Guest Blog by Kim Malinowski
I created Flick, in “Flick the Fairy Godmother,” because I wanted the protagonist to look and especially feel like I do. In literature, and especially folklore and fantasy, I never see “flawed” characters that are not used as tropes. Characters who have disabilities are rarely, if ever, the main character. These characters are killed off, used as comedic relief, or are somehow “magically cured” at the end. At the very best, these characters become “normal.” Flick is like me. We cannot be “cured” but we can be aided, and our symptoms can be treated. Flick succeeds not just because of her berries and honeysuckle milk, but because she has the inner strength that living with a long-term disability creates. She struggles every second of every day and is shunned by Fae society as “other.” She is awkward and sometimes improper but is always authentic to herself and the world around her. She has doubts and she is not magically cured at the end of the story.
In The Wizard of Oz, my personal childhood favorite, The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and The Lion, all find themselves “cured” or at the very least, recognize that they were never flawed to begin with. Flick doesn’t have that realization that she needs a brain or a heart or courage. She does not find them when a “non-flawed” character shows her that she has already has these traits or gives them to her. She does not fight nimbly, but still fights. She decides to believe in her dreams and fully form herself into a nonconventional Fairy Godmother. Flick decides that it is okay to struggle as a Fairy Godmother and that she is flawed and that too is okay. She will leave the battle and still have her internal struggles. She will still have mood swings and panic attacks. She will still have to change her berries when they no longer work.
Flick will show the world that it is okay to take medication. It is okay to struggle to get up in the morning, dreading the feelings and the world—but it also shows that she does get up. She can get up. The struggle is hard, and the world can be uncaring. It is necessary for those of us who suffer to get up and do the best that we can. We deal with hard feeling and awkward interactions, but in doing so, we find that we are the heroes in our own stories.
Flick is my mirror. She was able to go from completely unable to function to becoming a warrior Fairy Godmother. I might not ever be that type of warrior, but I get up every day. I worry about everything from my dimples to global affairs and either and everything in between can trigger a panic attack. But Flick moves through her daily rituals as do I, and sometimes we go up insurmountable mountains. I tell people that ask for advice, that we must learn to swerve and not just climb straight up the mountain. It might take us longer, but we still reach the peak. Flick shows that it is okay to have a disability. It is okay to struggle. But also, that it is up to us to decide that we are going on the journey.
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