I'm back from my trip to Arizona! I still feel quite out of sorts, but being away from home for 8 days will do that for you, I suppose.
My cousin got married back in February. Her spouse wanted a traditional wedding, but she didn't want a ceremony AT ALL so they met in the middle with a compromise: ELOPE TO VEGAS! They totally hit up a drive thru chapel XD And somehow they made it seem CLASSY! You see, my cousin... she's an adventurer. She travels all over the world, often to perform charity work or as an educator. Kind of like a Daring Do who goes around helping OTHER people discover things... about themselves. I only learned about this during the course of the trip, and I feel kind of silly for not having realized it. I'm pretty sure she's a pegasus too XD but I didn't press the issue.
I am guilty of assuming that my cousins were both living on my aunt and uncle's dime, like many of my generation seeking a purpose but not finding one. No; my cousins HAVE purpose. They're full of it. They are ABLAZE with it. It's inspiring and heartening and all around wonderful to see them so passionate about the things they believe in. They definitely have their cutie marks and know exactly how they can contribute to the world, and I'm so proud of them... so proud of them both.
I also learned that my uncle is the son of some famous big shot college football coach o_o so there's that, too!
But I learned something even more important. I didn't learn it directly as a result from the trip or its experiences, but more so because of the distance and clarity of mind that the trip brought me. I suppose the moment I learned it was when I finally got home, sat down, and saw where I left off with everything. I was finally able to look objectively upon the events that took place during a letter I wrote to you two letters ago.
I think that I can safely hypothesize that it's never wrong to feel something. Maybe the things that triggered the feeling were incorrect, but the feeling just happens, and we're helpless but to feel it. This is most easily described in terms of physicality: Some things just aren't supposed to hurt, but they do. Brian freeze. Stubbing your hoof. A cramp. Missing your step and taking a tumble. It's not really that these things shouldn't hurt; They're definitely known as things that just plain do hurt - rather, it's that the odds of them actually injuring us in a particularly serious way are extremely low. But it's not impossible. It's also possible to hurt someone by accident. If somepony didn't see somepony else in the way while they were moving a heavy object, for instance. And if they hurt someone in this way, are they reasonable to ignore the damage they've inadvertently caused? According to my previous experiences, this would be considered very rude. If they demand that the person they knocked over "get over it" and assume that they were not actually hurt, previous observation has told me that this would be considered quite insensitive, indeed.
My point, my liege, is that this same principle applies to our emotions. There is a problem where others can occasionally be rather rude and insensitive, and this negative reaction to the truth often motivates us to hide the truth. I have learned that this is wrong.
I have learned that if those we consider our friends have hurt us, it is right to acknowledge those feelings and notify them. When we do not, we make assumptions - often incorrect assumptions - and then make judgements on those incorrect assumptions that are also flawed. Princess... is this not what happened to your sister?
Did she not assume that our ancestors did not care about her?
Did she not seal her emotions away for fear of reprisal, for fear of dismissal?
Did those emotions not poison our dearest Luna's perceptions?
Did those perceptions not motivate her into disproportionate retaliation?
We all now know how that escalation ended in tragedy for everypony.
When we are hurt, we feel exposed... and we are taught to hide that exposure at all cost, without understanding just how high that cost may be. But the truth is we are already exposed, and it is too late to hide it. Hiding it makes us angry, and when we are angered, we are irrational. And when we are irrational, we fail.
But if we invest our pain into honesty, and draw calm from that honesty, and state our case clearly and truly, I have calculated that one of three things will happen:
1. Our unintentional assailant will apologize and attempt to amend their error,
2. Our unintentional assailant will become belligerent and defensive, and dig their hole deeper with even more damage, which can only lead to the latter possibility OR the final one:
3. Our unintentional assailant exposes themselves as intentional, and earns the enmity of the herd.
Too often we assume that everyone who slights us belongs in category #3, without having yet provided a toxic individual enough rope to hang themselves. Only they can expose themselves as wantonly malicious, sometimes through admission and sometimes through action. And the truth is, very few individuals are actually malicious. We all just want to get by, Princess. We all just want to feel welcome and purposeful, and contribute to the lives of those around us. Everypony wants a second chance... and I learned that I should give it, with honesty.
That's what I learned, as well as why I learned it. We should be honest about how we feel even if we're afraid it will hurt even more. It will not hurt any worse than assuming we're right and escalating retaliation to ghosts.
That's where I went wrong.
If I had just told the person who hurt me that they hurt me and how they hurt me, either they would have rebuffed me and denied it, which would have given me a case among the others around me, or they would have apologized, which would've left me feeling entirely better. Instead, I was a coward, and I hid behind dishonesty. And that hurt me even more.
I don't know if I can walk the walk for talking this talk, but I will try.