When one experiences life in an individualistic society that encourages creative thinking and exploration, there are many avenues that may lead to one interpreting their life as a movie, where they are a main character. On the surface this mindset commonly encourages a self-centered personality and an assumption of invincibility relative to others, but in certain circumstances an element of utility can be siphoned from these qualities that serves to kickstart an extremely dynamic life.
My physical outlets as a child were plentiful, from towering wooden playground structures to climb on and summer camps at the Parkwood YMCA that gave me a love for swimming. Through friendships with those likeminded, seemingly limitless stimulating TV programming and a backyard with trees to climb and balls to kick, a strong dualism of work and play formed that would serve as a hedonic calculus to weigh my priorities. With my active mind, running along woodchips and climbing up slides became profound, multifaceted adventures, where school was left to slowly fester into an obstacle and a nuisance as classes became more critically challenging.
Just as Youtube channels and Political events are ways I may establish common ground with others today, TV shows and collectibles drove my closest early friendships. Even before I had a game console to call my own, I had collected hundreds of Pokemon cards, some of which I’d received in trade with classmates from Italy. No one was out to crush the competition in battle or had obsessed themselves over securing a complete set of holos [Looking back, though, I didn’t do half bad] because sharing in the passion and victories of others overshadowed the allure of domination so completely. While virtues like sharing and caring are often carelessly discarded as sappy and nerdy by kids who want the world to themselves [Although media didn’t really do a good job of making them sound cool to begin with], there is an overwhelming euphoria present in communal excitement that contributes to the ironclad bond of a childhood friendship. The unifying factor of my early interests was the presence of admirable protagonists with motivations I could identify. While cringy and mundane in retrospect, Dragonball Z, Danny Phantom, Beyblades and Naruto all fed a desire to be the best I could be in those areas I found passion in and kept me inventing new ways to risk my neck jumping around and off of playground equipment. It was liberating as a shy introvert to daydream about flying without wings, bouncing off the walls and engaging in beautifully choreographed combat with antagonists from both my daily life and ones taken from TV.
It was inevitable through my adventures that a projection of the characteristics I admired would manifest into something more concrete and personal. Aiming to represent domination and raw energy, the first character that I “created” took influence from Dragon Ball Z: strong and fast, with the ability to fly. For the first time ever, I found myself doodling in class, beginning with crude humanlike figures donning overemphasized muscles. While this hyper-masculine model only briefly saw the light of day, his name was Power, and he made appearances in both crude powerpoint comic books and as a common reference in my mind while I played. Power existed fluidly between reality and fiction, with my potent daydreams blurring the distinction between my own actions on the playground and what Power would be doing in dramatized versions of the same scenarios. This fuzzy melting pot of reality and imagination soon began a trend between me and my friends where we would act as our superhuman aliases, adventuring, exploring and even designing tactical organizations: teams of friends who had powers of their own, going on missions and training in physical combat.
The greatest impact this early persona had on my life came during a family trip to a Mexican resort, where I first felt the joy of being known, in many senses of the term, as my own person. Disconnected from the community I grew up in, surrounded by people I’ve never met and would likely not meet after the plane flight back, I could compose myself in whatever way I desired and see what other people would think of meeting Power. At the resort’s kid’s club, where parents would drop their children while they go off to drink Margaritas at the wet bar, semi-structured activities were facilitated around playground equipment and art materials to keep our attention. While I wouldn’t have been caught dead volunteering for competitive activities back home, the idea proposed by one of our supervisors of an obstacle course was right up Power’s alley. Participating in the activity brought a rush of euphoria beyond what I was used to experiencing, the idea of competition far removed from my comfort zone, even though components like the wooden climbing wall were second nature to me. It goes without saying that I couldn’t fly or shoot energy out of my hands, but I displayed a confident and extroverted guise so contrary to my normal behavior that the experience remained as a vivid and exceptional memory for years to come. At the finish line I was awarded a brass medal not for participating, but for winning the event, encouraging further my adoration for what Power could accomplish.
As I approached adolescence, I like to say my interests in entertainment became more focused. The edgier world of evening cartoon programming became alluring, and I soon discovered Anime through Toonami, although the more graphic lineup of shows and my weak stomach initially caused me to seek a satisfactory middle ground. In 2004, that perfect blend came in the form of Danny Phantom, a Nickelodeon show about a High School Freshman with the power to fly, pass through solid objects, turn invisible and shoot energy from his hands, among other things. This show, along with others like Teen Titans and Static Shock, with similar themes, inspired the creation of Fusion, who would overtake Power as the subject of my increasingly captivating fantasies.
fter Concepts of Power and Fusion
Beyblades, K-1-12 and P2/Liquid Aura
(Passing interest in the anime, more interest in the movies)