When I was five I was Batman for Halloween. I remember the costume- the plastic mask, the polyester jumpsuit, the cape. I was obsessed with the show, and at 4:30 I would race to the tv to follow the story of Batman and Robin, and watch them save the world. I loved Wayne Manor, especially the Batcave. I wanted to be a superhero- to fight for those who could not stand up for themselves, to make the world a better place. And the accommodations weren’t too shabby. Those were the dreams of a young suburban girl. I wanted to take on the world.
As I got older, things changed. Life got hard, often a struggle just to keep up. I was in a marriage that I didn’t have the strength to get out of, a job that was monetarily fulfilling buy soul sucking. I felt trapped and alone and afraid – the exact opposite of a superhero- I was Unbatman. The world around me was a mess- financial crisis, war, poverty, sickness, homelessness- and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it- about anything. Everywhere I turned- the situation seemed hopeless, and I was powerless. This was not how the five year old me envisioned life. Maybe I had the Batmobile, but I sure didn’t have anything else. This was the reality of a 30 year woman. I wanted to crawl into a cave.
Time passed, and I got older. I’m in a better marriage and I ditched the job for something less lucrative but more fulfilling. My building may have views of Gotham, but my apartment more closely resembles Alfred’s quarters. Life is still hard- I face personal challenges, as does my family. The world- well, you know. But I’ve changed my perspective. I have come to realize that I can’t save the world, but maybe I can make one persons day a little better- check on a neighbor who is ill and pick up some groceries, buy a meal for the person sitting on the corner, donate books to a shelter, volunteer my time. As a parent I can try to raise my daughter to be a good person, a productive member of society. Maybe the ability to do something good is the real superpower. Maybe we’re all superheroes, capable of saving the world one small deed at a time.
I don’t wear a plastic mask anymore, just a make-up one. My cape has been replaced by a giant scarf. (But I do wear all black, so I’m sort of a dark knight…..) And I trying to be a better person, and better the lives of those around me. This is the dream of a middle aged woman.
Dedicated to Adam West, who will always be my favorite Batman.