In my life’s story, I’m the long-haired, don’t-cared hero. I’m the fucking hero.
I’m the hero.
What is a hero without her villain?
To be quite honest, in really good stories- like really good ones, the villains are always the most interesting characters anyway.
And my favorite villains, are the ones who thoroughly and completely believe that they are the good guys. Villains with a noble cause! Villains with a passion. Villains with a lust for rightness.
If a villain is truly compelling, then we should be able to flip the script entirely and turn our villain into a hero and likewise our hero into our villain.
So, I was trolling Facebook today – as one’s boring ass hero is prone to do – and I discovered my perfect villain. The perfect villain to my story – the flip to my script. The yin to my yang. The Zooey Deschanel to my Katy Perry.
My villain is a semi acquaintance from high school, someone I haven’t spoken to in years. But in the wake of Facebook knowledge, instead of letting that acquaintanceship run its sweet course, it has lived on and on and on through status updates, and profile pic changes, and group comings and goings. The relationship has survived on well past its expiration.
For you to understand my villain, I first should explain my hero (me).
I’m unmarried but living in veritable sin with my boyfriend of nine years. I’m childfree but happily watching over my two rescue dogs. I am an atheist although raised in the church. I’m an unapologetic, pro-choice, hashtag-shout-your-abortion type of third-wave feminist with a concentration in intersectionality and a healthy dose of democratic socialism to boot. I recycle.
And I don’t care if you like it.
Also, five foot five, blue eyes.
And my villain? What is she? Well, to start, she’s a Kentucky living, Baptist church going, Ben Carson promoting, anti-welfare, anti-choice, pro-gun, Facebook preaching, posting pics of botched aborted fetuses type of bigot, living as a housewife of four children who also thinks global warming is an elaborate government hoax, thanks Obama.
Possibly also five foot five. Not so sure about the eyes.
We are the perfect foils.
Facebook really provided the impetus of this discovery, thanks Zuckerberg. I had to eventually unfollow my villain, let’s call her Melissa, because I found her mere existence to be terrifying, wholly and comprehensively terrifying.
Here we were, two people who grew up in the same place, in the same church, in the same school with similar socioeconomic statuses and family dynamics, and yet she turned into what I can only consider a domestic terrorist, threatening to watch the world burn with dogma and Jesus. And I turned into what she could probably consider a lost sheep of Jesus at best and a demon possessed, Satan following menace to everything that is good and holy in the secular and spiritual world at worst.
For every Facebook status update of mine sharing touching stories of women’s experience at Planned Parenthood, ending with a #standwithPP, Melissa might post something like this:
“planned parenthood started as a genocidal movement to rid the population of black and mentally retarded people. It was evil at it’s roots then and still is. How someone can look at a Pile of bloody baby parts and say “well, a women’s got a right to chose!” Is beyond me. !!!”
Or for every status update I share urging people to adopt dogs instead of buy them….she’ll give us a nonsequitor like sooooooo:
“This country has more animal shelters than shelters for exploited children.”
And for every article shared about the dangers of global warming, rising sea levels, holes in ozones, eventual total destruction of our planet, etc., she’s got a hilarious update like this:
“Sure could use some global warming…everyone get out the aerosol! It’s okay to bring back the 80’s…it’s Friday. Anything goes”
And of course, while I’m trying to extol the virtues of Lindy West’s #shoutyourabortion, she’s saying this nice little bit about at-risk pregnancy:
“I would have to wait for the pregnancy to terminate itself…and wait and see what God wanted to do in the situation. I feel for these women, however it does not change the horrific nature of abortion.”
“Why an abortion happens does not justify the horrific nature of it. It’s killing a baby. Period. Those little body parts are not blobs…they are very clearly little hands and feet, arms, legs, and faces. Only a monster would do that to a baby. I would lose my own life before I opted for an abortion”
(And in an existential sense…are we not all but mere blobs…)
She is my villain.
The best part is, I could be her villain too.
Now, I truly, truly don’t think Melissa cares about me one way or another. It’s almost more narcissistic to think of oneself as capable of being the villain over the hero.
But…..let’s just say….
If this were a movie, where holy, church going, purity-culture-obsessed Melissa was cast as the righteous` hero – it could be perhaps likely, nay – quite likely – that I could be cast opposite as the single, childless, evil, progressive, PC, atheist, feminist, “pro-abortion” , world-ruining with all my recycling and equal rights-whining villain.
And I would play that fucking role with relish.
A villain with a noble cause indeed.
And as a human living in the world, it brings me no equanimity, no sense of peace to have so thoroughly found my other sided, villain with a cause. I’ll always think Melissa is a scourge on progress to humanity.
But as a writer, I have to say: It ain’t bad to have found the story in my life. The temptation of a perfect villain is just too beautiful, too sexy, too scary, too good in its perfectness. Too great to ignore.
In the story of your life, who’s your villain?