(I’m a little late to the party in writing this — but better late than never!)
Steven Universe is and has been one of my favourite shows for several years now. I’ve shared it with partners, friends and family. People who are still in my life and some who aren’t. I binged my way through the first thirty episodes or so, rambling to the friend who convinced me to watch it in the first place. I cried through Here Comes a Thought (a song about mindfulness) onto my ex-girlfriend’s lap, and I cried showing my mum the episode. I still choke up hearing the song now.
Watching the SU season 5 finale – without going too deep into spoilers – was incredibly satisfying. Ultimately the show really is about loving yourself, flaws and all. That’s how I feel about the show itself too: for all its faults and the hiatuses I’ve stuck through, I always deeply appreciate how SU isn’t afraid to shy away from exploring deep topics like that. I’ve grown with this show’s characters, and like Steven come to know myself and love myself far more than I used to.
So naturally I cried and gasped through most of the episode. Only after did it occur to me that it was the most I’d reacted to anything in a while. Odd moments of ‘real emotion’ like that creep on me: in things like Steven Universe, playing with an animal; taking a good walk; cooking a nice meal; or hearing the opening overture to a musical. They’re not always happy, but they’re real and vivid.
I’m realising that I often shame myself for not feeling enough when ‘big’ things happen. Or, I’m constantly hoping that finding the big things will make me happy – a better job, better relationships, more money, someone needs to do this. Or I say shouldn’t be so emotional about something like a cartoon. That’s ‘weird’ or ‘creepy’. It’s for kids for God’s sake. I’m either angry I’m not feeling or angry I’m feeling too much.
But again the little moments are the ones that feel most special. And they’re far more accessible and under my control. I can enjoy a piece of music, a cartoon or food right now; I can’t magic up a new job or win the lottery every day.
SU is a phenomenal cartoon but in the end it is ‘just a show’, which really touched me at my core. And frankly I want more ‘just a show’ moments like that in my life.