My friend Mike was orphaned before he really got to know his parents.
Fortunately, he was was adopted and raised by a loving family. They didn’t have much, but they did whatever they could to provide for him. Despite growing up with these amazing people, Mike always felt like he didn’t belong.
He did what he could to hide his real feelings: that he’d never belong, that he’d always BE on the outside looking in, that nobody really appreciated him.
You see, the real version of Mike, the part he locked away inside, would terrify others. So he kept it bottled up and put on this act that everything is cool when inside he was deeply conflicted. I was fortunate enough to get to spend quality time with Mike, get to know him for who he really was, and I learned to accept all parts of him.
My other friend Jimmy is also an orphan surprisingly, though his path has been drastically different from Mike’s.
You see, Jimmy was born rich. Like, Scrooge McDuck rich. He WAS old enough to remember his parent’s accidental deaths, and it crushed him. Although all of Jimmy’s needs were taken care of (thank you, life insurance policy), this environment and upbringing created some challenges.
I’ve known Jimmy for years, and it’s been tough to watch him work through layer up on layer of destructive, obsessive, rageaholic behavior.
Like many of us, Jimmy’s been searching for meaning his entire life – everything else has been handed to him, and it’s left him unfulfilled. Who could blame him? So he needs more, thinking this will fill the hole in his heart, at all times.
Despite all the money, and toys, and attractive women, and success, there’s one thing he’ll never have:
He is hurting internally, and yet he feels like he can’t share this with anybody. After all, nobody wants to hear about the problems a very wealthy, good looking person has, right? “Those problems aren’t real! Try not being able to put food on the table for your family!”
I’ve known both Mike and Jimmy since I was a little kid, and have grown up with them.
Two orphans with tragic lives, two very different upbringings, and real internal pain and shame that they feel they can’t share with anybody.
These tales might sound vaguely familiar to you.
You see, Mike’s real name is Clark. Clark Kent. Better known as Superman.
And Jimmy? That’s Bruce Wayne. Better known as Batman.