[Myself with my plush Wampa Ice Creature at Nagoya Castle on 2011.12.16]
Last year I heard news of a young girl – Katie Goldman – who got teased at school because she liked Star Wars, which was only for boys. Young Katie tried to conform by instead liking pink things so that no one would tease her. (You can read an article about it here.) Star Wars fans decided to hold a Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars day for Katie and other kids like her, to show the world that anyone can love Star Wars.
But it’s much deeper than that; it’s showing the world, boys and girls, men and women, that it’s OK to be your own person, and to pursue your own interests. Our interests are not defined by what we are, and our individual hobbies do not define who we are as people.
As a kid, I loved Star Wars, too, and I was teased a fair bit for it. But it didn’t matter to me, because I was swept away by the story of a nobody who went on a journey and became a somebody; it made me believe that maybe a nobody like me could venture out into the world and become somebody, too.
Because I stayed true to myself, was brave, and followed my own interests, I went far. I’m not even 30 yet, but I’ve traveled around the world, educated myself, and become a teacher at a university. And even as a successful adult, I do still get teased occasionally, or even criticized, for my interests, and it’s not just about Star Wars anymore. But growing up means finally coming to realize what adults meant when they said that “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”.
The truth is, no matter who you are or what you do, you can’t please everyone. But when you show your strength of character by being strong, unique, and creative, you will earn the respect, admiration, and love of people throughout your life.
So stay strong and be awesome.
Because you are wonderful, just as you are.
[You just can't see my [Star Wars] 501st Legion T-shirt in these photos, but it’s there!]