The first time someone asked me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I answered; “a Power Ranger.” I even thought there was an Academy out there, somewhere, where they would teach me how to be a Power Ranger. And that eventually, I’d replace the Rangers that were too old to continue. I always wanted to be the red one. I know, the red was a guy, but I had my hopes up, “who knows, maybe they’ll let me wear the red suit if I’m good enough.”
I was ready to save the world.
When I was still a kid, there was a time when it was only me and my mom. My brothers were too busy learning how to use their own wings, flying their own skies, and my dad… well, he left. I don’t think I realized that my father wasn’t going to be around anymore, at least not right away. But I could tell my mom was worried.
I remember I used to climb trees when playing outside with my cat, and one time, I chopped off a huge piece of wood from a tree. A thick stick aka my superhero gadget. I used my nail polish to make it cuter, painted all over it and told my mom she didn’t have to worry anymore, that I was going to protect her.
That stick was by the main door of our house for years. I was ready to Home Alone the shit out of anyone who tried to hurt us.
I was the Power Ranger of the house.
And sure, like every other kid I changed my mind a thousand times on what I wanted to be as an adult, because I was fascinated by the world and many things amazed me. I even said once I wanted to be a cop. – Cop. Power Ranger. Superman. Mulan. – See the pattern? I just wanted to be a hero.
My mother started buying me all these books, even before I learned to read, she used to say: “I don’t know everything, I don’t have all the answers, but I’m sure whatever I can’t answer or explain, you’ll figure it out yourself as you read.” The first gift she gave me was The Little Prince. She then let me go ahead and read Nietzsche when I was fifteen. Many told her that type of philosophy was going to destroy me, but her answer to that was: “She reads Harry Potter too.”
I fell in love with Wilde, and Woolf, and Hemingway. With García Márquez and Poe. It took me forever to finish a Proust. And I always make sure I have a cup of tea if I am to dive into some Freud. Rowling and King fed my imagination. All these writers saved me. Okay, I was pretty young, a kid and a teen, you might ask how did they save me? It’s not like I had terrible experiences to recover from. You’re right. But they saved me from falling into everything I would’ve if I didn’t have them. They kept me happy, healthy and kept my questioning and my brain constantly active. Ballet took care of my body. Literature took care of my soul.
But I still wasn’t sure how the heck was I supposed to be a hero. There was no way I’d ever write like them, but I was already writing. And I realized I could communicate better with words. Not just with people, but with myself. Writing things down helped me understand what was really going on inside me. And I got to know myself better.
Then movies came in.
And I realized they had always been there. If I wanted to be a Power Ranger or Superman, it was because I saw them on TV. If I know I can achieve whatever I put my mind into, it’s because I saw Rocky winning despite losing. Because I saw Mulan managing to put her body and mind together to figure out how to reach that arrow. I see videos on the internet from babies imitating the Rocky montage, or acting out sequences from Frozen. These kids are being touched by movies and they don’t even know it yet.
My nephew was about to lose a friend at school, because another kid with a big mouth told him his friend said awful things about him. My nephew cried but after a while he came out of his room and said: “Yesterday on The Flash, Captain Cold stole Cisco’s gun and everyone was mad at Cisco for putting everyone in danger. But Cisco’s intentions were the best, it’s not his fault that someone else used his creation for something awful. Cisco is a good guy. My friend is a good guy too, and if he did say those things, I’ll give him a chance to tell me why.”
His father couldn’t believe he took such a big lesson from TV.
The Flash saved my nephew from screwing up a friendship.
That’s when I realized… Words are my gadget.
Movies, TV shows, short films, books, tweets, blog posts, Instagram posts, Facebook statuses, letters, digital magazines. I couldn’t care less about the device.
Professionally, I know I’m just getting started and I know screenwriting is what I’ll do for the rest of my life but I won’t limit my words to my profession. I’ll rewrite and finish that book I wrote when I was eighteen. I’ll keep this site open no matter how busy I get. I’ll keep tweeting and using social media for good. I’ll continue to write letters. I’ll continue to send long texts. I’ll continue to leave post-its with happy notes on the subway. And I’ll make sure every script I write has a powerful theme.
I know now, that it all started with my urgency to protect my mom from whatever it was that was making her cry. And I know now, that I can’t save those that don’t want to be saved, and I also know that everyone is responsible for themselves. I know I am not responsible for the world, but that won’t stop me. I’ll put my love and honesty on every word. And this is how I’ll get to be my own kind of Power Ranger. Or, I don’t know, my nephew is obsessed with superheroes and recently said to me: “Oliver Queen told Barry Allen that lightning chose him. I think words chose you.”
So maybe I’m The Flash.