If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Would it be flying? Superhuman strength? This columnist has another idea.

Halsey Blocher avatar

by Halsey Blocher |

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It can be fun to let our imaginations run wild with the idea of choosing a superpower. The possibilities are endless, practically begging to be explored by creative minds.

Superpowers might be things of fiction, but I can’t help wondering how my real life might influence my answer. Could there be superpowers that would make life with SMA easier?

The next SMA treatment could be superstrength

The most obvious choice for someone with SMA seems like superstrength. For anyone whose muscles are weakened or slowly deteriorating, this superpower provides an instant solution. It has the potential to become the most effective SMA treatment yet!

This is, indeed, a tempting idea. I wouldn’t mind if a harmless science experiment accidentally caused the manifestation of this power, as sometimes happens in movies.

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As it is, there are days when my atrophied hands have trouble lifting a pencil, so having the ability to lift a bus — without needing to recover from fatigue later — holds substantial appeal.

The benefits of this superpower are undeniable, but I don’t want to make a hasty decision. If I get to choose my power, I want to explore some more options.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … Halsey?

Flight is another choice that’s likely crossed some minds. While this superpower could benefit many people, it’d be especially useful for those who can’t walk. Being unable to walk isn’t something that bothers me, but either way, we all need to get around somehow. Flying everywhere would probably draw more attention than my disability, but it’d be a fun way to travel.

But I already have my wheelchair, which I’m rather fond of. I’ve owned numerous wheelchairs with different features throughout my life, and they’ve each provided comfort and dependability as they carried me through my home, community, and vacation destinations. I imagine that suddenly navigating the world without one would leave me feeling like a part of myself was missing.

Although flight doesn’t quite make the cut as my first-choice superpower, I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who knows how to add hovercraft capabilities to a wheelchair.

Drumroll, please

Choosing just one power when we’ve barely scratched the surface of possibilities isn’t easy. Alas, there’s another option that sticks out in my mind: telekinesis. With this ability, I could have the combined advantages of both strength and flight. I’d be able to move objects of many sizes and weights without physical strain, and theoretically, I could also levitate my own body.

In addition to these larger perks, many smaller uses for telekinesis hold equal or greater interest to me — things like opening doors, lifting a cup to my lips, reaching items from across the table, throwing toys for the dogs, and so many other ordinary tasks.

I’m grateful to have technology, loved ones, and caregivers to help me with all of these activities now, and even if I did have telekinesis, I’d still seek assistance from those around me. I never want to lose the bonds that my caregiving relationships have built. Each of mine has gifted me with connections and friendships I might not otherwise have.

I’d still choose telekinesis as my superpower, though. Even though I wouldn’t use my powers at every opportunity, it’d be nice to sometimes do more little things for myself, and being able to give my body an extra movement boost when it’s fatigued would be life-changing.

Powers that affect the real world

Indulging in a fantasy where we can have powers like our favorite superheroes is an exciting adventure, but what if I told you it doesn’t have to end when we return to reality?

In a column titled “Seeing Yourself in ‘The Hero With a Thousand Faces,‘” my good friend and Friedreich’s Ataxia News columnist Matt Lafleur speaks to a group of junior high school students about facing life’s challenges. He says, “I think heroes can exist in the real world. Maybe I can even be one. Maybe you can, too.”

And if we can be heroes, doesn’t it stand to reason that we’d have access to real-life superpowers? They’re not the kind we read about in comic books — I think they’re even better. We have the capacity to save the world with our powers of empathy, love, generosity, caregiving, compassion, conversation, advocacy, and so many others. Those are pretty powerful abilities we don’t need to daydream about.

What fictional superpower would you like to have? And what’s your real-life power? Please share your answers in the comments below.

Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


Blake Watson avatar

Blake Watson

I think about this a lot lol. I really miss the ability to handwrite. My kingdom for a pen, a notebook, and the hand strength to use them.

Halsey Blocher avatar

Halsey Blocher

That’s definitely a good choice. Words are powerful, but SMA does tend to limit our tools for using them. And you just can’t beat the feeling of actually putting pen to paper (I say as I type on a screen).


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