Usually when I’m massaging someone I spend my time planning what needs to be done to allow the most relief to my client. However, every once in a while I have a client who only wants to relax and has absolutely no issues. It’s rare, but it does happen! During these rare moments, I often contemplate the most difficult questions of life. For instance, what would it be like to be the massage therapist for the Avengers?**
Come with me down the rabbit hole.
Walking into the grandiose and pristine Stark Towers, being escorted to the inner sanctum where some of Earth’s greatest heroes live and train, being surrounded by the grandeur, the technology, the power, soaking up every single detail… would be incredibly dangerous. What if I was captured and tortured? The enemy could learn some critical detail about my clients that would undermine their safety, and the safety of everyone on the planet! I would need either a secret passage into the tower or to live in the tower itself. (If you give a geek a cookie…) Tony Stark has more money than god, right? He could afford to set me up with a sweet apartment AND a sweet massage room in the tower. I mean, it’s for the safety of the team, right? That way anytime someone needed to work out the knots after beating the snot out of an arch nemesis, I would be on the scene, ready to defeat even the most stubborn fascia!
You know what? If I was the Avengers’ massage therapist, I would end up developing a really close relationship with them. It’s just the natural progression of events as an LMT. Working out tough areas often brings up emotional memories, things that need to be worked through for both emotional and physical health. I might help Bruce Banner come to terms with his alternate personality. Maybe accepting the Hulk will help him lead a more fulfilling and rewarding life? Maybe Black Widow could work through some of her childhood trauma and come to forgive and love herself? Perhaps Hawkeye could overcome some emotional distance? Captain may be encouraged to reintegrate a little, make a connection with someone again. I’m not sure I could convince him it’s appropriate to get on the table, though. Massage had a very different connotation in his time than now. Tony… well, he’ll still be a narcissist no matter how loose his rhomboids are. Thor. Just Thor. He would be a test of my ethical tenacity.
Would I massage Nick Fury? Absolutely not. The man reeks of danger, paranoia is a job requirement, and I have to imagine he would be ready to “secure” me if he suspected anything at all. Nnnnnope. He lives in a world where people have special powers, and they don’t always use those powers for the best. What if I was so good at helping folks that he suspected I was telepathic? What if I was a latent telepathic? Would I want to see into his head? (not now, not ever!) Would he try to use and manipulate me like he does the Avengers? (probably.) What if he decided to use me instead of one of the Avengers to simply read a criminal’s mind and figure out his/her plan? What about Loki?
What about Loki. What would I do if I could read minds and I was put in a room with Loki to try and figure out some critical, time sensitive information that could mean the difference between life and the total obliteration of the planet. Would you delve into the depths and risk your sanity to save the planet?
I wouldn’t. Not because I particularly value my sanity, but because it would ruin any chance at establishing trust. Here’s why I love Joss Whedon. His tales involve wonderfully rich and complex characters that really fit their back stories. ***SPOILER ALERT!!! If you haven’t seen The Avengers or the original Thor movie, WHY AREN’T YOU WATCHING THEM RIGHT NOW?!? FIX IT!!!*** Loki must have always known he was different as a child. He doesn’t look Asguardian, necessarily, he has powers that others don’t seem to have, and he really isn’t anything like his brother. His father is emotionally distant, and Thor seems impulsive and a little naive. As he’s growing up, he has to be surrounded by his people talking about the frost giants and how inferior they are. How they should be eradicated, they are evil. For a child who feels different, seeing that differences make you less than others to the point that genocide would be welcomed doesn’t make you want to open up. Now we have a child who feels different, and feels like he needs to hide his differences to be accepted. He feels that he has to put on a mask every day just to be loved. But can someone really love you if they don’t really know who you are? The solution here is to try and earn love, to prove that you are worthy. Loki’s best skill is his ability to plan and manipulate. Unfortunately those aren’t necessarily loveable attributes. Well, I can use my skills to seize power, and then when people see how well I do they will love me! And when my father sees that I can handle the responsibility, he will be so proud and love me as much as he loves my brother! (At this point the subconscious ideas are so ingrained it probably doesn’t feel like searching for love on his part, but the foundation is already set.) Then Loki finds out what he already deep down knew was true: he is a child from the land of Frost Giants, Oden essentially kidnapped him and raised him as a son. There it is. I am that which all my loved ones despise. I am unloveable. I am feared and hated. No one who truly gets to know me will love and accept me. My biological parents didn’t see enough value in me to rescue me, and my adopted parents are so ashamed of my very nature that not only were they unable to tell me about it, but they also did not try to save me by protecting me from the prejudice against my people. All of those years internalizing how evil frost giants are, fearing being different, only to find out that the differences he worked so hard to hide are attributed to the creatures who are considered so much less than the people he was supposed to call family.
No wonder he views humans as ants. If Loki’s only loveable attribute is his ability to seize power, then a relatively powerless group of people (like frost giants) are meant only to be subjugated and eliminated. If he can not find love in his family, and he can not trust his family with knowledge of his true nature, then how can he survive his existence without trying to devalue love? “Sentiment” becomes a weakness. It’s the root of his pain, the one thing he can’t have, so it must be expelled from his life. However, when he speaks of conquering the human race and removing free will, he says he’s doing it for the benefit of the very people he minimized before. Can you think of a people as insects and still want to do something for their happiness? He still seems to have a drive to love, to care for others, and maybe to earn their love in return.
Loki is a child who grew up in an invalidating environment where he would never be enough to earn the conditional love of his family. Could he be anyone other than he is? Is he a villain, or an anti-hero dedicated to helping others in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons?
The more I muse about Loki, the more I imagine what it must be like to grow up as a homosexual child in an overly religious, homophobic family. Can it be different? How do you find love when you are made to believe that your nature is rooted in evil? What an isolated, invalidating environment. What happens when these children finally find acceptance? How do you reconcile believing that you are a good, loveable person who can’t find love in your own family? How do you learn to let others see the real you after so many years of camouflage?
How many Lokis are in your life, and do you think you could coax them into trusting you and eventually learning how to love?
**DISCLAIMER: I’ve not read the comics. [Before you judge me, I wasn’t allowed to read comics as a kid and I’m a little short on funds at the moment, so I’ll be a long time in catching up. If you have a particular comic to recommend, please leave it in the comments! I’m sorting my way through the various Batman comics at the moment (holy variety, batman!) and plan on starting in on Deadpool in the soon times.] All my information comes from the cartoon and the movies. You’re more than welcome to quit reading out of disgust if you like, but I am a proud geek activist. I firmly support that people are allowed to be as geeky as they want to be in any realm of geekitude that pleases them and still be counted among the plethora of individuals that make up the most unique and creative community I know. (Yes, that means us, the geeks!) Also, everyone has to start somewhere! Noobs need to be encouraged in their geekitude, not shamed! WE MUST SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS OF INDIVIDUALITY AND IMAGINATION!!!! The main point here is that my resources for these daydreams are limited, and my assessment may not hold up to comparison to the comics. I will be drawing solely from the movies and the few cartoons that I’ve been able to catch. If this infuriates you, feel free not to read further, but I would encourage you to talk about your emotional reaction to a person’s daydreaming with your psychologist. If you don’t have a psychologist, you should find one now. Everyone needs a psychologist at some point, better to know where you’re going when you need it then to have to look for one when you’re already at your worst.