There is an episode of the Justice League cartoon where the Flash meets one of his villains in a bar. The villain has been up to no good and the Flash decides to have a talk with him. “Listen, James,” he says, “you’re wearing the suit again.”
The man looks down and finds, to his surprise, that yes, in fact, he is wearing his supervillain suit again. Sure, he was out shooting at superheroes and conspiring with other villains, but in the course of all that, he didn’t realize, not fully that he was wearing the suit again, and thus, fallen back to his villain ways.
I identify with this more than I like. I make the same artistic mistake, over and over.
Of everything I’ve done, it’s the work that I’ve done for myself, where I’ve owned the results, that I’ve found the most rewarding. Yet again and again I find myself doing work for other people without the time to fit in my own projects. It’s not that there isn’t a place in my artistic life for collaboration or work for others, but I need to make sure that my projects come first.
This is a lesson that I know in my head. Still, I find myself making the same mistake, working entirely for other people and throwing myself into their projects. I look down, and I’m knee deep in work for someone else without any time for my own stuff. I’m wearing the suit again.
I was recently reminded by a friend that I’m wearing the suit again. I’ve worn it so much that it’s comfortable, that it feels safe, but in the end, I’m not happy in the suit, and I need to get out of it.
Maybe we all wear a suit sometimes. Put on an outfit we don’t mean to, one that we don’t like and that doesn’t actually fit us. Wearing the Suit, for me, is a mistake I know about, one I want to avoid, but that I keep making.
I need to be my own hero. I need to see the suit.