By Nathaniel Watson
Note: This article has been republished with permission from the author. You can read the original version and more articles by clicking here.
WandaVision was more than a 9 episode Disney+ series for me. It was more than a multi-million dollar production about characters from the minds of writers and artists. It was my escape from my health issues and my depressing life. It was my vacation from my tics and falls, my nerve issues and headache, my joint pain and chronic infections, and my anxiety and depression. I was lost in a world that was more complicated than mine.
It was like meditation, where I left my body so full of pain and sadness, and I got a break from my life for just a moment as I followed a story that is different than our reality. I got to see another world, so complex, so magical, where nothing was what it seemed which left me hoping that our world was that way so my health issues are more than they are, that my suffering truly had a greater purpose.
I connected with the series since I saw myself in Wanda, the main character. I saw her grief over the loss of her loved one, Vision, and I saw her in pain. For me, I am in a perpetual stage of grief for the health I used to have and my old life too. I looked into the TV screen as if it were a mirror. I saw Wanda get unwelcome reminders of the reality she wants to forget.
The same often happens to me as I try to forget the hundreds of memories of me at appointments, feeling ill, and me with the constant worry of my health getting worse. I turn away from those memories and my reality since, like Wanda, the reality I live in is too painful.
But like Wanda, I do have to accept reality. I have to acknowledge that what I’m going through is happening no matter how much I don’t like it. And I still have yet to complete that, it’s a process that takes time, but I’m working on it.
WandaVision also helped me look inside by introducing the perfect metaphor and Philosophy of my life: the Paradox of the Ship of Theseus.
A character in the show, Vision, brought up the Ship of Theseus paradox which asks the question, written by Greek Philosopher Plutarch, that is listed below.
“The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, in so much that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.” — Plutarch.
In simpler terms, if a ship’s parts were removed piece by piece until every plank in the ship was replaced, is it still the same ship it once was?
And my view on the paradox is based on my feelings of having health issues because I relate to the ship. For me, almost all the old parts that used to make up my life with no health issues have been replaced with new, some good but mostly bad, parts that make up my current life.
So now that begs the question: am I the same Nathaniel I was two years ago if how I live, how I interact with people, how I think, and what I believe, has changed? And my answer is no.
Yes, I’ll always be the same person with the same sort of physical being, but do I have the same life, same thinking, and same ideas as I did two years ago? No, I do not. I grew to be a different person due to my pain, but through that, my old life is gone. Is it worth it to grow? Yes, but it is painful to let go of the past.
I am grateful that WandaVision taught me this paradox since I can now encapsulate how I feel to my doctors, friends, family, and therapist, quickly and easily. I can now communicate and contemplate my feelings about my emotional journey forward, thanks to this metaphor, which I never would have found without the series.
To me, WandaVision was more than a Disney+ series. It was a time in which I learned, I hoped, I got lost (In a good way,) and I analyzed my feelings and emotions. It was a break from my dull and sad life, and gave me just a little hope that my pain had a Purpose.
WandaVision was my vacation. And I’d love to go back.
About the Author
Nathaniel Watson is 14 years old and in the ninth grade. He has been living with chronic pain since January 2019. Nathaniel enjoys writing articles and poetry, reading, and being active in politics. He and his cousin created ReReader.co, a website recommending interesting stories and books to read. Nathaniel also likes spending time with family and being in nature among the hummingbirds and butterflies.