Kshitij Mor performed "Why Superpowers and Mental Illnesses Are Not So Different" and bagged the second prize at "Conversations of Verse", an event organized in collaboration with Airplane Poetry Movement.
The thing about superpowers is that most of the time people are so oblivious to them; it’s almost as if they don’t want to acknowledge their existence. Humans are so clueless that we could have a god walking among us, and we wouldn’t know better. Because no one questions Peter Parker on how he always manages to get the perfect pictures. Because no one notices how Clark Kent always seems to get the close up on all the good stories. And no one is the smarter to observe how Batman always arrives early if Bruce Wayne is already there.
So on the days the girl with depression covers her scars, colours her hair pink, wears bright clothes and puts on a happy face, no one even realizes that she is using her powers right at that moment. How she is using all her strength to keep her demons at bay, how she has darkness spreading through her body like blood flowing through veins. How if you opened her chest, you would not find a heart, only shattered pieces of an object that was once capable of love. She, like rogue has come to the conclusion that her touch can only cause harm, so she crafts herself an armour that would stop anyone from ever coming close to her, and it’s not that she enjoys her solitude but she rather live alone than see someone else die because of her.
And on the days I put on the mask of having it together, dress appropriately and function as an average member of society, no one would even know who I am. So don’t tell me you know me, you haven’t even seen me out of costume yet darling, you haven’t seen me turn from calm and collected, into a fucked up hot mess, haven’t seen me break myself, bit by bit till there is nothing left me.
My anxiety is like a superpower; it’s always looking for trouble, it is always trying to find a way to beat the villain, but I am the villain in this story and I am tired of destroying myself to protect others. Because superheroes told me that I must use my powers for the well being of others, Superheroes taught us that solitude is the only path for the ones like us, that to protect the ones we love, we must hide our superpowers, that if we want to save the world, we must wear a mask and leap from a tall building.
They say you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain, and I’m afraid of dying but I can already sense myself hurting others. I’m stuck, confused. I’m a worthless excuse of a superhero; I’m a shattered wreckage of a human. My powers are turning on me, this is destruction, this is what I was afraid of, this is the end of the movie, and I have nowhere to go now.
Mental illnesses, like superpowers are unevenly distributed to individuals around the globe, no will know that you have them until you tell them, and when you tell them you do, they probably won’t believe you, and when they do believe you they will call you a monster, they will call you worse.
Society will trap you with labels, hide you in its crevices and will then have the audacity to tell you that it wants to save you, that it would do anything to help you if only it could see you, but of course it can’t see you now, of course it will never help you. Because the thing about mental illnesses is that people are so oblivious to them; it’s almost as if they don’t want to acknowledge their existence.