I’m No Superman

Someone asked me today why whenever I change my profile photos on Facebook, they tend to be pictures of comic book characters.  It’s true that often I put pictures of Superman or Batman as my profile photo.  I am not the only person who does this, and while I can not answer for them, I know why I do it, and while I wasn’t planning on psycho-analyzing myself this morning, I felt I wanted to respond to the question, and while the answer will not likely be seen by the one who questioned it, I feel it is important to get it out there.  I have a lot of pent up stuff inside me today and it’s time to let some of it out.

Ever since I was a young boy, I have been obsessed with superheroes.  Like most young boys, I fantasized about being Superman, Batman, even Spider-Man.  I think we all, boys at least, can relate to the idea if being powerful and in many ways, being a step above the rest.  As I grew older, I gave up on the idea that I could possibly be a visitor from another planet, the heir of murdered multimillionaires, or someone who could gain great strength from the bite of a radioactive spider.  That didn’t stop me from fantasizing about living the life of a superhero.  In many ways, I can relate to the problems faced by these tragic heroes.  I call them tragic because upon further examination, we find that they are far from the glorious celebrities they are portrayed as to the young comic book reader.  No, Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man all share a loneliness, a loneliness that I have come to understand.  They have a freedom that I envy, one that allows them to be anonymous heroes to the world, heroes who can hide in their secret identities when they need to be away from the world for a while, away from being super.  Unfortunately, with this great power, comes a great burden.  No, not a great responsibility as Uncle Ben said, but the burden of being alone.  Superman’s greatest challenge is not in saving the world, but in hiding the greatest secret anyone could possibly have.  I am not talking about Clark Kent being Superman, no I am talking about the fact that Clark Kent can’t tell the one person who matters most in his world how he feels.  Despite all his powers, all his strengths, his greatest challenge is not telling Lois Lane how much he loves her.  I envy Superman in the sense that at the very least, he can have brief moments of happiness with Lois in the moments he is saving her life, but when it comes to being with her all the time, his burden of being Superman prevents him from revealing who he is to her.  While I am no Superman, I do have this fear of revealing my true self to those I care about, and yes, in this case it is someone I am interested in romantically.  I can put on my brave face to go out into the world everyday and pretend I am strong, invulnerable to the powers women can have over a guy like me, but the truth is, the thoughts of someday being with this woman, or perhaps never being with this woman, make me weaker than any kryptonite.

Batman is forever destined to be alone.  While his story rarely involves a love interest, the fact is he is a criminal who has to hide who he is from the world in order to continue his mission.  Basically, despite having the right intentions, he is viewed as an outcast and, like I said, a criminal.  Now, I haven’t broken any laws, but sometimes, in the darkness, I feel an intense loneliness that I can only imagine is similar to his own.  No, my parents were not murdered and I am not hell bent on revenge, but there are times when my anger towards the world makes me feel like I have something in common with him.

I have worked hard in the past few years to make peace with who I am, but I still have the inability to come out of my shell and reveal true self to the world.  Sometimes I wonder if I even know my true self.  I know I am an introvert and I find more comfort in the confines of my home than out in a bar or shopping mall and I would like to find someone who shares that similar contentment in passing time in a quiet environment.  I am not suggesting we could never get out of the house and do something fun, it’s just that I am able to enjoy life without the necessity of doing something extravagant every night.

Today I put up a picture of Superman flying high above the world while embracing Wonder Woman (his other love interest, depending on which story lines you follow).  I suppose my intention was to put out the message that I am seeking my Wonder Woman to compliment my Superman.  I know it’s pathetic to say it is all I need, but right now, there is nothing I can think of that would bring a smile to my face more than the opportunity to hold her close to me and feel that connection that I have lacked for so long.  I know the clues I leave are rarely picked up upon, but I keep hoping beyond hope she will see the signals I send out and someday come my way.  Until then, I will continue being Clark Kent, desperately trying to release the Superman inside of me.


~ by James on October 2, 2013.

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