When Your SuperHero Bleeds
Warning: Personal blog entry
Before Wonder Woman grew out her hair and got so hot, I was a fan. I loved her outfit; her sweet heart bodice, her star-spangled boy shorts and red boots. She was the only female superhero back then, so I wasn't spoiled for choice. So fave she was.
I had a few not-so-fictional super heroes too.
My entire family were my heroes, my parents and siblings. My cousins, aunties and uncles, older friends, a dozen fave teachers, headmistress, my proprietress! They really were made of titanium, indestructible; they dove in headlong, strong, breathed fire, saved the day.
Well, I'm getting much closer to 30 and with that age comes this clarity and insight into the cracks in humanity. A few months ago, I came face to face with a revelation about some of my heroes, after whom I had named certain life lessons, theories and principles.
One of them came out and told me this truth and I couldn't deny my disappointment. The other hero made a significantly bad decision and couldn't shake this constant habit they had gotten into. I didn't know what to do.
What do you do when you realize you super heroes have kinks in their stories?
What do you do when you realize that Wonder Woman has an identity crisis; that Superman suffers from myopia and wears spectacles and is also susceptible to kryptonite; that Achilles’ heel is weak and makes him mortal.
I saw these heroes of mine who I looked up to in a different light, and that light wasn't flattering--hair disheveled, superhero spandex suits stuck between their butt cheeks. I saw them wiping their noses on their sleeves; and staggering a little, unsure, uncertain and severely human.
At first, I was hit with disappointment and I struggled with the disappearance of the glimmer that hallowed them so. It was like discovering Santa is a kleptomaniac or that your mentor has been arrested for fraud. It broke my heart. Then I looked closer.
I watched the hesitation in their eyes before they took steps, I saw them put up brave faces and hide their scars.
I saw their fragility and frailty.
And then it dawned on me, even heroes have a right to bleed*. They are allowed to falter and goof. Now, instead of despising them for their frailty, and for ruining my childhood fantasies, my heart warms up, as I am able to identify with them. I am actually able to reach out and touch them; to know they are real. To hold them in my arms. To hold their tears but honor them for their greatness, to hold them in higher regard than I ever did. Now to my respect for them, I have added love, one without condition. I'm able to love my broken Wonder Women and Super Men with their tired rubbery spandex and faded wind-fluttering capes.
These days they wear cotton, and sometimes linen, but hands on their hips, eyes on the horizon, in the nick of time they still save the day.
-Dedicated to“Gigi” and“Riri” my heroes.
Reference: *Line from Superman-Five for Fighting