I got the idea for writing this post whilst listening to our venerable blog administrator, Amanda Ward, and Mike & Joao from The Cantina Cast podcast having a heart-to-heart about some of the trials they’ve had to deal with in life, and, most relevantly, how Star Wars helped them or was somehow influential in those dark moments. I want to talk about a couple of things that I believe are a part of the Star Wars fandom (like depression, and trying to be more positive). The reason why they’re a part of the Star Wars fandom is because they’re a part of our everyday lives. And no matter what’s going on inside us, whether we’re happy as Ewoks in a forest or waving around and cussing like the Sithspittiest Sith lords, our feelings and thoughts tend to seep into whatever it is we’re involved in. And that’s why I think they need to be addressed, if but briefly, here in the fandom, because that galaxy far, far away is only a pleasant refuge if we (pardon this Star Trek-ism) make it so.
Let me start off by telling you a little bit about what I’ve been going through lately. Long story short, I’ve been having some health problems, and every time I think they’re going away, some new and previously nonexistent development crops up, and back to the doctor I go. It’s nothing REALLY serious, like cancer or anything (thank God!), but the medicine that I have to take costs over $400. In addition, this particular affliction that I have seems to be preventing me from being able to eat normal “unhealthy” food, like bread (whimpers) and chips and dairy.
Needless to say, for the past few days (in fact, probably for a while now, though it’s gotten much worse of late) I have been depressed. I haven’t talked to my parents much (to put this in perspective: when I’m in a good mood, I tend to be a chatterbox). I’ve gotten mad at inanimate objects. I’ve even said “damn it” twice (SHUT YOUR EYES AND EARS, CHILDREN), which is something, because I usually don’t say anything worse than “crap.” And I’ve just been mad. Fortunately, I haven’t really shown anger towards other people, apart from some impatience, but I have still just been plain ANGRY. And it’s not been fun.
I know that these symptoms probably sound kind of PG-rated compared to some of the other ways people show their bad feelings. But bad feelings are bad feelings. No matter what you’re going through, whether it’s a health issue or just a bad day, depression is NEVER good. Negativity is NEVER good. Being mad at anything and everything is NEVER good.
How do you get rid of that depression, that negativity, that anger?
Well, for starters, you could somebody about it.
I told my parents about my recent struggles. Well, I pretty much just said, “I’m sorry I’ve been grumpy lately.” But then I proceeded to tell them how I was mad at how I didn’t seem to be getting better, etc., and you know what? That little confession helped me. It made me feel better. Then later, I actually tweeted about this little confession on Twitter. And the support that followed from my Star Wars Twitter friends was so heart-warming, so lovely.
Now, just take a moment to think of how wonderful the Star Wars fandom is. People who are thousands of miles apart, united by a passion for the same science fiction fantasy franchise, can reach out to each other and make each other feel good when they’re down. Even a simple MTFBWY (May The Force Be With You) hashtag is uplifting, because you know that the person who sent it cares. You know that, even though they don’t know you outside of Star Wars, that person is your friend. That person is another human being who is transcending distance and anonymity to say, “I’m sorry you’re not feeling well, and I hope you get better soon.”
Isn’t that marvelous? Who knew that such positivity, such kindness and good deeds could result from a social media fan circle?
It is marvelous. And I think that we should take advantage of this blessing, this opportunity to do good. I know that we’ll probably forget (because that’s what humans do, forget, requiring us to be reminded over and over again), but when you think about it: try to be positive on Twitter, or Facebook, or your blog, or the forum, or however you dip your toes into the Star Wars fandom. Say an encouraging word to a friend. Agree to disagree. Be open-minded. And most of all, have fun. Star Wars is supposed to be a positive outlet, a delightful concoction of friendship and self-expression. Let us make it so. Again: I know we’ll forget. Sometimes we’re too tired or too lazy to want to be positive or open-minded. But if we can remember, even for just a little while, that small amount of time is bound to do some good. A little positivity is better than none at all, right?
Also, remember that there may be people out there who are going through something dark or who are having a bad day. For their sakes, as well as our own, we should try and make Star Wars (and every aspect of our lives) a positive thing, a Force for good. This is where the fun begins, after all. And don’t we all want to have fun in Star Wars? Aren’t we all united in this one thing, this one passion?
Again, sometimes you just can’t bring yourself to be a conscientious do-gooder every second of the day. But a little here and a little there. Don’t judge a good deed by its size (Yoda wouldn’t). And if you’re having a problem and feel like you need to vent, it doesn’t take much. Just a quick Tweet or blog post or message to let somebody know that you’re not feeling well (be they fellow fans or friends or family members or whoever). And we can lift you up. Don’t suffer in silence, alone, like a hermit. That’s only a good thing to do if you’re a Jedi in exile who has to watch over a baby boy from afar (and I don’t think many of us are in that situation). And don’t think that you’re a freak for having bad feelings; on the contrary! It’s natural, all too natural, to get down and in the dumps. But it is also natural to want to be in a better mood, to want to be happy. And this is possible through friendship. We are all just normal human beings, and normal human beings have the power to do so much good through a word, or by just listening to what someone has to say. And I know that if one of my Star Wars friends was having a problem, I would rather them tell me, or at least drop a hint about it, than suffer and get more depressed because they feel they can’t share their burdens with anyone. You CAN share, and it will be okay. We, your fellow fans, are here for you in your darkest Moraband valley. We are all friends, and together we are a Force for good.
After all that, there is only one more thing left to say….
The Force will be with you. Always.