Monday, May 16, 2016

Steven Universe and Trauma

I saw this on Tumblr the other day and it was so touching. Tumblr user not your ex/rotic posted an interpretation of the concept of the cluster and shattered gems from Steven Universe as a metaphor for traumatized people. It hit me so deep I teared up a little.

ok i posted this last night and went back to sleep, but i wanted to add that the cluster is probably a metaphor for trauma, and steven’s solution is similar to a powerful solution for those of us who’ve gone through trauma. 
those of us who have been broken and shattered can often face issues with knowing who we are or what’s going on. our sense of identity, our notions of reality, or perceptions are all wonky because of trauma. depression, anxiety, ptsd, tons of personality disorders…all related to trying to cope with being “shattered”. 
and one of the things we do? we try to make ourselves whole. trying to find others who can relate, who can connect to us. we try to find the other parts of ourselves - who we were before the trauma. 
steven’s solution is connection: the shards can talk to each other. and in talking to each other, they protect each other by bubbling. similarly, one of the most powerful ways for us to find our missing pieces is to connect to each other. find friends or companions, help each other out, protect each other. 
it doesn’t have to be a “you complete me” situation. notice that steven isn’t actually that interested in whether the shards came from the same gem. he just wants all the shards to talk to each other, whatever gem they came from originally. 
the way we broken, shattered people can heal is to find each other.

The very idea of feeling "shattered" hit me hard. I've long expressed my own feelings as that of having an essential piece of myself missing, but feeling "shattered" may be more accurate. At my worst, in the grip of a panic attack brought on by a strong trigger, I do feel shattered in that I feel so broken that I could not possibly ever be repaired or whole again. That's the difference between "broken" and "shattered." You can't glue all those pieces back together again.

In Steven Universe, being "broken" or "shattered" is implied to be death for gems since injuring their projected forms can't kill them. However, the new episodes suggest that being shattered isn't death. The pieces are still alive, but without a sense of self. That lack of a sense of self is a common symptom listed for victims of trauma and abuse.

And I love the fact that Tumblr is like a place where survivors of abuse and trauma come together to find sympathy, common experience, support, and healing. It's fucking beautiful and so is Steven Universe. And so is not your ex/rotic. If you're on Tumblr you should really follow her.

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