5 ways Buffy The Vampire Slayer changed my life

So I went to a Buffy and Angel convention, The Vampire Ball, in November and I had the most fang-tastically epic time (I’m sorry). It fuelled me to put pen to paper (or more accurately, fingers to keyboard) and finally write about my love for the greatest TV show ever made.

Full disclosure: I’ve written and re-written this post a stupid amount of times and considered scrapping the whole thing because it gets a little personal and frightens my fragile introverted soul. But then I thought to myself, what would Buffy do? And I know she would post the hell out of it, so, without further ado, here are the five ways Buffy The Vampire Slayer has changed my life:

Buffy The Vampire Slayer was the first time I’d ever seen a lead female character that was more than just a one-dimensional heroine. Buffy Summers as a character was flawed. She could be self-centred, cold and sometimes downright mean. We constantly see flawed male characters on TV, but women are, more often than not, caricatures of one trait. Buffy was never that, we saw her grow and develop as a person as the series went on.

It takes a lot for me to not lose my shit when people say they dislike Buffy as a character, but love EQUALLY AS FLAWED male characters such as Walter White, Batman etc. Double standard, much?! But anyway, I digress…

The show itself never waivers from its feminist theme. Sure, things get tough and some distasteful one liners slip through the cracks here and there, but at its core it is a show about female empowerment, friendship, love and the triumph over evil.

I hate to pull out a cliché, but I have genuinely found it SO DIFFICULT to figure out the words to describe how I feel about the Buffy community. If you could see how many times I’ve re-written this section… Let’s just say it took more than one glass of wine.

On a personal level, Buffy has helped strengthen pre-existing friendships and forge brand new ones. I’ve done Buffy watches, Buffy pub quizzes and had nights dedicated to playing the Buffy board game, all with wonderful people.

Being at The Vampire Ball was a whole other level of community. I was so scared that my social anxiety would get the best of me and that I’d freak out at the daunting amount of Buffy-loving people around me, but I actually loved every second. I met some wonderfully kind, caring people and really felt like I was a part of something. It’s such a strange delight being in a room full of people and knowing that you could speak to any of them about something you’re all incredibly passionate about. Pure joy.

I’ve honestly never known anything like the Buffy community. Before I was truly a part of it I felt like it would be too overwhelming, then I dove headfirst in and I’m so glad I did. It’s nice that there’s this little corner of society that’s still good, you know?

Buffering The Vampire Slayer (a podcast where actual real life heroes/dream boats Jenny Owen Youngs and Kristin Russo talk about each episode of Buffy in order) has become one of my favourite and most treasured parts of the Buffy fandom in the last few years.

Buckle up, because it’s about to get hella mushy up in here.

Buffering has had such a positive affect on my life. Not only has it given me a gift in that I get to listen to two intelligent queer women talk about my favourite show in a funny, witty way each week, as well as a SONG ABOUT EVERY EPISODE, it’s made me look at myself in a whole different light, come to terms with myself in ways I’d never thought about before and has even encouraged me to start writing again, hence this blog post.

My poor, sweet friends will tell you that I have not stopped talking about this podcast for the last TWO YEARS. How they’ve coped, I will never know.

If you haven’t listened and you’re a Buffy fan, GOOD GRAVY, where have you been?! Get on it, get on it now. You won’t regret it.

And finally, to Jenny and Kristin (who I have boldly assumed are reading this), please can I be your best friend? I’ve been told I cook a mean chilli con carne AND I can bring the Buffy board game for us to play.

As a woman on this Trump-stained earth I have suffered, as I know many others have, with low self-esteem relating to how I look. I used to be obsessed with being skinny, and I know this sounds strange as Buffy doesn’t exactly showcase different body types, but the show made me want to be strong.

I saw strong female characters honing their craft and I wanted that for myself. Buffy constantly training to stay at the top of her slaying game, Willow practising her witchcraft and becoming the most powerful character of the entire series and Anya running a successful business and unapologetically being herself (you get that money, girl!). These great examples have lit a fire under my ass and encouraged me to go after the things I really want in life, rather than spending my time agonising over how I look.

I suffer from anxiety and depression and have done since I was a teenager. Over the years, I’ve become better at dealing with it and have started to pinpoint triggers and keep a note of activities that make me feel better.

It helps me to know that when I’m feeling low or my anxiety is peaking, that I can get under a blanket and put on an episode of Buffy. Sometimes I go for one that makes me feel badass (Prophecy Girl), sometimes I welcome the tears (Becoming parts 1 and 2) and sometimes I just want to throw down with my two favourite (and not at all gay *looks to camera*) gal pals (Bad Girls).

My mental health journey is far from over, but, as our favourite slayer once told us: the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live.

I mean, come on, how could I not end on a Buffy quote?

All images by @RachMakes on Instagram