The Power of X-Men

March 18th, 2016, 9am

It was -7°C with overcast. The breeze was gentle.

I never really liked superheroes. I didn’t relate to them, or the stories. I didn’t want a guy with a superiority complex to swoop in and save me, I wanted to do the saving, I wanted to save the world and in all the superhero movies I didn’t identify with any of the characters. I saw a girl who was the damsel in distress and who needed saving, and there wasn’t a person with a visible disability in the whole movie. So I avoided them, these movies made me feel like less of a person because the population of people that I belonged, people with disabilities, weren’t shown in movies. Then it all changed when I first saw X-Men.

I didn’t see X-Men until a few years ago, but my entire outlook on life shifted. I went from being someone who had to hide who they really were and someone who didn’t fit in anywhere, to someone who could be proud of her differences. Instead of changing the world in spite of my differences and my disability, I could change the world because of my differences.

What I remember most clearly about the movie was when Charles Xavier walks into his kitchen as a child and finds his mother going through the fridge. His mother turned out to be Mystique in disguise. He promised to help her and that she no longer had to hide. That made me smile. That week I had been told not to eat in public because it was different and there was someone, a fictional child but still someone, saying that it’s ok to be different.

Throughout the movie, Charles and Mystique find other mutants, not my favourite phrase, but beggers can’t be choosers, and show them how to use their powers and teach them that it’s ok to be who they are. They showed them that they no longer had to hide and that their power didn’t limit them. In fact, it was their differences that gave them more power to do more good than most people could ever imagine. Charles Xavier’s biggest dream was for a peaceful coexistence between the mutants and everyone else. He also taught that the X-Men had to fight for a world and for people that feared and hated them. These philosophies resonated with me because all I want is for a coexistence between able-bodied people and people with disabilities.

Then the X-Men, the people that society had written off as weird, unimportant, and to be avoided, were the only ones who could save the world. I watched as these people who had been tested on, locked away, and stared at, save the world from a nuclear explosion. It was right then when Charles Xavier got was crushed by a boulder and was paralyzed after the X-Men saved the world, I realized my differences didn’t define me. My disabilities didn’t make incapable, in fact, they made me more capable, they made me more likely to see something that others don’t, and I have the power to change the world to.

The movie also taught me a very important lesson, it taught me that I was worth more than hiding away in a closet or bathroom stall. People can stare at me all they want but I know that I’m worthy and worth something. That the people staring they can take my weirdness in all it’s glory.

I owe my self-confidence to Charles Xavier, Mystique, Jack Kirby and the one and only Stan Lee. I will be eternally grateful to them and the creators ability to see that someone who has to hide because they aren’t normal, actually hold the most power.

Victoria and Ben said thanks.

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Mariah Hillis

History buff living with chronic health problems. Lives life to the fullest, and dreams the biggest dreams, despite not being able to breathe in her sleep.

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