I cried reading a comic book yesterday. In public. At a bakery/coffee shop. Granted, I’ve been doing a lot of crying lately (mostly the good kind!), but still, I was not expecting to cry whilst reading Captain Marvel. But I did. And I want to talk about why.
I’ve put off a lot of things in my life because I felt I wasn’t ready for them. I had to get A, B, and C in order before I could attempt X, Y or Z. NEWSFLASH: Life doesn’t happen in alphabetical order. It’s a bit ridiculous to think that you have to put your life on hold until you have certain things figured out. I have prayed for a pause button for my life, and at the ripe old age of almost 29, I think I’ve finally accepted the fact that I’m never getting one (dammit).
It’s been a weird year. Honestly, it’s been a weird past three years. It wasn’t until this summer that I realized just how not myself I have been. It’s like polishing silver–you think it’s just a tiny speck of tarnish, but once you clean and polish it until it’s shining like it’s brand new, you look at the polishing cloth and realize it’s filthy and you wonder, how did you not see how dirty it was? How did you ever think that tarnished piece of silver was what it was supposed to look like?
Okay, but what does this all have to do with Captain Marvel? Well, a while back, Carol Danvers made a choice to save the world, and in doing so, she lost her memories (that is the short version, I highly recommend reading The Enemy Within arc for the whole story). It was tramautic and it’s something the character and her friends have been dealing with since then. Carol knows who she is: she’s Captain Marvel, she has alien super-powers, and she’s an Avenger. But she doesn’t really know what that means. She’s a little broken.
At the end of issue 17, hundreds stand with Carol Danvers and proclaim “I AM CAPTAIN MARVEL” to save her from the bad guy; a small kid who considers herself the sidekick is giving Carol lessons on how to be Captain Marvel, and we’re shown a tease of someone who has been inspired by Captain Marvel and her actions. And yeah, that made me cry. Because there are times you can’t save yourself, you need others to help you out. Occasionally you don’t know who you are or what that means–you need someone to remind or teach you. And sometimes, you can be broken and still inspire someone.
I know who I am, more so than ever before, but I don’t always know what that means. Sometimes I feel a little broken. And I think, how can I sit down and write a book for teenagers when I can’t do basic adult things like put away my laundry or buy food at the grocery store? How can I give advice to someone on friendship when I am so very bad at being a friend myself? Why would anyone listen to me about anything?
But I don’t have to have it all figured out. I can be a little broken and still encourage others. I can still write. I’m not an Avenger (dammit). I’m not Carol Danvers. But I can still punch holes in the sky.