‘How To Be A Superhero‘ is a short action tale written by me, but one with a deep personal meaning. As I’ve lived with chronic illness for almost two decades now, I am highly aware of how illness and disability are severely underrepresented in all types of media and popular culture, and in society in general.
One such popular culture genre, that of the superhero, has always been of interest to me. Not just because I love a bit of science fiction and modern fantasy, but also because of the social themes often attached to superhero stories.
As currently the superhero genre thrives on the big and small screen, I am seeing many young girls and boys walk around in their own superhero costumes and T-shirts, imagining one day they might become like one of their heroes.
While ours isn’t a society of actual advanced superhumans fighting evil, the concept of heroism is ancient. Don’t we all dream of a day where we are hallowed a hero? Be known for our strength, both physical and mental? For our heroics and our morality and for the good we do?
In the present day, where the superhero is so incredibly popular, since we can all use the idea of hope and good that emanates from the genre, there is one aspect I miss from it, and that is the point of view of the disabled person.
In comics, anyone can be a superhero, but for those dealing with illness or disability it often involves being cured.
But in real life it isn’t so easy. It isn’t for me, and it isn’t for many of my sick friends. Chronic illness is chronic for a reason: there is no known cure as of yet.
Which is where the idea for this story came from. Where do you fit when you can’t be cured and you see yourself as weak and a burden to your family, friends and society? These are feelings that come with being ill.
But with this story I am here to say: you are not weak and you are not a burden. In fact, you have strengths you don’t even realise you have and you have something to offer not everyone can. Your illness gives you a unique perspective on the world and on life.
For one, being chronically ill, I know firsthand about the power and importance of kindness. Kindness is a superpower often overlooked by society, but I know it can change and save lives. I hope to reflect that with ‘How To Be A Superhero‘.
In this time of marginalised groups taking centre stage, my greatest wish is that us disabled humans get to take up our space in society too. If we can’t do it out in public, because our lives are so often set at home, we can at least do it by creating our own space within popular culture.
Therefore I can only hope that this story is a start to you feeling you belong in this world, as the unique superhero that you already have within you!
Lots of love,