Before I tell you the story of how I became Invincible, I would like to take a step back and take some time to tell you what I mean when I say those words. When you think of the word “Invincible”, what comes to mind? The Analytic Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein commented on the nature of language and its meaning, and how every word in every language often meant different things to different people. Ultimately what mattered was the consensus achieved by the group using the words in the context of their specific language games, but that still doesn’t fully negate the importance of personal language. Each of us has experiences with words, and they can take on radically different meanings to different people, even if they have to temporarily shelf their personal interpretation while playing a language game with others. Consider, for example, about the stark contrast in the way some people respond when asked to talk about how they feel about “family”.
For many, family is a word that brings great comfort and joy. Others, such as myself, may well feel intense anxiety and pain when they think of the word family. Certainly we know how the dictionary defines family, but words are more than arrangements of sounds or letters to convey meaning. Words are the conveyors of experience and perspective, and if it weren’t for the failure of telepathy we likely wouldn’t need words at all. It is impossible to fully divorce ourselves from the personal experiences that shape our own understanding of different words. As I have walked down the path of becoming Invincible, I have discovered that this word means more than what the dictionary defines it as or the pop culture reference originally meant to be.
At first, I adopted the name Invincible as an homage to the comic character when I became an administrator on a comic book fan page. One of my friends in the comic book fandom on Facebook turned me on to the series in 2014, and I fell in love with the character who is now sweeping the internet thanks to a successful animated series on Amazon Prime. It served strictly as a pseudonym to protect my privacy, and to allow users to distinguish the content I created from that of the other contributors of our page. When I started live streaming a pop culture talk show in 2017, I became rather accustomed to being referred to in this manner. Much to my surprise, a community started building up around the show, and I began to understand that my little experiment in content creation was evolving into something that meant a bit to those people.
I put it to the community to give itself a name, and after contributions were submitted this group of loyal viewers became known as “The Union Invincible”. Technically, the original submission had been “The Union of Invincible”, but something about that didn’t sit right with me. When I started out, the idea wasn’t to create a cult of personality built around myself, but just to get together and have fun and nerdy conversations. I took the idea but removed the word “of”. At that point, I came up with an often repeated catchphrase — “Nobody is perfect, but together we can become Invincible”. Just like that “Invincible” was no longer just a name, but rather an ideal that was something we all worked towards in unison.
Last year, I had a real mental health breakdown. Circumstances manifested around the same time which re-triggered all my core traumas, and I was on the verse of relapsing in the most ugly manner possible. I like to compare it to the idea that I had been walking on a broken leg which had never been properly set back together. The whole while I was able to walk, but I did it with a limp and stuck in a brace I had cobbled together. All at once, though, I broke that same bone in the same place because it had not healed. Forced to come face-to-face with trauma I had convinced myself I had worked through, I realized that it was time to take down the scaffolding and do the real work of healing.
That was the time I decided to stop going by my name given at birth, and I incorporated “Invincible” into my chosen name — Julian Aurelius Invictus. Invincible took on yet another layer of meaning as I adopted the Latin cognate for my surname. While I have yet to complete the process of legally changing my name, the act of adopting a name is an incredibly potent act from both psychological and esoteric perspectives. Much of my trauma, as I have stated, comes from my family. By taking on an entirely different surname, I was both severing my branch from one tree and planting it as a new one. You could say it was simultaneously an act of both destruction and creation. Using the opportunity to change from hitting my lowest point, I redefined not only myself but also my entire relationship with the word “family”.
What does it mean to become Invincible? To be truly Invincible means reaching a place and moment when everything in your past intersects with everything your future could be, and taking up the power to transform whatever is behind you into the shape you want for what lies ahead. You are Invincible when you are able to decide what to destroy and what to create, and you make peace with the reality of consequences that come with each of those choices. I hope that those of you who feel moved to seek your own place and moment to become Invincible come to appreciate the way the word evolves in meaning as your experience of it grows.