When I was 4, I was the only kid in my class without a dad. I saw Iron man become a millionaire and genius with deceased parents. I knew I was going to be okay.
When I was 5, I was too shy to make real friends, but I saw Rogue battle her anxiety around people. I was strong enough to ask Ryan to play football with me.
When I was 10, I was being relentlessly bullied for being a maths and science junky, but I watched Peter Parker own it and make it his trademark.
When I was 14, I was one of the only brown people in my class. I saw Black Panther slay with the melanin so severely that it didn’t matter.
When I was 15, 16 and 17, I was on a cancer ward bed being pumped full of chemo, watching my hair fall out in chunks and knowing that I had more chance of dying than surviving. Deadpool came out. I fought. I won.
Now I’m 18. I’m struggling with depression, but I’m watching Wolverine battle his demons. I have medical ptsd, and I’m watching Bucky Barnes learn that his body is his own again. I’m disabled and chronically ill, but I’m seeing professor X and daredevil be disabled and spectacular. I watched Steve Rogers become something stronger without losing who he was.
They aren’t just comic books. They are reassurances. They are lifelines.