God evening ladies and gentleman
I wandered as lonely as a cloud,
that floats on high o’er vales and hills…
What you see above are the first two lines from one of the more famous lyrical writings of William Wordsworth in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.”
Now, back in around 1804 when this was supposedly written, there would have been lectures and readings in which Wordsworth would weave wander and beauty into the hearts and souls of the many patrons of such events. They would listen with a glee unrivalled to very little at the time as they hung on every word of a poem they had probably read a number of times already.
Through this indirect connection, Wordsworth has inspired many thousands of poets to this day, as they look to interpret and understand the words he wrote. To some William Wordsworth was an inspiration for them to make a change in their life. To some, he is a hero.
Take a more modern example say- look at Ironman. Whether you read the comics or watched the movies, it doesn’t matter. Undeniably, Tony Stark and as an extension of him Ironman, was a hero. Right up to the last moment the lived and died as a hero.
To be someone’s personal hero is a completely different minefield, because it gives the word “hero” a different meaning to the sense in which Tony Stark has been afforded such a moniker, or as I just gave to William Wordsworth. Away from theatrics, you’re personal hero isn’t a hero, but almost like a saviour.
Now, I’ve never been a particularly big fan of this idea, the idea that someone has “saved” you from whatever deeply personal emotional turmoil you have been locked into for however long, to be only bought back from the depths of your misery by a sword of light plunged into the depths by that somebody. Instantly and sometimes very easily, you can become enamoured to this person. They helped you and saw you when you felt invisible and for the first time in perhaps a very long time, you felt good. Perhaps good is an improper term here, maybe “not terrible” is better.
Throughout this time, you have struggled to feel anything good about your life, about yourself- about anything really. So, naturally you would link the powerful feeling of positivity, as rare as it is these days, with the person supposedly generating that feeling. However happy you might feel in that moment, so inspired to bring yourself together because you found that one person capable of making you feel something again. After thinking you would never feel happy again, never be able to experience love again….here they are.
What did they save you from though? The only thing you needed saving from was yourself, and all they did was grease the rails and had you sliding towards the better future you were hoping for. They didn’t put you on the track, they just shone the light in the right direction, like an air stewardess pointing out the emergency exit on a plane rapidly filling with seawater. It was you that got yourself off the plane.
In the end, you did the work and this to me is where the “saviour” falls down. You are your own saviour and you are your own hero. Even if you don’t notice. The thing with other people being given that moniker and especially people you care about is that the pressure applied to continue in this vain can be enormous and spirit shattering. The desire to build you up as this near perfect figure is weighing just as much on them as the desire to hold onto this good feeling is on you. By needing each other as much as you do, you push yourselves away from one another.
To be a hero and need a hero, to be saved or be the saviour are equally damaging human endeavours. To quote a rather infamous Joe Rogan line:-
“Be the hero in your own fucking movie”
Tony Stark does things his way not for any reason and not because he wants to be a hero. He does it because it’s the right thing to do. Wordsworth wrote poetry in the way he did, the words creating stanzas in that way because thats how he felt he should do it. People need saving from themselves sometimes, this is inevitable as we live in a world and are a generation so saturated in information that over analysing and overthinking is always going to be a symptom of this information overload- but there’s only one person doing the saving. Only one person capable of riding into battle and coming through the other side. Battered bruised and maybe very nearly dead. But victorious.
Nobody is coming to save you from that misery. The soul swallowing blackness in which you’ve plunged yourself into has sometimes had light thrust open it to show you the way, but you pulled yourself from the depths. You gasped that free air, you swam to shore. If someone somewhere is reading this and feels like this then please heed these words.
You got this. You are so much stronger than you think and are so much more than the sum of what happened to you. Please hear me. You got this. You are the hero you need, even by getting out of bed in the morning, showering and going to work, that emergence from the dark, even if only temporarily is huge. Just huge. You turn the music up loud to drown everything else away, the voices in your head telling you “you were never good enough anyway,” “she’s too good for you,” or “why me?”
Why not you? You need to understand that being a hero is hard, and it comes with many challenges. Challenges that you need to face head on if you ever wish to overcome them. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink…you don’t need a hero. You just need you.
So. This is one of those moments. The moments that make the difference. Night and Day. Good and Evil. Hero…or Villain.
Dry your eyes…
Time to unleash your hero on the world.
Yours, with love as always.