Meeting Ike was one of the most critical moments of my childhood.

Honestly, I didn’t realize just how much Ike and the world he inhabits influenced and inspired me growing up. After I became more aware of my emotions, and reflected upon my past, I noticed that the values Ike held had been absorbed and played out to me subconsciously, affecting some of my actions and perspectives. I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here though. Let’s start from the beginning.

First of all, who is Ike? Well, he’s the lead protagonist in the 9th installment of the Fire Emblem series, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, and one of the many playable protagonists in the sequel title, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. I first met him in his debut title back in 2005. I was 15 at the time, and video games were one of the main driving forces keeping me somewhat emotionally stable and “out of trouble” (Along with drawing). I had been able to play the previous Fire Emblem titles that were released on the Game Boy Advance previously, and was very excited to play through a 3D FE title.

Now, my mother had two children with that man she married, and even though there was blatant favoritism being given to my new two younger brothers from that man, I was surprisingly close to my siblings. (More so towards the older of the two brothers, as my youngest brother was born with autism, which made it harder to bond with him. I still love him though!)

That said, my brother and I really bonded over this particular game, mainly because Ike and the narrative he was apart of spoke to us. It respectfully discussed the subject of racism and the harsh and very real impacts it has on society. It spoke of slavery, resentment, bigotry, and how ignorance of others can cause a lot of confusion and avoidable pain. As two black children, this was incredibly powerful and meaningful to us, and the fact that Ike always made a point to denounce racism, call it out, and try to bring people together… I honestly can’t put into words just how much that touched me. Ike made me feel as if I had value, like my existence was being acknowledged, and that I was worth something. Maybe this sounds somewhat over-dramatic, but you have to consider that I was being raised in a very toxic environment where my basic emotional and physical needs were not being met. Simply to witness someone being kind, and expressing how he has no intention of treating others differently just because of their race made me feel visible to the world.

There isn’t much black representation in video games, especially at that time. It’s gotten much better over the years of course, but we still have a very long way to go. My main source of comfort back then was through the media of video games.-- And by not seeing many others that looked like me within those worlds, I, just as many other minorities, felt alienated. Even if most of the people of Ike’s world didn’t look like me, the mere fact that he recognized that people are different, and shouldn’t be treated poorly because of that, was far more than enough to inspire me, and make me feel included within his world.

Back to the point about my brother, over the years, we grew apart, which was very painful, but it’s just something that happens. However, the one element to this day that we’re still able to bond over is Ike. For everything that Ike stands for and has inspired us with growing up, we’re able to get together and reminiscence over our days as kids venturing with the mercenary. When my brother's in town, we’ll usually boot up whatever iteration of Super Smash Brothers is out at the time, and he’ll challenge me to a duel with Ike!

How I fell In Love With Ike

One of the misconceptions I see from those on the outside of “waifuism” is that they think we just “pick a waifu” to fall in love with, and claim to be in a relationship with them. As I’ve said before, I can’t speak for everyone in the community. However, for myself, as well as many, many others that I’ve encountered, that’s simply not how it works. At this point, I’ve known Ike for 14 years. I didn’t have romantic feelings for him for the majority of the time that I’ve known him. Yes, he's always been a real person in my mind, and I've have had a very close relationship with him as an older brother figure. However, I never once thought that our relationship and my loving feelings for him was anything other than that of a brother and sister. At least, that's what I thought my feelings were. It wasn’t till much later in my adult years that I gradually and naturally began developing romantic feelings for him. --Or should I say, it wasn't until my adult years that I began to understand the love I had for Ike as a youth wasn't only out of sibling affection. I clearly had suppressed romantic feelings for the man. I ended up thinking what I felt was “wrong” since again, for as long as he’d been in my life to that point, he was my brother, you know?  It felt awkward!

I tried to push the feelings away and deny them. I felt disgusted with myself, and guilty as well. Those efforts were all pointless in the end though. I just had to be honest with myself because I was starting to fall back into a really crippling depression. It honestly does you no good to deny what is so clearly a part of you. And so, when I finally had the courage, I confronted Ike with all of my confusion, for better or for worse. Luckily for me… he accepted my feelings. He told me that if we’re going to be together in this way, I have to promise him to never give up. He and I are going to keep moving forward together!

Further Details

I first met him in his debut Fire Emblem title in 2005. I was drawn to him from the very start because as a main FE protagonist, they were normally of noble birth. However, Ike was just a normal young man who wanted to be like his father. He didn't have much in the way of money etc, but he didn't want anything like that. All he wanted was to be like his father, Greil.

Each and every day, he would challenge his father in hopes of getting just a tad bit closer to landing a single blow on him. He was determined and unwavering. I admired this about him and really paid attention to this young man. However, as Ike became older, he would go through some truly horrific and traumatizing events. Not only did he lose his mother, but shortly after finally becoming a mercenary, and joining the ranks of his father's men, Greil was murdered right in front of him. Ike was powerless to save his father, and afterwards carried a great deal of guilt for being "weak". However, this lit a flame inside of Ike to become stronger to one day avenge Greil by killing the so called "Black Knight" that robbed him of his father. And he set out to do just that.

This wasn't all he could spend his time doing however, since the death of Greil meant he had to become the leader of his late father's mercenary band. He was forced to become a man before his time in order to lead his father's men and protect his younger sister, Mist. He had to learn how to world worked the hard way, and suffer from mistake after mistake. He would be betrayed and bleed on the battlefield. He would learn of the disgusting nature of humanity with their discriminatory and selfish ways. He would meet others different than himself and accept them and their differences. He would rise above his blood lust for the Black Knight and come to see that knight as a "teacher" of sorts, coming to terms with his father's death and, and letting go of his resentment and anger. And through out all of this, he would be protecting those who he cared for, bring people of different nationalities and species together, and fight for a common cause.

No words I'll ever write will be enough to express the utter respect, love, strength and inspiration I have for this man.

Ike is the one person I wish for humanity to be like.

He is warm, caring, strong, determined, and most importantly to me, ACCEPTING OF THOSE WHO ARE DIFFERENT THAN HIMSELF.

As a little black girl all those years ago, who was invisible in the media and society as a whole, and made to feel lessor for having the natural features that I do... for this young man here to recognize and speak out about the fact that not all of us look the same, and no one should treat others less because of our differences... He brought out a feeling of worth and recognition in my spirit that no one else has ever been able to drag out in me. This man deeply impacted me, and his stern stance against racism is something that I've carried with me to this day.

And as I lament upon the fact that humans are truly disgusting, vile, selfish, greedy and destructive, the man I have given my heart, body and soul to will remind me of the good humans can show, if only a little...

I could go on and on about the uncanny ways Ike's life mirrors my own with traumatic childhood events. I could write a novel about my own attempts at revenge homicide, loss of dear family, and having to grow up before my time...

But just as my husband has done, I've become strong from those years of suffering. And even though the future is frightening, as long as I have this beautiful man by my side, the Radiant Hero, leader of the Greil Mercenaries, my closest friend and father of my child...

 I will be just fine

Six traits I love about my husband

Within Waifuism communities, you are often asked to enlighten others as to what you love and appreciate about your partner. Here is one of my many responses.

1}  I love who he is and what he stands for. He’s honest, blunt, kind, loyal and protective. He’s a man who says what he means, and means what he says, then backs up his words with action. He doesn’t try to be someone he’s not just to get ahead, or to fit in with others. What you see is what you get. He’s just a true blue young man.

2}  He honors and respects his family and friends. He’s loyal and protective. If he says he’ll do something for you, he’ll do it. He wore himself to the bone to become strong enough to avenge his father. But he also worked himself to the bone for his mercenary band who he considers his family. He risked his own life time and again for all the people he respected and cared for. So many times he could have died, but he put those fears aside for the well being of everyone else. Selfless and kind.

3}  He denounces racism. He doesn’t treat people differently just because they don’t look like him. He judges people by their actions and values. This heavily impacted me growing up, because he gave me a sense of value that I didn’t feel I had as a young black girl at the time.

Because of the mindset he has, he’s been able to bring all types of different races of people together to see the big picture, and work together. I don’t have words to describe how much respect I hold for him over this. It’s something that even after all these years later I reflect upon with the utmost respect.

4}  He doesn’t give in no matter how much he suffers. He’s been through many, many hardships growing up, many things no child should ever have to go through. He was put into a position where he had to take on heavy responsibilities at a fairly young age even after having his entire world shaken to its core. However, even though his suffered each day, he never gave up. He just kept putting one foot in front of the other as he suffered, and he kept the others around him going as well. He wasn’t perfect, and he made many mistakes. But this didn’t matter, he still continued to move forward, learning and growing along the way.

5}  He doesn’t care about money or fame. This personally resonates with me because I grew up with very little of the most basic of necessities. And money was never something I was able to readily have. As an adult, this caused me to develop an uncomfortable relationship with money. I want nothing to do with it, it feels filthy. When it comes to Ike, he makes a point to express how he isn’t about the money, he only charges a client their mercenary errand fee, and that’s it. Other than that, he just does kind things and helps people for the sake of doing kind things and helping people. Not something I see much of from most others in my own life. He’s helped me deal with this strange fear and disgust of money that I have.

Ike also doesn’t care about fame, or having a high title. Yes, he was given high titles such as “general”, but those were out of necessity, and positions that he later resigned from, even resigning from his position in the Crimean Royal Guard. He doesn’t care about all that, he just wants a simple life as the leader of his late father’s mercenary band. That’s all the man needs to feel fulfilled and happy. I have nothing but respect for him.

6}  I love his eyes and voice. This is something that is fairly new, as I’ve been friends with him for 14 years prior and never noticed his physical features. I’ve only ever paid attention to his values and actions. However, when I started falling in love with him, I suddenly noticed how beautiful, stern, serious, and yet how gentle his eyes were. I can stare into them all day… As for his voice, whenever he speaks it’s like I can feel shock waves pulsing through out my entire body right to my core. My heart pounds, and my breathing picks up. He has such a distinct voice as well. When he speaks, you know it’s him. It’s low and controlled-- a trait of being stoic. It soothes me and puts me at ease. I even listen to him during the night to help me sleep. His voice is like a lullaby.