In May of 2012, I, at 46 years old, went out in public dressed as Black Widow, much to the horror of my children. “Mom, really? You’re not 20 ya know, you’re middle aged, and you’re dressing up as a superhero!” At the time, it was a fun thing to do with friends, kinda daring and off-the-wall, and it made me happy. What I really didn’t know then, was that part of me did become the Black Widow, or, rather, then I began to realize that I was, indeed, a dark, vodka-swirling, Russian (okay, I’m German, but I have Russian friends…) spy who had red in her ledger.
I think that was a turning point for me. I can be a superhero- not in the fact that I will avenge the world, but I can avenge MY world. Like all heroes, all humans in real life, I have to prove my worth, I have to wipe the red from my ledger, I have to fight a dragon (overcome a fear- you know, dragons have feelings too and aren’t all bad beings), sacrifice a piece of myself to achieve a greater good, and in the end, become the hero I was meant to be. No hero is perfect; if a hero starts out perfect or ends up perfect, that person is no hero: that person is not even human.
It’s been a long journey for me. One that I am still traveling, and a journey that will have more battles for me, but I can say that I have fought the biggest dragon in my life lately, and although I have some battle scars, I believe I have emerged a better person in the end. I have wiped most of the red from my ledger.
A friend of mine recently said he was scrolling through his phone contacts and said he came across “Black Widow” and he couldn’t remember why he had that in there. Then he realized it was my number, and decided to keep it listed as Black Widow. Oh, he thinks he’s the Hulk.. Okay, so, I have some weird, possibly delusional friends, but if I’m Black Widow, why can’t he really be the Hulk??
It may be very strange to some that a middle-aged woman would dress up in a superhero costume when it’s not even Halloween, but I’m thankful I did. In secret, I still put on my bullet bracelet when I’m feeling weak or vulnerable, and it helps. I CAN be a hero in my own world, and I shouldn’t be ashamed to be me.
We all are heroes by making right decisions, and if we are parents, we all start out being our child’s first and foremost hero. I’m sure I’m no longer my children’s hero, as they’re teenagers now, and are quite embarrassed by my strange antics, but maybe someday in the future they will look back and think, “Ya know, mom wasn’t crazy after all. She really became her own hero and that was really badass of her!”
After all, there’s always hope.
I doubt I’ll ever dress as Black Widow again, but the costume is hanging in my closet, and my bullet bracelets are in my underwear drawer, if ever the need arises for me to “suit up” again and avenge some wrong in the world, my world. For now, I think I’ll just pour myself a vodka and blend into the background as a generic woman and mom, live an average life, and be “normal.” After all, that is the perfect backdrop for a spy: blend into your surroundings, and don’t get noticed.
I found my inner superhero. Which superhero are you?