By Christy Lipke
Superheroes are enticing.
They have cool powers, battle evil and they save the world again and again. When life is stressful and large obstacles lay in our pat or when the world seems crazy and it feels like we have to fight against that craziness, it’s easy to paint ourselves as the superhero or at least the hero of “Our Story.” It’s us against the forces of evil or the tidal wave of past due bills. We have to summon our strength, grab our proverbial weapons and armor and fight!
Those of us who read comic books (of which I am one) will recognize a pattern in them.
Beyond the punches, the heat vision and the invisible jets, is the Wheel—the never ending cycle of crisis. Indeed, entire series have “Crisis” in their titles: Final Crisis, Heroes in Crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Crisis of Infinite Jerks (No, I did not make that last one up, it’s an actual title).
Superheroes and the worlds they live in exist in a state of perpetual crisis. They never break the Wheel.
When Batman puts Joker, Two Face or Ivy in Arkham Asylum, the guards may as well open up the front door and let them back out. It would save a lot time and needless violence. Bruce Wayne won’t have time to finish the ham sandwich Alfred left him in the fridge before one of the enemies he just defeated is yet again threatening to destroy Gotham.
When Superman hands Lex Luthor over to the police, he knows he will make bail in time to poison Clark’s morning joe with kryptonite coffee grounds. When Wonder Woman imprisons Ares, she’s pretty certain the spell on the magic chains holding him was purchased at Themyscira’s Demigod Discount, but what can she do?
The world of comics is the way it is because without the never ending struggle things would get boring fast.
No one would read a story titled, Laundry Day for the Lantern Corps. So like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, Batman too lives out the same 24 hours over and over. Same crap, different day. When we start to see ourselves as the hero in our own story, we too live out the same day over and over. We begin to see a never ending sea of crises. We manage to pay one bill but then a new one shows up. We fight to remove one elected official from office but, “Great Scott! There’s another evil doer on the horizon!”
It’s not that we shouldn’t pay our bills or try to remove elected officials we disagree with, it’s that we shouldn’t do so while turning it into “Our Story.”
Unlike superheroes, we have the power to break the Wheel. We don’t have to go round and round forever like they do. The crises can stop. We have a power they don’t. We have the power to step back and observe what is going on from the perspective of an uninvolved onlooker and make our decisions from the rational point of view that gives us.
We make better choices when we aren’t caught up in the struggle, and when we aren’t mentally sending ourselves off to war each day and envisioning the people we disagree with as evil enemies.
By not getting caught up in the drama of “Our Story” we can break the Wheel and live in peace. We don’t have to be a hero. It seems a better option than wearing a spandex suit under our clothes every day and wondering where to change now that phone booths are a thing of the past.
Learn from the mistakes of superheroes but don’t try to be them. Make calm, rational decisions that lead to the Wheels breakage. Don’t use your heat vision to weld steel reinforcements to it.
That’s my opinion anyway. Now it’s time to clean out my attic and get rid of all those Baterangs.
Christy Lipke is a Comic book loving, cancer surviving, spiritual seeker who also happens to be transgender
Editor: Dana Gornall
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