I never thought I’d see the day, but Starla Carter and I actually agree on something. When you get right down to it, the only reason this mass murderer calling himself Uroboros put on a mask in the first place is because he’s been drinking Fury of Solace’s Kool-Aid.
I don’t think Uroboros is as smart as Fury of Solace. And I think he’s even less concerned with the consequences of his actions. Which, for my money, makes him 10 times scarier. Uroboros’ attacks are wanton and indiscriminate, and have claimed more innocent lives in a couple of weeks than Fury of Solace has in his entire career. In light of Uroboros’ recent attacks, I would’ve expected a barrage of videos from whatever spider hole Fury of Solace is hiding in: Solace’s ego is legendary, and he’s never been one to let someone steal this thunder lightly. Is his uncharacteristic silence itself a scathing indictment of Uroboros’ actions? Or is he just firmly entrenched under his tactician’s hat, waiting to see where the chips fall?
When Emmett wakes up without a smile on his face, I know it’s not going to be one of his good days. And don’t get me wrong, he has more good days than bad. But when that PTSD flares up, it’s best to give him a wide berth. I mean, he’d never hurt me or anyone else, but when people have seen things like he’s seen, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they occasionally be allowed to retreat into their own head. Honestly, I do it all the time.
I can never know what he went through out on the battlefield. Not really. And I’ve got my own “dark passenger,” the memory of what happened in that alley so many years ago.
I’m angry that the world is the way it is. And I can’t just turn it off like a switch. I can’t just become desensitized and pretend it doesn’t matter. The only way I’ve been able to deal with it is to convince myself I’m doing my part to make a difference. Doing my part to save the world one person at a time.
So, yes, my nightly patrols are an outlet for me. But it’s not about the violence. As Captain Dudley Smith so succinctly put it, sometimes, violence is just “a necessary adjunct of the job.”
It’s something Dr. Temperance Jones has helped me realize about myself. I’ve mentioned her book “The Superhero Complex” on the blog before, and she devoted an entire sidebar to yours truly. Her theory is that I take all the pent-up anger I have from what happened to my parents and let it out by slapping crooks around on the streets of Los Angeles. And she’s not wrong: for someone whose heart bleeds as much as mine does, I sure use my fists to solve problems a whole lot of the time.
Believe it or not, there’s a lot Emmett and I don’t talk about. But don’t make the mistake of assuming we don’t have a healthy, supportive relationship. He is unequivocally my rock, and I like to believe I’m his. He knows I’m there for him whatever’s happening, but most of the time he just chooses not to burden me with the things that wake him up in the middle of the night. Not that I’d consider it a burden, that’s actually kind of a bad choice of words. But I know the feeling, because it goes both ways.
I guess we each have enough problems of our own, at some point we just made a conscious decision to not bring that home with us. When we’re together, nothing that happens in the rest of the world matters. When I’m with him, I don’t want to talk about what’s bothering me. I don’t want to associate him with that at all. When I see him, I just want to be reminded of how lucky I am, and how happy I ought to be. And he does remind me of that… every time he walks in the door.
You know, I hate to admit it, but some days being a superhero really does feel like a thankless profession. I’m out there risking my life every day to help others, and not only do I not see a nickel of income, but half the time people are labeling me a “vigilante” and accusing me of having some kind of “hidden agenda.” And the aspersions aren’t the worst of it. As a modern, liberated woman, the fact that I’m completely and utterly dependent on my boyfriend for financial stability really sticks in my craw sometimes. (Did I really just stay “sticks in my craw”? Okay, forget the modern part) And I don’t feel like a kept woman by any means, it just made the most sense: Emmett is fortunate enough now to pull down enough money to support both of us, and I can do a lot more good devoting myself to superheroing full time. I know a lot of you fellow super types take pains to keep your identities a secret, which I can only assume means you’re somehow juggling crime fighting and a full-time day job. Honestly, I don’t know how you do it. But it’s inspiring. And, hell: maybe there’s a way to monetize this superhero thing while still not selling out. A girl can dream, can’t she?
A lot of people have been asking me if I am “outraged” about getting lambasted on the most recent episode of “Crisis.” And honestly, I’m really not. Frankly, it’s happened so many times, if I let it keep bothering me I’d have an ulcer the size of Starla’s ego. I do wanna go on record as saying that I’ve offered — many times — to appear as a guest on her program, and her people have declined every time. Even though I’d probably get railroaded like the rest of her guests, at least I’d have the opportunity to present my side of the story. But so far as I’ve been able to determine, “journalistic integrity” is nowhere to be found on Starla’s short list of virtues.
But you know what was kind of surprising? Max Mason actually came out smelling like a rose. I do think it’s important that I make something clear here: just because I saved Mason’s life doesn’t necessarily mean I’m in his corner. The truth is, after what happened to my parents, I have a pretty strong opinion on the subject of murder. The long and the short of it is, I think it’s just about the most abhorrent thing that humankind, in its infinite wisdom, has had the misfortune of dreaming up, and I simply will not tolerate it in my city. So what I’m saying is, preventing Max Mason’s untimely death should not be seen as an endorsement: I’d have done the same for anyone. That said, in my few interactions with Max, he’s been nothing but cordial, and the public face he’s put on since the Mason Tower bombing has been nothing short of inspiring. And he leapt to my defense numerous times in this particular “Crisis” segment, and for that, I am very grateful.
And don’t worry, I’m not on the outs with the police; Commissioner Stone has to tow the official party line, at least as far as the media are concerned, that the LAPD doesn’t support the actions of “vigilantes” like moi. I actually know the commissioner personally, and he’s currently spearheading an exciting new initiative that will give us superheroes who are on the side of the angels the chance to fight crime in a much more official capacity. More on that as it develops!
And last but not least, I would be remiss if I ended my discussion of this episode without mentioning Starla’s third and final guest, the lovely and talented Ms. Temperance Jones. I’d read some really glowing reviews of Temperance Jones’ book “The Superhero Complex,” and eventually decided to bite the bullet and pick up a copy. I’m about halfway through the book, and already I’m quoting passages from the book here on the blog. The book delves so deeply into the superhero phenomena that it’s made me realize things about myself that had never occurred to me before. Everything I’ve done, my journey to becoming a superhero, it just kind came instinctively, I basically made it all up as I went along. But now I’m starting to realize that I might have been subconsciously adhering to a laundry list of mythic archetypes. It’s all really fascinating stuff, and a must read for any superhero enthusiast. You can read portions for free here, I urge all of you to check it out!
I have a confession to make. I frakking love the YouTuber culture. There, I said it. I swear, it’s like an addiction. So much so that I’ve decided to take Out of the Blue to the next level. “But why vlogs, Laurel, I liked the old way?” Well, I’m glad you asked. First off, the written blogs aren’t going away, they’re still a thing. It’s just that, after making so many online friends and having so many awesome discussions here on the site, I want to start putting faces to your names! Putting some of this stuff on YouTube will let you all post video responses, really kick the interaction up a notch. And – sad but true – it’ll let us reach a wider audience. Now all you people who said “I’ll wait for the movie” are out of excuses!
I will occasionally use the vlog to talk about personal stuff I feel comfortable sharing, but most of the time I’m going to be talking about issues that affect me and the people of Los Angeles. I don’t want to get too didactic, but I also don’t want to lose sight of what Out of the Blue is really about. So, yeah… that’s happening. Watch for the first installment later on today!
Today’s entry is about trust.
Not wearing a mask was a conscious decision, and it’s not because the costume glue necessary to keep one of those things on is messy and wreaks havoc with my skin. It’s because I want everyone to know the real me, and to trust that I have everyone’s best interests at heart. As psychologist Temperance Jones says in her insightful book, “The Superhero Complex,” when superheroes unmask, “it helps to dispel the public’s inherent skepticism of the masked vigilante’s motivations,” and I hope against hope that in my case, people are able to suspend their skepticism enough to feel safe when I’m around.
I also don’t want to downplay the tremendous trust I’m placing in the world at large. I’m trusting the police and the powers that be to work with me, not against me. I’m trusting all of you to respect my privacy and that of the people I love. And, excepting the occasional unsolicited late-night caller, that trust has not been unfounded.
Since being thrust into the public eye, I’ve been accused of keeping secrets. Do I have any powers? If so, what are they, and how did I get them? I maintain that the answers to these questions are all very personal, and I hope everyone can bear with me and accept that as open as I try to be, there are just some things I’m not ready to talk about. Not yet.
But I do have to admit, I’m not always as trusting in my personal life. What does it say about me that I’m willing to give the faceless masses the benefit of the doubt, but I sometimes can’t or won’t extend that to be people who are closest to me? I’ve lost friends in the past because I’ve let suspicions fester so long that by the time the truth comes out, there’s nothing left about the relationship worth saving. It’s just so much easier to push those suspicions to the back of my mind, make excuses for them to keep everything on an even keel. But I’d like to think that if history started to repeat itself, I’d be strong enough to confront the people I care about before what should otherwise amount to a molehill grows to the size of Mount Everest. And I’m working on that. Trust me.
Part 2 of my gay marriage retrospective: A couple of years back, I got pretty incensed by Proposition 8, the now infamous amendment which banned same-sex marriages here in California. The overturning of prop 8 earlier this year was one giant leap for equality, and our president speaking out in support of gay marriage earlier this week was an even bigger one. But while that hateful amendment was still on the books, I attended a number of emotionally-charged overturn Prop 8 events. Here’s a MySpace post I wrote about one of them:
I went to another overturn Prop 8 rally last week, and god it felt good to be out there. People always ask me what it feels like to be a “super hero.” (You might wonder how those two statements mesh, but don’t worry, they do.) Doing something to help other people, whether it’s keeping a drug dealer off the streets, or going out in droves to fight for equal rights, it all comes down to helping the people who need you. So just a little shout out for everyone out there who’s doing their bit, if you want to know what it feels like to be a super hero, you already know.
The rally was incredible. Thousands of people out in the streets campaigning for what they believe in. Everyone joining together; making friends, creating bonds that transcend race, religion, or economic status, it’s such an empowering feeling! Ok so I know that sounds a little new-agey, but it really was a great experience. I’m so used to doing things on my own, ya know?
Doing my job means that I can’t really tell anyone what I’m up to. I can’t give people updates, or talk about coworkers etc. etc. I’m a loner. And I’m cool with that – I’ve been alone for a long time, it doesn’t bother me, most times I’m happier that way. So having a cause that’s championed by my friends makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself. Like I belong to something important. Doesn’t hurt that I’d do anything for the cause, but I like knowing that it connects me to people who share my values.
I suppose working with the kids I do, and having lost my own parents, I realize more than most just how much a stable home with any loving parental unit would change their lives. So for me its more than just marriage rights, it the rights of loving parents to take in children who need them. It frustrates me to see so many people focusing on the negative. There are a thousand more worthy causes to take moral issue against. Wasting their energy on banning gay marriage…it’s just so pointless. You want to change the moral compass of this country – support “traditional marriage” – how about we get rid of wife beaters and child abusers. Let’s create a positive change in this world and give every loving couple the chance to help a child grow to their full potential. Because until we have the courage to truly put our children first… nothing will change.