Day 5: In the words of Harvey Dent, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Day 5 of my Camp Nano project: Question of the Day. I’m enjoying this little project. I feel like it’s keeping my brain active, writing-wise without bogging it down in the details of all the things keeping me frustrated about the novel itself. So on to today’s question that I saw on Pinterest like 75 times so I have no original source. I think it’s one of those questions though, that manifested itself into being like a mist of self-reflection.

Do you consider yourself to be the hero or the villain of your own story?

source: Pinterest mist

I like this question because I think it’s the ultimate theme to my unfinished, above mentioned novel. Because everyone sees themselves as the hero, right? I mean, that’s what they say. Everyone identifies as the hero. But what if we’re wrong? What if we’ve burned every bridge in town for the dramatics, because we think we’re taking a stand against injustice, but maybe also because we’re leaving. Because if we don’t down burn all the bridges as we leave, we have to face the reality that we’re walking out alone. That life will go on exactly the same without us and not one person will notice.

I don’t know where I’m going with this exactly. I think that while we all identify with the hero, we’re all secretly scared we’re the villain. We’re so scared that someone will notice and call us out on our abhorrent morals so they can cast us as the new villain for the pitchforks of the community, that we are one accusing sounding question away from throwing the first stone. And regardless of all of it, I think if we’re trying to insert ourselves into the story in the first place, we’ve already chosen to be the villain whether we recognize it yet or not.

My son is the biggest Star Wars fan I’ve ever met and has been since he was about 4 or 5 years old. So, probably because I have had a Star Wars movie on in the background for the better part of 6 years now, I have noticed some things that parallel my current thoughts, so pardon my rudimentary Star Wars analogy that someone’s probably going to tell me I’m wrong about but, I don’t care. I can easily block out rude opinions on Star Wars so save your breath unless you genuinely want to have a proper discussion about Star Wars philosophy. Unless it’s about Jar Jar Binks. This is a Jar Jar Binks-free zone.

And, as you know, if you’ve ever taken Philosophy 101 or an English Lit class in college, Star Wars is an epic example of hero vs. villain and self-insertion into your own story. And if you haven’t seen Star Wars and don’t want spoilers, stop reading. Okay, so jedis, or is jedi already plural? I don’t know, I’m not going to look it up. But! The force finds them. They’re not trying to be heros, you know what I’m saying? They just are. They already have the force and instinctively use the force for good, like Obi Wan and Yoda* and Rey. I mean, Luke wasn’t looking for the force, he just wanted to go Tosche Station to pick up some power converters! but it found him anyway.

And then you have Anakin. I’m going pause here to deep sigh and eyeroll about how emotionally RIDICULOUS and DRAMATIC all Skywalker men are. And it’s specific to the male Skywalker gene. Anakin’s mom? Sacrificed herself for the betterment of her son; didn’t whine. Padme? Sacrificed herself for the betterment of whiny baby Anakin and baby Luke’s future; didn’t whine. Uncle Owen and Aunt Baru? Took in baby Luke only to be sassed at by him and his whining and then burned to their deaths; didn’t whine. Leia? A goddess; told everyone to stop whining. But the Skywalker men? Anakin, Luke, and the worst of them all, Kylo Ren? They all need naps and a reality check.

Now that that’s off my chest, where were we? Oh Anakin. Now, the force found him, same as it found Luke and Rey and the rest I imagine. Anakin wanted it too much, though. He wanted the fame and recognition and found himself burning in lava. Villain. Kylo Ren, wanted the fame and recognition, ended up gutting his dad. Villain. Also, both of them wanted to choke out Luke and I get that. I do. However, we let Luke live because he made better choices. Until he didn’t, and a Skywalker fit was thrown. And people died.

And here’s the point I’m trying to spit out. Everyone can be a hero, but when you start deciding that you need the recognition and the fame and all that for your heroic deeds, you’ve become the villain by default. Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t redemption. Look at Anakin/Darth Vader. When he chose to help Luke rather than sacrifice him for the clout of it all, he hero’d out of his villainy. And then he died. And then was worshipped as a villain anyway. Karma, dude.

*Stop it now.

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