This week’s blog idea came to life with help from a few different sources. Over Christmas and beginning the New Year, we spent a fair amount of time with guests in our home. A dear friend commented to me, “I don’t know how you do it – I saw you being everything to everyone and I was exhausted just watching you.” In response, I just sort of laughed, and said, “That’s just the way I am.” But, in all honesty, I was completely exhausted by the time we rang in 2013.
Last evening, although still tired, and, to be honest, having limited stimulation to the brain neurons occurring, I realized, with a start, that I didn’t even have a blog topic for this week. Panicked, I couldn’t even find my spiral notebook (a.k.a. my brain on most days) in which I jot down thoughts and ideas as they randomly come to me. I had nothing, no previously thought of oh-wow-I’m-so-clever ideas, to fall back on. Still in panic mode, I texted my “W”: my kindred spirit, my go-to-gal, my help in time of need (and, to be honest, sometimes I’m a lot of work!).
I need your help. I need some blog ideas.
Before long, “W” was firing back to me a list of ideas that she had immediately brainstormed, and they were great. (I’ll definitely be revisiting that list in the future.) In the midst of this, a song came on during a movie that my family was watching in the other room. Intrigued, I listened intently and grabbed my phone to Shazam it. (Who doesn’t love Shazam?!)
Superman (It’s Not Easy) by Five for Fighting (click to see video!)
I realized that not only was this a lovely melody, it was also a song about Superman dreaming to be something more (or less) than Superman. And, here, I realized, was my blog topic.
(photo courtesy of supermanfanart.com)
Why, in the world, would Superman (“the man of steel”, “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound”) dream of being anything but himself? (information courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.com) But, in still pondering the question, I know the answer, and I can speculate that I know why Five for Fighting wrote the song: because, at one point in time or another, we all dream of being something or someone else, being more or being less.
First, let’s explore what I like to call the “Superman Status”. This is when, as my dear friend pointed out, we busy ourselves with being everything to everyone. The American cultural icon of Superman, and the Superman in the storylines, had the following abilities : superhuman strength, speed, stamina, invulnerability, freezing breath, super hearing, multiple extrasensory and vision powers, longevity, flight, intelligence, and regeneration. (information courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.com) Superman used his abilities to save people, and the world, on more than one occasion.
No human (that I’m aware of) has Superman’s abilities, yet, many of us try our hardest to be almost superhuman in various ways – taking on multiple roles, performing many jobs and duties, all the while multitasking in many aspects: solving problems, running crowd control, repairing fences, and ultimately expending ourselves with love and dedication to others. Some of us are even successful at doing these many tasks — but at what expense? We may burn out, exhaust ourselves, and still disappoint others by not living up to their expectations (perhaps because enough will never be enough and, sometimes, the more we do, the more is expected of us). Although we strive for, and sometimes achieve, “Superman Status”, it is possible that we might lose the desire (sooner or later) to be all of the things, to all of the people, all of the time. We may even dream of being less.
I believe Superman, himself, dreamed of being a normal, functioning human being in a present day society. He may have even, at times, cursed his superhero status. As Clark Kent, he constantly fought an inner battle to be true to himself, but yet to protect his secrets and keep the world safe. Certainly, he would’ve thought many times, “It’s not easy to be me”. He may have been like many of us, a tired individual, exhausted from living a double life and being so many things to so many people. I’ve even visualized him getting extremely frustrated with humanity, like Mr. Incredible in the movie The Incredibles (click to see trailer), shouting out, “I feel like the maid! I just cleaned up this mess! Can you keep it clean for, for ten minutes?!” Superman, like Mr. Incredible, may have felt defeated and felt like giving up on a world which, for the most part, lacked appreciation and gratitude.
Superman was lonely after the loss of his home world, Krypton, despite the fact that he was surrounded by his parents and many friends. Superman has even been criticized by other super heroes because “he identified with humanity too much”(information courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.com). Poor guy just couldn’t win. He even removed himself from the world for a while and stayed at the Ice Fortress in order to sort things through. Perhaps he was even looking for “special things inside of (him)”; things that didn’t scream ‘Superman’, but simply ‘man’.
I have sometimes wondered what life would be like if I cared less, did less, offered less, and was less available. Would I have more time for me (and would I feel guilty about that)? Would the new limitations of my contributions, of my work, and of my presence be noticed? Would someone else just simply (maybe even, finally) pick up the slack? Would I feel like I personally had accomplished more? Or less? Or would it feel like something vital was missing?
Perhaps it is important to consider that “the better part of me” is what we all should search for. We are more than just who and what we are to other people. We are more than who and what we are compared to other people. We can be less. We don’t have to be “all”. We don’t have to be “everything”.
To commence 2013 with fresh pages and new chapters to write, let’s start with a clean slate and focus on being who we truly are as individuals. Let’s try to remember that “(all) men weren’t meant to ride with clouds between their knees”. Not all of us will strive for (or achieve the status of) being “superheroes”, but as long as we allow ourselves “the right to bleed”, “the right to dream”, and the right “to be”, we will find the “special things inside (ourselves)” that allow each and every one of us to be the unique person we each call “me”.
(Dear Readers, A continued thank you for your reads, comments, likes, and shares! This week we welcomed Germany and Indonesia as readers of Writing For The Love Of It. If you haven’t added our facebook page, Writing For The Love of It on your list of facebook likes, please do! Yours, ~ K ~)