So…this being the YEAR of Star Wars, and with Force Friday upon us, I have decided to take it upon myself to write something a little more heartfelt about my first love. When I was a kid, I wasn’t very well-received by society (like most of us in the geek community). I was picked on, bullied, and all around disliked. I turned inward, and started enjoying things outside of the typical “baseball cards, bike riding, and football” that little boys are supposed to be into. I was into video games, I got into Pokemon cards (although this was later), but the ONE thing I loved more than anything else was Star Wars.
I remember vividly sitting down in the living room one afternoon, and a channel came on with Return of the Jedi. It was my first experience with this vast universe, and I was INSTANTLY hooked. I asked my dad what it was, he told me, and from then on I was a RABID little beast, devouring all I could of this epic saga. Lightsabers, blasters, figures, masks, ships (I STILL have my old Millenium Falcon, albeit without the cover for the back portion, and missing some figures). Hell…I still have my old brass challenge coin from the limited edition TIE Fighter that came out in the mid-90’s. I have owned almost every incarnation of the physical releases of the films (still trying to find the Betamax ORIGINALS, but alas…) since the Special Edition was released (I started watching the films PRE-SE, though). I devoured everything I could of the (now defunct) Expanded Universe (as many novels as I could get my hands on, comics, video games, etc).
Needless to say…I was a FAN.
The Star Wars universe was a safe haven, an escape for me in some of my darkest times (as I’m sure it was for a LOT of us). As I grew older, and went through a dark period, the redemption of Darth Vader at the end of ROTJ gave me hope for my own redemption. Star Wars, for a very long time (and still to this day) is one of the only things I could ever get TRULY excited about. I lose my inhibitions (and adult trappings), and for a brief moment I’m ten years old again, watching Luke Skywalker duel his father for the fate of the galaxy, and his soul, with wide, wondrous eyes. The joy I experience when in the midst of a heated lightsaber battle, an intense discussion, or learning about some part of the universe I’ve yet to hear or experience knows no bounds.
Star Wars has, and always will be, my everything.
Now that I’m grown and have a child of my own, the joy has only increased. We read Goodnight, Darth Vader frequently at bedtime. She shoots me with Han Solo’s blaster, and I deflect the blast away with my lightsaber (until she informs me I’m not supposed to survive). She loves pointing out who’s who on my collection of shirts, books, magazines, and shelves of figures. My wife and I can’t WAIT to take her to the premiere of Episode VII. And when the lights dim in the theater, and she and I sit on the edge of our seats watching the words scroll across the screen for the first time for her, and for a long time for me, I will thank God for allowing me to experience joy on a level not many will ever see.