All of my heroes have been fictional. Religion has no value for me, institutions are often more corrupt and people in the real world will always let you down. For me the ideals and insights in fiction have offered me ideas, rather than things to believe in. Knowing that they are fiction was in reality comforting, you take your meaning as you want to. A book can’t let you down, a comic or a tv program can’t cause you to be disillusioned. I believe in the people around me and on the good days, myself, haven’t really needed anything more than that. Being able to be moved by music and identify with characters on the screen and page has been enough, beyond my loved ones that is.
As I have spent the last four or so years trying to understand the bats**t crazy elements of my personality, I have been looking at why I identify with certain characters, what that means about me and well hence this article. Now by this I mean specific characters, relating to specific personality traits/issues, so I don’t need to mention always identifying with the outsider/inhuman character. My status as a bit of a misfit is not really much of a mystery, nor in geekdom that unique a thing. But I found this thought interesting, so wanted to explore it.
Vance Astro: Finding purpose
Appearing in Marvel comics, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Vance Astro was an astronaut who sacrificed his entire life to visit another star system and further the human adventure by travelling to Alpha Centauri in a thousand year one way trip. Only to find out that 800 years before he arrived, Harkovian physics rendered his entire trip obsolete and humanity was already waiting for him. The image he had of himself and the purpose that he lived for were pointless. His entire life seemingly a waste. So he did, what any person would need to do, he started again. He found a purpose in freeing the worlds of the Sol system from the Badoon. It wasn’t quick, easy or all at once, but he began to live again. I find that aspirational, the idea of starting again and changing who you are to yourself and becoming something greater than who you were before. If it can be imagined, then it can be done, if it can be done, maybe I can do it?
Henry ‘Beast’ McCoy : Bad judgement and deflection.
Here one character meets two different thoughts. Dr Henry McCoy first appeared in X-Men 1 and was one of the original class of students of Charles Xavier. He is also the person who has made some fantastic blunders over the years. He quit the X-Men to become a professional wrestler, we were all young once, has been the victim of femme fatales so many times and in order to deal with some corporate espionage, actually mutated himself into some kind of were ape creature. Yeah, that wasn’t do to him, he did that to himself. When anti-mutant bigotry cost him a job opportunity, did he sue? No he stripped down to his undies and jumped out of the window like an azure gorilla. He then tried to be somewhat smarter for a long time and then because of an off-hand comment by his friend, decided to steal a time machine and bring his younger self and his classmates into their future/his present to PREVENT disaster. Yup that’s right, for what seemed to be laudable reasons, he tore open time and stole 5 people from the past, including himself to prove a point to one of his oldest friends. Now, who here can’t relate to making a few stupid decisions? He’s also good at deflecting, the affected intellectualism, where he’d use many long words, play up how smart he is, to keep people at arms length, or his constant light-hearted jokey replies to everyone, to make sure they don’t keep things too real. Even during his time on the Avengers and his ladies man antics are just more deflection from his problems. I also do that, preventing people from seeing who I really am.
Hank Pym: Self Esteem
I have, for as long as I can remember, suffered from low self esteem. I don’t think I would as far as calling it an inferiority complex, but I know full well that feeling of being less than. I did a long piece called In Defense of Hank Pym, here so will be brief about the specifics, but no matter how smart he was, or how hard he worked, in the original team of Avengers, he was the little guy. Think about it, the god of thunder, the human tank, the flying woman and a guy who’s power is to be small. Who’d want to be that one? There’s a reason that he was left out of the Avengers movie.
Probably the first comic character I identified with, Cyclops was introverted, quiet and kept his feelings very much to himself. He was in love with a girl, but could never tell her how he felt. He was also skinny (as was I when younger) and wore glasses. As I got older and new writers took over, Cyclops was seen as more of a repressed character, who not only kept his feelings from other people, but also from himself. He closed himself off from the world and whenever he didn’t, it didn’t go well for him. A man who never really learned how to ‘people’, this is a feeling that I can understand completely and I was never brainwashed into a cult. Fortunately his being at times a shockingly bad human being and making at best questionable life choices keeps me from identifying too much.
The Thing: Depression
Ben Grimm is my spirit animal. In fact recently I considered him as part of my left arm cover tattoo. Like Vance Astro, my identification with him is aspirational. In mind’s eye, he is the battle with depression. Happy for a lot of his life, despite a harsh upbringing, Ben became the Thing, not through fault of his own, but as part of an accident partially caused by his best friend. None of this is his fault, but he bears the burden for it nonetheless. He still has his own voice, his own wants and needs, but is almost perpetually cut off from the world. He can’t feel things like he used to, feels at times like a monster and there is always this tinge of bitterness and melancholy. And yet, he battles for others, has the biggest of hearts and a stubborn refusal to surrender to either his own problems, or any opposing force.
5 ways to explain some of the s**t in my head, there you go, till next time internet people.
Well internet people, it’s been something of a week. Ups, plenty of downs and some really nice meals and yet it’s all been worth it.
Hit my 4 stone today. 56 whole lbs since new year. It’s been a week of reassessing the progress I’ve made or not this year as well as how far I have to go in many ways and this week’s 2.5lbs is a welcome win.
This is the lightest I have been in years and I am not done yet.
Another cracking visit to the parlour
I love Stacey’s Pop Culture Parlour | Episode 75 – SPCP Quiz 2: Electric Boogaloo!, let’s play it!
Hello there internet people.
Not posted last couple of weeks on Saturday, but this past two weigh ins have gone well. Two pound last week and another 3 today.
As part of a motivation exercise, we were given a 14 part picture of either a dress or a suit. The idea being that as you lose each pound, you colour in a piece, when fourteen pieces were coloured in, then you have lost a stone or a dress/suit size. We got this last week, when I lost 2lbs. This week I lost another 3lb, so that was 5 parts of the picture coloured in by my son. It was the whole right arm. My current weight loss stands at a half decent 3st 11.5lbs or 53.5lbs. My progress had stalled for much of the summer and well I could make excuses, but that’s what they’d be. The last two weeks have been a recommitment to doing this for both me and the MIGHTY Rosie, who has also lost the last 3 weeks. (How much? I am unwilling to say, you’d have to ask her, do it, I DARE YOU) But the point is that we are both doing well, both cooking and we’ve been eating like King and Queen here, interesting and tasty food and have been losing weight too. Living the dream her internet people.
That’s it for now, I’ve been a little lackadaisical about these posts recently, but I do fight on. Getting this right means a lot and I have a goal to lose another stone at least by the end of the year. I am 2.5lbs of 4 stone, do I dare try and make it to 5?
Stay tuned internet people.
A moving piece that I felt I had to share
I am as of this writing, off my meds. I have been on some form of anti-depressant medication for 4 years, 7 months and 21 days.
For the first 3 years, I was on the wrong medication it turns out, I switched about 18 months ago, but by and large haven been taking pills for over 4 and a half years. Back in the summer, I came to the decision to come off them, feeling that they were no longer part of my recovery, but perhaps they had become an impediment to it. I decided to fix that by slowly weaning myself off them. For a period of 4 weeks, I went down to one every two days, for 4 weeks after that, it was one every three days, then twice and week and then for the last 4 weeks, one per week. Wednesday, was my last one. It’s been a long road internet people, but I am as of this writing no longer being treated medically. It’s a big step to take and I have taken it.
That’s my win for today (well Wednesday) and am glad of it.
The main problem now is that hard won victory hasn’t really changed anything.
I still battle depression and I don’t win every single day, a few days in a row where I haven’t won was noticed, sadly not by me. Kinda been letting the side down recently, not looking after myself as well as I should do, missing things and being less than present. Nothing earth shattering is it? Work stress and other shit getting to you to the extent that you’re not your best self for a bit? Thing is, I don’t have the luxury of doing that do I? I don’t have the freedom to let things go a little, but it’s only a hop skip and a jump to falling back into the places I’ve spent the last four years trying to escape. My health can suffer as can my relationship with the MIGHTY Rosie as well as other important stuff. Once again, how off my game was pointed out to me gently on Monday evening and significantly less gently Tuesday morning. (Totally justified both times, I’m not crying foul here, this was more of the MIGHTY Rosie having my back as she always has.) I’ve been as a result left reeling this last couple of days. In the past, I would spend quite a while feeling shitty about myself. Oh don’t worry, I still fully intend to do that, but will also try to do better, to be more engaged, more focused and more even tempered. My son deserves better, the MIGHTY Rosie deserves better and am slowly coming to the conclusion that I deserve better too.
This is a blip, not a backslide, proof of this will be what I do next. I am off my meds, that was part of it, but I do have such a long way to go.
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Winston Churchill
I have an awesome wife. The MIGHTY Rosie has always done right by me, being generous and thoughtful. For my birthday/Christmas this year, my main gift is to have my left arm tattoos covered up. There are three stories here, why I have tattoos to start with, why I chose the picture I chose and the day itself.
Why I have tattoos: I got a tattoo about 13 years ago. I showed the tattoo artist the shape and asked for it bigger, he did it to scale, so I wanted one taking up my upper arm and got a tiny one on my shoulder. In order to fix that I got another one to fill it out. To balance them out, I got one one my right arm. They are one of the few things I have done that I regret. Getting them covered up has been a cathartic undoing of mistakes.
Why the picture: Well it surprises no one, but I am a massive comic fan. So it was no question whether my cover ups would be comic related. I wrote about the first cover up here The Right Arm of Vance Astro part 1
and the rest of it here The right arm of Vance Astro part 2: return of the pain
so I knew that know matter what, I would go back to design for life tattoo studio and the amazing Simon K Bell who designed it. But why this one? That goes back to my silver age of comic collecting, the 90’s. I missed the boat by a few months in the 90’s. I didn’t really jump on the Image bandwagon when that started and I missed the launches of X-Force and X-Men vol 2 by a matter of months and it wasn’t till near 20 years later that I looked at Ultraverse or Valiant. And Vertigo wasn’t my thing either, so I missed many of the fads of the era, because I wasn’t in on the ground floor. But that changed after several months of reading Peter David’s first run on X-Factor. His use of humour and in depth character study was a revelation for me at the time and then Marvel announced that he was the writer of the flagship title of a new imprint, Marvel 2099.For those who don’t know or care, Marvel 2099 was the idea of looking at the future of Marvel heroes, what would they look like 107 years from the present day, at that point the present day was 1992. There was Doom 2099, Punisher 2099, X-Men 2099 and Ravage 2099.The first, the longest lasting and by far the best was Spider-Man 2099. Drawn by Rick Leonardi and written by Peter David, this was a less friendly neighbourhood and less friendly Spider-Man. Being on the ground floor for this has always left very fond memories of it in my head. Despite many comics fans having buyers remorse, I acknowledge the flaws of many comics of that era, but I really enjoyed comics in the 90s and that was the time that they hooked me, never really letting go, so it was always going to be a 90’s character on my arm and he was at the time one of my favourites.
The tattoo: So after applying some numbing cream (again courtesy of the MIGHTY Rosie) I went to the tattoo place and saw the first part of the tattoo. I didn’t realise how big it was going to be. So I got the sketch done by Simon who applied the stencil to my arm.
The numbing cream helped, I will admit that. Managed to sit for over 4 hours with little problem. However, when he got to my shoulder, I realised the that I didn’t expect the tattoo to go so far up and that’s when I realised how painful it gets when the tattoo is close to bone. That last 90 minute hurt more than the previous 4 hours, by quite a long way. But damn it’s hard to argue with the results.
I won’t lie, that was a tough sit, but with a chicken caesar wrap, couple of bananas and the several episodes of Michael Bailey’s Views from the Longbow, I got through it with a smile in just enough time to go and get my son from school.
This is what was had been finished by 4:30.
So now I have matching tattoos, in that I love both of them. There’s still more to go and I will have to book another appointment but for now, I’m very happy with what I have on my left arm and it’s only going to get better.
Most of the impetus for all this is the support and care of the MIGHTY Rosie.
Like I said, my wife is awesome.
Hello internet people.
Been a while since I have posted one of these, I will be honest I’ve been somewhat unmotivated regarding my weight loss. The last couple of weeks, haven’t done Slimming World and my food has gone badly.
But me and the MIGHTY Rosie have tried to pull it back. It’s worked to an extent and I have, lost 1lb bringing my total back to 3st 7.5lbs just under 50lbs in total. I’ve been lighter, but after been dragged kicking and screaming back here, I know that I have to get back into this and put the work in.
Wish me luck.
I was a cynic when I was younger, disaffected and isolated and deep down I believed that I would always be alone, it was what I was used to and it was what I expected life to be.
I had relationships, but doomed to failure each one, I expected things to go wrong.
11 years ago, hope, love, happiness and joy entered my life and I found that in my heart was someone who believed in love still.
Two years later, my happy ever after started. Seeing her in white with a bouquet and a smile put a thought in my head, something new. It wasn’t her beauty, that was clear long before. It wasn’t that I loved her, I was her’s long before. It wasn’t that I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life. It was this ‘It’s going to be alright’.
It’s been an ‘eventful’ 9 years, but that feeling, that awareness of hope and of positivity is still there. I believe in myself, I value myself (well I am tryig, OK?) because she taught me. It has been quite a tumultuous ride, but here we are, 9 years in and I love her more now.
You’re my girl and I am yours, forever and always.