I have collected much along the way to here. Here being the person that I have become. For a very long time the view inward was skewed or blurred. Over the past decade that view has been made clearer and clearer to me through introspection and the diligence of pushing through the noise of mind and external matter. As a result of clearer and truer identity, I have latched onto many items that represent aspects of what is inside of me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Below I have identified a few of those things.

1. Darth Vader action figure – The action figure represents pure evil in an iconic science fiction storyline.  He was believed to be the chosen one to bring balance to the Universe.  He rose up through the ranks of the Jedi Order, in the Star Wars saga, eventually turning against them in anger and selfishness.  After a life of villainy and destruction battling the Rebel Alliance, he was saved by his own son whom he did not know existed until his Sith master allowed him to find out.  He eventually fulfilled the prophecy and brought balance to the Force turning on his own master out of love for his recently discovered son.

The presence of this item on my shelf not only displays a love for the Star Wars Universe, but also an identity of person within myself.  Being denied aspects of my own interests and personality throughout my last marriage, I had drawn a connection to the character of Darth Vader. I identified with his drive to find himself in his love interest, Padme, and, after her death, his desire to achieve ultimate power over those he felt had tried to oppress him; the Jedi Council in their denial of him the title of Jedi Master.  

Darth Vader eventually realized that the good in him had not been completely demolished.  He realized that all he had to do was to decide to allow that good to take over, and to decide to change his course of actions.  I too have realized that I am not the person that my ex-wife had made me out to be.  I am and always have been a good man, a good husband, and a good father.  Since she is no longer controlling me and who I am, I have reclaimed all that is me, and having been reacquainted with that guy, I think I like him.  

2. Pewter Beer Mug  This pewter award represents the completion of the beer challenge at a place in St. Louis called Growlers Pub.  Growlers is a pub of eccentricities uniquely educating pub-goers on the many different aspects of beer and its many brewing results.  This sits on my self in honor of my first experience with St. Louis local culture.   My new life here is to be punctuated with the pride of claiming that I had, in fact, tasted all one hundred thirty-three beers.  The premise of that number of beers as was told to me is “thirty-three beers on tap and one hundred bottles of beer on the wall.”  

Having found new life in becoming comfortable with the person I had recently discovered within myself, I am embarking on a live action redo.  Holding that pewter beer mug in my hands after months of drinking beer, even beer I did not enjoy at all, meant that I had accomplished something that I wanted to do, not something that someone wanted me to do.  This mug is the beginning of accomplishments that I desire and that I enjoy and that I will push forward toward.  This mug is the beginning of a life lived my way.  

Hot Wheels Collectible – This Hot Wheels Special Edition BoxSet Collectible specifically contains four vehicles from the Ed “Big Daddy” Roth designs from the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The designs of Ed Roth showed up on t-shirts and comics.  They are iconic of the eras in which they showed up.  This mint-in-box set on my shelf is a remnant of me during my marriage trying desperately to hold onto something that represented who I am and where I came from. Hot Wheels collecting is a very inexpensive way to hold on to a memorable childhood and show my own children what made the biggest impact on me as a child.  

3. Firefly and Serenity. Several shelves. Ok. So this is a point at which I seem to have obsessed. But there is clear reason, even many reasons.  Before I begin I need to say, if you have never taken the time to binge the 13 episodes of Firefly, followed by the movie Serenity, you are missing out. However if you haven’t I’ll assume that you are now planning to and not reveal any spoilers.  The writing is phenomenal as is the character development and the relationship development. The environment as well as the technology is believable. But these are not the reasons I have obsessed over Firefly as I have. There is a spirit of family that develops among this raggedy group of misfits. Individuals who have experienced rejection, betrayal, heart-break, and great loss.

Relationships are strained and then strengthened. Each of the main characters have come to represent a part of who I am, who I have become, or who I want to be. Personal barriers are broken down. All of this among the midsts of bad-ass westerny sci-fi.

These items on my shelf all represent pieces of me.  These pieces may be from the past, or even closer to the present, but all describe me at this point on my life journey.  They all in their own way encompass small parts of my identity even today.  Between the items; the Darth Vader figure, the Ed Roth Hot Wheels collectible, the pewter beer mug, and the entirety of the Firefly shelves; they show that I have a darker side, and a serious side.  They show I have a sentimental side, and the romantic side, but also demonstrate the existence of the fun-lover inside of me.  I am still becoming who I was meant to be but along the way I have picked up these items representing chunks of my personality, parts of me that some will see and some will not.  However these representations are not for them, they are for me, to enjoy and to reminisce of the path that I have taken to get to this place and to this person, who is me. 

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