Day Three for Speak Out With Your Geek Out (I promise a return to the usual crankiness next week). There are spoilers below for the third X-Men movie and for Season Four of Dr. Who, so fair warning:
There is a certain truth that as humans, we are hardwired to want stories about ourselves. Who we are, our place in the grand cosmos, or why we have been put on this bit of spinning dirt and water. As far back as caveman paintings, we crave stories that tell us who we are.
This is why I find myself drawn to a particular character archetype. But not because they tell me who I am. Because they are me. Or at least a part of me. And I take a certain comfort in how they react to situations similar to mine.
Those who know me through the chronic pain forums have probably seen my Rogue icon from X-Men. If there was ever a superhero version of me, it would be Rogue. She craves contact with others, yet is doomed to never be able to have that. As somebody with chronic pain flares, Rogue’s struggles are mine. It doesn’t just hurt us physically to flinch away from touch — it also hurts us emotionally.
I can distinctly recall the most heart-wrenching moment for me in the third X-Men movie. It was the moment in which Rogue decided to take The Cure and no longer be a mutant. In the middle of a packed theater, I wanted to cry out to her, “No, don’t! It’s a lie!” I wanted her to see that there was no cure, no magic pill. And my heart broke for her when she made that choice, because I knew it not to be true. There was no Cure for me.
And then there are those characters who snuck up on me with how much they were me, or at least who I wanted to be. I have just finished the fourth season of the new Dr. Who series. And of all the Companions, the one I fell head over heels for immediately was Donna Noble. She was smart, sassy and not the least bit afraid to paste the Doctor a good one in the chops when he deserved it. She was, in short, My Kinda Gal. She was the smartass temp from Cheswick who got to be so much more. Donna, the ordinary girl who got to save the universe and give a Time Lord what for. How could I not love her?
And then…it was all taken away from her. In an instant, this average woman who got to be extraordinary went back to believing she was just average. And I was shattered. I struggle every day to believe I am so much more than just a medical anomaly. Some days I succeed. Others not so much. So a character like Donna, who was given the chance to be so much more, reminded me to see that in myself. Then for it not only to all be pulled out from underneath her, but for her not to even know she was that much more — it seemed like a doubly cruel joke.
I have met Rogue. I have met Donna. I look at them every morning in the bathroom mirror. Their joy is mine. Their pain is mine. They ARE me.