I’ve always wanted to be a super hero. Ever since I was a young I’ve had an obsession with the idea of men and women donning masks, cowls and spandex to stand up against injustice and fight for the weak and oppressed. I used to lay awake at night and stare at my roof wondering what would happen if a radioactive spider were to bite me, or if meteor containing an alien compound was to crash through my roof. I’d stare at the white washed ceiling and create these whimsical tales in my head of what I would do. I’d be a good guy. I’d fight for those who couldn’t fight themselves. I’d solve crimes. I’d get the girl. I’d be a hero…
…Jesus, who am I kidding? I still lay awake and night and wonder what it would be like to be super. I still stare up at the ceiling and imagine just how different my life would be if I were somebody else. Somebody brave.
It’s no secret that I live inside of my own head, and the whole I want to be a hero mentality seems like a logical thought process for a man who considers himself to be different. But for as long as I can remember my idea of being super has extended only as far as spandex and fist fights, and I’ve beaten myself up time and time again for not having the courage to pull on a pair of tights and kick some arse on the streets. Yet for all of my self-loathing over my lack of courage the truth is this: I’d look terrible in a figure hugging suit, and I’ve never been in a fist fight. Chances are if I ever did find the courage to become a hero in this very archaic sense, I’d be beaten to a pulp or killed.
But lately I’m starting to realise that there is so much more to being a hero than the idea of creating a bad-arse pseudonym and fighting crime. Lately I’m realising that we all can be heroes. Every last one of us has the potential to be something extraordinary within them. Take me for example (what a shock that I chose myself!); I’m an extremely flawed character. Or at least I was a few years ago. I like to think that I’ve grown a lot since then. Nevertheless, as I sit here and flesh out this thought process, there is the potential for me to be a hero lying just beneath the surface of who I am….
Bear with me here, because I know that sounded arrogant…
When I started this blog I did so with two goals in mind: The first was to have an outlet through which I could metaphorically slice open my chest and remove the darker impulses of my heart. The second was to create a platform through which I could blog about my journey as a writer. It seems incredible now when I think back about why this all began and realise that while I did manage to cut the depression that plagued me from my soul, I actually spent very little time creating entries specifically about writing. Instead over the past few years I have bungled my way through posts about singularities, Mona Lisa’s, linguistic lenses, and creating your own roadshows.
So why? Why did I deviate from my original concept? And why does this make me a hero? Well, I deviated because it felt right. I’m not an international best seller (yet) and there’s enough amateur authors out there creating how to blogs about topics they have barely grasped themselves that the thought of being just another writer’s blog didn’t resonate with me. My original concept, while noble, just never felt quite right. What felt right for me was to be honest. To open my soul and allow the world to view me for what I really am; a confused, misguided author struggling to make his mark in a world that he often feels doesn’t understand him.
I’m a notoriously reserved man. It takes a lot for me to open up and allow someone to see the real me. Which is probably why I’m currently penning a love story titled vulnerable; the idea of baring my naked soul scares me. I create facades and masks to keep people at a distance while learning everything I can about them. It takes an extraordinary soul to break through my walls, some of my closest friends know little about me and I can think of only one or two people who have ever affected me enough that I have wanted to open up; which is why I’ve always found this blog so cathartic. I’ve managed to carve out a small niche of readers who are willing to accept my failings and allow me the opportunity to express myself while still maintaining some semblance of distance from them.
But perhaps through my gradual immersion into the idea of exposing myself I have become a hero of a different kind. I’m still not pulling on spandex and I’m still not fighting crime, but there is the possibility that through everything I have created here I have unwittingly become a hero to someone else. Perhaps the reason that I decided to create posts about myself and my struggles to find my place within the universe were so that someone, somewhere, could read them and feel inspired to continue on their own journey towards understanding. Or perhaps not. Maybe I’m just getting ahead of myself here. Regardless of whether I am inspiring anyone or not, I have come to realise that there’s more to being a hero I originally thought.
As I said before, we can all be heroes. We can all fight battles for the down trodden and the weak, that are not just physical in nature. They could be mental, emotional, financial, legal, etc. A hero is typically defined as someone who in the face of danger and adversity displays courage and the willingness for self-sacrifice. By that definition a hero could be a father who busts his arse to put food on his family’s table. It could be a soldier standing between the people he aims to protect and the dangers opposing them. It could be a lover offering unconditional support in their partner’s times of need. Or it could be a writer bearing his heart and soul so that others can learn from his shortcomings and mistakes. The possibilities of being a hero are endless.
So why this post? Why heroes? And why should you care? Well, because lately I’ve realised that I spent so much of my youth walking around with head jammed up my arse and a grudge on my shoulders. I failed to realise just how much I had to be grateful for, and how little others had in comparison. A few days ago I started researching charities that I could become involved with so that I could start to show the universe my gratitude for everything that I have been blessed with: family, writing, health, friends, a country where freedom of speech is a right, not a dream. And while I still haven’t selected how I plan on giving back just yet, I’m loving the idea of doing something selfless; of being a hero to someone less fortunate than myself. Just like I have always dreamed of.
So for the first time ever, I’m going to do something a little different at the end of this post. And I’m going to ask you, my wonderful WordPress followers to do something for me. Take this post and do something with it. Invite your friends to read it if you like, or better yet, become a hero in your own right. Do something selfless for someone less fortunate than yourself and take a moment to realise that nothing positive can ever be achieved with a negative mindset. You don’t need a radioactive spider to bite you, or Joe Cool to gun down your family in order to be super, you just have to embrace who you are and allow yourself to become someone else’s hero. We can be heroes. Every last one of us.