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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Wowk


Cape. A piece inspired by dreamers + believers.

A little one toddled past me, arms stretched, ‘S’ on his chest, cape trailing in his wake. A superhero, on his way to save a damsel, or at least fill his bucket with sweets. Halloween in the city: ghosts and goblins hanging from the gates of the Upper East Side’s brownstones, trick-or-treaters shrieking with glee as they tear across the sidewalks, sugary bounty in tow. This holiday always reminds me of the quintessential question posed to kids, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” We see their answers brought to life on Halloween; a day of imagination and fostering of dreams. The firefighter, the dragon-slayer, the Tom Brady’s; the princess, the budding wizard, the Katniss Everdeen’s. And while not all of them wear capes to distinguish their powers, their heroic qualities are aspired to all the same.

I admire children for their honest aspirations, before they learn the fear of pursuing their dreams. Too many will face early setbacks without knowing that setbacks are an integral part of achieving success.

To these young superheroes, I say: don’t be afraid of what you’re capable of.

The day that followed Halloween this year introduced me to heroes of a different kind. As the crowds of spectators poured out to line the course of the New York City marathon, the running world’s elite women and men readied to race 26.2 miles across the five boroughs. Catching a glimpse of them as they strode by, gingerly tapping the First Avenue pavement, elicited a bolt of awe and inspiration. 17 miles in and they were making it look easy!

Do these super-athletes experience fear pursuing their dreams? Of course they do. It is in the eyes of fear that they return to train each morning, committed to attaining their goals and pushing their limits further and faster than they’ve gone before. Only those who risk failure are worthy of achieving great things.

To these mortal superheroes, I say: don’t be afraid of what you’re capable of.

Time and time again, I find myself at life’s starting lines: moving to a new city, launching a new venture, saying yes to the unexpected. Each time I’ve had to remind myself to stop worrying if the weeks or months or years of training have been enough. They have.

Every opportunity to start anew leverages the experience you’ve garnered until that point. You often underestimate what you’re capable of because you’ve never experienced it. In hindsight, you recognize that the times you felt unprepared, skills you didn’t know you’d need became useful and resources you didn’t know you could tap, appeared. You crossed that finish line because you were ready to make the journey.

To the dreamer, the brave soul, the ready heart, I say: don’t be afraid of what you’re capable of.

Whoever it is you admire, whatever it is you aspire to, whether you wear a cape with an ‘S’ or a bib with a number, remember this: that you were born capable, or else you wouldn’t dare to dream it.

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