Lessons on Self-Care from Superman
Last weekend I had the opportunity to be at a panel on self-care with two other women at Wild Goose West Festival. It was about how to keep our justice work going in a sustainable way and I remember making sure three things came out of my pitch: 1. Do not do it alone; have a community to support you. 2. Pay attention to your spiritual life and make sure you rest in God and 3. You cannot do justice work unless you believe in resurrection. Whether you are a Christian or not, things we encounter in Justice work get sometimes extremely hard and dark and I have been challenged to review my faith and my Christian commitments as I enter more deeply into sharing brokenness with others. This, I must say, hasn’t come out of piety but out of feeling helpless and vulnerable and, more strikingly, from seeing over and over again how oppressed people choose to deal with injustice—they turn to God.
But today I heard something on Weekday (NPR) that was curious enough to add to my pitch. This had a similar effect on me as that scene where Juno decides not to abort her baby because her schoolmate told her that her baby had nails. It was Superman’s practices of Self-Care.
As it turns out, Superman was adapted to radio dramas in the 1940s. The shows ran five days a week all year long. The host of the show asked the expert, ‘When would superman’s actor, then, go on vacation?’ Well, as it turns out, the writers of the show would get around this by writing episodes where Superman was ‘out of commission,’ thus kryptonite came up for the first time in the radio dramas and not in the comic books. For the same reason, Batman would also sometimes come to “fill in” for Superman. They met for the first time at a radio show.
So, take it from the Super Hero himself: If you need to rest, take a sick day and don’t feel self-conscious about getting a replacement. The world is not going to end. Even Super heroes manage to get a day off.