But Wonder Woman brought me back here. I just watched the movie this morning and suddenly the inspiration struck. First of all, this is one of the best superhero movies I've ever seen and I'm not that much into the DC universe. Most of all, the story's message and themes seemed to align with how I've been feeling a lot lately about everything. Lately, I have found myself entering the next chapter of my life, further enough into my adulthood that I can be retrospective in a truly meaningful way of how I was when I first became an adult.
|I love when Diana is fish out of water|
For one, back when I was a teenager and into my early twenties, I favored the anti-hero or at least the hero with a bad attitude. The Iron Mans, the Wolverines, the Dr. Houses. I think what attracted them to me was I had this cynical view of the world and I think I felt somehow better about myself that I could say that "the world is dark and bleak and no one really understands this except a few people, myself being one of them." It is the self-centered nature of youth, the driving thought process of hipsters everywhere. You want to be different and you got it all figured out. I think everyone goes through a version of this phase. It is a way to feel like you have some control over your life when you understand that life is much harder when you're out actually doing it.
|I'll always love Spidey|
20 year old me would probably have mocked Captain America and Wonder Woman (and to a lesser degree Superman but I still dislike him). I used to make fun of paladins all the time as too restrictive and uninteresting. I would have argued that those characters are not deep enough to be interesting or not gritty enough. Because life is pain.
Now, as I turn 36 in a month, I have adopted a different way of thinking. I still have a cynical streak. I don't think that will ever go away, however, I like to call myself cautiously optimistic or a hopeful optimistic. I came to realize, cynicism and pessimism are not as comforting as I led myself to believe. It takes a lot of energy. I also came to understand that being optimistic or kind are not weaknesses. It is much harder to be either of those things. I'm not perfect at either but I strive everyday to become kinder and more optimistic and just a better person with varying degrees of success.
|Yeah this still happens a lot|
And that is another epiphany I have come to realize too -- Perfection is really a myth because we as humans are complicated people and well-written paragons are too. What perhaps matters is you work hard each day to strive to be kind and to see the good, to be the good. You won't be perfect but you're trying and you are better than yesterday. I think that is the most you can ask of yourself.
|I still inwardly feel like this some days -- okay most days. And sometimes outwardly|
This is what brings me to Wonder Woman and how I have come to love the paragon. Wonder Woman and my superhero spirit of choice Captain America are both heroes that are complicated and still learning what it means to be a hero but they strive to be better and still strive to help the world despite all its flaws. The scene in Wonder Woman, besides the fantastic no-man's land battle, that really made me realize my own evolution as a person was the climax. You have Trevor telling Diana that everyone was responsible for this. That humans are dumb messy beings. Diana doesn't really understand until the end what he means. This is after Ares shows her an alternative history without humans does she realize that yes, humans are big stupid warlike animals. But that does not mean they shouldn't be saved or to give up on all attempt doing so.
|Roy is a Paragon too but one in Sheep's Clothing|
I feel this very encompasses my frame of mind of where I'm heading in life now and how I've become to admire the paragon -- at least the well-written one. Not to say I don't love myself a good anti-hero. But I find myself growing more and more to admiring paragons than I ever had. The paragon strives to be a better person and to make the world better even if they realize they may not win the biggest battle to save humanity. It is the small battles that count. A well-written paragon is one that moves forward, fully aware of the limitations of their actions, but they make the effort anyway. And that is what I hope to be.
|Paragons All of them|