Heroes. There is a lot of meaning wrapped up in that word. Significance and weight that cannot be avoided. Entymologically, the word comes from the Greek and is a word for an illustrious fighter, often a demigod, on a quest. These days you don’t have to live up to mythical expectations to be a hero or be the star of a legend to take the name.
But you still have to be awesome. And not in the, oh,hey, those are awesome shoes way. In the oh, wow, I am in awe of you way. There are a few people in my life who are like that to me, but this is one of those moments where I am sure that I am going to let someone down or insult them because I didn’t write about them. I’ve written before about people who are my heroes, including my cousin Beth, my friend KC and my friend Amie.
Today, I want to write about someone who may not know that they are one of my heroes, my friend Erica. We met just under a year ago in real life, but we had been reading each other’s blogs and following the other on twitter for a while. We instantly clicked and in no time were playing Cards Against Humanity and enjoying some good red wine.
It is more than just a mutual interest in wine or my laughing fits while playing slightly inappropriate card games that makes her a hero. This girl started a blog and used her marketing skills to create a killer brand (and some awesome merch). But more than that, she turned a diagnosis into a positive force. When she was laid off, she ran a kickstarter campaign to fund the editing and publishing of her book.
These days people come to her for information on what gluten-free foods are good, her sassy take on gluten-free media gaffes and to hear the voice of the best friend they wish they had. She even wrote the book on living with Celiac disease while still being a normal girl who does normal things like travel for work and eat dinner at family holidays. She is taking on the world and making it ok to talk about her body’s failures.
When someone nearly fed me mislabeled food, she took on an entire catering staff at an event with thousands of people on our behalf.
She has been fighting a new round of mystery diagnosis theater with her docs and sharing her journey with all of us, which makes me feel like my body is just a bit less of a freak show. She posts selfies of herself in zombie makeup at the gym and has no problem talking to you about poop. I think that, right there, is proof she should be everyone’s hero. She is most definitely one of mine.