I wrote the post below back around May of 2012, long before this blog existed (indeed, quite a while before the impetus for this blog’s creation – the start of my physical transition – was even something I was seriously considering or thought possible). I was reminded of it yesterday as I found myself musing about the fact that no matter how hard I try, I can’t make things better for the people I love 100% of the time. Sometimes the people I want to help the most are the ones who really can’t be helped until they learn to help themselves. But that rarely stops me from trying. It’s funny, looking back at these words that I wrote two and a half years ago, and realizing these are lessons I am still learning, and that I will probably always be learning. I’ve grown in many ways, but it’s a good reminder that there’s always room for further growth. Anyway, enjoy this little throwback, and I’ll be back with something new next week!
This will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever known me very well, but I have a confession to make: I have a bit of a superhero complex.
This is nothing new. Some of my best-remembered dreams from my childhood are of me rescuing damsels in distress. (Those, and the dreams where I could fly. Bonus points if the dream involved both.) I was the kid on the playground in middle school who would come to recess armed with extra pairs of mittens and end up giving away every pair I had, including the ones I had planned on keeping for myself. Usually my scarf and hat wound up missing, too, and the only reason I kept my coat was that there was some sort of rule about that. Today I am tickled pink when I find out I am the first name that comes to mind if a friend is stranded somewhere in need of rescuing, or if someone is having a meltdown in the small hours of the night and just needs to reach out and text or call someone for the reassurance that they’re not alone. I love being helpful, and feel utterly useless when I can’t be.
Sometimes this can be problematic. I’m getting better about it, but sometimes I try to help fix things when really, all I should do is listen. Sometimes I try to save people who don’t want saving, they just want someone to sit and be with them for a while. But I am learning that it’s okay to be a superhero sometimes, and that, in fact, superheroes can sit and listen and be sometimes, too, and that doesn’t make them any less super.
I don’t have a cool superhero uniform, but I do have a wonderfully dapper wardrobe. I can’t fly, but I will do whatever I can to help a friend escape when necessary. I am not particularly strong, but I will still pretend that I am and help you move your furniture and throw my weight around if you feel threatened. I don’t have x-ray vision and I’m not psychic, but I am highly observant and intuitive and will often catch on to more than you expect.
I am a superhero when I provide safe spaces for others to explore identity without fear of judgment, where I can offer openness and love and acceptance and encouragement. When I can ask honest questions that further discovery. When I am fully myself, leading by example.
I am a superhero when I am prepared to drop everything at a moment’s notice to go and give a friend a hug. When I can make a bad day better with a smile or a joke or a compliment sincerely given.
I am a superhero when I stand up for myself.
I am a superhero when I can stand quietly next to a friend, putting and end to the attentions of an unwanted suitor.
I am a superhero when my mere existence causes my more conservative friends to think a little harder about what they believe, because I am a real person that they love and not a nameless, faceless statistic. When I make strangers on the street think twice before assigning me a gender.
Sometimes superheroes are just regular people trying to do what they can to make the world a better place. Hi, my name is Alyx, and I am a superhero when I remember that.