Thursday, January 12, 2006

Further to the whole Feet of Clay Deal...

Once your hero has crashed andsmashed before you, and you're dealing with the sadness of realization; it behooves one to realize also that not only are your impressions of this person inaccurate and dashed to pieces, but so might be their own impression of themselves. This is the second step in the learning process that having and worshiping heroes teaches us.

Some people, you see, believe their own press releases. It becomes important to them to BE that person that you and others believed them to be. They have fooled themselves into seeing only the hero and not the real person behind the smoke and mirrors. Oh sure, they know they have been behaving in a manner that could be construed as non hero like behaviour; they are well aware that they actions, words, intent, demeanour are at odds with that fine statue others have been worshiping and looking to for guidance, approval and acceptance. They believe they've hidden these anomalies well enough to fool others and thereby themselves. Like the magician agog at the way he makes the doves appear and disappear, they have been onstage in the performance of their lives and now...sadly the curtain has come down. But not before they've stumbled and fallen, crashing scenery and facades down around their ears leaving members of their audience in stunned silence.

Cut them some slack, even in the midst of your own grieving process. Realize that they too have a life lesson to learn here. We can't be all things to all people. We certainly can be the world to someone but not to everyone. We can't always be what someone else wants or even needs us to be; we have to be ourselves. Warts 'n' all, selfishness allowed, true to ourselves people. Not every person can be a Mother Teresa or a John Wayne. Not every person has the wherewithal to be ALL THAT THEY CAN BE (to borrow a catchphrase), some people struggle just to be someone they can like; someone they can look in the mirror at and not wince away from their own gaze.

Turn your eye as they pick up the pieces of themselves. Give them the privacy to rebuild the statue if they so choose. Now you know that the feet are of clay, you won't lean so hard against it the next time, or maybe not ever again. Let that be your lesson and let them have theirs. That's not always easy, or fun but it is the right thing to do. Sometimes doing the -right- thing is all anyone can do; but don't ever forget, what's right for some may not be right for all and everyone's moccasins walk differently. Just because you know a statue has fallen before, that doesn't give you the right to poke fingers at it and tell everyone and sundry of the clay laden feet. Let others learn their own lessons.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Feet of Clay

Do you remember having a hero? Watching that special person, be it a sports figure, or a family member, admiring them, wanting to be them, knowing that all was right in the world because that person was there?

Do you remember the day it all came crashing down? The day the feet of clay on the golden statue were revealed? Some statues just start to lean a little; others fall to the ground in a thunderous crash. The result is the same. Ideals are crushed; people’s hopes, dreams and trust are smashed to small little pieces. Mostly they can be rebuilt, patched back together good as new. Good as new, except for that one tiny little chip that you can never find no matter how you scour the ground where the statue fell.

It’s an important experience to watch your heroes shrink to normal size. It’s traumatic and steals your breath but it’s necessary. It’s best if it happens naturally, the day your mother becomes a grandma, the day your dad claps you on the shoulder and congratulates you on your win, your accomplishment, your best day ever. Sometimes it happens harsher than that. Sometimes the fa├žade is torn away in one fell sweep that leaves bare your hero, broken and shattered, lying scattered at your feet.

Yet it’s still a good thing. It prepares you for the disappointments in life. The day you realize your best friend is a petty do-gooder who’s secretly judged you AND found you wanting all your friendship. The day you look into your childhood sweetheart’s eyes and realize that childhood is over and this grown boy before you doesn’t really love you the way you thought you loved him. The day your child tells you to leave her alone, that you aren’t really the mother she wanted all her life. It prepares you for these days. It doesn’t insulate you from them but you’re not as shocked as you might have been had you not seen the feet of clay before.

It prepares you for another type of shock. Sometimes through no fault of their own people become idols to others. Sports figures deal with this but so do bosses, friends and coworkers. There’s a pressure to being a hero. An honorable person can’t go around being selfish and petty and having shitty days. An honorable person can’t have wants and needs of his own. They can’t be who they want, they have a unwanted obligation to others to be the hero. So they sneak off. They create places, ideals and alter egos of their own to feel normal, to feel not beholden to be a certain way around others. It’s why people slum. It’s why they hang out with people you’d not expect them to. It’s why men cheat on their wives and why wives do also. It’s a difficult thing to just let someone be who they are.

Is it any wonder they have feet of clay? No. Does it hurt to find out that someone you idolize and envision as a hero does. Yes. Very much.