Hey, so, ya know what today is, right?
Oh, uh, yeah, I guess it is Kate Bosworth’s birthday. Not what I meant, but, yeah, okay.
Taye Diggs birthday, too, huh? That’s… awesome. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll send him a card. Or a fruit basket. Or something.
Actually, I was gonna say… what’s that? The anniversary of the FBI breaking up the Duquesne Spy Ring? Yeah. Okay.
The day we lost Pete Postlethwaite? Yeah, now you’re just bringing me down. Thanks for that.
Ronald Regan was sworn in as the governor of California? Ya don’t say? That’s… uh… something.
So, I was gonna say it’s my birthday, but now I’m just feeling depressed.
Kinda seems like there’s not a lot of point.
Thanks, internet. Once again, you’ve ruined everything.
So, today is my birthday. My 45th actually. Yup. 45 years, I’ve been knocking around this sad old world, just trying to find a way to get paid for making shit up, and writing it down. When I wasn’t playing D&D, talking about anime to anybody who will listen, and adopting stray cats off the street.
Most of the time, though, I’ve just been relying on biting sarcasm as a means of dealing with the general sense of disillusion, disappointment, and overwhelming ennui the comically tragic world around me has left me with. I doubt anyone has noticed. I’m super good at hiding it.
Yup. Totally awesomely good at that.
All joking aside, there was a long period of my life where I didn’t think I’d live to see this age. While I’ve mentioned it a few times in the past, there was a point where I struggled with severe depression, and suicidal thoughts. Much of that I overcame, in no small part with Storm’s help, but every year, when this day rolls around, I am always slightly amazed that I got through it.
I won’t say got over it, because honestly, once that thought wanders into your brain, it never really goes away forever. You learn to ignore it, or silence it, but it’s always there, waiting for the right moment to come whispering the promise of oblivion back into your ear.
There’s been plenty of times this past year it has tried. I’m still here, though, an now a year older than I was before. So, that’s a win, or at least, as close as I get to one these days.
Since it’s my birthday, and I’m feeling lucky to have one, I figure I can indulge myself. Do something just because I wanna, ya know? Share something I loved, for no reason other than because I loved it.
Totally legit reason.
Now, it’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Fairy Tail, the long running shonen manga and anime about wizards punching each other with magic. The whole thing is so silly, yet at times, contains such depth, beautiful moments, and just lovely scenes. Part of what really ended up making me a fan, though, was the character of Erza Scarlet.
Some time ago, I discussed why, with the short version being that, like me, Erza struggled with suicidal thoughts. Her story arc through a huge amount of the series run dealt with not just her suicidal thoughts, but her long journey to overcoming them, and living.
Which is what makes the thing I’m about to share so wonderful, at least, to me. For it is Erza at her most triumphant. It is the true Erza, set free of her dark prison, and finally, truly, free to embrace life, and her own self worth. The entire thing is a metaphor, and is so beautifully staged, it always leaves me a little breathless, and in tears, no matter how many times I watch it.
It encapsulates Erza’s long struggle by presenting her with a battle against 100 monsters. Well, more to the point, she chooses to engage in battle against all 100. She didn’t have to. She does, though, and in doing so, she is, in effect, battling against her own inner dark voice that whispered, endlessly, the only value her life had, was in dying.
Here, she is not trying to die. She is trying to live. She is fighting what seems an insurmountable foe, by constantly alternating both her offense, and her defense. Many people come into our lives, that give us all we need to fight that dark, whispering voice in our head. They are what allow us to win the fight.
The final part, the fight against a huge, devastatingly powerful foe, with the accompanying voice over, is just the cherry on top. This is the final chapter in Erza’s journey to silence that voice, and everything about it, metaphorically, is just brilliantly executed.
Maybe, with everything going on in my life, I wanted this reminder. Maybe I just really do love the whole thing, and Erza, and this my birthday indulgence to myself. Maybe, though, somebody out there, fighting the same struggle I once did, will see it, and find the road map out of their own personal prison.
Maybe, just maybe, somebody out there will start their own journey, at this start to a new year.
That’s be damn awesome, ya know?