i've been thinking a lot about heroes these days. it's a human instinct to look up to people, i think. we all start off, at least on some level, looking up to the people who raise us. in my case, i idolized my daddy as a little girl. even when he got strict and overbearing (in my mind), i still adored him. but then when i got into my teen years and started noticing popular culture and local boys, i picked other admirers. i loved don mattingly (still do), eddie vedder, all those typical early- to mid-90s touchstones. you name the gen-X reference, i ate it up. (ben stiller circa reality bites, looking at you.)
i also started finding boys to admire. i dated some of those boys, stared at others. but a couple in particular took up permanent places in my pantheon. it's a bewitching setup, when you're a smart but naive girl and you first get your hands on intelligent male company. you tend to freeze it in your mind and hold it there, squelching all of its negative sides and shining the brightest light you can find on its positivity. it feels SO good to relate to someone, to be comfortable with someone, that you don't care what's on the other side. sometimes, the other side can cause you serious problems: abuse, violence, psychological degradation. been there. (who hasn't?) but then there's just the fact that sometimes those guys you think are so perfect are just so, so incredibly... human. they aren't the gods you made them out to be. and sometimes that realization is a long time coming.
i've made a few references to dexter lately. i just finished season 1 tonight. (for those who haven't yet, just go watch it. seriously. so smart, so good.) you ever wanted an archetypal antihero? well, you've got one in dexter. he's solid, reliable, and he has a strict set of rules about good and evil. if it wasn't for that whole serial killer thing, he'd be the perfect man. he's up on a pedestal in the lives of a lot of the women in that show, and they have no idea what he's hiding.
funny how it takes an example that ludicrously stark to really make me see what's been in front of me all along. it does people a disservice to worship them, not to mention what it does to you. bring the gods in your life down to the floor and look at them, long and hard, as equals. you'll be surprised what you find. it's not always a bad thing; it may even make you appreciate them more. hell, worked for me.
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