Sunday, March 11, 2012

How villans are created

Many years ago, Grey brought home a copy of Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces." This book is considered a seminal work, which explores the theory that important myths from around the world which have survived for thousands of years all share a fundamental structure, focused around the journey of an archetypal hero. 
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
Though I've never read this work (shame on me, I know), Grey and I had multiple discussions based on the different passages, particularly those focusing on the hero's time in the supernatural world, facing trials and seeking to obtain the end goal or the boon.

The key to the hero, though, is that somehow, he or she is victorious in the end. Yes, there may be loss along the way. Great loss, but the hero always obtains the boon at the end of the story, be it treasure, rescuing the maiden in distress, or peace and freedom.

But what happens when the hero fails? Instead of emerging victorious, the hero is beaten?

I've been thinking about this a lot as we've progressed on this journey. Especially in light of this FET cycle. After 2+ yrs of actively trying for a baby, 3 failed IUIs and an IVF cycle that ended in miscarriage, we're still without a child in our arms. And though our journey has not been as long as others, it's been very hard to continue fighting after each of these failed trials.

Equally hard has been trying to be part of life when you feel like an outsider. Unlike most women, pregnancy is not a given for me. I don't know if I'll ever be able to become pregnant again and, even if I'm that lucky, if I'll be able to carry that child to term. Because of this, I've found I can no longer react to other people's news with joy and excitement. It's never been about me not being happy for them; but to me pregnancy is no longer a guarantee and I'm no longer naive.

So, for many in life, I'm now viewed as the villan. I'm the villan when someone surprises me with news that they are expecting again and I excuse myself after mumbling a quiet congratulations. I'm the villan when someone goes on and on complaining about how difficult it is to raise a child after starting the conversation with "you don't know how lucky you are."

What's change recently is my recognition for how villans are created. That most people rarely start out life this way but instead are created over time due to years of abuse and neglect. The funny thing about all of this is how few people are willing to acknowledge the process of this creation, instead throwing blame at the direction of the villan for making choices to take the path they are on. Rarely do we step back and acknowledge that though there are choices, sometimes those choices were made as a form of protection, of self-preservation.

That maybe the only really difference between heros and villans is success.

On Wednesday, Grey and I begin this hard journey again. The past few weeks of being on medication has really been more like a dream state, with us being pretty unaffected outside of the drug-induced mood-swings. The thing is, I'm preparing myself for another failure, for the pain that will come in the aftermath. Despite everyone telling me that this can work, I'm finding it difficult to believe that it will. Because after 2+yrs, what will be different this time? And I hate myself for feeling this way, because it's really not about me on Wednesday. It's about our snowbabies. And I already feeling like I'm failing them.

Three more days of being in limbo. Desperately searching for hope.


  1. Cristy, you always express your thoughts and feelings so beautifully.

    I agree that most people view "villains" that way... it was the choices they made, etc. Without taking the time to look at the bigger picture. None of us had control over the circumstances that brought us here, they were dealt to us.

    We're no longer naive that "it will work out" as easily as it does for everyone else. We've lived the worst while everyone else goes on their merry way.

    Sending you love and peace as you guys head into this FET... we're here for you friend. xoxo

  2. You are NOT a villain! You are a human being who has been hurt and has developed coping mechanisms. As people tell me when I am feeling hopeless about IVF #2, sometimes you need to let someone else be hopeful for you until you can do it yourself. I for one am VERY optimistic about your upcoming cycle.

  3. Your post interested me on so many different levels! First, I'm grading student project on Siddhartha where they had to trace the "monomyth cycle" or the hero's journey (following Campbell's stages). Second, although I agree that you are not a villain, it makes me think of the misunderstood kind of anti-hero. If everyone took the time to understand your life, you would not longer be viewed that way. And third, I feel the same way about wondering how the next step can possibly have a different outcome than the previous ones. I sincerely hope it does though! Good luck!!

    1. But isn't the antithesis of the hero the villan? Unlike the hero, this individual has tried, failed and is now seen as blocking other heroes on their journey? I'm not talking about those in the trenches or those who are finally pregnant/parenting after being on this journey; I'm talking about everyone else who is happily pregnant/parenting with little to no issue to reach the end goal.

  4. Thinking about you this week. Hoping the villain triumphs this time after all.

  5. Wow, what a great post. I am sure it was a struggle for you to write it but I think it will leave an impact on everyone that reads it. It actually made me think of my first graders. So many at the young age of 7 already come to school with the reputation of being the "behavior kid." Many people assume they are just a bad kid and don't try to figure out what has happened to them in their past that has led them to act this way...just like the villain. Surviving the best way you know how doesn't make you a villain...

  6. I really do 'get you' here. This is something I struggle with all the time. Being the villan and the one people are afraid to talk to about pregnancy or their children. It was hard enough when I was just an infertile, unable to become pregnant and now that I'm a babyloss's been more strain. I can't change what I am or what I've been through so feeling bad about my reactions or thoughts when I hear someone else is expecting - well that stinks.
    This is a well thought out post and one I think resonates with many of us.
    I am slowly losing my hope too. I know I CAN get pregnant with tons of help, but can I keep a baby? No idea, and that is scary.
    At least we have each other to keep us going and looking forward. I just hope that our forward includes a child.

  7. awww cheer up babe, sometimes optimism can help! keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Very true how villains are made. There are days I feel like I'm one of them when I'm caught in the cycle of depression and anger from repeated loss.

    Good luck on the snowbabies.

  9. You are not a villain, you are a woman going through an incredibly hard situation and trying to cope with it. My therapist always tells me that it is okay to have those negative feelings, it's normal to feel pain when someone else announces their pregnancy, the key is to allow yourself to feel it and then do what you can to let it go.

    Easier said then done, I know, I'm still working on it. The thing is you are not a bad person for having those feelings, it is normal given all you have gone through.

    Thinking about you over the next few days, hoping along with you.

  10. Oh wow, this is an amazing post.

    First and foremost, I want to echo the sentiment above -- you are not a villain. If anything, the opposite of the shiny, happy hero is the anti-hero as imagined by someone like Knut Hamsun. Like the narrator in Hunger -- who is a product of his starvation. Who is a reflection of Hamsun himself after he returned from his failed trip to America to obtain a job.

    Maybe the opposite of a hero is a human.

    1. I LOVE that wording of "Maybe the opposite of a hero is a human"

  11. There's a fantasy book by Mercedes Lackey, The Fairy Godmother, where a character becomes an evil queen because she was thwarted in love...

    1. Part of what I really like is that when the "evil queen's" needs are finally met, she becomes completely different. She is still affected by her experience (she still likes bats and wearing black), but she's back to the good self that she started out as.

  12. Those who think you are a villain, aren't friends and aren't worth the energy. They are people who haven't faced the adversity of IF/PL -- they take pregnancy and motherhood for granted. Sometimes you really do have to walk a mile in someone else's shoes to understand.

    And I think being less than hopeful about this cycle is all about the self-preservation. Set the bar low -- if you are already expecting to be disappointed, it will be even better when you are pleasantly surprized! Good luck!

  13. "the only really difference between heros and villans is success."
    Beautifully stated.
    I'm not going to join the chorus to tell you that you're not a villain. Of course you're not, but that doesn't change the fact that you FEEL like one. I soooo get that.
    Thanks for this beautifully written post.

  14. Great post! I think you're absolutely right it's just intellectually lazy to assume that villains were born that way without looking a bit deeper.

  15. Sorry I've been so behind on blogs! I've been thinking of you everyday and just wanted to let you know that! <3


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