My Genetic Emancipation

You, I’ve mistaken for destiny,
But the truth is my legacy
Is not up to my genes…
True, though the imprint is
Deep in me,
It will always be up to me…
Up to me….

Shiloh, Repo! The Genetic Opera

I don’t think I could have watched Repo! The Genetic Opera at a better time in my life.

If you haven’t seen it, the premise of this cult classic film is that in the near future, a megacorporation has saved the world from an epidemic of organ failure by offering easy organ transplants, on payment plans for those who can’t afford them. However, being the capitalist hellscape this imagined mid-21st-century world has become, the corporation can repossess those organs if any recipients fail to make their payments on time (like a car or a house, in the real world).

The main character is a teenage girl named Shiloh, who has a hereditary blood disease and is kept strictly inside by her father, but is tempted by a cure offered by the owner of the megacorp.

Shiloh laments her heritage and genes that she’s been told is to blame for her illness, which, though our circumstances are vastly different, resonated with me in a way I didn’t expect.

I didn’t realize until now that over the course of several weeks, or even months, I’d been slowly giving up on myself. Heck, it could’ve been years ago that I began that process. But especially over these last few weeks, I felt myself slipping away; watching myself as I walk past the things that need doing, or even that I’d normally take pleasure in doing, and blaming it on my ADHD and depression. My mental illness, which, in all likelihood, stems from my own heredity. Things I can’t change; that, like Shiloh, I’d ingrained into my own sense of self and identity.

And I was starting to accept that I would always be that way. That I’d just pass idly through my life, never accomplishing the things I want for myself as a result of that genetic baggage presenting itself as an obstacle.

But if watching this movie (in a moment in time where those wheels of realization had already been beginning to turn) left me with anything, it’s hope. It’s inspiration. It’s willpower.

Maybe I can defy the perceived shackles of my mental illness. Maybe I can fulfill the goals and dreams I have for myself and my future.

While we don’t actually get to see what Shiloh does with her Genetic Emancipation in the film, I sure as hell can’t wait to see what I can accomplish with mine.






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