What Makes You Feel Like A Superhero?

“You’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust me.”

– Superman


We all have days when we wake up and feel just ‘blah’ (translation = like absolute sh!t).

I guess you could say it’s a natural part of the roller coaster ride that is life.

But for those of us who live with chronic illness, the scales can be more heavily weighted in favour of ‘blah’ territory.

Everyday has the potential to be ‘blah’ on a mega level.

It’s not like a broken leg, where you are laid up for around 8 weeks, and then you get better.

It’s not like when you come down with a bad case of the flu (I hear man-flu is off-the-charts bad!), and you feel pretty crappy for a week or two, and then you get better.

Chronic illness is a completely different kettle of fish. 

We don’t have the luxury of just resting and it will get better, because by the very nature of the word ‘chronic,’ there is no clear end point in sight.

So how does one lift on the ‘blah’ days?

By doing something that makes us feel like a superhero.

For decades we have found comfort and hope in superheroes.

Superheroes are a form of escapism, a means to focus our attention on something other than the immediate pain, suffering or problems that are right there in front of us.

No matter how insurmountable the odds may seem, superheroes always manage to rise above the circumstances – they kick butt! – and come out on top.

But Bree, I hear you say, we aren’t like superheroes.

We don’t always come out on top, no matter how hard we may fight to push our way through.

So how can we possibly relate to these mythical beings who always find a way to win, when it’s not always attainable for us?

It’s simple, really:

“You can’t relate to a superhero, to a superman, but you can identify with a real man who in times of crisis draws forth some extraordinary quality from within himself and triumphs, but only after a struggle.”

– Timothy Dalton

Superheroes all have problems that we can identify with; (oftentimes) painful back-stories, challenges and experiences that have shaped them into the people they are today.

Look at the X-Men: The mutations displayed so prominently in the series could be regarded as disabilities, both visible (e.g. Mystique) and invisible (e.g. the telepathic abilities of Professor X), as they are generic differences which society treats as deviation from the norm.

The characters have well-documented struggles with acceptance, body image, discrimination, physical pain from transformations (e.g. Wolverine)…the list goes on.

All very real, everyday issues that many of us can relate to.

Superheroes embody the idea that what makes us different is actually what gives us our super powers.

No wonder we like them!

I recently put a call out on social media where I asked the question, “What makes you feel empowered, wonderful and superhero-esque when you wake up feeling less so?”

The floodgates opened! Here are some of the awesome responses:

Maree Talidu: “Praying. Music. I have specific playlists for certain moods and situations. And finally, this is going to sound vain and vacuous, but eyeliner. I guess it’s like my war paint. If I’m wearing eyeliner, it meant I woke up struggling but as soon as I apply it I feel like I can face the world.”

Helen Edwards, Recycled Interiors: “Taking time in nature, music, my family, exercise and writing.”

Rachel Cox, The Chronicles of Rach: “When things are really awful, I listen to music. It is sometimes the only thing I can manage. Its transporting soul food that fills me with moments of times I’ve had, or ideas for writing when I’m feeling better. Yeah, music. It has pulled me through more than once.”

Michelle Roger, Living with Bob (Dysautonomia): “Writing is my outlet and my therapy of choice. Also my dog, Freyja. Her warm, furry head in my hand and sitting outside rubbing my feet on the grass, small things but they work.”

Kelly Owens, A Jumble of Things: “When I was a kid with Crohn’s, I was stuck home from school a lot – and on those days, I’d dress up in my sister’s prom dresses and lay on the couch – feeling slightly better knowing that if I had to feel like sh!t, at least I could look like a princess doing it.”

And Me? “Superhero Starbrite comes out to play! On goes the make-up – the fur-baby thinks I look pretty(!) – and I bop out to the song “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down. Oh yeah, you know it!

If I’m feeling really crazy I dig out one of my few remaining pairs of high heels – those coveted pairs I just can’t bear to part with – and admire my endless legs from my prone position on the couch.”

It’s about finding those simple pleasures.

To use the tools that work best for us as individuals and lift us up.

If that means donning a cape and leaping across all the furniture in your house yelling, “I’m Batman!” then go for it.

If that means applying your fight-face (aka make-up) because it lights a happy fire in you, then go for it.

If that means wearing a camel-coloured coat from the movie ‘Our Brand Is In Crisis,’ on the days when you need a superhero pick-me-up, like Sandra Bullock, then go for it.

Release the powers that are already there; tap into that which works for you.

Be your own superhero.

What do you do to feel like a superhero when you need a bit of a lift? Comment below!

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Feature Image Credit: Pixabay

All photos and content the property of Starbrite Warrior and Bree Hogan. Not to be reproduced without permission.

46 Replies to “What Makes You Feel Like A Superhero?”

  1. Wow! This is so powerful! I’ve never thought of getting out of a blah day as being like a superhero. In fact, I usually just wallow in my misery… But I’m gonna try these superhero powers things. I think mine would be cuddling with my husband and dog. Or listening to music.

    1. I love Kelly’s prom dress story too, Theresa, especially the part where she says “..knowing that if I had to feel like sh!t, at least I could look like a princess doing it.” Absolute gold! Dressing up is fun and a definite mood-lifter 🙂

  2. I absolutely love this! I’ve been a comic book nerd my entire life and I am so inspired by this and the knowledge others appreciate and find themselves in such characters and ideas

  3. I have a chronic autoimmune condition, and for a long time, I felt embarrassed about it so I tried to deny and hide the fact that I was sick, and it was pretty easy to do because there are no visible signs of it. I LOVE your comparison to X-Men! Have you ever seen the movie Unbreakable? In a way, it’s all about this idea, too. Great post!

    1. I hear ya Brittany, I know some people find it hard to believe that something so chronic can be largely hidden, but it is definitely true with invisible illness. We become masters at wearing different masks and just getting on with stuff.

      I haven’t seen Unbreakable, but I just went and read the synopsis on IMDB. It looks very interesting, I think I shall have to get in some couch time this weekend to watch it. Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  4. I try to force myself to move. Exercise combats my arthritis. If I can’t handle it though, going to the gun range, Music, and coffee help. Anything I can do that’s bad ass too- an amazing photo, kicking ass on a project…confidence boosters!

    1. I love your ‘anything bad-ass!’ attitude Lisa! Just thinking about bad-ass things to do would give me a boost! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. I know it sounds silly, but listening to Pitbull while running on the treadmill makes me feel like super woman. I am by no means an athlete–too many extra pounds and stretch marks from having two babies–but it makes me feel great!

    1. Wowsers, Rhi, I wish I (well actually, my husband, as he does the cleaning!) had your level of enthusiasm for housework! I’m impressed! 🙂

  6. I wrote down a list of things that make me feel happy like dancing, singing, passing time with friend … And I try to do it everyday.
    I think that the most important thing is to do what you love !

  7. Bree,
    This is a great post. As someone in recovery, I too have an “illness” that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. When I fall into a place where I start to feel bad for myself and my lot in life…I need reminders like this. Thanks!

  8. I don’t necessarily feel like a superhero, but spending time with my dogs always cheers me up. I know I’m their favorite because I feed them more than anyone else does, but I like to think it is more personal than that.

    1. Lol, it’s always the hand that feeds with pets, isn’t it Beth? But you’re right, it’s also something more than that, although being the primary food-person certainly doesn’t hurt! Pets are an awesome source of ‘cheer-me-up.’

    1. I hear ya, Emily, Kelly’s response had me giggling away and nodding my head in agreement, loved it! I can see how yoga would be a great pick-me-up – ‘Warrior’ pose has gotta have a person starting to think/feel/act like a superhero! 🙂

  9. Since I have had issues with my self-confidence and am now working with a life coach, this issue has been the topic of conversation lately.

    My daughter’s faith in me is the one thing that makes feel like I can do anything. When she heard this, she and my granddaughter both wrote me notes saying they believe in me and put it by my desk.

    Move over SuperGirl, there is a new hero in town.

    1. What a lovely, empowering gesture from your daughter and granddaughter, Susan. I can definitely see how those notes would be a constant source of ‘lift’ throughout your day, love it! Superhero Susan has an awesome ring to it, methinks! 🙂

  10. This is a great post. Superheroes come in all forms and we can all be a superhero.

    We’ve banned the topic of Thor in our home. My 14-year-old son seems to think it’s okay to talk about the possibility of Thor being killed off.

    1. OMG(!) your son needs a good talking to, Wendy! Killing off Thor – oh the shame! I love Thor, especially with Chris Hemsworth at the helm!

  11. Love this post! Love that you’ve got so many people involved in the post.

    It is interesting how various little things can improve someones overall mood!

    1. Thanks so much Chris. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and reading little snippets from what other people do to help give themselves a lift.

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