I’d like to talk about how Melinda May is a legend.
No, not The Cavalry, but Melinda May, who possesses such incredible depth of strength, and not just in the physical sense. Yes, she chose to retire from the field, and I love that because she needed that time away. Because she’s human. Because she’s not infallible. But she didn’t just hole up at home, letting fear entirely conquer her life. Even while working through her struggle, she took a job where she could still help the agency and then plucked up the courage to return to the field, the same field that nearly ruined her life, in order to keep the person she cares about safe.
Plenty of people see Coulson as the heart of SHIELD, but when I look at Melinda May, I see heart. Beneath that badass and stoic exterior, I see selflessness, someone willing to die for this ‘greater good,’ someone who wouldn’t abandon you at the first signs or hundredth signs of trouble. Loyal. Trustworthy.
Melinda May, who taught me that while you can’t be in control of everything in life, you can decide how you move on from a bad event. Yes, a tragedy changed her, but she made herself stronger because of it and because of the choices she made in its aftermath. What she went through in Bahrain and how she dealt with the pain brought her to that one point where she could pick the complete Berserker Staff up and let it go when the job was done. It’s what she’s trained for, what she’s done every single day. The sleepless nights, the rage, the images she faced daily, everything including what happened in Bahrain prepared her for that moment she would handle that Asguardian weapon without falling apart to protect those she cared about. She turned the obstacle meant to crush her (though it was far from being an overnight process) into a stepping stone.
Melinda, whose life motto is probably less talk, more action, and whose actions aren’t based on motivation for glory but because she genuinely cares for the well-being of others, willing to let another take the spotlight while she stays in the background, looking out for people.
Melinda May, who has such an aversion to the title ‘The Cavalry.’ While the reason behind that aversion is debatable (at least, until we know more about what happened in Bahrain), we know she doesn’t need that title to boost her confidence. She doesn’t want the fame, honor, or recognition for the heroic act of single-handedly crossing off the enemy force. She did what she had to do. That was that. Her identity isn’t dependent on her abilities. (See Avengers and also, ‘Scorch’.) In this age where self-esteem is largely based on what we can do, how people reciprocate, and how many accolades we can get, I value what Melinda May represents. Someone who isn’t easily swayed to the left or right. Someone confident enough in who she is that she, as Ming Na said, doesn’t need anyone’s approval or apology. These outside factors don’t determine her choices, and they don’t diminish who she is.
Melinda May is the epitome of loyalty, yet not a blind follower, the embodiment of strength and empathy, and a kickass role model of when circumstances knock you off your feet, you can get back up and punch it in the face.
That is the legend of Melinda May.