I was going to start by writing a really short piece on Superman. In particular the story of how I once found a graffiti logo of Superman on a pier. Only this idea sort of spiraled into a much larger idea. Sometimes when a story spins out on its own it really just needs to be told. So here it is, my thoughts on Superman.
My love affair with Superman started when I was about eight or nine years old with The Adventures of Lois & Clark. Over the years I would watch all of the Superman movies and as a teenager be reintroduced to a new younger Superman with Smallville. My love of a lot of things started when I was a teenager. Namely, anything where the hero was a genuinely good person (or alien, I’m not judgy). I’d found out the hard way, time and time again that people weren’t always good. It was a lesson that started young and has taken many, many years to overcome.
Trust has never come easy for me. At the time, I needed to hold onto the hope that there might be genuinely good people in the world despite my interactions with the bad ones. That there were people who would stand up for the innocent and bring the bad guys to justice.
Enter Superman and all of his ethical possibilities. All of his good, with a personal sense of justice that matched my own, anthropomorphized for the world.
This incredibly attractive guy who genuinely cares about every single person regardless as to whether or not his consideration was deserved. He never hesitated to save the bad guy and always saw the good in people. Superman avoided killing anyone and on the off chance someone did die at his hands, he was beyond remorseful. There was something about what he represented, a plethora of hope, I couldn’t let go of. I was never sure I deserved to have genuinely good people in my life. As though, if I did, it would have happened already. While I couldn’t see it at the time, the good overshadowed by the bad, I did have good people in my life. But it was many years before I realized I deserved to have good people in my life. Accepting my own self-worth is a different story for a different time (and one I’ve touched on in the past).
In 2009 I accepted a job in a town where I didn’t know a single soul. I was excited to start a new life, where no one knew “Miranda” as the theatre kid, or the game store manager. Miranda would no longer be the girl who was picked on in school and never escaped her demons. Miranda would be someone no one knew. Miranda could be anyone she wanted to be. A person with a past no one needed to know. Funny side note, when I tell people about my past, it often starts here. At this moment. Because there’s a large part of me that was born in this decision. That’s the part of me I choose to hold onto and share.
New town, new life. I was working as a 911 Dispatcher so the irony of what I’m about to tell you does not escape me, however small and insignificant it felt at the time. Not knowing anyone started to take its toll. I was hanging out with co-workers once in a while but it wasn’t the same as making my own friends outside of the stresses that job held.
I started to take walks downtown. A small community, walking downtown meant running into other people. I actually met most of my friends at the local coffee shop. The downtown was only a little over a mile round trip. So I started to wander the beaches too and one day the pier. I was thumbing my fingers along the rail when I spotted it, a Superman logo. It wasn’t very good and was truly fading into oblivion. But I loved it.
My shifts changed to nights and I found myself walking the streets of downtown in the 0400 hour and thumbing Superman every time. One night, deciding I couldn’t make out the S as well as I used to, I dug out my keys and used my phone as lighting. In the hours before dawn, I carved out the background and did my little part to let the Superman Shield live on.
I did my part for the next six years. A labor of love.
There is something I find comforting to this day about this little piece of graffiti. I’ve been on top of the world and at my rock bottom thumbing this shield. It has represented hope and a future where good still existed in the moments where I couldn’t see past the ugly of now. I was visiting recently and found I could barely make out the logo anymore. There is a cruise ship which docks at that pier now and I didn’t feel right carving the shield with onlookers. I didn’t think they would understand.
I’ve gotten a lot of shit over the years about my love of Superman. I’ve heard rant after rant about how “perfect” he is and how other superheroes are more deserving of love. Well, shove off Batman fans. You won’t sway me, although many of you have valiantly tried. At the end of the day, my love of Superman as a whole is embedded in the kind of person he is and wants to be. His character. He represents more than the house of El. He represents hope and kindness and standing up for what is right when it’s easier to turn your back. I’ll take a bit more of that in my life any day of the week.