• Meg Dowell

IN STAR WARS, I FOUND HOPE

Updated: Oct 6


“I wish Star Wars was real.”


As far as middle school diary entries go, this one started out particularly rough ... and most likely went downhill from there.


I don’t remember much about what I wrote in my journal in 2004 (and don’t care to revisit the details). But this line is permanently engraved in my memory. And probably always will be.


This confession pretty much sums up what it felt like to be Meg at age 12. She would have rather lived in a galaxy plagued by an evil Sith Lord than endure one more math test or miserable cafeteria lunch. Fighting Stormtroopers and crash-landing starfighters sounded much more appealing than facing real-world battles.


I was a good kid dealt an unlucky set of Sabacc cards.


Such is the way of our unfair universe. Some people just have terrible luck.


Exactly at what point this galaxy far, far away became my lifeline in times of darkness, I’m not sure. But all the boys making fun of me for liking Star Wars was a step up from my classmates making fun of me for a dozen other reasons I couldn’t control.


As a storyteller, it was only natural that I’d gravitate toward the themes and characters and messages Star Wars has to offer its fans when I was struggling to figure out who I was supposed to be. Wishing Coruscant could be a real city or Padmé a real politician wasn’t a childish wish that fantasy could be my reality. When we’re hurting, our first instinct is to draw connections between things that are familiar and things we don’t understand. So that’s what I did.


Even all these years later, I still turn to Star Wars when all hope seems lost. I may not be the same girl I was in 2004, but I don’t think I’d have come this far if I hadn’t learned to draw strength and confidence and joy from a story built entirely on foundations of triumph and hope and light.


I don’t love these stories because they allow me to escape to galaxies unknown. I love them because they force me to come to terms with the realities I might otherwise turn away from.



If Leia can lose everything and still go on to lead a rebellion, if Phasma can do whatever it takes to survive, if Sabine can forgive herself and reclaim her purpose and her name, then I too can find my place in all this. I, too, can lift my head and keep going.


Star Wars gives me hope when I can’t see the sun. It reminds me that even in the most unfavorable circumstances, good always prevails over evil. Bad things can break you, but they can’t silence you if you refuse to let them.


Just when giving up starts to seem like the best possible option, you look to the horizon, and you see it.


The sunrise.


Just barely. But it’s there.


And suddenly, fighting another day doesn’t seem like the worst-case scenario after all.

Meg is a book reviewer and podcaster in the realm of all things Star Wars. Some say her Captain Phasma obsession has gone too far. They're wrong.

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