The Heart of a Hero
“She needed a hero, so that’s what she became”
Welcome back to my three-part series on becoming the hero you need. When I first had the idea for this series, the world was relatively normal (for whatever that’s worth). Now, there have been brave folks shining lights into the dark and ugly corners of our society, and there is outrage. The word “hero” has been tossed around on social and news media and I go back to my first post:
“Let’s face it, we all need heroes. Heroes show us the very best of humanity. They give us hope. They give us an exemplar, something to which we can aspire. There are fine examples of heroes everywhere: television, movies, even news media. People who show us what heroism means.”
“But sometimes the hero you need is you. Sometimes you need to know that you are the one who can overcome adversity. The one who can stand up when you’ve been knocked down. The one who reaches a hand out to help others. Or the one who places an ideal above their own needs.”
So today, the blog will cover the heart of a superhero and what it means to be a superhero on the inside.
Last week, I focused on the body of a superhero. I clearly pointed out that comics and movies depict musclebound folks that have unachievable bodies. Even the winners of bodybuilding competition (with the rare exceptions of the natural leagues) require chemical assistance to achieve their look. Not every person can achieve that look. Not every person has the time, money, physical ability, or super-serum to achieve that look.
And that’s ok. Because in truth, what makes a hero comes from within. It comes from the heart.
Ask anyone who knows me personally and they will tell you that I am an MCU fangirl. I love it. I love that Marvel could create a plot arc spanning ten freaking YEARS. As a writer and storyteller, that’s amazing to me. There were plot points buried in stories that wouldn’t manifest for years. I especially like that it shows the two main male protagonists, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, as more than their superhero personas, Ironman and Captain America. At various points, both accuse the other that they are nothing more than a person in a costume and subtly question what it means to be a hero in their heart.
Eventually, in End Game, we see that both protagonists were more than the suit or the shield, they had the heart of a hero. We realize that Steve Rogers could (maybe always, thank Russo Brothers!) wield Mjolnir and Tony Stark was, in fact, Ironman.
It’s great writing, its excellent storytelling, and it makes us feel good to watch. But how does it apply to us mere mortals? How do we, who live in an unscripted world, become the hero we need?
First, look at the people you admire. For the sake of keeping this apolitical, I will refrain from naming anyone and ask that you just picture in your own mind who you consider heroes today.
Next, we should examine what makes that person or those people heroes: Who do you look up to and why? What is it that they do to make you consider them a hero? Are they strong? Do they stand up what they believe in? Do they do what’s right when no one is looking? Do they do what’s right, even when it’s hard?
Those are the marks of a true hero and we see that in comics, movies, and television. These are the big, climactic events that make for fantastic entertainment. However, there is more a hero can do. The little things that don’t make for exciting fight scenes and dramatic television.
What does the hero you chose do for their community? Stopping Thanos is great for the community, without a doubt. 10/10, would like to keep my neighbors alive. That said, we mere mortals aren’t facing down Thanos on the daily. Our fights are more significant, more wide ranging than a single, angry grape man, and we too can be heroes to our community.
It can be big or small. You can volunteer your time, your money, your expertise, and your labor. You can help a friend or neighbor in need. You can stand up for your neighbor. You can raise up your neighbor. You can help build your community. You fight for what your community needs.
Because in the end, isn’t that what all superheroes do? They don’t fight for themselves. The heroes we love, the ones we truly root for, they don’t do it for themselves. They fight for their friends, family, community. They reach for an ideal beyond themselves. They don’t reach up for the stars, they reach down for the hand of those knocked down, out to embrace their neighbors, and do what they can to better the world and community around them.
Go out and be the hero you need. Reach out, embrace your community, and make it better. That, my friends, is what it takes to have the heart of a hero.
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