Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tough Times Make Tough People

This post is about my life and Battlestar Galactica.

Trust me. Just go with it.

Last night, I think I was maybe the loneliest I have ever been in my life.

I don’t mean alone. I’ve been alone before. Hell, I’m alone most of the time nowadays. Alone means generally that I’ve been by myself somewhere but still knew in the back of my head that there was someone I could count on at that exact moment to talk to if necessary.
Not that I would ever do so if I had a problem. Foolish pride and obstinacy prevented me from doing that. I’ve gotten better on that front but there is still room for improvement. It’s a constant battle to not slip back into that old mode.

I have also been lonely before. I went to college with a good chunk of people I knew in some capacity from high school. I also knew a few upperclassmen going into Vassar and met a group of great people while there that are still my friends.
Still, during that last half of my freshman year I found myself often sitting on a hill by myself or in the chapel (strange because I’m not really religious at all) just thinking and trying to find something to make things make sense to me without having to go to someone for help. It wasn’t smart but I was 18 and dumb.
Don’t judge. So were you.

Anyway, for about five minutes last night, as I sat in a Taco Bell in a corner table (something else I have been doing more- observing all with my back against a wall) with a couple on the other side of the restaurant and the workers in the back horsing around I truly felt lonely. My phone was silent. No tweets. No texts. Just me and my thoughts and thinking about my current predicaments. Thinking that this was all up to me at that point to direct which way my life goes and I shouldn’t look to others to get me out of jams I’m in. You always know that truth in the back of your head but to have it crystallized...

The moment passed but it was scary. And before anyone even says anything, I know. I know. I have folks that’ll look out for me and I can probably call if I really need the assistance.
The thing I’m realizing as I get older is that everyone has their own shite to deal with and you can’t depend on others unless it is a true emergency. It’s not that they don’t want to help you. My family (some) and my friends (mostly) would break their necks to help me out but I don’t or at least I try not to for a few reasons. Number one goes back to my stubborn nature with asking for help. I CAN usually figure out a solution for a problem by myself if left alone. The second reason is that I realize they have their own issues to deal with- whether good or bad- that I don’t want to pile on it with my stuff. Lastly, and this one relates a GREAT DEAL to my mother, they might deny it but they won’t necessarily ask for help either. Some do and I respect them so much for that but we all have this level of pride to be successful on our own in some way. I don’t mean that they can’t work with others but if the success is part of a team effort then they put a lot in to be proud of. If they didn’t, we probably wouldn’t be friends.

Okay, so now you are asking how does this relate to Battlestar Galactica?


Simple. This last half of the final season finds humanity at the brink of extinction. They found Earth and it’s a nuclear wasteland. Depression has run rampant through the fleet and suicide and people not caring is up. On top of all that, the proposed solution to at least extend their survival is meant with mistrust from past prejudices that, although valid on one level, means nothing in the greater scheme of continuing life for both Cylon and man.

Do you know why I watch this show? Not just for Sackhoff and her crazy behavior or because I never know what's going to happen next. I mean, I watch it for that too but, the main reason I tune is the relationship the show has to the current state of affairs the world is generally in and the state of maelstrom affairs I sometimes feel I live in.

They veil it and don't necessarily hit you over the head with the issues (most of the time) but you can easily tell that the writers are making commentaries on our involvement in Iraq, how we treat prisoners, the steps we taking in guaranteeing and taking freedoms in times of war and peace and dealing with a bleak civilization for the entire human populace, i.e. the crumbling of our financial markets.

What I like about what BSG does with these issues is that it takes us on a personal journey that these characters having with coping or not with something not firmly in their control. I think it mirrors each of our own ways of dealing with crisis and can be broken down into five categories that sometimes overlap and have their own little subsets but I think are pretty spot on.

Dualla- The Surrendered There are people who can't deal with the stress of harsh reality. They might appear at ease outwardly but they are secretly falling apart inside. The world is bleak and unforgiving and they get to the point where they think there is no point in going on any longer. Who they were before is long gone.

Dee was a perfect example of this. She went to her job and even had a nice date with her ex-husband who she still loves. She gave him good advice and walked away with a smile on her face.

Then she pulled the trigger.

Some people aren't made to last when things get tough and the way out seems extremely far away. They live in the present and this stops them from seeing hope in the future.

Lee- The Rebuilder There are those individuals who have faith in the system. They believe that no matter how bad it gets that there is always a solution to make it better. There is nothing that can't be rebuilt into a better form. They don't want to destroy it or start over. They want to work within the system to make it work for everyone.

Lee Adama wants to make the government work in the best interest of the people. He took his position to represent not just his constituents but to make the best choices for the fleet. He stepped in as President of the Colonies because it was necessary to move forward. He allied with the Cylons to move everyone forward.

These people may not know what is around the corner but they have hope that if they work hard enough and make the necessary moves that everyone can get to that better place together.

Tyrol- The Gatherer Most people need others to make it work on some level in their lives. Some people need alliances to get through the turbulent times. They search and find friends to deal with everything. The allies can be new or old friends. Either way they reaffirm or create new bonds with these people to get them through.

Tyrol is trying to find meaning in his life. His true nature has been revealed and he is trying to figure out what that means in the face of immense loss, both personal and general. He knows who he was and is learning a bit about a new part of himself. He is trying to reevaluate his role in the grand scheme of things and forge new bonds with both his "people."

He doesn't know what the future holds for him or the rest of the universe but he is determine to work to getting there. He is concerned about today only in the way it can affect tomorrow.

Gaeta- The Romantic Some people can't deal with change, especially negative change. These people desire a return back to the old ways. They become nostalgic for the past and, often, think it was better than it really was. They trick their mind into this false grand reality of the past to get them through the day. Or they create a particular future in their head with only those they deem worthy alive in it. These people can become very dangerous because they will go to any extreme to make their vision a reality.

Felix is a broken man. He lost his leg and almost lost his life. Both of these were due to the influence of Cylons. He tried to do right on New Caprica and people still died. His faith in the leaders of the fleet has been shaken and he see only one option for the future- no Cylons.

He is willing to ally himself with former traitors, commit crimes and do whatever is necessary to get to this promised land in his mind. He will go on the path to this future and will lose those he loves to get there.

Starbuck- The Phoenix There are those of us who are screw-ups. These folks live life to excess and usually burn brightest and burn out fastest because they go at everything full-steam ahead. They normally don't think and just act. This is dangerous during normal times because they end up hurting themselves and others around them, whether emotionally or physically. These people only perform at their best when they are focused on a problem and times look the most bleak. You can count on them to save the day and slay the monster because they happen to have a monster in them. They might not belong on the shiny world of the future but they are necessary to get to that world because they are willing to do what is needed and play the anti-hero.

Kara doesn't know who she is. She died and came back and led the fleet to Earth. They found Earth and it was an irradiated wasteland and Kara found something there she couldn't explain. She went back to her old destructive ways and closed herself off like before.

Then the fleet began to fight against itself. She didn't hesitate. She armed herself and went hunting. She was going to save the other souls fighting for the future even if she isn't meant to enjoy it and anything that got in her way would be cut down. The world is becoming black and white for her, like it often does for those that rush forward. It doesn't matter what is happening here- what is important is the end result.

I think I'm still like Lee but definitely see myself going towards Kara's path, although I want to be like the chief.

How about you?