Rogue: Play With Her in the Danger Room But Don’t Play With Her Emotions

Episode seven, “Bright Eyes,” highlighted the all-might power of the X-Men juggernaut Rogue. She spun kicked her revenge journey into high gear, foregoing the funeral of her beloved to find Boliver Trask and stop the mayhem. It’d be super easy to talk about grief and how we all go through it differently. It’d be a cakewalk to address all the easter eggs and the excitement of Mystique babies working through their issues together. Instead, I’m bringing it from the chest and using my power to talk about what an empath and Rogue have in common…deep trauma and the long journey to controlling your powers. 

Before I continue, one disclaimer. I am a Saturday morning cartoons baby who grew up watching the X-Men animated series weekly and on every rerun. I KNOW the comics go HARD. I have not had the pleasure of experiencing the comics outside of what my friends and the internet have told me. For this reason, I can only speak to my knowledge of the 90s X-Men cartoon and the new X-Men ‘97 series. The way my brain and life are set up – if I could get a motion comic for every issue and graphic novel – I’d be diamond (wink face). I hope you are still in it to take this journey into my connection to this character and how she shapes my existence.

Image courtesy of Disney+

“All Ah See Is Love, Such As Ah Never Had”

Picture it. You are arguing with your partner, and emotions begin to escalate. You’re normally someone who goes to anxiety, nervousness, and sadness before getting straight to anger. You don’t even know why you are angry. It doesn’t make any sense! You look at your partner, and they are fuming. You realize – it’s not me, it’s you! That is the simplest form of empath energy that I could describe. It’s overwhelming and uncontrollable. So, the first time I watched Rogue cry on X-Men as a kid, it hit me through the screen. The overwhelming nature of everyone else’s powers surging through your body and not knowing how to focus on one or the other. What are your powers? Who are you really? On top of all of the questions, not being able to touch! Imagine your love language is physical touch, and you can even have that skin-to-skin. I know We all know this is Rogue’s journey and always has been. So when we see her with no reservations – it’s a whole new b-ball game. 

Image courtesy of Disney+

At the beginning of the X-Men ‘97 series, Rogue looked bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. She and Gambit were giving homecoming king and queen, serving powdered sugar on beignets kind of love. Like they’ve been risking it all and holding hands with no gloves. Putting Gambit to bed. I find myself living vicariously through Rogue at these moments. I remember back in the day, her lamenting over a “normal” life. Oh, what a life it’d be just to kiss a boy and him not fall into a coma or touch someone’s hand without taking on their energy. For an empath, this all comes too close to home. 

“I can’t turn it off but maybe I can control it.”

For anyone who is new to the idea of an empath, it is what it sounds like. Someone with a high level of empathy. Although the level of empathy is plus ultra, people with this unique power can (as the wellness site Healthline puts it) “​​actually sense and feel emotions as if they’re part of your own experience. In other words, someone else’s pain and happiness become your pain and happiness.” I don’t quite know how one develops this ability, but hey, mutants don’t get to choose their power, do they. I know as a small child, I experienced immense levels of loss in my family. Combined with my Virgo sense of inner analysis and the desire to understand feelings rather than feel them, it gave me a strong level of common sense and emotional intelligence. Maybe this unlocked my mutant gene because I could also be overwhelmed by them and not know why. Until I saw Rogue, I watched her be afflicted with the powers of so many she had touched and unable to control it. I said – I think that’s me! I can feel exactly what you are feeling, as if they are my own emotions as if it is physically happening to me. What does this bring? Anxiety and being easily overwhelmed just to exist with the desire just to sit quietly and not feel what everyone else is feeling. 

As Rogue struggled in the original 90’s series to control her abilities and use them for good, I, too, was learning what it all meant. I began to “therapize” my friends and my family. I became an experiential learner and built up a tolerance to feelings as I did as a young child with grief and loss. I make it make sense for myself and everyone. But inside, it builds and is a cycle of overwhelming emotions. So what happens to an empath when the levy of emotions and powers breaks? Well, sugah, I hope you were watching episode seven. 

Gif courtesy of Tenor

“I’ve been lookin’ a long time for this”

Rogue’s journey to control and accept her powers took a different path. Craving a life with the gloves off, she even ventured to remove the mutant gene from her body and found her way to acceptance and beautiful pride. But that overwhelming pool of power is always brimming. When Magneto came into the picture, she felt true touch for the first time. When he showed up in his most cunty attire with a silver fox stare –   I can’t blame Rogue for reserving a few sessions in the danger room, you know, just to stay sharp. But lest we forget that feeling of content. A much-needed moment of quiet and stillness where the waters of overwhelming emotions and powers sitting in your chest are calm. There is no confusion or need to be present in someone else’s power. That is what Gambit presents. Dare I say, the best of both worlds? So, one fated night in Genosha was not all that it was. It was a damn of undeniable power being blasted open, and you know there was no need to slow the overwhelming flood any longer. 

“Got some real power behind that one”

Magneto had said Rogue, be my queen, and Gambit had taken the toxic masculinity of the world and burned it up in a plasma-burst joker card. We were watching it all but not paying attention cuz we were looking at the woman in the red dress. She floated in, ready to tell Magneto that D-magnetism is unforgettable, but there’s nothing like my sugah satisfying me from the inside out. Watching her loves sacrifice themselves for the good of all those she cares for – nah we ain’t saying goodbye.   

Rogue telling Captain American to respectively F off and kick in the door, waving the four four – fingers, that is. She was ready to kiss Cyclops on the cheek and open her eyes to Trask and whoever the hell in the OZT because why not? We saw exactly what happens when all the knowledge acquired through all those she has touched or touched her was given controlled focus yet no boundaries. When her friends found her, they knew Rogue was on her phoenix saga—birthing herself from the ashes. Nightcrawler said I feel you sis and there was her moment of zen. Those tears…I’ve felt those tears. The grief and power and acknowledgment that what you have to do to carry on will be difficult for everyone else to witness. 

Image courtesy of Disney+

“Ah made mah choice, and ah’ll live with it.”

The hard part about being an empath is releasing your genuine emotions. They can overwhelm anyone in their path. Tears can affect any person on a cellular level; they’ll do anything to stop you crying. I learned this quickly. One of the first times I felt overwhelmed, I saw in people’s eyes how much they were in pain seeing me. It was a vicious cycle. I then felt their pain that was not my own and had to stop it in its tracks. It means you cannot release your power. You cannot let it be in its full form for fear that those around you will not understand and unable to withstand it all. There comes a time when none of that matters. Rogue took Trask by the collar and, with no hesitation, not a second thought. She dropped him, and I slow clapped. Morph said, “Is this who we are?” That’s my secret Morph, I’ve always been this. 

They say that when someone transitions, their energy is spread infinitely through the earth and cosmos. You better believe Rogue felt that ish. 

Gif courtesy of via Giphy

The capacity has always been within her, and now the world has seen the beginning of what she is capable of. This isn’t to say empaths are sitting with the wrath of all emotions, waiting to be freed. No. But they can turn real emotions into actual power. Tell them you see them, learn how to speak their language and give them the opportunities of zen and places of clarity. They are holding a lot—especially these days.  

For more of Rogue’s revenge check out Rogue Against The Machine: Superheroes Don’t Kill But Freedom Fighters Do.

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  • Aisha Jordan

    Staff Writer

    Aisha Jordan is an Actor, Writer, and Producer in new media with a B.A. from The New School and M.A. in Arts and Politics from NYU. She’s a Podcast Producer on I Love a Lifetime Movie, The Table is Ours, and Origins of Hip Hop and Staff Writer at Black Nerd Problems and co-creator/host for the entertainment podcast 2Nerds and an Actor. She’s Co-Executive Producer and actor for the newly formed Village Park Productions with sketch comedy series #HashtagTheShow. Jordan was featured in Title X’s PSA on reproductive rights, and HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness. She’s a member of the Writer’s Guild of America East.

  • Show Comments

  • Madelaine Wilson

    Rogue has always resonated with me as a character, and goddamn if Episode 7 didn’t lay all that shit out as to why

  • Dominique Gandy

    WELL STATED!!!! I feel seen in so many ways. Thank you.

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