Today is World Mental Health Day, and if I were a better person, I'd probably post about my own mental health, about how I fought against the very idea of depression and anxiety for so long because I had been raised to feel that it was a weakness to acknowledge it. About how when I finally realized that something was really, truly wrong with me, I'd been secretly sleeping my entire days away for months. About how I went to my doctor and cried and told him that I had nothing to be sad about and yet I was just so sad and tired of everything. About how he gave me a pill and I slowly started to feel better. About how there are still good days and bad days, but rarely an I-need-to-hide-from-my life day, anymore. If I were a better person, I'd tell you to never give up, never feel like you are weak or that you have nothing to be sad about. If I were a better person, I'd tell you that depression and anxiety aren't really about sadness or worry, they're actually completely about chemicals in your brain. And lets face it, this world that we live in, this 2017 world, it's so full of garbage and toxicity that it's no wonder every person on the planet isn't chemically out of wack. There are better people to listen to about this. There are people who know more and have been through far more than I have, and I've read some truly devastating and uplifting stories on Twitter, today. I hope that if you are struggling, you'll reach out to someone - a doctor, a friend, a helpline, anyone. There is help and you are worth finding it.
But since I'm not a better person, I'm going to use Day 203's post to talk about the new trailer for The Lost Jedi. Hokey religions and ancient weapons are pretty much my bag, and I've had a fondness for Star Wars since I was little. I remember the first time that I really sat down and watched the whole original Trilogy, back to back. It was on TBS, probably 1989 or 1990. I was maybe 12 or 13, but I stayed up all night, racing to the bathroom when the commercials were on, just so I wouldn't miss a scene. I had watched all three of the movies separately, but I guess the whole picture hadn't really clicked for me. Not until that viewing. And when Vader announced that he was Luke's father, I cried. When Leia said "I love you," I cried. When Han was frozen in carbonite, I cried. Watching Star Wars, that night, I was changed. I firmly believe that I first really learned about storytelling, that night. I saw the entire character arcs of the first trilogy and I realized how vast and beautifully developed the world is. The movies aren't perfect, but they are so much a part of our shared history, our shared mind-canon, that they feel real.
And that's why I cried when I watched the new trailer. Han is gone, but there's still Luke, there's still Chewie. When Carrie Fisher's General Leia came on the screen, my heart hurt. She was a role model before girls had role models in the movies. She was smart and tough, witty and sexy. She was in control, and I worshiped her. Probably still do, a little. But I'm struck by the fact that these characters -- my old friends -- have aged. There is gray in their hair and wrinkles line their faces. They've lived a life that has damaged them, even perhaps broken them. And again, that makes them even more real. The fact that Leia and Han split up after the loss of their son, Ben, is so achingly true and honest, because what could be harder than that? The fact that Luke abandoned the world out of fear that he would lead another astray is so painful, so real, that my throat grew tight when I first saw him in the trailer.
Their hearts have been broken. Their trust has been tested. Their love wasn't enough to make everything better and perfect. They have suffered, and some have died. More will suffer, perhaps more will die. They have lived, and so few Hollywood films really give us the grit and glory of aging.
And though I know it's a movie, and I know that my life will go on -- that twelve-year-old part of me that stayed up all night finally understanding the scope of the original trilogy is getting scared. Will the good guys win? Will balance be brought to the force, and if so, is that a good thing? Will we watch Kylo Ren murder his mother, or his uncle, the way he killed Han? Will Chewbacca survive? Will the Millennium Falcon be destroyed? It feels like old friends are falling under the weight of too much despair.
It's all just so very 2017, and I need a new bit of hope. Maybe it's Rey, Poe and Finn, but I'm not counting Luke and Leia out, just yet. If they are struck down, they'll become more powerful than you can imagine.