I’ve Always Been My Own Hero. I Had No Choice.

Surfing through a few writings this morning, and after reading the specific focus of one writer proclaiming that his dad was his “hero” while growing up, it occurred to me:

I had no heroes.

One can look at the word in a number of ways. In this instance, the guy was obviously talking about his father being the role model that he looked up to and respected. It was also through his hero that he, in many ways, became the man that he is.

I can relate. I became the man my father was, too. Disrespectful. Condescending. A jerk. Mean. Sometimes, violent and abusive. All the behaviors of my father were sponged up as I looked into his ways of guidance. Unfortunately, my dad was more of the evil villain in the comic book of life. A hero is someone who, with integrity and just regard, is beneficial.

It took a lot of years to undo the ways of my father within myself. I still struggle. Also, some of it is simply genetic (although, I observe myself more cautiously than I had, and I tend to weed out the harmful, Lord willing), and the traits are kind of a roadblock at times when being myself in this life I live. The hero I desired to have and really longed for was never there–he was too busy being someone somewhere else. I was never really much of a priority. I was blessed with a grandfather (father of my mother) early on, but it wasn’t the same. It was a limited relationship, so to speak. He was retired, and tired.

Dads are usually the first role models for boys. My early years were void of such. My mother took the role, and that was not what I needed as a boy. God love her for trying, but boys need men to guide in many, many ways. I was always envious of the other boys that I knew. Most had cool dads that would show them the things that boys needed: how to work on things, interests like sports, music, cars, etc. I, on the other hand, found my own roads and my own interests.

It made me socially awkward, I can honestly say. With very few friends and only a hand full of interests that others were interested in, I found myself going my own way, many times. As I have grown older, I’ve noticed that many think I’m arrogant because of me just being who I am. But, I know it is because of the way I was raised and the ways in which I have developed. Overall, NOT having a hero has really been a struggle, and it continues to be.

I’ve had to take on many roles and learn the hard way throughout my life. With no one there to show you how it should be done (meaning, having that solid role model there to guide), I did it. It has taught me to be very independent. It has provided a career that allows me to work independently, and I am very set in many of my ways. And, that is just the way things are.

I sometimes wonder if other people look at themselves and realize just how much of their personal ego affects their everyday life? Built within us all are the varying features of the ego. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of their own. They are also not aware of how it is interpreted within the mind of others. I sometimes think that I have an ego that resides, not only because of the human condition, but because of the past. Change, in some ways, has been deemed impossible for me–I cannot be someone I am not. I am the way that I am, and some of it is seen (by others) as being a little too proud.

I simply see it as my condition; my self.

My hero is only God. Otherwise, my hero is me. I look up to others as I go, learn from them and wholeheartedly respect their positions. Yet, I have to keep going, remembering just how much I’ve learned and struggled, how I’ve had to be my own leader, and how God desired for me to have the road I’ve traveled, with just He and myself. I suppose that’s why my faith in God never ceases, because everyone needs a hero, and the egoic mind is the killer within us all. Letting go of myself–a little at a time, after a long run of it being the only way I’ve ever known–is the way to become a true hero.

4 thoughts on “I’ve Always Been My Own Hero. I Had No Choice.

  1. I think we all have our own tales to tell. For me the journey is one that is still being written. Being a hero is a matter of perspective, living with virtues , integrity and passion is probably more my goal. And of course it doesn’t hurt if people see you as an example they would like to live their lives by (but that is the consequence not the goal). above all staying humble but virtuous. As Bowie sang …we can be heroes …

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  2. I can identify with a lot of what you say. I never met my real father and my adopted father very seldom spoke. He worked hard but my adopted mother kind of ran things. And she had her own problems so I kind of learned by experience and experiment. We moved an awful lot so I always seemed to be the new kid in the class and we were relatively poor, so those little extras like the right shoes for sports etc weren’t high on the priority list. But there were a good number of my friends that were also poor so it wasn’t really a big thing. I learned to earn my own money and started doing that when I was 12. My Mom was the one who had problems with anger and resentment and getting punished with a belt happened quite often, not to mention the verbal abuse. When I was about 12 my Mom dug out my adoption papers and shoved them in my face, telling me that I was a bastard and that no one wanted me. I just pushed that and everything else down deep inside. When I was about 15 she went to get the belt to beat me and I told my father to get her away from me or I would hurt her. I don’t know if I would have but I knew that I wasn’t going to accept the beatings anymore. I don’t recall having a hero but when I was in my early twenties, after entering the military at the age of 17 and trying a lot of things that left me feeling totally empty, I encountered a Christian Youth group and my first real mentors. There were two men who led the group, one was older and one my age. I’d never seen anything like that before. I had stopped crying when I was about 15. Just wouldn’t allow it to happen. You think you’ve handled it but really all I did was push it down deep inside. We all carry baggage, some more than others. I made a lot of selfish decisions as I was growing up and I find it difficult to comprehend how my mind worked and the things that I did during those learning years, but I always knew it was me that had made those decisions. After becoming a Christian it took a lot of years to come to the understanding that my main problem was me. And that is still my biggest problem to this very day. But God has been gracious and very patient and I have been given an awful lot of grace. I’ve met a few real Christian men and women along the way and that is in itself a blessing. No one is perfect but some do shine a little brighter than others. I’m grateful that I met them. I’m still learning and I am still receiving God’s grace. All of us are dealt different cards, but ultimately we decide what happens next, with us, and how we treat others. God can indeed change our hearts and minds but depending on how much baggage we carry, it can take a while. Tears are no longer a stranger, when I pray, anymore. You’re on the right road Damon, you’ll make it, because Jesus is indeed faithful. Blessings brother.

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