Back in my high school days I was a bit of a goth. I wore lots of vintage clothes—black and velvet, naturally—and I even had a black wool cape that I wore on chilly days in place of a jacket. If I had a superpower back then, it seemed to me to be a unique talent for antagonizing my fellow high school students. Yet despite my performative disdain for my classmates, I somehow managed to retain the nickname that had been following me for years: “Mighty Mouse.”
I’m not particularly mousey, rather it was my willingness to stand up against the school bullies that earned me the nickname. I couldn’t bear to see another child, especially someone who was smaller, or disadvantaged because of a physical or mental disability, picked on by a bully, and so I frequently stepped in to intervene. Or at the very least I tried to befriend the child who had become a target, and offer them friendship and compassion, if not protection.
If I have any “superpower” that has been honed as a result of dealing with chronic illness (apart from my supernatural ability to argue with insurance companies…), it has been this sense of compassion, and desire for justice and human dignity. Certainly I can be as misanthropic as the next person, especially when I see people behaving in negative or destructive ways. But like the quote I posted yesterday, being ill has taught me to accept that we all have our battles, and that just because pain is relative doesn’t mean that it’s any less disabling or terrible for someone else.