Hero

Reverb14 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December designed to reflect on 2014 and project hopes and dreams for 2015.  Throughout December,SarahKat and I will post each day with a new prompt.  Join us by writing, or join us by reading.   Follow us on Twitter @project_reverb and #reverb14.

HeroWho was your hero this year? Tell us why. What makes a hero in your eyes?

I tried to define this term, so like any human living in the 21st century, I googled it, and came up with this:

he·ro
ˈhirō/
noun
noun: hero; plural noun: heroes; noun: hero sandwich; plural noun: hero sandwiches
  1.  
    a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
    “a war hero”
    • (in mythology and folklore) a person of superhuman qualities and often semidivine origin, in particular one of those whose exploits and dealings with the gods were the subject of ancient Greek myths and legends; the chief male character in a book, play, or movie, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize.
  2.  
    North American
    another term for submarine sandwich.

(Source: Google)

Hmmm. None of this sounds correct.  The chief male character? A submarine sandwich?

Please.

One of the interesting, lasting effects of a couple of bad relationships in my 20s is that I have a lot of female friends. I’d spent my teens hanging out with boys — mostly because I felt alienated by the high school politics of Mean Girls. But after dating a couple of jealous guys (then marrying one), it got to the point where having friendships with men became…challenging. And less important to me.

This is not to say I don’t have close relationships with my male friends — because I have those relationships, and they’re great. But I’ve spent the last decade or so cultivating friendships with other women, and sometimes I’m sad to think of what I missed out on in my youth because I didn’t actively nurture these sorts of things.

My girlfriends are amazing. From all angles, these women blow my mind. Athletes, writers, artists, musicians, parents — they are all genuinely beautiful souls. My friends have crossed marathon finish lines with me; they have battled terrible travel circumstances while pregnant to be in the hospital with me while I had cancer surgery; they have taken care of my dog while I’ve had to travel to advance my career (or simply to allow me to face the sometimes challenging circumstances that come with having a job like mine); they have supported me when I have insisted that I totally knew what I was doing and that it was a great idea to chase married men; they have tended to my wounds, and nursed my broken heart, and listened to my endless rants about my favourite thing to whine about that I’ve been ranting about for 3.5 years.

But aside from who they are and how they are in relation to me, each one of these women contributes to this world so meaningfully, it breaks my heart with beauty. Whether it is how she manages charitable grants, or how she donates time and money to the communities in which she works/lives, or how she raises her children, or how she creates art, or how she has turned immeasurable loss into an opportunity to give, each of these ladies is a meaningful example to me of who and how I want to be.

I am surrounded by women who show up; who raise me up; who create things. Sometimes this makes me absolutely furious with jealousy because I love them so much, I want to be the things that they are.

I suppose that’s what a hero is, isn’t it?  Not somebody’s lunch, or the sympathetic guy in the story. It’s the person who makes you better than you think you are; it’s the thing that keeps you striving for better; it’s the part of the story where the going gets good. And in my life, that role is played by a bunch of bad-ass (mostly) blondes.

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