The lovely Irene of Finkelstein and Sons challenged me to a free-writing exercise with the prompt, “Create your own personal super hero alter ego and describe his or her day.”
I’ve always said invisibility, when asked what superpower I would choose if I could have but one. It’s a reflex response born out of a lifetime of wanting to be left alone, un-judged, un-bothered, un-teased. But I don’t know what I would do with that, as a superheroine. It’s a selfish response, as is my second choice: being able to instantaneously transport myself (and my family and stuff) wherever in the world we wanted to go.
So maybe not invisibility.
Throughout my life, I have returned repeatedly to the idea of sending support to myself through time. Huh? When I’m doing well, when I’m in a good place, I imagine myself sending strength to the person I was when I was going through a bad time. It gets better, I think. Fifth grade only lasts for one year. It gets better – college really is better than high school. It gets better – babies don’t stay that exhausting forever.
So if I were to be a superhero, perhaps that’s the power I’d hold. The power to look into someone’s future and find the good parts. To see beyond the darkness that envelops them today. And to communicate that to them somehow. Maybe with some details, or maybe just in a positive feeling, the strength to get up and keep going for one more day. Maybe they wouldn’t even know I was there, or that I existed at all. They’d just know that it would get better.
That’d be me: It-Gets-Better Girl. It’d be a daily struggle to be a superheroine, I think, knowing that you couldn’t help everyone every single day. What if I looked into someone’s future and it didn’t get better? What then? What kind of power would I have to change the future? Would it be the kind of foresight where you can see multiple probable futures at once?
I could really start overthinking this.
But oh, what a difference I might make. Of course, as a self-reflective superhero, I’d be worried about getting too full of myself, too proud of my accomplishments.
Maybe I wouldn’t be very happy that way.
Or maybe I would. Maybe being It-Gets-Better Girl would bring my life new purpose and a satisfaction. Would it be my job? I don’t think being a silent superheroine pays very well, so I’d still need a day job. But then when would I sleep?
Evidently I’d need a few extra superpowers to go along with it.
I’ll admit, I followed the spirit of the challenge more than the letter – I wasn’t trying to maximize my word count or anything, and I kept going after my initial 15 minutes were up. But the exercise got some thoughts flowing, for sure.
And now I’m really curious what It-Get-Better Girl’s costume would look like. Doodle time!