Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its brilliant creator, Joss Whedon, brought a blonde female super hero into our living room on Tuesdays for six incredible seasons.
I initially balked at the idea of this young girl saving the world; I decided to take it on as my guilty pleasure once it hit syndication in the fall of 2001.
Besides all of the snappy one liners, cute outfits, butt kicking and hot boyfriends, this show spoke to me about the human condition in a very specific way.
Given the responsibility to save the world, she dealt with the worst in human beings in the worst environment ever: high school.
She is required to keep her identity a secret (hazards of the job)and navigate two extremes (high school and preventing the world’s destruction by battling the forces of evil) without them intersecting.
When the series ended: she had battled a bazillion bad guys, stopped umpteen apocalypses and died twice.
She took care of friends, dealt with her own self doubt and raised a teenage sister.
It was the final season that really catapulted me into the rabid fan I am today.
In one episode she states: “We will seek out our darkest, biggest fears and face them”.
Fast forward seven years and I am broke as hell, with no job and sleeping on a friends floor (21st Century version of homelessness).
On more than one occasion, I would remember a powerful line from the show to get me going and inspire myself to keep on pushing.
I love saying that Joss Whedon inspired me and gave me insight (via a fictional world) that all things are possible. I could go on about how the writing was so great or the character development was outstanding and why his fireplace should be overflowing with Emmys.
Instead, I choose to focus on what I learned from this show.
Joss Whedon allowed us to look for and expect power in all the forgotten and dismissed places in the world.
Whedon forced me to push past the limits of my imagination while viewing Buffy’s weekly trials and allowed me to use this in my real life crises of finding work and a stable living environment.
Remembering that many people did not appreciate nor understand Buffy yet greatly needed her thinking and muscle to save them, I reminded myself that although people didn’t see my gifts that didn’t mean they were nonexistent.
When I was told fifty times in one day that I had no marketable skills, I fought back (using the chutzpah gleaned via Buffy Summers) by sharing my skill set and why it was significant.
I requested assistance (from the 50th person I spoke to that day) in learning the new verbiage that would allow me to be heard and my skills seen.
In a huge battle scene with a formidable and seemingly unstoppable foe, Buffy remembers her greatness and takes on the beast with these wonderful words: I always find a way.
After some time, all of the Buffyisms and hard work paid off.
I landed a great job that I took from part time to full time with benefits in less than a year, moved into a condo , bought a car and met a wonderful man who I eventually married.
Surviving and thriving despite adversity takes dedication and an unwavering sense of your own power and abilities.
Surviving and thriving forces us to dig into our inner resources (courage, perseverance and determination) and change the course of our lives.
Make this your motto: I always find a way.