This post is dedicated to a friend of mine. We love you buddy. You're going to be just fine.
Not to be confused with this Oracle, and certainly not with this Oracle, (that guy's a jerk), Barbara Gordon is our woman crush of the day. For this post we are specifically focusing on Barbara after the events of The Killing Joke and her gruesome run-in with the Joker. For those of you who have heard of Barbara Gordon but don't know very much about her as the Oracle, we'll break it down for you really quickly.
During the events of the one-off Batman graphic novel, The Killing Joke, Barbara Gordon, who up to this point had been masquerading with Batman as Batgirl, is visited at her home by the Joker...
The encounter resulted in Barbara being paralyzed from the waist down.
Those of you who are familiar with the story are aware of the additional physical and psychological damage that followed. Afterwards, Barbara is confined to a wheelchair and has to make adjustments to prevent herself from falling into depression. What follows is remarkable.
The real world can be a cruel place at times. Our entire lives can be completely turned upside down by a single event. One stroke of bad luck. One wrong word. A right turn instead of a left at Albuquerque. Often times, these unfortunate occurrences are out of our control. Barbara went from being Batgirl, a crime fighting martial arts master and athletic acrobat that fought alongside the likes of Batman—she even saved his life on occasion—to being handicapped and wheelchair bound, her days of scaling rooftops with the Caped Crusader for the greater good violently taken away from her. Could you even imagine what that must have been like? To go from one extreme to the the other in less time than it takes to open the front door? How can you go on? I'll tell you how. You forget what you can't do and pour all of your energy into discovering what you can still do.
Barbara tapped into her other skill sets. Long before her days as Batgirl, Barbara went to school for graduate training in library science. As Batgirl, she even concealed her identity with a day job as a librarian. She is described as having genius-level intellect and technological ability with computer systems. She also has a photographic memory because photographic memory is awesome. After the events of The Killing Joke, she even continued her martial arts training, learning to use eskrima fighting sticks, a pair of which she keeps stowed inside the arms or her wheelchair. As it's been said, don't let the wheelchair fool you. Barbara's transition from Batgirl to the Oracle is one of the most legendary comebacks in comics, and it didn't stop there.
Oracle would go on to work with the Suicide Squad—yes, the Suicide Squad that we're getting a movie for next year—and assist Batman in her new role as an intelligence broker before becoming the founding member of her own team of super heroines known as the Birds of Prey. You know, seeing that image reminds me of another team of super heroes led by a different person in a wheelchair... Fancy that.
Anyway, the point I'm making is this:
You don't have to change your entire life when everything you know is thrown for a loop. You only have to change your approach.
I can distinctly remember how I felt after I graduated college. Most of my friends were still in school, yet here I was, out in the real world trying to adjust to life outside of the dorm. I remember missing my friends; I missed the accessibility we use to have. Before, it was a short trip up or down a flight of stairs to get together to play Smash Bros., watch silly YouTube videos, listen to music, or just hang out with my friends and talk with each other. All of a sudden, the process required a lot more coordination.
Everyone didn't have a car and I didn't live close to the college. My work schedule often conflicted with my friends' class and/or work schedules. Getting together was difficult at best. Online gaming was ok but was often limited to who had the same games, same systems, and the online subscriptions to play them. What hangouts we were able to get going were often cut short because we had work/class in the morning. I remember feeling so isolated and distant from everything. Maybe some of you can relate. The moment when you graduate high school and watch your friends scatter to different colleges, or when you graduate from college and begin adjusting to your new life, is a pivotal point for a lot of people, gamers in particular.
So much of our relational growth and satisfaction depends on our ability to interact and connect socially with each other.
It can be incredibly crippling in a way, if you think about it, like a metaphorical Killing Joke that we all go through at some point or another in our lives. Maybe you get laid off from your job, or suffer a serious injury. Maybe your best friend, brother or sister becomes a parent and they don't have as much time to raid with you as they use to. Maybe someone close to you loses their life and everything you know changes. Maybe all of this is happening to you at the same time. Our way of life can undergo drastic and sometimes detrimental changes, but there's a silver lining. Just like Barbara Gordon, we can undergo drastically change our approach to life. Become your Oracle. Tap into your skills. Train harder. Adapt. Thrive. It might not be easy but it can be done. Just always remember what you can still do.