Being the first one there is like being the last one left, and they always say, “Turn the light off when you leave.” I’m starting to think that maybe I was never meant to be a super-hero. My life is like an automatic transmission, it’s shifting without me really knowing what’s going on. And I’m not as sharp as I used to be, not quite as quick, I don’t feel as tall as I once did, and I don’t know exactly what to say anymore to people when they ask me what I do.
It’s always about doing the best that we can do, but there are times when the best we can do is only one of two things, like we were chasing the lesser of two evils. Where some days fall like a deaf song to a blind seamstress and in the time it takes to take a risk and try abandoning the norm, I found that finding myself was like finding a tear drop left out in a rainstorm where the mixing decay of a thousand dirty days just washes down the street.
Some days it feels like the sun only rose to catch me in its high beams. Some days it feels like the newspapers were only invented to save the messengers life and I keep shooting myself in the foot. Maybe I just need to see a little more clearly, a little more openly in the directions that hide in my blind spots, pointing them out like voices out loud saying, “I want to explore.” I want my life to be an answer to why I used to crawl through forests pretending they were jungles and hoping it would rain, because I’ve never been able to find enough adventure to fill the gap in my life between reality and fiction. Between a busy week and the weekend, because I’ve already started noticing myself slipping and forgetting to keep the promises I made to myself when I was a kid. Like have a job that saved lives, own a bank, be an international art thief, and marry my grade 8 french teacher.
I want to treat safety nets like training wheels, believing they were only put in place to be removed and soar off jumps that drop jaws like at any moment, I might actually grow some wings I know that I’ve never been the best at what I’ve done, but I’ve always crossed the finish line with time to spare, even when it felt like the finish lines were made of fishing lines woven like a spider web created just to catch me, but maybe that’s just me, that guy who’s stagger looks like swagger, who’s only ever won by accident, or default. It’s like I tripped over the finish line and shot right passed you.
I never wanted to be perfect, just spit-polished enough that I might one day reflect a moment of sunlight bright enough to blind people with the flash of what I am sometimes capable of. I’ve been the last one in the room, like being the last one picked for the team. Maybe the last one left in the room was never meant to turn the light off, but instead leave the door open for those who always seem to arrive a little too late, those who’ve only learned to dream by sleeping in shifts, by taking turns on tattered beds that’ve held too many strangers and not enough lovers.
I like to think that maybe I was always meant to be a super-hero, and my special powers were found in the way that I can say anything, my hands can grow food and build a fucking house, my feet rise like the fists of friends when they move forward. But I still dance in secret and I only sing in the shower, because sometimes, in the darkest corners of our imagination, the demons of our pasts carry machine-guns that fire hand-grenades dipped in acid, and it feels like they were the ones waiting for us, hunting us, but maybe sometimes it’s the other way around.
Maybe in the mirror, I just need to look a little closer, see the monkey on my back for what it really is and retract the distance between me and that glass, peering into my own eyes to see my true reflection…a face always pointing forward even when the things I did right are all I have left. I want more than my hands could even begin to tell to you. Because there are things that language can only describe and if I had to learn sign-language just to speak to you, I’d cut these hands off just to tell you that I’m speechless.
So on a bad day, even if I have to remind myself, I will remember that deep down, I can still ride a bike backwards, blindfolded, on my way home from a bad blind date, during a hurricane named after the kid who bullied me in the second grade. I’ll remember the times when I got back up like a cautionary tale. I’ll remember he parts of myself that I still have to thank you for and I’ll send out poems disguised as letters and I’ll stand on a stage that looks just like this and I’ll cut myself open from balls to lips and I’ll leave the light on before I leave this room, just to make sure that you can all see it.