I’ve loved Harley Quinn since she first popped up in my Batman cartoons as the insane goof who simply wanted to be loved. She had so much appeal for me and I couldn’t figure out why at first. I loved how open she was about her crazy, about her desires, wishes, wants. She was so open about who she was.
Goddess forbid you piss her off. She was scary all by herself, but you didn’t know because she was almost always with the Joker. She was never her full self because of him. In Suicide Squad (BTW, I love you, Margot Robbie!), she dreamed of what she really wanted out of life: her family. I clung to her more and more as I grew older because I realized that I wanted to be her; we were similar. Well, except for the murdering and the crime spree. It was touch and go with me for awhile, though.
While she was a therapist, I wanted to be a lawyer. Odd thing when you’re a teenager. I was told I wasn’t smart enough and those words stuck with me forever. Now, I have to convince myself that I’m not an idiot. I’m plenty smart enough and I would have made an amazing lawyer. That produced a negative spiral that I spent a long part of my life just accepting.
I’d find myself with significant others that I would adapt to; never being myself, being a version of me I thought they would want. In essence, I was putting them all in the Joker’s role. Some of them are great people who I’m still friends with; some of them were abusive. Some knew about my past and some where just contributing to it. That is all in the past now, but it still matters. I became more like the Harley I saw in the shows. (I am in NO WAY saying that the cartoon made me this way, so shut the fuck up. Yeah, you about to make a comment, go away. It’s a comparison, relax.)
Of course, Harleen was driven insane after making a poor choice in significant others (I’m mean, we’ve all been there). Putting someone down creates its own insanity. It magnifies depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts. It’s not the outward crazy that you see from Harley, but my mind feels like her so often. My thoughts, feelings and decisions all feel like they are swirling in this tornado of insane that would make me burst into fits of laughter because I had no tools to properly handle this.
So that was the person I grew into, until I met my husband Vel, my Poison Ivy. I met the person who told me it was okay to be me and he didn’t want me to be anyone else. So I waved good bye to my past, my very own Joker, and I took time and figured out who I was. Turns out, I’m still Harley Quinn. I’m still an obnoxiously loud, crazy, weird nerd. I’m getting more comfortable with showing people who I am.
(SIDE NOTE: I am not some Disney movie telling you that you need a significant other to make it all better, so fucking far from it. It’s just a weird anomaly that it worked out this way for me. Don’t go looking for someone to ‘fix you’ because he didn’t ‘fix me’ he allowed me to fix myself without the pressure of being ‘his ideal version of me.’ He created a safe space that I couldn’t find on my own. A support system is good, but that can also be found in the form of friends, family and trained professionals.)
I’m embracing the, ‘fuck you if you don’t like me, I’m awesome’ mentality. Holy shit is that hard to do. It’s hard to just rip off the masks you wear and say, ‘THIS IS WHO I AM!’ I’m trying and it’s terrifying, but also freeing. I’ll get there. I know it.
I have two points to this:
1) Harley Quinn evolved as a person. Fictional characters can do that. If a fictional character can do it, so can you.
2) Embrace who you are. It’s so exhausting being someone else and I promise there is no one out there like you. You are unique, special and wonderful. Let everyone see who you really are. Let them fall in love with that you.
I know you’re probably screaming, ‘IT ISN’T THAT EASY!’ No, no it isn’t. It’s taken me 10 years and I still have so much work to do, but you can get started. I promise, we will be right here waiting for you when you come out of your cocoon and spread those amazing wings and proudly say, ‘HERE I AM, BITCHES!’ We will clap for you and hug you and embrace you for who you are.
Until next time, stay vigilant.