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A pegasus with a glossy white coat, brushed and maintained beyond recognition from it's normal state (which was almost always unseen), a black and pink tail and mane and ambition to reach the stars above set a hoof against the glass of the train window. The famed spires made entirely of hundreds, possibly thousands of different minerals came into view. Sparkling, glowing and cascading in the glow of the sun, the pegasus pony knew she was in the presence of true beauty. Spotlight took in her settings with bated breath, her heart increasing in beats of mounting excitement. The crystal empire was one of the most impressive pieces of pony architecture she had ever seen, and as one of her first solo shows in years, it was a definite treat, she felt. The anticipation the show mare felt for a new audience, a new culture to immerse herself into and new gems to spend unreasonable amounts of money on--oh! The very thought almost made her faint when she stepped off the train! The imminent issue, she realized with a sinking feeling and an embarrassed smile was that because she was an unknown here, nopony knew her. There was no group of fans she could simply bat her eyelashes at, no strong stallion for whom all she had to do was run a hoof down his chest and kiss on the cheek to get her things moved in a quick and orderly fashion. The performance would be some time in the evening and if she wanted to get ready, she needed to get things settled asap. Maybe, just maybe, a voice said in her head, half of her wardrobe, which equated to at least a half-dozen bags full of clothes, makeup, toiletries wasn't such a good idea. "Aaaaaaand that's the last one. Might wanna leave the platform now lady. The ride's over, heh heh." The conductor, a large, black unicorn stallion grunted, having helped her heave her last bag off the train. "Oh dear..." she murmured to herself, noticing the sheer amount of things she'd have to keep track of now as the metal beast coughed into action and departed the station. Raising a hoof to her face, she cursed her situation. Barely five minutes, the play not even started, yet here the drama was.
(I apologize that I have started this in here, but due to an internal server error, I'm unable to post this in Brony Chatter where it was meant to be. Still, this is a message I want to share with as many people as possible, so for any mods looking in, could you please move this instead of deleting it asap? And everyone who'll stick around, happy new year.) I am Apolline Allura, and I am prefacing the following with many thanks to not only the brony community, but in particular to canterlot,com. I haven't written nearly as much in my whole life as I have the past two years thanks to the people I've met here, and the structure of which RPs and random topics take place. For those that know me from more private channels, for good or bad, I would like to apologize for any past behaviors that have alienated you. One of my many new years resolutions was to not be as vindictive-sounding or as abrasive in my language or my meanings when it comes to disagreements. I am impressed and honored with how no matter what, this site, the fandom and the show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic continue to stay alive, and thrive from everything to do with it. Never have I seen a more dedicated or inspiring base of people centered around an animated, or even just plainly, fictional program in my life. It's heartening enough to have made me take up my own projects within this universe, many of which using characters that got their start here. The following wall of text is my focus on one of the most important things that this world needs more of right now. If you'll look at the title, you know what I mean. The characters and events and charming lore are all very much good reasons I'm into MLP right now. But even moreso are the tenents upon which it's built. You guessed it, the elements of harmony. I paste this from my facebook account, unedited and containing personal experiences and information in order to remain transparent as possible. We talk ponies, but I come to you as a human being, naked and real as any of us outside of these brightly lit screens. --- [colour=#333333]I awoke with a start at about five am this morning and realized I had written none of this, despite weeks of talking about it all. I have no regrets though, for at this point, it can be done with a clear conscience, sound soul and a sound mind. [/colour] [colour=#333333]Though I write this for those close to me, I will introduce myself for those not so close, because I want to reach more than just my circle with this cascade of words that I continue to throw at my screen. [/colour] [colour=#333333]My name is Canaan Walker. I'm a high school graduate and a dead even twenty years old. My passion is writing, and my one day desire is to gain a foothold in the finicky world of writing fiction. Be it for video games, comics or television, I have visions that I want to someday see plastered on the many screens and in the many books we have of such things these days. [/colour] [colour=#333333]I have two levels of what is known as my personal circle. The first one being my immediate family, who are the among the greatest beings I have come to know in this world. My grandmothers, grandfathers, uncle and dad and mother. Since I came into this world, these five individuals have done their best to raise me into what will one day culminate in a well-rounded, conscious, concerned and self-sufficient black man. They sacrifice and do and do it all out of love and some day I will give that back AND forward. It's one of the biggest superpowers in the universe.[/colour] [colour=#333333]The second level consists of my family outside, the family distanced, and the family that isn't blood, but family to me. The cousins, the aunts and the other uncles and such. My brothers and sisters, both of the cloth and not of the cloth The mentors and people who's teachings I've come to revere and live by. The village, in short, who raised me along with my immediate family. Those I haven't spent time with as much, but know me like anyone else would. These people support me on a different level. No less important than my inner circle, but there are values that I gain from both circles that one might not have.[/colour] [colour=#333333]An even more divisive section of that level are the people not related to me, but I am blessed to have come by. My friends. Of which, the magic of friendship is shared with, which is another of superpowers in the universe. [/colour] [colour=#333333]This New Years Eve, I would like to share the six virtues learned between both of these circles, as well as the world around us. [/colour] [colour=#333333]It's been a crazy year I might add: we've endured tragedy and division escalating beyond what we've had in recent years, specifically in this country, the United States of America where many people in aformentioned personal circles live. The seeds of discord continue to take root within our society and the world at large, leaving us all unable to unite as people. [/colour] [colour=#333333]But I've seen more than that. I've seen honesty. I've seen loyalty and generosity. Kindness and laughter and by the grace of He the most high, magic even. [/colour] [colour=#333333]I do not mean magic as an inexplicable thing in relation to His grace, but rather, the thing that enables the other five to survive, and form a cohesive whole.[/colour] [colour=#333333]The 2012 election was simultaneously amazing and frightening in how easily smaller pockets of people banded together, but even more pockets of people remained unheard and will be unattended to, no matter who sits in the Oval Office right now. I speak of course of lower class citizens. Although to be frank, I know people without much money or make much of it who have twice the class of any politician or businessman.[/colour] [colour=#333333]There have been natural disasters, which have torn homes asunder, but kept us strong in our committment to helping our fellow man and woman. Of course some of our countries policies regarding disasters have been less than optimal (see: New Orleans), but we have done so much better this time around. Workers of all stripes labored tirelessly without pay to aid everyone way, not because it was the right thing to do, but the human thing to do.[/colour] [colour=#333333]Finding gainful employment is an exercise in itself, because of nepotism, racism (yes, I said it) and the poor economy. You will need a BA to work at McDonald's in the next year, if not the next six months. But through collective work and economics, some families manage to sustain themselves, and people are rooming together and pooling resources to stay afloat.[/colour] [colour=#333333]And of course, the mass slayings of innocent people; men, women and children. The pain hasn't quite gone away, and for some it never will. But more of us can feel it than I've ever seen nowadays which is once again, both amazing and frightening. When we have endured tragedy ourselves, news of it strikes the feeling within us that enables us to connect with those closest to the situation. But to anyone who has never lost a family member to a cause beyond any sane persons understanding, it's nothing but news feed on the internet, or television. [/colour] [colour=#333333]And then the Mayans said the world was supposed to end or something. But we're still here, so I'll keep it moving.[/colour] [colour=#333333]I've witnessed all of these things and wondered how on earth the spirit of resilience that is the human soul continues to endure these things. And then upon realization of what exactly it is, I decided to write this note.[/colour] [colour=#333333]We are here because we work together, live together, exist together.[/colour] [colour=#333333]We are here because of Harmony, an extremely powerful compound. [/colour] [colour=#333333]Harmony consists of honesty: Of which we are duty-bound to tell the truth to ourselves and others. When we fail to recognize this as a duty, we fail ourselves and the people around us. It is a double edged sword to some, because some think some things are best left unsaid. But lack of communication, lack of information and context can lead to misunderstandings, and breed mistrust. The most beautiful of us can look particularly ugly when we don't act in the interests of preserving our integrity through honesty. When I was younger, I had a major issue with being honest with everyone, and paid for it with time and privlege. I'm glad I've went through it and dealt with my punishment for it then. Because now I'm learning how to deal with it as an adult, as a man. And when you're older, honesty is much more difficult because life has multiplied itself tenfold in it's complexity. Never sacrifice your honesty for fringe benefits. Everything in the dark eventually comes to light. And honesty is it's own reward. Like working for something and then acquiring it of your own sweat and toil. Or realizing your flaws are what give you your strengths. Or giving you the courage to pull away from a toxic relationship, and the courage to keep a genuine one afloat.[/colour] [colour=#333333]Harmony consists of loyalty: With honesty, people become loyal to one another. There is nothing human beings seek more than security and self-assurance. Loyalty arises from these things, because when we have what keeps us able to interface with one another so well, we gain a fierce desire to protect it. And so comes the ability to love. Whether it's being able to love your mother, your best friend, or your other half, you are kept to that other person. It's not dependence, because when it comes to loyalty, all parties are equal, respect is mutual, and even if you're as different as night and day, just like night and day, you will be there for the other. Loyalty is also easy to get lost in. When loyal to multiple parties, you must weigh your loyalty against your other loyalty. Who will you do for unquestioningly? Who can you do for unquestioningly? Who is the most important in the end? There are no easy answers to these questions. I've met so many people, and have had trouble reconciling the differences between them all, because loyalties and priorities change with time. As long as you are honest with yourself, mindful of others, and can remain satisfied with your decision, loyalty can be one of your biggest assets in life.[/colour] [colour=#333333]Harmony consists of generosity: Generosity is not necessarily the result or catalyst of loyalty, though it can be. Generosity is freely giving of one's self, irregardless of reciprocation. Sometimes, we get too smart for ourselves and get generosity mixed up as a ploy for loyalty, or a guarantee of it. Sometimes, the reasons why matter, and sometimes they don't. It is imperative that no matter what is given (be it time, money, love), that we remain grateful for it all. And that we can one day pay that back, or even better, pay it forward. Practicing things like generosity could genetically lead to a kinder human race in another...couple hundred years or so. [Full disclosure. I am not a biologist.] There is a such thing as giving too much though. Giving in greed, giving just because it's within your means, giving to everyone but yourself are all generally bad ways to use generosity. It is a natural thing to give, and not forced. You may end up turning people away because they can end up finding you fake. Or a doormat with free prizes and twenty dollar bills underneath to be beckoned upon whenever someone feels like it. Generosity, without learning how to be generous to one's self is generosity without meaning. We cannot be self-less if we have never learned how to be a little (emphasis on little, because of loopholes and self-imposed statues of limitations of little) selfish.[/colour] [colour=#333333]Harmony consists of kindness: Kindness is the default human state, in my opinion. When you see another human being and greet them, you may very well have done that person a favour. You may have lifted their spirits with a hello, or a have a nice day, or something of the like. And it was all in the interest of doing so. It feels good to do good. Kindness, is a prerequisite in no way to generosity, loyalty or honesty, but can be directly influenced, or even end up breeding one of them. Kindness is however, practicing all of the above with the purest of intent. It means to have no alternative intent other than the deed itself. A subsidiary of kindness is compassion, to which we are all bound by in varying degrees. I have learned kindness through sharing with and listening to others in this world, and understanding what they have gone through in relation to my own experiences. Even if I haven't been affected directly I can still feel for the situation. And we all have the ability to demonstrate it, but we all need to do it more. Better attitudes breed better people. Let's fill the world with more of it. [/colour] [colour=#333333]Harmony consists of laughter: One of the more taken-for-granted of the elements of Harmony. We cannot cry and not be able to laugh. Laughter is essential in keeping ones self, above all things, sane (relatively speaking in the case of humanity). Sometimes, when beseeched with the seemingly-mountainous tasks and responsibility that living and getting older brings us, all we can do is laugh. We need to laugh, because laughter is joy, and unless you let it, your joy cannot be taken away from you. Not if you continue to remain grateful and aware where you are, who's you are, where you came from and where you're going. Intentionally created humor is usually revered as the cause of laughter, comedians and comedy shows, but what we forget is that art imitates life. Everything in it. I have a friend who is currently dealing with throat issues, and has had them since Christmas. They've plagued her and left her unable to enjoy what was supposed to be a great time of the year with someone important. In the following weeks since discussing it, I found myself dealing with the same thing (briefly) as she continues to come down from hers. It was a delicious irony, because there have been so many illnesses spreading round quicker than ever this time of year. And it's as if they flit from one of us to the next, the person who wishes that the sick person gets better catches the other persons sick! It's so messed up, but so funny if you've ever been sick around others. Not everything is always funny though, so we must be careful to not cross the line with our laughter. We can cause pain to others with, but only if done in excess. Not everyone is thick-skinned to everything, but every joke is not meant to harm. When used to heal, observed with care for others, and a sense of fun for one's self, laughter is simply one of the best things ever.[/colour] [colour=#333333]Harmony consists of magic: The main ingredient of main ingredients, magic is the most critical element of harmony. Many get magic confused with people in pointy hats waving sticks, or throwing thunderbolts from the sky, or riding cleaning implements through the night. Others take the very notion of it as a slight to their religion, relating it to witchcraft, devil-worship and other evil things. The complete truth behind magic is this: it simply is. We as human beings do not take well to what doesn't make sense to us, and love to stick with the familiar, but in truth, magic makes as much sense as science and religion and all the otherworldly things we come to believe and/or denounce. Magic is what enables us to practice honesty, kindness, loyalty, generosity and kindness. These things cannot be directed at just anyone. A spark of magic must be present in order to ignite the desires to practice such things. We aren't going to be able to do all of the above with everyone we meet--the average human can meet over a hundred thousand people in their lives and interact with consistently with as few as a hundred of them. No one is going to handle everything, and we cannot see or do everything. It's a fact of life that I've come to accept as I've gotten older. No matter your wins or losses, life keeps moving. And with life comes magic, and vice-versa. Because the elements of Harmony are needed to lead healthy, productive and cohesive lives, we are given a spark. It may not activate in the way we necessarily want it or expect it to, but when it does, we know it. When we meet someone who eventually ends up becoming important enough to be honest, loyal, generous, kind to and to laugh with, we feel it. We feel that spark that gives us the preemptive knowledge that this is my friend. This is my special someone. The same goes for more than just people. The thing that some have labeled the sixth sense is in fact magic. Because it's an inexplicable feeling of energy directed to one thing, and it is natural as night and day.[/colour] [colour=#333333]Misuse of magic is misuse of harmony.[/colour] [colour=#333333]Don't pretend like the magic is there for someone or something when it isn't. Don't pledge yourself to someone you can't trust, or be trusted by. Don't do for someone who won't do at all, be it themselves or others. Don't act in malice and call it kindness. And don't laugh if it's not funny.[/colour] [colour=#333333]I have seen these things form the collective whole that is Harmony, and going into 2013, among a host of other things, I resolve to practice them. [/colour] [colour=#333333]Even more importantly, I challenge you, the reader to do the same. [/colour] [colour=#333333]The world hasn't ended. No, instead, today, tomorrow and the days after are the first days of the rest of your life. I say it's time to live like it. [/colour] [colour=#333333]Signing off now at...eight ninteen a.m., this has been Canaan Walker. I love you all dearly. Congratulations on surviving this year, lets thrive in the next.[/colour] [colour=#333333]---[/colour]