Even superheroes, no matter how powerful they are, have a vulnerable side. Superman had Kryptonite while the Hulk had major control issues, morphing into his green self at inopportune moments. It seems that we like to keep the most powerful characters we invent just a bit vulnerable to preserve their humanity. (I'm still waiting for a superhero who has to catheterize, but I bet he/she would really have to muster up some wild superpowers.)
We still have a love/hate affair with vulnerability. I see it a lot in my work with disabled people. We use fancy words like "socially inappropriate" when a young man with Down syndrome hugs someone. Why? Because we shy away from seeing vulnerability, whether it's physical, emotional or social.
It seems to embarrass us sometimes. When I sip soup through a straw because holding a spoon isn't a happening thing for me physically, eyes avert except for a five year old who announces that I'm "eating my soup wrong because I'm slurping and tapping the straw". We have an engaging conversation about how his grandfather taps his cigar and he tells me "Well he has just one lung" before his father whisks him away. Inappropriate. Too vulnerable.
And I picture, for a moment, a superhero whose hands won't hold a spoon. He could sip his soup through a straw by day as long as by night he donned his cape and flew over tall buildings. He'd have to compensate by having a dual nature that made up for his vulnerable side. Like Clark Kent is acceptable because we all know he can turn into Superman, the soup sipping superhero needs an alter ego.
I'm rather weary of buying into this scenario. There have been times over the years when I'd exit a soup sipping scenario only to find myself trying to do some superhuman feat. Usually things would not bode well, being a quad. There were private tumbles to earth as I alternated between the love/hate flip sides of the physical vulnerability my disability carries.
And I'm tired of doing that. I think my love/hate affair with vulnerability has ended. It's run its course. I can accept that I'm human and vulnerable. It's okay. I don't expect everyone else to be on board with me because we're surrounded by this sort of thing.
Human. DIsabled. Vulnerable. Perfectly acceptable in my imperfection.
How's that for a concept?