Let Me Tell You A Story
Another repost of an article I wrote on Medium a couple of years back
Let me tell you a story… Matthew loved superheros, from the first time he saw Christopher Reeves fly out of his fortress of solitude in his blue suit. He had his father make him a red cape out of an old blanket and he wore it everywhere he went.
Then the naivety of his childhood began to wear and he realized his limitation and began to feel the usual adolescent sense of powerlessness as he became a teenager. He learned what it was to be inadequate, to not measure up to even the average standard.
Something was wrong here, he wasn’t a superhero. His powers never came, they should have came by then. He was bewildered, defeated, desperate to go back to a mind full of dreams and hopes. It didn’t come back.
Matthew became angry that his birthright didn’t include being called upon to rescue the world and save the girl. But he realized he could take some matters in his own hands. He found he could manipulate his reality through suffering and sacrifice. He began lifting weights. He made himself bigger, stronger, more physically capable and useful. He created a physical form that was needed by others and useful. This is how he could reconcile his reality with his ideal of hero.
Then came Matthew’s responsibility, the more he assumed, the more of the collective burden he shouldered. More people would look to him and think of him as reliable, a branch to grasp. His shoulders could surely bear this weight because his shoulders could bear the physical weights he lifted.
He moved to manhood, so to speak. He wore his mask, showed his armor. Now the superhero suit that he wore wasn’t just his physical body but his accomplishment and his work that he created. He called people to this rock on which he stood. People came. This was his validation, this is where he wrote his comic book narrative.
One day, Matthew reflected on his comic book story. He thought about Clark Kent - the farm boy not the reporter. Young Clark Kent was who Superman truly was. Superman wasn’t the true Clark Ken and neither was the mild-mannered reporter. He was merely a tool to reflect the inadequacies of the entire human race and serve as a mask to fit in as everyone around him. The boy on the farm questioned his parents, both of this planet and of Krypton. He questioned his purpose, he went on a journey to become who he could be.
He didn’t sew his blue suit in his basement and then show it to the world telling them to follow him. He was given his suit through his journey. Then he went to where he was needed and shown as a light. But the light wasn’t from his power, the light was from his honest search for his truth and his path, and this is what inspired the world.