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Choosing my superpowers

March 15, 2021

Happy Monday Y’all! 

I am mustering every ounce of positivity that I can on this blustery snow storm Monday, especially since during the last week I was going on walks in t-shirts.  Yes, in Minnesota. Mother Nature definitely packed a punch with her rather exclamatory – Spring Break is over folks. Now, let’s get back to business.

We have a snow day today on campus, which seems ironically at odds with that last sentence. Although I didn’t travel for Spring Break, I did travel metaphorically speaking.  This journey is one that took a long time to unpack, but once I did, I really feel that I emerged on the other side feeling much more comfortable in my own skin.  More importantly, even if I didn’t physically travel to find respite, I have uncovered a newfound peace, and isn’t that what breaks are for?

It has taken me a very long time to come to terms with the fact that my very existence is offensive to some people.  Wow!  Read that bold statement again, just to let it sink in.  I promise I will explain, but the reality is that being an educated female, Christian scientist/educator/professor ticks many of the boxes of people who love to dismiss others.  Although I have felt (and in some cases been explicitly told) these sentiments, pursuing my doctorate really brought to light the messages – both subtle and overt – that I experience on a regular basis. 

Here is a smattering of some things that have been said – yes out loud – to me.

Why are you taking time away from your family to get a doctorate?  You don’t really need that.

How can you say you’re a Christian and also be a scientist?

So, were you not successful as a scientist and that is why you became a teacher?

You know, colleges are just places of indoctrination for the liberal way of thinking.   

I’ve heard these and countless others, and every time I am shocked. There have been many, many times that I am 100% positive that I was noticed more for my bra size than the capacity of my brain, and as such, have been dismissed for my questions, suggestions, and responses.  While I don’t feel I need to justify my existence or answer any of those questions, I will acknowledge that within this country, we still have a long way to go, baby.  There exists a strong anti-science and anti-intellectualism movement within the United States, and well, as much as things move forward, we are simply not there yet when it comes to girls and women being valued for their intelligence.  Hence, the bold proclamation that my very existence is counterintuitive to those ideologies.

But, here’s where the story gets really good.  I can be defeated by this, or I can choose to rise above it.  The choice is ultimately mine to make. I not only choose to be comfortable in my own being, but I will also claim my education, interests, and talents (given by God and polished through dedicated hard work and study) as my superpowers.  I choose to use those superpowers to live a life of loving others and to bring positive change to the world.

And so, it was, one day last year prior to the pandemic really reaching the Midwest.  The first publicized case in Minnesota wouldn’t be for another month.  I volunteered to be a driver for a friend who needed to have a surgical procedure in the cities.  While she was in surgery, I caught up on grading (not one of my superpowers for the record) and watched as families came and went as other procedures began.  One family had a little girl who was waiting so patiently in the beginning to have her arm reset after breaking it.  It was clear that as time wore on, she used up her goodness and mercy and was becoming really antsy.  Her parents were trying everything to keep her occupied, not with much success.  As any superhero educator would do, I had my Mary Poppins-esque teacher bag along.  I pulled out some printed pages I no longer needed and a few colored pens.  I explained to her parents that I am a teacher, indicating I was a safe person, and wondered if the little girl could still draw with one hand.  Just as I gave the sweet little girl the make-do entertainment, I was called back to the recovery room to get the instructions to care for my friend, and I thought I would never see her again. 

I didn’t, but as we were loading up to leave the hospital, one of the nurses came running back with my pens and this beautiful drawing. 

This picture made my day, because I got to be her superhero when she needed one.

Because I have had to deal with parameters and beliefs others have about me and my life, I could easily absorb them and make them my limitations.  I just simply choose not to, even if they hurt and shock me every time. 

I choose to ignore the non-sense and to make the change I want to see in the world, even if it is one waiting room and one little “student” at a time, I will show up to use the superpower of being an educator every . . . single . . . time.

Shine on, my friends.  Use your superpowers today even if the rest of the world tells you can’t fly.  Take it from me and Buzz Lightyear – you KAN FLY! And, oh the difference we will make!

  1. Nancy Holte permalink

    Great blog! I’ve never had anyone tell me that I was too smart but I recently had a girl AT CHURCH tell me she was a “health coach” and wondered it I was happy with my health and my weight. First off, I don’t think she’s really a health coach. I think she’s selling a product (i actually know she’s selling a product) and someone told her to call herself a health coach. I told her I was working with a health coach that taught intuitive eating. She looked puzzled, which is what clued me into the fact that she’s not a health coach. A good health coach would know that term. People are interesting!

    For the record, I think you’re brilliant and have some amazing super powers!



  2. Oh my! I completely agree with you, Nancy! That is also one of my big struggles is that there seems to be dissonance in the world today that some believe that someone’s lack of knowledge on a topic is the equivalent to someone else’s years of study. They simply aren’t the same things, and this type of thinking dilutes the professionals who are experts. Thank you for the sweet compliment, and right back at ya! I think you have all kinds of super powers!

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