Unused potential

Subtitle: If the Underoos fit. …

I’ve come to the realization that I was never happy unless I was rebelling against something, particularly in regard to the professional world. I’ve always tried to be creative about it. From wearing tennis shoes with designer suits to smiling to people’s faces while writing poison pen letters behind their backs to smoking at my desk after hours, I was always up to something. It was like giving the mental middle finger to The Man.

The weird thing is, maybe I’ve changed or else I don’t harbor the same feelings of utter desperation in my new job. I have nothing to rebel against. And, for once in my life, I am not opposed to finding out what it might feel like to blend in.

Maybe I’ve just grown up, or maybe I’ve grown out of my need to feel like I’m getting away with something. I think it’s that I’m finally challenged to reach my potential instead of trying to burn excess creative energy. This is what happens to people who have unused potential — we dance mental circles around the masses. My friend Shan always jokes with me that people like she and I need to work at 50 percent capacity — 75 percent, on the high end — to accomplish what people working at full steam can. I suspect there are more of us out there who are afraid to admit it or who have forgotten what it was like to want to kick ass each and every day. But, people hate you when you raise the bar so high they couldn’t touch if if they walked on stilts, and they find ways to make you feel their pain.

I think that a lot of us get screwed in not having (or being able to take advantage of) opportunities to maximize our potential. Some of my friends and I are sitting on genius-level intellects and storage bins full of ideas, and we’re living some of the most nondescript lives in the world. But, think about it — if we started a think tank with everyone who reads this blog (’cause I know that you smart/funny/creative people out there feel just like I do!), we could achieve SPECTACULAR things. Revolutionary, even. With our combined forces, we could cure cancer!

However, we’ve used our superpowers to do something even more difficult … we’ve managed to hide our magnificent aptitude under the cloak of being average. We are our own Clark Kents, never donning the tights (thank god! LOL) and capes that will help us soar to where we were meant to reach. Per “their” codes, we dress up every day, we keep quiet and choose not to attract attention to ourselves, we amble along in fear of somebody expecting something of us because that means we will have to live up to everything we thought we were going to grow up to be. We could very well turn out to be heroes, and there’s no turning back after that happens.

A lot of pressure comes with being a hero. I know — I have tried it. And, while I loved it, my neck hurt from getting whacked every time I stuck it out. I learned in a very hard way that the person who fades into the background is the happiest one of all. Not saying I accept this as my fate but, rather, accept that many choose to live that way, and that doesn’t make it dishonorable. And, as a washed-up hero at 30 myself, it’s like making a hit record or two and fading into oblivion. While I relive the moments when I knew what it was like to shine, the world keeps turning and forgets, in its finite attention span, I ever existed. And after enough of that, sometimes even I wonder why I ever thought I was special … because wouldn’t I still be, then?

For those of us who forget from time to time that we are so very capable of making miracles, we realize that we have met our greatest challenge: acceptance. And, sadly, that is the wrong thing to which to aspire, yet for us, we watched “The Incredibles” and identified with the heroes-turned-nobodies that we became what those without potential wanted us to be. And when you meet somebody or somebodies who spot that spark in you and want to see you run with it and will pass you the ball for you to run with it, what will our hero do? Run, fumble, pass?

Before you answer that, just breathe for a moment and think back. When you were dancing around in your Supergirl or Batman Underoos so many moons ago, was this what you pictured you would grow up to be? There’s still time to feel that way again, if you so choose to accept this mission. …

On iTunes: Jimmy Eat World, “Work”

3 Responses to Unused potential

  1. Anonymous :

    Wow, this is a wonderful post. Really makes me think about acceptance and how some of us try for it and never achieve it. Thank you for the stimulation!


  2. Anonymous :

    Fallen Hero by John 1/28/2005

    Once I was a hero.
    But martyred for money was I.
    They took away my cape.
    Now I no longer fly.
    The sky contains all my dreams.
    But they’re so far out of reach.
    I’ve lost all my ambition.
    They took away my speach.
    I don’t want to be a hero anymore.
    The price is just to high.
    But it’s hard to be ordinary.
    When you remember how to fly.

    Should I accept your mission?
    How do I know I’ll fit?
    Back into the working world.
    Who treats heroes like shit!
    The suits treat heroes like numbers.
    A fact heroes know all too well.
    For us to risk martyrdom twice.
    Could mean a second trip through hell.
    We heroes are a mighty lot.
    Of that I have no doubt.
    We see the world quite differently.
    From bosses who scream and shout.
    Money, promotions and fame don’t drive us.
    Dedication, love and honesty do.
    So why does it surprise any of us at all?
    When good heroes like me got screwed.
    Heroes are not out for profit nor do we value gain.
    We’re here to make the world a better place.
    In a world that is now quite insane.
    Remember fallen heroes like me you find.
    Because in your daily travels you won’t see us.
    For fallen heroes are ordinary people now.
    Riding with you on the bus.

    –John 1/28/2005

  3. Pratt :

    You will always be one of my Superfriends.

    To the Prattmobile….!