September 24, 2009 at 11:01 am (gynomite's emotional assignment of the day) (childhood trauma, comic books, gynomite's emotional assignment of the day, not dwelling in the past, rough childhood, staying positive, super heroes)
Figure out your origin story.
I have a friend who is really into comic books and also happens to have had a rough childhood. He told me that he likes to think about himself as a superhero, and as all superheroes do, the things he’s been through are just part of what makes him such a badass superhero.
I love this.
And it’s true: when we experience trauma, we often whine about it in bars to other people and use it as the reason we’re not successful, but when comic book folk experience trauma, they use all that pain to become complete and total badasses.
Daredevil was blinded by radiation and became a crime-fighting lawyer. Spiderman, Batman, and Superman are all orphans, but you don’t see them drinking too much and not connecting with women (well, the relationship thing may still be an issue).
And yes, these are fictional characters, but I really love the idea that instead of using your struggles as an explanation for your shortcomings, your struggles become the reason you are so fucking awesome. You take shitty things and go from being a victim to them to being a master of them. And I can’t applaud this guy enough for seeing himself in this way.
So today, I invite you to write your own origin story. What shitty things have you been through, and what magical powers have those experiences given you in return? Were you treated like shit by your stepdad? Did you have an older brother that outshone you in every way? Were you cheated on spectacularly?
How have you grown from them? What have you learned?
I actually did this today, and although I’m a huge supporter of making lemonade out of shitty past trauma lemons, I’d never quite thought of things like this, and it was really eye-opening. Give it a try, and if you want to discuss it further, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!