If you’ve never heard the song by Daughtry, “Waiting for Superman,” then you should definitely take a minute and check it out. I’m not going to say it’s the best song ever, I don’t think I could ever really say that about any song, but it’s definitely a song worth listening to at least once. I’ve actually had this song for a couple years now in my iPod, and play it every so often, but for some reason over the last few weeks I can’t seem to get it out of my head.
A friend of mine told me recently, “Songs to a person mean what you want them to mean. They don’t have to be amorphic. That’s why writers write in such a vague composition when it comes to songs. They want to include everybody’s feelings and experiences.” I suppose I should get to the song and how I’m finding relation to what it says, or at least what it says to me; that is, after all, the purpose of this blogpost today.
Another dear friend of mine told me recently, “You know, you’re always waiting.” I know the context in which he was referring, and when he said that to me, it hit me hard, because even though I knew that particular truth somewhere deep inside my subconscious, I didn’t realize it. Realizing the truth about something is the first step to changing it.
The song starts out…
“She’s watching the taxi driver, he pulls away
She’s been locked up inside her apartment a hundred days
She says, “Yeah, he’s still coming, just a little bit late.
He got stuck at the laundromat washing his cape.”
She’s just watching the clouds roll by and they spell her name
Like Lois Lane
And she smiles, oh the way she smiles
She’s talking to angels,
Counting the stars
Making a wish on a passing car
She’s dancing with strangers,
Waiting for Superman to pick her up
In his arms, yeah, in his arms, yeah
Waiting for Superman…”
Wow, the imagery my mind creates with that story. It’s amazing. But the pain I feel in my heart creates this huge lump in my throat and I can’t stop the tears that start to pool in the corner of my eyes. I get this song. I feel it. I can even taste it. What is it I’m experiencing? What is it that I’m seeing and relating to in this song? I see a woman who had to endure watching the love of her life, the hero of her heart and imagination disappear right out of her life. I’ve felt this now… twice. Twice, I’m left waiting… waiting for one soldier that will never come back, and another that chose not to. I’m the woman left behind, refusing to accept the truth, living in a delusional state because the pain is too hard to accept. It took me more than 20 years to visit the grave and stop waiting for the first soldier, my first Superman; how long now before I stop waiting on the second?
Superman, the superhero, was my first love, ever. At 10 years old watching Christopher Reeve fly across that screen, it literally took my breath away. To this day I’m a diehard Supes fan. I’ve always wanted to be Lois Lane, the woman who stole Superman’s heart. I even became a reporter at one point, obviously in an attempt at fulfilling that deep seeded fantasy. But, the more I think about it, I’m not sure I want to be Lois Lane anymore. What does it mean to be Lois Lane? What does it mean to be a woman so in love with a man, who sees him as her hero, who worships him like a god, yet is always waiting and will always come second to the world? A woman constantly deceived and lied to? A woman, a hero in her own right, yet shadowed by the spotlight of the man in a cape?
The delusions and excuses we tell ourselves to block the pain of reality is a hard pill to swallow. We wait. We wait for the truth to become the fantasy. We make excuses. We cling to a hope that our superhero will fly back to us one day, so we wait. Just the thought of him in our fantasy makes us smile with a pure joy. Yet, we can’t breathe, so we take these small, tiny, minute breaths, which deprive us of the levels of oxygen we need to think more clearly. But we don’t want to think more clearly, because to think more clearly is to lose the fantasy, to realize he’s not stuck at the laundromat washing his cape – he’s just not coming back. We pray to the angels, we count the stars casting our wishes upon them and all the passing cars. We dance with strangers, make the appearance that we’re fine, we’re okay and living our lives. We’re mingling with others, laughing out loud, yet constantly looking for his face in the crowd, his eyes behind every pair of glasses, his smile, his touch… but we can’t find him among all these strangers. Inside we’re falling apart and become just a pile of broken pieces, waiting, waiting, always waiting. We’re just waiting for our superman to rescue us, to pick us up, to save us and put us back together. Why? Because… we’ve flown in the clouds with him, we’ve tasted the sweet softness of his lips and felt the strong security of his arms. We’ve listened to the beat of his heart through his chest of steel.
“She’s out on the corner trying to catch a glimpse
Nothing’s making sense
She’s been chasing an answer, a sign lost in the abyss,
She says, “Yeah, he’s still coming, just a little bit late.
He got stuck at the Five and Dime saving the day.”
She says, “If life was a movie, then it wouldn’t end like this,
Left without a kiss.”
Still, she smiles, oh, the way she smiles, yeah…”
When the heart wants what it wants, and the mind wants something different, a war begins between the two. I’m learning that love isn’t rational, and can’t be conquered, or overcome rationally, because it doesn’t fight rationally or fair. Love is a tricky little devil and stubborn as hell, and wild – so wild it can never really be tamed. We can be as delusional as this woman waiting for the hero that will never come, looking for any and every sign of hope, clinging to every lie because it’s better than the truth no matter how rational she wants to be. She’s not blind, she sees the reality, and the truth… she just can’t escape the reality of her heart no matter how rational her mind wants to be. Love can’t just be turned off. All she has to do is close her eyes and remember… and the burn of the kiss is still there.
I used to think this kind of love didn’t exist. I had convinced myself I had made it up. Loving a hero long gone, it was easier to deny the pain I held in my heart by creating a universe where I had only imagined the love I had thought I felt to try and escape the pain at its loss. The delusion helped me be rational in all my other relationships. But, what I thought was rational was just another delusion, because the love was still there, it was still real, and it still hurt that my hero had died and left me behind, left me waiting for a return that would never come. It took finding, feeling, and falling in love with another hero to show me the truth, to remind me what that wild love felt like, to show me the denial of it was the true delusion. Watching and feeling the loss of the second one, helped me grieve the first. I was able to finally say goodbye after all this time to my lost hero, but I haven’t quite figured out yet how to say goodbye to the second. I had no choice in saying goodbye to the first… he died. The second chose someone else. My head knows he doesn’t deserve me, that I don’t need to be saved because I’m the only one that can truly save myself, that I’m my own hero, that I can fly myself… without him. But my heart still desperately clings to the fantasy that he’ll one day fly back to me. And so, I smile, Oh, the way I smile.
I don’t want to be Lois anymore. I don’t want to keep waiting for Superman. I realize the truth – he’s not coming back, he’s not at the Five and Dime saving the day, he simply just flew away. Acknowledging the truth is the first step, now I’m just waiting on the change to happen and I hope it doesn’t take 20 years this time to accept it, and I’ll soon be able to say, “Later, gator.” Maybe my next great love will be something a little simpler and not involve capes.
Till next time,