I've come to a conclusion...
I've surprised many people, including myself, with how quickly I bounced back from the latest heartbreak. It's only been a day, and yet I'm completely over it without a twinge of remorse or longing for him. It's just gone - diminished through time due to his slow but consistent attempt at distancing himself from me. I think I saw it coming a mile away and I'm just not all that surprised. I had a feeling I knew the outcome before I ever wrote the letter, though I also know that I certainly expected more than one sentence as a reply.
I've searched my entire life for a real, live hero I could emulate and know, only to be constantly disappointed by those I've chosen as my mentors for various reasons. Still, my search remained. I thought that Audrey Hepburn was my hero, but since I never knew her personally, how could she be? All I know about her is what anyone could find out about her by reading what someone else wrote. That's not a hero, that's an idol. Though I still aspire to be more like her, with her numerous charitable contributions and never ending generosity, I've discovered recently that she's not my hero, nor has she ever been.
I didn't have a hero in either parent. My mother was and always has been extremely negative towards me. When I was eight, she told me it was such a shame I looked like one particular aunt, because she never thought that particular aunt of mine was very pretty. In essence, as an eight year old kid learning to read between the lines, she was calling me ugly. She would also often point out to me when my father lied about stupid, little things - which not only proved her to be even more negative, but proved him to be unworthy of hero status as well. Hey, I was a smart kid.
So what traits should a hero have, I've often wondered? It would have to be someone who had been faced with adversity; someone who had to struggle in some way in order to make it or survive. It would have to be someone who never let anything keep them down or defeat them. Sure, this person would have to have seen some really hard times, maybe even coming close to giving up a time or two, but who never did... and I blinked. Hard.
When I was trapped in a small room for 23.5 hours, nobody knew where I was. I couldn't depend on anyone else to save me. I had to save myself. I had to be smart and quick - I couldn't wait for a hero to show up!
When I was killed in an emergency surgery and brought back, those doctors saved my life - but it was ultimately my will to survive that kept me going.
When my uhaul was stolen in 2009, nobody (except Patric and the magical box of socks) helped me to get through that. I wanted to give up - but I didn't. Oliver wouldn't have a home without me. I knew nobody would step in and take care of him if anything ever happened to me.
When I was physically attacked by an ex and thrown onto a bed, helpless and defenseless, there was nobody there to help me. I fought back on my own against someone more than twice my size, and I got away!
I've depended on ME. I've overcome so much, and yet I'm positive and kind to others. I've been beaten, bruised, forgotten, neglected, shunned and ignored - but NEVER broken. I realized that I may actually have created and become my OWN hero.
I have rather high expectations from life. I have a very high moral standard these days, and so few people live up to that exacting standard. I don't EVER get drunk. I don't do drugs. I'm never late for anything. I'm responsible for my own actions. I speak my mind and don't do things I know I should, or feel in my heart is wrong. I'm kind to strangers, infinitely patient and do what I can to help others anonymously all the time. It's not "What would Audrey Hepburn do" in my mind, but "What do I think I should do in this situation if I take a moment to think about it" in the end. I try to always do the right thing and be a good person - and before anyone from my crazy past starts chiming in, attempting to insult or correct me here, I didn't say I've always been that way... just that I always try to do the right thing NOW. I know I wasn't always a great person. But I've made up for that by now, and I'm far from done with that... but that's what makes me the right person for me to think of as my own hero.
I've survived so much and I've lost so much and so many, and yet I never lost my sense of self. In fact, it only got better. I gained a better understanding of myself. I'm getting better every single day. I not only survive, but I get better from it. I'm proud of myself and what I've been able to accomplish. I know I'm a good person now, and I know I will continue to get better - because that's what good people do.
I don't need a hero.... I am my own hero.
(but please, if my cats are ever trapped in a burning building and I'm not around to pull them out, please grab them for me...)