A female figure showing a reflection of a super hero

Finding My Inner Superhero

If you haven’t read any of my articles before, I’ll introduce myself. Hi! I’m Auldyn, wife, and caregiver go my husband, Keegan, who’s suffered from AS for over 10 years. We have 2 kids, a toddler, and a baby. Plus we recently moved to Pittsburgh. I work out of my home office as a Design Manager at a healthcare tech company. And sometimes I feel like a superhero.

What do I mean by "superhero"?

A superhero, in its purest definition, is a being who has powers or abilities that extend beyond an ordinary human. And the reason I love this definition as it applies to my life is that sometimes I go above and beyond when I didn't think it'd be possible. Sometimes, it's staying afloat through the chaos. Other times, it's just getting through the day. I've begun valuing the moments. I recognize myself as a superhero.

It may sound crazy

I’ve never been the super positive, optimistic one in life. If anything, I’ve been known to be a bit cynical. Sure I believe in the goodness of the world, but I also feel the chaos of it. Being next to my husband through his diagnosis, bed-ridden years, and 2 hip replacements have taken their toll. Sometimes, I’m a bit bitter.

But recently a new voice in my head appeared. She’s kind, fierce, strong. She tells me that I can do whatever I can in life. I just have to find a way. That I can be a good mom, a good wife, a good person, and don’t need to be perfect. That my body, in its recent postpartum state is perfect and beautiful. That the most important thing is to love and take care of my family.

Where did this voice come from?

My first reaction to this question is that I have no idea. I’ve lived 30 years and never heard it before. I remember when she first appeared thinking it was cynical me playing a joke on herself. Or maybe I was just reciting inspirational quotes I had pinned on Pinterest earlier in the day. But as the voice got louder, and I greeted each sentence with an open mind I saw it was a new side of myself blossoming open. And I felt like a superhero. I felt like the person I’ve always wanted to be. The one who is okay with imperfection. The one who doesn’t care about looking perfect every moment. The person who can laugh at spilling milk all over the kitchen floor.

How did I get here?

The voice isn’t around all the time. But it’s coming back more and more as I recognize it and honor it. If I give it space to be in my mind and body. I’ve found a few practices lately that have helped this voice grow:

  • I created a spiritual spot in my home to devote energy and time, even if just 5 minutes once a week. I’ve filled it with items, smells, art, and poetry that make me feel at peace.
  • Like many articles on this site, practicing mindfulness has been key. But there’s one aspect that sticks out for me. When I remember, I complete activities with the goal to be present while doing them and not be focused on the outcome. For example, not focusing on getting the kitchen cleaned for the night, but focusing on the feeling of washing the pan. The texture of the soap, the feeling of the brush against the surface.
  • Finding room to laugh at my mistakes. I’ve found that my best way to combat anger and frustration is laughter. Did my toddler decide to fill my backpack with pine cones? The cynic says, “That’s stupid! And now it’s something to clean up.” The superhero days, “Ha! Maybe we should pretend these are candy bars. And act like we ate so much sugar we have to run around and get our energy out.”
  • Recognizing that no matter where my body is, it deserves space to be. Even if it’s hurting, stressed, tired, restless, or exhausted. When I take a moment to address my body, almost like another person, it helps me decide a path to honor it with what it needs.

So here I am. A superhero, a mother, a designer, a caregiver. And yet so much more. We all have superheroes in us. We just have to find how to make room and honor them. How do you find your inner superhero?

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