Clark Kent rushes into a phone booth and in a blur emerges as Superman. Peter Parker dashes into a New York alley and in moments, Spiderman is swinging over the streetlamps. Bruce Wayne walks quietly through his elegant mansion when a light hits the sky, and soon Batman is roaring through the streets in a honey of a car. On the surface, they look like normal, maybe even less then average with Clark's shyness and overgrown Boy Scout demeanor, Peter's bumbling, brainy nerdiness. Underneath it all, the true talents, those which make them exceptional, emerge when needed.
In the scarier shadows, a violent, base, perverted Mr. Hyde skulks within the caring and proper Dr. Jekyll. Wrapped securely in canvas, tucked in the attic, its face to the wall hides Dorian Gray's portrait which reveals the corruption undetected in its owner's angelic face. Dr. Bruce Bannister's rage remains leashed until that control is ripped from his hands, and the Hulk emerges. The surface looks too good to be true, showing beauty, intelligence, caring, self-discipline, but within, the truth lies.
Note the primary difference between the two images of the secret identity. The individual chooses to conceal their strengths in their everyday lives. The heroic nature comes forth only when needed. The evil nature cannot help revealing itself. It comes out without the permission of the owner's public identity. The essential commonalities are that the attributes that make one either a hero or villain are both the person's basic nature and they are hidden. Clark Kent is just as strong with his glasses on as Superman is with them off. He could fly with his business suit on, but the tie might flap in his face. Despite the sweet faces, Dorian Gray is still an evil pervert, and Dr. Jekyll a manipulative murderer.
I think we all have both our heroic and evil secret identities. Granted, we may not get the cool costumes comic book characters get, (Well, I do know some people who have some pretty unusual and nifty stuff in the back of their closets) and it does take more than a discreet alley or phone booth for us to let our secret identity emerge, but those other selves are there. Our secret identities are basically ourselves taken to the extremes of what we can be -- saint, slut, genius, madman. At the root is knowing who and what you are. Our secret identities remain secret until we allow ourselves the liberty to take ourselves to our limits. What shades the secret identity as either heroic or evil are our motivations and the choices we make in using our abilities, a key difference being how willing we are to let others get hurt as we do what we must and be what we are.
We may not want our secret identities out in the open. There are times when single minded pursuit of what we are just won't fit in the with the rest of the demands on one's life. We never need to forget that those secrets are there. Inside each of us is something that can be great, something special and different that only we can do. Our talents may not save the planet or set it on it course of ultimate destruction, but each of us has something inside of us that can change the world.
Away from the fictional world, two women embrace each other only in private, their love a secret they can't share with anyone else. A mother puts her babies to bed, makes a pot of coffee and stays up late to write the short story that's screaming to come out of her brain. Two lovers who have never met spill dreams and passions into instant messages. A businessman walking on a city street discreetly tucks his uneaten lunch beside a drunk passed out against a building. A young woman looks into mirror and analyzes the effect of her beauty on a rich old man. An accountant shifts some numbers, and the retirement funds of hundreds of workers disappear. All around us, secret identities reveal their truths.
This entry motivated by Sunday Scribblings
Sunday Scribblings, comic books, fiction, identity, secrets