We do not go to the movies often anymore as there are few babysitters prepared to take on our children while we are gone. And our children can not handle being in movie theaters (due to intense sight, auditory, and other triggers). But tonight we splurged (thanks to a gift card from a friend – babysitting included) and I took my husband to see the movie Wonder Woman.
I grew up loving the television series with Lynda Carter, and my husband grew up reading comics, so we were thrilled for the opportunity. In a word from my husband the movie was “exceptional”. But half way through I was struck hard by what I saw and I started to cry. In my heart, all I could say was, “This is why we need superheroes.”
Individuals with superpowers in the comics, television and movies portray the inner struggles that we battle every day: the doubt, the guilt, the battle of good vs. evil within ourselves. And in the end, the superheroes overcome their battles, whether external or internal, to become (hopefully) the best versions of themselves. That is what we dream for. That is what we long for in our own reality.
The other day my friend earned the honor of being chosen for an anthology that I longed to be a part of. She is a talented writer (her descriptions incredible) and I’ve had the privilege of being in a critique group with her for years. I am proud of her for this chance, and so excited for her. I told her honestly that I was 99% happy for her. Even though I had been a contender until the end, being edged out by other writers just that much better than me, I became frustrated. A part of me wanted to lash out at my friend and at her work. But I couldn’t.
I soon realized that the editor in charge of the anthology could see the bigger picture that I could not. Only she knew the flow of the overall book, and the goal in tying it together. My friend’s short story fit into that flow, and mine did not. When I was able to step back and realize this I devised a new goal for myself. I may write well enough to be in the “yes” bucket the first three rounds of reviews, but I need to learn what it takes to become a “hell yes” from the start.
As I explained my thinking to my friend she told me that I was truly without guile. I am grateful for the compliment, but inside the memory of that 1% that wasn’t happy about her getting and I not reared its ugly head trying to conquer my spirit. But I made a choice. In writing, as well as in life, I cannot control what others do or do not do, and I cannot always see the big picture. But I damn well am in charge of how I choose to react and to behave and to move forward.
Both Steve and Diana had to learn in Wonder Woman the struggles of choice and consequences, and the battle of light versus dark within every individual, including themselves. It is by reading and watching these superheroes that we look for that hope, that power to overcome the darkness. That, if it can be possible for them, then maybe, just maybe, it can be possible for us. And as we extend our sight past our fictional heroes, to find the light in ourselves, then we are more likely to see the real life superheroes that surround us each and every day.
Yesterday, another friend came over for a visit. She is one of those people that glows from the inside out and every time I see her (even in passing) I can’t help but smile, because she is so genuine. She is a woman of great personal strength and quiet courage each and every day. She is one of the superheroes in my life because she sees the good in others already even when life does not go her way. I would so love to be like her when I grow up (even though she is younger than me).
So I was greatly surprised when she said what courage and strength I have in the face of my own adversities. But then I told her that I guess if I had a superpower it was that I don’t give up. I can’t. It’s not out of some altruistic reason. Honestly, I don’t give up because if I ever stop I am afraid that I will never get going again. If I cave, I would be buried with no chance of hoping again. So we agreed to see the good in each other and to love one another for who we are.
I may not be a superhero like Diana Prince, but I can be my own version of Wonder Woman to my little family, and each day I will battle the darkness within myself and make the choice to be a little better than the day before. Who knows, in the end I might become a real life superhero after all.