It was supposed to be a last-minute scroll before bed. One last chance to laugh at a meme or tag my wife on a random Marvel-related post for the next day.
Instead, like seemingly every other millennial on Facebook, I found Steve.
You know the Steve I’m talking about—green striped shirt, glasses, and a cap now but also with the same slightly spacey but open and kind expression. A face I don’t really think any of us ever expected to be touched by time. Nor a face that any of us expected to ever see again. Why would we?
“Hi,” he says. “You got a second?”
If you’ve seen the video, you know it’s emotionally downhill from there.
Look at all you’ve done since then. Look at all you’ve accomplished.
Some of that’s been really hard.
Crying on my bedroom floor while the original host of Blue’s Clues says he’s proud of me and tenderly acknowledging how hard things have been was not on my 2021 bingo card. Nor was realizing just how much there was to mourn in all the years since we’ve seen his face.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The recession in 2008 that I’m honestly not sure ever really went away.
The student loan debt crisis.
Climate change and natural disasters.
Police shootings. School shootings.
The heart-wrenching ending to Afghanistan.
Texas’s atrocious abortion legislation.
Jesus above, St. Mary and St. Joseph, pray for us because we don’t know what’s coming next, only that something definitely is. There’s always something on the horizon these days.
And yet we keep going and do things worthy of pride and praise. Like Steve said, we’ve all accomplished so much, even if it’s not what we thought it would be or what others might think it should be. We accomplish things and we’ll keep accomplishing things. And adapting. And changing. And growing.
All of us. No exceptions no matter what you might think of yourself or what others may tell you.
So, as you’re out there making Steve proud doing whatever it is you’re doing, don’t forget to allow yourself to mourn or even just to remember what you’ve trudged through to get here on this day, September 14, 2021, both as an individual and as a member of this crazy world. Cry if you need to. Be sad. Be hurt. Be angry. Be what you are. Reach out. Heck, reach out to me if you need to. It’s been a lot. We all know it has been, even if we don’t always know how to say it. Then keep kicking ass and taking names like you’ve been doing, whether you know it or not. Hopefully you’ll feel a little lighter and a little prouder after you give yourself a moment to look back on everything you’ve had to overcome. I know I did.
And, if you grew up after the Steve-era of Blue’s Clues or didn’t grow up with the show at all, know that he would have loved you unconditionally. I hope you feel proud of yourself and all you’ve done in these turbulent years too. Heck, you’re probably entitled to a bit more pride than the rest of us, seeing as you aren’t crying over a message from the host of a show for small children from the nineties.
Lastly, Steve’s right. You do look great. Whatever you’re doing, it’s really working for you.
Finnely King-Scoular (’14) is stationed at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA, where he lives with his wife, Rosalind (’13). His writing, including the Faerie Court Chronicles series from NineStar Press, focuses on contemporary fantasy with an emphasis on LGBTQ+ representation.