My journals. 1998–2007.

You are watching: The earth the air the fire the water return

Pen15 was all fun and games until Anna pressed beat on she Libana CD. The haze of happy nostalgia that had cleared up over me during the very first episode timeless lifted. Scenes of Anna’s emotions and also Maya’s impulses unfolded before me. I watched the montage all the method through, and then again. The second time, I had actually my phone prepared to catch the haunting song —

The earth, the air, the fire, the water,

return, return, return, return…

No longer was the show offering an observational take on adolescence. The was currently something spiritual and significant.

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At the core, Pen15 is a show around young women coming into their power and also providing security for one another. Maya’s power is choose a pot of boil water warring v its lid. She struggles with the limitations put on her countless imagination. Anna, meanwhile, is a volcano, placid however capable the erupting at any type of moment. Your dynamic is precious, not in a twee or sentimental way, yet in the means gems space precious: raw and also rare and also beautiful.

Maya and Anna are coming to be two different women, however they’re sharing the same experience. They both encounter troublesome boys and also even an ext troublesome beauty beauty standards. Castle both struggle to recognize what being thirteen means, exactly how it feels, how it acts, what the looks like. Through every one of this, they cling to one another, offer each other the reassurance lock so no hope need. This assistance is so solid and for this reason pure, it rather literally renders shame vanish — as soon as Maya confesses come Anna that she masturbates, the specter of she judgmental grandfather/manifestation of her shame disappears. Has actually puberty ever before been therefore magical?


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Maya and also Anna. (Image: Hulu)

The characters of Maya and also Anna room coming into their power, yet that’s only possible because the genuine life Maya Erskine and also Anna Konkle have currently done so. In the confront of their fictional selves shouting “AM ns OKAY?” this showrunner-stars respond with an unequivocal “YES.” (The location sequence just makes their solution clearer. If ever viewers forget that these women-playing-girls were when actual girls, it provides us photographic evidence.) through inhabiting their younger selves, Erskine and also Konkle effectively end up being time travelers. Together such, castle cannot readjust anything in your past, however they can definitely revisit it and also learn indigenous it.

I recently underwent a similar time-traveling expedition. For many of mine adult life, I had avoided a specific box in the closet in ~ my parents’ house. I had moved come college, back home, come grad school, ago home, come a new city, yet the box had remained untouched. Finally, this past Christmas, I opened it. And there lock were: all of my journals from period eight with eighteen. Waves of apprehension come over me, but I it is provided through and also started come read.

With each journal I opened, ns felt those waves obtain smaller. I had actually been so fear of reliving the shame and embarrassment within those pages that i hadn’t taken into consideration what rather I can find. For every instance of insecurity or sadness, there were moments the bravery and joy. Silliness, disdain. Wit, sincerity. Hunger, hope. Therefore much an excellent mixed with the bad. How can I have actually forgotten? every at once, interest replaced judgment, patience changed pity. I felt a swell the compassion, enlarge than any type of apprehension tide I’d feel before. I was saddened the time had actually erased the highs, yet thankful that I can rectify the erasure indigenous this more distant place.

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Months later, ns still thankful — the those years space over, the my teenager self recorded them, and that I have the right to safely return (return, return, return) any time i want. On optimal of that, I’m thankful Erskine and Konkle gave us Pen15. Instead that repressing, regretting, or laughing turn off the memory of your adolescent years, this women have actually dared come live lock twice. In act so, they’ve reminded every one of us come hold space for our younger selves and view them anew with no judgment and also no fear, just love.