Picture this: a big buff hero, dressed in some sort of awesomely cool outfit, maybe made of leather, walking dramatically with his/her weapon (sword, spell, gun, etc.), heading towards a snarling villain and a helpless hostage, ready with a witty comment on the tip of his/her tongue and all the right moves to save the day. There are lots of heroes like that, aren’t there? I know there are a few of those type that I consider to be favourites, but that’s totally not what I’m going to write about in this post. The hero I’m thinking of is nothing like that.
Her name is Atlanta, from the cartoon show Class of the Titans that aired several years ago. It’s a show about six teenagers who are the descendants of Greek heroes, gathered together to combat Cronus, the god of time, who is set on taking over the modern world. Each of the teens have special abilities and roles in the team. Atlanta is the descendant of Artemis and is the hunter on the team. She’s the most outdoorsy and has a knack for running at super-speeds, tracking animals in the forest, breaking things she shouldn’t, and otherwise getting into trouble.
Out of everyone on the show, Atlanta is by far my favourite, and whom I would consider the most heroic character–twice as heroic as anyone else, in fact. Why? Because not only does she save other people, but she also routinely has to save herself.
Yeah, Atlanta is very good at getting herself into sticky situations that make her the victim that needs saving, even though she’s also the hero who’s supposed to be doing the saving. One of my favourite episodes was one in which she got separated from the group and was cornered by a minotaur. She then spent the rest of the episode fleeing from the monster, trying to stay alive and get out of the tunnels before they collapsed, while the rest of the group was out defeating a whole pack of minotaurs and saving other people. Atlanta does that often: she lets her eagerness and boldness get her into a dangerous situation and then has to rely on her own wits to get out of it.
And that is why I love her.
Atlanta is far from a perfect hero. She makes mistakes, she goofs around, and sometimes she’s too proud or stubborn for her own good. No, she’s not cool or suave or witty or always on time to save the day, but she is very fun, spunky, and down to earth. She’s the kind of hero that you can relate to, and that more than makes up for all of her goof-ups.
Atlanta is the kind of person I would love to be friends with, and she’s taught me a lot about getting priorities straight. With Atlanta, she never worries about getting things right the first try. She isn’t cautious so that she doesn’t ruin her reputation or look silly–she follows her gut and her curiosity and deals with the consequences later. I’ve learned from her that you can’t always be perfect, you can’t always avoid making a mistake or getting into trouble, but you can solve the problem with a little ingenuity, resourcefulness, and trust.
It’s a lesson I try to remember when I feel embarrassed. I’m the kind of person who relives moments of humiliation over and over, obsessing over how stupid I must have seemed, and so it’s good to have a reminder that I don’t need to worry about it. I can change my way of thinking about it and open my mind to a more carefree perspective, and just laugh it off and have a little fun. I can be my own hero and then let myself get back to being other people’s hero too.
Atlanta has shown me that being a hero isn’t a science. It gets messy and sometimes a bit complicated, but if you face the world with a spirit of adventure, you can overcome it. Even if that means you have to be twice as heroic to get it done.
Have you ever had to save yourself?
May you take on challenges and embarrassment with boldness and ingenuity.