I’d like to tell you how WandaVision and specifically Wanda Maximoff herself helped me to be able to deal with something I have struggled with for many years.
None of us, no matter who we are, from the lowliest of people to Royal Princes, handle grief very well at all. Every persons’ battle with grief is different and that’s ok. As a young child I, like everyone else, had older members of the family pass away- they were always distant relatives but it still made me sad. I never met my Maternal Grandfather until the night before he died and I know that had an effect on me. The first significant blow was my Granny on my mum’s side. Then some friends died, one from complications from HIV and others in accidents. My mum was taken ill in 2000 and we were told to expect the worst. As normal for her she was very stubborn and was discharged from hospital after about 9 months. She came home and needed around the clock care but that was fine.
In 2001 both of my Paternal Grandparents passed within two weeks of each other. So far every death had hurt a lot but I carried on. One night in 2004, my mum collapsed and died in my arms- I felt her soul/spirit leave her body. After calling the emergency services and my brother I began CPR. I did CPR for what seemed like forever.
Then I stopped. That’s it, just stopped.
After a few minutes I started again and then my brother arrived to take over, shortly followed by the ambulance. In the days to come I would find out from the coroner the cause of her death and that it was pretty much instant and nothing I could have done would have changed the outcome.
I thought that after hearing that I would be ok. 15 years later I realised I wasn’t. My head said one thing, my heart something else- I blamed myself for stopping, convinced that if I hadn’t stopped she would still be here. My depression wasn’t as hidden from others as I thought. I was masking most of the time, would leave social events without saying anything and generally brought others down.
I eventually got counselling for that and other issues. The psychologist said I am hyper-empathic. Something which I already knew. My depression and, as it turns out, PTSD wasn’t just affecting me but others around me. I was still cycling through the stages of grief. My work with the psychologist, which included reliving trauma therapy helped me a lot. A helluva lot to be honest.
However, watching WandaVision helped in ways I couldn’t imagine. Yes it made me laugh, but it also made me cry a lot and I found relief and understanding from Wanda’s story. There were lots of OMG moments and one big moment when I completely lost it. Here’s why.
I’ve seen many people on Twitter say that Wanda was the villain of the show. I disagree- she was still a hero but she was also the victim of a life of trauma and was she struggling and probably felt alone.
Wanda created her own version of Westview to escape from reality.
She lost her parents at a very young age, was then experimented on by Hydra. Then, during the Battle of Sokovia her brother Pietro was killed- the way she dealt with Ultron showed how much she was hurting. Shortly after she began a relationship with Vision, was forced to fight him in the events of Civil War after she had accidentally caused the deaths of many people. Then in Infinity War she had to be the one to destroy the Mind Stone which killed Vision, only to see Thanos resurrect him and kill him all over again.
All of these things and more would leave anyone a wreck- No wonder she was pissed at Thanos during The Battle of Earth! To top it all S.W.O.R.D come along and take Vision’s corpse in an attempt to re-build and weaponize him. Their treatment of Wanda, seeing her as a villain rather than a victim made the situation worse even after Monica Rambeau told them she was grieving. If she is to be seen as a villain it was of S.W.O.R.D.S’s making.
Shortly after Tony Stark’s funeral Wanda headed to Westview and found the plot of land that she had acquired with Vision. She fell to her knees and broke down- as did I at this point. All of her grief and anger had become too much, her mind subconsciously created a new world based on some childhood memories where everything was perfect and Vision was alive. This had the unfortunate effect of bringing all those who lived in Westview into her “perfect world”.
Up until S.W.O.R.D. got involved I got the impression that Wanda had suppressed the fact that her world was completely fabricated. It was when FBI Agent Jimmy Choo, Dr Darcy Lewis and Captain Monica Rambeau tried to make contact did things begin to unravel. Wanda began to realise what she had done and whilst a big part of her wanted to stay in that perfect world with her husband and twin sons, her confrontation with Agatha Harkness not only revealed Wanda’s true powers, but showed Wanda the damage she was doing to those around her. Even though it would mean losing her children and losing Vision all over again she knew she had to end the illusion. This was yet another blow to her as although her sons may not have been real, at the time they were real to her; she still felt love towards them and a bond as any mother would.
So what does she do? She decides to isolate herself in a cabin on a mountain (Sokovia?)- realising that a lot of people hate her right now and she still has the various stages of grief to work through. I’m sure that in Dr Strange 2 we will see that she is still battling her emotions.
I get this:- It’s a ‘pretend like it never happened’ scenario and hoping all will be well. I did a similar thing in that I pretended everything was fine- I immersed myself in the world of the various fandoms I am a part of. Masked my true feelings 99% of the time and pushed away many of my friends who were only trying to help but in my own way I was unintentionally being very toxic in my behaviour towards them. All of these things are, for someone struggling with severe depression, extremely hard to control. It even seems impossible at times and there are many times that I have felt like isolating myself to avoid my depression, grief and anxiety from having a negative effect on others.
Like the scene when Wanda left Westview and all of the residents were gathered around her and were clearly angry, I feel ashamed about the way I treated many of my friends, just as Wanda felt the same about what she had done to the people of Westview.
Why is Wanda my new hero and not the villain?
She went through so much. More than most people could handle. I don’t believe Wanda intended to hurt anyone. Once she had fully realised what her powers had done, she knew what she had to do, knowing it would cause her more pain. She had caused some problems, but she wasn’t alone in that.
It takes strength to walk away from a perfect world and confront your problems, especially those problems that will linger for years to come. She gave up on everything that was holding those emotions back when she could have easily stayed in that world. She needs help not only because of her grief but also to understand her new powers- may be she will get that help from Dr Strange?
I want to say a huge thank you to Wanda herself, Elizabeth Olsen, her performance, especially in WandaVision has been nothing less than outstanding. I really wish she could read this just to understand the impact she has had as I’m sure I am not alone but it’s doubtful it will ever get to her. I’m still battling but I know I will get there one day.
I’d also like to thank one of my Twitter friends, Paul. He’s a lifelong fan of The Scarlet Witch and has helped to feed my new obsession.