You really agreeing with ccanon that Canada has anxiety has me SHOOK. can you please talk about that more?
Welp, I accidentally went the fuck off with this one so sorry for the length but: with Matt and anxiety, I think it comes down to purpose and failure.
Matthew was literally born an extractive colony created by the French to pull a single good, furs, from the local populations via unequal trade. Like most colonies, his purpose in life is to serve the will of a metropole. His father's needs before his own. In this case, Ancien Régime France. Beyond being his duty, his very existence was to turn a profit for French interests and protect that profit from incursions on the English. Obedience, piety, submission to a paternal force is embedded into the psyche of a baby Matthew from the moment the belief in some idea is strong enough to birth him into the world and allows him to draw air. Serve your king, serve the church, do your part in your community and get whatever job assigned to you done at any cost. There is no sense of who he is, no sense of identity beyond service. He may be French, but he is a lower kind of French. To this day, certain kinds of European derived French Canadians have a strange place in the Francophone world. They occupy a certain privilege due to perceived whiteness but are consistently lower than France due to accent, and perceived failings in intelligence and appreciation for 'proper' culture no matter how many artists, classical musicians, films, and novels they pump out at a spectacular rate for the population. That French heart of Matthew is damaged by the concept of love as obedience and service from the moment he's born.
Things got better with Arthur. When Alfred rebels, he thought he was offering Matthew the freedom to stand on his own, but in reality, Alfred's offer was a demand to trade British supremacy for American, and the last handover had nearly killed him. So Matthew keeps serving. The British Empire had an emphasis on state-building for the dominions. Matthew gets a better sense of who he is and whom he wants to be. But he still serves an Empire, his existence is still dependent on his usefulness. The lumber, fur, minerals, crops, and other extractive qualities he can fling across the Atlantic to make Arthur money. It's bearable. He occupies a relatively privileged place in the world. He is a dominion, he is claimed as a son of the British Empire. He doesn't get Arthur's name, but he does get his protection and his consideration, and his place in a family. But still, he is there to give. Mostly resources in the 19th century, but then resources and blood in the 20th.
Matthew is loyal and dependable and easily pleased. He is content with a pat on the head for the hollowing of his land for the benefit of another. He doesn't need much. His purpose, for most of his life, was acceptable to him. He has far more success under the British than the French and thus does not challenge the status quo of what they all think is his natural purpose.
But then comes the World Wars. World War One especially, demanded sacrifice. The resources of the entire empire flowed into Britain. Goods, material, men demanded by the imperial war machine and Matthew begins to fail again. As a boy, he failed at that. Quebec is lost to the English a half dozen times. He doesn't turn a profit, his populace is slow to grow. In the years that form his perception of himself, he's never very strong, his gifts are never able to be of any use to anyone. But in the Great War, he is a brilliant soldier and a capable leader. He can do anything Arthur asks of him. Until he can't.
He bleeds and he gives and he pours himself onto the fields of France and Flanders because he is told to. He allows the shattering of his psyche and the ruining of his body and the loss of a generation until it is his people, the only thing he loves more than his duty. Australia never passed conscription, New Zealand handled their conflict mostly peacefully. But Canada exploded. And Matthew fails. He stumbles, dying for lack of blood if every man lost is a drop from his veins.
He fails to perform his duty perfectly. There is conflict, anger,
sparking of difference based on language and conscription that runs so deep it nearly destroyed him on more than one occasion. And suddenly he realizes what has been eating at him his entire life. He is, as a man committing murder, the very same as he was as a child hiding in the branches. He isn't enough. And he will never survive being enough for anyone. If anxiety is born of love, and love as Matthew knows it is is service, extraction and obedience, and blood, he will never have enough to give. And he will certainly never have enough to give in the hope they may notice and return his sacrifice with affection. For Matthew, the antidote to anxiety is to be enough.
And, at least as he is aware of for most of his life, he never will be.
But then comes another World War, where he bleeds but he is not exsanguinated. Not this time. Because this time, his brother steps and staunches the bleeding. The British Empire is fading, the world is changing and Alfred's old offer is made again. Be his brother, be his family the way they should have been from birth. Alfred offers him an image of the world where Matthew is not merely a shadow or a subject of Alfred, but his best friend and second. Alfred reaches out to a drowning Matthew trying with everything he has and everything he might ever be to keep the empire he calls Father alive. Alfred offers a hand, a smile, and his endless strength, and says to his oldest friend in the world: "You're enough," before Matthew's heart stops beating altogether.
He's enough. And he has his life. The anxiety gets better after that.
America often calls England to ask for help when there’s something wrong with Canada. He always tries to solve the issue on his own at first, of course – but if he’s out of his depths, he can be pretty quick to let go of his pride. Canada is more important that that – and in spite of everything, America still looks up to England as his former caretaker and England’s the one he instinctively seeks comfort and help from when he’s vulnerable.
Normally, there would be some bitterness about that – America wants to reaffirm his independence at every turn. When Canada is in trouble, however, America’s too panicked to even register that normally, asking for help to England would be humiliating. England’s nice enough not to remark on that.
Hetalia Platonic Ships Week Day 3: Into the World of Pokemon
After moving in with their 1ps, the 2ps have had no shortage of weird moments they've experienced. One such crazy and weird adventure would be the time the Japans got them all sucked into their newest pokemon game thanks to a new virtual reality invention. Let's see how this goes!
Dropped into various areas around the pokemon universe everyone freaks out and Luciano's particularly enrages screams can be heard everywhere. Starting in the beginner's area, everyone is separated and given their own starter Pokemon. Alfred immediately starts fanboying and runs up to every Pokemon he sees with his starter Rufflet following right behind while Allen gets his bat out as he has no idea what's happening as he's never gotten into video games and mostly tries keeping him out of trouble while eyeing everything with suspicion. Once he catches up and Alfred somewhat comes down from his fanboy high, Alfred immediately gives a fast explanation and tells Allen everything about Pokemon. Allen gets the gist of it and is really interested in Pokemon as they start exploring with his own Houndour walking beside him and his bat swung on his shoulder. France starts freaking out about his hair when a Caterpie string shots it while his Roselia fusses over it. Roselia seems to share the same personality as France. Luiz can't help but scoff and puts his cigarette out, being in a forest and all, and starts to pick a path with his Espurr and leave the two freaking out peas in a pod behind to catch up once they notice he's gone.
Arthur and Oliver get dropped somewhere nearby. Arthur is immediately taken by his Galarian Ponyta introducing her to Flying Mint Bunny. Interestingly, the pokemon can actually see Arthur's magical friends. Oliver immediately starts gushing about his Slwirlix and how helpful he is with baking. They are the only ones who can completely understand and talk to their pokemon thanks to FMB translating. They end up running into the France's and Arthur and Francis immediately start going at it. Thanks to Japan giving their starters similar personalities, Roselia and Ponyta also start bickering. Meanwhile, Oliver is gushing over how adorable Luiz's Espurr is and showing him Swirlix. Luiz, who quickly grows a soft spot for Espurr, humors Oliver.
Mathew and James end up near a stream where a Bidoof and Bibarel dam is. Thanks to countries having a natural connection to their national animal, this also extends to pokemon and they quickly befriend them, becoming the Beaver kings. Mathew has a Cubchoo while James has a gruff Teddiursa. James is immediately reminded of Kuma and how Kumajiro was as a cub and becomes extremely protective. The Bidoof and Bibarel help them find their friends. Gilbert and Klaus start out in a cave somewhere and thanks to millions of Zubat, get immediately get ejected. They come out to see a hilltop view a la BOTW. GIlbert has a Sneasel with the same mischievous streek GIlbert has while Klaus, being the trained knight he is, has a Honedge. Gilbert tries leading them but he and Sneasal immediately fall into a nearby stream because he wasn't looking. Elsewhere, Ludwig gets that strange feeling Gilbert is somewhere doing something stupid while he's petting his Riolu, and Lutz's Poochyena is napping on his stomach. The aforementioned Lutz is taking a nap on the ground. Feliciano has an Eevee and Luciano has a Zorua. Feli immediately tries to say high to every Pokemon in the vicinity and almost gets stunned by grass types, blown away by flying types, etc. Luciano wonders how he'd ever survived out here on his own without him. Flavio starts out with a Popplio and takes it in stride! He helps the, at first timid, Popplio regain his confidence by reminding him it's not the outside that matters and that he has an inner beauty that shines through. Lovino ends up with a grumpy little tsundere Pikachu and tries to find their way to the others while Flavio and Popplio are preoccupied with an impromptu photo shoot. It doesn't take long for them to reunite with Feliciano and Luciano and Feli immediately gets excited to show them his and Luciano's pokemon and meet theirs. Eevee's hyper personality exhausts Pikachu.
Ivan ends up with a Sunflora and immediately names him Sunflower. Viktor thinks it's a stupid name but d doesn't say anything because he knows Ivan loves them so much. Viktor ends up with a serious Bagon who he helps train to evolve. Yao practices martial arts with his Meinfoo while also keeping Xiao and his Aipom out of trouble. Finally, the Kiku has a Treecko for himself and Kuro has a Pawniard.
Eventually, they all manage to meet up with everyone talking excitedly or angrily about the pans sucking them into the game. Luciano especially exclaims they'll pay while Feliciano and Alfred are thanking Japan for doing something so cool. All of the countries start bonding with their partners and the Japans pass out Pokeballs and Ppkedexes for the fun has just begun. Kiku and Kuro regret nothing!
Meanwhile, in the real world: The other countries eventually notice there all missing and they come to the meeting to find them in the game. Because this is a golden entertainment moment, they immediately start passing out popcorn and watching them. Hungary almost chokes laughing when Prussia falls in the stream. Belarus has been locked in the closet after trying to destroy the game or in her words the 'device trapping her big brother.' Denmark gets jealous that he can't join the rest of the Awesome Trio. Spain feels kind of bad getting left out but likes that Lovino's Tauros. The states and provinces also sneak in and try to reverse engineer the device used to get into the game. They want a pokemon adventure too after all!
I recently came across a poem called “The Coureur-de-Bois” and I thought it’d be fun to write about Canada’s relationship with the voyageurs and coureurs de bois of the fur trade! Includes headcanons about the impact of geography on a nation’s sense of self, and how Canada deals with being “invisible”... Details on fashion at the end as well.
Cw for references to colonialism.
Canada is imagining himself as a voyageur roughing it in 17th century New France. The voyageur represented a freespirited, hardworking, courageous contributor to Canada’s conception as New France, a colony whose exports fuelled the fur trend in 17th century European fashion. Because Matthew saw himself as needed yet neglected by his closest friends and allies, since around the mid-19th century Matthew had come to identify with the voyageur, a pioneer settler of unknown, hostile terrains, and loosed from national affiliations.
To be Canada meant to have the physical prowess and skill to be able to travel and survive in the country’s natural environment. Needing to travel from French settlements along the St Lawrence Valley to the interior of the land, where goods were to be exchanged with Native hunters and trappers, a voyageur would go on long trips on canoe, carrying furs and other goods for trading. Getting through vast stretches of difficult terrain regularly, voyageurs charted routes through toil. Voyageurs imprinted their names onto features of the landscape, forging the colony’s lifelines of trade.
All of Canada, Matthew would come to learn, is really a journey. And later, in the 19th century, when he’d come to think more seriously of Canada as a continent-spanning nation, he understood it as needing to somehow be comprised of communities sparsely populated across a geography that was dominated almost entirely by nature. Travelling from one end of the nation to another would feel as though it lasted a lifetime. Being his own nation, as opposed to a collection of territories belonging to France, and later Britain, struck Matthew as incredible because of the precedents of nationhood that he was aware of. He was very different from France in this regard, as well as from the rest of the “Old World.” Europe had their own customs and systems, and essentially they had each other. Canada, ultimately, knew that being alone would be normal for him, just as a voyageur would be in an environment that was hostile to being known.
But the other point of the journey would be the societies the Voyageur would be trading with, the “Indians.” Voyageurs would learn the skills to navigate, adapt, and survive from Aboriginal peoples. It was the liminal space of the journeys through unknown territories, lasting for months at a time, that would affect the opening of the voyageur to form an identity distinct from that of sedentary settlers. Exchange with First Nations peoples were cultural as well as material, and voyageurs adopted their technology, intermarried, or took on social conventions. The strong cultural ties made with First Nations peoples would be positive for good diplomatic ties and economic alliances.
It is the coureur des bois that Matthew personally memorialises as most emblematic of the fur trade, although the coureur des bois was the type of voyageur that some had seen as harming the interests of New France. They were unlicensed fur traders, who risked travelling deeper into the interior in search of cheaper furs. In the 17th century, the fur trade was strictly regulated by France in order to maximise profit from it, but it also was a means of political control to expand and secure their territory in New France against enemies, namely the English directly to the south. Promised with the freedom of adventure and profit, the outlawed yet lucrative profession drew in indentured male servants, discharged soldiers, and other young immigrants arriving in New France from the old regime. The problem with too many coureurs des bois, practically, meant that the supply of furs became to outweigh the demand for them. From the perspective of the security of New France, the regular absence of men from their families, properties, and/or communities meant less men to defend the settlements from enemies. Their long absences were also cause for moral alarm. Colonial officials as well as Jesuits condemned interracial marriages, and social mixing and miscegenation was taboo in French Canadian society, furthering racist views of Aboriginal peoples and of women particularly. To French aristocrats, the stereotype of the coureur as unfettered by scruples symbolised the innate insubordination of the settler colony societies.
Despite these apparent problems with the coureurs des bois, Canada would come to appropriate the French aristocratic view of the coureurs as the symbol of the early colony. What they saw as the unscrupulous ways of the coureur des bois, he understood as the valuable qualities of individualism. He valorised the coureurs’ defiance of authorities to pursue profit, and the alliances with Native peoples and adventure that went with it. They symbolised the overcoming of two great challenges: the escape from oppressive customs and social mores of the French ancien regime, and the learning of the skilled hardiness necessary for conducting trade in a hostile natural environment.
But Matthew’s identification with the coureur’s and voyageur’s ethic emerged after the conquest of the English. He clung to the image of the 17th century voyageur as the kind of man he’d have to be, one who understood his roots as somebody who was free and not entirely affiliated with any political identity. This was relevant in his initial time as a British colony in the late 18th century, as he did not like England as his new custodian. However, he had also become disillusioned with France because of how France did not value him as much. Matthew accepted the fact that neither England nor France would value him as much because of how difficult it was to live and make a living in Canada, given the communities that tended to be sparsely populated, the landscapes and climate that tended to be harsh. In other words, identification with the voyageur was a way of understanding the idea of himself as an independent nation.
The fur trade lost importance in the early 19th century, and in the period that followed this, Matthew started to positively memorialise the voyageurs and coureurs. With a new European trend for stories romanticising nature in reaction to industrialisation and urbanisation, and subsequent decades made possible the writing of the figures of the voyageurs and coureurs des bois as protagonists of Canada’s origin myth. During the rest of the century following Canada’s ascendency to dominion status in 1867, a sort of independence of his own, nationalist sentiment formed his appetite to honour his own chivalric past. Also, at this point he had come to be thoroughly inculcated with British sensibilities. This meant that nostalgia for his imagined past life as the coureur des bois had to be conditioned by an understanding of the coureur as an agent of economically developing Canada, and of colonising the land by pioneering European exploration and settlement. Though he was a builder of empire, the coureur was also a necessarily transient figure, because he was also emblematic of Canada’s childhood. To the 19th century, anglicised perspective, the coureur was indulgently passionate, anarchic, unrefined, uneducated -- characteristic of the French premodern, ancien régime.
Canada’s memory of himself as a coureur persisted throughout the 20th century, as popular culture and marketing transformed the mythic figure into a commodity. To cope with being overlooked by his peers in the West, Canada takes pride in imagining himself as somebody who could easily retreat into nature, and willingly become invisible and forgotten about. Much like how the voyageurs and coureurs built the foundations of his nation with raw muscle alone, he believed that his role regarding his closest allies, America and Western Europe, was to provide raw strength. He would throw his support behind Britain’s wars throughout the first half of the century, and align his foreign and economic policy with that of the United States throughout the second half. From populating his arctic regions with Inuit communities and military bases to defend against possible Soviet attacks, to providing the uranium for his American brother to build nuclear weapons, Matthew’s relationship with the vast geography and sparse population generally came to be a matter of strategizing to help hold together the North Atlantic alliance. As voyageurs upheld the fur trade as well as France’s imperial presence in North America, Canada knew he had his own role in upholding the pre-eminence of “capitalist democracy” in the world. Though this role did not have the kind of fame or infamy that the voyageurs and coureurs had at their time, he recognized that they worked in the background, and operated in lesser known realms.
As tends to be with myths, the story of the voyageur or coureur distorted history, for the sake of making the history palatable for present tastes. In reality, Matthew himself did not participate in the fur trade at its height in the 17th century. During the 17th century Matthew was very small, and lived mostly in the French settlements. The adventure of the voyageur life enthralled him, and voyageurs themselves, tending to appear carefree and friendly to children, were some of his favourite people to interact with. But accounts of the perils of their profession frightened him somewhat as well, and he wasn’t unaffected by the tendency to moralise about their lifestyles. Ultimately, 17th century Matthew’s general understanding of the voyageur’s role was that they were servants to European fads. Just like Canada himself, the voyageur wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for France’s desire to be the one answering to the very pedestrian, European demand for fashionable hats.
Notes on fashion details:
General: Non-fashionable work-clothing differed from that in France to suit the weather and environment in Quebec. Clothing was influenced by Aboriginal garb. A capot, an overcoat made from a woolen blanket, would be worn in the winter, but winter is quickly transitioning into spring here, and so Matthew is wearing a buckskin jacket as a top instead.
Ceinture fléchée: the “arrow sash,” a woollen sash woven with a colourful arrow motif, is worn around his waist. The finger weaving technique used to make these sashes was learnt from Aboriginal people, and represented a syncretism of the weaving techniques of eastern Aboriginal peoples and French-Canadians. The ceinture fléchée was adopted as Métis cultural dress. I imagine Matthew keeps old ceinture fléchées as cherished mementos.
Moccasin: Shoes historically worn by Aboriginal peoples across North America, and having been typically worn outside, they were made of animal skins and would be durable and functional. The moccasin’s use in the winter would be to provide the foot warmth, and fit it easily into a snowshoe.