This post is a tribute to my dearest friends and family, especially the friends who are my family.
Transitioning to a new home has allowed me to realize the superpowers in those around me. Let me introduce you to a few superheroes…
First, there is the special someone who made me realize that the reason I wasn’t making progress in terms of cleaning out my Vancouver apartment was because I ran around the place, randomly throwing out garbage as I thought of it. There was no method to my madness. It was sheer madness. If you’ve ever talked to me, you’ll know that I do not speak in a very linear way. I jump from topic to topic, seemingly at random, and I might take a long detour before making the one small point I took the detour to make. [Edit: I just realized that this blog operates much the same way…] This type of organic process unfortunately extends to all parts of my life, so I would go from throwing some garbage out from my bedroom to watching some tv, which would remind me of something I had to throw away in the kitchen, and then I would need to check my email, and so on. There was no focus.
I was so stressed out for such a long time because I was doing all this work (or I thought I was) and seemingly not getting anything done. And then this special someone swooped in with his cape and everything (ohkay, he had no cape), and he literally saved the day. He told me that we are starting in one corner of one room and we are clearing that room from that corner out. Then, we are opening the blinds and closing the door to that room to signify to ourselves that we are done. There was no arguing with him, and I wouldn’t have dared! It still took hours to clean out that apartment, but with his help, we completed the task that was literally impossible for me.
That type of systematic, analytical, focused thinking is something that I lack entirely and may never gain. I would have never thought of attacking a task in that way, and even if I could have thought of it, I would not have been able to follow through with such a structured manner of problem solving. His unique skill set and determination saved the day, and more importantly, he made cleaning fun (who would have thunk?)!
Then, there’s Robert Winson, who, just yesterday, casually wrote a simply powerful message on Facebook about the importance of honestly speaking out about our passions and ambitions, not just to ourselves, but to those around us as well:
“Olympians win medals because they have the conviction to be honest with the world about what it is that they aspire to. How often do we remain silent about what we want out of life (and call it modesty), not because of fear of judgement, but instead, because we fear that someone might actually hold us to it?”
His innate ability to inspire everyone around him to reach beyond their potential is staggering, and more importantly, it’s genuine and spontaneous. It’s simply who he is. I can currently think of no tangible way to capture the value of this superpower, but I know that if it is not for this friend, I would not have been able to psychologically adapt to my new city so quickly. His support, guidance, and inspiration are priceless.
Finally, there is my mother, who I flew to Montreal with me to help me transition, because this woman can adapt to any new place faster than anyone I know. She gets bored of something quickly, and absolutely relishes change. She lives for it! Her superpowers include impeccable pragmatism, superhuman patience, and wicked powers of observation.
I am the type of person who does not see anything unless I expect to see it, so if there was fire in a restaurant, my first clue would be when the faces of the people I am eating with change colour. An illustration of the contrast in powers of observation between my mother and I: she noticed that a restaurant had an unusual number of people lining up to eat at it, and I paid no attention until she said it the third time we passed by it. I took a look just to satisfy her curiosity, and it turned out that it was O. Noir, Canada’s first-ever restaurant experience in the dark! To her, it made no sense that there would be a line-up to this particular place when there are literally dozens of restaurants within a three-block radius; for me, I did not ever even see the line-ups.
Within two days of arriving in Montreal, my mother knew exactly where I need to go to get everything I need (the closest bank, grocery store, place to buy green tea, Staples, dollar store, cheap/delicious food, etc., etc., etc.). She even compared prices and told me which stores were more cost-effective. My brain naturally shuts off when I have to think about dealing with a new environment and inevitably wandering around lost, making mistakes. I think the fear of making mistakes is my greatest deterrent, but my mother is able to metaphorically run into a dead end, realize that it’s wrong, and move on without ever worrying about potential ramifications or having wasted time. To me, though, the most impressive part of her powers is that many of the store signs in Montreal are exclusively in French, which she can’t read, but she managed to find the right places based sheerly on trial and error as well as recognizing symbols and logos of stores like Staples and Shopper’s Drug Mart. Simply put, she compressed the process of settling in, which would have literally taken me weeks, into days. If that’s not superhuman, I do not know what is.
I am so blessed, because all of the people around me are superheroes, and the three I mentioned above are but three examples of how extraordinary each of our individual gifts are. I think we spend a lot of time wishing that we were better in this aspect or that, and we forget to embrace the talents that we already have – the skills that we have that no one else has. I believe that so many in our society are unhappy because we strive to become people we are not, rather than find a job, a family, a community that celebrates what we bring to the table that no one else in this world can.
Being independent, to me, means sitting in the driver seat in those little cars in The Game of Life. We are in charge of our own lives, but that doesn’t mean significant people can’t join us for a ride or two. It doesn’t mean that there is any shame in admitting our weaknesses and asking for help.
I think learning to own our superpowers does not mean ignoring our weaknesses; it just means that in trying to improve on those weaknesses, we should also try not to accidentally diminish the capabilities that we already had, and lose ourselves in the process – the traits that made us uniquely us in the first place.
Thank you to all of you who made my transition to Montreal as easy as it possibly could have been. I am emotionally and mentally supported by all of you, and the card below hangs on my bedroom door as a reminder that I am not alone.
I’ve always believed that the people we choose to have around us collectively reveals who that person is, so this card in essence reminds me of who I am, and it reminds me that no matter where I am, I have a wealth of superpowers to tap into.