How South Park helped me

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I flicked on my computer and tuned into YouTube. Eventually I landed on a South Park episode called “Assburgers” although the name doesn’t do the plot justice. It revolves around the protagonist Stan who suffered from crippling depression so deep that everything he saw, ate and heard seemed like shit. Actual diarrhea afflicted shit.

Of course, this depression didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Although he started hearing shit long before, his parents divorce and his friends abandoning him because he was a “downer” only compounded his cynicism. And although it made me sad for the most part, by the time the episode ended, I was enthralled by Stan’s story and what it had to say about what I was going through.

The sudden changes in his life felt a lot like this first year after high school. I don’t speak with most of my friends, the ones I do see only have time for a chin just of recognition. I don’t even see my parents that much. Not because they live far away (they rent the guest house at the back) or because we are fighting, I just can’t stand them.

Before you call me a horrible person, let me make something clear. I love my parents. I love my dad despite how much he pisses me off and I love my mom despite her tendency to take an authoritative stance on almost anything. But in the past they’ve done things that, while they were never directly aimed at me, caused more mental scars than the Joker in a pink thong (yes, I went there). While I’ve started to explain things in my new feature, The Best Training: A childhood, I haven’t gotten to the darkest parts of my childhood yet and so, you may think that I’m just complaining but trust me when I say I’m not. There’s just too much that’s happened between us to look at them as just my parents anymore.

Stan stayed depressed for nearly two episodes. He wanted everything to go back to the way it was before, when his parents were together, when his friends still liked him and he wasn’t surrounded by mental defecation all day. In a lot of ways, he was exactly how this year went for me. I mourned old relationships and all out denied any new ones space to grow, I kept my mind focused on the past and my happiness back then when I could have made new happiness for myself if I tried.

Towards the end, Stan went into one of those cliché character speeches that almost made me shoot myself until he reached this point:

Maybe it won’t be like before but at least it will be new, and that’s what’s gonna make it so that I can keep going.

A lot of people are always looking to the past, thinking about events and people long past instead of the faces surrounding them right now. Maybe it was pain or anger or thoughts of revenge and all you could think about was that one person who hurt you or the one that got away but in the process, you kind of lose the present.

I think that, while the past will always remain precious to us, we should strive forward and acknowledge that the future may not seem as bright as the past, but at least it will be new. And that’s just as good.

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What we can learn from Finn the Human

Everyone has a hobby. Mine is watching Adventure Time.

I love watching Finn and his bombastic dog Jake go on weird and sometimes horrifying adventures.

If you don’t watch Adventure Time (and I suggest you should), it’s about a boy who is the last human in the magical land of Ooo and his quests with his friends. And while some shows only have a handful of supporting characters, Adventure Time has at least two dozen or more that help and sometimes antagonize our hero. From the innocent looking Peppermint Butler to the misunderstood Ice King, each one has a distinct personality and more than a few dark secrets that clue you in to their motives and aspirations.

For example, Ice King was not always bat-shit crazy and Peppermint Butler has affiliations with the dark side of Ooo, even once calling in a favor from the grim reaper himself, in exchange for Finn’s flesh.

Finn is no exception.

In the episode “Susan Strong”, Finn admits that when he thinks about being the only human in Ooo, he gets “all soul-searchy and weird”. This could be due to his own feelings of alienation and tells that he can get depressed easily if he thinks about it for too long.

Another example would be that Finn is a victim of his own desire. When he sees something he wants and puts his mind to it, he will stop at nothing to get it. He injured innocent creatures because of his own frustrations at not being able to find the cyclops tears, he stole the royal gems from every princess in Ooo just because his hero told him to and he even got his arm cut off because he couldn’t let go of the father that abandoned him.

Finn the Hero

He can also be quite vain and he doesn’t like being looked down on. He once went on a very embarrassing quest to obtain a set of armor because of how the other hero’s treated him, only to deny¬† wearing it because it was made for a woman despite the giant soul-sucking monster behind him.

But that’s not all he is.

Finn is brave and true, selflessly defending Ooo without reward (except maybe a kiss from Princess Bubblegum). He risked falling into an infinite void to cure Jake of his lumpiness. He defeated the Lich twice, defeated the demon that supposedly killed his adopted father and even jumped into a black hole (which he intentionally created under the influence of the glasses of Nerdicon) to save his friends.

All in all, Finn is not perfect. But he is the hero that Ooo needs and deserves.

 


Finn is not super-strong or fast or smart. He can be a pain in the butt sometimes and his naivety can lead to some awkward situations but that’s okay. He’s human and for me, that’s key. He has flaws but he still strives towards doing the right thing. He lives with and acknowledges them but they only make him more beautiful, like a mosaic made of broken pieces of mirror.

And I like to think that there’s a little Finn in all of us because we too are flawed, but it’s those flaws that make us beautiful.