2018 was…let’s just say it was hard. I struggled a lot – either with school, mental stability, reconciling the past, finding a job, etc. I could go on further detailing how hard it was, but that is not useful.
With the release of Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi, I thought it would be appropriate to share why I love Star Wars so much and why I am so passionate about it.
When I was four or five, I went to live with my grandparents. My biological parents wanted nothing to do with us and were going to kill us. Not to get too morbid, but I needed to say that to set the scene.
My older sister, my younger brother, and myself moved in with my grandmother. Now her and her partner were old (You know, since she is a grandmother!), so I did not grow up watching the late 1990s and early 2000s iconic Disney animated films. I watched the news, John Wayne movies, Indiana Jones, some other older movies that obviously I forgot, and Star Wars. I watched the original trilogy as many times as possible. I loved it.
As a child, I loved flight, rockets, and spaceships. Growing up, I was enamored with the Space Shuttle program. I desperately wanted to be an astronaut. I was given a book that had designs of jet engines, jet designs, and rocket engines. I just wanted to know how they worked and make one myself. To this day, I am still heavily interested in flight, rockets, and military jet fighters (yes, I know this reinforces the nerd stereotype). Watching Star Wars and seeing X-Wings, Y-Wings, and Tie fighters fly in attack formation and engage the enemies was a wish fulfilled.
I loved the lightsabers and the droids, but I was extremely drawn to the Force. As a five year old I once prayed to have the Force after my grandmother put me to bed. You cannot believe the disappointment I felt that next morning. I totally thought God hated me. (I am still bitter about that!)
However, I was drawn to Star Wars since the whole trilogy is focused on a boy who becomes the hero despite having lived with other family members since his father abandoned him. I was a cast off; my parents abandoned me. I was not the most well-liked in school and was extremely chubby; this combination tends one to not have many friends.
I desperately wanted to feel special, to feel like being abandoned all happened for a reason, to feel empowered knowing that another reject could save the galaxy. I was looking for an escape from reality. I was looking for hope.
It was comforting watching Luke Skywalker be the key to the end of the Empire’s oppression. He was the last hope for the Jedi; he was the key to bringing balance to the Force. Seeing him be the hero gave me courage to set my sights on bigger things, to make a difference in this world and not be another nobody.
To me, Star Wars is about a boy’s journey from reject to hero, from fatherless to having a redeemed father, from hopeless to hopeful. It gave me strength and hope when I thought I was cursed and damned.
Star Wars has this special place in my heart for how it saved me as a child. This is why no matter the direction of the franchise, I will always be eager for any films that are produced.
Childhoods are built on hope, and Star Wars gave me something I never thought I could have, a new hope.