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Buffy The Vampire SlayerBuffy 10th Anniversary Dark Horse Contest : Four more essays
Saturday 14 April 2007, by Webmaster
HERE ARE FOUR OF THE FIVE ESSAYS WHICH WERE SELECTED AS THE RUNNERS-UP IN THE MySPACE/BUFFY IS MY LIFE ESSAY CONTEST. THANKS TO RACHEL, NATANYA, MELISSA, AND LANCE FOR LETTING US RUN THESE!
Buffy changed my life by bringing me even closer to my grandparents. Now, my grandparents, who just celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary, are already very cool folks-they’ve always loved movies where things blow up and they very graciously let me turn them on to Jackie Chan and Tarantino. In return, they introduced me to Buffy.
My first summer home from college, we watched Season One together on tape (they were hipper than I was and had watched them when they first aired, while I cooled my heels in my dorm room, staring at the wall and waiting to become cool). After that, our weekly phone calls started happening on Wednesdays, so that we could talk about the most recent episode. Sometimes, we couldn’t even stand to wait that long and would call on a commercial break to have hysterics.
They’re huge fans. When I told them about Buffy Season 8, they immediately started trying to figure out where the nearest comic book shop in Cleveland was located. It makes me so happy to imagine my grandparents, eighty and eighty-one years old respectively, in their local comics shop, buying Buffy comics. I love to imagine the look on the clerk’s face, you know?
So honestly, while it would be unimaginably cool to be in a Buffy comic myself, it would be that much cooler to put my grandparents in! Seriously, they’re adorable. And it would blow their minds.
How did Buffy change my life? Well, ever since I was a kid, I have been a tomboy. I always thought that I just liked being "one of the guys," until I started watching Buffy. I started watching the show in the middle of the second season, and immediately fell in love with the story lines, the characters, and how it showed that women can be just as empowered as men without actually having to be a man. During the third season, I developed my first "girl crush." Eliza Dushku as Faith caught my eye, and ultimately ended up changing my life. From that point on, I began to look at other women with a new respect and a new outlook. It was then that I realized that I might be gay. When the fourth season rolled around and Willow, my favorite character, started to "dabble" in more than just witchcraft, it actually kind of provided me with a role model in my feelings. Now, eight years later, I am out of the closet and happier than I ever could have imagined. I owe Buffy, and Joss Wedon, so much for showing me that it is okay to be gay, it is ok to be a "nerd," and it is completely possible for a woman to do anything that she sets her mind to and take control of her own life. I would never be who I am today without Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and for that I thank you.
Buffy changed my life most in that it showed me it’s all right to be different. I was always somewhat of an outcast growing up, treated with indifference and cruelty by many of my peers. I was always the smart girl, the tall girl, the overweight girl, so many labels, each one bad to someone, the combination of them, at times, too much to take. And then, during high school, Buffy came along. Here was a strong, independent girl, who played by her own rules in a world that didn’t want her to play at all. She found friends, love, family, a small world close to her that supported her fight, helped her persevere. The people she found were strange in their own ways, but strong too. And maybe the strongest of them all was the one who was the most normal, Xander. He was their rock and he loved them all, despite their differences, stood by no matter what, and helped them through it. A slayer . . . a key . . . a werewolf . . . a couple of witches . . . some vampires . . . a man with maybe the biggest heart anyone has ever had. This diverse group has shown a whole generation that it’s all right to be different, that you can still be strong, you can change the world, if you just try. Buffy changed my life, and I know I’m a better person for getting to glimpse into that world.
I started watching Buffy in 2005, long after the series had come to a close. My mom passed away in June of that year and I was having a hard time coping with the change. One night, I couldn’t sleep and wound up watching Hush on FX early one morning. Desperately seeking something to distract me from reality, I sought out the series and watched every episode over the summer despite being skeptical for years about it living up to the huge amounts of hype. Eventually, I made it to season six and "The Body," where Joyce dies of something completely unpreventable, just like Mom. Everything about that episode echoed how I felt about losing a parent, especially when Buffy was imagining herself saving the day and making everything right before cutting instantly back to her slumped over the couch and her mother’s lifeless body. But even more than that, the lack of music in the episode made it feel so real that when Buffy and Dawn found the strength to move forward with their lives, it was personally empowering. I know it’s just a television show, but the voice behind the show (Joss’s voice, I suppose) gave me the necessary push to bring my life back on track and get me into college. Buffy truly changed my life because there’s no telling where I would have ended up if the series hadn’t come into my life at the time that it did.