|Project #canidothisin10days on my instagram @Tortoisefly|
|I spent the last 11 days building this. Instagram @Tortoisefly|
When I was 8, my mom and I read The Hobbit together, and I thought "someday, when I'm a grown-up, I'll go on epic adventures like Bilbo, Gandalf, and their friends."
I watched Star Trek reruns with my dad and I saw Spock find peaceful solutions using reason, science, and logic, and I thought "someday, when I'm a grown-up, I'm going to be like him."
I saw Star Wars and found a role model in Princess Leia, who proved that you didn't need a man to rescue you, you could save yourself, be the hero of your own story, and maybe rescue a couple of well-intentioned men along the way. I saw this, and I thought "someday, when I'm a grown-up, I'm going to be just like her!"
Then when I was an awkward 8-year old girl who loved Sci-Fi, but struggled to picture myself as I was, being a part of the narrative, Star Trek TNG came on TV. I saw Wesley Crusher, a boy (unlike me), who like me was smart, and sometimes awkward, struggling to find a place in a universe full of grown-ups. Like me, he had important things that he wanted to say, but the grown-ups often didn't seem to listen, because they thought he was just a kid.
I saw Wesley, and the narrative changed. I was no longer thinking about "someday, when I'm a grown-up." Instead, I found myself thinking "there are kids on the Enterprise who are just like me!" Wesley changed the way that I saw Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Finally, I could see myself in a character, and that allowed me to feel like I was a part of the narrative.
Because of this smart, awkward, geeky kid that I saw on TV, I no longer felt like an outsider, too young to be a part of the narrative of the stories that I loved. Suddenly, this genre that I had always been immersed in was something that I could picture myself being a part of. Not "someday," but "now."
Because of Wesley, "someday" had become "today" and I no longer felt like I had to wait until I was a grown-up to be important.
So Wil, thank-you for the important role you played in my childhood, and thank you for turning into a grown-up that other kids will aspire to be like.
~ Jeanie @Tortoisefly
ETA: I had a feeling that I wouldn't be able to vocalize this to Wil when meeting him at FanExpo Vancouver today, so I wrote it out and while he was extremely gracious and kind about my lantern (which he signed - another of those surreal moments) I handed him a card with the above written in a letter. I think I may have managed somewhere between 5-10 words to him, so good call on the writing it out, sleep-deprived past Jeanie!