Three Challenges that Star Wars Helped Me OvercomeApril 01, 2016
It's no secret that Star Wars resembles a symbol of hope to many people for many different reasons. No matter where you come from, what you believe, or who you choose to be, there will always be a character in Star Wars that shares the same experiences and struggles that you've faced. I'm fortunate to live a happy and healthy life, but just like everyone else, I deal with emotional struggles on a daily basis too. Star Wars has helped me through many personal challenges and I'd like to share with you three examples of how different characters in Star Wars have showed me how to be strong in tough situations.
Being Content With Feeling Alone- It Gets Better
As soon as Rey started licking her plate of veg-meat and polystarch in The Force Awakens, I felt an instant connection with her. There was something about her innocence of being alone and unembarrassed of licking her plate that made me smile. At that moment, we saw Rey in a vulnerable state of being content with her loneliness. I haven't been living on my own since a young age like Rey has endured, but I did have an uncomfortable transition moving from home to a university a couple years ago. During my freshman year, I didn't get along with my roommates, I ate by myself every day in the dining hall, and I didn't go out with friends like everyone else did. Making friends didn't come natural to me because I was the "weird Star Wars girl" to all of my classmates and couldn't relate to my peers who only spoke about drinking and partying. I have an amazing fiancé and a wonderful best friend who serve as my support system on tough days, but unfortunately both of those special people in my life live many hours away from me and it's hard to have dinner with someone over the phone.
Seeing Rey make a home out of an abandoned AT-AT, scavenging every day just to get by, and defend herself in dangerous situations spoke volumes to me when I first saw The Force Awakens. Here was this girl exactly my age, who lived all alone with no friends, yet she got up every day and didn't cry about how alone she may have felt. Rey taught me to be content with feeling alone and vulnerable sometimes. She also showed me that in the end, good things will happen to good people and you will eventually make friends- oftentimes with the most unexpected people. Finn instantly befriended Rey upon meeting her on Jakku and proved his loyalty to her when he was determined to find her on Starkiller Base. Despite my emotionally tough freshman and sophomore years, I have made friends with people like Finn who came from completely different backgrounds than me but befriended me out of pure kindness and love. Rey taught me that it's okay to feel alone sometimes because you won't feel like that forever.
Realizing that People Change- and You Can't Control It
It hurts to see a loved one after a long time apart and realize that they are not the same person you shared a bond with for many years of your life. Even though she may not understand why her master turned to the dark side, Ahsoka's refusal to leave Vader in the crumbling Sith temple was a sign of strength and compassion. Ahsoka has taught me to never give up on those you love because their true self might not be gone forever. She may never see the light in Vader again, but we know that Vader's good side was redeemed before his life ended. It gives me hope to know that even though this special person in my life has changed for now, that doesn't mean they will be changed forever. Most importantly, Ahsoka has showed me that it's not your fault when someone you love transforms into a different person. There are some things that you don't have the capabilities to control, and that's okay.
Strengthening Family Relationships
Hera Syndulla's relationship with her father Cham was strained when she decided to join the rebellion against the Empire rather than join the Twi'lek resistance struggle. In the Star Wars Rebels episode titled Homecoming, Hera was reunited with her father after not speaking with him for years. This episode hit me in a tender spot because I've always had a tough time seeing eye-to-eye with my father. We have different views on touchy subjects and we don't share much in common. When I was growing up, my dad showed his love for me by providing food on the table every night and a safe home for me to live in, which I was very fortunate to have, but I always felt that he was too busy with work to pay attention to me. After putting forth an effort over and over to find a connection with my dad, I eventually felt defeated and told myself I would never bother my dad for attention again.
By the end of Homecoming, Hera admits that she learned to be a leader by watching her father and he expresses that he's proud of his daughter. This exchange meant a lot to me because it signified that even though you might go years without speaking to your parents, it's never too late to work on a relationship and try improve the situation. Hera's story encouraged me to reach out again to my dad and express to him that I felt like he missed out on a great majority of my childhood because he was too focused on work. Since then, we've found hobbies that we both enjoy doing and we talk more frequently than ever before. Hera and Cham's relationship showed me that it's okay to not have a naturally great relationship with your father. Sometimes strong relationships take a lot of effort and time to build.
No matter what struggles you may be facing in life, it's always a good idea to step back and remember that everyone deals with similar challenges every day. There are plenty of characters in Star Wars that suffer from the same burdens that we try to hide from our peers. Don't be discouraged by heartache- there is always hope.