Monday, October 22, 2018

Married . . . to yourself? [GIF]

Unless you've been asleep for the last few years, you probably have figured out by now that this is my favorite character in Steven Universe.

So . . . she's married.

Garnet's wedding day
Her marriage is a pretty recent development, being that it happened in a special double episode (151–152) and the last episode that aired was 153. And her wedding was probably one of the weirdest cartoon weddings that has ever aired, because it essentially resulted in Garnet being married to herself.

To clarify, Garnet didn't exactly marry herself. Ruby and Sapphire got married.

And then, because they're space aliens in love, they had their wedding kiss and then combined together into a single entity. They live most of their life together as Garnet, and even though she is the RESULT of someone else's love, she also has her own will and her own personality separate from them. It's a really interesting concept.

But what I want to talk about is the result of that love. These two characters got married and it was beautiful (not to mention incredible to see a same-sex wedding on kids' TV), but after their love creates another person, who does the love belong to? These characters sort of disappear into who they become together--that's how they describe it--so even though on some level they're still loving each other, that has to transform quite a lot for Garnet to be her own person.

And to be honest, I don't think I've quite seen a self love like Garnet's ever on television. When we first met her, we didn't know she wasn't exactly an individual, but her confidence and stability was well on display. The root of it was later revealed as an unbreakable bond between two characters who trust each other and share everything. I've always loved that Garnet can be so competent and self-assured without being an egomaniac; she knows what she's good at, she knows she's great, and she knows her success is partially owed to who she came from.

The rest of it is hers.

Garnet is incredibly inspiring to me as a character who has a great relationship with herself. I've said this before, but I relate to this really hard because mostly my problems are other people's problems, and very few of my issues come from being dissatisfied with myself. It doesn't mean I can't grow and change, and become better than I am, but I don't feel disappointed with my situation and my progress, and I like who I am. Those traits are usually discouraged in our society, especially for the ladies; being "humble" and "modest" are valued for women and girls, and if I act like I expect to be treated as competent and deserving of what I've earned, I can easily be shamed and scorned, told I'm stuck up or a bitch or too proud. I love watching Garnet because she's allowed to be proud and no one treats her like she should downplay her talents.

This is maybe a weird comparison because Garnet literally is the result of a loving relationship, but as an individual (sort of), it's so refreshing to see someone who feels complete in themselves. Not always yearning for someone to validate them or make them whole. The idea that you can just be yourself and not therefore be "lonely" is somewhat radical; we process single people as sad and in need of a partner, but Garnet has what she needs to be who she wants to be. 

This doesn't mean she doesn't have or can't experience intimacy with others, either; she doesn't crave it as a way to fill an emptiness, because she doesn't feel empty, but her relationships with her found family and friends are very important to her, and she treasures her time with them. She is not a complete island, and is capable of wonderful, tender moments with others. 

But she's married to herself. And her self is enough.

I really like that.

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