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‘Steven Universe’s’ goodbye message: Let yourself feel emotions

Warning: This article might contain spoilers. 

I fell in love with “Steven Universe” like everyone else on Tumblr. From college life to young adulthood, I kept the show close to my heart and my watchlist. I wanted to own a cheeseburger backpack, wondered what a cookie cat tasted like and found it to be filled with life lessons. 

One of them is the quote: If every porkchop were perfect, there wouldn’t be hotdogs. It’s their version of “if life gives you lemons,” but more realistic. 

If you’re not a Tumblr urchin like me, let me give you a quick background. It’s a Cartoon Network original ran by “Adventure Time” alumni Rebecca Sugar. The show follows Steven, a young boy with a magical bellybutton, learning to save the world with his mystical alien godparents—The Crystal Gems.

After all, the heart of the show is acceptance and love, and it ended with that. 

Like Sugar’s previous show, “Steven Universe” has a  lighthearted nature. It’s not as dark as “Adventure Time” (that shows a totally different monster), but it was never afraid to talk about topics we avoid with children. Topics such as abandonment issues, the LGBTQ+ community, genocide, trauma and much, much more. 

Throughout the years, it garnered a huge fanbase. Children and adults alike found themselves represented through the show. Although it eventually got a bad rep due to its huge yet toxic fanbase (FYI: Vulture named it as one of the worst fanbases), the show’s message of acceptance and love still reigned supreme. 

Last Mar. 27, the show said goodbye for good. It’s hard to see all of “Adventure Time’s” contemporaries finally come to a close. But it did leave us with this message: we need to stop fearing emotions. 

The show ran for eight years. Out of all the 174 episodes, the finale was the most intense. There have been theories where Steven will turn into a dark version of himself—an evil gem. But the finale was not what theorist fans expected. After all, the heart of the show is acceptance and love, and it ended with that. 

“Steven Universe’s” last episodes showed the protagonist going off the rails. Every waking moment of his life, Steven dealt with depression and anxiety. His life wasn’t about saving the world anymore. He lacked purpose, while his loved ones and support system had plans of their own that didn’t exactly include him. 

For the first time ever, Steven didn’t have a magical prophecy. The adventure is over and his life is his own. It’s just that he didn’t know what to do with it. 

During a misguided attempt to find stability, he proposed to his best friend and girlfriend, Connie. She was going to college to follow her dreams. And Steven tries to stop that by asking her to settle down with him. But after she rejected his proposal, he only spiraled further.

He ran, and he ran, and he ran away from his feelings. The last episode chronicles what happened after he stopped running away. 

In the final episode, his support system gave him an intervention. He refused to give in and to vent even though they were reaching out to him. Unable to take the emotional stress, he turned into a monster—a literal pink monster. They tried to fight him, resorting to violence and shouting questions at him to figure out what’s going on. 

“Steven Universe’s” story might have ended, but it left us with an important message: Allow yourself to feel and to heal afterwards. 

What stopped him wasn’t The Crystal Gems’ nor The Diamonds’ extra-terrestrial powers. It was a simple act of love—a hug. 

Eventually, Steven shrunk into his normal size. He went into a fetal position and sobbed his heart out. There were no reprimands from his loved ones, no one scolded anyone. They just sat there as he let everything out: the hurt, the shame and everything in between. No one judged his actions. The only thing they gave him was their support. 

If every porkchop were perfect, there wouldn’t be hotdogs. This has been my favorite quote for so long and there’s a reason behind that. It is one of the recurring lessons of this show and they ended “Steven Universe” with this message.

Read more: A eulogy to “Adventure Time,” and why it’ll never die

So what does it mean? It means life is never perfect or what we wished it was. The pain, the sorrow and ups and downs are horrible. Not every scar has a lesson. Although, when it does carry a lesson, it makes us stronger. We may not be where we wished we would be, but it takes us to where we need to be at that moment. 

“Steven Universe’s” story might have ended, but it left us with an important message: Allow yourself to feel and to heal afterwards. 

There’s no skip button to emotional growth. If we want to grow, we have to feel and acknowledge the pain. And vulnerability is the first step to becoming who we need to be.

Still from “Steven Universe: Future”

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Rogin Losa
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