I’m very excited to have Jessica O’Neal visiting today. Jess’ blog, The Sexy Little Nerd, is one of my absolute favorites. From her Harry Potter series, to her more recent posts on Robin Hood, fantasy book reviews, and vlogs on everything from The Hunger Games to Game of Thrones, visiting her site is like going to a friend’s house. Please help me welcome Jess…..
I want to give a huge thank you to Marcy for having me over today. As a sister nerd, her blog has always been one of my favorites to visit. She leaves some pretty big shoes to fill and I hope that I am able to do them justice.
One Thing Magneto Got Right
When most people first meet me, they’re surprised to learn what a gargantuan nerd I am. Whether it is my obsession with Harry Potter, my affinity for all things fantasy, or my new found obsession with archery (which started from a desire to live out some of my favorite stories), people are always left gaping. For whatever reason, I am an unexpected nerd. Recently, attention has been called to another one of my nerd proclivities: comic book movies.
I’m a HUGE comic book movie fan. I am convinced that if I had been born a boy rather than a girl someone would have introduced me earlier to the wonder that is comic books, but alas that never happened. Instead, I was left ignorant of these fabulous stories until they started to take over the cinema. One of these movie franchises that I have particularly enjoyed is Marvel’s X-Men.
When these movies started to come out, I knew very little about the X-Men. I had, of course, heard of some of them before, such as Wolverine, but I didn’t really know much about the story. After the first movie, I was in love. As movie after movie began to come out, that love did nothing but grow. I was enraptured by these characters and the relationships they had with one another as they struggled to come to terms with who they were, what they could do, and what they should do. There were so many lessons that could be taken out of the lives of these mutants.
My favorite of the series is, without a doubt, X-Men: First Class. The history between Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto had always fascinated me, so getting to see that history unfold with the brilliant acting of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender was very nearly a cathartic experience. I am not ashamed to admit that the break between them brought me to tears. And not just a few tears. When I tell people that one of the most heartbreaking movies I have ever seen is a comic book movie, they look at me like I’m crazy. That’s okay. The understanding of others is not a necessary component to my enjoyment.
But there was the development of another relationship in X-Men: First Class that really struck a chord within me. I am referring to Magneto and Mystique.
Mystique (played by Jennifer Lawrence who is also starring in the upcoming The Hunger Games movie) is different than a lot of the other mutants in that the evidence of her mutation, her true self, does not allow her to blend in with *normal* society. Mystique has the ability to change her appearance at will to look like any other human, but when she is in her natural form, she has blue skin and yellow eyes. In order to feel accepted she, therefore, chooses to spend the majority of her time in a different skin.
This is something that I think a lot of us do – I know I do. We are afraid to show our true selves to others for fear that they won’t like who we are, so we morph into the person we think they want us to be, the person we think they will accept. This is an exhausting task that will gradually wear us down.
There is a scene in the movie when Mystique, in her more *normal* human form, is lifting weights. Magneto startles her by manipulating the weights to float in the air above her. He says to her, “If you are using half of your concentration to look normal, then you’re only half paying attention to whatever else you are doing. Just pointing out something that could save your life.” He then releases the weights and, in order to catch them before they fall on her, Mystique has to release her shifted form. Magneto then says, “You want society to accept you, but you can’t even accept yourself.”
This brief scene really resonated with me. When we figuratively put on whatever skin we think certain people want to see in order to accept us, we are actually achieving the opposite. We can not be truly accepted by someone when we prevent them from seeing who we really are. Yes, when we do reveal the real us, flaws and all, there will be some people who judge us, but are those really the people we want to be close to anyway? Wouldn’t we rather be surrounded by people who know and accept the real us?
The really amazing thing is, when we learn to love ourselves for who we actually are, people can sense that and are drawn to it. People can sense when they’re being shown a false or incomplete version of someone and are turned off by it, whether they consciously realize it or not. So by accepting ourselves, we make it easier for others to accept us as well.
In spite of the path that Magneto and Mystique eventually choose, I believe in this moment Magneto has the right idea. Self-acceptance may not be easy, but the best things never are.
Do you agree with the lesson Magneto gives Mystique? Does one need to first accept herself before she can expect others to?
Jessica O’Neal is a fantasy writer with a BA in Psychology with a minor in English. Alongside her writing, she co-hosts Glee Chat and Smash Chat. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and crazy Jack Russell named Moses. Check out her blog The Sexy Little Nerd, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.