slight Voltron spoilers
It is very, very interesting to me that Keith talks about Shiro the way that he does. Not necessarily in a ship type way, but also the ramifications that that has for Keith’s character as a whole.
Because Shiro is indisputably and unarguably Keith’s rock. And if you are someone who suffers from some type of anxiety and depression, your rock is something you depend on utterly to help you keep things together. Your rock is the one you turn to when your world is falling apart; and if they are taken away from you, your world falls apart without them.
It’s funny, because to me, Keith is definitely a character that at the very least has some severe anxiety, especially socially. I know that fandom doesn’t really talk about it much, but it’s true. Some aspects that have lead me to think so are:
- The way that he generally separates (protects) himself from other people through his body language, especially at first.
- The way that he tends to try to be near Shiro, who is the only person we see him really allowing himself to rely on.
- The way that he tries to pick up his social cues from Shiro.
- The way that he isn’t typically rude (unless falling apart), but also doesn’t typically tend to add to the conversation unless he has something important to say when meeting new people.
- The way that there are times when he still has a tendency to self isolate, even from the team. (Such as by standing/sitting away from them and sometimes preferring to be alone rather than with the others.)
- The way that he has a very hard time trusting that other people like or care about him.
The last two are especially important, because I think they are at the heart of Keith’s character. And as someone with severe social anxiety, I recognize them as things I do often.
Here’s the thing: people will say that Keith trying to break away from the team or acting like no one but Shiro cares is selfish. That he cares only about what happens to himself.
Here’s what I feel is the truth: at least a part of Keith genuinely believes that, besides Shiro, the rest of the team won’t care. He doesn’t truly feel that they care about him, because up until Shiro Keith’s life has been a series of people leaving or not caring about him. He never knew his mother. His father is gone. He probably never had a supportive foster family, and canon indicates there was none that actually treated him like he was their family. The Garrison just throws him away like trash because he doesn’t handle Shiro’s disappearance well. Even with Voltron, his relationship with Lance isn’t the best at first.
So Keith definitely has reason to have issues when it comes to trusting that people are going to care enough to want him around. Hell, being in the foster care system alone can give you those types of issues. And as someone with severe social anxiety, I can tell you a fact: people can tell me that they care about me a thousand times over and I will have a hard time believing it. Not because I don’t trust those people, or because I think that they are dishonest. Not because I don’t care about those people, because I genuinely do. But because I don’t trust their ability to care about myself. Because I don’t think I deserve for them to care about me, and because people have left me before.
I think that Keith is the same way. He cares about this team deeply, perhaps even loves them. But he can’t really see how they care about him because
A. Part of him thinks that he doesn’t deserve to be cared about, especially by people that he respects.
B. Believing that they care, and then later finding out that they don’t care, or don’t care about him as much as he would like them to is terrifying to him.
C. It is therefore likely much easier for him to care about someone with no expectations, then expecting them to care and being gutted when/if they don’t.
D. It is probably very hard for him to believe that he can have more people than Shiro care about him; he doubtlessly feels very lucky to have gotten Shiro’s affection, and asking for more may seem like an impossible dream to him.
None of these are particularly the team’s fault, but are Keith’s own insecurities. Insecurities that are going to cause him to react in ways that may seem ‘selfish’ or rude sometimes. Insecurities that are going to cause him to do things like considering leaving the team until Shiro points out they need him for Voltron. Insecurities that are going to mean that he will lash out when thinking that he’s lost the only person who will ever care enough to try to find him if he is lost.
At the end of the day, Keith is just a broken boy who is doing the best that he can.
Think of that a bit before you call him 'selfish’ for his reaction.