We live in some dark times. I am scared. I feel like I blinked and suddenly the world is dark, divided, and, well, scary. I see a world that is divided by hate and fear. I feel like we are covered in darkness and I fear it is only going to get worse.
It is easy to look at the United States and say, 'Trump is the problem,' but this darkness is not just local. It. Is. Global. Covid, America, Russia, Belarus, Iran, anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, race wars, gender wars, powerful corporations, rampant unemployment. It is an 'us vs them' mindset and it is dividing us. And, as we know, divided we fall.
I have struggled with darkness for a long time. And for me, the main source of light, or hope, was superheroes. Superheroes helped a young boy, who was smaller than everyone else(even his younger brother) to be able to get past it. To not let it define him. Superheroes helped this same boy to deal with his parents when they became crippled by alcoholism, and his sister having to go through Children's Aid.
These fictional characters, whether it was Superman, Spiderman, Nightwing, etc, helped me to want to be better. To strive to be the best I can be. They were my light. If I was unsure of what to do, I would ask 'What would Superman do?' The answer was always: The right thing. I tried to live my life this. To strive to be the best person possible. To be hopeful and helpful. To spread the light. And, I did. For awhile. However, I am ashamed to admit that I have not been doing that for quite some time. I let the darkness in and it has gotten harder to see the light.
Sure, I have never stopped reading comics, or watching the various movies and tv shows but I have been blind to the message that empowered me in the past. I have not been hopeful. I have been closed off. I have been internally divided. I have been hopeless and I have been incredibly hard on myself.
For all my talk about how important I feel the comic book/superhero medium is for spreading positive messages, I forgot one very crucial element of the genre: Heroes never give up.
Have I given up? Not completely. Not yet, at least. But, I have been complacent for far too long. I have let my optimism be beaten down by cynicism, doubt and fear.
So, what is this? Why am I writing this? Simple. This is a call to arms. A plan of action. This is my wake up call. Imagine a beaten Spiderman covered in the remains of a building. The only way for Spiderman to survive is stand up, regardless of the weight. This is me standing up even though there is a huge weight on my shoulders.
I pledge to no longer wallow. To stop being complacent. I pledge to cast off my cloak of darkness and to, once again step into the light. I pledge to continuously strive to be the best that I can be. To be hopeful again and help to spread hope. I pledge to be more inclusive. To form and reform bonds with those I care about. I pledge to help anyone I can. I pledge to always get back up and push forward whenever life, inevitably, knocks me down.
Furthermore, this is a call to action for all my fellow geeks out there. We all need to strive to embody the values that we love and cherish so much in our respective geek corners, because I know that at their cores there are about love and acceptance. To help ourselves and everyone else. You love Star Wars? Its core is love vs hate. Star Trek? Love vs hate. She ra? Love vs hate. Spongebob? Love vs hate. We, all of us, can change the world. One step at a time. We do this by striving to be our best selves. You can't not love anyone until you love yourself, after all.
We can do this geekpantsers. Together. And, I mean that. I am here for anyone who needs me. As long as you believe that 'it's never as bad as it seems.' And, 'you are stronger than you think you are.' These words, as well as the title quote have helped me and I hope they help you.