I can boast that I have several minor superpowers which include a remarkable ability to grow plaque on my teeth and a lesser ability to grow diverticula in my digestive system. Not everybody has these “Grow-Girl” powers, so I’m feeling pretty special.
Superpowers are perhaps just the tools we’ve been given to combat the challenges and fulfill the tasks, roles, jobs, and visions that are part of who we are and why we’re in this place and time. It’s all in how we define superpowers.
Most of the Marvel superheroes are conflicted about their superpowers. They use telepathic ability, controlling the weather, super-strength and durability, gamma powers, phasing, and optic blasts for the good of humankind. But there is always a downside to their highly coveted powers.
In a dream, I traded in a black garbage bag cape with yellow drawstrings, for a yellow jacket. Something was clarified for me in this dream. Another of my superpowers is cleaning up messes and sorting bureaucratic entanglements, though I’m not so happy about this “Garbage Girl” superpower persona.
It can be bad enough when people tell you what they’re thinking, let alone knowing what they don’t say out-loud. So, I’m not offended that I don’t have telepathic superpowers.
To know what someone is going through is not telepathy, it’s simple empathy. Empathy is a superpower that can be learned. When you’ve shown empathy toward someone and they reply that “you’ve read my mail,” doesn’t mean that you’ve read their mind. It simply means that you’ve observed a certain amount of human nature and inherently know what someone might be thinking, under certain circumstances.
Who would you trust to control the weather? When one neighbor loves summer and hates winter, and another friend loves winter and hates summer, do you want either of them controlling the weather? I’ve heard people say they love our Pennsylvania weather with its taste of all the weather systems at one time or another, but others can’t wait to get out of the state fast enough.
I think we could all do without technology once in a while, but we don’t really need gamma powers to jam the signals we all benefit from periodically. Which signals do you choose to jam and which to enhance? It’s a bit of a turn-off for someone else to control your use of technology.
If we all could phase through walls and pass through matter, we wouldn’t have exercised our muscles enough to stay healthy and alive. We’d all have to have the immortality superpower also, because otherwise we’d be too weak to function. And, really, forever?
Speaking of forever, I mean, Garbage Girl? Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you should have to do it all the time, for everybody. Can you say burn-out?
Standing here between Mother’s Day’s in Britain in March, and the U.S., in May, and reading Nikki Haley’s book, “If you want something done,” I’m impressed by the abilities and extraordinary powers of many women to get stuff done. Speaking of getting stuff done, Haley’s book title was borrowed from Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who originally said, “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”
Haley herself, former Ambassador to the UN and former Governor of South Carolina, now Presidential Candidate, collected in that concise book, the stories of some little-known women with superpowers. The first such woman that I recall was Claudette Colvin, the unknown and unsung teenage predecessor to the well-known Civil Rights pioneer, Rosa Parks.
Virginia Hall was a spy among spies for Britain and America, single-handedly saving numbers of human beings targeted for untimely death while literally hobbling over mountains with a heavy wooden prosthetic leg in the early 20th century. Nadia Murad endured unconscionable rape after rape, and went on to work tirelessly to prevent others from experiencing what she did. Murad wrote a hopeful and poignantly titled book, “The Last Girl,” which empowered her to conquer the most stinging and horrific memories of her ordeal. Subsequently she went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, among other awards, for her work.
These are women, a few of the millions, with superpowers that escape the lights, cameras, and action of celebrity media, although these are the few with merit, who should be celebrated. Let’s get our priorities straight, open our sleepy eyes and start celebrating the ordinary superpowers of our unsung neighbors.
I’m proud of you, the one next door to you and me, who has survived the unbelievable, the one nobody knows about, because she or he didn’t want to make a fuss or call attention to him/herself. Maybe what seem like superpowers at first glance are more simply, regular people doing what’s right and trying to make life better for somebody else. Maybe we’re doing what’s set before us in the only way we can, with what we’ve got.
How about we give a hearty cheer to all those using their superpowers to excess every day, and they’d just rather not. What do you say we celebrate the ordinary superpowers of the unsung whom we know and love, by giving them some sort of “applause-plause” for their extraordinary efforts in so many areas.