Saturday, June 4, 2011
I am Different.
I re-watched the movie X-Men last night, and it brought back a lot of memories for me. Around the same time as that movie hit the theaters, I was finding out things about myself that seemed to frighten people. I was learning things about other people, and how they were treated. Anything not "normal" was frightening and dangerous.
One can put on many lenses and see so many struggles in this movie (warning: no, I haven't read the comics, so don't get all up in my chex mix about it). At the time, I was finally accepting that I wasn't christian, and had never been, most likely. I was pretending, and what my soul was reaching for was far from what anyone around me understood. I knew some people would see me as dangerous, parents wouldn't want me to be their children's friends, the school I had just left might very well have run me out anyway, because several of the teachers would believe I had made a compact with the devil. I cried when I saw Xavier's school, because I thought a school for pagans (or simply any non-christian!) would be just amazing, an oasis in the terrifying deserted sameness of Alabama that I lived in, where if you didn't love with all your heart one of the three religions - Baptist, Methodist, or Football - you had to be corrected, or run out. Besides, Patrick Stewart as a headmaster? Win! *Geek squeak*
Of course, I identified with their basic otherness in my way. There are many kinds of "otherness", things that are more clearly unchangeable - being a different race, being gay, being left-handed, etc. I so clearly saw, in a later movie, when the government came up with a "cure" for being a mutant, the struggle of my LGBT friends. How churches and some "psychiatrists" wanted to "cure" them. Because they were "wrong." And, just like in the movie, I had the feeling that some (not all) of my friends would have taken that "cure", when they were still teens, struggling, and feeling like what their peers were saying was true - they were "wrong."
Some studies have shown that religious feeling is very much wired into our brains. If someone had found a way to "cure" my brain of its heathen ways and turn me into a good christian, would I have taken it? I could have avoided many screaming matches, much fear, a few visits from the police (called by a scared christian dorm mate) and some outright violence. Would my atheist friends have taken a way to be more like their "normal" peers? If atheism was the rule of the day, how many religious people, christian, muslim, pagan, buddhist, mystic, witch, shaman, vodouisant, would rip out that part of their brains, to avoid derision?
How far would some people go to avoid being different altogether?
But then, how many would stand up, raise their voices, and refuse to be labeled "wrong" for being outside of the norm? How big would the marches be to protest any "fix" for something that is only different, not wrong? The cry that, no matter how scared you are of us, we are people too - and sometimes, we're scared of you?
But perhaps not scared enough to be trodden down and made either subordinate, or "normal," whatever that is.
As Jimi said, "let your freak flag fly," and that's what I've chosen to do. And if I meet any mutants, I'll tell them the same.