Geeks Vs Loneliness: build your own superhero

A few words from Jane, on finding her own superhero...

Hey folks. Bear with me on this one. It might seem daft but just let’s embrace the super and go with it.

I have Supergirl hair today. My hairdresser gave me that bounce and shiny finish. To quote Eleanor Oliphant*, she made me shiny.

So I have the hair. Now look in the mirror. What do I want to be today? What self shall I place myself in before I face the world?

Close the door to the broken selves cupboard. Open the one next to it marked ‘pretty but never worn’. Throw everything on the bed, the floor, the ironing board. Fight with the armpits of several dresses that inexplicably try to become neck holes when you try them for size.

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Dress selected. Go for the one you rarely wear because ‘it’s for best’. Sod best – today is now and you can give yourself permission to wear what the hell you like. Even a cape.

Perhaps not a cape. As Edna says, only the bad guys wear capes (though you can be a criminal mastermind today if you want to be). Besides, there is only one cape worth wearing – and that belongs to Doctor Strange. It is a sentient being in its own right so…

What’s that? You want to wear the full-length black velvet opera cape that’s lurking in a bag under the bed? It might be nearly midsummer and velvet is sweltering but that’s the cape for you despite Edna’s warnings? Go swish that cape!

So you’re all frocked up with no place to go? Simple – where do you want to go? Your favourite coffee shop for a skinny cappuccino, no chocolate? The beach? Your own Fortress of Solitude? Wakanda? Then go. Whether it is real or imaginary, drop your objections, your guard and be where you want to be. Enjoy being there. Feel sand between your toes, the hot wind on your face. Let loose and just be. Or lose yourself in the perfect place in your perfect book.

I look in the mirror. I am goth doll and happy. Can you have a goth doll superhero? Well yes indeed. You can have superheroes of every creed, colour, religion or orientation. Can’t see yours yet? Then make it so. Picard it.

Still not satisfied? Something missing? You lost your Mjolnir along the way? I pick up my best fountain pen – my talisman of choice. Flourish it. Use it. Swish that cape!

Push yourself to write, to exist, to be who you want to be outside of conventions, of festivals, of the box. Even if it’s just an hour a week, a few hours, embrace the inner super. Look in the mirror. You’re channelling Jessica Jones with the weary drag of life curling on your lip? Well that’s fine – just try not to break your furniture. Or any heads.

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So you’ve built your superhero. Picked your tool and found your look (cape or no). Had fun doing what you actually want to do (though please don’t try flying without wings. Or listening to it).

Now look in the mirror. See yourself giving yourself permission to be. Congratulations – you see a superhero. You were there all along.

Thanks as always for reading and take care. And I really do have a black velvet opera cape.

*Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is a wonderful book that looks at how loneliness can affect a life.