'Xena's' Profound Impact on Me!

How a Warrior Princess forged a Passion in me!

'Xena's' Profound Impact on Me!

It was the Fall of 1995 and I was still a very young kid. During one autumn evening, I was hanging out with the girls next door. They were among my best friends at the time. Like me, they shared in interest in fantasy. 

During this particular visit, one of them proclaimed that ''Xena'' would be featured on the show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys that night. I had never seen Hercules before, but it sounded like something I would be interested in. As we sat down to watch, I was soon introduced to the evil female warlord Xena (who over the course of three episodes would renounce her evil ways, and use her amazing fighting skills in the name of good).

As we watched, I was captivated! The character of Xena was very charismatic and magnetic, yet also very dark. Additionally, the over-exaggerated action style of her fighting was epic!

I was soon to learn that Xena was not going to be limited to a character on a few episodes of Hercules. In fact, she was about have her own show. When Xena: Warrior Princess debuted, I made sure to watch her adventures religiously. Without question, it became my favorite show.

Soon after, I got several of my classmates to watch Xena. We would often discuss the episodes from the night before during school hours. My passion for Xena seemed infectious, as at one point I convinced my teacher to laminate and hang up a large Xena poster in the classroom. Around the same time, I did an oral report on the show and read one of the novels for English class. I also remember reading some of the Xena comics with friends and writing a story about Xena during a creative writing class.

Xena was not just a common fixture at school, but at my home as well. I had several large posters of Xena in my room, Xena magazines, and Xena trading cards. 

The show and the character, became one of my passions and also a great source of happiness. 

But what started out as great entertainment, was about to become much more to me.

By time I was in Grade Eight, I knew I was gay. Furthermore, I had a crush on one of my classmates (my best friend at the time). I felt we were close, so I told him about my feelings for him. This lead to us becoming less and less close, and eventually he told some other classmates that I was gay. I found this out when I arrived to school one morning and was greeted by a group of students taunting me and shouting gay slurs.

I tried to brush it off and just causally walked off, heading towards a group of my other friends. In that moment I had thought of Xena, her strength, and her ability to solider on against tremendous hurdles. I wanted to draw on those attributes and apply them to my own life. Xena was a character I felt deeply passionate about and I was going to ''channel'' the powerful qualities I saw in her and use them to my advantage.

As such, the bullying against me quickly ceased for the most part as the students involved saw they were having little affect on me. Despite this though, I did miss my old best friend and I did feel lonely at times. Xena once again became an asset to me. When I was feeling down or isolated, I could indulge in the show and it would make me feel better.

Xena was a fictional character, who was a great hero. But in a sense, she became a real hero in my life...helping to rescue a lonesome kid from the harsh realities of his life at the time. 

Lucy Lawless (the actress who portrays Xena) stated in 2014, ''if other people choose to make the character you play into a hero of theirs, that's there business, they can do that.''  

As an adult, my love for Xena has never faded. I have continually re-watched the series with new friends who had never previously seen it (including my with my now long-term boyfriend). It is always a joy to relive Xena with new audiences.

As I reminisce about these many Xena related memories (that range from when I was a young kid all the way up into adulthood), there is no question on why these remain so vivid. Xena has had a positive and profound impact on me! 

Note: This article is dedicated to Lucy Lawless, whose acting talents brought Xena to life; and to all the other passionate Xena fans in the world! 

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Matthew Blake
Matthew Blake
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