Rebecca Sugar? You’ve outdone yourself. ❤
I think this, along with “The Answer”, are two of Steven Universe‘s most beautiful and important episodes about love. But this episode, this one is something very, very special to me. ❤
**DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the videos/images in this post (except for the one from SDCC, aka the first image below). Amazing tumblr users/SU fans created these, and I just wanted to share their beautiful work with my discussion of this beautiful episode.
I remember going to the SDCC 2016 panel of Steven Universe about a month ago, and being totally blown away by the entire cast & crew in their sing-a-verse panel! (Trust me. I woke up at 4AM and stood in line for > 5 hours for it, and it was totally worth it.)
Rebecca Sugar previewed a song we’d be getting in the near future, telling the room it was called “Here Comes a Thought.” And the look on DeeDee Magno Hall’s face (aka Pearl) the entire time Rebecca sang basically explained everyone’s feelings as we listened to Rebecca sing the beautiful tune acoustically on her ukelele.
The thought on everyone’s mind? WHO IN THE SHOW WOULD SING IT?? Pearl? Rose? Steven? WHOOOO??
Well, the song and the episode that featured the beautiful tune came a lot sooner than I expected, and BLESS REBECCA SUGAR & the entire Crewniverse for this special episode that was worth the wait.
In the episode (with special guest animator Takafumi Hori, aka Hori-San!), Connie and Steven have a special sword-fighting lesson with Pearl: fusion training. And oh yeah? One of the most in-sync/perfect fusions ever, Garnet (voiced by Estelle) will be watching. And come on, you gotta admit that Garnet (Ruby/Sapphire) supporting Stevonnie (Steven/Connie) is the most adorable thing ever, especially with her lil fusion sign.
But, right off the bat, you can tell that Connie’s mind is preoccupied by something else. She ignores Steven’s jokes, she answers rather shortly & distant, and just isn’t her normal, loving, Connie-self. So, when Pearl begins the fusion training, Stevonnie forms and it seems to be going alright, until she goes in for the attack and Connie’s mind becomes occupied by something painful and hurtful she did to a mysterious boy, and the two unfuse. We discover that Connie accidentally hurt a boy after he bumped into her, and her defense instincts kicked in and she judo-flipped him. Embarrassed by her impulse actions, she ran away. So, Garnet decides to teach the two a lesson about understanding, forgiveness, and love.
“To find balance, you must understand your feelings. To understand your feelings, you must see them clearly, without running from them.” -Garnet
Fusion is about balance, and Garnet points out that if one of the two in the fusion is feeling broken and falling apart, then both will fall apart and the fusion ceases to exist. She tells them to close their eyes, focus on only the sounds of the ocean waves until they disappear, and then, simply, to breathe.
♪ Take a moment to think of just
Flexiblity, Love, and Trust. ♫
Garnet helps Stevonnie focus on the anxiety Connie is feeling that is causing their fusion (and herself) to fall apart. She–through Ruby and Sapphire–helps to show Connie and Steven that one must not try to block out the pain, but rather to be okay with thinking about it, learning from it, and letting it go.
It seems by then, Steven and Connie have solved what was keeping their fusion unbalanced, and Connie tells Steven how she was able to get passed her anxiety & guilt:
“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.”
She learned from it, and she did something about it. She apologized to the young boy and all was resolved. Until suddenly, Steven starts to feel his own pangs of guilt over hurting others he wished he hadn’t, or others who’d been hurt but he could no longer help…and that included himself.
Connie helps Steven through his pain, having just learned how to heal her own with his help, and with a very important lesson that really hit home for me.
She reminds Steven that burying those feelings of pain, guilt, and sadness can only make things worse. You have to remember to breathe, and to remind yourself that it’s okay to feel this pain, because without doing so, you can’t move on from it.
With this, Steven finds the strength in himself and in Connie–someone who loves him and is there to support him through his pain (just as he did for her)–to be able to face his hurtful feelings towards himself, and allow them to move through him and finally, let them go. With this, the two find balance, and come together in harmony as their fusion, Stevonnie once again. ❤
This episode is beautiful for so, so, SO many reasons. One thing is the fact that it features Garnet once again teaching Steven, and now Connie, about the importance of love and understanding. Plus a song with Garnet AND Stevonnie, who I JUST figured out was my childhood favorite Aly Michalka from Aly&AJ as Stevonnie?! AMAZING.
But the importance of this episode for me was the fact that it talked openly about learning what self-love and forgiveness in one’s self truly means, especially in times of anxiety and depression. This episode was very personal for me, because it was only a few years ago that I came to terms with having depression and anxiety after having buried those feelings for years prior, and deciding not to accept those feelings for what they are, or even wanting to feel them at all. Rebecca Sugar & the Crewniverse always tackle the most important issues in very beautiful ways for children to understand, and for the older generation to see in a different light. They’ve shown what it means to support the LGBTQ community, what consent truly means, dealing with identity, discovering healthy & supportive forms of love within relationships with others & one’s self, and now they’ve come to the very personal topic of anxiety & depression.
Both Connie & Steven have panic attacks in this episode that cause them to fall apart, as well as their relationship with one another to feel broken. The Crewniverse expertly shows how such forms of self-hurt that are not physical scars can still hurt, and can actually hurt not only yourself, but your relationships with others when you do not face them head on. It is not to say that you have to force these feelings onto others or yourself, but rather to breathe, take a moment to simply think of just flexibility, love, and trust within yourself and within others, and remember that the people who love you will tell you it’s okay, and that they are there for you to help you through it.
♪ it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay ♫
Someone on tumblr pointed out this beautiful fact about the meditation post in which Garnet taught Stevonnie (Steven + Connie) that it’s okay to feel what you feel:
I thought that this was such a beautiful detail that the Crewniverse added to the episode and the story. Learning to deal with anxiety and depression can be scary, but when you have the people you love there to support you, you remember:
take a moment to think of just…flexibility, love and trust.
RATING: 10 out of 10, 5/5 stars, whatever the highest a rating can be, THAT’S WHAT THIS IS ❤
Thank you Rebecca Sugar, Jeff Liu, Colin Howard, guest animator Takafumi Hori, & the entire cast & crew of Steven Universe. Keep doing what you’re doing, and keep enlightening the world on love & trust.