Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Superhero is born!

For awhile, the books were my escape...the place I would go in my loneliness to find something I was looking for. Book after book, I would seek, but whatever it was, it still seemed so far off. As the years began to pass by, I began to change. It was that time...a time I think we all look forward to, yet dread at the same time. It's when our bodies begin to change in ways that we don't understand, and in some ways, we don't like.

Like many boys my age, I was curious about my body as it began to change. Things start to get larger and hair started to grow in places it didn't exist as anything other than fine gossamer threads. Although I had friends who were girls in elementary school, I began to look at them differently. They looked...different, and very nice. As I entered junior high school, I began to have my first real crushes on girls, and it brought something out in my heart that I really didn't even know existed...a yearning to really love someone-and be loved in return.

I remember an occasion during that time when I was at our "other place", Green Acres. It was a small farm my parents had purchased across the railroad tracks from our dairy. As kids, we would play and explore there often. It was at the foot of our "Mountain" where we spent countless hours and summers playing as children. But on this occasion, something was birthed within me. A superhero.

As a child reading, we would often have many comic books around. It was one of the ways our parents would keep us quiet and still on our many Sunday drives. A quick stop at the store and a handful of comic books were tossed into the back seat. I remember most of them as the Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge, or Little Lotta or the like. But occasionally, we also got a Batman and Robin or a Superman. On TV, we would sometimes watch the Batman and Robin serial in the afternoons. And like many kids, I wanted to be something special like those superheroes. So, I created on in my own mind.

I became..."Loverboy!" As I think back on it today, it seems so corny. And it was. But I realize something today that I never realized then, and actually not even until very recently. As "Loverboy", I wanted to love and be loved. It was missing from my life. There was a great emptiness in my heart. Any love that may have been in my life wasn't penetrating the scars that were in my chest...on my heart. So, like the books I had immersed myself into for the previous two years, I developed a fantasy person. A person who would be loved by everyone he came into contact with, and who would love them back. I remember a time, sitting on a fence rail, a sheet or towel wrapped around my neck, draping behind me, thinking that I was truly that superhero. That I could make anyone love me...and that I could love everyone else.

But reality has a harsh way of invading our fantasies, and junior high for most kids is a harsh reality. The girls that I developed crushes on didn't return the affection. For the most part, they laughed...or ignored. With each rejection, it became more difficult to reach out to the next girl. I became more and more shy and reserved. I found it less painful to live in my fantasies than it was to face the reality of life as a thirteen year old. I know I'm not alone in this journey. There are countless boys and girls, men and women, who walked the same painful hallways that I did. Some may not have become a superhero in their own mind...they coped with the rejection in some other way. Some more destructive than others. But for me, that superhero was my refuge, until I discovered a different way of escape...a way that would control me in a way for the next 35 years.

1 comment:

Deb said...

This is so sad. And so powerful. The only way you knew to get the love that should have been yours without asking.

I can see you in your cape, with your dark hair, blue eyes and clear skin out to fill the world with love.

This writing is one way to do that. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm with you. I love you.