED YOU TOO.)

    In 2012 I moved to Japan and, not speaking the language, found that I was lonely more often than not. Very isolating and confusing times to be sure.

    I’ve heard some bronies say they relate to Twilight because they too had to move. Yes her intelligent introverted nature is relatable, but she was taking the first step in a life-changing process. (I'm sure you see what I'm hinting at here) 

    For many of us, we were like Twilight in that we didn't realize that we were about to stay a journey when we started watching this show.

    However, I didn’t meet Twilight first.

    I was looking for music to listen to on YouTube one night and I saw one of those horses that had been popping up on all the Sonic fan-sites at the time. (Blame those Sonic/Rainbow Dash shippers of yesteryear). I figured, why not. If so many people like this show I bet its pink horse remix is fun. The song was enchanting for me. (About a month later I'd watch my first MLP:FiM episode Suited for Success. RARITY IS BEST PONY!)

    For many, it started as something simple. You liked the animation or the music was nice. The characters were welled developed and the plots were great. Something like that, but then ponies touch something deeper in you. 

    For me, about a week after finding that song I got the news that my grandmother passed away. I was devastated because I didn't have the money to get back for the funeral. That Giggle at the Ghostly remix was played on repeat. I took so much comfort in it as I always believed that laughter was a great way to handle stress in life.

    The music of MLP:FiM ... I could write a novel on how impactful it's been and I bet there would still be some of you who felt I didn't do it justice. You can Google plenty of stories of how MLP music helped people with their depression or encouraged them. In fact, I’d be shocked if there was anyone out there that couldn’t name at least one show song that hasn’t touched them.

    One day while binging the eps I hadn’t seen yet, I heard the Smile song. I cried. I had never had someone put into words so clearly how I felt. Because I struggle with social anxiety (yes I’m a shy extrovert) I’d never felt free to express myself the way Pinkie could. But if there was a song the represented this part of myself, it validated that part of myself.

    I can't stress it enough. We see ourselves in these ponies. These characters reflect something we love/hate/desire to improve/wish to strengthen in ourselves.

    As Twilight or Fluttershy or whoever learns lessons and have adventures, we see ourselves learning right along with them. Their friendships and struggles became ours too!

    Bronies have turned these half-hour episodes into parables for guidance at times. Their stories mean more to us because we see them affecting our lives.

    In October 2014 I discovered the website Equestria Daily and they made a post about a brony convention in my town of Kawasaki. Japan Ponycon; I went. It was the first time in Japan I felt like I belonged and I wasn't just a foreigner.

    When I moved back to the United States in 2015 I immediately sought out bronies to meet with. A lot of my friends and family in the states couldn't understand the change I had experienced overseas, but the brony community was open to accepting everybody no matter how strange we were.

    Some of the finest human beings I know.
    My anxiety and loneliness began to wane and in 2016 I auditioned to be a cast member at a brony convention in my home state of Florida. I was cast as Pinkie Pie. I was hoping to get Rarity as she is Best Pony, but I relate so much to Pinkie Pie I was excited. Coincidentally I was also anxious, but I wanted so much to get over this fear and the Grand Brony Gala was my chance to face fear head-on and, well, laugh at it.

    Still my favorite picture of me.
    For those three days I told myself, “If I wasn't afraid what would I do?” Everyone thought I was acting like Pinkie Pie but the truth was I was actually just being myself for the first time in a long time. (And typing that was not supposed to make me cry.)

    Being accepted is great! I know many of you have this exact same feeling. Bronies may have been the first community that embraced you fully. You wouldn’t have had this community without the TV show. Watching FiM reminds you of all that love and friendship.

    But being accepted doesn't just stop with feeling good about yourself, it drives you to make something of yourself too!

    Having that opportunity to be myself encouraged me to keep doing the things I love. I’m actually working full-time in entertainment now which means I get to make audiences happy all week long. MLP helped do that for me. It was a necessary step to my present happiness!

    How many community members have become musicians, actors, cosplayers, whatever because they had the platform of ponies to launch off from? Whether it was an encouragement to chase what you want or you learned what you wanted to do, dreams were discovered through ponies.

    Ponies gave all of us a chance to connect to the world. We have friends. Sure we don’t always see each other, but honestly just knowing people care about us can do wonders!

    Told y'all I'd use this picture in an article.
    When I heard Equestria Daily needed writers I jumped at the opportunity to give back into a community that’s been so good to me. My articles aren’t the best, but they might make one person happy and that’s all I could ask for!

    Fast forward to BronyCon 2019 and I'm sitting on a platform looking and talking to some of you as myself and being completely accepted. I am so happy that through these nine years I've been able to meet myself and introduce my true self to the world thanks in part to My Little Pony.

    Admit it; ponies have changed you too.

    Well, for me it was more like Sunday mornings, but whatever. Time Zones.
    Every Saturday we would wake up to watch friendship lessons and see cute little horses on a screen, but the truth was we were relating to characters and analyzing our own lives through a safe medium. We got involved in an activity that challenged who we are.

    We read articles, sang songs, watched experiences, entertained new perspectives all because we liked a show about ponies.

    The end of the show marks a place in our life where we can look back and say, “I am not the same as I was nine years ago.” My Little Pony may not be the only thing that's impacted you these past years, but there's no denying it played a huge part in forming who you are. And it was such a good thing.

    I think Nostalgia is not a strong enough term for this feeling. We’re feeling growth. We’ve Grown!

    CMC: It's only been 9 years! We aren't ready to grow up yet!
    As crazy as it sounds: its growing pains.

    The point I'm hinting at is that this show has helped develop you into the person you are today and it's hard to accept that its time with you is over. The lessons MLP had to teach are done and you will be moving forward without any new ones from FiM.

    Every step we take in these slices of our lives will forever have a tinge of ponies in it. We’ll never stop growing and learning, but MLP:FiM isn’t going to play the same role in our journey anymore.

    It feels like we've lost 6 friends, but their friendship endures through the community we made. 
    Remember it with fondness, but let’s not squander its memory by refusing to continue growth. The future without FiM is a bright one because FiM did happen to us. The show is done, but the friendships and lessons we’ve learned from it don’t have to fade.

    Thanks for reading my experiences and humoring me through this. I’m excited for whatever is next. Bring on the fanfictions, songs and G5! And just know my favorite part about MLP:FiM is the fandom.

    Thank all of you for bringing a real piece of Equestria into my life! I'm so grateful this whole experience happened to me! And let's continue to relate over these characters even if there aren't new episodes.