Life Is Hard Enough (03-07)
My Loneliness Was Killing Me (08-09)
Running into Xena and Gabrielle (10-15)
"My Loneliness Ain't Killing Me No More" (16-26)
"Now, I Am Stronger That Yesterday" (27-37)
HOW XENA AND WHOOSH! CHANGED MY LIFE
In a time of difficult ordeals, harms and troubles
A boy in turmoil cried out for help.
Xena Warrior Princess
She was Xena,
A mighty princess forged in the heat of battle
Helpful, beautiful, supportive
Her courage changed my life
Xena helpful warrior
 I saw the series Xena: Warrior Princess for the first time on a monotonous Monday afternoon in my hometown in Germany. At the time, I was going through very difficult times and troubles. I thought that there was no sense in existing and I discovered that a life with nothing to live for was boring. I had been through very complex patches in my childhood. I was a lonely boy who was afraid of sharing his feelings with other people. I became accustomed to hiding my heart beneath a cloak of hard steel, making it so no one could enter. I had closed my heart to everybody in order to protect it from any possible harm and that was very sad.
 However, all my problems, my loneliness, and my sadness changed the day that I saw the Warrior Princess. Many people would say that it was just a TV show, but for me it was a solution to my pain and sorrow. Note that the following explanation is over-romantic and very sentimental, but that is how I am, a very romantic and sentimental person. Please note that the section titles in quotes are from the Britney Spears' song "Stronger."
Life Is Hard Enough
 My problems had been showing up since childhood. I had lived with my family in Germany and I was mainly raised without a father. My father was not a good person according to some people's commentaries. I believe they were correct, since he left us when I was only three. However, I could never think anything bad about him, for he was my biological father and, in fact, he had never done anything bad against me personally, except abandon my family. That was my first problem. I had grown up without a paternal figure. At that time, I believed that I could not fully develop my sexuality. I also thought that psychologically, one needed a balance with female and male figures to have a heterosexual sexuality. At the time, I did not see it as a problem because I was a kid. The situation stayed "asleep and motionless" until my adolescence, and then it became known with a sexual result. I realized that I fancied boys.
 If you are heterosexual, you cannot imagine how difficult and troublesome is to realize that you are gay in your puberty, because you know that you are different and that society does not accept that difference. You have to live concealing something that you ache to discuss with people who you want to be sincere with, such as your family and friends, but cannot be because of the social stigma. For that reason, I spent my teenage years suffering a lot and repressing my feelings because I wanted to be like what I considered normal people. Now, that I am an adult, I understand that it was naïve of me to repress my feelings since I did not choose my desires and I was not personally responsible for my sexuality.
 My family, except for my father who was absent, had always been very diplomatic in racial, cultural, and sexual issues. They came from a high-class background so they believed they had the perfect vision of life and held the most diplomatic issues. They wanted me to marry a person of the same class with money, education, and beauty. In my heart, I was feeling despondent because I was gay and I thought that I could never give my family that utopist gift of a happy heterosexual family with a high-class wife and many children. That would never be my destiny, and so I felt, in a way, that I was "betraying" my family.
 The same things were expected for my sister, as well. Because she was a female, she was expected to be a perfect woman, just as I was expected to be the perfect man. However, she was more independent and did not care what her family wanted from her. She had always dreamed her own dreams and she did not want to be what her mother wanted her to be. She wanted to be a free woman, making her own decisions.
 I had another problem. I had no friends. I was very shy and I had closed my heart to others because I felt that my sexuality made me different. I felt that everybody around me was normal and I felt that no one could comprehend me. I considered them "normal" and thought that they would not understand me.
My Loneliness Was Killing Me
 At that time in my life, everything was mixed up and too many things were going on. So many issues were happening at the same time: my problems, my loneliness, and my feelings were becoming more intense and coming more rapidly. I needed help, but I knew of no one who could give me the solution for these problems. I thought that I was completely alone and that no one could understand me. In short, I was becoming more troubled and I was thinking of suicide. I thought I had nothing to live for, my life was based on a lie, and I had many pains and troubles that I could not share with anyone. At that moment in my life, my existence did not seem to have any meaning.
 Yet, in everybody's heart there is always a wish to survive and be happy. Having that wish burning deep inside my heart, and the "dim" hope to survive in my life, I opted for a dangerous and drastic change. I moved to Germany in search of my ancestors and time to think of what to do with my life. I know that it was a very risky change. I was going to be more alone but it was necessary because I needed time to contemplate on my life and to be with myself.
Running Into Xena and Gabrielle
 My loneliness was killing me. Something had to change. It was just by chance that I was in a café and the TV was on. There, I saw the episode IDES OF MARCH. I barely knew about Hercules, and I had never heard of Xena until that day. It was love at first sight. I remember that she wanted to kill someone and that she had to do it herself. That was a decisive moment for me. I could have paid the waiter and left the restaurant but there was something inside me that ordered me to stay there and continue watching. I did so.
 The story was very gripping and entertaining. I was impressed when Xena learned that Gabrielle had been kidnapped. She began sweating blood. The scene when Xena rescued Gabrielle and they embraced was an undeniable demonstration of real love.
 Despite knowing nothing about Xena, I felt sad when that blonde woman (Callisto) threw the metal disc into Xena's back. I watched and grieved for Gabrielle during her outburst of hate and love. It was another deep demonstration of real love. However, the scene that put the hook in me was the last one: Xena and Gabrielle showing their love for each other, dying and rising towards heaven together. When I glanced at my wristwatch, I realized that I had been there for almost an hour. I had been entertained and I had forgotten my problems for an entire hour!
 I promised myself to find out more about the show. I called the waiter over and asked him what the show was that was on the TV. His response was "Xena: Warrior Princess, a lame childish show that is screened on Mondays." I had found out all the information I needed, so I paid and left.
 On the way back to my apartment, I memorized the name of the show, and I said to myself, "That show kept me in your café for an hour where I drank three coffees. So you should be grateful for that lame and childish show!"
 Next Monday, I was in that café again at the same hour. The TV was off, but I asked the waiter to turn it on and he did. Then there was a commercial that said that they were going to screen the first episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. I was happy that I would be able to see the series since the first episode in Season One and I could know everything about Xena!
"My Loneliness Ain't Killing Me No More"
 That is how I discovered Xena and Gabrielle. It was love at first sight and I tried to be in that café every Monday afternoon because I did not have a television. I have to admit that I loved each character from the first episode and that it worked beautiful magic in my life.
 Episodes went by. I was so hooked that I searched the name "Xena" on the Internet. I discovered a web page dedicated to tape videos for those Xenites who could not see the last seasons of the show. So I bought all the episodes and I learned through that website that Season Five was being shot at the time.
 Because I did not have a television, I had to go to that café to see the tapes and, to be honest, it was a little awkward. Moreover, I had made a very sudden and expensive decision by buying all the Xena episodes. Some people would think I was crazy because I did not have a TV, and much less, a video player, but it was Xena, so I had to buy all the videotapes.
 Everything changed. I realized that I was not alone. There were others in the world who could understand me. In the least, I could identify with Xena and Gabrielle. In SINS OF THE PAST, Xena was feeling the same pain I was feeling. Her mother had refused her arrival and she was torn. That was how I was at that moment: alone. Then Gabrielle came in and said "you are not alone" and that line touched my heart. There was someone who could understand Xena's pain and that was how I wanted to be: understood. I found another similarity to my life when Gabrielle left her parent's house in order to live her own life. That was exactly what I had done!
 It was while watching CHARIOTS OF WAR that I began to identify even more with Xena. She had abandoned the opportunity to have a family and be loved in order to continue her journeys with Gabrielle. As a homosexual, that was what I had in mind. I was convinced I could never make a family like the one Xena left in that episode. Nevertheless, Xena accepted that fact very easily. I said to myself, "Why can't I just accept that I will never make a family and stop suffering?" That is what I did. I painfully accepted that I would never do what my family wanted me to do.
 The relationship that started growing between Xena and Gabrielle helped ease the pain I felt. I realized that Xena and Gabrielle were "more than friends" when I saw ALTARED STATES. I did not know if they were lovers or not, but I knew that there was something extraordinary in their attitudes.
 The first season of the show was not completely helpful for me. However, while I kept myself entertained for an hour everyday and learned a lot, I forgot my problems. When I finished watching all the tapes from SINS OF THE PAST to IDES OF MARCH, I realized that the show was a global lesson. My love for the warrior princess had developed almost unconsciously, and without realizing it, Xena had helped me to get over my problems.
 Xena did not care about being gay or anything else for that matter. She did not pay attention to anyone and that was a great lesson for me. I tried to make that dream come true by "copying" Xena's attitudes and trying to live my life on my own and be self-sufficient. That was what happened. Xena encouraged me to ignore people's comments and I started trying to accept and transcend my sexuality. I was who I was, not what others unfairly projected onto me.
 Xena was an independent woman, who lived trying to do what she believed was right. She thought practically and that helped her to make the correct decisions. I did that, too. I thought practically and I concluded that I was not defective because of my sexuality and that the purpose of life is happiness. If I were happy loving someone, I had to fight for that love, no matter who that person was.
 This is perhaps the essential lesson of Xena. What you love about a person is their soul, not the body, and souls have no gender. That is what I learned from Xena and Gabrielle. Believe it or not, when I saw Xena's and Gabrielle's reaction for each other, that relationship "absorbed" me and made me think a lot about over-romantic relationships. I decided from that moment on that I would not worry about my attraction for men.
 Gabrielle was another great example and she encouraged me to think that having a good relationship with my biological family is not something essential to my happiness. I loved her for making that great decision to follow Xena's path, choosing with her heart.
"Now, I Am Stronger That Yesterday"
 Now, it is nothing but my way. Soon after watching the Xena episodes from Season One to Season Four, I was a completely different person. I had learned many things. I had adapted my vocabulary and expressions, taking heartrending lines from Xena and Gabrielle.
 Xena was taking me away from sadness when I met Tom. He was traveling around Europe and I met him by chance. He was looking for English people to translate German papers into the English language and I was the right person since I had lived in England most of my childhood and my native language was German. We met in the same café where I saw my first Xena episode. In fact, I was watching CRUSADER at the very moment. He was all I had ever wanted to be. We had many things in common, we were German (but he did not speak German), we liked action movies, we were 22 years old, and we were alone. We were connected from the first meeting, and I knew that we were going to be good friends.
 As I had seen and learned a lot from Xena, I was looking for someone to love as intensively as Xena and Gabrielle loved each other. Tom was exactly the person I wanted to love. I could see my problems disappear when I looked in his eyes, and we both fell in love. At that moment, I had something to live for, someone to love. However, we were separated for some months. I got a better job in a translation company thanks to Tom. I earned more money than in my previous job, so I could buy myself even more Xena items!
 Then, a sporting chance showed up. I had the opportunity to go to live with Tom in Canada. He was going there for business and I had to make a decision. I could stay in Germany with a good job and with the illusion of seeing Tom sometimes in my life, or I could quit my job and move to Canada. It was a very difficult decision for me because I knew the move would have a big impact on my life and I felt that there was no returning.
 I had learned from Xena to do the correct thing, but Gabrielle had also taught me to make the right decision by choosing with the heart. I went with Gabrielle, and I chose with my heart. If quitting my job and going to live thousands of miles away from my home was the price I had to pay to be with the person I loved, then I would pay it. I did it. I moved to Canada where I had (and I am still having) the best time of my life. I had made a right choice by deciding with my heart and I realized that the "heart way" was the true one. That is, perhaps, the most important lesson I have learned from Xena's teachings.
 Soon after that, my decision of living with my boyfriend in Canada was confirmed when I got an even better job in a newsroom in Vancouver. The most wonderful thing for me was that as I was near the United States. Most of the people there knew about Xena and I could buy Xena items because there were many "XenaShops" in Canada and the United States. I became a greater fan because I could interact with other fans. I was not able to meet other fans in Germany, because Xena was not too well known in that country.
 Just as my problems quickly started decreasing, I met other people through the Internet. These Xena fans sincerely wanted to be my friends, so I made many friends. Until this time in my life, I had used the Internet only for business or for buying stuff, because I was living in a part of Germany that was far from a major city, so I used the Internet for essential needs only. However, in Canada, I realized all the entertainment and joy that the Internet could give me. I started visiting excellent websites, and I was amazed with the dedication and effort made by fans. There were and still are many wonderful sites. Take Whoosh! for example. It was while visiting that website that I realized that everybody was as obsessed with Xena as I was. There were gay people who declared their sexuality openly. There were people who loved the series as much as I did. I was not alone anymore!
 I spent a lot of time reading about Xena in the back issues of Whoosh! There were so many articles that kept me entertained all the time and I never got bored. I thank Kym Taborn for creating and maintaining such a wonderful website that kept me entertained for so long. I will never ever forget Whoosh!
 My life had changed. I did not have time to feel lonely. Now I always have something to do, something to live for, and something to be entertained with. If I had never known Xena, these changes in my life would have never happened. I know that many people think I am exaggerating my feelings, but I am practical and I know that I am not exaggerating my thoughts. I got so absorbed with Xena that it affected my daily routine and changed my life. Xena and Gabrielle gave me the strength to carry on.
 A short time after my life started to improve, I received a letter from my sister in Great Britain. Guess what? She recommended that I watch a show called Xena: Warrior Princess, which, according to her, had given her the strength to tell our family she was a lesbian. I felt so relieved to hear that from my dear sister, because that gave me the strength to come out to our family as well.
 It does not matter how I told my family that I was gay. They did not like it a bit, but I did not mind that, because Xena had taught me how to overlook other people's opinions. The important thing is that I did it, and my life improved a lot, since I had revealed a truth that had been aching in me. That is how my life improved thanks to Xena, not to mention my boyfriend Tom, the instant gratification of the Internet with the Xena fans, and obviously, the vast and endless information held by Whoosh!
 That is story of my life and the changes Xena inspired in me. I am still living in Canada with my boyfriend and I have traveled around Europe and the United States. I met many European people through the Internet, and then I met them in person and I made even more friends around the world, such places as Japan and New Zealand!
 I also have to admit that I learned a lot by reading about each aspect of the series through Whoosh! I learned a tremendous and endless amount of things that kept me entertained for hours. I became a more intellectual person because of the mythology, ancient and modern Greek culture, and the very clearly written English grammar used in Whoosh!
 Nevertheless, I did not realize how much I loved the Warrior Princess until I saw FRIEND IN NEED. It was necessary to watch that episode to realize how much Xena and Gabrielle had affected my life. Because of the way I went through those difficult problems and torments, I have become emotionally hard and sometimes I am insensitive. Nonetheless, I watched the episode with my sister, who was visiting from Britain, and I cried for Xena and Gabrielle in their last adventure together. My sister and I cried together and then held each other for comfort. The pain of that episode was hard to overcome, but it made us reveal our real sentiment for the Warrior Princess to each other.
 When FRIEND IN NEED II was aired, and Whoosh! decided to release the "Group Therapy" issue, I was surprisingly glad. It was good therapy and it really helped me when I learned that there were people as disappointed and hopeless as me. That special issue was full of opinions and different points of views that helped me to make my own opinion about the end. I have to thank Whoosh! once more for such a grand and helpful issue bursting with hard work and selfless effort to help the fans without expecting anything in return.
 Because of the way FRIEND IN NEED ended, I realized that I loved the Warrior Princess much more than I knew! I decided that once I recovered from my state of shock and sadness, I would share it with everyone I could, by any means. I had a burning desire to share my life with all those people whose lives had been changed because of Xena, so I promised myself to write it down and share it with everybody after I recovered from the shock.
 For that reason I spent almost one year trying to get over FRIEND IN NEED, and I understood that by remembering all the fantastic lessons that Xena had given to me, my pain got a little lighter. I researched a lot with other Xena fans that were very kind to tell me their personal experiences. Once I had all the information, I wrote it down and sent it to Whoosh! to keep the promise that I had made to myself one year ago.
 To make maximum use of this article, I also want to thank everybody beyond the Warrior Princess who made the show possible. They were responsible for everything relating to Xena. They were the ones who created Xena, but it was Xena who created the change in me. If I could personally thank every actor who appeared in the show, each assistant, makeup artist, and everyone else involved with Xena, I would do it, but I know it is impossible, of course.
 Despite my occasional insensitivity, I have to admit that I am very sentimental, but I never exaggerate my feelings. I always try to be practical, thanks to Xena. I have written this article to show you how deeply I am involved with Xena: Warrior Princess. I am hoping that writing and sharing my story with you through Whoosh! is a very good way to reach everyone's heart. If someone reading this feels the need to share something with me: a personal history or an obsession, please write me. I sincerely hope you have been entertained reading my history.
Kevin O'Neill, "Never Be The Same Again," Whoosh! #69 (06/02)
I was born in Germany, as the fifth son of Amelia Cabrera and Sefton O'Neill. I spent most of my childhood in Britain and I studied in the German Academy of Art and Literature for six years. When I graduated in languages and German literature, I went to travel around the United States and Europe for two years for my studies. My plans for the future are to graduate in Parapsychology and Tarot, and then to go to work at the French School of Parapsychology and Hidden Sciences. Currently, I am writing a book called "The Different Cultures and Styles of Europe and the USA". It is a book for foreign travelers who want to visit the USA or Europe. It will be published in January 2003 and it is being translated into six languages, and unfortunately English is not one of them. I am 23 years old and I started watching Xena because I am homosexual and I could identify with Xena and Gabrielle, and of course, I am a subtexter. I live with my boyfriend Tom in an apartment in Canada.
Favorite episode: the Ring trilogy
Favorite line: Gabrielle to Xena: "You are not alone." SINS OF THE PAST
First episode seen: A SOLSTICE CAROL
Least favorite episode: Chris O'Donnell, he is great!