Oh really? Somehow I doubt that and honestly, always have. To say something, such as a name, or someone, no longer has any meaning in one’s life, is a flat-out lie. Point blank, you’re in a state of personal denial. Am I judging you or, in this case, Darth Vader? No, I’m simply unearthing the truth, or as Luke clearly stated:
“It is the name of your true self. You’ve only forgotten.”
Forgotten? I think not, more like flat-out refusing to admit or, better yet, a lack of ownership for one’s own wrongdoings. But, I’m getting way ahead of myself here. Let’s stay on target, shall we?
“Henceforth, you shall be known as … Darth Vader.” – Emperor Palpatine
A name change can also change one’s persona, not just in Anakin’s case as he is anointed by the dark side, but even in such instances as marriage or even adoption. From a personal perspective, I have tried on three different last names throughout my lifetime and with each one, my role, or should I say personal identity, has adapted with each new title. In a sense, you could say, those names no longer have any meaning to me, but would that be the honest truth? Each name is like a chapter to a story, your story – the milestones to your lifeline. Granted, there are moments I’d like to just toss away into the trash compactor. Believe me, I wish I could just wish away my feelings, but I can’t. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one. In all seriousness, our past is part of who we are today and those experiences will help shape new ones – like redefining a phrase, we must turn the next page.
For Anakin, hiding behind the name or title of Darth Vader, only meant he no longer had to feel. He made it very clear as he knelt before his new master, “I can’t live without her” and so, he didn’t. Instead, he buried his emotions into the depths of darkness and despair. Allowing that seed to fester and to fuel his new role as the Emperor’s Iron Fist, he became his very own, self-proclaimed Dark Avenger. Darth Vader believed he harbored those feelings of conflict so well, that in fact, he was lying to himself for years. Encased in his own self-inflicted prison of pain, for wronging the ones he loved, each heinous act that he committed under the mask of Vader was prompted by the past inflictions of Anakin’s agony.
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
I wholeheartedly believe in this notion. Why? Because like Anakin, I endured and, in the end, I survived – I owe it to anyone, to all of us that find the courage to break through the fear and brave the unknown, I have to. After all, it is the only we grow and move forward. We must, first and foremost, forgive ourselves so that we may continue to turn the pages of our own stories. Accepting the roles and the titles that help distinguish our identities. The past ones and the present, embracing the good with the bad, and coming to terms with who we are — everything happens for a reason and redemption is no exception.
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