|Posted on April 22, 2018 at 1:00 AM|
Welcome again and thank you so kindly for joining me on one final blog before the film, Avengers: Infinity War, hits theaters worldwide. Allow me to provide you with a helpful link back to the beginning of the mid-March blog series, the first nine of which were inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
March 11th, 2018:
So, that blog series was quite an expression of passion, wasn't it? While some people might not be used to such intensity, one of the goals I set out to accomplish was to document mental health and mine as well. Sometimes that will involve being more realistic than other times. I do mean well. Either way, I always try to make sure I incorporate an honest and positive point of view to bring what I talk about back to a productive, mindful balance. I hope anyone else who may read that blog series, especially Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fans, can take away as much of a powerful inspiration as I did while I was writing it. As well, I want to thank all of you who have joined me along my journey, this year, through my own war for emotional resolution...
Though, I must caution you that this blog post is very powerful with peak inspirational intensity too.
Now that more of you know how I have been feeling lately, and with the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War just days away, I couldn't help but write one final blog post with the film's intense inspiration at heart.
There was actually one, even more compelling, point of view I did not think to share until just a few days ago. For the last year and a half, I have embarked on a path of challenging self-discovery. Back in October of 2016, I did not and could not believe I would be here right now in any positive way other than I would give it my best shot. I would give all of you all I've got... Yet, here I am. Still. As I revealed during the mid-March blog series, when I made the conscious decisions to begin advocating for mental health and to share my story through this website I also had a second powerful, but dark influence. Desperation. On the other hand, I have now come to realize something new; something which may yet become really quite special. The answer lies in what it now means for me to be an advocate, thanks in large part to Marvel's Avengers.
“There was an idea...” Samuel L. Jackson, Nick Fury.
“To bring together, a group of remarkable people...” Robert Downey Jr., Tony Stark.
“To see if we could become something more...” Paul Bettany, Vision.
“So when they needed us, we could fight the battles...” Chris Hemsworth, Thor.
“That they never could.” Scarlett Johansson, Natasha Romanoff (Avengers: Infinity War trailer #2).
A group of remarkable people... Who? Me? No way. You can't honestly mean me as a remarkable person? All self-depreciating humor aside though, I do prefer to defy the labels that society tries to brand me with. I even end up doing it no thanks to my habits related to anxiety. For example, I often feel I get the distinction of being the nice guy when it came to dating (notice the past tense). Then, over time, I realized this label seemed to give women the impression that a nice guy was instinctively unattractive, awkward, and over-complimentary when it came to how they treated women. In a very real sense, it is a form of social stigma and I ended up with the label. This was where I came up with my mantra that I am me, which was my way to defy the social label of being a 'stereotypical' nice guy.
Unfortunately, beneath much of my self-confidence always lurks social anxiety that challenges what kind of a person I feel I really am. While yes, I do also practice mindfulness and modesty to keep any over-confidence in check. Most of the time, however, I never really see myself as positive qualities such as being a remarkable person. But ever so slowly that is changing as I restore my self-confidence through improving my mental health. By putting myself out there, on the line, and advocating for mental health awareness, I also unwittingly began to think of myself as a sort of heroic figure. How could I if social anxiety often makes it so difficult? The notion of heroism all came together when the second Avengers: Infinity War trailer was released, and I kept watching it over and over.
The (original) quote, by the character Nick Fury, talks about bringing together a group of remarkable people who eventually would become the Avengers superheroes. On the other hand, the key heroes in the first Avengers film: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, Thor, Clint Barton, and Natasha Romanoff, were all portrayed as being nothing short of a disaster waiting to happen. Then, through the film, they found themselves within their struggles and matured to become the remarkable heroes who were needed. The heroes, who will be portrayed sacrificing everything to stand up to Thanos and his Black Order during the Infinity War film. The simple fact that they, and the other heroes since, have effectively been portrayed realistically is what makes all the difference.
Without being shown as realistic, the Avengers would not be nearly as identifiable to people like me in the first place. But because they are, by March of this year I not only began to see myself as heroic like them I also started to wonder what if I could mirror the Avengers in real life somehow? What if someday I could help to create a gathering of mental health advocates? A sort of Advocate-con or Mental Health Advocates Conference. In a way, to bring together a unique group of truly remarkable real-world people who, on a daily basis, responsibly put themselves on the line to advance the cause of mental health awareness. It sure does seem just like the Avengers from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, doesn't it? Indeed.
In my words, as I think out loud here...
“The (Advocates). It’s what we (could) call ourselves, sort of like a team. 'Earth’s Mightiest Volunteers' type thing... There’s no throne. There is no version of this where (social stigma) comes out on top. Maybe (the bullies) come, and maybe it’s too much for us, but it’s all (about fear). Because if we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damned well sure we’ll (still advocate for) it.”
(inspired by Robert Downey Jr.’s words, as Tony Stark, in the 2012 Avengers film).
Oh, how I would LOVE to create something like a mental health Advocates-con... Or even The Advocates; a gathering of heroic volunteers. To bring together people like Kevin Hines and Lindsey Smith. To share with ourselves the experiences we have endured and show the world that regular, ordinary people through their own hard work can act as real-world heroes every day and any day. To show that it doesn't matter who you are or what hardships you have been through, you can still beat the odds. Now that is something worth living and fighting for! Perhaps someday I can help to bring together such a remarkable group of people so that while we are needed, we can continue to fight the battles that others never could. Either way, I still have the MCU Avengers to thank for my new inspiration to be a hero.
“(I am odd, but we knew that already. Lol)
(Humans) think order and chaos are somehow opposites and try to control what won't be.
But there is grace in their failings...
A thing isn't beautiful because it lasts.
It is a privilege to be among them.” Paul Bettany, Vision (Avengers: Age Of Ultron).
I have been and always will be privileged to be among people like You. Now, I leave all of you with one final moment to keep in mind before Thanos' arrival, as according to the latest Avengers: Infinity War 'Chant' TV Spot trailer...
“Today we don't fight for any life... we fight for ALL of them.” Chadwick Boseman, T'Challa.
Indeed; as do I.
I fight for all of You. May we all find the same strength and courage to stand up to the oppression and stigma that influences, like Thanos, represent in all our lives.
We will do this, together.
“I look around at us and you know what I see? Folks who have lost stuff. Our homes... Our families... Normal lives. And usually life takes more than it gives, but not today. Today it's giving us something. It is giving us a chance... To give a s***.
The brutality, the sacrifice, it changes you.
I had this dream... that I was an Avenger.
I shouldn't be alive... unless it was for a reason. I just finally know what I have to do.
My faith's in people, I guess. And I'm happy to say that, for the most part, they haven't let me down. Which is why I can't let them down either. I promise you, if you need us, if you need me, I'll be there.
Then we'll do that together too. As a team.
There was an idea...
to bring together a group of remarkable people...
to see if we could become something more.
So when they needed us...
we could fight the battles...
that they never could.
It doesn't matter what you did; what you were...
You are an AVENGER.”
(from the MCU Supercut - The Road To Infinity War trailer uploaded by MCUExchange on YouTube).
April 22nd, 2019: