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Certain moments in your life stand out like beacons. They become defining moments. They are when you stood up to whatever obstacle you faced and didn’t back down. You looked the bully square in the eye and said, “You lose. You have no power over me.” But sometimes the biggest bully is yourself.

Sometimes we are the Joker to our own Batman – or Lex Luthor to our own Superman. How do we beat the villainous cackle from deep within? How do we stop the cycle of self-sabotage from repeating itself?

The funny thing about life is that we are sometimes our own worst enemy. We constantly get in our own way. We knock down our dreams, thinking them silly or unattainable. But how do we unlock our full potential when we’re so busy cutting ourselves down?

That means searching out that source of the discord. Too often, it’s the enemy inside feeding us a diet of self-doubt. If we can separate ourselves from our internal nemesis, we can start to turn things around on our personal Jokers. When we realize just how powerful we truly are, we can tap into the hero inside. The human spirit can not only survive, but thrive on adversity. It makes you stronger. It builds you up. But how?

To defeat the Joker, to defeat Lex Luthor, you need a battle plan, and maybe a totemic weapon to deploy. Batman uses his Batarang (part boomerang, part throwing star) against his foes. Then again, Superman just reaches within himself to beat Lex. Like Superman, we can reach deep within the universe of our minds to find what solutions we have at our disposal.

You are your own hero. Your own Knight in Shining Armor. Free yourself to be the hero you were meant to be. Even if it’s for just one moment because that’s all it takes to make a difference.

I’ve read thousands of comics, seen hundreds of cartoons and movies. The best hero’s journey consists of not only beating the antagonist against them, but also the one lurking inside. For me, that means standing down the shadow that says to every creative, “You’re never going to make it.”

I hear that shadow daily, and I defeat it daily. I have had countless battles and the scars to prove it. I learned to stand up for myself by reading X-Men. I learned how to be strong in face of insurmountable odds by watching Captain America. I learned how to do the right thing even when, especially when, it’s hard by seeing Wonder Woman.

Your own self-saboteur might say, “You’re too fill-in- the-blank- with-whatever- derogatory-fault- you-think- you-may- have to deserve the goodness that life has to offer.”

Rise up. Put on your cape and soar. Right your own wrongs.

The truth is we can all be heroes. We just have to take that first step.

Find those who are your family, your tribe. Your theatre geeks, your band nerds, your sports addicts, your comic readers. Find the group that you fit into and be strong together. Be a force for good. For right. And love yourself. Geek and all.

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Total Geek Entertainment is the business behind the collaborative effort between Guy Chapman, Danny Gunter, John Kaiser, and Baltimore Russell that is Total Geek Live. The quartet have been not only industry professionals in various aspects of visual and interactive entertainment media, but also lifelong friends. It is this friendship that brings the four together to discuss the ever-increasing popularity of the subculture from both a professional and personal perspective through a series of written, recorded and live mediums.

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