When You Need New Superheroes
Who is going to save me now?
I’m working on being my own woman.
But so much of who we start out to be is deeply rooted in the reflection of our parents. They set the standards. They project onto us their values, their fears, their doubts. They teach us how to navigate the world through their lens. They teach us how to stand on our own two feet, but at some point, there is so much more that we have to learn on our own.
Step by step, we begin to walk and at various turns, we are forced to evaluate those values. We meet new people and the way they do things are different. We then either acquiesce or we resist and default to what we feel is right, but it’s a constant challenge. The older we get, the more we understand our parents as people and not the superheroes we may have originally thought them to be. That challenges us even more. We then get to see so much of life is about choice and not the law that we believed it to be in our households.
Our parents they taught us to stand, to walk, but who will teach us how to fly?
That lesson seems to be one that comes much later. In the moments where we shed the skin of everything we were told to be and become everything we are. It’s with no angst for me, though I know the contrary might be true for others. But it’s with understanding that our parents are simply people. People who were figuring out what they believed and how to best protect the little people that they love fiercely. Until we are in those same shoes, we have no idea, no clue what we will impose on our own offspring that they will have to work to free themselves from.
So I feel like it’s a natural rhythm. That you are raised and then spend some time un-raising yourself. Exploring who you are outside of who you were told to be. Am I really a christian? Do I want to go to college? Am I actually more comfortable with modesty? We wonder and we test ourselves and push the boundaries as far as we can until we settle into a balance of who we were raised to be and who we want to be.
It’s scary out here on this limb. I am marching into uncharted territory. My parents were always my fallback. I knew that if nothing else, I could always go to them. They could always bail me out, they could always save me. But I’m reaching higher ground. Much higher than the scope of their powers. I am afraid now that if I fall, they won’t be able to catch me for some time. Probably enough for me to die in the air.
What happens there? What happened there? What’s happening to them as they flirt with the latter half of their lives? What happens when you feel like they’ve taught you all they can? Who is going to save me now?
I am learning to fly. Only experience could teach me that. Though I have had wings all along, it’s like discovering them for the first time. Finally being kicked out of the nest and flapping for dear life to avoid the impending doom of the hard ground.
We have to be gentle in the process too. Our parents are wonderful people and most want the best for us. They lay the foundation, but it’s up to us to soar. To become our own person, to find our own voice. Occasionally, those discoveries may even disappoint them. Our discovery of their lack of extraordinary disappoints us. But this your life. Will you be content with just standing, just walking, or do you want to fly?