Friday, April 13, 2007

Welcome

This blog is devoted to essays not chosen as winners in the Dark Horse "How Buffy Changed My Life" essay contest.

Many people on the Internet have expressed a desire to see more of the essays. We have heard that they are stunningly heartfelt and were so well done that making choices for winners was extremely difficult. We think you're all winners for entering and baring your soul to express what Joss and Buffy have meant to you, how Joss' creation changed your lives. Please share in total anonymity if you wish so that we can memorialize (by we, I mean all of us who treasure what Joss does in his work) your submissions of courage and heart.

You may also add an essay, 250 words or less, if you missed out on the contest. Just leave your essay by way of commenting on this blog.

Also, kudos to Dark Horse Comics for their permission to create this blog.

Thank you.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's what I submitted:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was *just* a tv show. Before that, it was *just* a movie. Soon, it will be *just* a comic book. I was *just* a girl when I discovered that world.

Buffy changed the way I view the world and, more importantly, myself. She made me see that there are no ‘justs’ in life. Buffy seemed to be just an ordinary girl, but she had something extraordinary inside of her. We found that Xander wasn’t just your average slacker. Willow wasn’t just a nerd. Cordelia wasn’t just a bitch. Giles wasn’t just a librarian. Even Angel and Spike weren’t just vampires.

Buffy taught me to never underestimate anyone, because you never know what lives beneath the surface. It could be magic. It could be an ancient power. It could be the strongest heart in the world. It could be an imagination so vast that we can never comprehend its limits. It could be the most sensitive soul in the world. But one thing it’s not-it’ll never be-is ‘just’ anything.

I have been told many times in my life, “You’re just a girl,” as if somehow my chromosomes explain everything about me. I’m stronger than I look. I’m smarter than you think. I’m more than you know. I am ‘just’ nothing.


--Anonymouseketeer

Anonymous said...

Many years ago, I used to be slim and pretty and having of the sex, but I was emotionally fragile, more than I ever knew, trying to find love and acceptance in ways that empowered me not. A bad experience with my first real love, ironically, like Buffy, and my teeter tottered so badly that I shut myself off so that the most fundamental rights of happiness were lost to me. Until I watched the show. Taking the world of Buffy inside myself has made me internally strong in the face of severe depression, job losses, and psychological abuse by a relative. I have survived mostly intact because I know, by Buffy’s fictional example, that even when the worst happens, the worst that you possibly think CAN happen, there is life after that worst, even for someone like me (not a super-hero, too overweight, skin issues), the most microscopic seed that was ever planted in not-so-rich-but-getting-there-soil. I still struggle with my outside but I feel a strange sense of hope these days. Decades of pain are stripping away and soon I will put away excuses and become who I was meant to be. I doubt I’ll ever be rich, famous, or have a hot ski-instructor boyfriend named Lars, but I think I’ll have a quiet self-esteem, a strong athletic body that does what I ask of it, and a sense of contentment I’ve never had before. I feel it coming and I owe it to Joss Whedon and Buffy.

Anonymous said...

I came to Buffy at one of the lowest points in my life when I was on long-term medical leave. With long stretches of time on my hands, I discovered the daily reruns and was soon completely engaged in the world of Buffy and her friends. The 7 am start-time became the reason to get out of bed in the mornings. I fell in love with the characters, the show’s mix of metaphor and reality, the witty dialogue, and humor in unexpected places. I laughed and cried along with the Scooby Gang. I learned how you can be a heroine yet still sometimes fail. How you do not even need supernatural abilities to make a difference – after all, side-kick Xander, the “heart” of the group, saves Buffy’s life and the world more than once. Resonating most strongly is the power of friendship. Buffy is the most successful slayer in history – not because she is the cleverest or most diligent – but because of her friends. Unlike slayers of the past, Buffy lives in and interacts with the world. Her failures happen when she clings to her belief that as the slayer she is destined to carry her burden alone. Her friendships, for all their messiness and misunderstandings, are what make her strong – and quite literally keep her alive. These insights are what I take away with me after seven wonderful seasons, and it is with no irony that I often find myself wondering in real-life situations: what would Buffy do?

Tulip said...

(I can't remember my original wording but I'll give the jist)

My introduction to Buffy The Vampire Slayer came by way of the game Chaos Bleeds. My friend came to my house, turned on multiplayer, and thrust a controller into my hands- "Play as Willow. She's a nerd, a spaz and a lesbian, just like you." A few months after that she sat me down on my musical-loving behind and showed Once More With Feeling, which had me wanting to see the whole thing.

True to my friend’s analysis, I deeply identified with Willow, but feared Tara’s entrance. I was afraid of a coupling that seemed yanked off The L Word. Lines like “Oh my god, I’m cured, I want the boys!” had me worried. I did watch The L Word, but the characters had their entire lives centered around their sexual orientation, which made me think that lesbian was the only identity I’d ever have.

As I watched, the one thing I noticed was the fact that Willow and Tara were just Willow and Tara, like Buffy and Angel or Xander and Anya. They weren’t the “gay couple” they were a couple… they just happened to be both girls. No movie, TV show, or book I’d ever come in contact with gave me the idea that I could love women without it being who I was. W/T and Buffy will forever occupy a place in my heart for the lesson that finally made me comfortable being someone who’s gay.

P.S.- I met my girlfriend at a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Club meeting the first week of college when a group burst out singing “I’ve Got A Theory”.

Anonymous said...

The names of the demons sound more mundane – divorce, child abuse, schizophrenia, loneliness. They have powers though; they destroy homes, control behaviours, leave cuts on wrists. They hide from the world too; denial and fear let them remain invisible and thrive. I don’t really patrol though; it’s less meandering through graveyards and more sitting at the desk waiting for the phone to ring. Ok, being a Crisis Worker isn’t exactly like being a Slayer… But The Slayer is what got me to be a Crisis Worker.
Four years ago my old identity as a writer and teacher had run out of power; I felt lost and directionless. I discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer during those long, dark nights. It quickly became my Primary Mythology-Class Magic Mirror, which is a baroque way of saying I got totally into it. And seeing Buffy and Angel risk so much to fight demons and help others inspired me.
I ended up back in college studying the Human Services. My field placement at a Distress Line led to a job offer. So now, during these long, dark nights, I’m the person people call when they’re in trouble, when they need help. The demons they’re fighting can be really scary – some need Slaying, some need Binding, some Banishing. I try and help them do those things. Hm, maybe I’m more like an on-call Watcher…
So, thanks Buffy. For everything, really.
Oh, and the cool fight scenes motivated me to get a black belt in Taekwondo too!

Whimsy36 said...

Buffy, it gave life meaning, and it gave me metaphor

When Buffy ended, I pined for more. However, as a chubby, 35 year-old, high-school-teaching mom, I longed for a stronger slayer connection, and I’ve continued to hope that with thousands of new slayers, surely one is more than twenty and less than gorgeous.

In the meantime, longing for the Buffyverse fueled a change in my life.

The summer Buffy ended, I formed a student group which quickly attracted a black-clad Prozac nation of loners and misfits, plus one pirate. They are teen writers, and I constantly channel my inner Giles when they gang up in my room to ponder – in poetry, prose, and interpretive dance-- the darkness and evil that is puberty in the never-ending battle to control angst and bring in the fun.

Also, when BTVS left the air, I bought my daughter her first pair of bright red boots and set Buffy, Supergirl, and Batgirl to kicking Disney-princess ass. Quinn is now six, growing out of the second pair of boots, and studies Aikido and archery.

Now, I find I’m drawing on the inner-slayer as I work to put together a new school group – this one focused on girls and calling up their potential to fight life-sucking, vampiric boyfriends, homicidal robot parents, and all the puny fear demons tearing them down before they learn to stand up for themselves.

I do hope one day to see a demon-slaying soccer mom story; if not, maybe I’ll write it myself.

L to-the F, Houston said...

My humble/disturbing entry:

Television sucks. The year is 1997 and we’re somewhere between Xena and the reality T.V. craze. I have nothing to watch and less to write. So I did what could only ruin me: I read. And I wrote for people who read. My imagination was as limited as a minor in Vegas.
As a little girl, my action figures/dolls were used to act out cartoons I wish I’d seen rather than the ones I did. My free time spent writing books on Big Chief tablets. I would put on the grandest of plays for my family, for a nominal admission fee. I was definitely a writer, and I was destined to divinely disappear into the printed word.
Until Buffy. On a lazy Monday evening, I clicked on a show about that weirdo movie just to have something in the background. I got my wish in a monkey’s paw kinda way. Buffy has been in my background ever since. Whether contemplating Buffy as the ego and the supporting cast as various elements of her subconscious, writing five specs before I even knew what a spec was, and turning in a term paper about Buffy’s ability to reject/embrace the voice of experience (in 1999, long before other academics), this simple television show had complexly brought forth a writer that I hadn’t known existed.
To put it purely, Mr. Whedon: God made me a writer. Buffy made me a screenwriter. I don’t know whether to thank you or kick you in the rear. Since I can only do one via a letter: thank you.

drvmyslfcrzy said...

I have secret little moments in life that are like eating gourmet chocolate or sharing laughter with friends. They are just peaceful moments when all my troubles are gone; the world is perfect and I feel right. I may contemplate the past but mostly I just dream of the future. I think this is the type of moment Buffy had at the end of Season 5; ultimately saving the world, more importantly saving her little sister. I’m the oldest of four, three girls, one boy. They are in all literal sense my world and without Buffy, we would not be as close today as we are. I have been able to show them new things from; music, books, Chinese food and of course Buffy. The show has been something we have laughed, cried and bonded over. She entertains us and shows us that ordinary people, can do extraordinary things. She amuses us with her fashion sense and snappy lingo and shows us strength in the face of demons. Buffy has helped me forge a bond with my siblings that grows stronger everyday. We often talk of that wonderful horrible last episode and wonder where the cast is now or imagine the characters futures. We miss Anya, we tuned into Smallville to see James, we squealed when we saw Andrew on a Burger King commercial. My sister just got a tattoo of Rogue, I contemplate getting Buffy, but I tell myself, she’s just a girl; who saves the world a lot.

Anonymous said...

I met xxxxx some years ago; I had been attacked and he was part of the team of crisis workers who helped me get through my experience. I was a mess; I had been badly abused growing up as well and I questioned what the point of my life was. I didn’t believe I would ever be able to be loved or accepted, that I was damaged. xxxxx and I eventually started talking about Buffy and how it had motivated him to become a crisis worker, to fight the good fight, and to understand his life on a whole different level. I admit I was skeptical. I couldn’t understand how a show could make sense of the things I had experienced. I saw it finally, and it blew me away - Buffy tasked to fight demons, never having a choice and yet struggling to make it right, wondering if being the Slayer will prevent her from ever having a normal life then being loved by Angel. I knew that feeling; it was like there was hope in me for the first time in months. I was with this person who knew everything about me and accepted me anyway. A man who had a mission of his own but was also willing to fight side by side with me through mine. When I feel overwhelmed or like a burden we refer to episodes of Buffy to help understand it. When I can’t express myself I can go back to when Buffy faced something impossible and share that. It’s given me the ability to love, laugh and feel again, to understand that life can be terrible and hard, scary and messy and complicated, but worth walking through. And when you wake up and find love in your heart and friendship in your hands in a place where before only lived sadness it’s all worth it.

Amy Anu-Birge said...

I met Hank Ballenger in 1992, while we were pursuing Ph.D.s at the University of North Texas. A 6’ 3”, cigar-smoking, strawberry blonde poet and blues slide guitar player whose degenerative eye disease made him blinder (and crankier) every day, Hank saw the genius of Buffy early on, but I refused to watch “some show about well-dressed white kids killing vampires.” (I’d seen the movie). How did I become the seven-seasons-on-a-loop-obsessed Whedon worshipper I am today? In his “scholar with a side of hick” way, Hank described one episode: “Ted.” I was hooked.
Hank championed Faith (read: lust) and identified with Spike: fond of recreational evil, “love’s bitch,” trying to be a better man. Until two days before a pulmonary embolism killed him suddenly in 2003, we spent hours dissecting, raving, and prognosticating about Buffy as only Ph.D.s in English with time on their hands can.
During our last Buffy dialogue, he predicted that The First was “gonna be a misogynist bastard.” He died before Caleb proved him right, and he never witnessed Faith’s return to Sunnydale. When Spike sacrificed himself in a blaze of Turok-Han-sizzling glory, I wept—Hank should have been there to see it (and see Spike resurrect on Angel.) But now, every time I watch the show, from seasons one and two, which his mother gave me when we packed up his things, right up until the Sunnydale Hellmouth closes for business, Hank is right here with me.

Allyson Bright Meyer said...

I live with an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. Though it’s not life-threatening, some days it feels impossible just to get out of bed in the morning. Just living and getting through the day is a fight.

I think I love Buffy so much because the show represents my ideal world. In Sunnydale, evil never goes unpunished and the good guys always win--but not without a fight.

I feel like I really relate to Buffy. Though I’m obviously not a Slayer with superpowers (I wish), I am just a regular girl trying to get by in a world with extraordinary circumstances. While Buffy slays the world’s demons, I deal with my own. And it’s difficult, but I can still do it. Things aren’t easy, and there’s real pain. In the words of Buffy, “this ‘working hard’ is hard work.” And sometimes it will seem like there’s not a light at the end of the tunnel. But there is. And if I look hard enough, I’ll always find it.

Buffy has taught me that the struggle is worth it, that getting up in the morning is important simply because just living and feeling is an experience worth having. Buffy once said, “the hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” I think that’s true. But it’s also the best thing.

Anonymous said...

At times it seems the great gray authorities of our world, and the oddly fragmented media lens through which we filter our oft distorted impressions of ourselves, are desperate to sell us the myth of our own powerlessness.

Who will be the heroes of my generation, and of the generations that come after? “There are no heroes left,” we are assured by the wisest of our cynics. Heroes (we are told) must be bigger than life; and are therefore always, infallibly, better than we could ever be.

I know better. I know that the true power of heroism arises not from the soulless banality of self-perpetuating violence or the feckless shine of fickle celebrity; the pure essence of heroism can only be distilled from the ultimate expression of love for others: self-sacrifice.

It is through such sacrifice that heroism is defined and the existence of heroes is proven, again, despite the fearful smirk of the bully. The crucible of self-sacrifice is the moment of truth; only therein can we come to know the hero within each of us.

Even a young, frightened, lonely little girl, surrounded on all sides by unfathomable evil, can find within herself the bravery to stand between those she loves and harm’s way. She is mythical, yes—but myths have power. They teach. And her example demonstrates the magnificence and fragility of true heroism.

Buffy changed my life by teaching me what it means to be a hero.

Sonia said...

Before I discovered Buffy I had never really been a big fan of something. I don’t think I even knew what being a fan meant. Back in those days television was something I watched passively. The idea that there could be a show that had characters that I cared about so passionately; a show that I could spend hours discussing and analyzing, well it was as foreign to me as monster trucks were to Giles. I mean people who got really into stuff like that were just pathetic nerds right?
It’s pretty embarrassing how wrong I was. When I discovered Buffy it didn’t take me more then a few episodes to fall madly in love with it. Suddenly I was envying the people who went to fan conventions instead of mocking them. I realized that enthusiasm for a show wasn’t something that I should be ashamed of, it wasn’t something that made me less cool or less smart, it’s just part of who I am.
Being a Buffy fan is something that I carry with me everywhere. It has taught me to be analytical, to form theories and look for character motivation. It has shown me that I don’t need to make the distinction between television and literature. Some of the best discussions I’ve ever had have been about Buffy. It has opened me up to so many new ideas and new ways of thinking. How has Buffy changed my life? It’s made me laugh, it’s made me cry, but most of all it’s made me smarter.

Anonymous said...

There are too many wonderful things to say about the themes and characters expressed in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Angel television shows most of which has already been expressed wonderfully.

What it shows most of all is how truly large the show was. A single blog seems far too small to capture the total feeling behind it. But in piecing all of what everyone has to say a small glimpse of the impact can be seen and that is a joy to read.

I just wanted to contribute my own bit by saying that BtVS and Angel are to me as "Of Human Bondage" was to the Season Four, episode one, character: Eddie. They will be forever shrined in my collection. I'm pleased that the stories are continuing in an official capacity.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

During Buffy's regular run, I unfortunately was too good to watch Buffy. I wasn't the least bit curious about some blonde chippy that killed vampires in high school. Finally, late in season 7 I got my act together and began watching.

Then, I had a series of surgeries that had me couch bound for several months. A friend that had been beseeching me to watch the show bought me season one on DVD. I watched and I was hooked. Watching Buffy and the Scoobies overcome their obstacles gave me a little extra strength to fight my fight.

While drama abounds, there's also a solid belly laugh in each episode. Laughter was the best medicine...so were tears and ocassionally throwing things at the TV set while cursing Joss's name as he took character's I had grown to love from me.

In the end, I found life-affirming hope and strength in the characters Joss gave us. For that I am forever changed and eternally gratefully.

Hats off to Joss and Company for giving us the gift of Buffy. That gift truly does keep on giving.

Anonymous said...

Oh my Godness! How could it be, that I knew about this competition only few minutes ago!!!I'm so upset!My name is Maya. I from Russia, Sterlitamak town. I think, that anybody never heard about this town. Yes, people, who like "Buffy" very much, lives everywhere.
I knew about serial 5 or 6 years ago. And since that time I begun to love Buffy universe so much! I love character, actors, creators. Thank you to give us this story, very sad, romantic and funny.
I have dream - to be a part of it. And I can't to imagine how great it could be... to be a part of "Buffy"...
I think, that Joss Weadon is a genius! No one in the World could to create something like "Buffy"! Thank you for this! When I feel myself bad, when I have problems in my life, "Buffy" is the one thing which can to make me feel better! Watching show I know, that I want to be like characters in some situations: brave and strong like Buffy, never to despair even when many things is bad, like Xander, I want to have the same great relationships, which difficultly simply to describe by words, like Willow and Tara.
Sorry, if I made mistakes... Cause I Russian, remember? :) Thanks to creators and actors again. I really want to be a part of Buffy universe... Thanks for reading. Bye
P.S. if Joss or someone notice that message please answer me:
maya----@mail.ru

Anonymous said...

"I always wanted to be one of Buffy's friends. I knew about the high death rate in Sunnydale, and the probability that by being her friend I might die, come back to life, turn into a demon, be chased by a demon or any other combination, but I was willing to take that risk. Buffy was special; she was like the best friend you'd ever have, the kind that makes you question why they're wasting their time on you when they could be taking on the world. Being around her made you a better person, because when she was strong you wouldn't be afraid to be strong too, and when you turned and looked for confirmation, there she was, punching a vampire in the face and you knew that everything would be okay. I wanted to be strong, but I never had Slayer strength, so I had to make due with what I had. Besides, Buffy's strength wasn't in her physical strength (or her ability to kick in miniskirts without ever being indecent, my mother would always comment), but in what she stood for: she stood for me. She stood for me when I tried to do something on my own even though I worried that I might fail. It's scary to take that first step, you worry about where you'll be able to put your foot next, but if you don't take that step you'll never move. Live for today, Buffy would say, because tomorrow you might be dead."

This is 250 words exactly, because I want to get the full extent of my Buffy love.

Robin