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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Force Has Been With Me All Along

I still remember it vividly like it was yesterday. It’s a high school weekend, and my dad showed me a boxed set of VHS tapes his officemate lent him. It was a trilogy called  Star Wars. Figuring I had nothing else to do, I took the first tape, loaded it into our VHS player, and started watching.

I didn’t stop until the credits to Return of the Jedi rolled.

My next few weekends were spent taking out my tito’s Star Wars VHS boxed set and just watching them whenever I can. I would watch it chronologically, backwards, sideways until the tape was rubbed raw. There was something about this sci-fi epic that resonated with me, even if back then I didn’t understand why. And no, it wasn’t because of Slave Leia.

Then Episode I: The Phantom Menace rolled around, and I remember geeking out at Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber, considered by myself then to be the most awesome thing that was ever invented. Shortly after, my mom bought me a cool glow-in-the-dark Star Wars shirt that I wore so many times it became rattier than a Tusken Raider’s robes. In college, when everybody else was playing Counter-Strike, my friends and I would be playing Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, spending hours after classes force-choking opponents left and right.

But I never, ever identified myself as a Star Wars fan.

And that’s weird. In this day and age where everything is a ‘fandom’, it’s either you are or you are not, and your loyalty is measured by how much time and resources you’ve dedicated to externalizing it. I thought Star Wars was an awesome piece of sci-fi, something that made for nice shirts and toys and games, nothing more…until I saw the second trailer to The Force Awakens, the start of the new Star Wars trilogy by J.J. Abrams.

It was beautiful. It was nostalgic (Han Solo and Chewie reunion!). And more importantly, it opened my mind to something I’ve unconsciously tried to deny all these years.

I LOVE Star Wars.

It took a trailer to the new trilogy to remind me of how much I loved the old one. It reminded me that Star Wars was more than just an awesome sci-fi story. It opened our minds to mankind’s future potential. It gave us our love for lightsabers and flashy lightsaber fights, of Sith Lords and Jedi Masters. It gave us a story of hope and redemption, of life lessons that will never grow old or dated, which means Star Wars will always be relevant no matter what the generation. And with The Force Awakens, my generation can finally have a Star Wars film we can truly claim as our own.

I understood now, after all this time. Star Wars was a formative part of my geekhood, and the feeling of finally accepting that takes me back to my teenage years, back to the weekends watching and enjoying the original trilogy over and over. In a way, I never really stopped. You might say the force has been with me all along.

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This post was originally published in the May 4, 2015 edition of the Business Mirror.

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