This is a multi-part post on how my depression came to be, and how a video game not only pulled me out of it, but helped me stand up for myself and change my fate. As such, this is deeply personal, and if stories of this nature bother you, it is advised that you skip this series of posts, and join me for my Top 10 Favourite Video Games post, coming in a couple short weeks.
Part I will focus on the plot of Final Fantasy XIII. Part II will focus on my journey to adulthood amidst heavy abuse of all kinds, from all angles. Parts III and IV will tie the two together, explaining how the game literally changed my life.
I was on the bus to the Grand Canyon. I had finally escaped my torture. Finally escaped the very thing that defined my life for the past decade. I was happy. I talked with my friends on Facebook for as much of the bus ride as I could. I helped a lady take care of her fussy child, who rode all the way to Denver with me. Most importantly, I finally had the guts to start going by my preferred name: Matthias.
After her parents died, she started going by Lightning. While guiding Hope through the underground of Palumpolum, she has a revelation. “Lightning flashes bright, and then fades away. It cannot create. It only destroys.” Her fight was a flash that was now fading, destroying everything she stood for and taking everyone around her down with her. How would she find the will to go on? How could she possibly continue taking care of this boy who hadn’t seen his father since he was turned into a l’cie?
After a few minutes of contemplation, she found the will to keep going through one small change. She turned to Hope and said, “Call me Light.”
I got to the Grand Canyon and introduced myself to my new boss and soon-to-be best friend at the Canyon with my legal name. I instantly regretted it. I talked to him two days later about it, asking if he could call me Matthias instead. I explained myself, and he took to my new name easily. Only called me by my legal name twice in the weeks following.
The season was drawing to a close, and I needed a place to stay. I was frantically looking for apartments in Seattle to no avail, and going back to Nebraska to live a horrendous life of abuse all over again was absolutely not an option. I started asking around if anyone had the spare space for me to crash with them for a bit while I get things figured out, and my boss, knowing my relationship with the Midwest and what it meant for me, offered his parent’s spare bedroom, as well as moving up with him and his new fiancé to Ashland, Oregon.
That didn’t quite pan out. I did stay with him and his parents for a month and a half, but he pulled out of me moving up with him and his fiance, at the request of said fiance. However, he’d get my stuff up there for me if I found a place. So the hunt for an apartment in Ashland had begun. I scoured Craigslist for three days, and found a guy who was also looking for a roommate. We got approved for an apartment (where I still live to this day), and I moved up.
I guess I got lucky. Very, very lucky. And I am thankful every day for the people who got me to where I am today. Those ten people are folks I will forever be indebted to, and if you’re reading this, you know who you are. Thank you so much for helping me get out of that horrible situation. I am forever in your debt.
Now, let us all witness the dawn of a new crystal legend. My legend. The legend of the man who came from nothing, and managed to get somewhere and do something thanks to the people around him. The man who’s moving to Portland this coming summer. The man who has no fear towards what was. The man who made it out.
The rest of my life awaits.