The theme of season six was “Explore Equestria,” and the show made good on its promise. It expanded on season five’s goal of developing, and expanding exotic locations within the My Little Pony universe. We got to see the Dragonlands, and Pony Vegas. We also got to see…wherever the heck the changelings live. However, the one location that the show still hasn’t explored at all is the homeland of one of the oldest races in the show – zebras. (In my head, I call it “Zimbabneigh”).
Well, I’ve been thinking. Whenever people post about wanting the show to develop the zebra race more, they always say they want to see “Zecora’s village.” A lot of us have some pretty fixed ideas about what the zebras are like, and naturally so. But what if she doesn’t have a village? What if Zecora is a lone traditionalist living off the grid?
What if the zebras actually have teeming metropolises – a highly technologically advanced, space-faring civilization? What if the tables were turned, and Twilight Sparkle, sent to Zimbabneigh by the Cutie Map, journeyed there, expecting to find huts, only to find out that she was the one considered primitive?
An episode about that could shatter the Mane Six’s (and our) preconceived notions about Zecora’s race, expand on the lessons of Bridle Gossip, and maybe even create some awareness.
I thought about writing more on this subject – even drafted a few versions of this essay that involved long drawn out character analyses, theories about Equestrian anthropology (equology?), parallels to earth’s global politics, parallels to race politics, praise and analysis of Bridle Gossip‘s lessons; etc., etc., etc.
However, to be perfectly honest, it all sucked.
It came out totally forced, and what’s worse, knowing that the essay wasn’t working just drove me to pressure myself to try to force it some more – to get ‘er done – to finish at any cost. Unfortunately, there was literally no way to write a huge chunk of it without getting more political than I’d care to. No matter what your political leanings are, we all need a place to put that stuff aside for a while, and no matter what I have to write in praise of Bridle Gossip’s lesson, its beauty will always be its simplicity. (You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you what you already know).
It’s really, really, really, really easy, as a content creator, to get swept up – to get excited about the next big idea – to write about the next unexplored angle, or a new and clever way to articulate things that everypony already instinctively knows. It’s easy to end up pressuring yourself – to get fixated on numbers rather than people. Personally, I set a goal of increasing my writing output, and frankly, it got to me – made me anxious – and, ironically made me un-good-er at writing.
Sometimes the most important thing you can do is to put all of that stupid arbitrary stuff aside – those little obsessions that feel so important – those little goals that grant us self esteem points – and just remember your joy. Reflect on what drew you into this crazy fandom in the first place. Pony should never, ever, ever feel like work. The moral of the story is that space zebras are awesome.
The thought of them makes me smile, and that’s all that matters.