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Monday, August 8, 2016

Allowing Good things to Happen: A Maya Hart character study

On the most recent Girl Meets World episode: Girl Meets I Do, we saw Maya finally allow hope and happiness into her life. This is such an important lesson, and one I can absolutely relate to. 
When someone lives a life with constant conflict, struggle and obstacle after obstacle, it is easy to get into a habit of expecting bad things to happen, especially when something good actually happens to you. You wonder: what's the catch? Where's the curveball? How do I pay for this? Then, you brace yourself for impact, expecting the worst, because why would you expect the best?

For the character Maya Hart, this is a routine. She is convinced (partly due to the identity she has believed herself to have) that life doesn't allow good things to happen, unless something bad happens. 
It is very hard for her to accept hope, happiness and of course, love. 
Since the first episode of Girl Meets World, Maya has believed herself to be a "bad" girl. Convinced that because life doesn't work out for her, she must be cursed, while her best friend Riley is blessed with a life that seemingly has no problems. 
She tells Riley, quite frequently: "I'm a bad influence." And she clearly believes it. But Maya Hart is more hopeful and good than she believes herself to be. 
In Girl Meets Truth, we learn that Maya has always wanted a family. She takes a locket with a family inside, knowing that she wants what they have. Riley knows this is wrong and eventually Maya realizes that she can do the right thing by returning the locket to its rightful owner. 
In Girl Meets Master Plan, Maya talks to Shawn, learns that they are very similar, and gets upset with Riley for interfering in her life (trying to get Shawn and Maya's mother together). While Maya is upset with Riley, we learn that her mother bought her a special gift for her birthday, something she has always wanted: a locket. Shawn takes the picture that goes inside, but Maya discovers something else she wants. This is the moment we see Maya begin to hope. 
Maya looks at Shawn and her mother. Despite her cynical thoughts, she makes a wish. It's pretty obvious what she wished for, but this is only the beginning of her journey to allow hope in her life. 
In Girl Meets Pluto, the kids want to put something special in the time capsule. Maya claims that "Hope is for suckers" but the photo she puts in the box says otherwise. 
In Girl Meets Hurricane, Maya faces the ultimate storm that could dash her hopes, but she chooses to hang on. Shawn buys her a new wardrobe, showing how much he cares, and finally asks Maya's mother out on a date. This moment means the world to Maya, and she allows herself to be happy. 
But her test is not over until she faces the past, by reaching out to the father who left her. By finally acknowledging her past, Maya says that she's not angry anymore. Anger was a major element of the "bad girl" image she believed defined who she was. Cory asks her, "Did you forgive yourself?" 
Maya changes from these events (understandably so) and we see a happier and more hopeful girl who is willing to accept that good things can happen. 
But Riley doesn't see this, and through Riley's influence, Maya becomes convinced that she has lost who she is. This is the beginning of Maya's reverse growth. 

We know that Maya likes Lucas, but she has stepped back multiple times in order to make Riley happy. She is the type of person to put others before herself, and she believes, despite that hope, that good things don't happen to her very often. This is displayed very clearly in Girl Meets Flaws. 

In Ski Lodge, we see that Maya has reverted back to season one Maya, convinced that only bad things will happen but she still has hope, as displayed in her painting during Girl Meets True Maya. 

Despite the fact that Maya believes she never had hope, she always did, but she didn't acknowledge it. This has a huge impact on how Lucas and Maya decide to resolve the triangle. 
Maya lets Lucas go, noting that if Lucas had chosen her, Riley would be crushed. She gives up on something else she has wanted, and by this point, Maya has lost the ability to accept good things happening in her life. When Josh says he'll play the long game, she has a little hope that it might work out, but the one thing she really wants is about to happen. 
In Girl Meets Upstate, Shawn proposes to Katy. Maya is overjoyed by this, but she is also very scared. Up until now, life always has a catch when things happen. 
Convinced that the wedding will somehow not happen, Maya confronts Shawn, explaining to him that she believes bad things happen to them, and once life figures out this is happening, something else bad will happen. 
Shawn explains to Maya, that while he can't promise everything will work out, he's taking a leap of faith. 
"Hey Maya. We jumping or what?" he asks. He shows Maya, Katy and the Matthews family that he's serious, and the wedding is actually happening. 
And this is the moment Maya finally allows hope into her life again. It's a powerful event that will determine her future, and one that she has wanted for so long, but never expected to get. 
During the wedding, before Katy and Shawn say their vows Maya tells him. "Before this happens, I'm with you. I'm jumping with you." 
This is a beautiful moment in Maya's character arc. She has finally allowed a new perspective into her life, one of hope and happiness. This moment is also so important for Shawn, who lived his life with a similar attitude. This leap of faith means so much to all three of them, and it is one of the most powerful expressions of love that I have ever seen on television. 
Go Maya! 
Go Shawn! 
Go Katy! 
They have learned a lesson about life that is very difficult, and often overlooked: good things will happen to you, if you let them. Once you believe that good things can happen, that you deserve good things, your life will change. 
The smiles and tears in this episode are genuine. It means a lot to see these characters grow, and it gives me hope to get past a very similar obstacle. 

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