Why I Relate to Kylo Ren

Bear with me here, all of my readers who aren’t nerdy, as this post will relate to my mental health struggles in one way or another despite the nerdy content.

I recently bought a car – a used 2015 KIA Soul that happened to be black in color – on Star Wars Day, i.e. May the 4th. When I got the car, I jokingly said, “Hey! I’m gonna have to name him something based on Star Wars since it’s Star Wars day!” and Hubster suggested “Ren” because not only is the car black in color, the front bumper kinds reminded him of Kylo Ren’s mask. Seen from the front, the car did look vaguely like Kylo’s mask if it had 4 silver strips running across it.

I was against the name because I was not a fan of Kylo Ren. In fact, I felt that he was a whiny villain – someone who was weak compared to Darth Vader. He wasn’t scary at all, especially not when his mask was off. He reminded me of a pallid, whiny teenager. I thought naming my car “Ren” would be to affirm that I liked Kylo Ren.

Then I thought about it. The more I did, the more I realized just how fitting the name “Ren” would be. Today, the novelty front license plate I’d ordered a week ago arrived and I fitted Ren with the license plate. It had a photo of Kylo Ren on it. Today, officially, my car was christened, “Ren”.

Now why the sudden change of mind, you might ask? Well, I thought about it this whole week.

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Ren, 2015 KIA Soul.

I came to an almost startling conclusion. I hate Kylo Ren because I hate myself.

Someone on Facebook pointed out to me, “You’re the only person I know who is into Kylo Ren šŸ˜“. That stung a little because I have never ever liked villains. I’ve always been on the side of the heroes. I still don’t like villains but I have realized that Kylo Ren is not really a villain. He’s a tragic character more than a true villain. The true villain in The Force Awakens is Snoke, not Kylo.

It is an ironic thing for me. I went to the theatres 7 times and saw The Force Awakens – each time, falling deeper in love with its story and themes. I loved Rey and BB-8 but somehow couldn’t find myself relating to Rey. I liked Finn and Poe as well but also couldn’t find myself relating to them. I was angry when I realized that I related to Kylo Ren the most throughout the movie. Each time I saw the movie, I found myself connecting with him even more. I realized then that this wasn’t a coincidence.

Like I mentioned, I hate Kylo Ren because I hate myself. I hate how whiny he is, I hate how weak he is, I hate how easily manipulated he is, I hate how angry he is…. In short, I hate how I am like him. He reminds me too much of myself.

Kylo Ren struggles with himself all the time. He buries his memories, his past, and his shame under layers of pain, guilt, and anger. He desperately wants to belong, desperately wants to be somebody important. He desperately wants his parents’ affection and approval and feels like he gets neither. He is angry, and he blames his parents for all the hurt he’s been through. He constantly keeps himself in pain (especially the final battle between him and Finn with the light sabers, he kept punching himself in his wound to keep himself strong), in order to keep going. He rages, he destroys the computer terminal and the prisoner’s cell with the light saber made from an unstable crystal, he is incapable of regulating his emotions. I am that way in every single way. In short, I am Kylo Ren.

I love Rey but I am not Rey. I am more like Kylo than I want to admit. I am closer to the Dark Side than I want to be as well. I constantly battle my Dark Side but sometimes feel myself weakening and feel the seduction of the Dark Side the way Kylo does but in the opposite way. He despises his Light side, I despise my Dark side. Both of us have unresolved parental issues and though I wouldn’t want to stab my father in the gut with a light saber and throw him over a bridge, I would want approval.

Kylo said in the bridge scene, “I’m being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain. I know what I have to do but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it”. That line resonate with me so much. I do feel like I’m being torn apart – I do want to be free from this pain – the pain of my daily struggles. I know that I have to keep fighting but I don’t know if I have the strength to keep going. I also know what I need to do in order to recover and be stronger but on one hand, I don’t want to do it because doing so means I will get better. On the other hand, I want to be free from this pain.

It is a painful realization – to know that I am like the villain of The Force Awakens. That I identify with the “bad guy” more than I identify with the heroes. I am not proud of the similarities but I see that now, that in order for me to recover, I need to embrace this part of me and accept that I am who I am. Without doing so, I will never be able to move on and get better. I will never be free from the pain – just like Kylo, not admitting who I am will be the same as him hitting himself in his wound over and over to keep himself in the pain.

As I’ve mentioned before in another post, I’ve struggled with my sexuality for a very long time (probably about 20 years now). Instead of running away, denying, and raging against it, I know that I need to come to terms with it. Will I do that? Well, that remains to be seen. S is certainly trying to help me see that. For the past 4-6 weeks now, our conversations have been nothing but about this issue and the things stemming from it. I know he’s trying very hard to help me see that I am punishing myself constantly for something I am incapable of controlling. Knowing something intellectually is one thing… Accepting it emotionally is another.

I think this is why I ended up naming my car “Ren”, after Kylo Ren. It is a reminder of who I am like and what I can become if I continue to act and make my choices the way Kylo has done. I believe that Kylo will be a character that will eventually be redeemed in the series, the way Darth Vader was, but that we will also see the choices he makes in his life consume him before that eventual redemption. Identifying with him does not make me a bad person, it just makes me just as vulnerable and as human as Kylo is.

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7 thoughts on “Why I Relate to Kylo Ren

  1. I think it’s fascinating the way we come to understand ourselves through stories. For me, “believing the girl” and allowing emotions to be personified (especially Doubt and Anxiety) was so helpful. For you, it’s seeing some of your own traits in Kylo Ren.

    As usual though, I think you judge too harshly: whiny, weak, manipulated. I wonder if you might consider using adjectives such as wounded, confused, uncertain. Someone in the process of self-definition. And though Kylo Ren chooses the Dark Side, it’s not inevitable (that’s the tragedy, right? his mistake; he could be choosing the Force). You also have choices in front of you, and they are hard. But you have been nothing but brave so far. I know you’ll find your way to your own unique Force.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JL says:

      I think so too – that it *is* very fascinating. I think it’s interesting how you personify your emotions. I find myself relating to movie/TV series characters a lot. I love how unique we all are in our own experiences!

      I told S about the whole Kylo Ren association thing today and he and I nerded out a little (of course we would). He said to me, “So you realize that Kylo is a very complex character – just like you are” and somehow, for some reason, that hit me so hard that I cried when he said that. And then I told him that a part of me thinks that I’m so pathetic for taking movies so seriously – that it’s so impactful to me. I also said that despite that, there are movies and TV series that impact me greatly and have helped shaped who I am today. He noted that the same voice that calls me pathetic for putting so much emphasis on relating to movie characters is also the same voice that calls me weak for having homosexual desires. You’re right, I do judge myself so harshly. It doesn’t even occur to me that there are adjectives like “confused”, “wounded” and “uncertain”. I didn’t even really think about how Kylo is “complex” until S mentioned it today. A lot of things are right there in front of me and yet I can’t seem to see them. So I’m thankful for you and for him for pointing them out!

      As for choosing… Yes, you’re right there too. I know what I must do – I must accept who I am. But that is still difficult. At the end of today’s session, I had an outburst as I came to the realization that I can’t deny who I am. I said, “Why?! Why can’t I just be normal?” and S responded with an empathetic, “It’s still very hard to accept huh?” I get that it’s a process, but I think I’m starting to believe that I will be able to get through this.

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      • I just have to disagree. It is not pathetic at all to take movies seriously. As a species, human beings love to tell stories. We have origin myths and oral history and legends and novels and movies and television. They are all ways of not only entertaining ourselves but of contemplating the meaning of our lives.

        And btw, I think you are pretty normal. Well, both normal and special. Normal as in human, doubting, developing. Normal as in homosexual desires are normal, appearing in all cultures throughout history. Special as in intelligent, insightful, compassionate, unique. Hugs to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • JL says:

        Thanks Q! You’re just amazing! I’m so glad we met. And I suppose that part of me has always just seen movies as merely an entertainment piece – definitely influenced by how I was raised to value only educational things and made to feel guilty for liking movies and books etc.

        And thank you. A psychologist I’ve seen during walk-in sessions, J – I’ve mentioned him before – likes to say to me when I say “normal”, “What’s that? I don’t know this word. I don’t know what normal means”. So I see your point. I need to stop comparing myself to what I deem “normal” because normal is EVERYONE.

        HUGS!! You’re such a comfort, Q. And you yourself are so insightful!

        Like

      • JL says:

        Haha… I know how you feel because I do the same for others too!! I think I really need to put more heart into learning better coping skills. A part of me is really fighting hard against that, against getting better. Which is silly.

        Like

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