Excerpts from an essay written in Freshman Year for English 102
Everyone had someone they consider to be a hero, be it a cartoon character or a person in their life. It could have been their father, mother, brother, or friend. Some heroes are comic characters like Superman or Batman. These fictional heroes fill children with awe and inspiration, but as people grow older they find new and more realistic heroes. Sometimes that hero leads them to their respective future careers like being a fireman or a police officer.
A hero is someone for more than than just an idol of admiration. The official definition of a hero(or just one of them) is a person distinguished with exceptional courage, nobility, and strength. Therefore a hero is someone who is seen as not only strong, but noble and fearless in the face of danger. A hero becomes a person's goal, to become the hero, or merely get a step closer to said hero. The hero may be the person's inspiration to get through tough days, or the reason why someone stays on the right path. Or course, sometimes heroism goes the wrong way, but let's not talk about that.
When I was a child, I believed I didn't really have a hero. There were people I looked up to, but none I thought was truly a hero. To me, they were ordinary people, doing ordinary things. I believed that a hero had to be extraordinary, and that a hero had to be idolized by all, not just one. But we all know that isn't true, most heroes are those ordinary folk, doing ordinary things. But in the eyes of the beholder, that simple ordinary task becomes something more glorious and extraordinary. Something like saving someone from being bullied or just offering a helping hand to someone in need. It only takes something that simple to become a hero.
But even so, I didn't have a hero. I held onto the belief that having a hero was a sign of weakness. I thought that people looked up to heroes because the heroes had something they didn't, be it strength or courage or whatnot. I did not want to become dependent on a fictional character, much less a real person. Call me a realist, but I was a really cynical kid back then.
I had my role models though, and in hindsight, those people may have very well been my "heroes". From the childhood friend who was always one step ahead, to the person who was like an older brother to me, I had a lot of help on the way to where I am now. These people did nothing special, they didn't save my life or anything. Most of the time, they were just there. And that was all it took, they were there for me. I remember the person who appeared to be like an older brother to me was quite an idiot. I lived in Kauai at the time, one year before my unexpected departure from the island to the States. He was a clumsy person who you couldn't give anything fragile because he would break it. But he was always there, whether I just wanted to hang out or wanted advice about something. He was there, and that meant a lot to me. My parents and my own brother were never around, and if they were, they would just tell me to clean the house or something like that. Because of that, I don't actually believe he was hero, but more of the convenient outlet.
But that makes me wonder, what does it take to be someone's hero? If it was as simple as being there for someone, have I become someone's hero? There were countless people I went out of my way to help, and probably even more that I don't remember. Even only counting my job, I turned the financial situation around for many people and their families. I still get calls from them every so often. They thank me every time, and one always me invited my dinner on special occasions. Am I a hero to these people? A part of me likes to think so, the part that loves my job and wants to help people. But there's a part of me that doesn't like being a hero. Being a hero means more than being a hero for just one time, it means being a hero for life. My cynical side believes that's a huge burden. Who can guarantee that I'll be as good tomorrow as I was today? I may be getting people out of debt today, but several years down the road I might be ripping people off. And I don't even know if I'm causing damage to someone right now. And that's the other thing I don't like about heroes, they aren't universal. One person's hero maybe another person's villain.
That aside, going back to my childhood, there was probably even more people that looked up to me. Despite being a cynical person, I liked to help people, I volunteered for a lot of things and was a cub scout(later a boy scout).Maybe it's the Hawaiian side of me, but being a friend just felt good. It felt good to see people laugh and smile, and helped me stop being cynical 100% of the time. The older I grew, the more I helped people. I got a job to help my parents, and used the money to buy gifts for friends who needed that "pick-me-up" feeling. In high school, there was always people around my desk(which sometimes made it annoying), they asked me how I got so rich, or just hung out. They liked to hear my stories of things I did, although I liked to listen to them more. Looking back again, I guess I was the one who was there for them. There was one I even got into a fight for, it was not as dramatic as you see in television shows and such, but I'm sure those guys I punched in the face hate me now.
So am I a hero? I think not. I think I'm just a friend, someone who just likes to help. I do some things worthy of praise, but nothing worth any worship. I do just as much evil as I do good. There probably are people who see me as good and others who see me as the personification of pure evil in its truest form.
I like to believe I grew up by myself and not dependent on a hero, that I grew up strong and independent. And I'll keep believing that until someone comes around that will sweep me off my feet.