Friday, February 27, 2015

My Dear Reader,

As many of you know, Leonard Nimoy, most famous for his role as Spock, passed away today.

A lot of people outside of the Star Trek fandom do not understand what Spock brought to the world, and therefore do not understand what we have lost.

Spock is not just a guy with pointy ears. He's a complex character who developed beautifully over decades of Star Trek episodes and movies, enriching millions of lives in the process.

He's half-human, half-Vulcan, and it takes him a long time to figure out his place in the universe. As a Vulcan, he is born with strong, primal emotions that would lead him to madness without careful discipline. He's taught that he has to purge all emotion completely. So, when we first see him, he appears completely emotionless. He refuses to acknowledge that he has any feelings at all. Yet, he spends every day among humans, who are free to express emotion without the same consequences. He has these two halves, one that tells him that feelings will make him a monster, and another that tells him that he's a monster for not feeling at all. As a result, he really feels like he doesn't belong anywhere. He's a man without a home.

But you can watch Spock as he starts to reevaluate what he is being taught, as he starts to think that maybe there's a middle ground between these two worlds, and as he slowly finds a balance between these two parts of him and ends up with an inner peace he never dreamed of. In the end, Spock is a whole, healed person.

This is a story that is not told often. It is not told as completely, or as well. But Leonard Nimoy's performance speaks to outcasts of all kinds: people who are bi-racial, people on the autism spectrum, people with depression (me), and many, many others.

There are a lot of people out there who just don't feel like they belong. A lot of them feel like they can't ever be their true selves, that in order to fit in, they have to be someone else. Spock showed us that not only is it possible to find peace with who we are, it's a necessary step to happiness. It's not about fitting in. It's not about rebelling. It's about finding a balance between the two, and finding the discipline to be your best self.

This message is so important, and so very rare. I am so very thankful to live in a world where this message is expressed at all.

Of course, Leonard Nimoy was so much more than Spock. He didn't just play the part and fade away; he was involved with fans until the end, listening and encouraging them to lead better lives. He became a grandpa to the world.

I feel so blessed to be in a world that had him in it. He will be sorely missed.

-Cecily Jane