Being a person can be difficult. If you have aspects about yourself that make you “different” it may be even more difficult, either because you are struggling with it, or fighting against and trying to be like “everyone else”. But for people who have found My little Pony Friendship is Magic (the 4th generation of My Little Pony but reimagined by Lauren Faust) there is peace. The surprising adult fan base that exists because of the unique message in this show (which isn’t just for little girls) has created The Brony. Bronies are people who love these ponies that aren’t just “little girls”,can be male or female, but many are adults. They gather together at the Bronycon convention in Baltimore for a weekend each summer. Bronycon is perhaps one of the largest conventions focused on the idea of love and tolerance. We attended for the second time in 2015 for a weekend of fun and magic.
Related-The Magic of Friendship Bronycon 2014
One of the panel discussions we attended was for “Coping with Disabilities”. The coping with disabilities panel included people who either have a disability, work with those with special needs or have someone close to them who has a special need. The panel shared their experiences with the audience or they worked on the panel discussion itself either through Public Relations or artistic contributions. This group was founded by Mathew Palumbo who wrote a children’s series titled “Welcome to Saurral Manor” and also has a degenerative eye disease. This panel was at the previous Bronycon in 2014 we attended. The name of the group is Coping with Limitations through Pony and they are a non-profit initiative to promote awareness, acceptance, understanding and empowerment to those with any kind of special need. Mathew turned to his love of writing as a way of coping and discovered there are many people with special needs who are known for their contributions as opposed to their disorders. This gave birth to Coping with Limitations through Pony, whose mission is not just a promotion of acceptance or awareness but also the inclusion of individuals with special needs through the arts.
MLP Friendship is Magic at its core does guide people to be better people, and it also touches upon those who have struggles. (Scootloo is a Pegasus who can barely fly, Derpy/Muffins has a vision problem that makes her a bit clumsy) The show also has dealt with basic bullying that can happen to anyone. This year’s panel used these clips from episodes to illustrate this point. They also shared clips about the fan made character Snowdrop, who has a visual disability but “proves one person doesn’t need their eyes to find their place in the world”. Snowdrop’s mom is also incredibly supportive and loving and helps her understand this. All of these aspects are relatable to anyone who has felt different, or has a disability.
The point is to focus on what your abilities are, and allow yourself some empathy on your disabilities. You can’t make what you can’t do go away, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it either, you shouldn’t focus your life on that. Always focus on what you can do. The main reason to accept and acknowledge what you can’t is to keep from being frustrated and angry about standards you can’t reach that just don’t apply to you when you don’t have the same tools. But the bottom line being, you may have more to yourself in another area.
Another member of the panel included software developer and artist Rachel Merryfield who created a Pokémon game for visually impaired fans of the game known as Braillemon. The game works with sound to help aid the gamer where to go next.
If you would like more information on Coping with Limitations through Pony you can visit their website. Or you can visit the support site on Facebook here