Let me remind you I’m a grown man, complete with stubborn nose hair and a retirement portfolio.
Why on Earth am I buying toys?
They could be for my five-year-old daughter who loves Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spider-Man as much as she loves Littlest Pet Shop and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, or I could have bought them as an investment, anticipating high demand for product tie-ins to Marvel’s latest blockbuster. If either scenario rang true, why do they sit on a high shelf, unboxed, and put together where my daughter can’t reach?
I want to play with them.
As a teenager, I recorded episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, dreamt of attending conventions in full costume, and amassed over 80 action figures along with play-sets and toy ships that lit up while making photon torpedo sounds, so I recognize the signs of geek mania.
Before writing me off, please note the following indicators of hope:
1) Even though the movie spawning this hysteria opened Thursday at midnight, I won’t see it until the following Wednesday. During opening weekend, I chose to visit my in-laws and attend my wife’s 20th high school reunion. We’ll also celebrate my sister’s birthday before I see the film.
2) My daughter and I assembled the Lego sets together, and she and my two-year-old son spent more time playing with them than I did as the Guardians of the Galaxy rubbed shoulders with other members of Maggie’s collection of interlocking bricks.
3) You’re reading this post wherein I discuss my penchant for collecting toys designed for children. I could’ve kept this quiet, but decided to share it with you instead: “Hi, my name’s Jake, and I’m a sci-fi toy collector. It’s been two weeks since my last purchase.”
Yeah, I bought toys so I could play with them. Might this indicate an arrestment of my emotional development? Maybe. Could my fascination with science fiction reveal a dissatisfaction with reality? Probably. Do my interests prevent healthy relationships, isolating me from friends and family? Not at all. Have I created this post in response to a vague internal sense society might question my behavior? Bingo.
I write to settle uneasiness in me. If I can answer perceived arguments striking at the core of my identity, then I don’t have to change who I am or even fake change. I get to go on pretending it causes me no concern I know more about fictional worlds than I do about football, but it still bothers me.
This is about self-acceptance, releasing the modus operandi that disliking sports equals rejection. After all this time, the voices of my middle school bullies echo within. How do I release their lies? By speaking the truth.
I appreciate nerdy things, and that’s great because it defines me. Being drawn to Guardians of the Galaxy draws me closer to my wife and kids because they love the things I love. My genetic code combined with my life experience and spiritual formation made me unique all according to plan. I’m exactly the person God meant me to be right now, and He transforms me every day.
Do I still have a ways to go? Certainly, but I’m still breathing, which means I, along with my ragtag group of friends, can keep darkness at bay until the day our galaxy is saved.