Sometimes, the safest place we think, is denial. Terrible things happen around us and we don't want to believe it is real. 2016 has been a hard year. Personally, I've changed jobs twice, lost health insurance and got it back but can't afford it, had painful shingles, felt very alone, suffered numerous writing rejections, etc. There's also been a lot of loss of beautiful and talented people. Alan Rickman (Serverus Snape), Harper Lee (author, To Kill a Mockingbird), Elie Wiesel (author and survivor of the Holocaust, Night), John Glenn (the first U.S. astronaut to orbit Earth), Carrie Fisher (General "Princess" Leia), Debbie Reynolds (mother of Carrie Fisher, who died a day later, Singing in the Rain and Halloweentown), and many more, but these are ones that stuck a chord with me.
I didn't mention the one that affected me the most. Anton Yelchin.
He played Ensign Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot. (Yes, I'm a Trekkie.) Anton played a perfect Chekov, right down to the accent. Anton played a sweet and young Chekov, a genius kid as Bones describes him. He grew over the course of the films to become the Chekov we know and love. But he's gone. He died in a tragic accident, crushed to death by his own vehicle on June 19th.
He was 27 years old. The same age as me.
I think that's why it bothers me the most. We are the same age. He'd done so many great things and achievements. He made me laugh. Anton had so much potential and so much life before him. But death isn't concerned about those things. Death is the great equalizer since we all face it.
I wish I'd accomplished even half of what Anton did in the same amount of years. I know you shouldn't compare yourself to others, but compared to Anton, I've done little to reach my dreams. I want to change that. I admit that I've cried for the boy who had so much more life to live. I can't imagine my life ending like that. I mourn for his friends and family. I didn't even know him, but I miss Anton and I wish he wasn't gone.
It hurts because we were the same age. There's a scene in Star Trek Beyond, where Kirk is commiserating the fact that his birthday is approaching. His birthday, which happens to be the anniversary of his dad's death. And he's upset because he is turning one year older; one year older than his father ever got to be. Tomorrow, I turn 28. Anton will never get the chance to turn 28. I understand some of Kirk's pain.
I know that I may never make movies or be a successful actor with lots of money or that I might never be someone who is so funny and memorable to all who knew him, but I want my life to be better for myself. I want to do great things and to live every day to the fullest. I want to keep trying hard to be a published author and to make others laugh. I want to share life and be compassionate to others. I don't want to be ashamed that I'm geeky or that I own more Star Trek t-shirts than I do heels or make-up. I admit that I have been ashamed of who I am. I've apologized for quoting Star Trek or the Lord of the Rings, or even Star Wars and Doctor Who. But I shouldn't be.
This is my favorite quote from Simon Pegg, a self-proclaimed geek, who even got to co-direct and co-write Star Trek Beyond. His words are liberating for me. :)
Anton lived as someone who knew who he was and he loved being himself. I desire to be the same way; comfortable as who I am and loving who I am.
Life is short, too short. Anton deserved a longer life, but he had a good life and made others laugh. I hope I can do that too.
Despite all of the hurt and pain that has come from this year, I hope things get better. We can cry over what happened, but the important thing is to remember and to move on. To become better people. I hope I can do that.
Rest in peace, Anton Yelchin.