Monday, March 11, 2013

Being Superman

Wonder with me for a moment:

When you think of your ideal self, what comes to mind? Do you see rippling biceps  (ladies, say it aint so) and washboard abs? Is there a brighter smile or more fit body? Would you be smarter, more outgoing, or more kind to others?

Looking into that mirror of idolized reflection, what is it you see staring back at you? Perhaps you're one of the gifted few who see yourself just as you are. If that is you, please tell me how you got there, I'm trying, really I am. I often find myself peeking into this mirror and I hold no reservations nor feigned intimations about what ideal self image stares back at me: Superman.

Yes, Superman. The Henry Caville kind.

(You can see why, right?)

Sure, I may be childish and a little naive. I do recognize here that Superman is not an actual being. But what if he were? Superman has it all, and that's what I want. The godlike physique, the moral character, not to mention the woman and the superhuman capabilities. Add to it all that he saves the world on a daily basis. Yes, fictional or not, Superman is my aspiration.

While I now put the face of Superman to my dream self character, this superhuman aspiration is no recent epiphany of mine. I remember once when I was 7 or 8, a simple prayer I had offered. Short and heartfelt, I gave what I believe to be as mighty a prayer as any, asking God to grant me the chance to fly... You can probably guess I was let down by His lack of response. I remember crying about it. To this day I'm still a little let down; hold me.

Thus prevalent through childhood, adolescence and into my now adulthood years has always remained this perpetual infatuation with man's transcendence. Now I wouldn't go as far to say I hope to be the next 'Super Saiyan' guy on youtube, I still like to think I have a small grasp on reality. Yet here, deep embedded in my being, resides this voice challenging me to be a hero, telling me I can. Wow, now that I say this in words I realize how disneyesque it sounds. Hercules was right, I can go the distance!

In a sense,  this idea of being someone admired and important like Superman  is all I've held on to. It's given me a release from my every day fears of self inadequacy. It's helped me cope with failures that inevitably have come my way. It's also given me hope when life is unkind, or when I'm lonely or when I've eaten one too many donuts. Yes, becoming superman seems to hold all I could ever ask for. The life I've always dreamed of.

It's time for the moral of the story now, which doesn't come easy. After some healthy self analysis and real life humble pie I've really come to notice something one of those wise philosophers once said: all that glitters isn't gold. Silver, glass and even water can too. In fact, any object or thing can glitter if treated properly ( you get my point, right?).  What I'd never really noticed in grasping onto the Superman like ideals of  myself,  is that I was also simulatenously letting go of one priceless ingredient: my self.

Self worth that is.

Don't get me wrong here, I think it's always important to find ways to improve the man staring back at you in the mirror. Sometimes he needs a good shave or eyebrow pluck  (yes, for those of you who wonder, I do tweeze my eyebrows). But that's the point, that man staring back at you in the mirror has to be YOU, not some other rated version.  Any other way will only ever prove allusive and detrimental. I'm as big of a perfectionist as any out there, so I know how hard this is to realize.

The truth remains: I as a human being am innately imperfect, and yet I'm beautiful. I don't need to be perfect to feel that way. No, in the end I do not need to look and act like some iconic fictional character, no siree, I can be beautiful today. I can be important now.

Now please don't misinterpret me here, I am sure my desire to be like Superman will always be there, like I said it's a part of me. I will also never get mad at you for telling me I look like him over my brothers or anyone else.  But Superman is not a person I need to become so much as it is a person I am and can continually develop. Do you get my drift?

I see so many Supermen along my path every day whom I admire. We as a people need to give ourselves more credit than we do, no one is perfect. The admiration belongs to the person who stumbles and picks themselves up, time after time, rather than the person who seems to have it all together. No one does.

Here's a good visual example for you to draw from:

Yes, there's no doubt about it folks, Derek Redmond is Superman. On a more personal level, I'm grateful for all the superheros I've seen in my life. Imperfect most definitely, but wholehearted most assuredly.

I'm staring back into the mirror again. This time it's a real one and no idealized version. I'm searching long and hard into the worn face I see. It's not easy but yes, after an arduous introspection, there it is, I think I'm finding him, the Superman staring back at me.

Bryan Clark

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