The above is one of the top three most embarrassing pictures of me ever. Just me and my Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon action figures. No big deal. You’re welcome, World.

The above is a 15 year old girl who doesn’t want to be 15. She didn’t like being young, she’d rather be older, but she doesn’t want to do this “growing up” thing. She’s grossed out by her new menstrual cycle, she wishes she’d stop breaking out, and she doesn’t know how to deal with feelings of sexual attraction. She’s a late bloomer; she knows it and she hates it. She’s miserable. She has seasonal affectiveness disorder. The girls in her dance class hate her and she always has to play The School Principal or The Mom in the youth theatre group she’s in because she’s the oldest. She is gangly. She feels fine about those braces.

She loves Star Wars.

Star Wars was always on in my home. I grew up with it. I don’t remember the first time I watched it in the same way I don’t remember the first meal I ate. I think my parents made bootleg VHS tapes from the Betas they’d bought (early adopters!) and we watched those until Lucasfilm released official versions. We had Kenner action figures. I slept on vintage sheets. But truth be told, I didn’t know I was a Star Wars fan until I was swept up in The Phantom Menace mania. That was not a good movie, and neither were the two that followed, but they ushered me through late adolescence. When I didn’t want to think about growing up, I thought about Star Wars. The prequels introduced me to the idea of working in the entertainment industry. I learned about story-telling from them (because often, we learn more from bad examples than we do from good). And most importantly, the prequels are how I met my best friend.

In 1999, I wouldn’t have guessed that I’d be where I am right now: living in Los Angeles, next door to that best friend, working in the industry, friends with people who are making movies and TV, taking the long way home from the office to avoid Star Wars premiere traffic.

And yet! Here I am. Crazy.

Supposedly, The Force Awakens is great. I don’t doubt it. I have high expectations, but not astronomical ones. I haven’t been bombarded by advertising or marketing tie-ins because I guess I don’t watch TV or buy products the way that most of America does. I haven’t been spoiled. I’m pretty sure I’m going to cry because it seems like our lady heroine is a badass and the male leads are black and hispanic (Representation makes me cry!).

In summation, I am excited and I am ready. May the Force be with us, everyone!

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