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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Superpowers

As I was scrolling through my Facebook News Feed, I came upon a Humans of New York photo with the following caption:

“Hazel can’t have superpowers yet. She too little for me to teach her how to control them.” 

This reminded me of recent conversations I've had with my nephews in which we've explored our superpowers. Navigating our ways through haunted houses full of giant spiders, lava pits, and other treacheries, I've learned about lightning power, water power, fire power, lullaby power, and other important powers needed to walk through the world.

Of course, I can't forget the strongest power of all: rainbow power. I am fortunate enough (according to my nephews) to have A LOT of rainbow power. I didn't even know.

Honestly, it has been a long time since I've thought about superpowers. I'm not sure when I forgot about them. Or was taught that they don't exist. But being with my nephews, I feel certain that I have superpowers. And so do you. We just may have given them different names now that we're "grown up."

This past Friday and Saturday evening, I had the great joy and privilege to sit in circles and listen to the stories and wisdom of girls and women. In each circle, I was reminded that I am not alone, that my struggles are common. I heard my hopes voiced by women I've known for years and some I was meeting for the first time. While I know that my story is unique, I felt myself nodding my head in understanding and thinking "me, too," many times. I felt the power inherent in sharing and listening from the heart. In both circles, women and girls were claiming, or in many cases, reclaiming, the powers that somehow had left them, that they had forgotten, that someone tried to take, or they gave up without even knowing: vulnerability, humor, anger, joy, honesty, courage, love. If those aren't superpowers, I'm not sure what are.

In preparation for the Saturday gathering, I created a paper weaving, bringing together strands of different colored paper- different sizes, colors, patterns, textures - along with ribbons, pieces of grass, a branch from my hydrangea, a feather, and other things. I wanted to represent connection - the interweaving of our world and our lives, the living and the past-living, the planned and unplanned - that happens sometimes in neat and tidy patterns, but more often unexpectedly, messily, and in ways that may feel like chaos in the moment. In retrospect, we can see can the beauty created in the intertwining; even the "ugly" is transformed in the process.

When I finished my project, I felt relaxed, joyful to have created something vibrant. "I need to do this more often," I thought.

Maybe that weaving is a symbol of my rainbow superpower - the power to bring beauty and connection into the world. I had forgotten I have this power. I had forgotten I have this power. I had forgotten.

I am remembering again.

Unlike Hazel, I think I might be old enough to control my superpower, but if I'm being honest, I'll admit that I don't want to exercise too much control. Maybe it's about channeling it, more than controlling it. But really, I want to be wildly unrestrained. Trying to reign in beauty, trying to manage how or when or where connections happen really only morphs those powers into something less than what they are. While perhaps there is merit in resting sometimes, exercising too much control over my rainbow power actually diminishes it. It is only in its use, it is only when I share it freely, that the power (not me, but the power) grows. And I want it to grow.

And you? What's your superpower?


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