Friday, December 18, 2015

On Why Star Wars is Important to Me (No Spoilers I Promise!)

First, I'm not going to talk about plot or the movie itself.  There are no spoilers described below.  This is because it's not the movie itself that is important, but the role that the movie series had played in my past. 

Allow me to explain...

I was raised in a very protective, conservative, Catholic family.  Go to church on Sundays, Catholic school, sacraments, the entire thing.  I'm also gay.  (Unsurprising I'm sure if you've read anything I've written in the past.)  Growing up with very controlling parents being a gay boy is very difficult, doubly so because of their religious and political leanings.  I am the oldest child, and in being such also dealt with the worst of my parents' controlling nature.  I knew I was different than everyone else from a very young age, but it wasn't until college that I was comfortable being gay-- hell, I didn't even know what gay was (WHAT I WAS) until high school.  I was very, excruciatingly sheltered as a child.  I could write for hours about growing up and the challenges I faced being the gay son to two people who hated gay people, but I'll try to stay on topic.

Star Wars.

Star Wars Episode III came out when I was in high school.  It was also around this time that I seriously needed to get away from my parents.  I had walled them off from my life as much as possible--granting the fact that I still lived in the bedroom next to them in their house.  I was figuring out who I was and it was very, very painful.  I wouldn't say that I was depressed, more like clueless.  I really didn't even know who I was because who I really was was so much different than the person everyone told me I was.

I went to see the Star Wars midnight release on my own.  Up until this point I had never gone anywhere to speak of on my own.  I had just recently gotten my license.  Just recently, I had been allowed to drive my mom's Jeep alone.  I'd just recently began along the long path to understanding and eventually embracing my sexuality.  And no, I didn't go to the movie with some cute guy and made out with him and had a gay ol' time.  I actually went alone.

I had told my parents that I was going with "friends from school".  I lied.  I didn't really have friends from school.  I had a few "school friends", people I would talk to at school occasionally, but no one I knew outside of the classroom at all.  My parents would never let me go do things with kids outside of the immediate neighborhood (ie. the street I grew up on).  But, this time I convinced my mom that I should be able to go.  It took me a long time to work up the courage to even ask.

In getting to go to the movie, it was the first time I was able to break away from my parents in a meaningful way.  It was the first time that I could get away from them and be me.  It was the first step on a long journey into becoming the person I was on the inside.  I liked the movie, but the point wasn't the movie, it was the action of going on my own that was important.  After it was over, I took the long way home so I could soak up the moment of freedom just a little bit longer.  

It was an important first step into being the man I am today and that's why Star Wars holds a meaning to me.  So, I went to see the one that came out tonight and enjoyed myself, but I'll never forget where I came from, the boy that I was.  I'll never forget the struggle it was to embrace the person I was on the inside and to show him to the world outside without fear of persecution (or worse, my parents finding out at the time).  While my story about Star Wars is probably not the same as maybe anyone else's, it is the reason why I treasure the movie franchise.  It was the first in many steps to becoming me.

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