(Photo from The Force Awakens Storybook due out in April)
Fear of the unknown and making choices are often arduous situations for people with anxiety to think about and deal with. Of course, there are many different forms of anxiety but I know for some of us the uncertainty of the future and the pressures of making important decisions can be extremely difficult to get through. In those moments I know I have felt drained, depressed, scared, and worried. I've shaken uncontrollably, I've cried, I've not been able to sleep or think straight, and probably the scariest of them all, I've had heart palpitations. I constantly want to be in control of my surroundings and know that everything is going to be ok. But that's not how life works. Sometimes things are thrown at us that we have to deal with. Most of the time I've been ok in the end but there are some things that I know I can't do again. And that's ok. We need to make decisions that are best for ourselves ALL THE TIME and not worry about everyone around us or what they'll think or say.
By now, you're probably wondering how The Force Awakens and anxiety could even relate to each other. I wondered myself until about my third viewing of of the film when I saw something in Rey that I have seen in myself. A lot of fans have spoken highly of the scene when Rey force grabs the lightsaber from the icy snow. I loved it as well and thought the music was so fitting for that pivotal moment. But I don't think it struck me as it did until a couple more viewings. I began to cry as I recognized the fear in her facial expressions. Watching her questionably bring her other hand forward to properly grasp the lightsaber and holding it upright to make her declaration is a perfect example of the hesitance and mind-boggling worry and uncertainty of taking that next step.
I'm not stating that Rey has anxiety as fact, but I don't think anyone can deny that she was indeed afraid. We had previously seen her distraught when she first came into contact with the lightsaber. The visions and memories that haunted her were the last things she ever expected to see and her conversation with Maz Kanata was definitely not what she wanted to hear but knew to be true. She was scared and didn't want to move on from what she was comfortable with, waiting on Jakku for her family. But standing there in front her was the dark figure she had faced before just waiting to take out his final opponent. She knew what had to be done in that moment no matter how anxious it made her to ignite the lightsaber. Remember, she never wanted to touch it again! But there would be no turning back. Rey does what is right and she is portrayed as one who can take care of herself. She doesn't give up without a fight and she had her trusty staff to aid her in battle several times before as we've read in Before The Awakening. But this was all a very new experience. Not only was she unfamiliar with the skills Kylo Ren possessed but her weapon was also very foreign to her. Even with these uncertainties, she made the choice to stand up and fight! And in the end, when hope seemed lost, we see Rey remember that there is something bigger than her. The Force. She composes herself, focuses, and conquers! As soon as she grasped the lightsaber, she displayed an incredible amount of bravery and though she stumbled in the beginning, she defeated Kylo Ren in the long run. It's a very powerful scene and I think it sets such an amazing example and makes her character all the more inspiring.
Just as Rey was reminded of the force, I have to remind myself that there is someone who is bigger than me in this world. He has and will get me through my worst battles like the force guided Rey. Many people like myself deal with anxiety, depression, fear, stress, you name it. There's nothing wrong with us. Everyone has different battles and we're not alone in facing them. We must have faith, take one day at a time, and be brave like Rey! WE CAN CONQUER!