So earlier this month, I said that I was doing a Buffy Countdown because I want to celebrate the show that changed my life two years ago.
It’s hard to believe how much has changed since then. I still feel like the two years after I graduated college were the worst years of my life. I know people like to make fun of the idea of a “quarter life crisis,” but for me, college was my dream. When college was over, I had to adjust to not having that in my life, not to mention dealing with the death of a friend who was like a grandfather to me. People with Asperger’s have a harder time adjusting to change than most people and for a girl who had no direction and lost her safety net, it was no wonder I suffered constant anxiety for two years.
The recovery from my anxiety didn’t actually start with Buffy. It began on a rainy March afternoon when I told God that I had enough of being a prisoner of my anxiety and asked Him to help me find a way out of it. It began with me watching Perks of Being a Wallflower and volunteering in my parish for Vacation Bible School. It began with me going to an Audrey Assad concert and my first Awakening retreat.
But when I had that anxiety attack that October night, I needed a major distraction. I knew of Buffy from vloggers, but I’ve never actually watched the show. Even though I was unaware of the show’s purpose, 23-year-old me needed to metaphorically kill the monsters that were plaguing my life.
When Buffy said “Slayers, every one of us” in “Chosen,” I felt like I became a Slayer in that moment. New friends into my life. I began to believe in myself in a way that I never did before. I met some of the actors from the show and learned to love most of the comics. (Screw you Season 8!)
One thing I didn’t expect, though, was that there were other people out there who saw a Catholic element in Buffy. Sure, my fellow Patheos bloggers saw some stuff, but the show isn’t fresh in their minds. Thomas Aquinas said that God likes working through secondary causes and I feel like that was the case with Buffy.
In spite of the fact that the show is created by a nihilistic atheist, I saw a fallen state of grace in the nature of the vampires in the show. Hell is the absence of hope and we, as human beings, are given the free will to choose to have hope instead of giving into despair. Spike’s entire story arc captures every sinner’s redemption story. It still pains me whenever someone tells me that the “Seeing Red” incident is unforgivable because Spike went to great lengths to earn redemption and forgiveness. If one good thing came out of that awful moment, it’s that James Marsters won’t do a scene like that ever again.
As much as I wish I could go back in time and stop myself from getting into that dark place, I learned so much from that time. I found that I can connect to others who’ve suffered the same thing. I learned that I wasn’t alone in how I felt.
So instead, if I had a TARDIS, I would just send a letter to my past self. It would probably go something like this:
“There is this thing in life called change. This change is going to come in many forms. Right now, I know that all you see is darkness and despair. Believe me when I say that it will change. God is going to change you and he will change your circumstances. You won’t notice it right away, but you’ll see it soon enough. You’ll see it when you find confidence and resilience you never knew that you had. You’ll see it when you go places you never would’ve dared. Most of all, you’ll see it in the joy that radiates from inside of you. That joy comes from the Lord. You’ve still got a lot of fight left in you.
So here’s the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power, now? From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Slayers, every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong? I know you are! You’re strong like an Amazon! So go slay your demons!”
Screenshots are copyright to 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy and are used for editorial purposes only.