When I was about 4, I got the present I had dreamed of – Wonder Woman Underoos. My parents have a picture – which my mom added to MY Album, the one she showed to every man who came to the house with me in mind – of me standing, hands on hips, Wonder Woman underoos gold and shiny from the package. I was so proud.
Today, as I watched this great TED talk from spoken word poet Sarah Kay, I was reminded of my underoos and why I wanted them. I didn’t really care about the actual outfit (boostiers have never really been my thing), and the Lasso of Truth? BORING! Nope, what I wanted were those cuff bracelets that could deflect bullets and the invisible jet. In other words, I didn’t want the things that would compel me to action – i.e. the Lasso required that I confront someone – what I really wanted was the things that would keep me safe, so safe in fact that people couldn’t even see me.
I really wanted to be invisible.
I lived my life this way for a long time . . . I was the girl in high school who knew everyone, who knew everyone’s secrets, and who was never – not once – invited to that big party at the Lake. I don’t think it was because people didn’t want me there (although of course it could have been that); instead, I think it was more that they didn’t even think to invite me. I was pretty much invisible. I was a receptacle for stories, not someone with a story myself.
For a long time I liked this.
Until I didn’t. Somewhere in college at a school where I found the people who are still, 20 years later, still my closest, most real friends, I also found my skin, the skin that actually surrounded me and let me stand out instead of that chameleon’s skin I had been wearing. I couldn’t really tell you when it happened; it might have even started the first day of school when I walked onto that Christian college campus in my cut-off jeans, Escher t-shirt, boy-short hair, and kick-ass, plaid Chuck Taylors. The fact that I can remember that outfit tells me that I had something to say that day. . . maybe that was the start.
Later, Helen Walker would tell me that my way with words was really amazing, and she would ask me to help other people with theirs. Still later, Ted Gup would tell me that I should do this writing thing, that I was good at it. . .
I wasn’t invisible anymore.
Still at times I want to hide. Some days – when the aches in my soul threaten to crack me apart, when the words of someone who doesn’t really see me slice open my wrists where my Wonder Woman bracelets used to be – I beg God to send the invisible jet and let me hide for a bit.
But most days, instead of crossing my cuffed arms in front of me to deflect bullets, I like, Sarah Kay, lower my arms, open my palms up and wait for the earth and sky to fall into them as I grasp every single thing that I can. I am still a receptacle for other people’s stories (a fact that I love), but I am also my own stories, and I won’t want to fly away and miss a single one of them.
Today,I lash that Lasso of Truth to my waist, and with hands on hips confront those stories that can see me – gold and shiny and ready to take them on.
Incidentally, if you would like to relive your childhood years with Linda Carter and the Super Friends, this page on Wonder Woman is quite the time warp.