My Superwoman complex

Me! I will save the day! I can do it! Me! I’ll fix it! I’ll make it! I’ll do it! Let me!

Every so often, I see a thing/person/situation that needs fixing or helping and my mind goes into overdrive. I’m convinced that I’ll be able to fix it and save the world.

The situation will often involve me needing skills I do not currently possess. But I am not to be dissuaded! No, not me! I shall not let little things like this stop me from saving the day.

An example of this was a few years ago, when I went to the Philippines to visit a little girl called Kimberly, who I sponsor out there. The whole sponsoring thing is another Superwoman thing – I will save all the children of the world via £12 a month!

So I’m visiting Kimberly and I noticed her younger sister had a limp. The family told me that she’d been given too much medication for something when she was a baby and now the left side of her body didn’t work properly.

Inevitably, this situation brought out my Superwoman complex. I fussed over her and photographed her and generally tried to make her feel part of the gang. Then when I left, I was like, “I’m going to save her! Me! I’ll save her from her limp! I’ll fix it!”

I started making grand plans to get her seen by a paediatrician. Given that there is one nurse per five islands in that area of the Philippines, I was obviously aiming a bit high, expecting that a) there’d be a local paediatrician and b) they’d be able to drop everything and run to see her.

There are two children’s hospitals in the whole of the Philippines (which is made up of over 7,000 islands so you see the numbers are against me here) but one of them was close-ish. In my mind, I had taken her to the capital city myself, found this children’s hospital, pleaded with the doctors to do whatever you do to fix the problem (the idea that there might not be a cure was not on my radar, my Superwoman complex does not allow for ‘no’ as an answer), they had responded favourably and been like, “O yes, Laura, we will do that because you are Superwoman and we will do whatever you need us to.”

I had also found a kind soul to give us a room in their splendid mansion (people have mansions in Manila, right?) and I would stay with her until she was well again and running around all carefree and well and healthy, like her sister.

I didn’t see a flaw in my plan. There was no reason why it wouldn’t work, of course there wasn’t!

There was only, you know, the fact that I was in the middle of a university course and didn’t really have the time/money to just move to the Philippines for a while and hadn’t the proper visas or whatever to stay there for any length of time. There was also the fact that, although I had been sponsoring her sister for a little while, I was, essentially, a stranger, and how likely was it that her family would just hand her over to me to run off to another part of the country with. There was also the fact that the organisation that I sponsor her sister through would mostly be like, “Um, you know you can’t just turn up to visit your sponsor child and run off with her little sister, right?”

Instead, I did the most appropriate thing, sent an email with my concerns to the organisation, they had a nurse assess her and do a medical report and promise to keep an eye on the situation and inform me of what action they might take if it didn’t correct itself as she grew up.

This seems lovely and fabulous, this helping.

But my Superwoman complex has always been a little disappointed that I didn’t take more direct action with Kimberly’s sister.

It can kick in at anytime, this Superwoman thing. I don’t even realise it’s happening til I’m elbow deep in a toilet bowl with a rudimentary unblocker thing that I’ve made out of a wire clothes hanger, going “Don’t worry! I’ll fix it! Me! I’ve got it! I’m doing it!”

It all sounds very nice, doesn’t it? Being a superhero. Fixing things. Helping people. Saving the world.

But, boy, the disappointment that inevitably comes with the times I have bowled on in to fix something that I have no idea about and not been able to. I’m sure most people would be like, “It’s no big deal. I don’t have any skills in that so of course I couldn’t do it.”

My main issue is that in my mind, I’m like a stealthy ninja. I am capable of things people think are impossible. In the words of Team America’s Kim Jong-Il, “I’m the smartest, most crever, most physicry fit.” I can rescue people from danger, successfully operate on life-threatening brain tumours, outsmart baddies, answer every difficult question (even about things I’ve never heard of, that’s how clever I am), lift really heavy things, bake the most delicious cakes anyone has ever tasted and just generally astound and amaze those around me. I’m also beautiful in an au naturel, beach babe type of way.

I’m an eternal disappointment to myself that none of the above is true.

It doesn’t stop me doing the Superwoman thing though. And you’ll be pleased to hear that I did manage to unblock the toilet.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alex Jones on October 8, 2013 at 11:23

    Superman complex happens to be on occasion then reality gets in the way and ruins the moment.


  2. Posted by Alex Jones on October 8, 2013 at 11:24

    *me rather than *be – I pretend I am an awesome speller, reality sucks.


  3. I found a beautiful quote today about exactly this problem (which I also have in abundance): It would be difficult to overstate the importance of selecting issues where you actually can make a difference, rather than those where you would like to.


  4. Oh, the Superwoman Complex can be so much more troublesome than even the times when we wallow in the misery of feeling like we have no powers to offer at all.
    You captured it well!


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