Clark Kent had a phone booth. Bruce Wayne had the Batcave. I had the F Train.
Let me rewind.
In the fall of 2010, I was running on empty. I worked too many hours at a restaurant that made me feel small. I told myself I was an actor but found a lot excuses for why I didn’t go to auditions. I found myself surrounded by toxic relationships. My bank account was going down and my weight was going up. I felt constantly exhausted and powerless to change anything about my life. I certainly didn’t feel like I could do anything to help anyone else.
And then one day, on an impulse, I signed up to volunteer at an elementary school in the Lower East Side. The teacher read the squirmy 6 year olds a story about ghosts, and had prepared the materials for each kid to make their own ghost – complete with cotton balls, googly eyes, and yarn. I have never considered myself a “crafty” person. But these kids didn’t care. To them, I was the Goddess of Elmer’s glue. They wanted to know whether I liked the purple eyes or the green eyes better. They valued my life experience and they needed my help. And what was better: I could help.
Over the next several months, I kept that regular Friday afternoon appointment. I would take the F Train down, and somewhere between Broadway/Lafayette and Second Avenue, the Talia who lived with the existential dread of being another barely-employed 20-something in New York City turned into the Talia who had the power to create, to inspire, to delight.
The Transformation to Superhero
This weekly transformation was my gateway drug. The high I felt in an overheated Lower East Side classroom lasted all week, but I wanted more. This bunch of kids whose sticky hugs and gap-toothed smiles awakened the voice in my head that said, “Do more, Talia.” And if I could make a difference for them, what else could I do? Who else could I serve? What else could I create? If I lived more of my life with the purpose, confidence, and heart that I discovered by GIVING, what would I GET?
Perhaps it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that I got a lot. In short, I got a new life. I quit the restaurant. I started honoring who I was, instead of beating myself up for who I wasn’t. I stopped letting people – including myself – take me for granted. I started living boldly. You see, there is a paradoxical mathematical equation at work when we give of ourselves – our time, our talent, our treasure – we actually get BIGGER. We take up more space and have more to offer. As the famous Zig Ziglar said, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
If you started today and helped someone get what they want in life – Which of your wildest dreams could come true? (TWEET THAT SHIT!)
Well, if you’re anything like me, all you’ve ever wanted is to be a Superhero…