Can't We All Be Heroes?
Updated: Nov 12, 2021
The subject of heroes and heroism has been appearing a lot in my dreams as well as even in my YouTube feed. (While I was drinking my morning caffeine and trying to wake up, David Bowie popped up in my random music playlist and starting singing about heroes.)
What makes someone a hero?
In several artist improvement courses I've taken, one of the common themes is to approach your body of work and your life as an artist as if you are a hero on a heroic journey (think Beowulf or Harry Potter).
I've seen the same exercise pop up in different spiritual improvement courses I've sampled. If you've never done it, it's a very eye opening experience.
If you look at your life as a hero's journey instead of you bumbling along your life path. Every failure, every regret, is instead an obstacle for you to overcome, a battle that you must lose so that you can become a better version of yourself. The hero, forged in pain and fire, stumbles and fails, all on the path to becoming truly a heroic figure.
I like this idea and trot it out every now and again when I something I attempted didn't go the way I hoped. I'm not a failure. I am a hero learning important lessons. Did Buffy defeat the Master they first time they fought? She did not because she still had much to learn to become a better Slayer.
In synchronistic style, Matthew Colville popped up on my feed talking about heroes in role playing games. The player characters aren't satisfied with staying in the pressing room in the vineyard or stealing change in a back alley. They want to go out into the wider world and make their fortune. They want to be heroes. They want to matter.
Luke Skywalker didn't want to spend his life on the backwater of Tatooine working on his uncle's farm. He wanted to be known. He wanted a life that mattered.
But is going out into the universe and performing great and famous deeds the only way to be a hero? Is that truly a life that matters?
I dreamt last night that I was traveling the universe with Luke Skywalker (the power of suggestion, thank you, Mr Colville) and we had a darling dimpled baby. I was hungry and insisted that we stop for lunch. Luke was impatient. I told him to calm down. The baby needed a clean diaper.
Luke was adamant that he must go out into the universe and defeat evil, but in that moment, I believed what truly mattered was that the child needed a fresh diaper.
When David Bowie sang to me this morning, telling me that we can all be heroes, just for one day, it clicked in my brain.
Saving the universe and killing the big bad is important. Of course, it is. Generations have written poems and books and told tales about defeating the big bad and saving everyone, but staying on the evaporation farm and growing food, that is also an important life.
The Rebel army couldn't never have defeated the evil Empire without food. An army travels on its stomach.
The legends may never speak our names or sing our songs, but we are all important. We are living lives that matter, even without the swords or the light sabers.
Luke couldn't have become a hero without the love and support from his aunt and uncle over the course of his childhood. Buffy couldn't have blown up her high school to kill the mayoral dragon without the nurturing support of her mother and the Scoobies.
We all matter, even if the world won't ever set our names to music or write fanfiction about us. I matter and you matter. Tell your story. You are a hero and I thank you for it.