Dire Dire Docks holds a weirdly iconic place in video game music. It’s so simple and memorable. For myself and many other gamers, there are a great many feelings hidden in those notes. We find it an appropriate accompaniment to such a heartfelt piece.
We’re pairing 8-bit music thematically, rather than based entirely on series. You can find this track and more Tater-Tot Tunes on YouTube! Stop by and jam to some great tunes.
Normal Happenings is proud to present The Characters That Define Us, a year long collaboration of 52+ incredible bloggers! Today we’re publishing a very special piece: Livid Lightning’s possible swansong on, appropriately, Claire “Lightning” Farron.
Try as we might, we haven’t been able to get in contact with Livid Lightning. We hope Lightning is able to read the piece she submitted in its final form. Perhaps she’ll come back to blogging, or be searching the internet one day for her works. Either we hope the way we’ve presented it here pays honor to the legacy of a great blogger. Thank you, Lightning, for contributing such a stirring piece.
Anyway, we won’t steal your thunder…Sorry, this is no time for puns. Lightning, take it away!
You can’t start climbing back up into the light until you’ve hit rock bottom. Or in my case, until you stubbornly thrash your way below rock bottom, damage yourself beyond words trying to make things better, nurse your wounds alone in silence, and then finally and truly accept the things you can’t change. At least, you didn’t go down without a fight first, right? Still… ow. Maybe just submitting to fate would’ve been easier? Give me a few minutes here… sniffs.
“Humanity’s great frailty… we prefer past happiness to future uncertainty.”
– Lightning Farron
Ahem. I first met Claire “Lightning” Farron, the pink-haired protagonist of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, during one of the worst times in my life. And now I’m writing this article in what is arguably one of the new worst times in my life. Everything comes full depressing circle, huh? Jeez. This life thing is hard. Where to begin…
I am a Canadian Capricorn Demiromantic Asexual INFJ who struggles with anxiety, depression, and too much empathy (yes, too much empathy is a huge problem, just like not enough empathy). Needless to say, I have trouble relating with and connecting to most of the selfish humans crawling around on this planet. I feel very lonely and isolated a lot. Video games, their character connections, and writing words online have always been badly needed coping mechanisms in my life.
The rare humans I do form friendship bonds with mean the absolute world to me. I’m not interested in sexual partners or the standard definition of romance. I want a sibling-like super best friend to share life paths with. I want to surround myself with those rare friends I love like family, and give them 110% of my support to show them how much they mean to me.
Unfortunately, that level of friend devotion can never be returned, and almost always leads to a painful end of the friendship once fear of abandonment and jealousy triggered feelz takeover my behaviours. It’s what I like to call my grand friendship extinction cycle, and I’ve been trapped in it for, like, ever. It’s almost like the 13 day end of the world cycle in Lightning Returns.
For a recent soul-crushing example, I just lost the closest friend I ever had. And oh boy, did I ever have trouble accepting that. It drove me into crazy-sadness trying to salvage everything. I did absolutely everything I could think of to make amends with them, and I tried everything in my power to attempt to help them with their issues. I’m not proud to say I successfully made things a million times worse in the process. I was oblivious to the one thing they truly wanted from me: space. Now the bridge is nuked and their door is sealed shut on me forever. As much as it kills me to finally accept it, they’re gone from my life. It’s like mourning the loss of a loved one who is still alive, and you can see them out there doing well without you.
“Even if I stand to lose everything, I’ll preserve your memory for tomorrow’s yet to be.”
– Lightning Farron
My feelings went spiraling out of control from all of this friend drama. I was so angry they weren’t honest with me when they knew they were done with the friendship months ago. I felt betrayed by them for being strung along for so long. Were they just using me for my support? This only child was beyond sad to have lost a friend they saw as a sibling. I was crushed by guilt for all the damage I no doubt have caused them. I just wanted to disappear off the face of the world and withdraw from everyone. This must be what a traditional “breakup” feels like, right? Wow. I understand why there are so many songs about that now. Yikes!
“Control your emotions.”
– Lightning Farron
But yeah, that’s that. I have to accept everything as is. I learned so much, it all sucks, I acknowledge love turned me into a toxic psycho, and now I start crawling back up from below rock bottom, like a phoenix reborn from the ashes of who I was. I will never be at the mercy of my feelings again. With the help of my therapist, this will be the last friend I lose to my issues. I promise myself that. Ellen 3.1 is born and totally got this!
“It’s not a question of can or can’t. There are some things in life you just do.”
– Lightning Farron
The emotional wounds from everything will take time to heal, however. I have never felt more alone in my life than I do as I type this, but Lightning Farron was there for me in my darkest hours long ago, and she’s still here for me right now. I just have to look at the huge badass Lightning Farron tattoo I have on my arm to be reminded of how much she means to me. She is essentially the overprotective big sister I always wanted. She will never abandon me, either. She’s merely a video game startup sequence away.
Must… show off… ink…
One of the biggest reasons why I connect so closely to Lightning Farron is because she seems to struggle with the same exact emotion regulation issues I do. For an example from the first game, she was overwhelmed by jealousy when her little sister Serah seemed to care about Snow more than her, but she was able to put that aside and love them both like siblings (eventually).
Lightning is so me in so many ways. She’d rather stomp off than accept sad things, she is prone to violent bursts of anger, she always puts her rare friends above herself, and she is wise beyond her years… when she actually thinks before she acts. During the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, Lightning Farron grew from a troubled young woman into a wise and powerful 500-year-old-ish demigoddess. ‘Tis a glorious gaming journey I’ll never forget, and one that will never stop inspiring me.
The legends had told of her coming… Banisher of darkness, bringer of light, redeemer of souls. She’d come at the end of days…to guide our souls to salvation.
– Snow Villiers
Oh and ship her all you want if it makes you happy, internet folks, but Lightning Farron is also an asexual character in my eyes. She loves her friends like family and doesn’t show the slightest bit of interest in sexual relationships in ANY of the games. Fight me! Actually, that’s not very nice. You do you, just don’t tell me about it, please. There needs to be more explicit asexual representation in media, my friends. Not everyone desires the sex, and the world needs to understand this to stop forcing it on people who don’t want it in their lives.
In conclusion, Lightning Farron will always be my all-time favourite video game character and shero. Nope. You can’t change your fate, no matter how much you fight it. But you can absolutely change how you react to what you can’t control. Turn your weaknesses into strengths and past failures into future lessons. Regardless of what’s happening around you, the battle for a better tomorrow is always fought inside of your own soul. Thanks to Lightning Farron, I’ll never be hopelessly alone with my battle again. She will forever and always be my savior.
“To the scarlet streak of light
To the one that breaks the silence
You illuminate the night
In most awe-inspiring ways
Sent up from high above
A name like a precious poem
Let me sing this song to you
Gracious savior of our souls.”
—The Savior’s Words, as heard in the video game Lightning Returns—
Want to learn more about the lore and etymology of Claire “Lightning” Farron?
See the latest Magipedia entry from The Well-Red Mage!
>January 27, 2020 | Peter Parker | The Reel Anna
>January 20, 2020 | Master Chief | Hear Dave Write
>January 13, 2020 | Roger Wilco | Musings of a Nitpicking Girl
>January 6, 2020 | Yuna | A Geeky Gal
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