The story of young Herc is one of seeking a place of belonging. He grows up feeling like there’s just something different about him and dreams of a place where those aspects about him that make him stand out are accepted. I think that at some point or another, in one way or another, we can all relate to Hercules in this desire to find belonging.
Similarly to Hercules, I’ve often felt like there was something different about me compared to my friends and family, and it was something that I was deeply ashamed of. It was a difficult experience to put into words, wondering why I was the one who felt out of place; seeing everyone be their whole selves and wondering how they could move through life with such assurance. It was the little things: watching friends and family as they chose their own clothes and created their own styles; but it was also the big things: waiting for people to make their life choices so that I could attempt to copy them because I had no faith that I would choose right for myself. I grew up afraid to make a move for fear that it was the wrong one, for fear that what I chose for myself by myself would result in failure and ostracization. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the warm welcome, the acceptance, that I’ve been seeking is actually from myself. I’ve heard it said that we are our own worst critic, and at least for me I think that’s definitely true. Whatever I’ve accomplished has never been good enough, and whatever I’ve failed at was just what I was expecting. I didn’t even wait for others’ reactions before I played down anything I could feel mildly proud of, or expressed vehement disappointment at things that didn’t quite hit the mark. This journey for approval has been arduous and has taken many twists and turns, and most of them have been of my own creation.
But even in my deepest and darkest times, there always comes a glimmer of hope, a faint spark that continues to hope and dream for a time and a place where I will finally welcome, and maybe even celebrate, myself for all that I am. This place in my head is still far off; I’ve still have lots of work to get myself there, but I hope that I’ll be there someday. And every mile will be worth the while.