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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Of Heroes and Heroines


I felt quite heroic after ziplining through the rainforest canopy in Belize.

Above all, be the heroine of your own life, not the victim!
~Nora Ephron

My nineteen-year marriage ended in 2001. My boys are all but grown, busy with school and activities and friends and lives that have nothing to do with me. Boyfriends – so many boyfriends – have come and gone, proving themselves to be anything but heroic. And what do I have left?

Plenty.

I have choices.
I can cry into my pillow about the wasted years, the empty nest, the love lost. Or I can take a deep breath, straighten my shoulders, hold my head high, and seek out new opportunities.

I have family and friends who care about me.
And sometimes they include me in their holiday celebrations, dinner parties, and nights out at which I might be the only single person in a roomful of many. Sometimes it is hard to go solo, but it beats the heck out of staying home alone. Bonus: I usually meet someone interesting whom I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if I had been part of a couple.

I have myself.
I am teaching piano lessons. I am spending time with my boys. I am writing. I am blogging. I am beading. I am cooking and baking and sewing. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I love and accomplish all I want to accomplish. But I can stay up all night and sleep all morning if I want to. I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission and I am not accountable to anyone except myself. I can take chances and no one tries to talk me out of it. Granted, when I fall flat on my face, there is no one there to grab my hand and pull me up. Usually, though, when I stumble I manage to stay on my feet. Whew.

* * *

This afternoon, one of my piano students asked me my favorite color; I told her it’s a tie between purple and pink. My piano studio walls are purple, and I shared that my bedspread is pink. She giggled and said, “I feel sorry for your poor husband who has to sleep under a pink bedspread.” When I explained that I don’t have a husband, she seemed confused and a little bit upset. She is just a little girl; I guess she missed the memo. But I assured her that I am okay.

There was a time when I yearned for a man to take care of me, but I have stopped waiting for my knight in shining armor to arrive. He might never show up, but I will be just fine; it turns out I don’t need rescuing. Maybe someday I will meet a man who will support me in my numerous endeavors, who won’t demand that I become some sort of appendage of his when we are together, who will encourage me to take risks and love me when I fail, maybe even love me even more because I tried. A man who won’t care if I dye my hair purple and paint my entire house pink.

That’s my definition of a hero.

11 comments:

Megan said...

Pam, I think your definition of your hero is spot on... both the hero you ARE and the man you hope to find. Too many of us settle on "a guy" without remembering we all deserve a hero or that we all should be our own heroes.

Your comment about going to a party reminds me of the first time I went to a movie by myself and the first time I took myself to dinner when I was getting my divorce. So many people, to this day, are amazed at that concept. Ergo, you are amazing.

Lindy said...

I love your hero. If he has a brother...let me know. :-)

Love your post, Pam. Thank you for sharing with us how to be our own hero. - Lindy

Denise said...

We have to save ourselves before we can be a hero to anyone else. You know I love this and you are my hero.

pat said...

Pam, if there is something I hope to learn from you in this lifetime, it is courage. You keep trying to impress upon me that we all have to keep the faith and never give up. One of these days I'll finally get it. This was a beautifully written blog. Ditto what Denise said. You are my hero.

Pam Asberry said...

Thank you, Megan. I don't know what else to say.

Pam Asberry said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed that my hero has a twin, Lindy...

Pam Asberry said...

I don't feel that I deserve all that, Denise. But thank you for saying so. What would I do without you?

Pam Asberry said...

Thank you, Pat. I don't always feel very brave. But failure is not an option. So off into the vast unknown I go...

Tammy H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tami Brothers said...

Man. Everyone above said it so well. You are definitely one of the strongest women I know. I love your idea of a hero. I also love that you put yourself out there even if there is a chance you will fall on your face (love that – I’m the ultimate klutz so I can totally relate). I am at that point in my marriage where we are both comfortable enough to say that we don’t want to do something the other is doing. I now have to work up my courage to go and do those things I want to do on my own. I’m almost there. A lot of times I find myself giving up on an idea because he doesn’t want to go somewhere or do something. But that bad is on me. He has no problem with me doing it without him. So I am watching you and hopefully learning to tap into some of that courage. Because if I don’t, it will be a long lonely life of me being resentful and that is not how I want to live.

Thanks for a great post. As always, you give me LOTS to think about.

Hugs!

Tami

Pam Asberry said...

Sometimes it's hard to find the perfect balance when you're in a relationship, Tammy. You are very lucky to be with a man who is strong enough to let you go. Grab that freedom and run with it. You will never be sorry! :-)