Pop Culture

How Marvel's 'Moon Knight' teaches us to embrace all our selves

It's also a compelling and compassionate portrayal of mental illness

moon king dissociative disorder

Sometimes the biggest battle is in loving ourselves

The great thing about Marvel is: even if you're exhausted with superhero movies (it’s okay, I am too) the franchise often sprinkles their mega fights and formulaic plots with thought provoking, empathetic character studies.

In the recent limited (or maybe not so limited) series “Moon Knight”, the hero Marc Spector has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a mental condition where a person has at least two or more distinct personalities. As with any piece of art made public, there has been criticism of the show, in particular of the accuracy of its portrayal of DID.

However, the negative feedback misses Moon Knight’s ultimate success: Marc’s story not only inspires compassion for mental illness, it also shows us that sometimes the biggest battle we face is simply loving ourselves entirely.


Warning: Spoilers for the series below!



For most of the show, Marc’s alternate personality Steven Grant is the primary protagonist. Until the penultimate episode, when we learn he was created by Marc to help escape his painful childhood.

After the tragic death of his younger brother, who drowned in a cave while the two were playing, Marc’s mother blamed him for the loss. Her resentment forced him to endure severe neglect, abuse, and cruelty while internalizing his own guilt.

Giphy

While in reality DID is much more complex, “Moon Knight” does faithfully capture the healing made possible through opening up about our trauma and mental illness. As both characters face the truth together, both Marc and Steven are able to reconcile. In the end, they are no longer at odds—they become brothers.

In the final episode’s emotional climax, we see Marc, a man bestowed with magical fighting abilities, turn to Steven, the creation forged by his own suffering, and whisper:

“You are the only real superpower I ever had.”

In this hard won victory of self-acceptance; Marc’s heart becomes whole again.

In my personal life, I'm a practitioner of EFT, a healing modality that blends aspects of both psychotherapy and acupressure. In EFT, there’s a concept of “bringing love to the pain." In a session with a coach, or by themselves, a person visualizes a traumatic memory from childhood. As they tap on their body—where trauma often gets stuck—they repeat phrases like “even though this happened, I still love and accept myself.”

The idea is that by repeating these positive phrases out loud while simultaneously releasing stored negative energy in the body, we can rewire our brains to stop repeating the same story associated with those memories. It might sound a little woo-woo, but there’s quite a bit of scientific evidence showing how effective EFT can be. Sometimes all it takes is genuine love and forgiveness for ourselves. It’s simple, but not always easy. Even Marc had to go through Egyptian Hell to achieve it.

Regardless of a mental health diagnosis, this is a universal challenge. How many of us can look into the mirror and truly love everything that we see?

For some, perhaps even for most, this is a lifelong process. But "Moon Knight" teaches is that self acceptance has profound benefits on our character.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less

Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

Keep Reading Show less