Star Wars Celebration Diary
I saw it, guys. The heart of the entirety of Star Wars Celebration and possibly the pulse of the whole UNIVERSE- y’all ready for this?
Wait, isn’t that a subject a lot of us hardcore sci-fi horror/niche collector dudes tend to avoid? Probably, and for me, personally? Definitely! Explaining your personal fandom and dedication to a fictional universe can be weird. Breaking down how that driving passion has equated to thousands of dollars spent on said genre’s collectibles/affiliated conventions/movie tickets/ vacation hours, to a family member can be even weirder. As super fans, if we’re not met with acceptance, outing ourselves can be a downright frustrating and borderline shameful experience. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna dwell here in the super Realm of the Super Emo, so you can take your Kylo Ren helmets off now. There’s a silver lining.
Let me start at the beginning by admitting something. I’m balls deep in a self-help book right now. Tough to admit? Yes. What’s even tougher to admit? I literally washed said self-help book in a load of laundry and had to wait ten days for it to fully dry out before I could read it. I have pictures of it on a clothes line, I can prove my claim. But, the important thing isn’t what happened to this book, the traumas it survived, what’s important is the stuff inside.
The now-puffy-from-waterlogging book in question is Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. It’s all about vulnerability and opening yourself up. How to work through shame and shit that holds us back as human beings. Growing up I used to read Christian devotionals every morning, or at least on the mornings where I was trying to pull a favor from my parents later on that day (ie: Saturday AND Sunday sleepovers, unheard of). This would entail setting aside a little slice of time between seven and eight a.m. to read a Bible verse and some accompanying text found inside a book entitled something like “The New Testament for TEENS!”. Each devotional was generally a one to two paragraph analysis of the scripture. I was usually pretty bored by the stories but enjoyed the question prompts at the end. I’ve always liked analyzing shit. This practice still has merit, even if the original source material does not.
Since washing, hanging, waiting, and finally now reading through the opening chunk of Daring Greatly in little slices over the last few days, I’ve had some personal, Star Wars-related revelations. The most recent one happened on a run I was just sweating through before sitting down to write this. While pumping through my neighborhood, and admiring local cats, I looked up towards the outstretched tree limbs and, WHAM! It struck me. I guess that’s how The Force works. You see, I was listening to Bad Lip Reading videos on YouTube, specifically Bushes of Love, and I received this mini epiphany: Luke Skywalker had weird shit with his family. He had really shitty parents (at least one). Rey’s parents ditched her. Kylo/Ben Solo obviously has some stuff going on. Also, let’s not forget, Luke kissed his sister at one point.
What I’m trying to say is that the whole Star Wars Saga is rooted in familial ties, the drama that spirals out from that emotional strain, and how those rifts can affect an entire galaxy.
Now, hold up, before we all reach for our Kylo helmets one more time and fill the bathtub up for a long soak, lemme finish. As I was out on this run, rockin’ and rollin’ to the greatest Bad Lip Reading hits, things continued clicking. I’ve always thought of Dragon Con and other big gatherings of fans as family reunions. I’ve used that phrase passively up until exactly thirty minutes ago when I was sweating to Seagulls (full disclosure, I was dance-running at this point). FAMILY REUNION! But I thought family was super stressful?! Here’s the secret:
Family isn’t stressful when it’s a family that you’ve put together yourself.
Much like the misfits, scallywags, and latchkey kids that populate George Lucas’s lived-in universe, the fans who populate the community dedicated to it are also just looking for a place to call home. I’m not saying that everyone who’s into Star Wars, or Ghostbusters, or Stephen King is lacking a family unit, or in some way incomplete. Far from it. What I am saying is that the authors of these stories were writing from real places about the desire to connect, to be vulnerable and feel acceptance. Ergo the fans who gravitate to the subject material are likely to be connecting with it’s themes and aligning with that mission statement. The family you’re born into can sometimes be stressful, why not get out there and cobble your own? Connecting through message boards, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype with like minded individuals is one way to construct your own unit. Care packages, keeping an eye out for a fellow collector, group messages, and heartfelt comments are all practices I enjoy keeping. This is the glue that keeps us fans together and this is the shit, my friends, that I’m stoked to celebrate this weekend. I’m literally thinking right now of one of those iconic shots of the whole gang inside the Millennium Falcon as I type this. Banded together for a common goal, a common good despite flaws, lineage, history, and background. Ragtag and stronger for it.
I’m heading into Star Wars Celebration this weekend with an open heart. I started writing this Diary last week because I felt like I needed to confess. But now I realize that’s just the home-schooler in me. Treating everything like a final that I have to cram for. Over the last week I’ve immersed myself fully. I finally acquired a bathing suit, several themed tank tops, and one collapsable R2-D2 backpack. I feel prepared. There are more faces in Orlando right now that I’m excited to see than I can count on both hands. Two days and one six hour car ride, that’s all I have to get through. I think we all feel this way, maybe the same way that Leia’s Theme tugs at our heartstrings. We can’t not cry. It’s okay to let it all out guys, we’re family.
See y’all in two days!
Check out Volume 1! — YHS Star Wars Celebration Diaries: Volume 1