by T. Mack
(Very slight spoiler regarding one scene of Avengers: Infinity War)
Hopefully, you’ve taken my advice from earlier in the week and seen the marvelous Marvel movie, Avengers: Infinity War. If you haven’t, I must assume you have your reasons, but I promise you’re missing out. If you have seen the film, you’ll recall the crazy cool girl fight deep in the third act between Black Widow, Okoye, Scarlet Witch, and Proxima Midnight of Thanos’ Black Order. At a certain point, Proxima Midnight stands over Scarlet Witch, who is nearly defeated, and tells her that she will die alone. From the side, we hear Black Widow’s voice correct Proxima Midnight by proclaiming clearly that, “She’s not alone.” From that point, we are treated to an incredible display of fighting as Black Widow and Okoye battle Promixa Midnight long enough for Scarlet Witch to recover herself and jump back into the fray.
This moment is one of my favorites of the film (admittedly, I have many). First, it’s just one in a string of exciting and beautifully choreographed fight scenes happening in the action-packed third act of the film. Second, it’s the compliment to a scene minutes before when Scarlet Witch came to the aid of the other two women. Third, it’s a wonderful moment for the ladies (good and bad) of the film to shine without any men in the frame. It’s a true display of Woman Power! Fourth, it’s something much bigger and deeper than any of those other things. It’s something that most people will probably never think about, but it hit home for me in a powerful way.
The moment when one woman is almost defeated by her enemy and another woman steps up and declares that she is not alone is a moment of victory for all women… on the screen and off.
You see, women are strong. We are courageous. We are fierce and mighty and built to withstand immense amounts of pain. So in the course of our lives, we often bear our burdens, our sorrows, our physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering quietly, courageously, and alone. From simple melancholy to crippling depression, from sexual and physical abuse to mental manipulation. From being overworked and exhausted to suffering serious illness and chronic pain. Sometimes, we need a break. Other times, we need a hug. Often, we just need a drink. There are times when we need help or time to get away. We may need a little space to breathe or take a minute for ourselves.
Unfortunately, there are too many things to do, too many people relying on us, too much riding on our shoulders. And since we are strong, and courageous, and fierce, and mighty, we do not show weakness. We do not show fear. We do not show that we are breaking under the pressure, or broken into pieces under the facade. We keep fighting. We keep pushing forward, onward, upward. Often, we do it all alone. Why?
There are several reasons. For one, we’ve become a culture of competition, where women are trained to put each other down, isolate one another, and keep each other at a distance. We are taught to be skinnier, prettier, smarter, better than the next woman so that we can have the man, the house, the job, the kids, the car, and all the rest. Because of this, we’re just not certain who we can trust. It’s a jungle out there. If you show your soft, vulnerable underbelly to someone, she just may set wolves on you.
Aside from that, it’s just hard to be vulnerable. It’s hard to let people see that you need help. It’s hard to ask for it. And so often, even when you do bite down your pride and request assistance, you never get it. So you finally stop asking. Because what’s the point?
Most ladies reading this will know what I’m talking about. Although each one of us has lived a different life in a different place through different times and experiences and points of views, we’ve all experienced the pain and isolation of being a woman. This isolation is how we fail as women. With all the things we do so magnificently, we get this one crucial thing so very wrong. And most often, it is our downfall. People, and especially women, were never meant to be alone. We were built for community, for sisterhood, for friendship, and for love.
We are meant to foster relationships. They are created at first from splendidly thin strands like spider’s silk. Over time, they grow stronger and harden, like concrete, which becomes more unbreakable the longer it sits. These relationships absorb our triumphs and tragedies. They are molded by our experiences and perfected by our laughter, our conversation, and yes, even our tears. In the end, they are as strong as Captain America’s shield, as bullet-proof as Black Panther’s armor, as perceptive as Hawkeye’s sight, as flexible as Black Widow, as powerful as Vision, and and as magical as Scarlet Witch.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Scarlet Witch’s enemy thought she had her defeated. And she might have. Except that Scarlet Witch wasn’t alone. She had other mighty women by her side to help her through her fight. It reminded me of the women in my life that I am able to lean on when I struggle, stumble, or fall. I am grateful for them, their love, kindness, wisdom, and wine. I consider myself blessed to get to be a warrior on their teams as well. I may not look as good in a catsuit as Scarlet Johansson, but I can give one hell of a pep talk.
No matter what you are going through, please know that you are not alone. If you are able, find yourself a strong woman (or better yet, several strong women) to be your support. If you don’t know anyone off hand, there is still help. If you are in the United States and need support, please call 1-800-273-8255 or text “ANSWER” to 839863 to reach the 24/7/365 Crisis Call Center. If you are not in the U.S., please take the time to find the number to call wherever you are.
Don’t be caught alone, ladies. Know that there is support, love, and help for you. There are those who have been through what you are going through and those who want to help you get through it. Reach out. Talk to someone. Build a support system. Because one day, you will need someone to remind you and your enemy that you are not alone.