Happy 20th Birthday, Buffy!
When I was seven years old, my mom was channel surfing and left the TV on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had never seen an episode but something about this show spoke to me immediately.
It was “Helpless,” the ep where Buffy loses her slayer abilities, but still manages to beat a vampire and save her mother. I was in awe– a young girl, kicking butt and using her wits? Fighting monsters to save the people she loves? Sign me UP.
I asked my mom if I could start watching and thus began an entire summer of bingeing five seasons of Buffy (which was a feat back when episodes only aired on UPN and FX) so we could watch the premiere of the sixth season. I can still remember the final days of the show, when they began a countdown for how many episodes were left before the finale.
Even now when I’m watching fifty shows at any given time, Buffy speaks to me as a girl, as a woman, and as a person living in this world. It saw me through years of depression and of feeling lost and alone. I’ve seen the fandom grow and change and I’ve loved every moment of it.
I love that there are still debates about ships and character analyses and so much love for this world.
Over the past sixteen years, I have watched every episode at least a dozen times (except for “The Body,” which I’ve only sat through once. Seven year old Kayla cried for a week after). Its meaning for me has changed as I got older.
It taught me a girl can be strong on her own. It taught me it’s okay for a girl to rely on friends and family. It taught me what it means to be an older sister. It taught me to not be afraid to forgive and love with every fiber of your being.
And even now, one of the most important lessons resonates with me:
It has taught me the world can be cruel but that doesn’t mean you have to be.
Happy twenty years, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Thank you for everything.