(DL) – I'd like to share something personal today. "Every hero becomes a bore at last." Do you know who's quote this is? Emerson, Sachin, Saurav? Let's say for now the source doesn't matter; what does matter? It is true.
Upon hearing this quote for the first time years ago, it stimulated me to think a great deal. The instant I came across it this quote made me think back to my youth. In my younger days I had an unquenchable desire. Yes I wanted to pursue my dreams of being an athlete and musician. But beyond all things... I wanted to be loved by the best woman in the world. To be in the company of such a woman, I needed to be worthy. I'd need to be her hero.
It was such a silly notion, so romantic and needlessly wanted. Because in time, somewhere between the time I thought of it first and the time I began penning poems I grew to understand that heroes fail too. At the age of seventeen I wrote those very words to a young girlfriend after I had lost her to her own selfish desires.
I asked myself, "What I had done to lose her interest?" I thought of my hero complex – for lack of a better description. I determined the answer was in my foolish need to be a woman's hero. I came to realize if I were to become a hero – as hard as I could try to maintain being one, I could fail. I would fail. Eventually I would fail. I did fail this girl. How I don't know, but I failed to win her heart. I wrote a line in a peom to express my feelings, “Heroes fail too, you know now they do.”
Of course the girl I wrote this too didn't understand. My poem was meant to reveal my humanity. It was meant to reveal that I accepted that I failed her and that I hoped she'd accept me despite my failure. Perhaps it was too deep, she never gave me another thought. I did what most young boys do. I swore I'd never love again then soon forget her.
I saw her again. Fifteen years later. It was non-eventful for me, it was embarrassing for her. That sixteen year old girl was now a grown woman. I had my son, she had hers. We exchanged pleasantries and I walked away from the moment thinking back at how foolish I was as a boy. Oh how I didn't want to lose her those many years ago. Now I see in her eyes that she admires me once again. Was it that I've held up well over the years? She dropped one soft compliment on me after another. Perhaps I was that hero again simply because we all want what we can’t have. Whatever it was I could tell she saw a hero. I was somehow again that guy you imagine can do no wrong. Whatever the reason, I knew she saw a man she felt she misjudged before and would have been proud to have been with after all. She remembered the hero I once was. I felt sorry for her. I felt happy for myself. I was a hero after all – to my children. That's another story.
But yes as I sensed she saw me with the same eyes of that young girl who doted on me for a short time. As she told me she heard of some of my accomplishments through mutual acquaintances, my silly poem jumped into my head. The one I wrote to her about us and life. It was a foolish notion perhaps but it was sincere. It made me think about how anyone can fail, how anyone can become mortal once the magic of just getting to know that person wears off. I now think back to both moments. The time I wrote the poem and our second meeting all those years later. I never wanted to be the ephemeral hero. I want to be a man with driving life-force. I need to be a determined man of discipline. A real hero, not an imagined one. I can't be a man that comes on strong and fades over time. I've never been that man, I never will be. Yet for as hard as any of us men push, it seems the women we let into our souls begin to resent what they once felt was a gift to be a part of.
I suppose with lovers it’s known as when the honeymoon ends, or as the saying goes, “The honeymoon is over." I’m happy to say I don’t suffer that feeling. When I was married, I never stopped loving my wife. When I see her now, I see nobody. I feel nothing. When she lost me, she lost a hero. I can't tell you how many divorced women I know that are bitter in regret, yet attempt to hide it. I know in their heart, they want their boring hero back.
Now as a single man, I must admit I think about that hero I always wanted to be. I think it silently drives most men. It does me; because I’ve always believed if I was to be worth something to any woman I needed to be worth more than most other men. For the right woman, I needed to be her “hero”.
What growing mature in my thoughts taught me is that every hero becomes less exciting as you cozy up too close to them. The saying, “familiarity breeds contempt” appears to fit. As you become close to any person, even a hero, you learn they are as fragile inside as any other person. They may not have the same failings as every other person, and you lose sight that they have better qualities than other men (or women), but they do indeed still need to take the trash out, clean the floor, repair things around the house and other mundane acts that make knowing a hero at close range a bore.
Get to know a hero from up close and you realize they are just as fragile as any of us. A hero is short lived unless they die being a hero. A hero fades into the darkness and we forget how we once imagined them with respect and reverence. Ralph Waldo Emerson had it right, “Every hero becomes a bore at last.”
What I get most of all from this exercise of thought is that I stopped thinking of myself as a hero in the making for any woman. My aim is much higher now. :) My children see me as a hero and will continue to do so until they outgrow me...
Wow... isn’t that how it works for all of us with our heroes? We become bored with them as we outgrow them. Good luck to all you heroes out there.