I guess what’s problematic about the concept of being a hero is that it is oftentimes regarded as an individual feat. The singularity of an individual’s attainment of his or her hero status is what puts the individual in a pedestal since it only took one person to impact such a big change. Some of these singular heroes are Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Ninoy Aquino, etc.
But there are other less popular forms of heroes like the anti-hero in literature which is your bad guy who has a moral code or ends up protecting the interests of good instead of perpetuating his or her villainy. There is one type of hero that is often forgotten yet is the most important of all: you.
You are the hero.
You are the hero who wore white and stood your ground in the “Million People March.” You are the hero who checks the news because you care what’s going on in the world around you. You are the hero who respects women and treats them as equals. You are the hero who is also sidewalk vendor in the street trying to earn an honest living. You are the hero-mother who stays at home to care for her children. You are the hero-classmate who smiles at everyone. You are the hero, dear reader. You in those seemingly insignificant things you do that string together to make a change.
I do not limit my concept of hero to someone who did some grandiose act of heroism like dying or freeing a country from slavery because that type of heroism eliminates the greatest power any person can have: motivation. If the idea of a chance of having an impact on society is instantly killed by our unrealistic expectations of what modern-day heroes should be then we would have lost a generation of heroes. This is why I believe that our supposed insignificance in society – how we are individually just mere specks of dust in the Philippine population – makes us the unlikely heroes and it’s the unlikely heroes who make the best stories and the best impact.
We don’t need guns or swords or a position in public office to assume our role of heroism. We just have to want to be the hero we can be. We don’t have to die to be a hero because it’s in living our lives with a conscious effort to contribute something to our society that we become the mightiest heroes that we can be.
– Olivia Solomon