Blog: The Journey Of A Man – Optional Opinion

By Edward Varnell
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I talk to myself a lot. No, I am not crazy or going off the handle; I just happen to speak my thoughts out loud. It helps me to think and brings clarity to some ideas and thoughts that I have. While at work one day, I happened to have a certain video game character pop into my brain. For some reason, Ryu from the Street Fighter series came into my mind’s eye. I was puzzled for a moment and then realized why he appeared.

He didn’t appear to fight, learn martial arts, or manifest as bearded Ryu (although that may have come to mind some other time); he appeared to remind me of what he does. Ryu is always on a journey to find out what he can achieve to be stronger. He searches the world and completes many tasks to seek out his purpose.

In a way, that probably speaks to a lot of us, especially me. I am often on a journey of coming to terms with new lessons but also still searching for more answers and improvement. I am on a consistent journey like Ryu. Most of the struggles (or internal fighting if I am connecting this to Ryu’s purpose) started with my skin. As a black kid, my own race even picked on me, which made me feel ashamed for being dark. When I had to start wearing glasses, the popular black kids teased me. When I succeeded in school, they teased me. I wondered why but then came to appreciate all I had accomplished: I sang at Epcot and in Toronto, Canada. I earned national honors in school. I graduated with my choir class. When I accepted my skin tone, my self-esteem improved. Anything they said about it was tiresome because I had heard it all; it didn’t matter anymore.

Ryu continues to fight and be a main character in the series (he’s also my main as far as male characters go). It looks like a never-ending quest, but that’s what makes him have a goal to strive for. If Capcom decides to remove him from the series, we will see him finding out what makes someone strong. Until then, Ryu continues on his journey.

We all have journeys that we are walking, running, beginning, ending, and experiencing out of nowhere. My bisexuality and being open about it is my current journey. I just started to look for a relationship, and I’m 40 years old (LOL). That’s something new to me. The Boss Rush Pride Panel was my first time being able to connect with other LGBTQ members, and I had a grand time with it. 

Maybe that’s why Ryu is still my main; his importance as a fictional character in my life matters and resonates. He is on a journey to find something. Even if I don’t reach the end of some of my goals, the experience I gain teaches me and makes me aware of the positives and negatives. In a way, that’s how life works.

We all are on personal paths, and when we get to a certain point, we should take it in and break it down. As humans, that’s what we do when we internalize situations; we then need to move on towards our goals. It may take years, and hopefully the results work out in our favor. Who knows? I, like Ryu, am on a journey and will be for a while. Some challenges will arrive, but I have to fight them head-on and maybe come out with a win. That would be super!!