The humanizing of idols.

I had a discussion with a new friend of mine last weekend. It started off harmless and ended up explosive, as I said things that weren’t taken how I meant them to be and he said things very loudly and defensively. I hit a nerve, I guess. Or I touched on a raw issue. Whatever it was, it was ugly, and it ended with me feeling as if I misjudged the situation and took a liberty with our new friendship that I shouldn’t have. And feeling, with a certainty, that this happened too soon to take back.

Not that I would. See, I mulled this around and around for a week in my mind. Replayed it to see if I would react/question the topic differently if it were anyone else (No.); if the questions were addressed to me about touchy topics in my life (No.); and if I felt the reaction fit the conversation. (No.)

I thought about reaching out to apologize, but decided that I still don’t feel like I have anything to say I’m sorry for. I wasn’t judging, even though that was the contention accused of me. I was asking questions that came from an honest place, in a space that I felt I had the freedom to.

Maybe my fault was asking someone to hold up under the weight of my expectations and idealisms when they never asked for that task. That’s not really fair, is it? That’s not even a question. That’s too heavy a burden to carry, especially for unwitting heroes.

Which brings me to humanizing idols. When you meet the people who blow you away —people you idolize for their work, their art, their insights — how close of a friendship, if offered, is worth risking? How do you blur your vision of them again when the idol part gives way to ugliness of humanity? Where do you find the respect to see them again as teachers and leaders?

Is befriending your heroes ever worth the sadness of watching them fall?

One thought on “The humanizing of idols.

  1. Kayla Lane

    I believe that accepting a person’s flaws and giving them respect are not exclusive, and that both are necessary to truly befriend anyone. Although you can still admire and appreciate a person’s qualities or achievements, the two of you can never truly be friends if you create an idol out of them. When you do this, you’re basically saying “I’m not on the same level as this untouchable, perfect person” and relegating yourself to be their fan or follower instead of their peer. I think that having idols is a gateway to having unrealistic expectations or feeling badly about your self, and should be avoided. Real friendships, flaws and all, are always more gratifying, even if they come at the price of unromantic imperfection. Intimacy and inspiration from an honest place is far more satisfying than the worlds we create in our heads.

    My long-winded two cents! Miss you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *