Open Letter To Penelope Garcia
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Open Letter To Penelope Garcia

This is to the fictional character that changed my life.

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Open Letter To Penelope Garcia

Dear Penelope Garcia,

Criminal Minds has and always will be my favorite show. However, my first memory of the show is one that has origin in the year 2010. I know what you are thinking. Twelve years old is entirely too young to be watching a show about serial killers. I thought so too. I had seen the shows my grandmother watched, all of them being creepy crime shows with lots of death and not much else. Therefore, I did not want to watch this one. She convinced me to one day, though, and I became aware of the fact that Criminal Minds was more than that. It was a show that had heart. It had a team full of amazing people that cared about the victims, cared about their loved ones, and most of all, cared about each other.

Hyper-fixation was always a coping mechanism for young Heather, and (SPOILER ALERT) still is a coping mechanism for 20-year-old Heather. By that age, I had hyper-fixated on many books and television series. All of these shows and movies were "too mature" for someone my age, but I was someone who was forced into maturing too early, so it was normal for me. I watched with my grandmother every time I was with her. It became our thing. Then, as I got older, things became harder for me. Depression, Anxiety, and Panic Disorder took over my life. At 15, I was contemplating taking my own life; At 16, I attempted to do so. I was not coping well. I felt sad, scared, and worst of all, alone. To top it all off, my healthiest coping mechanism was not working because I was overly aware that in all these shows that I watched and all these books that I read, there was no one like me portrayed in any of them. However, I turned back to Criminal Minds and I found you.

Penelope, you are beautiful. Anyone who ever looked like me in any other show was always just the comedic relief, the big girl who was the best friend that came on screen and left again after their witty one-liner. Girls who looked like me were always portrayed as the fat girl that got bullied or was the annoying one of the group. All throughout middle school when I thought I wanted to act, I was told no one of my weight would ever be a lead role. You changed everything. You looked like me and you did more than eat in front of the camera and complain! You were given character development. You had happiness and joy, but also heartbreak and fear. You were loved for your personality and not your weight. Also, you dressed in bright colors. Your outfits were whimsical. "Don't wear bright colors. You will draw attention to your weight. Wear black. It will slim you," was a conversation I dealt with far too often. You dressed the way that I was always too scared to. You dressed the way that I wanted to dress. The way you walked into a room and onto the screen showed how confident you were and how happy you were to be yourself. You inspired me to dress the way I wanted to dress and to appreciate the way I looked. If Penelope Garcia looks like this, I can look like this.

Not only did you look amazing at all points, but you also had the most beautiful soul. You care about your friends more than anything. You find something to smile about and something quirky to say, no matter the situation. You laugh out loud and live out loud as well. You yell, you cuss, and you speak what is on your mind. You say the weirdest things and have the weirdest habits. You are a lover of the strange and an acceptor of the abnormal. You collect trinkets and pens and all things colorful and sparkly. You bring so much sunshine to the show and even more to my life. Many have called you "the bright spot on a dark show," and I agree. There is not a situation that you cannot brighten or a day that you cannot improve. I am constantly amazed by you. You are unapologetically yourself. I have always been pressured to please, to tone down my personality, to quiet my ramblings, to dull my shine, to calm down, and to avoid standing out. You taught me to love my larger-than-life personality and the body that it belonged to, but most of all you taught me not to be ashamed to show that self that I love to others.

You are perfect in my eyes, but you are not unflawed. I think this is what made me love you even more. You get anxious. You panic. You wear your feelings on your sleeve. You pour your heart and soul into everything and everyone, sometimes to the point that you feel exhausted and empty. You cannot help but to care, and no matter how much you need to care for yourself, you always put others first. You find trusting hard, but when you do trust, you do so fiercely. You open yourself up too much, which makes you come off as vulnerable. However, you have a temper. No one messes with those who Penelope Garcia loves, no one touches Penelope Garcia's computers, and no one is rude or inconsiderate in Penelope Garcia's world. You do not mess with an angry Penelope. Sometimes, you bottle everything up until you are a walking volcano, ready to erupt. I have these traits. I care too much, love too much, bottle up too much, get too protective, and do not trust enough. Yet, you taught me that there is no such thing as too much. You taught me that I am enough. People like us are meant to love and care for others.

I soon realized that you are the foundation of the BAU. When Emily told you that she knows what happens to girls like you that see nothing but the beauty in it and Derek promised that he'd never let you stop seeing the beauty in everything and everyone because that's who you are, I felt like they were talking to me too. You do not let me stop seeing the beauty and you don't even know me. I had never related to a fictional character this much, until you. You changed my life, Penelope Garcia. In my darkest time, you were the light that guided me through. You helped save my life. I still struggle sometimes, but now, I know that I can make it through because of you. You taught me that it was okay to look like this, you taught me to love my outside and inside, you taught me to stay strong, and you taught me to NEVER EVER let this dark world take my shine or convince me to close off my heart.

This is why saying goodbye to you is going to be so hard for me. For so long, my favorite parts of the year have been new seasons of Criminal Minds and getting to fall further in love with you as you arrive on my screen. There will be no more of that. In eight more episodes, your story will be wrapped up. There will be some kind of ending. I am struggling to cope with the fact that the character who has meant more to me than any other character EVER will no longer be written. You will be left in the finale of Criminal Minds. I will cry and I will rant, and nothing they do will seem a good enough ending for you. However, the lessons you taught me and the light that you brought to the world will remain in myself and Kirsten Vangsness, the amazing woman who brought you to life for all these years. One of your biggest fears is that you will be forgotten, but I can promise you that you will always remain memorialized by me. Thank you, Penelope Garcia, for saving my life and for brightening the world. I miss you already. I love you.

Love,

Heather

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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