The Power of Being Human ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #33 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is  “You’ve discovered you have a superpower…”

*  *  *  *

I’ve never been one for super heroes, the stuff of fiction and cartoons—shape-shifting, costume-wearing, web-wielding characters. They’re the only ones who possess super powers. I find it difficult to believe that being human is not enough, and so we strive to become super human.

Perhaps it’s our nature to want more.

I thought hard about this writing prompt, and I could not come up with more. Unlike R.B. Wood, the host of this podcast who is an incredible writer of the fantasy genre, I do not possess imagination for powers that go beyond what is humanly possible.

My mind is too steeped in reality and what I perceive as its confines. This is not going to be a warm and fuzzy story, or an erotic story, or even a story with a twist ending as per many of my previous podcast submissions.

Prepare yourself for someone who’s a non-believer of heroes and super powers because this is a non-fiction story.

****

Fantasy, daydreaming, and play were discouraged. Considered idle and pointless activity that could not possibly lead to success, all games and toys needed a purpose; otherwise they served only to squander time.

These are not my words, but a summary of my upbringing.

Today’s standards are different, of course. How my parents raised me would probably be criticized, seen as an enormous burden for any child not to have fun just for fun’s sake, especially during those formative years prior to schooling. My parents brought me up in a country where they were not raised. The cultural unknowns made them cautious, even fearful. They were too busy earning a living, discovering how to cope in a foreign land to pay attention to having fun themselves, let alone create it for their children. Fun was incorporated into domestic chores, family time, and learning new things.

My grandfather, who was the head of the household, taught me carpentry. I used power tools and swung a hammer before I was ten. I helped him build cabinets and stools. That was both fun and purposeful—a winning combination. The expectation was I should behave and obey my elders, contribute to the family as much as I could. I really don’t remember not having fun while growing up.

In my early twenties, I started traveling and visited museums and galleries in Europe, a way of exposing myself to art, an area of my education lacking at the time. My strongest recollection involved how children were depicted during the Renaissance era. Artists like Raphael, Boticelli, and Da Vinci painted them as small adults with tiny bodies out of proportion, some with severe and aged faces.

As impressed as I was with the magnificence of the paintings, it shocked me that so many of these works distorted the appearance of children. I researched it further, and through it, I discovered something about my own childhood.

My parents always considered me a miniature adult and treated me like one, especially since I was the oldest of three kids. In looking  through old photo albums, I confirmed as much. I saw numerous pictures of myself posed like the strange-looking children in the Renaissance paintings.

BW me

Me at three

Perhaps I missed some fun in those early years of my life. I don’t remember really, and I wasn’t an unhappy child. I’d like to think I was a serious child who grew up not taking myself too seriously.

Super powers may have been too fantastical for me to believe in, even if my parents had brought me up differently. What I do believe in is the wonderment of being human and all it entails. I’m no scholar, but I know I have powers that are uniquely human. We’re the only species known to blush, revealing our innermost emotions. We’re able to reason, to possess self-awareness.

As an adult, my dreams are not unlike those of a child who still believes in super powers, only mine are tempered with real-life experience, a dash of pragmatism, and a heavy dose of optimism. For me, that’s pretty damn powerful.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read a collection of flash fiction and poetry, pick up my ebook Hot Flash. 

Click on the cover and LOOK INSIDE to read a sample.

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16 Comments

Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

16 responses to “The Power of Being Human ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

  1. The super human ideal has been around since the cave painting. It’s OK to have fun with it, but life ends too quickly to care how incredible we are. We should only work to be better than yesterday, with the same plan for tomorrow.
    Good work Eden Baylee.

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  2. You were so cute at 3 years, Eden. What went wrong? 🙂

    Btw, great piece.

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  3. Great post Eden.

    I’ve always like superheroes.. They’re fun and fantastical. At least I thought so as a kid. They were a way to escape, to have a way out for a time, even if only in the imagination.

    That pic of you at 3 is the cutest I have ever seen. You were adorable then and you’re adorable now. Inside and out.

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    • Casey! I’ve missed you. Must go check out your blog and see what’s up.

      I understand the concept of superheroes for kids, and the fantasy of them for adults. I also think ordinary people can be heroes by doing extraordinary things. Each of us has the power to do so. Perhaps that’s all I wanted to get at, but then I went all over the place!

      Thanks, hon for your comment.

      xox
      eden

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    • Sorry, I wanted to add, but got interrupted and signed off, “My grandfather, who was the head of the household, taught me carpentry. I used power tools and swung a hammer before I was ten. I helped him build cabinets and stools. That was both fun and purposeful—a winning combination. The expectation was I should behave and obey my elders, contribute to the family as much as I could. I really don’t remember not having fun while growing up.” I loved this paragraph. I can see it in you even though I don’t know you a well as most. The concept of fun and purpose are in your writing.

      Anyway, great post.

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  4. What a serious pose, but do I see a flash of impishness in those eyes?

    I’m with you, Eden. Being human is pretty damn nice. 🙂

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  5. Wonderfully said, Eden. And you were adorable at three!

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  6. You’ve carried your beauty from your childhood. So many parents allow their children to run free without guidance now. When I was growing up I was allowed my fun time– which usually meant I was in the forest chasing rabbits or just watching. I also was expected to help and learn beyond my few years.

    What I know of you, dear Eden, is your character came with you and I am touched just by knowing you.

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