I love my wife. For so many reasons but today it’s about a gift she gave me. One that I didn’t realize I had lost or even knew how important it was. It is the gift of innocence. I’m not talking about naiveté, I’m talking about that childhood innocence that let us believe in everything.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a very healthy imagination. I love science fiction and fantasy. I live frequently in my imagination because it’s far more fun and interesting that most of the stuff going on in the “real world”.
What I had lost was the innocence of believing in heroes. Now I know there are real life heroes everywhere. I lost the heroes that we look up to, that set a tone for ones life and help us find a purpose and path. Most commonly, they are the Superheroes of comic books and movies. Justice League and all of that.
My wife loves Wonder Woman. She became an icon for Kendra. Her warrior spirit and loving heart gave Kendra a map by which to live her life. My wife has been through a lot of shit and I think it’s because Wonder Woman taught her to be strong and keep her heart open that Kendra survived what might have killed her. To Kendra, Wonder Woman is something to strive for. To live up to.
And that’s what I lost. I got disillusioned at an early age and learned to rely on myself. I had people who were inspiring to me, both real and fictional, but I never idolized them. I took what I could from them and moved on.
And I think that’s part of what’s wrong with so many people today. Yeah, they watch the movies and enjoy the CGI action, but so many feel that having “hero worship” is something one should grow out of. It’s not “adult”. Then we are left feeling bereft, because when we don’t believe in the fictional heroes anymore, we have a harder time believing in anyone being a hero. we say they did it for the money, or the fame, or for their own ego. Blah, blah, blah. People find it hard to believe that someone might do something nice or heroic just because it’s the right thing to do.
As I was thinking about writing this piece, I thought back to the movie “Pleasantville”. I have watched this movie so many times and each time I am awestruck at the subtle brilliance of this movie. There are so many themes and ideas, many of which we are facing today with our socio-political climate. Watch it again and see for yourself. Turning into color meant believing in yourself.
And that’s really what hero worship is about: building a belief in yourself. Using their codes of life to create your own. But you have to have a bit of that childhood innocence. Enough to look at Wonder Woman, or Harry Potter, or whoever; and believe that they could be real, and that you could be like them. To be able to look in your mirror and say “today I will do something incredible!”, and go out to do just that.
It might seem a bit weird to you. But I know that my wife would not be here today if she didn’t have Wonder Woman by her side, protecting her with her wrist gauntlets and golden lasso of truth. I have my wand and a number of spells, I’m a Gryffindor. And our place has mementos of our hero worship. I’m ok with this. So is she.