How to become a hero

In the beginning you were just like everyone else. Your sorrow was not remarkable, your setbacks were not the things of legends.  Your hopes were no more ambitious than those of other people. Not at first. It is, after all, very much in the nature of the young to dream and aspire and determine to remake the world in their own image. Even though most do no such thing.

To become a hero is to become the person to whom others attach their longings and hopes. You become the one who can triumph in their place. They imagine that your glory will, in part also be their glory. Sometimes it means they help you. Sometimes they become angry instead and seek to tear you down for being what they longed for but never dared to try.

Always, they bring their own stories and paint them on to you. Over and over. Each new thing you do becomes exaggerated, distorted, sometimes entirely re-written. Your life is no longer the thing of your making – you are what they say you are. Slowly, all sense of yourself is lost to the layers of other people’s hopes and expectations. Other people’s bitterness and resentment.

You are no longer a person like them.

You do not recognise your own face any more when you see it in reflections. Your face frightens you, and you try not to look at it too often.

In the beginning, you wanted to be the hero of the story. You were young, and hopeful. You are carrying so much now that it is heavy and hard. Now and then, you see how the young people look at you, as though you are the system they must overthrow. You are the monstrous tyrant they must take down to remake the world in their image.

(Collaboration with Dr Abbey, who provided the art.)

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

One response to “How to become a hero

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