Monday, January 26, 2015

Embracing your fears with the help of the X-Men

by Suzanne Warr

This post was brought to you by a plugged up nose and Professor X of the X-men.  Thankfully, the plugged up nose was mine, and not his.  He has enough to worry about.

You see, I've got a cold, and for the last couple nights haven't been able to breathe easily.  Not the end of the world...but the back of my brain thought it might be.  Each time I couldn't comfortably breathe through my nose (while sleeping), I had a dream where I was drowning.  This, despite the fact that I love water and am a pretty good swimmer!

Enter Professor X.  This past week we watched X-Men: Days of Future Past (and I'm not even going to bother warning of spoilers, cause if you haven't seen it yet, you're just asking for it!) and I enjoyed the bit in the last quarter where the young Professor X reaches through the past/present Wolverines' mind to communicate with his future self.

Got all that?

And he tells himself "Just because someone stumbles and loses their path doesn't mean they're lost forever."

Which is really incredibly wise, and also kind of becomes the theme of the movie.  But, he also says a bunch of stuff about how it's not others' pain Charles is afraid of--it's his own.  And that if he lets himself feel that pain it will make him stronger, and let him access his greatest strength: hope.

How exactly he's supposed to do that isn't spelled out, but I liked it all the same.  Since I've also been thinking about why my nightmares would have burning buildings sometimes, when I love fire, and as mentioned above, feature my drowning, I've been think about the relationship between fear and love.  Or, just as important, fear and hope, or fear and joy.

I'm not wise enough to know with certainty all the deep metaphysical or psychological reasons these apparent opposites would be linked, but this is what makes sense to me: vulnerability scares us.  It means we're in a precarious place, and our survival is on the line.  But we're also stretching, growing, and experiencing something new when we're vulnerable.  Maybe something terrible will come of it, or maybe we'll metamorphose into something wonderful and new.  This potential for change is what frightens us, and yet, we can't grow without risking that change.

What do you think?  Am I on to something?  Do you have any scary choices you've been hiding from, for fear the resultant change will be too much for you to live with?  I've got one that I've decided to stop backing away from.  Something that's big to me, and has been in the works for going on 5 years now.  What it is I can't share yet, but I'm excited to embrace my vulnerabilities, and hoping against hope I don't get singed in the process!

Best of luck with your growing changes!  If you're feeling brave, share them here!  I'll share mine, too, just as soon as I'm able. :)

1 comment:

  1. Suzanne, I'm so sorry you've been ill. Have you tried Breatheright Strips? I can't sleep without them.

    Trying new things is pretty scary. I've been experimenting with writing a YA novel (after writing three MG novels) and the characters are leading me in a direction I didn't want to go. Backing away would be the easy thing to do, but I'm trying to trust my characters.

    Good luck with the scary choice you're facing. You can do this!