Glee had its flaws, but it helped people realise they weren’t alone

Glee was the show that helped me see that I wasn’t alone. It helped viewers realise that there is nothing wrong with being different, even if society makes you feel like there is. I grew up believing that being popular was the most important thing of all, but Glee helped me see that it wasn’t. Glee showed me that accepting who I am, revelling in my individuality and embracing my true self was what life was all about.

I used to look at the popular group in school and wish I was cool enough to be a member of their group, but then Glee came along and opened my eyes about friendship, acceptance and how important it is to be who you want to be. It completely took over my world and helped me form friendships with like-minded souls. It was the one show that finally said it is okay to be different and weird and out there. Loser Like Me became an anthem for people who felt like they didn't belong. The Glee cast helped the 'losers' feel welcome in a world where popularity is viewed as the be all and end all.

"Just go ahead and hate on me and run your mouth
So everyone can hear
Hit me with the words you got and knock me down
Baby, I don't care."

It was the show that encouraged viewers, helped us feel wanted and supported and showed us that being a loser isn’t so bad after all.

The harrowing news of Naya Rivera’s passing has completely broken the hearts of Gleeks around the world. The show may be off-air and we may have grown up since the days of singing along to Don’t Stop Believin’ in our sitting rooms, but the impact that show had on our lives is something we won’t forget. Fans have been honouring Naya by sharing the ways the show and her character Santana Lopez changed their lives. Santana Lopez may have started out as the cold-hearted cheerleader that tormented the Glee club, but she swiftly turned into a strong, powerful and loving woman who represented the LGBTQ+ community so beautifully. 

Glee had its flaws, lots of them have cropped up as the show ages, but that shouldn’t take away from the impact it had on our lives. The show was the friend you could lean on after a tough day at school. It taught us that you can stand up to the bullies. It helped us see that being weird wasn’t a bad thing that we should be ashamed of. It reminded us to confide in our friends during times of need and to live your truth.

The cast has been rocked by heartache throughout the years and the death of Naya, which falls on Cory Monteith's seventh anniversary, is extremely hard to process. For some, it was just a silly show, but for millions it changed their world for the better. Glee taught us lessons we’ve carried from those awkward adolescent years into adulthood. It was there for us when we felt lost, hopeless and whenever we felt like we couldn’t get it right. Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith shaped so many lives, inspired countless teenagers, blessed us with flawless music (like Naya's Landslide cover) and most importantly, helped us see that we're not alone.

They showed us that accepting yourself and showing the world that you love who you are is the greatest gift of all. Their lives were cut short far too soon but the lessons they taught, the lives they changed and the songs they sung will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Glee fans all across the world.

It feels so wrong that the stars who guided us through those complicated, emotional and messy teenage years are no longer with us.

Rest peacefully, Naya Rivera.