• Member Since 20th Jan, 2013
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago


Investigative wordsmith leaving no idea unexplored and no shoe unsniffed.


After a long and productive career, Apple Bloom reflects on what it really means to have a super special talent like her own. Not all of it is sunshine and rainbows though. In fact, come to think on it, none of it is sunshine and rainbows. Whoops.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 28 )

Very nice; always love stories with hints or themes of realism in them

Whelp.... Now I'm depressed

Thanks... I guess. I don't really like stories that make everything bad and horrible because it's somehow more real and legit that way. I just kind of felt sorry about my guidance counselors. I do love empathizing with horrible people, to get an idea of just why they're acting that way.

Don't worry, if you know me, the next chapter would probably result in the school exploding, and her butt exploding, and aliens invading and then everything's awesome again when Scootaloo ziplines in with a bowie knife clenched in her teeth.

6552192 Not quite what I meant; by realism I mean how Apple Bloom is portrayed and the way you described the reason for her being this way. Instead of the average fic that goes "she was sad cuz she hates seeing kids cry" type stuff.

Oh hush. Let me dislike my own story in peace. :twilightblush:

Okay, that comment just pushed it over the line into favorites.

The fic itself was a neat look at, uh. I dunno. I don't agree with GP that it felt realistic at all - it was kind of aggressively bleak. Gloriously so. I mean, life isn't idealistic, but I'm pretty sure this is an ideal of pointlessness in itself.

The feeling I get from it is that... hopelessness is really easy, and it sucks to be invested in just tiny segments of people's lives. Those sound like accurate messages, yeah.

"the system could care less about them"

"Heck, she wanted to shout at the filly, for bad mouthing her sister and 87% of the ponies in Ponyville. For being right."
Hey, you're an agricultural civilization, right? Or an industrial one, which is built on the foundation of an agricultural one? Don't let yourself forget how vital food production is; without the people who supply the food, all those rich, powerful, brilliant, and important-in-other-ways ponies would either be starving or putting aside their more "important" business to find their own food.

Well, that was a... cheerful story. :)
Sorry about the things in your own past that appear to have inspired it.

If I could tell the Applebloom of this story one thing, it would be this: "Everyone is special... everyone, and no one."

"Because you see, there's always going to be someone smarter than you, or stronger than you, more charismatic than you, or just plain better than you, but guess what? They aren't you, and they never will be."

"Any genius could have done what Tesla did, or Hawking, or Einstein, but someone else didn't, they did."

"The only way to lose at life is to stop trying, to give up, to settle for less, to stop moving forward, or even progress backwards; so long as there is life, there is hope, perhaps not what you were looking for, but quite possibly what you need."

You want to travel? Get a job as a grunt worker on an archaeological survey; the pay'll be shit, and don't expect more than the most basic of amenities, but I doubt you need a butt-mark to shovel dirt. You want to change the world? Find something you're passionate about, find other people that share your passion and start a movement. Can be about anything you want. Want to change your life? Get a new job, move, or even quit and go into business for yourself.

Will you fail? Yeah, probably, most people do after all. But it's up to you to pick yourself back up and try again, or even give up and try something different. In the end the only thing holding back you is you.

Wish I could say more, but I'm not particularly eloquent.

The point of it was that I had some shitty guidance counselors, and I'm trying to speculate on why they were so messed up. I was aiming for a feeling of how unbearably frustrating it is for active people to be put in a supportive role, when you can only feel special vicariously, through the talents of others.

Sure, food production is absolutely vital, but it's not exactly in high demand. When you perform an important service that someone else would easily step in for, were you to expire on the spot, you don't exactly feel very important. Especially since it's an economy of scale, so you only have talent as a combined group, being ineffective as an individual.

And yeah I once had a counselor unironically decide that the solution to my shitty prospects was to go on their website where various scholarships are listed. That was all they could do for me, is tell me to go to a website. Struggling with falling grades and failing motivation, and another counselor I had to beg for did nothing but review the mechanics of how to drop classes. Fairly recently, one was trying to find a solution to my increased disillusionment with socializing by doing internet searches on her phone for fun groups for me to join. Not that any of them could do anything like magically make tuition more affordable, or convince others in the community that social downtime after an activity is more important than the activity, but damn are they some useless individuals.

It was the filly who wanted to be good at Physics, and to travel, as a metaphor for her true desire to be someone with somewhere exciting to go. But I think it's unfair to heap all the blame on Apple Bloom for her discontent. The changing landscape of Ponyville had no effect on her? None of the people behind the budget cuts or the inflationary economy had any part of the blame? All those awful students giving her a hard time, and the only problem is that she's not a good pony who can weather that stuff without being hurt by it? The freaking bedbugs are just an attitude problem on her part?

Individualism is such a massive complex of victim blaming. People are so beguiled by the stigma against arrogance and irresponsibility, that they'll ignore the people chopping your legs off and tell you that your problem is that you don't have a positive enough attitude. As if someone can't both accept responsibility for their actions, and hold accountable everything else in the world that's forcing them into a bad situation.

And on that note hey, if you want to change the world, you can always get someone else to do it.

I'm not blaming Applebloom, or any little colt or filly, for anything but their attitude. Life still sucks sometimes, hard times are still hard times, and good people/ponies are still being ground down a little more each day by a vast, uncaring system, that nobody really controls anymore. You can't always change the world, but you can change how you react to it.

I'm not offering platitudes, so much as I'm say she should do something about it. If it hurts so much, if life sucks and she can't take it anymore... tell life exactly where it can stick itself. Take a break, move back in with friends or family, get back in touch with those you may be somewhat estranged from and reevaluate your life. If people can "fall out of love" with their spouses, I don't doubt they can "fall out of love" with their jobs too.

If you're lucky enough to have a support network, use that network. Not everyone can be so lucky. I don't know, I'm just talking as someone who's had to go through a lot of stuff themselves. Maybe what works for me just doesn't work for other people, but that doesn't me I shouldn't try and offer some advice from time to time.

*On a different note, I like your idea and where you're coming from. It's interesting to try and put yourself in someone else's shoes and see where they come from. And you really captured that sense of malaise and helplessness.

Well, yeah, that's what she's gonna do, again. Doesn't help the fact that her special talent toooooootallly suuuuuuuuuuuuucks :raritydespair:

"My special talent is being a guidance counselor?! Can't I just muck out the sewers instead, or break rocks all day or something?"

Heh, your talent is what you make of it. Rarity's talent wasn't dressmaking by a country mile, and I'll eat my hat if she didn't "creatively reinterpret" her Cutie Mark at least a bit. Fluttershy got an etymology Cutie Mark, but decided that extended to all other animals just fine. Pinkie Pie's Cutie Mark has little to do with baking, or dancing, or singing, or playing instruments, but that doesn't seem to stop her. Featherweight doesn't have a photography Cutie Mark, but that doesn't stop him from taking his camera with him just about everywhere.

Point being; her Cutie Mark isn't "for" anything, unless she says so herself.

Oh, yes, I can see how it might not feel very important. I was just remarking on that feeling's inaccuracy.

Ah, sorry again.

Oh I agree. But I don't think it's unreasonable to think that the CMC came to the conclusion that their talent was helping other ponies realize their special talent. Sure her mark might mean that she's code name Apple Heart secret agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. but if she already decided it meant she was a guidance counselor in the episode, well... that can take special intervention to set her straight. Maybe she should go see a guidance counselor.

Wow, this story is depressing.....
I'm not 100% sure what happened here. Have ponies largely gotten dissatisfied with their special talents and grown a desire to be truly unique, to be like nopony else is? Or have they gotten simply become megalomaniac, yearning for a destiny that can change Equestria from the ground up and turns them into national heroes?
Whatever it is, it's really depressing. :pinkiesad2: :applecry:

I think it was a consequence of the "me" generation "Doctor Spock" sort of attitude. Too much affirmation to their children, as a backlash reaction to the horrible degradation of the baby boomers. People are just reluctant to admit the world isn't a nice place, and that lots of people get raw deals, through no fault of their own. So kids grow up thinking things are going to work out, for every single one of them, only to find out that there's only enough space for the top 3 to make it, so the bar's set higher than they could possibly achieve. But it's also a problem of diminishing opportunities for kids, that they live very structured, restricted lives with little room for diverse talents. You can waste your whole childhood on the promises that if you put your nose to the grindstone now, and do what others expect of you, you'll look back on it later and thank yourself for doing so. I dunno about anyone else, but I have never thanked myself for doing so.

Oh, and school guidance counselors get to deal with the fallout from all this. Sort of explains why counselors all seem so carelessly dead inside.


But you're still talking Equestria here? That sounds like something you would expect from Earth, but also like something Equestria's society has learned to avoid.
Now I think this should get an Alternate Universe tag.

Eh, personally I think every story is an alternate universe. I save that tag for when I've actually got them going through a crackling portal into an alternate universe. This story scenario makes strong parallels to reality.

:pinkiegasp::raritystarry::rainbowkiss: That was terribly beautiful!

Author Interviewer

Well, that was depressing, mostly because I know this feel.

As the counselor, or as the student?

Author Interviewer

The student, sadly. I'm probably not a good enough judge of character to know when people don't have potential.

The student was practically my self insert. :ajsleepy:

Fuller review here, but in brief: an interesting portrayal of Apple Bloom, and the story nicely skewers the (to me) deeply annoying "You can do anything if you want/try enough" trope. It's a bit too downbeat for me to really enjoy as much as I'd like to have done, but have an upvote for something interestingly different.


Thanks! I was feeling pretty down when I wrote that, so I guess it might not be obvious, but the story was a sort of double satire. Yes it was making fun of the attitude that everyone's special, and that everyone's a high achiever, and a positive attitude is your ticket to success and fame. But it was so over-the-top glum, because it was making fun of that "The Incredibles" attitude, like "Oh no I'm not special. How traumatic!" Apple Bloom was obsessed with making her students think they're special, when she could've done a lot more good trying to help them be who they are.

Fewer people want to be special snowflakes than you'd think. What most of us want is not to be a hero, but to have a hero, who's there to save us, when we're in trouble. Why would anyone want to be a hero? Heroes suffer.

And yeah, it was totally a reaction to that "amazing" episode, where the CMC's destiny was to be the pony equivalent of high school guidance counselors.

Hmm, maybe that double bit was too subtle for me. A lot of things are! Clever. As it happens, I love "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" -- though there are external issues bound up in that, not least that it aired while I was at a hugely enjoyable convention. I don't think that affected how much I enjoyed your story, though of course I can't be certain.

Well, quite honestly the biggest disappointment I felt with that episode is it wasn't an adventure where the CMC meet Daring Do. But yeah I know most people thought it was the bee's knees. I honestly didn't mind it, outside of stylistic nitpicks, except for the one really disturbing part when the magic of Harmony raped their cutie marks onto them. All that's unrelated to this story though, which is just poking edgedark fun at some silly fridge horror, where ponyland sharply contrasts with reality.

...also I'm too friendless and poor to go to conventions. :facehoof:

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