Once upon a time, a small child grew up thinking that life was simple. Life was merely saving the damsel, slaying the dragon, and living happily ever after. It was black and white, right and wrong, heroes and villains.
Of course, we all know that life is anything but an odd mixture of varying dualities. We realize that a middle ground does exist; some may say that there are an even number of shades of gray. There is always room for reason. That being said, we can’t judge the small child for being disillusioned or misled. Mostly because it’s only a child and very much fictitious. But it really does get you thinking: Who really are the heroes and villains in our lives? Are heroes always draped with capes and are villains always distinguished by the horns protruding from their foreheads?
Short answer? There are no clear, tell-tale signs for either.
Real-life answer? You never truly know until you get to know someone. That’s where life deviates from the fairytales. Figuring out the villains isn’t as easy as The Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen made it out to be. As much as we hate it, it is only through becoming vulnerable that we realize who will hurt us. The only thing “right” with the idea of the villain is that they’re someone who hurts others regardless of reason.
This is where I feel that the entire concept of fairytales, albeit traditional and clean-cut, shouldn’t be the monolith for all relationships. We all see villains as something or someone different. Just because someone is complicated and vindictive doesn’t mean they deserve the title of villain. A person plagued by circumstance and poor life decisions shouldn’t be held down by that.
Maybe we do so because we find it so much easier to hate someone, as opposed to understanding their situation? It certainly makes logical sense. To hate someone, all you have to do is delete their number and walk away; but to understand is to become vulnerable again, this time in a situation in which that vulnerability can be exploited.
I feel that’s a risk worth taking.
Vulnerability, in this sense, can be a good and powerful force. It can almost act as a sixth sense, being able to let you know who is going to hurt you. It’s scary, sure, almost like being naked in public. But that also makes it liberating, in that you don’t have to hide beneath anything.
Think it over and realize that there are other possibilities. Close the storybook and open your mind; welcome to reality, we’ve been waiting for you.