I lost a friend on February 27th when Leonard Nimoy died. And by friend, I mean when I was 7, I developed a hopeless crush on Mr. Spock and have followed Mr. Nimoy’s life ever since. Those who love Star Trek are a unique and specific bunch – it is entirely possible (although difficult for me to actually believe) that you may not really care about Star Trek or (heaven forbid) don’t like it. Because I am grieving (and magnanimous) I will not hold this against you (nor the chance that you are now catagorizing me as a sci-fi geek). And, due to this possibility, I will talk primarily about me, in the context of Mr. Spock, rather than about him specifically.
The real question here is: Why do we love the people we love? (To be clear, my attachment was firmly on Mr. Spock – Mr. Nimoy merely was the keeper of this persona). I firmly believe as you grow in your understanding of yourself, you then are better able to understand and accept others. And you become more human in the process.
Perhaps I was attracted to Spock because of his seeming predictability. The man who had no emotions, who was always “logical” was not going to suddenly break out in a rage or become depressed. I knew what to expect from him, and he delivered every time. I grew up in a fairly tumultuous home. Maybe I needed the stability that Spock represented. When I got into arguments with my friends about “who’s best” – they usually cited Kirk, because he was passionate, handsome and a ladies man. But I had enough passion in my household – my father was known to feel things deeply and express his feelings mostly by yelling. I preferred someone who was more what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Spock didn’t change when he had a bad day. He was always respectful, helpful, and trying to learn and grow. He felt (pun intended) “losing it” emotionally was an unproductive course of action – being reactive is not nearly as productive and wise as is being responsive.
It is entirely possible that I wanted Spock precisely because he was not Kirk. I have found over the course of my lifetime that I am quite comfortable not being like everyone else. If you look at personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs, I am a INFP – one of the characteristics of these is (they are a minority of the population – 3%) that they pride themselves on being different from other people. I am a 4 (Artist) on the Enneagram personality indices – their hallmark is that they are “unique.” – maybe I identified with Spock’s isolation of being the only one of his kind on board the ship – I often felt this way as a young person. No one could ‘get’ me, because I was so different from the others. (Now, as an older person, I know that ALL young people feel this way)! As I have grown, I have found more INFP’s (and INFJ’s) and we hang around talking about how different we are from all the rest of the world, but we are grateful for each other. And, by the way, we have come to appreciate all the rest of you, because you bring what we cannot. We all are valuable and needed.
Sometimes, I think I was attracted to Spock because he was emotionally unavailable. I thought that if someone understood him and gave him the room he needed, he would (in private moments, of course) be able to express himself emotionally. I knew those feelings were there and that they were important – he just required help to access them. Looking back at my little-girl self, was this a need to rescue? I certainly have done plenty of that across my lifetime! Was this pull to understand and draw Spock out of himself the early formations of my vocation? I am, after all, a therapist at heart! Was this a desire to have someone draw ME out? A need to be special? We each have the need to be seen as essential.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. It is enough to say that regardless of the reasons for my childhood attraction to the First Officer of the Enterprise, my affection has lasted to this day. While Spock will live on in celluloid and paper, I am saddened by the loss of Mr. Nimoy who was respected in his field and loved by millions. Someone who was referred to as kind, generous, and humorous. Whenever we lose one of the “old ones” – people who have been a part of our formation – we lose a part of ourselves. I will miss knowing there is someone in the world who can raise that one eyebrow, who can say, “fascinating” in a way that actually is. I will miss the one who can merge his thoughts into someone else’s, knowing their true self via the Vulcan mind meld. I will miss the only man on the planet who can say with authority, “Live long and prosper.”
Good-Bye Mr. Spock. You were my favorite.