So you want to be a hero?
You want a cool name and to fight bad guys. You want to bravely stand against the darkness, proudly waving the banner of light. You want to show the people a better way to live. That they don’t have to be victims of themselves or anybody else. You want superpowers. Resources. Martial skills. Training. You want all the time in the world to devote to heroism as your career. You want to save the world?
Well let me tell you one thing.
You’ve already failed.
You’re here asking for permission. You’re depending on acknowledgement in order to assert your will- your identity. And that tells me all that I need to know. You’re not serious about this- you just think it’d be a really cool thing to do with your life. You figure if you can do what you love AND get paid for doing it, then why not?
That’s all your life boils down to. Some idiomatic, pseudo-intellectual, passive catchphrase. You’d take the money and just do the hero thing part time if you could finagle it somehow. No, no you’re not ready for this. I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man whose soul once burned for the glory of divine adventure, but has since dimmed to ventures more practical. More reasonable. You bear the tempered gaze of a fallen god who has settled among mortals- bastioned behind your “just above average” status, reveling in the light of midnight stars whose height you can barely remember, and even now barely know.
You have the look of a man whose only aim and pleasure… is comfort.
Oh don’t go giving me your sob story. Stow it! I’m not one of those whimpering coddlers you’re used to dealing with. Ah here it comes anyway. Yes, yes all of your great sacrifices and the unfortunate painful things you’ve been through. BUT. You only chose the sacrifices you were comfortable with! That can hardly be called a sacrifice, now can it? And you know why?
Because every time you approach the asymptotic boundaries of genuine self rendering, you inhale a doozying whiff of your potential and say “It doesn’t take all THAT.“
Well I’ve got news for you.
Whatever makes you think “it doesn’t take all that” is exactly the thing you’re gonna have to do.
Over and over again.
Not because that’s what it takes, but because you need to train yourself not to limit your maximum effort based on the requirements of your desired outcome. If you’re not giving your absolute best every single time, then you’re not ready for this job.
And as long as you consider your life pains unfortunate, you will never be ready for this gig. Heroes understand that without their former agonies, they are woefully ill equipped for the journey they’ve set upon. Trees are pruned, lives end, automobiles are reduced to scrap and implemented into new designs. There’s a cycle- a rhythm- to life. And pain is a part of it. You don’t have to enjoy it, but you most certainly ought not regret it.
Not if you really want to be who you SAY you want to be.
It’s easy to make villains around here. I’ve been around a long time kid. Seen many come. Seen many go. Most of you more powerful ones rarely, if ever, truly want to be a hero. You just want to comfortably flex your power and see if your power levels match your imagination. That’s not a hero kid. That’s the seed of darkness. Self gratification. If power is your qualifying element for being a hero, then you’re just a villain who hasn’t realized it yet. Because when power is your focus, destruction is your outcome.
Do you get it yet, my young friend?
Being a hero isn’t a gleeful experience. It’s not easy and there are no shortcuts. It’s the most painful, heart breaking, life pulsing reality you could ever commit to. There are fun moments, sure, but it’s not fun. Haven’t you ever noticed that the Messiah is the only one who didn’t get Messiah Complex? That’s cuz He was the real deal. He lived the raw, messianic lifestyle and there was no ROOM for ego. He was the right man for the job. All the rest? Wet matches and fiddlesticks. Sense of self importance so large, it could knock the moon out of orbit.
Ah. You’ve grown quiet now. Contemplative. You’re starting to question… beginning to doubt.
Let me tell you something not everybody seems to know.
Your social and personal realities are not the same. You could be the most important, and necessary person in the entire universe, but the instant you start to think you are, you’ve already disqualified yourself from the job. The people will crown you and crucify you with the same hands. Your duty is to maintain healthy self esteem- a resilient sense of self worth. How can you give anything valuable to the world if you don’t consider yourself valuable!? That’s your responsibility at all times. After that, your job is to do your job. You want to be a hero? Fine. Then do heroic stuff. BE the hero. Maybe that makes you the most important and necessary man in the universe and maybe it doesn’t- social facts don’t matter. Do what you’re supposed to be doing.
If your personal reality is out of sync, then anything you do socially will only devolve into chaos anyway. A half set charge, detonating prematurely. A powder keg of good intentions lit by reckless folly in a room full of people you love.
Does this country even know the meaning of the word anymore?
Someone who defies conventional odds, sound logic, and genetic predisposition in order to become an emissary of the light. Hero. Someone who believes. Believes in their self, believes in their mission, believes that what they have to offer is trumped only by who they are. Hero. One who chooses to find happiness by forsaking the pursuit of it- spending their life giving their life. Hero. One who champions the humanity of the weak and the oppressed, without enforcing false rights or endorsing clamouring causes that will create destruction down the line. Hero. The ultimate servant. A flawed game changer, who does not resort to embracing his or her flaws in order to change the rules of the game.
One who forsakes all that they are, in order to become all that they can be.
You’ll have to wield the courage to make the decisions that no one else will. That no one else truly can. Sometimes you’ll get it right- many times you’ll get it wrong. You will be the victim of your own foresight, even as you save others with it. You will bear the softest of hearts, and the toughest of resolves. You must remain unbiased in your peace and unconditional love. You’ll have to find the move when there are no pieces left and it’s a perfect stalemate on the board. You’ll make far more mistakes than you ever thought possible.
And still your commitment must remain intact, through the curses and mockeries from damning error.
You don’t get the luxury of perfection.
Are you sure you really want this?
Because if you do, there won’t be room for anything else. There may not even be room for a full life- yeah that’s right. You could die before you even get there. Before the glorious notes of your immaculate swan song can warble out with shimmering, introductory promise, your magnum opus can be cut short. Vengeance, natural causes, fluke accident, mistake… There’s no such thing as a hero’s death.
Heroes just die… because heroism is all consuming.
If you really, truly want this-
It’s going to take everything you’ve got.
And then, when you’ve got nothing left…
It’s going to take a little more.