Be your own (fucking) hero.

I am writing this as I play BTS’s “Anpanman” on repeat and after watching the latest episode of Boku No Hero Academia with my sister. After the episode, I was telling her how this one BTS song from the new album gives me massive Hero Aca vibes.

Heroes are something we’ve always had around us growing up. They’re mostly in fiction – from Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura to Frodo Baggins and Harry Potter. There’s always something special about those characters – something mere mortals like myself thought I didn’t possess – that made them heroes.

As a kid, when shit happened, I would wish I had something special about myself too. Or knew someone who had it, so I can be saved. Growing up on Disney movies conditioned me to wanting a knight in shining armour or a prince charming to save me.

giphy3

But why can’t I save myself? Why do I feel the need for someone else to do it for me, when I know I have the potential to do it better?

For the past six months (maybe more), I’ve been doing some self-reflection. I have this bad habit of giving a lot of myself away in relationships that I lose myself in the process. I tend to pick up their habits, watch the same shows they like, listen to the same music, do everything together. Although there is nothing wrong in that, I am prone to focusing on the other person that I don’t pay attention to my own personal growth. It’s a cycle I ended in late 2017.

I have been scared of being alone long enough.

When a professor suggested an “Artist Date” for my creative writing class, it took me out of my comfort zone and I was driven to do something by myself. The rules are simple:

  1. Do it on your own.

  2. Do something you haven’t done before.

  3. Be rid of all other distractions and be present in the moment.

I didn’t want to go crazy and jump into a thrill-seeking adventure for an afternoon. I picked something I’ve been postponing for a long time since I couldn’t find anyone to go with me: hit up the Art Gallery of Ontario.

I was anxious during my commute. It was the first time I did an activity by myself, and I worried I’d get bored or get lost… which, looking back now, is pretty fucking ridiculous. I spent over two hours walking around the gallery, finding myself lost in the moment as I stared at the colours and brush strokes of Riopelle’s Chevreuse II.

The experience taught me to enjoy my own company – something I’ve been afraid of for no good reason for the past 20-something years of my life. I always wanted to go and do something with other people because I didn’t want to be “lame” and go alone. The problem with that outlook is that there is nothing wrong with doing things on your own. It took some time for me to accept that.

Because the thing is, not everyone’s going to be into the same things I enjoy doing. Not everyone will like the same music, shows, or movies. Not everyone wants to eat at the same joint. Same goes for yourself – you don’t have to like the same things they do. If you don’t like it, say so. Yes, it is great to share an experience with other people, but company isn’t a requirement to enjoy any activity.

I am still learning, but I’ve grown more than I have in six months compared to the last five or six years. Every month or every few months, I try to go out of my comfort zone and take on a new activity or do something that scares me and it has pushed me to realizing what I can and cannot do. Even learning what I do and don’t want to do.

Because I’ve been living in an “existential limbo” for too long, and this is me saving myself. Or I guess you can call it saving myself from a quarter-life crisis. The endless Facebook and Instagram posts of weddings, babies, and job promotions triggered my depression that I felt I wasn’t doing anything significant in my life.

But what I’ve learned since: I’ve been waiting for my life to have meaning when, all this time, it has been up to me to give my own life meaning.

I don’t want to depend on anyone but myself. I don’t have to please anyone but myself. The hero I’ve been looking for has been (with) me all along, I just needed to look inward to find her.

One thought on “Be your own (fucking) hero.

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