For years now, I’ve been in a funk. Nothing too bad but its been a strange old time for battling with depression, hiding my true feelings and pushing away those who wanted to help. It’s sucked, but I’m happy to report that I’m getting better! That isn’t the point of this article, but it is a part of it. My reaction to feeling rubbish was to cling to certain things, to create an image of myself, most prevalent of all was my “Viking” style and persona, I ramped up the aggression in my words and grew out my beard, covering myself in Nordic rune tattoos (and disappointing my poor mother in the process) I went all in on what I assumed people saw me as, not realising that as I crafted this look, I MADE people see me like this.
The reality of the situation is, I’m not that guy, sure I think Norse mythology is rad as hell, but I think the same about most of the mythologies out there… you have a super team of gods? I’m probably going to be all over that. What I am, is a pop culture nerd, I love movies, games, anime, board games and collections. For too long I’ve tried to downplay that aspect of my personality to many people, in some vague attempt to be this aloof cool guy that can intimidate, but why? What made me want to actively scare people away? I wish I could say, so since I can’t I thought I’d use my platform here at Respawning to wax lyrical about all the things that genuinely being me joy in this mixed bag of pop culture the world has!
Check out below my 3 favourite things in pop culture that I’m no longer bothering to be cool about my love for! Things that changed who I am as a person and helped me evolve into something I can be prouder of recently.
Absolutely no surprises here, Star Wars has always been a major part of my life, It is directly responsible for me getting my first ever proper friend (who I still talk to nearly 25 years on!). Star Wars taught me early on about what right and wrong should be and that you should always fight the good fight, all wrapped up in crazy space battles and duels with laser swords to enamour little nerdy me. As a kid I found Star Wars to be an escape, I had an excellent childhood and was raised with nothing but love and never wanted for anything really, but outside of the family home I was a shy and reserved kid, which may shock those who know me now! So more often than not I played alone and created my own worlds in my head, which turned out to be very similar to the world created by George Lucas in Star Wars. I wanted nothing more than to be among the stars with a close band of friends and adventures ahead, and a lightsaber on my hip wouldn’t go amiss! My love of the adventures in a galaxy far far away have not dipped since then and if anything, have become even more intense, I now have Star Wars tattoos and my home is decorated with many fighters on pedestals, it’s a safety blanket series, a guaranteed way to make me smile regardless of how tough life can get or beat me down. Cup of tea, feet up and stick on Empire Strikes Back and watch my worries melt way.
Also not much of a surprise to anyone who has read my previous works, I first got into DBZ when I was living with my family in the USA. A then brand new series on Toonami, Dragon ball blew me away, the fights were amazing, the characters were hilarious and the world was one I desperately wanted to live in (though admittedly I hadn’t seen any of the moments of the Earth being destroyed yet…) DBZ, like Star Wars before it, amazed me and once again taught me a few life lessons I’ve held on to since then. A willingness to forgive those who wrong me and grow, a joy of the simple things in life and, as much as people doubt it when I admit it, a key reason for why I don’t often drink!
I saw these heroes as far more than those in DC or Marvel comics and TV shows, these were kind hearted protective warriors who trained hard for what they had, there was no darkness in their hearts to drag them down or slow them, they fought because it was right and the world needed them too, and I respected that even as a child. I still do in fact and there I a poster of a battle worn Goku & Vegeta above my bed to remind me every morning to keep fighting regardless of the odds.
I know I know, he’s a boy scout, he’s the most boring super hero, he’s TOO strong blah blah blah! I’ve heard it all when I tell people that Supes is my consistently favourite hero. Ask me to rank my favourite heroes and I’ll probably mess with it in some form, all dependent on my mood at the time, but Superman is always there at the back of my mind, the perfect embodiment of a hero. Strong, smart, brave and selfless. There is a reason why so many comics and stories flirt with the idea of Supes going rogue, because the idea is just that shocking. He’s the best of all of us! How can he be evil! It sucks as a fan to see people losing their minds and getting excited for all these evil iterations of a hero I love to see being the last and best line of defense, who cares so much for his adopted world!
There we have it, the key parts of pop culture that I love, that bring me joy and calm in the rough ocean that can be my mind at times. I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way, like you have so much in your mind that you want to love of tell people about, but you can’t because they’ll think you are silly or a sad act. Don’t let that mentality fester though, embrace your interests and find people who do love these things or similar as much as you do. Find joy and hold on to it!
And most importantly
The Force will be with you, Always…