I dreamed of super-powers to be like the mutant X-Men, just as I had dreamed about being like the other boys in school. I didn’t understand why I had to feel alienated and alone from everyone in my school and home; why couldn’t what made me different be celebrated the way athleticism and super-powers were? The character, Felix, I created was originally purely escapism, a way to join my favorite mutants as I read their new issues. Over time he developed as I grew, becoming a character that I armored myself with in new and boundary-pushing situations.
The original power I grafted onto Felix were my wish fulfillment, liberating me from the conflicts I had with homosexuality’s shame. Originally, I gave Felix shapeshifting abilities because I’d be able to become anyone other than myself. With shapeshifting, I’d reflect the popular students throughout middle and most of high school, avoiding the lonely and isolation prophesized by television and movies. Changing my appearance, Felix could literally become or match anyone’s desire, gaining the perfection that I had desired. Being able to shapeshift I’d have more tools at my disposal to make my goals and fantasies match my outside.
Felix was eventually given telepathy as I struggled to juggle the various facades I had created to navigate interactions. Telepathy ensured that the forms I took would be ideal for whom I was interacting with, removing the guess work about how to be part of the group. I’d know exactly what to say, be prepared for what others would say, and always have a funny quip to keep grace. Having the correct words, I’d be able to give the illusion that I was known without having to go through the painful experience of not exposing my queerness.
As I began to fully explore what differentiated me from others, I added the final super-power: teleportation. Felix would be able to truly escape any situation that was uncomfortable; I’d be free to be away from ticky-tacky suburbia and be where the different, foreign, and unique are celebrated – New York City, home to many of Marvel’s superheroes and faraway from the mundane. By this time Felix stopped becoming escapism and became the armor for every day, designed to masquerade as popular and fleeting. Felix had become the mysterious character whose silent smile spoke, so that I didn’t have to expose myself to isolation and alienation.