I started watching Glee during Season 2 when I was an 18 year old freshman at community college. Life was simpler then. Since I wasn’t living away for university, I would go to my classes every day and come back. I began watching Glee because I heard great things about it and I was also talking to a boy who was a big fan (I think he stopped watching after season 2 but I still thank him because his greatest contribution to my life was introducing me to Glee in the first place). Since I had no life outside of going to school and because I had plenty of free time, I wanted to invest it into following a new show. So I gave Glee a chance. As I discovered what it truly was, I fell so deeply in love and instantaneously became a fan.
Glee has chronicled an entire five year era of my life post high school. From graduating high school in 2010 until the airing of last night’s finale on top of having graduated from university in January 2015. At the beginning of this era, I graduated high school without genuine friends. I didn’t go to prom because I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable. I wondered who I would be dancing and having fun with and who would be sitting at my table, because I never found my group of people. Then I started college in the fall, determined to start over with newfound confidence and feeling like I could run the world. Yet it would still be a while until I made friends like I had hoped. In the meantime, the characters of Glee became my friends, dear ones that accepted me for everything I was and am, which was everything I concealed from the people in my real life.
Glee was there when I was just beginning college and essentially only had myself. When I was growing into my sexual identity and young adulthood. When I was learning to be brave and proud of who I am. My worldview has been permanently influenced by the life lessons attained from Glee and I am incredibly proud of that. I am an absolute Gleek and will be forever. Being a Gleek has been to tied to my lifelong identity as a gay outsider, someone who never fit in, a weirdo, a loser, a theatre nerd, someone who was seen as inferior, but someone with so much love and passion for joy.
It is with complete and utter love that I bid Glee farewell. Saying goodbye to Glee is like saying goodbye to my friends– friends that have grown with me for the last five years. I wouldn’t be who I am without this show. I wouldn’t be as happy or as confident or hopeful about my life and the world were it not for Glee. I wouldn’t be seeing the world with as much colour as I do now. Thank you Ryan Murphy for creating a world full of love that I was blessed to feel part of. A world that kept my dreams alive. I honestly wish the series hadn’t ended just yet. I wish this last season wasn’t shortened. I wish there was another season after this one, or at least a spinoff so that I could still see everyone. Glee has taught me beautiful, invaluable things about being myself, the world, love, compassion, family, humanity, the arts, and the essence of performing. I cried so much during the finale that my eyes are still sore. As I watched all those beautiful final moments unfold, I realized exactly how large of an impact Glee has had on my life and everything that I’ve experienced the last five years. All my memories of watching Glee and its connection to my life ignited floods of cathartic sadness with the realization that it’s all finally over.
Dear Glee, you have me as a fan for life and I couldn’t be more proud to be who I am because of you. I used to feel like such a loner, a loser, a girly dreamer with low self esteem. I hadn’t found myself in 2010. I was lost. I wasn’t true to myself. I wasn’t open to the sound of my own beat. I didn’t live life with a gleeful sparkle in my eyes. I was content to be hidden in the shadows of others, content to feel brushed by and unnoticed. But you gave me so much joy and helped me find my shine from the inside out. I will always sing your songs and I know they will always fill me with love. In the final words of Sue Sylvester:
“It takes a lot of bravery to look around you and see the world not as it is, but as it should be. A world where the quarterback becomes friends with the gay kid. Or the girl with the big nose ends up on Broadway. Glee is about imagining a word like that. And finding the courage to open up your heart and sing about it.”
Brava and farewell to the cultural phenomenon that is Glee.