Jessica Jones A.K.A. My Spirit Animal

I am Netflix binge watcher. Truth. Their latest is the second season of Jessica Jones.

She’s a kick ass antihero. She saves peoples lives and punches people who piss her off. When she goes to anger management, she gives a run down of the atrocity that is her life, all while throwing a ball at the wall. The ball and the wall break. Then, she hands a form to her group therapist to sign. He signs it, terrified of what she will do if he doesn’t. As she walks back to her apartment, she confronts another a**hole entering her building. She says something like “I just about beat up my support group. Back off!”

Oh yes, Jessica is my spirit animal.

I think there is a little bit of antihero in all of us. We long to be great, do good things. Yet, there is something completely insufferable about the world that leaves us ready to punch a whole in a Tesla (yeah, another thing she does). Okay, I might be projecting all of this onto you.

I think there is a little bit of antihero in me.

Some vicious anger at injustice combined with a benevolent spirit twists all my interactions into battles and wars. I don’t really want to fight or view it as a fight. I don’t want to be a victim, but I also don’t want to be an overcomer. Somehow being an overcomer feels too close to accepting the past as truth and the future as a reflection of its power. Why is letting go so damn hard? Why does letting go feel like a concession?

Yes, I like Jessica. She embraces that the future is fucked, but still saves the innocents so they can have the hope, the future, that she wishes she had. Does she wonder if she is a monster sometimes? If she is out-of-control? Absolutely. Every step of the way. I see her try to reason with those questions. Looking at the carnage of someone else’s crimes, she audibly says, “That’s not me. That’s not me. That’s not me.” She’s not saying it for the benefit of others. She is saying it to herself – to remember who she is and who she isn’t.

I relate. When I rage and my children see it, I look into their eyes and see the monster. Then, I say, “That’s not me. That’s not me. That’s not me.” When I hide in my room instead of playing fun games with them or we stay inside on a beautiful afternoon, I say, “That’s not me. That’s not me. That’s not me.”

Healthy me is adventurous. Healthy me loves the outdoors. Healthy me takes deep breaths before speaking. Healthy me holds the space. Healthy me…

I wish I was always healthy me.

Then, there are days where I know, deep down, that the future is fucked. I won’t be healed of a mood disorder. Depression isn’t a one and done deal. Pills don’t fix these things; they moderate them, temper their effects.

There is no cure for what I have.

I desperately want for there to be people with hopes and futures that are bright. I desperately want to give what I can’t have – to others.

Sometimes, I hide. Alone is safer for the world. I don’t want to drag other people into my abyss.

But the world needs antiheroes.

Because super heroes don’t actually exist. Only antiheroes are real. Flawed people doing good things. That is what we really have. Somehow, I think that’s actually better. When Jessica refuses to kill a guy who cheated on his girl…it’s reluctant and ugly, but still possible. When she does the right thing even though the wrong thing makes more sense, would be more cathartic. Well, that’s when we are actually inspired.

Superman might make me want to fly, but Jessica Jones makes me want to actually save the world. There is power in saving a world that doesn’t necessarily deserve it. There is power in saving ourselves, even when we don’t necessarily deserve it.

Now, who wants to be an antihero with me?

Candidly,

ASh

You Can Do Anything…

…You put your mind to. Heard that phrase?

Me too.

My dad said it to me all the time when I was growing up. He was awesomely encouraging and loved hearing all of my thoughts. If I had an idea, then he’d extrapolate it with me and we’d devise ways to change the world.

{kindred spirits}

As a grown woman and mom, I don’t actually use that phrase, because I disagree wholeheartedly. I’ve learned that I can think of many things, anything and put my mind to them. But doing them? That is a whole different matter.

There are some things I can’t do. In fact, there are many things I can’t do – even if I put my mind to them.

Exhibit A. I cannot run a 3 minute mile. No matter how hard I try or how much I believe it, my short little stubby legs will not move that fast. I could train for weeks and months and years and even decades. Not. Going. To. Happen. I am descended from stout, bohemian women who were known for their kolaches and birthing hips – not their running.

Exhibit B. Three years ago, I was a music teacher, PTO president and school board secretary. I had a nervous breakdown. Full blown, mental hospital and 9 week therapy program. There are some things I just can’t do…

As a mom, I never want to give my kids the impression that they are capable of anything or everything or all things. I want them to know that they should chose things and do things they believe in, whether they achieve them or not. I want them to know that they have limitations.

Limitations ARE OKAY! There IS such a thing as “I can’t” and “I won’t”. I want their “no” to be as powerful as their yes. I want them to have well-formed boundaries.

With all of that being said, I still want them to be risk-takers, to challenge themselves. I want them to be proud when they try, gracious when the succeed and curious when they fail. I want them to know that failure is a compass to true north. All great destinations have bumpy roads.

When they ask me if they can do it, if they can make it or if they will succeed…I will simply ask, “Do you think you can?” And we’ll go from there, because ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I believe about them. It only matters what they believe about themselves.