Krissie: My superpower

Photo on 2014-06-17 at 09.58 I caught up on all the Brene Brown stuff before it disappeared from the internet. The one week that I found the most difficult was when I had to name my superpower.

Now, admittedly, Jenny and Lani and I went into this from a different perspective than other people. I mean, the first thing we had to do was make a sign that said “I am a creative person.” Uh, duh. We don’t have any trouble claiming our creativity. In fact, I took the course hoping to boost my creativity.

(Small tangent). I shouldn’t do that. I keep trying to control my creativity, the girls in the basement, or boost it up, or keep them running on a treadmill. Believe it or not I buy books on writing fast. This is absurd. I’ve been given a huge gift, and instead of trying to pummel it into something malleable I should accept it for what it is. A large, shaggy mass that rolls around picking up things (there’s a video game like that – I forget the name but the beginning is Cat-something)(something like Catamahri Damasy?  The spelling’s way off). It’s not something I can put into neat, labelled boxes and take out in proper doses. It’s a mystery. End of lecture to myself.

So, anyway, with the Brene Brown course we weren’t dealing with the obvious problems people have (or I should only talk about myself). I don’t need to give myself permission to write. I don’t even need to give myself permission to write shitty first drafts. I have all sorts of superpowers.

So when it came time to list it, the obvious superpower was writing. But for me, that was too obvious. I emailed Jenny about it. I thought maybe my superpower was to make people feel better, that by being so open I helped them open up. Jenny said no, my superpower was … I forget exactly, but I think it was being a caring/nurturing human being/friend. That wasn’t good enough (I wish I could find the exact wording — one hears things differently from the way people say them). So I put off working on the week until the deadline was approaching.
There were so many things I considered my superpowers (you know I have no false humility, right?). And then it came to me.
My superpower is Joie de Vivre. (Joy of living for those few who didn’t take French). I didn’t survive my nasty childhood — I thrived. While everyone around me crashed and burned I wept and then embraced life again. I write books that fill me with joy and fill others with joy. 40 years later I’m still madly in love with my stories.
The world around me is astonishingly beautiful, and I never take it for granted. I embrace everyone, and if I could do so literally I would. I never hold on to things that would make life harder — I let go of pain (at least the everyday pain of disappointment and worry – grief is a different matter) and choose joy. Choose to nurture friends when they need nurturing, choose to live life as I want to live it it, as best I can.
Jenny and Lani did an intervention a year and a half ago, saying I was dwelling too much on grief and death. Jenny’s been pretty clear about the fact that I have to stop dwelling on dates and such. the thing is, I don’t dwell as much as it seems. This place was a place I could talk about it, I could say anything, and if I wanted to work out my relationship with my recently deceased mother and my two-years dead sister and my brother and father and nephew then it was a safe place to do so. But it got lugubrious.
The thing is, I wasn’t living my life like that. I would get passing moments of grief, like a breeze on a spring day, and then it would be gone.
So amidst my self-proclaimed joie de vivre I have a great deal of grief, but that’s only logical when you get to a certain age and watch everyone die around you.
We also had to choose the dark side or the problem with our superpower, and mine, of course, was having to be “on.” The Krissie Show is absolutely real, it’s a part of who I am, it’s just a bit on steroids. But I slip into it naturally, and slip out of it just as easily, and it existed long before I ever started writing. I just need to make sure the Krissie Show doesn’t make too many demands at a time I’m not able to fill them.

Jenny and Lani may disagree, but hey, this one’s up to me. I may have missed Jenny or Lani talking about this, but if they didn’t, tell me what your superpower is. Don’t think too hard about it (I say, having had to to think too hard about mine). Your first instincts might be right, or you may have to work it out.
I want to know what fellow Marvel Superheroes we have here. I’m Auntie Mame. Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.

What’s your superpower?

31 thoughts on “Krissie: My superpower

  1. I took your advice and didn’t think about it too much. My superpower is endurance. There’s a Winston Churchill quote:”If you’re going through hell, keep going.” I can keep going, confident that I’ll get through it and triumph.

  2. Janis says:

    My superpower is intuitiveness. People have told me this all my life and it’s true. I “know” things about how people are thinking and reacting, whether it’s by their body language or facial expressions. Maybe it’s just “awareness.” Not sure, but I have been called Radar by some people.

  3. My super power is tenacity. When others give up, or when I think about giving up, I simply pout for a day or two and then dig in my heels and hang on. It might take me decades to get where I want to be, but I stick like glue. : )

  4. For me it might be survival: even after all the pain and grief in my life I keep holding on, although it’s been close a few times.

    Or it might be caring (or something related to it). Even when I’m hurting so much, I will still care about someone else in pain and try to comfort them. Or something like that.

    *shrug* Those are my best two off-the-cuff ideas. 🙂

  5. Terrie says:

    Hmmm. I think my superpower may be that I believe the answer is out there, someone has it, and if I keep looking, I’ll find that person.

    It might be better to believe the answer is in me, but honestly, when I had my major crash and burn years ago, I kept seeking professional help until I got the answer that helped. It took several years, but I got there. And when things got dicey last summer, I immediately reached out for professional help as well. Once again, I kept pursuing. I may not have all the answers yet, but I’m still in the game.

    I may not be the sole super-hero you’d want in a crunch, but I think I’d be a good member of the team. I’m the one going, “Hey, guys, we don’t need to invent the wheel here. You know why? Because over there, that guy? He’s a wheelwright!”

  6. Jenni says:

    I’m divided on mine. Maybe I’m The Chameleon. I do tend to morph to fit those around me. I don’t suppress who I am, but bring out that part of me that fits with them. It makes me happy to find those connections.

    My other choice would be Curious Jen. I want to know how it all works, everything from Brains to Brakes and all sorts of stuff in between.

  7. toni says:

    Mine’s probably tenacity, like Robena, but my second one (I can so too have two) is thinking outside the box. I tend to not be able to think/perform if boxed in, and I’m constantly breaking rules. This does not always lead to success, but more often than not, the combination of the two has been healthy for me, and has led to happiness.

  8. JenniferNennifer says:

    Joie de Vivre is why we all whined when you were going to quit Refab after a year!

    I would say my superpower is steadfastness. People who love me know that they can depend on me to keep the my feet planted and my light shining.

  9. I think my inner Pollyanna is my superpower. The ability to smile and keep going, even after getting punched in the throat by life. Which I guess you could call tenacity with a smile. (I’m happy to join the tenacity group with Robena and Toni.)

    I’ve always said you can get through anything. Might have to go over, around, or through it, but there’s always a way.

  10. S says:

    I did the second half of the BB course and it was wonderful. I hope they rerun the first half so I can sign up for it. My superpower is sensitivity. I started life as a shy, gentle, timid introvert but morphed into a tough, acid-tongued, battle-hardened cynic. But I realized, during the BB course, that the things I loved most to do, I could only do because of my sensitivity. I couldn’t be a writer without my superpower. Now, I’m trying to embrace it and slough off the shell.

  11. Lynda says:

    I suppose that if I have any kind of superpower, it would be my refusal to give up once I’ve made up my mind to do something. I decided very early that I was going to be a professional writer, and I collected rejection slips for 18 years before I ever sold anything. My first book, the one that ultimately earned me the most money of anything I ever wrote, was rejected 11 times before it sold. Later on, when life took a different direction, I kept my beloved husband alive through many, many years of illness, long after doctors and just about everyone else had written him off. Most recently, after I decided it was high time to get my own health in order, I lost over a hundred pounds. Now I have no idea what the future may hold, except that I am bound and determined to be around long enough to dance at my grandchildren’s weddings.

  12. MJ says:

    Optimism. The kryptonite side: I’m unrealistic about how much I can get done in a day. Or an hour. Or the next five minutes.

  13. ARGH.
    The key to the superpower exercise was seeing both sides of the coin.

    Here’s what Krissie said hers was:

    “Okay, what’s your superpower and your kryptonite? I’m having a hard time figuring mine out. the obvious one is Writing and/or storytelling. My kryptonite would be judging myself against others and all that entails.”

    The problem with that is, they weren’t two sides of the same coin so there’s no illumination. In other words, if her kryptonite was judging herself against others, her superpower would be her high standards and striving to achieve, or something. If her superpower was storytelling . . . I couldn’t think of any Kryptonite to go with that.

    So I wrote:
    “IMHO . . . Your super power is your endless capacity for giving love and support.
    Your kryptonite is your inability to draw the line and protect yourself.”

    I think she’s probably right that her superpower is her storytelling, I just couldn’t think of the flip side and neither could she.

    Then she wrote:
    “Can we count storytelling as part of giving love and support? Well, giving love? Giving respite — that’s what romance novels do.”

    Which is so true. But again, where’s the kryptonite? If you can’t see the flip side, then you can’t go deeper. You’d think the flip side of storytelling would be detachment from reality (that would be me), but Krissie handles reality all the time, she’s her family’s chief reality-handler. So I was stumped. I’m still stumped.

    I think she was on to something about the romance novels being a way of giving love; maybe the flip side is feeling that sales and reviews are a way of returning love? I have no idea, I just know that to make the exercise work, you have to see both sides of whatever it is because that’s how you begin to understand the dimensions of your greatest strength, and how it’s also often your greatest weakness.

    • toni says:

      One possibility could be that if storytelling is her superpower, then her kryptonite is not being able to rewrite the story of her family (deaths/losses/illnesses) or rewrite how her children handle their specific challenges.

      ?

      • Control issues?

        Maybe her superpower is creating worlds people want to live in and her kryptonite is her frustration at not being able to do the same in reality for herself? Although I think she’s generally a pretty happy person. One of the many things I love about Krissie is her delight in everything around her. One “oooooh” from Krissie and I’m smiling. I think it’s why Lani and I love giving her things. We just do it to hear the “ooooh” and get a contact high from her delight.

        (Hi, Krissie. We’re discussing your innermost thoughts.)

        • toni says:

          I wasn’t thinking “control” as much as I was thinking “loving wish fulfillment” — because she is so giving (Hi Krissie!) and wants to give to her family, and is the realism Coach, and is great at storytelling, I would think it would be a natural tendency to want to write out HEAs for those she loves. The kryptonite being that she cannot.

          [That made sense in my head some time last night. Now, not so much.]

          • toni says:

            (Keeping in my my own superpower is tenacity, and therefore tunnel vision being my kryptonite, I plug onward…)

            If storytelling is a superpower, then not being able to write the story the way you want = kryptonite.

            Storytelling = giving joy to people
            Not being able to write it = grief, having a hard time of letting go of that grief.

            Okay, I have to go to the DMV and try to renew the DL.

            I realized the kryptonite of my thinking outside the box means that sometimes, I don’t have the traditional trajectory that I sometimes want. If I constantly think outside the box career-wise (in my choices of what to write next), it shouldn’t then surprise me that I don’t have a predictable career trajectory. That’s the cost of the superpower, and really, that epiphany is extremely helpful for me right about now. If I had to make a choice, I’d choose thinking outside the box every time, even given the sometimes negative results, because of the joy I get from doing something different each time. It’s realizing that that choice costs me something, and being willing to pay that cost… that’s helpful to put into words. So thank you, Krissie, and Jenny — this was super helpful for me today.

    • Don’t Argh me, you ignorant slut. (smooch). I said we hear things and read things differently from what people actually say or write. And yes, the kryptonite was an important part.
      The kryptonite part of writing is publishing. The competitive part that sneaks in when you’re not on guard, that fills you with self doubt and makes you just feel defeated.

      But for Joie de vivre the Kryptonite was easy. Death, grief, bad memories. The word I chose was Remember, because the past brings me grief and dulls my light. The memory of good things makes me sad.

      At least, that’s how I defined it. Memories are my greatest weakness because I always want to fix things, change things, make things better. I need to look forward and embrace life in all its complex mess, and not let memories of sorrow stop me.

    • I don’t think procrastination is the flip side of tenacity. I’d think the flip side of tenacity would be something like tunnel vision (which I am not suggesting you have). The flip side of procrastination would be the ability to think things through carefully without feeling that you need to rush in. Or something like that.

  14. Mine is imagination. My kryptonite is imagination. It can be such a slippery slope, as everyone here knows. (Is that bear poo?) This seems so obvious that I’m not sure that it’s right, but without thinking a lot, that’s what I got.

    I asked Christopher Robin and he said is superpower is happy realism. The kryptonite is being unemotional/aloof at times.

  15. Eileen A-W says:

    Mine would be bing empathetic. I wonder if that was what Jenny was trying to tell Krissie. My kryptonite would be not asking others for help when needed. I think that’s an opposite. I can help others, listen, do for them, etc but not be willing to open up or ask for help when I’m in need. It’s part of the reason I was such an outstanding teacher.

    I love reading what all of you think. It’s definitely an insight to each of you.

  16. Jill says:

    Eileen, I think I have the same kryptonite. I am not a teacher but I am a heck of a president of groups. The problem with not asking for help is that others do not feel part of the group.

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