Are there real-life superheroes?

There’s a particularly interesting scene in most superhero movies.

No, I am not talking about the moment when the villain is defeated. Nor of the part when the main character and his love interest share a heart-warming kiss before he goes off to put his own life in danger, all in the name of justice. Those are all great scenes, though.

But there is this sequence, usually at the beginning of the movie, which captured my interest. It is when the superhero is not yet…a superhero. He is merely an outcast, having almost no friends and nobody else who seems to share his interests. He has some idea of his powers but refuses to understand them or use them because he does not want to be different. He wishes to be normal, yet his attempts are always failures, and in that scene, you can see he is truly mortified at the idea that he could never be “normal.”

However, that is just a movie. The audience smiles when they witness his inner emotional struggle because they know he will become a superhero. Nobody wants to be normal when they could be superheroes. But he has no clue…

I find myself thinking of this scene more and more lately. I am doing it while curled up in bed with the blanket over my head. I am not sure whether I am just trying to get warm or hide. But there is no one at home; they are all at the party. The party I had left early because…I…

“I am tired.”

“I have to wake up early tomorrow.”

“I have a project due for school and really should get started with my work.”

Pick one. I can come up with 10 more, no problem.

It’s strange, maybe even pathetic, I know. I am in college. Most people my age are out there drinking and having fun, and I am hiding from them, pulling the covers over my face.

Why did I not stay at the party?

I don’t know. Seriously. I like most of those people. I see them every day, and I talk to them. But there is something about the idea of many people gathered in a small place with their voices drowned out by loud music that gives me nightmares.

I am an introvert. There. I said it. Unfortunately, it took me a very long time to accept it. I was the only child in a very extroverted family. Naturally, wanting me to succeed in this world, my parents pushed me to be more outgoing and talkative. And I have tried hard to be those things. Two years ago, I would have never accepted the idea that I was an introvert. I was determined to be a successful person, and introverts cannot be such things, or at least not in a society ruled by the idea that he who raises his voice the loudest is the one that people shall listen to.

I spent years trying my best to be something I was not because I was told that this was the only way I should be, nothing else was acceptable. I failed miserably every time. We can lie to ourselves all we want, but we cannot hide from our true natures forever.

Then, one day after many, many failed attempts, I gave up hope. I decided that I might as well hide in my room and have as few contacts with the outside world as possible. Those moments were really some of the worst and most depressing in my entire life. Realizing that I put so much time and effort into trying to be something that I could not be made me feel like the biggest failure. I felt empty inside.

Fortunately, I had friends—few of them, but I feel extremely grateful that they were and are a part of my life. One of them told me about this book called Quiet. I bought it as soon as I could and read it in one night. It was as if I had seen the light at the end of the tunnel—a very long, dark, and exhausting tunnel. For the first time in my life I felt like maybe I was not so weird. Or maybe I was. But it did not matter. You see, Quiet not only helped me understand why I had those “flaws” (that I did not enjoy parties or hated group projects) but it also, most importantly, showed me that I had wonderful qualities as well—qualities I had overlooked in the past years while being preoccupied with proving myself to be a great social person. But I realized I actually am a great social person with a small group of people who share a few of my interests.

I am not chatty; I can be overly sensitive; and sometimes, my mind drifts into its own world. But I am a thinker; I have good grades; I am full of empathy and desire to help others; and most importantly, I am creative. My mind is truly colorful and vibrant, and I wish to share it with the world.

I like to think that those are my super powers.

Yet, sometimes I forget. Sometimes, I cover myself with a blanket to hide from the shame caused by the fact that I left a party early. I like to think of this as my own superhero scene. Somewhere, the audience is smiling because they know that I will change the world with my powers. But I have yet to discover all of them or how to use them. I am just at the beginning.

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