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Telling Positive Stories to Ourselves

So I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. (That happens in the span of more than two years.) I thought about the stories we tell ourselves.

I like positive stories. I think that’s because my mental landscape creates dystopian fiction at an alarming rate.

I know dark, gritty stories might seem more realistic. There is a realism in admitting to ourselves that people aren’t perfectly good or perfectly bad. Life isn’t always full of “happily ever after”. Life is messy and imperfect.

And then there’s this excerpt from a Superman comic.

(Trigger warning: talk of suicide ahead.)
———

People need to see this, and I might just have to get my paws on whichever comic issue this is in. Trigger warning: talk…

Posted by Windy Johansen on Thursday, March 31, 2016

text of the Facebook post:
“People need to see this, and I might just have to get my paws on whichever comic issue this is in. Trigger warning: talk of suicide.

When it is demanded that everything be gritty, then I feel like we won’t tell each other stories like this one, and that makes me sad.

It’s not sunshine and butterflies. It is a moment that admits that life is not always happy. Even so, we can emotionally invest in one another and make better things, better days ahead. No matter the darkness in the moment, we can always choose light.

Sometimes you only save one small child from planetary annihilation, and that’s enough to save many other people.”

permalink to the Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/windy.johansen.1/posts/10153545358483424?pnref=story
the whole comic on DC Comics: http://www.dccomics.com/comics/superman-2006/superman-701
more about this comic on DC Comics Database (http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Superman_Vol_1_701
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Here’s the excerpt in gallery form:

View post on imgur.com

In this excerpt, there is a woman about to jump. Superman says he won’t go and grab her, but he will talk to her.

This lady’s name is Felicity Rose. She yells at Superman about how he could totally just grab her and take her back tot he ground. He could force her to not jump. She asks him to promise that he won’t force her not to jump.

He promises this.

The cops that are there (they’re the ones who asked him to go up there) are confused. They don’t get why he won’t just..pick her up already, I guess. (It’s taking a while, it doesn’t seem like they can hear the conversation or anything.)

Felicity has lost everything. She is angry. She doesn’t know what to live for. She talks about how, just out of high school, she thought her and her peers would change the world..save the world. She feels like life is pointless. She shouts angrily that he can’t tell her that life is fair.

He gently counters that, no, life is not fair. And that life is not unfair. That it just is.

He talks about how, just out of high school, we really do think that way. And sometimes we do save the world. But sometimes, it’s just one person that we can save. And sometimes, that’s enough. You fight the darkness, not because you always win, but because the battle is always worth it.

Like in the Facebook post, I worry about us not telling such stories to one another. What happens when we demand only gritty stories?

Do we lose out on seeing the good potential that we all have? Do we forget that we can make good choices? Maybe we don’t, maybe we do, but there is a realism in how Superman saved Felicity up there, too.

Life is messy. Life was meant to be messy. It’s realistic for the hero to show cracks in the perfection or to be imperfect.

But the anti-hero or anti-villain protagonist isn’t suddenly realistic solely because he’s a dark character…it would be because he’s well rounded. Someone who has a meaningful (to him, at least) justification for whatever awfulness he’s been a part of. Maybe he meant to save his home planet…but had to sacrifice his own hometown. Maybe he didn’t care then. Maybe he does now.

There is a journey to be seen. A triumph, however small it seems now. A step toward a higher potential.

I think we have forgotten that there is a higher potential in all of us, and led ourselves to believe that it is more realistic for a character, when offered a fork in the road, to choose something dark. That there are no heroes, just varying shades of dark.

What fun is it when you know that everything will always be dark?

How will you see life when you think that dark is the only realistic way to go?

A picture that can be taken as incoming destruction, or a glorious sunrise.

Is that the sun? Artificial Doom (c) 2016 Windy Johansen

Artificial Doom

the artificial doom
looms large in the eyes of too many
the artificial doom
created by the ones who thrive on wedges driven
the artificial doom
isn’t really “them”, but who cares, I’m angry!
the artificial doom
made by our own hearts, envisioned by our own eyes
searched for with our own will
the artificial doom
will be the end of us, not “them”
“they” don’t hold the guns
“they” don’t fly the planes
we do. the humans do.
the artificial human doom
will come as long as we forget
that monsters are really just evil humans
that humans killed and died
in New York
in Paris
in Tiananmen Square
in the Holocaust
and the artificial human doom
doesn’t have to come for us
it doesn’t.
— (c) 2016 Windy Johansen

About rootedphoenix

I am the owner and blogger on this site. Hi! :D I like sparkles, sweets, and being nice. But I also laugh at snarky things. So I'm a work in progress.
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