I become really attached to shows. The show takes up most of my thoughts, I can’t wait to get to the next episode, and I start obsessing over characters. When I learned that Avatar: The Last Airbender was on Netflix, I completely flipped out. Avatar defined my childhood. I was excited to see it from a fresh perspective since I saw it such a long time ago.
I was not disappointed.
First, I’d like to share some thoughts on the most underrated element and nation:
I used to think earth bending was really cool--Toph was my favorite character (mostly because everyone liked Katara and I wanted to be #original). Though I still love Toph and I think she’s the greatest earthbender of all time (metalbending? I mean come ON), I have a new appreciation for airbending. It’s EXTREMELY underrated. How many times did Aang win a fight just through airbending? I mean, think about it! If someone comes at you with firebending, you can always boomerang their power back to them (no pun intended).
Out of all the nations, I identify most with the air nomads—hiding away from the rest of the nations to find “peace”, searching for life’s greater meaning… It helps me connect to my spiritual side, a side that has been flourishing at home. My dad’s side of the family is from Myanmar. We’re Buddhists, and we believe in meditating to find inner peace, loving all living things, etc. etc. Seeing so much meditation and spirituality from the air nomads helped me feel less ashamed of taking time to be spiritual. I often felt like I had to hide this part of me in college. I’m not sure why I felt this way, but I’m glad ATLA has helped me embrace the spirituality that defines my heritage.
And second, I’d like to share how the series inspired me to become a better dancer/student/human.
I was learning a new exercise for jive around the same time as I watched Aang struggle with earthbending. His frustration and doubt really resonated with me--that stupid exercise made my brain work in ways I didn’t know it could. Once I understood the exercise, I felt like a jive master. (Why is that so funny to say?! “Jive master” ahahah) It’s been fun to imagine my dance instructors as “masters” who are helping me learn the “elements” of samba, cha cha, rumba, jive, pasodoble, etc. Who knows? Maybe I’ll level up like the members of Team Avatar: firebending to lightning, waterbending to bloodbending, etc. The show has reignited my passion for dance... and honestly for life in general. Going to dance practice is like training to face the Fire Lord, reading new books and expanding my education feels like I’m preparing for another battle… the show has given me get my zest back. (...I think “zest” is my second favorite word. My first favorite word is “kerfuffle”. Got a problem with that? Leave a better noun in the comments below. I dare you.)
Call me a nerd, but I’m so glad shows like ATLA exist. Just by watching a show on Netflix, I was struck with inspiration to be patient with myself, to treat others with love and kindness, and to keep giving 100%. (Also, I want to learn how to do a handstand. Seriously, the level of gymnastics in ATLA is something else.)
How wonderful it is to escape into shows like Avatar.