You Are Already A Superhero!

Many years ago, I wrote a column for a local newspaper down in Virginia. The following entry was one of those articles I once submitted for publishing. With some minor updates, I have re-printed it here as I feel it’s message of positivity is relevant given the state of our world right now.

——————————————————————————————————————

X-Men: First Class, The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, The Wolverine, The Avengers…These are just a few of the many superhero movies that are hitting the theaters in recent years. And that list is only continuing to grow. Each of them have been huge box office successes and generated an enormous amount of revenue from both ticket and DVD sales. So why are superheroes so popular lately? Well I have a theory, one that centers on the child in all of us.

Everyone has their own journey of what it was like to grow up. Throughout my life, I have met many who have endured as difficult of childhoods as I have, if not worse. From being physically beaten, to having suffered from family incest, to receiving mental and emotional abuse by their parents or other family members, to moms and dads that were never around, to never even having a mom or dad to start with and being forced to grow up in foster homes, the list is painfully endless for the stories I’ve heard. The one consistency I have found between all of these people who dealt with harsh childhoods including my own, is that each of us learned to create very early on in life, our own world of fantasies. It was our way of tuning out what our eyes were seeing and what our bodies were experiencing. It was our safe harbor, our escape.

As a child, I secretly fantasized about being a superhero. I wanted to have super strength to defend myself from the bullies who picked on me incessantly. I wanted to have super speed or the ability to fly so that I could get away as quick as possible when my parents were fighting. I even wanted to have the ability to read people’s minds so that I could anticipate what family members were thinking so that I didn’t end up saying something that might set someone off and end in a form of punishment. As I grew older and stronger, in both a physical sense as well as an emotional and mental one, I gained my own independence and found less of a need to continue creating this fantasy world. But the lure of having superpowers has never fully faded.

In recent years, when I find myself fantasizing about having them, sometimes I put a lot of thought together as to why I still think about them so much. While I may not be in a broken home anymore that led me to create these fantasy worlds, I realize I have a greater family, one that consists of billions of brothers and sisters. And one that is just as aching and hurt as my own family was so many years ago. Just look at the state of the world today! It doesn’t take much to realize it is in dire straits. Poverty continues to increase. Sickness continues to spread. There are wars about to break out or already raging in multiple countries. Alcohol and drug addictions continue to increase and are leading to more violence as well as the spread of disease. More and more children are growing up in broken homes. Gangs continue to thrive as disillusioned kids look for social acceptance. Rape. Murder. Terrorism. Anyone can see this horror by simply just glancing at the front page of a paper or tuning into a morning or evening news program. I know there are others out there like me who would just like this madness to go away. We attempt to ignore and tune it all out, but unfortunately we can’t because it’s everywhere. So we continue to hope that the world will produce heroes who will provide a reprieve from the misery that seems to be surrounding every corner of the globe. Unfortunately, the heroes from our childhood fantasies don’t exist yet, at least not in the form that most comic books have portrayed.

So in droves, I, and many others, look for a reprieve from the growing terror and head to the local multiplex to watch the latest superhero flick where a hero risks their life to protect the world from a villain who is causing destruction to people, cities, countries, or even the whole planet. And while we watch these films, we find we are able to suppress for several hours any fears within us over the state of the planet. And when the hero in the movie ends up saving the day, we often leave the theater feeling a little more happy and safe inside. But sadly that bubble usually bursts not too long after when we see the latest news report covering another tragedy. There is hope in all of this though. There is a good side of the coin to look at.

While none of us may be a hero with powers like Superman, all of us do have our own gifts that we were born with and each of these in their own way can be used to create love and peace in this world. Whether you are a writer, a musician, an actor, an artist, a chef, a teacher, a gardener, a seamster, a pottery maker, or whatever your creative outlet is, just place all the love and passion into it you can and know that someone, somewhere, is going to have a positive life changing experience because of it. Think about how the following creative works have spread love to so many people: Harry Potter and Twilight, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” and “We Are The World”, the Mona Lisa and Starry Night. No one truly knows what positive impact their gifts will have at their time of creation.

So I encourage each of you to take a moment today, breathe, and set some time aside to engage in that creative side of yours. Place your heart and soul in your work and trust and believe it will make a difference in someone’s life for the better. While you may not have super abilities like the Avengers, your creative talents are already making you into a superhero. Whatever your gifts are, God has blessed you with them. All you need to know is that they can and will help this world become a happier, more peaceful, and definitely more loving place.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder And Isn’t Just Skin Deep

It’s easy to become vain in today’s world. Advertising everywhere plasters scantily clad models. The males all have six-pack abs and muscles everywhere. The females are usually quite skinny with large breasts. The stars of most TV shows and movies follow similar patterns. It’s rare to see the lead actors in a show or even those models on commercials be overweight or have average builds. So many people seem to be getting face lifts and Botox injections now to keep themselves looking youthful. But is this really what beauty is about? Mainstream society would probably say yes, my answer is quite the opposite.

Some people say I’m too honest in my speaking and writing about my personal life. I’m at a place in my life now where I’m really beginning to not care what other people think about me living in absolute truthfulness. And one of those absolute truths is that I have always been physically attracted to larger, heavier-set people. Before I really understood that I was a gay male, I dated many women, each of which could be labeled full-figured. While I choose to use that term which is more politically correct, many would say early on that I was a chubby chaser. Some even used choice words that don’t need to be written and should never have been said in the first place.

By the age of 23, I had come to terms with my sexuality and had begun to date men, who in the gay culture are labeled as “bears”. For the longest time, whether I had been dating a heavyset female or male, I saw just how vain people were in society. It’s amazing the looks that I got when I was out on a date with whoever I was with. Some were even as bold to say openly they couldn’t believe that someone like me would be with someone like them, as they pointed rudely at the person I was with. For them it was sacrilegious to see a 6’5″, 175 pound swimmer’s build guy to be with a larger person. Sadly, my mother even felt that way when she was alive. She always felt I could have been with anyone I wanted and didn’t understand why I chose the men or women I did. What’s sad is that most people place what someone looks like physically as the most important thing. I was like that for a very long time. But today, I see things quite differently.

While my attraction on the physical level is towards a heavier-set type of person, I’ve realize now as my relationship has grown deeper with God that the most important thing is not what I see on the outside, it’s what I feel with them on the inside. The world is filled with billions of souls. Some of them live in the light. Others, in the dark. Some live to serve a higher purpose. Others, serve only their own needs. My life began in the light. Over the years I went completely into the dark while I fed my addictions and obsessions. Through my recovery from those, I gradually have moved back into the light again and have seen my own beauty emerge from within.

To be considered one of the most handsome or beautiful people in the world by something like People magazine means nothing to me today like it once might have. Especially when I see the actions of these people or anyone for that matter being consistently self-centered, living in life’s indulgences and trying to do nothing but keep their good looks and worry about advancing their careers. In general, I admire those instead that take time away from their jobs to help others, that give of themselves unconditionally, that don’t care to be in the spotlight and would rather be behind the scenes making the world a more loving and peace filled place. I see people all the time when I make it to the gym who are staring at themselves in the mirror and flexing their muscles and obsessing about their flat stomachs. I know this pattern because I have lived it when my only concern was to keep looking a certain way. But as I’ve grow older and the sculpted curves have become more rounded flab, and as I continue to show greater signs every day of my own body’s wear and tear, my focus has shifted away from my looks and onto instead how I live my life and how bright my soul can become.

I don’t know how long I have to live in this life. I’m grateful though that I’ve lived this long to see the illusions I once lived in beginning to break apart. I’m even more grateful that God has given me the attraction to full-figured people in this lifetime. Through it, I’ve learned being handsome or beautiful is so much deeper than what the media and society portrays. But even more importantly, I’ve learned that real beauty was never about what I saw on the outside, it’s what is felt on the inside.

Peace, love, light and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Getting What I Need, Not What I Want

I’m going through a storm right now and have been for some time. I long for the sun to part through the clouds I see on most days. Some days are better than others. At the moment, this seems to be one of them as I have a little more clarity on my perspective with God on what I am going through.

For the past year, I have been enduring chronic pain physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. I haven’t taken any medications because of my sensitivity and side-effect prone nature to each one I’ve ever tried. Instead, I’ve used holistic healing, prayer, meditation, mantras, and writing to keep me going, especially on those days when the pain seems too great to go on. While many might disagree with this approach, I believe what I am going through is a cleansing of all the toxic stuff I did to myself for over 20 years, if not longer.

Looking back just a few years ago when all of this began at the end of April of 2010, I have realized there was no way I would be handling the level of pain I do now and still be functioning day to day. Back then when it started, I resorted to a 911 call to God asking for all of it to go away immediately. There wasn’t a day or even a moment where I wasn’t begging God for this in the first year. God didn’t answer those 911 prayers in the way that I wanted, but I believe God answered them in the way that I needed. Since then, I have ceased living in all of the unhealthy behaviors I was engaging in regularly. I have removed all the unhealthy attachments I had to people who I allowed to keep me in the dark. I have learned how to enjoy being by myself. I have gone back to the joy of reading again and expanding my awareness because of it. I have found new friends and re-established old ones who are seeking the same things I am without any hidden agendas. I have a partner now who loves me unconditionally. I have found holistic practitioners that take extra time with me and have been successful in helping me remove a lot of junk from deep within my whole being. I have become more active in my 12 Step Recovery, speaking regularly about my own experience, strength, and hope to others still suffering from their addictions. And I have been developing an ability to write with inspiration about all of this.

The interesting thing about all of this pain that I have been going through these past few years is how my perspective of it is changing as time moves forward. If God had answered my prayers back then as I had intended them, I believe I would still be having a relationship with a married person. I believe I would still be looking at porn on most days. I believe I would still be angry and negative about pretty much everything in my life. I believe I would still have a significant number of people in my life that were using and abusing me. I believe I would still hate being by myself doing anything alone. And I believe I would still be trying to run the show in every facet of my life and that God would still be in the passenger seat waiting for me to crash my car again.

As my perspective of what I’m going through has changed so has my prayers to God. Now I just seek to do God’s will and ask for strength to make it through all of what I am going through. I ask God to be open to all of the love being sent to me. I ask to be open to any signs of reassurance that God may send me on any given day. And most importantly, I ask God to simply just help me endure all of what it is I am going through until God is ready for it to end. For I know that if all those good things have happened to me in having to go through this pain for the past three years, I can only imagine how great the finish line may look once all this toxicity is out of me.

I know today that God was at the starting line giving me support when I began this journey to clear my life of all the things that have prevented me from serving God in every way I can. I know that God has been there providing me life sustaining water to keep me from giving up or going back to the starting line. And I know that God will be there at the end waiting to give me a warm embrace and congratulations on keeping my faith and hope alive all this time.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of days that I find myself wishing I could be at that finish line already from this clearing process. I groan quite often when one of my spiritual teachers tells me that Rome wasn’t built in a day and to keep on, keeping on. But from all the positive changes that have happened to me so far in these past three years, I know she’s probably right. So I continue to trust in God as best as I can, and maintain an inner belief that I am receiving what I need, and not what I want, and that it’s most likely for my greatest highest good.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson