Most people have things they don’t like about themselves. Some of us turn those things into a lifetime of unhealthy self-criticism. But what if you could confront all the things you hate about yourself face to face?
Winston Rowntree’s notoriously verbose webcomic Subnormality tackled that concept in a recent update, visiting the Museum of the Theoretical, a place where the impossible happens on a regular basis. The impossible, in this case, is the chance for a visitor to confront a version of themselves from a world where events went in a slightly different direction. In one universe, a family support network kept a young woman off the streets in a moment of crisis. In another, that critical phone call never got made.
Meeting an alternate-universe self is a popular trope in sci-fi (careful, that’s a TV Tropes link), but Rowntree turns it into an opportunity for compassion, understanding, and growth.
This takes a particularly interesting turn when the strip gets into the subject of mental health:
Having a label to make sense of your symptoms can be powerful, particularly if you feel like you’re completely alone with thoughts that just don’t work like those of other people.
The full comic is a powerful, cathartic read, well worth the time you’ll need to set aside for it. Subnormality often deals with issues of mental health and self-reflection, so if you like this strip, you may want to give it a longer look.