It's not always about being funny.

I would rather be Superman than Clark Kent

“You don’t seem like a real person.”

Sometimes truth is spouted by unlikely sources. In this case, the fountain of wisdom in question was a beautiful, moon-faced child of twenty, wearing little more than a garter belt and black lace thong, talking to me as I hoisted a drink to my fellow dregs of society patronizing the local lieu de perdition.

“I don’t think you’re real.”

The second time it happened, it came from a Boston comedian who had been crashing at my house for a week while he performed locally. Nothing extraordinary happened while he was here, yet my normal daily activitities merited this comment.

Am I real?

I know I’m an odd mixture of introvert and extravert. I revel in the happenings of the world, but only if I’m contributing to them or observing them. I have no interest in merely participating.

I don’t want to receive gifts. Let me, though, give gifts to you and leave before you open them.

I don’t want to make small talk. I just want to entertain you and exit on a finale.

I avoid traditions. They exist to comfort people who need them.

Why do I need to always do something unexpected? If you think I’ll be pleasant, I’ll be sarcastic. If you’re worried that I’ll be ribald, I’ll be chaste.

I don’t need you to solve my problems, but I’d love to be the one who can solve yours.

I relish the truth and the chance to be vulnerable, but don’t waste your sympathy or concern.

I’d rather be Superman than Clark Kent.

What does it mean to be real? I’m honest and open, often shamelessly so. I support and love those around me, even to an extent that might be harmful for me. I’m present in the lives of many. So why did their statements hit home so well?

I don’t put on a front or a facade, and I’m not insincere.

But it did resonate.

Maybe I try to be everywhere, so I’m never actually anywhere.

And during Christmas, more than any time of year, I feel this urge to disappear. Everyone already has warmth and hope and presents. Nobody needs me. Maybe they want me there, but they don’t need me. If I’m not needed – whether I’m someone who can listen, or support, or entertain, or do literally anything other than just exist, why should I be there?

Maybe this rang so true because unless I’m creating something that’s being mentioned or appreciated or shared or liked or enjoyed, I feel ephemeral. Those are the only times when I truly feel real, so it shouldn’t surprise me that I might not seem real to others.

What makes you feel real? 

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3 Replies to “I would rather be Superman than Clark Kent”

  1. Amy

    I feel real when I’m making something out of nothing, be it crocheting a blanket from just strings of yarn or putting words out there that weren’t there before in the attempt to tell a new story.
    And, I know I don’t know you IRL, but I’ve internet known you and known of you for years and I can think of no one realer.

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