Tag Archive: superhero


Being a superhero can easily become a full-time job. If you don’t watch it, you can find yourself spending so much time-saving the world that you ignore the ones who love you most. Like Peter Parker flaking out on Mary Jane and Batman losing girl after girl, a hero who doesn’t make home a priority ends up a tortured soul. Saving the world is a noble thing, but taking care of your obligations and honoring the ones that matter most to you is nobler.

To keep family and friends a priority and still meet your superhero obligations, follow a few guidelines:

  1. First Come First Serve: The first one to ask you for your time should get it. So, if you already have plans with your wife and the charity you volunteer for needs help they’ll just have to wait until next time. Of course, emergencies take precedence and sometimes things happen, just make sure you don’t always have an excuse for not spending times with the ones you love.
  2. Keep Your Obligations to a Manageable Number: The more you put on your plate, the harder it is to keep up with everything. To keep from going insane and to make sure you can always meet your obligations only commit to a few (this way you also ensure you have some time for yourself).
  3. Learn to Say No: This is an exceptionally difficult thing for some people, but a true superhero masters the art of saying no. At first it may be hard, and you may think people hate you for it, but in the end you will see that they appreciate your honesty and your commitment to keeping your priorities straight.
  4. Reflect: It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind, which is why you need to stop every once in a while and take stock of what matters most, compare it to your daily activities, and make sure that the choices you make are in-line with your values.

Remember, the best thing you can do for the world is to love and cherish the ones close to you. A good world starts with a happy family, strong friendships, and safe communities. That’s why superheroes know that the first rule of being a superhero is to put loved ones first.

We’ve already talked about how heroes come in many shapes and sizes, but superheroes also become heroes for different reasons. The reasons are as varied as the type of heroes they become, but for the most part they can be broken down into two groups: proactive and reactive.

Proactive Heroes

Proactive heroes have a strong sense of justice and humanity. They see something wrong with the world and go out and look for ways to fix it. They have no other motivation than the fact that something in their heart is compelling them forward. It’s just something they have to do.

Reactive Heroes

The reactive hero, as the name suggests, becomes a hero in reaction to something. Usually it’s because of an injustice they experienced or one that was done to someone they care about. They react in a positive manner, doing everything they can to make sure that no one else has to endure the hardship they endured. It’s not that they were uncaring before, it’s just that now it is a personal mission and a way to take charge of the hurt inflicted on them.

Both heroes are noble and valuable even if they adopted their missions for very different reasons. So long as they are out their advocating for a better world it doesn’t matter why they became a hero. What does matter is that the world is better because of them.

What Makes Someone a Hero?

The purpose of this site is to explore what it means to be a hero. Personally, I think that there are so many types of heroes, so many ways to make a difference, that it’s impossible to create a “formula” for becoming a hero. Still, there are some commonalities I’ve seen. For example, heroes tend to be:

Courageous                                                       Adventurous

Strong-willed                                                    Altruistic

Strong-hearted                                                Determined

Compassionate                                                Gracious

This is a basic list, but again, there are so many different ways to be a hero. So I want to know. What do you think makes someone a hero?

Superheroes are social activists, always involved in the issues, speaking for the little guy. When it comes to public

Photo via NY Magazine

debate, complicated issues are boiled down to misconceived stereotypes and ideologies that gloss over or completely ignore the real circumstances of the underlying issues. The fact of the matter is:

Real People Get Hurt When We Don’t Honestly Look At The Issues.

There are human beings, with varying circumstances, needs, wants, abilities, limitations, and other factors all affecting what they can and can’t do. We can’t employ fallacies to appease our prejudices, nor can we assume that it’s all black or white, false or negative, either or. That’s when we come up with solutions to the symptoms of a problem, and not the cause itself. Then the problem perpetuates.

Remember–behind every debate there are real people suffering.

Be a hero. Speak for them. Make the media and politicians humanize the issues.

Superheroes know the value of going into any situation prepared. That’s why the hero is constantly adding to their arsenal of weapons to fight injustice and ignorance. One of the best weapons the hero can arm him or herself with is information.

A well-informed person is hard to fool. Researching the subject, judging the information, weighing the pros and cons, and sorting out the riff-raff one of the best protections against the criminal element. A good researcher:

  • Gets information from multiple sources: Yes google is great, and wikipedia is okay for settling disagreements among friends, but when it comes to the serious issues like changing careers, learning about political issues, making a large purchase, or learning about new cultures one should look at many sources for information.
  • Scrutinizes the source: Nowadays everybody has a website, you can print business cards at home, and with a few key strokes you can start calling yourself an expert. Before accepting a source’s information as truth, look at their background and ask yourself do they have any experience, education, or special skills related to the topic they are talking about? Do they have any bias, any reason beyond facts to persuade me to take their side?  I am biased. I want you to make an informed decision. Full disclosure here!
  • Follows their heart: No one knows better than you what’s right for you. Make decisions based on your values, goals, resources, and current situation. What’s good for the goose IS NOT always good for the gander.
  • Ask a trusted source: Go to an expert (or several) or find people who have experienced first hand what you are researching. Sometimes you’ll find out things that aren’t available through formal channels.
  • Sleep on it: Take time to let the information sink in and synthesize. I have had many seemingly good ideas turn out to be bad ones after a little bit of thinking time.

Of course, too much information can be a bad thing (especially on Facebook–just saying!). So, know when to stop, otherwise you run the risk of overwhelming yourself and crippling your decision-making abilities all together (guilty as charged). Alright heroes, arm yourselves and go get some justice!

Cancer survivor, author, dancer, spokeswoman–all at an age when most girls are thinking about prom and American Idol. Melinda Marchiano shows us that heroes come in many forms and at any age.

Diaz: You are a survivor of childhood cancer. What was the greatest challenge you faced while fighting cancer?

Marchiano: The greatest challenge I faced while fighting cancer was being patient.  Being sick and feeling horrible day after day was exhausting both physically and emotionally.  I had to remain patient and remind myself that I would have to wait a long time before I felt anything like myself again.

Diaz: What gave you the passion to fight your disease?

Marchiano: Dance, family, and God all inspired to keep fighting.  I began lessons at age three, so dance has been a lifelong passion and has always been there to give my spirit a boost.  My family was so supportive of me during my illness, and I am so grateful to have so many who love me.  To give up during my fight against cancer would have meant letting them down; leaving my family would have made them suffer which I just couldn’t let happen.  I have had a very strong faith all of my life, but during my journey I became even closer to God.  He was with me at every step along the way and provided comfort to me when nothing or no one else could.

Diaz: Do you think your experience has given you a different perspective from other girls your age?

Marchiano: My experience has given me a completely, utterly, entirely, exponentially different perspective than other girls my age.  Not to generalize, but most girls my age are very absorbed in the tiny events and concerns of their “life bubble.”  After going through cancer, I see a wider view of the world and don’t share the same worries as others.  My eyes have really been opened up to exactly what matters in life, and many girls my age simply have not been introduced to this take on the world and existence.

Diaz: You’re the debut author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery. What motivated you to write a book?

Marchiano: What motivated me to write a book was my intense desire to help others through my story.  I reached a point in my “cancer maturity” when it all stopped mattering about me and I realized that I could really give hope to other people by sharing my journey.

Diaz: You speak and advocate on behalf of several organizations including the Children’s Miracle Network. What is your motivation for doing this?

Marchiano: Being a speaker and an advocate for many different organizations is my way of expressing gratitude for my life, so appreciation is my motivation.  I discovered that my unique story can be a gift to many organizations and help them receive the financial support they need to do the wonderful things that they do!

Diaz: How can people help your cause?

Marchiano: People can help my cause in many ways!  They can purchase a book by going to www.happyquail.net and contacting us!  Happy Quail regularly makes donations from book proceeds to organizations such as the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network, and many more!

Diaz: How do you balance promoting your book, speaking on behalf of these organizations, participating in dance, and maintaining a full and successful academic schedule?

Marchiano: To maintain my busy schedule I prioritize, organize, make lists, avoid spreading myself too thin, stay on top of things, and take lots of nice, deep breaths!

Diaz: What would you tell someone else who is facing their own personal challenge?

Marchiano: To anyone facing their own personal challenge, I would tell them to always hold on to what makes you happy in life.  Rough times are exactly when you need that “something” that consistently boosts your spirit and is always there for you, even when you feel as though your life is completely out of control.  For me, that “something” was dance, for you, it could be anything…reading, playing piano, drawing, soccer…anything you love!

Diaz: What’s next for you?

Marchiano: Next is junior year of high school!  Also this fall, I will be busy promoting my book, which will be released October 1st nationwide!  As far as long-term, I plan on becoming a doctor and continuing to write and dance!

Are You A Warrior?

The Warrior Dash is coming to Austin this year and our team is ready to go! It will be my first year competing (and I have the Turkey Trot the weekend after) so it will be interesting to see how well I do. For those of you who don’t know what it is, the Warrior Dash is a 5k obstacle course full of mud, fire, barbwire, and shenanigans. That’s right, I said shenanigans.

It’s a fun athletic event that tours the country, hitting up different cities every year. We put a team together from work (mostly ladies) and are scoping out potential costumes. We want to look the part.

The event is followed by an after-party complete with drinks, food, and live music. It spans over three days and sells out fast, so hurry up and check the schedule to see if its coming to your area so you can get in before there’s no room left. Fellow Austinites, you want to hurry!!

Hope to see some of you there!

“Stop trying to be so ordinary

Be strong and be brave

And begin your story.”

— “So Ordinary” by Ryan Star

Superheroes are much more than characters on the Technicolor pages of a graphic novel. There are real superheroes – everyday angels who spread light in large and small ways. They stand up for others in need. They help us believe again when we’ve lost hope. In the end, they change the world.

And you want to know a secret? They are no different from you or I. Really! You have that same essence of bravery, love, empathy, and empowerment flowing through your veins.

True…it’s not always easy with the pressures of family, friends, and society to embrace our inner awesomeness. Most of us make the mistake of trying to live our lives from the outside in. We focus on appearances, fitting in, and trying to make others happy. We focus so hard on avoiding losing love that we shut down our inner light. It’s the exact opposite of what we must do to live a full life and connect with our inner superhero.

To live the life we are truly destined for, we must start from within. Your experiences, your inner wisdom, your gifts are there for a reason. You are not on this Earth only for yourself. You’re here to better the world and be of service to others. Short changing yourself robs the world of something very precious.

But we can’t manage to do great things until we see ourselves as great. Unless we believe in our potential, we won’t fly. We’ll sit on the edge of the ledge, gazing out over a beautiful valley, feeling the sun’s warmth and tempting kiss of the breeze. We’ll ache for the experience that is calling us, all the while missing out on it.

We find the faith to leap by connecting to the divinity within us. So how do we begin to do that?

Meditate

Meditation calms your whole being. It centers you firmly in the present moment. This practice of relaxing the body and quieting the mind allows you to connect to the energies of love, peace, and creativity.

Fears don’t exist in the present moment. They are worries based on potential futures. Fears lose their power when you are able to stay hooked into the blessings held in the Now.

Take responsibility

You’re the co-creator of your life. You choose your perspective on situations. You decide to take a chance or to stay in the status quo.

To change your life, change yourself. Begin with your thoughts. Watch their positivity or negativity. Be aware of self-judgment and negative self-talk. When you catch those kinds of thoughts, replace them with a positive thought that connects you with the kind of life you wish to manifest.

And always realize you can choose to see the blessing or pain in any situation. You can act to change things if you are not experiencing life in the way you desire. You are not the victim in your life…you’re the hero or heroine of it.

Laugh

Joy is one of the highest vibrations in life. When we experience it, our heart opens. Our body releases stress and relaxes. We become caught up in the love of life; and that is a powerful place to be.

Stepping out of your comfort zone becomes easier if you can just laugh at yourself and enjoy the experience – even when things don’t go “perfectly.” It eases the pressure. It allows for a loving acceptance of imperfections as you grow. So let yourself have fun!

See the humanity in others

If you’re not feeling especially happy with yourself and your life, it can be easy to envy others. We see things in their life like a job, good mate, nice home, and fall into a sense of lack about our own lives.

But no one is perfect and neither is their life. They all have challenges, fears, weaknesses, strengths, joys, and sorrows. Imagine being fully in their life with all the personal history, challenges, and responsibilities. Their life won’t seem so easy or perfect when you allow yourself to see the bigger picture.

And you know what is fabulous about that? It means that, like the people you admire, you can be powerful and make a difference. It doesn’t take perfection. It takes a willingness to act from the heart and stand in your truth.

So enough with the playing small. Stop trying to be so ordinary. You’re much more than that. Be unapologetically alive today. Be brave. Try again and again. Love fiercely. Allow the amazing light within you to radiate.

You just might surprise yourself and discover there is a superhero lurking within.

Thanks Lark N. for your wonderful guest post. I hope everyone is just as inspired as I am by your words!

It only takes one person to make a difference.

Too often we wait around for someone else to be the first. We let injustice and hatred continue because we don’t want to be the one to stick out our neck and absorb the first blow. We’re afraid of what might happen, that no one will be there to support us, that we may endure negative repercussions in return. You know what else might happen?

You might succeed.

You might stop that ranting asshole who never knew how much he tormented others. You may inspire a woman to leave an abusive relationship. You just may save a life. Doesn’t that make it worth it?

Here’s my favorite it takes only one story. If you ever think you can’t stand up and make a difference, just stop and think about this guy. I have for over twenty years. If one man can stop a tank, imagine what you could do.

For those of you who don’t know, this time last year I was a size 12 with 34% body fat–not healthy by any means. I was addicted to sugar and other white carbs, including salty chips, and had to force myself to eat what little veggies I did. Then I watched my father go through chemo. I sat there in the hospital, reading the literature lying around, only to discover how many diseases including cancer can either be attributed to or aggravated by poor lifestyle. As a single parent, I knew I needed to get healthy, if not for myself, for my child.

It was difficult to make the change, but I did it in small, manageable increments. Luckily, someone referred me to the Eat-Clean Diet by Tosca Reno. Easy to follow, full of common sense and tasty recipes I was hooked from the get-go. The diet prescribes real, unprocessed food in moderate amounts. Variety and flavor are key to creating tasty, healthy meals that the whole family will enjoy.

Side note: Diet, in its original meaning, refers to the foods commonly eaten. Today we refer to the term “diet” to mean to deny oneself of something, to starve, or some other negative association. Diet does not mean to cut out something or only eat one thing, it’s just quiet simply what you eat.

The basics of the diet prescribe:

  • Small meals 5-6 times a day (an adjustment, but it really does pay off)
  • Eating balanced meals that include fiber, protein, good carbs, and veggies/fruit
  • No processed foods
  • Healthy fats and lean proteins
  • Eat in season, organic when possible
  • Pair healthy eating with exercise

I get the magazine, which features seasonal faves including a healthy Thanksgiving dinner makeover and several desserts (carrot cake, hot cocoa, muffins-yum!).  Most of the meals cost less than $10 per serving (sometimes as little as $2) and not only do I like them, but my husband and 8-year-old daughter love them too! Bonus–most meals take less than 30 minutes to make and require just basic cooking skills. Mommy says sweet!

Of course, the best thing is I don’t diet, I just eat healthy. Now I am a size 2 with 26% (and shrinking) body fat. Along with exercise, I have lowered my metabolic age from 34 (which is older than my real age of 31) down to 24 (yes, I am physically younger than my actual age now!) and that is in just under a year. Health wise, I have eliminated most of my chronic pains, illnesses, and aggravations.What more could you ask for!