This post is inspired by my friend Anthony DeVergillo. Anthony is an optimistic person, despite having Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A few weeks ago, he wrote a post entitled “We Are X-Men” on his own blog. I loved it so much, so I decided to do a similar Buffy the Vampire Slayer themed post. And since Buffy’s friends referred to themselves as the Scoobies, I had my title.
Buffy Summers and her friends started out in life as “normal” kids – they didn’t have huge secrets, they didn’t have magical powers, and they weren’t battling the forces of darkness on a daily basis. One day, after she turns fifteen, Buffy is approached by a strange man on the steps of her school. The man is Merrick, who is her first Watcher (Slayer trainer/adviser). He tells her that there isn’t much time and that she must come with him. Her destiny awaits. Buffy says she doesn’t have a destiny – she’s destiny-free. Merrick replies that she does have a destiny, that she is the Chosen One. He says she alone can stop them. She asks who. “The vampires,” Merrick replies. Buffy responds in a typical teenage fashion: “Huh?” Merrick has to show her that he is serious as all get out – and he does this by taking her to a cemetery after dark. Welcome to your new life, Buffy. Try not to die, okay?
What defines a hero, or in this case, a heroine? Bravery. Strength. Resourcefulness. A sense of humor about circumstances. Passion. All of which Buffy the Vampire Slayer has in spades. These are the characteristics that I hope I convey to those around me. When the going gets tough, or scary, or whatever, what would Buffy do? She would put on her resolve face and always, always, always come out the other side. This is what makes the show so inspiring for me.
From the young age of 7, I knew that there was something to this writing thing. I could do it and presto! Be understood. It was magic. It made me feel powerful. My power lies not in strength in body and not in superpowers, but in words.
You think you know. What’s to come, what you are… You haven’t even begun. (The First Slayer, speaking through Tara, “Restless”)
In tandem with what Anthony said in his post, there are times when we feel completely alone, when we think no one’s on our side. I’ve certainly felt this way more often than not. I know in moments of clarity that I am not alone – I am surrounded by light and love. Darkness does creep in, especially when I am feeling restless or impatient. I think I know what’s going to happen in 5 minutes, or tomorrow, or next week, or at any given time in the future, but the truth is, I don’t. Not at all. When she was in high school, Buffy Summers felt like she was an outcast because she had this huge secret that could get people killed if they knew about it. I could sympathize with that – I had a secret too. I still have it. My heart and my mind are my biggest assets. I am nothing without them.
In the third season episode, “Helpless,” Buffy’s eighteenth birthday is fast approaching, and Giles (her second Watcher) has a problem. The Watchers’ Council in England has been putting pressure on him: if Slayers made it to their eighteenth birthday, it was custom to strip them of their powers without their knowledge or consent and place them in position to fight a feral vampire. Or at least, Buffy’s vampire was feral. Giles betrays Buffy in the worst possible way, almost getting her killed. Obviously, she survives, but not before wondering what life would be like for her if she never got her powers back. What if she can’t fight back against the darkness and has to spend her nights hiding under her bed? Luckily, it doesn’t come to that. And luckily, she is eventually able to forgive Giles for betraying her.
Likewise, if I didn’t have my writing, I wouldn’t have a voice at all. I would be stuck. Trapped. Unable to move forward. When I am writing, I feel like I’m actually a part of this world. Like I’m going somewhere. Doing what we are born to do in life frees us in a way nothing else can. Like Buffy’s friends, namely Willow and Xander, I can be a Scooby. I can make the world a better place, or at least die trying. The excuses I need to stand up – they’re all there right in front of me. I see them clearly. And when I try to ignore them, they grow bigger. They demand more from me. I have tried not writing. I have tried to push it down. It doesn’t work. For one thing, when I don’t write, when I don’t let everything out that I’m holding in, I get really depressed. Having this outlet is a necessity for me. In order to live, in order to breathe, I write. And Buffy Summers? In order for her to live and breathe, she slays. Granted, this is not really a fair comparison, because Buffy fights to save the world, and I’m fighting to be heard, to make a difference. It’s not the same thing at all, but I see parts of myself in this character, but more than that, I see who I want to be. Not necessarily a heroine, but someone who sees a need and does her best to fulfill it.