I Can Be Your Hero, Baby

I always wanted to be a princess.

I loved the whole damsel in distress thing.

I’m talking fairytale princess with a castle and pretty dresses…the whole shebang.

And of course pink. Pink everything.

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So maybe I got shortchanged and only got a sand castle (I never got an actual pony either).

The closest I got to being a princess was getting second attendant in a fair pageant.

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(Yes, I was really excited)

But, on the bright side, my family does call me princess.

I don’t tell you that to make you think I’m narcissistic or conceited. I tell you this to prove that we all have fairytales running through our heads.

Although my princess dream developed when I was six, I still have fairytales dancing in my head (okay, yes I want to go to Harvard and become the first woman president of the United States).

But I’m not alone here. You have dreams too.

Our dreams deteriorate over time. Like, maybe when you’re sixteen your dream is to have a hot car AND a hot date. And maybe when you’re twenty-six you dream of landing a rock-star job at some insurance company. When you turn forty you’re dreaming of paying off your mortgage. And by the time you’re sixty, you’re just wishing for a few more years to hang out with your grandkids.

But let’s humor ourselves and pretend you’re a little atypical. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say your dreams still have vigor.

Your dream is to be a hero.

Save the princess. Kill the dragon. Live happily ever after.

If only it was that simple.

But maybe being a hero isn’t all that fancy show stuff. Maybe becoming a hero is the true test.

In Angela Johnson’s The First Part Last, sixteen-year-old Bobby gets his girlfriend, Nia, pregnant (not very heroic).

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Nia and Bobby decide to give the baby up for adoption, but in a twist of events, life turns into a dragon.

The damsel in distress gets engulfed by the dragon’s flames and without Nia, it’s time for Bobby to make a heroic decision. With newborn baby Feather in Bobby’s arms, Bobby becomes a hero.

He decides to raise his daughter by himself.

Bobby made stupid mistakes that led up to this moment, but it’s just like my dad says, “Mistakes aren’t tragic. Everyone makes mistakes. But mistakes become tragic when you don’t learn from them.”

Bobby acknowledged his mistakes and quickly learned. His life, raising his daughter alone, will not be a fairytale, but he understands, which makes him all the more heroic.

The dragons will surface. The castle will crumble. Life can suck.

Face it. Acknowledge your mistakes.

Become a hero.

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