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Alan Rickman, you magnificent bastard. You left us too soon!

I’m going to be real with you all, when I heard that Alan Rickman had died, I was mad. I skipped right over sadness and landed squarely in anger. This was absolutely UNACCEPTABLE.

Alan_Table_Flip.gif

Why?

Because I’m not ready to live in a world without Alan Rickman. I’m mad because, despite fame and fortune, cancer still managed to steal yet another person from this planet. I’m furious that we spend our time and resources on so many things that don’t matter when we could be trying to find a way to preserve life – especially a life that has brought so much greatness to the world.

People may feel I’m overstating that. I mean, he was just an actor, right?

First of all, let me say it’s sad when anyone dies of cancer. I lost one of my most impactful mentors to cancer. I am good friends with cancer survivors who are constantly looking over their shoulders, forced to worry about having to do battle once again with the despicable affliction.

But make no mistake, Alan Rickman was a genuine treasure and he will always be a treasure to me.

Happy_Alan

 

In honor of Rickman, I wanted to take some time to write about the roles I enjoyed the most, and what they meant to me.

Dogma as THE METATRON

Kevin Smith’s Dogma came out in 1999. I was thirteen years old, and it was one of the first movies that made me question… so many things. Alan Rickman as the Metatron was a huge contributing factor to my inevitable understanding that the world operates in a gray area. As the Metatron, Rickman plays a discontented angel who wants nothing more than to get drunk and forget his worries. Because as an angel in a world where God’s gone MIA, things are stressful and there are plenty of worries to forget about.

Metatron_Finger

I was instantly taken by his straight-faced humor and absolutely in love with his otherworldly, yet still somehow down-to-earth perspective on the shenanigans that unfold. I may have seen Rickman in other movies (Sense and Sensibility), but this was the movie that made me fall in FOREVER LOVE with Rickman. His point of view made me question MY point of view. And what if things COULD be different than how we’ve always been told they are?

What if, what if, what if…

Galaxy Quest as Alexander Dane aka “Dr. Lazarus”

Just when you thought Rickman couldn’t nail a more perfect comedy role than THE METATRON, along comes Galaxy Quest, released the same year as Dogma. 1999 was a damn good year. Rickman’s role in Galaxy Quest makes me wonder if, one day, someone walked up to him and asked, “Would you like to play yourself in a sci-fi movie?”

Alan_Makeup_brush

In GQ, Rickman plays a classical actor who took one role in a science fiction show in the 80s and got pigeon holed into that role for, seemingly, forever. At first glance, it would appear that he resents this kind of notoriety, but it quickly becomes apparent how jealous he is of his co-star, Jason Nesmith, played by Tim Allen.

Eventually Rickman’s character embraces his pseudo personality and, as a result, finds belonging, purpose and passion. On the surface, it seems pretty simple – and it is. The message is… embrace who you are!

GQ_Alan_Acceptance

This was HUGE for me. I waivered in my early adulthood sometime later where I felt like I shouldn’t be as nerdy as I wanted to be. That is made me undesirable and unmarketable to things like relationships or a career.

You might have noticed that I have, as of late, re-embraced by nerdy tendencies. And it feels great. Just like Alexander Dane recognizing how much of a part Dr. Lazarus was of him. I have all the things he did at the end of that movie – belonging, purpose, and passion!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as Marvin the paranoid robot

We didn’t get to see you at all in this movie, Alan, but you were there in spirit in the form of Marvin. All we needed was your voice to know it was you – and more than that, to feel that Marvin was a person, with feelings and fears and a creeping, almost undetectable sense of humor. Marvin represented the voice in all of our heads saying we can’t do things, and the universe is a big, bad place that no sane person should want to live in.

Marvin

But Marvin marches forward. He doesn’t stop. In stark contrast to his depressive mood, he is a reminder of what we’re all capable of – we all have the capacity for greatness, and for perseverance. It’s a dichotomy that Rickman pulls off perfectly, and Adam Douglas, I’m sure, would have been proud.

Harry Potter as Severus Snape

Oh, Severus. Of course, we cannot overlook the contributions of J. K. Rowling in the creation of Severus Snape, but we have to give full marks to Alan Rickman for making the character come to life in the most glorious, ominous and heartbreaking way. I had seen the first three Harry Potter movies before I started reading the books (I know, it was wrong and I take full blame for slacking on getting into this series) – so when I started reading, the image of Snape was one and the same with a black-haired Alan Rickman.

SnapeIntro

I hated Snape, I despised him, I wondered about him, I started to feel bad for him… and then I mourned for him. It was an elegant and emotional journey that both Rowling and Rickman took me on.

I will share this one, painful regret – that Snape did not get enough character exposition and progression in The Halfblood Prince and Deathly Hallows movies. We know from the books how Harry sees firsthand how difficult Severus’ childhood was, and how deeply he felt for Lilly, and the anguish in his decision to join Voldemort. Given half a chance, Rickman would have tore our hearts out countless times over if more screen time had been dedicated to his journey.

She

Is

everything

to me

For me, Dogma and Harry Potter are bookends in my love for Alan Rickman’s work – and in both, he portrayed the perfect mixture of what it means to be human and fallible – though in both he plays larger-than-life roles. Angel and Wizzard. Still human. Still one of us. Still showing us what it means to walk this earth and navigate the trenches.

You were taken from us too soon, Mr. Rickman. You will be missed. You will be mourned. But more than anything, you will be remembered.

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Always
Alan Rickman, 1946 – 2016

 

Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

 

Battling The Dark Lord of Illnesses

This is a story about how my nerdom got me through one of the roughest times in my life. To me, being a nerd isn’t trendy – it’s a way of life that has served me well! With that said, there are all kinds of words I would use to describe myself – mom, wife, the 4-H Lady, Geek, runner, yogi.

But even with having a mother and grandmother with a history of colon cancer, I never thought I would have to add “cancer survivor” to my list.

Don’t get me wrong – I am very thankful that ‘survivor’ is included in the description! So since both my mother and grandmother had colon cancer, while unpleasant, I had to begin my screenings at age 25 (much earlier than the recommended 50). For my first checkup, everything came back fine. I got the referral from Dr. Fricker to come back in 5 years and went on my way.

In July 2014, my 30th birthday rolled around and I remembered it was that time again. I finally got around to making the appointment for my colonoscopy in September. After the procedure my doctor said he found a thickened fold and that it could be irritation from the prep for the procedure or it could be cancer. I honestly didn’t give it another thought as my husband, A.J., rolled me out of the office. All that was on my mind was how hungry I was!

Editor's note: the struggle is real.
Editor’s note: the struggle is real.

That was September 19th. My follow up was a rainy Monday morning on September 29th. I remember telling A.J. before we went to bed that night that I didn’t think they found anything because it had been a week and a half. When my mama was diagnosed she went for her colonoscopy on Monday and found out she had cancer on Wednesday.

That rainy Monday, Dr. Fricker walked into the office and just said it; “I don’t have good news for you. It is cancer.”

I was in total shock.

He said I would have to have surgery. I asked, “Surgery like Mama had?” I was there with her and knew all she went through. All I could think over the next days and weeks was ‘I don’t have time for this. I don’t want to stop my life for this.’

For some reason, my mind went to the scene in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring where Frodo and Gandalf are talking in the mines of Moria. Frodo says,

“I wish the Ring had never had come to me. I wish none of this had ever happened to me.”

Frodo
Source @ http://myelvenkingdom.tumblr.com

Gandalf’s reply is one that I clung to as I went through my cancer/chemo journey.

“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

I felt like Frodo sitting in that deep dark mine. I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t want to have to face what was ahead. I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t want to have surgery and put my busy important life on hold (insert sarcasm here). I had to have the surgery. I had to take the chemo. I wanted to live. To see my little boy grow up. To grow old and grey with my husband.

And when I would get to feeling bad about my situation my mind would also go to the quote from Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban when Dumbledore is addressing the students of Hogwarts on the dangers dementors.

“A word of caution: dementors are vicious creatures. They will not distinguish between the one they hunt and the one who gets in their way. Therefore I must warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. It’s not in the nature of a dementor to be forgiving. But you know happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Not much ever got Luna down!
Not much ever got Luna down!

Good things have come from having cancer. My parents who divorced when I was 2 finally speak to each other instead of the awkward silence and stares from before. I have renewed my friendship with my childhood best friend. We had drifted apart our Senior year of high school, but our friendship is stronger now than it ever was. There can be happiness in even the darkest of times – you just have to find the light!

I had my surgery on October 13th. Everything went well but even though the cancer was only in one lymph node out of 57, I would still be facing chemo. I was in the hospital with instructions not to pick up anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Brody, my son, was 9 months old at the time and was much heavier than a gallon of milk! Luckily, we have a wonderful nanny named Ms. Mary that keeps him in our home. But in the meantime, I was still around Brody 24/7 and unable to do anything with him. I could feed him when someone put him in his high chair and give him a bath but that was it.

No rocking at night, no playing on the floor, no changing diapers. I could not even sit and hold him because of my incision. He not being able to understand why I couldn’t pick him up upset both of us. So most days I would stay in my bedroom so I could stay out of his sight. This was the first time in 9 months that I had idle time on my hands. Working full time and having a family doesn’t allow for much downtime!

The show Warehouse 13 had been on my Netflix queue for some time but I had just never gotten around to watching it. I decided now was as good a time as any. I can honestly say that show got me through one of the hardest times of my life.   Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I was transported to a world of science fiction and history sprinkled with humor and topped off with a great mix of characters. Being able to escape into the world of Warehouse 13 helped me get through those hard days.

Serious warehouse-type things about to go down. Really, though, these people got me through rough times!
Serious warehouse-type things about to go down. Really, though, these people got me through rough times!

In May of 2015 I was declared cancer free! Which is great news, but every year for the next five years I have a date with my surgeon and gastroenterologist just to be sure.

Being a nerd and the wealth of content, story and enduring themes of bravery and hardship within nerd culture gave me strength to get through some of the hardest days of my life. Yay for bring a nerd!


JuliaJulia is a curious mix of southern belle and nerd. She resides in South Georgia with her non-nerd husband , nerd in progress 19 month old son  and two spoiled rotten Australian Cattle Dogs.  A lover of Harry Potter, Star Wars, Dr.Who, Lost Girl, Warehouse 13 and all things Tolkien. She has a been a nerd for most of her 31 years, and somehow seems to be getting nerdier the older she gets!

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