Put On Your Batgirl Panties

Have you done anything this week that really matters?

Before you answer that consider this: someone out there saved a rhino, someone preserved a dying language; someone met the president; someone had a baby.

Ready to answer now? Maybe you should mull it over while I tell you about the things other people did that really mattered in my world this week.

Someone smiled at me in traffic when I was frustrated to the point of tears. Someone at work made me smile when my day was playing out like the Itchy and Scratchy Show. Two somebodies shared a vision with me that restored my faith in a community I care about. My partner made me cappuccino with glitter on. And my son snuggled with me even though it meant taking time away from his X-Box Live buddy SpyGaz, who he believes is a 12 year old boy from Switzerland and who is therefor most likely a 52 year old peeping tom with flatulence.

I think you’re better equipped to answer that question now, don’t you?

Wake up and smell the bubble gum

There was a time in our lives when we never needed to be reminded about what really mattered. Back when tying our shoelaces was a superhuman feat and learning to blow chewing gum bubbles put you on a pedestal so high only the kids who’d finally figured out yoyos and hula hoops had any hope of joining you there.

Back then we knew instinctively that a wilted flower yanked from a crack in the pavement and given with love was a precious and cherished gift that would live forever in someone’s favourite book. We knew that when we laughed the people who loved us laughed too and we did it as often and as loudly as we could. Without thinking about it we understood the happiness we gave when we shared our juice bottle and the hurt we eased by letting someone else hug our favourite bear.

Back then we I knew a hug could fix hurts and heal hearts and I felt like a superhero just because I knew how to give them.

Blame it on Mr Miyagi

But then at some point we all learned that, like the Invisible Man, the world doesn’t see us unless we find a way to shine. We learned that the only things that really matter in the world are the ones other people can measure and compare. We learned that if someone doesn’t tell us we matter then we don’t.

So we work hard, we wax on and wax off hoping someone will recognise our effort, see our worth, tell us we’re special. We do it day after day, year after year, and eventually we find ourselves in adulthood in a world that doesn’t care how hard we’ve worked; it only cares whether or not that work has put us on a podium or platform or pedestal. It doesn’t care how far we’ve come but only how far behind everyone else we are.

And here we are, all of us, wanting to be winners but feeling like losers a lot of the time because everyone around us seems to have mastered the Art of Happiness, the Secret to Success, the Lessons of Love.

Somehow everyone else just seems to shine while we scurry along in the gathering darkness hoping that if we keep polishing away at our rough bits that somehow, sometime we’ll shine.

Put me in spandex and call me Batgirl

You know what we’ve forgotten during all these years spent growing up?  We’ve forgotten that we don’t need to be the brightest star in the sky to light up someone’s world.

I’m realising more and more that there really are superheroes out there. Not the kind who live in a world where Victoria has no Secrets. I mean the wonder women and super men who do the small things that make a difference even if their only superpower is using X-ray vision to see through someone’s smiling façade to a heart that needs a little extra TLC.

Yup, I’m going to be that person today! I’m going to put on my Batgirl panties (feel free to substitute with Batman boxers unless you’re one of the Village People) and I’m going to “practice random acts of kindness and senseless beauty”. Why? Because when I do the things that matter then I matter; and that’s what really matters, right?