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Identities: Heroes

Dusty capes cut from worn out drapes hang in the closet of the forgotten. Hope. Heroes. Gone. As quickly as we arrived, we were forgotten. An enigma. A conception from the pits of the hopeless. We weren't real. We were never real. Our identity was nothing more than a fairy tale.

We can hide behind masks for a long time. We can be what people believe we are capable of being in short increments. But life is the summation of who we are when the mask is off. And we can no longer hide in the shadows.

We jump from rooftops and fly through buildings, but our mirrors see more than the people we save. And they know who we truly are on the inside. Our cuts and bruises are merely reflections of the brokenness we hide from the world. We can put on a cape and tights and pretend we can save the world. But when we peel back the mask and let the cape slide off our back we know one thing to be true: We are the furthest thing from a hero.

The world does not want to see us get old. To witness our undeniable vulnerability. History will somehow forget the end of our heroism so long as we do not turn into a villain. Like a teacher with tenure, we have to try not to screw up.

But even hiding in the shadows, there is always someone watching. We divulge who we are to the people we love. To the people we believe we can trust. But that fades over time. Our self-centered culture is merely one tweet away from letting the world know the truth. They will hunt us because, despite all we have done, it is their moral duty. Our only alibi will be the justice we sought to protect. But when the hero has a face, everything changes. We cannot hide who we are forever.

We believed we could save a million, but we couldn't even save ourselves. We were merely an allusion, seen only how the world wanted to see us. They say they wanted to know who was under the mask to thank him, but seek to destroy him when they see the truth. Once unified in hope, they turn to hatred. They realize under the mask was merely imperfection. The perception of who we are changes quickly when they realize masks only cover defects; they do not eliminate them. But before they can catch us, we hang up our suit and walk away, only turning back to mutter "Never again."

The truth is the world doesn't want heroes. Every true hero becomes a villain. They just want to suspend disbelief and be unified under the stupid idea that one person could be everything they could not. One person could stand for justice, persevere in hardship, and always make the right decision. A hero that takes the bullet for his fellow man, thinking nothing of himself. A hero that will say what needs to be said when it needs to be said, but does not waste breath when it serves no purpose.

The only problem is the hero the world wanted was put to death. We saw a hero without a mask and hated the reality that one could truly be what we could not. A hero turned into a villain, all because we could not live with our own imperfections. So we turned ourselves into heroes. We leaned entirely on what we knew and decided to carry the weight only one man could carry. And one by one, heroes died. Masks hid years of debauchery. Capes slowly fell and drifted into the wind as the world turned on one another.

So why do we pretend to be heroes? We rejected the only hero we had, and He didn't need a mask. So why are we acting like we can be something we are not?

I stood before the suit I thought protected me but was only a symbol of what a fraud I genuinely am. I am not a symbol of hope. I am a symbol of brokenness. Heroes are nothing more than cowards hiding behind the allure of righteousness. Real heroes don't hide in the shadows hoping to earn the benefit of the doubt by stacking up good deeds in the public eye. That is not the symbol of the resurrection. Heroes don't hide who they truly are, but they embrace the rejection that is to come. True heroes know that victory comes in the perception of defeat. Our weakness makes us strong because it calls us closer to Him.

Why try to be a hero we were never meant to be?

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