Dear, Buffy Anne Summers
While most people’s heroes are his/her mother or father, the President, Ghandi, or the like, mine is you. There will never be the words to thank you for the strength, wisdom, and courage I have earned through watching your show. It all started in the time when I needed help the most. I was a teenager without a path who just needed someone to listen. I was alone in a house with no one to talk to. My father would never understand me, and always tried to mold me into something that I wasn’t. My brother followed my father like a shadow, and mimicked his reactions and thoughts to my every choice in life. And my stepmom would simply run and tell my father anything that I told her. The rest of my family seemed so far away, it seemed difficult for me to trouble them through a phone call with my life problems, and when I was out of the house with them I did not feel all of the negative, depressing feelings I felt. What was a boy to do? I did not know myself, let alone the means of finding someone who I could really trust. I did not find my answer until I decided to spend the little money I had on season one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The show has taught me many life lessons. These lessons got me through the night, made me appreciate life, helped me love myself, and helped me grow up. I can honestly say I don’t know where I would be without these lessons. I don’t know if other people can truly ever understand why a person idolizes their hero. It is sort of a personal, untouchable bond that is difficult to describe with words, but I’ll do my best to explain.
You once said, “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” This has always been the quote that has stuck with me more than anything else. It helped me to realize that sometimes people need to embrace the challenges in their lives. Without struggles, people cannot find the true extent of their strength, dexterity, durability, and courage. I learned that the bad times, despite the pain, help me to find out what I am true capable of. This quote has become the basis for my attitude about life. Instead of running from the hard times, I face them and see what I can gain from the experience.
Another (constant) lesson I learned from you was about independence. This does not only cover independence as a person without a significant other, this message of independence includes a sense of independence from friends and family as well. Friends and families are treasures, and they should always be cherished. However, there is only one person you can ever truly count on, all of the time, and that’s yourself. Your friends can’t always save you. Your family can’t always protect you. Everyone is going through something, and it’s important to be conscious of that fact. Talking to your friends about your problems is important, absolutely, but most of the time the only person who can solve your problems is yourself. So why burden your friends with something they can’t change? Again, I’m not saying that I think everyone should become a lone wolf, I just think it’s important to be able to recognize and be comfortable with the idea that the only person you can count on one hundred percent of the time is yourself.
Perhaps the other most powerful lesson I learned from you is about welcoming and accepting imperfection. Even the most perfect, heroic person you know has something they probably would not want you to know. Nobody is perfect. I have come to accept my imperfections and the imperfections of my friends and family. It’s a struggle, because everyone has expectations of themselves and other people. Since I learned this lesson, I have always made sure that when my friends talk to me about problems they’re having that I let them know they don’t have to be perfect and that we’re all human. Sometimes we all forget that it’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, as long as we learn from them and try to grow from the experience.
The final, most powerful lesson I learned is that you don’t have to completely know where yourself or where you’re going to end up. Each day we grow, and therefore we change. You should constantly be learning new things about yourself. You said to Angel, “I’m cookie dough. I’m not done baking. I’m not finished becoming who ever the hell it is I’m gonna turn out to be. I make it through this, and the next thing, and the next thing, and maybe one day, I turn around and realize I’m ready. I’m cookies.” Adults nowadays have so many expectations of young people. They want us to know our career path by the time we hit kindergarten. I have no shame in saying I don’t know exactly where I’m going to be when I graduate, or what type of person I’ll be in the real world. Experiences change us, and I know that soon something will happen that will give me the answers I need. Until then, I’m not in a rush.
As I stated previously, this letter might be all over the place. It’s hard to summarize such a personal thing. However, I felt like I needed to write this. This is my thank you to Buffy, for all of the help she’s given me over the years. There’s no more glamorous way I can phrase it, except, thank you for everything.