The pants are a little loose despite my generous hips (“childbearing hips,” my mother calls them, occasionally with a too-eager light in her eyes) and thighs, so I tuck the top in to help shore them up. The fabric really isn’t quite denim, something that chafes a little more, so I figure I’ll probably have to get some light pajama bottoms or something like that to wear underneath. And a good belt, but I have one of those.
I like it, though. The outfit feels good on me. Heavy and solid and reassuring, like putting on armor. Not that I need any actual armor, but… the psychological need is still there, being fulfilled. I feel protected in a way I never have before.
I look in the mirror and I don’t see myself. Amanda Park wears loose blouses and flowing skirts to hide her figure, or dresses to repress in jeans and layered short-sleeved t-shirts over long-sleeved. The person in the mirror is someone different, someone who has more important things to worry about than her figure or how much cleavage a low-cut neckline reveals. “Clothes make the man,” they say, or in this case the woman.
An alter ego, I realize, and smile at the appropriateness of the store’s name now. I don’t have to be skittish, squirrelly Amanda Park anymore, not if I don’t want to. I can be anyone. I can be a hero.
Shatterforce settles over me like a second skin, and I can’t help but break out into a toothy grin. I finally understand what it means to be super. It’s not putting a costume on and pretending to be someone else. Being super means taking off the costume that everyone wears, every day, and finally being who you choose to be.
And I know who I’d rather be, more than Amanda Park. More than anything else, I don’t want to be myself. I want to be a hero.
I stride out of the bathroom with a new spring in my step, more confident in myself than I’ve been in ages. It’s amazing what even a minor change to your person can bring about.