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HYS #19 BeniAnla/ #UnderstandMe

This episode broke me. It is exquisitely done, portraying real, human emotions of two people in a relationship who have to navigate their fears, insecurities, anger, desires, compassion, sense of betrayal - all the while being hopelessly in love. The acting from both Furkan and Aybüke were phenomenal and so very relatable.

When Demir planned the trip, he knew that once Selin came to know the truth, nothing would be the same again. In episode 18, if you watch his expressions from the night before their trip, the wistfulness in his eyes each time he walked away from her was deeply embedded in sorrow; he was dying inside knowing that the innocence of their love was about to be tested. He tried hard to make sure she knew how much he loved her so that she would feel secure in their love, but he still knew that it would be hard for Selin to overcome the truth.

As Selin begins to connect the dots to conclude that Demir shares a history with Eylul, Demir finally tells her the truth that he had been trying to disclose for such a long time. Understandably, her reaction is shock, anger, pain and betrayal. She is deeply hurt that he lied to her for so long, and her possessive heart cannot accept that Demir did not belong to her 100% from the time he walked into her life. During the course of the day, she discovers that he came to Artemim because of Eylul, and that they are living in his childhood home, both sources of deep wounds in his life. She cannot understand his assertion that for him both these steps were a path to closure and that having her in his life has changed everything for him. He is not carrying the burden of his past with him anymore. After a whole day of pushing him away and soul breaking crying, when at night he stands next to her in silence and doesn’t know how to comfort her, the way she reaches for him for a hug was beautiful. In that moment, her struggle was so acutely real. She loved him so completely, still needed to hold him and be held by him, but she is unable to fully overcome the scar on her perfect love story. Given that Eylul is now a part of her sphere and she knows how much Eylul had loved Demir, she cannot help but mull over the fact that Demir and Eylul did not reach the full closure they should have, because of her.

Being a woman who may not have had the breadth of romantic liaisons Demir has had, her head is filled with questioning which of her memories with Demir is in the halo of what he experienced with Eylul, which of her interactions with him remind him of Eylul, which of the ‘firsts’ she experienced with him were really a first? Even though Demir feels responsible for her quandary and empathizes with her grief, he wants to focus on the future they can create together. He wants to hold on to any glimmer of hope that she will not run away from the problem, and ergo run away from him. He tries to reach for her whenever he can but the reality is that Selin is feeling stifled in her situation. She feels that had she known from the beginning all the wounds that Demir was trying to overcome, she could have healed him, grown with him and still have their love story thrive in spite of Eylul. Being in the dark this whole time, she feels deprived of choice and now she is caught between her love and her resentment that Demir decided for her what was important in their relationship and what wasn’t.

Much as I fully understand Selin’s state of mind, I also recognize the danger that as she wallows in her self-righteousness and self-pity, she under-appreciates Demir’s emotional fragility. She is fixated on getting out of the way so that Demir can get his closure with Eylul, even though for him that chapter is permanently closed. She is using her over-active imagination to go into a frenzy as she did with Alara, and all that does is take away from the magic she could be creating with Demir, who stands ready to embrace her fully and keep building their love story. With her blinders on, Selin is so focused on her own pain she is unable to see that for a boy who was abandoned by the most important people in his life, it took him courage to finally tell her the truth about everything even though he faced the risk of losing her. For him, it was his declaration of love. He accepts his past, and all he wants is his future with her. And once she reflects with a calm mind, I hope she will also remember the ways Demir loved her especially after Eylul came back. That he remained silent to help prolong her happiness.

For any relationship to work for the long run, the strongest ingredient is compassion. A desire to understand the other person’s context, desires, motivations and intent. The more we keep trying to mould the other person through the filter of our own experiences, the less we will converge on good communication skills. Selin fell in love with Demir for all of his strengths - someone who was honorable, kind, driven, supportive, good-hearted, childlike in spite of his stern exterior and so many other qualities she admired, but now part of her problem is that she feels she never fully understood Demir’s context, and perhaps that makes her question her love for him. While feeling so betrayed, she doesn’t want to silence her inner voice that wants her to question her commitment to this relationship and Demir. When close to him, she cannot help but reach out for him and that is why she decides to step away, so she can have the space to work through her confused thoughts. I just hope it doesn’t take her too long to realize that without Demir, there is no healing. Only when she gives into her instinct to nurture him and allows him to nurture her back, will they heal together.

In this episode, Furkan’s depiction of Demir was so endearing. He cannot erase his past and he doesn’t want his past to affect his future with Selin. He understands her anger but is doing the right thing by not indulging her constant digging into the details of his relationship with Eylul. All he can do is make her feel loved and help her see that her new knowledge did not change the man she fell in love with. He is still the same Demir, yearning for her in the same way. With each little positive sign from her, where she could not stop herself from reaching for him, he holds her with an eagerness and joy that made me sad. He is still such a little boy at heart, who has to create this aura of confidence and completeness even when he is feeling crushed inside.

As he waits for her to come home that night only to find that she is moving out, he is heart-broken. It reminded me of one of their fights from Episode 11, where Selin walks away from the dinner table because she is nervous about the future of their story in face of Demir’s love ban at work. He had said then, and many times since, that "scream, rant but please never walk away from me". He reiterated to her that he has never loved anyone in his life the way he loved her. After all of the things they have shared, and her promises that she will never leave, to watch her walk away left him defenseless and broken. As was the case when he was a little boy, his love and need for her wasn’t enough to overcome her inner demons, just as it wasn’t enough for his mother.

From the trailer for Episode 20, it is hinted that Demir has finally reached a breaking point. Life’s many circumstances have finally made him feel that he is not good for anyone and he doesn’t wish to be the cause of Selin’s misery any longer. I must admit that I, along with many others in the fandom, cried with that trailer as my heart bled for the Demir the audience got to see but Selin didn’t. I am not one to take sides in a relationship and will be rooting for their success as a couple, who come back together in a mature way where both accept, acknowledge and own the flaws within themselves that keep hurting their relationship. Demir cannot always be indulgent or rigid in the fear of not losing Selin, and Selin cannot claim martyrdom to justify her errant imagination and behavior. For them to work as a couple, they can only work with their strengths and build for the future.

Over the course of a show, some level of resonance with the characters make us relate so deeply with the characters that we begin to feel their pains, joys and sorrows. The intelligent dialogues and scenarios in this show have appealed to me in that manner and keeps drawing me back in. Kudos to the director Ender Mihler and the script writers Deniz Yesilgun and Esra Cetek Yilmazer. I feel it is one of the most underrated Turkish shows at the moment, where there reside many clues for the stereotypical behavioral fallacies within men and women that hurt our relationships. We are shown a slew of characters who are all flawed in some ways but none of them are in pure shades of black or white. I only wish the Turkish audience would support the show with more heart; it is so well-deserved.

Her Yerde Sen airs on Saturdays (previously Fridays) at 8 pm Turkish time, and can be watched live on the FoxTurkiye channel online.

© mh

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