|Hera: Queen & goddess of the sky, women & marriage (hera_teleia) wrote in deities_dot_com,|
@ 2012-06-13 16:38:00
|Entry tags:||~hera, ~iris|
Reputation (tag: Iris)
Hera had spent a considerable amount of time and effort in cultivating a very specific facade that she wished to show the world. That included, frequently, members of her own family. There were many, many things that she kept from her children, as she assumed all mothers did. They were not friends, after all, but lives she had been responsible for shaping and nurturing. They did not need to know all of her personal secrets. Nor, no matter what he may think, did her husband. He, especially, did not need to know all that went on in her heart or her life. Particularly if it were something he could use to hurt her, deliberately or inadvertently. He did very well in that task as it was.
But her family saw more of her true self than the rest of the pantheon did. Oh, she knew very well what others thought of her, how they saw her. How those of other pantheons judged her, that was within her ken as well. Hera was hardly as self-absorbed as some might paint her, and she was well aware of the way others viewed her and her supposed attitude. She was aware, because it was what she wanted them to think. It was the reputation that she'd created for herself.
Not at first. No, at first, she'd wanted to be admired and emulated and tried to ensure that others would like her. Truthfully, she still lived her life with the hope that it would inspire others to step up and be better than they though they were capable of being. But then the dark years had happened. The years of cheating and bastards and careless disregard for the heart that she had given to Zeus. Hera was not proud of what had happened in those years, not proud of how she'd handled the challenges that had been thrown at her, and not proud of losing control as she had. She would never say that she was wrong, because looking back, she was not sure how any sane woman would react much better to the repeated betrayals and the flaunting of his conquests, not to mention how her own children were passed over and belittled. What wife, what mother, wouldn't go to extremes to defend her family? Though she could see now that the way she had done it was flawed, even if she would not publicly admit that.
It was then that the reputation had begun. It was not something of her own making, and it was shaping her life. That did not sit well at all with Hera. She had tried, at first, to change the way people thought of her, but by then it was too late, and too ingrained. Everything she did, good or bad, was colored by the rumors that had turned into myth. Her options at that point were limited, and she saw no point in wasting her energies in fighting a frustrating and ultimately losing battle. Rather than attempting to turn her reputation around, Hera chose to take control of it. She worked with the system and added to the stories that were already being told about her. It had taken a long time, but in the end, Hera thought that it was for the best this way.
After all, being both respected and feared gave Hera the ability to handle things far differently than it would if she were loved the way she had originally sought. It gave her, in a way, a great deal more freedom because it released her from the expectations that people had. If she were adored but failed at a task, it would be a blow of both disappointment and possibly resentment by those she had let down. Because she appeared to hold the world in disdain, her actions, when positive, were greeted with pleased surprise. If she could not do something, well, then, it was because she was cold-hearted and it did nothing to her credibility. And if it occasionally got lonely this way, well, that was simply the price that had to be paid.
But every once in a while, when the loneliness grew just a little too large to bear, Hera could not be satisfied with the anonymous help that she offered in the background. While there was satisfaction in knowing that she aided people, even when they were unaware that she was the author of their happiness, sometimes, every so often, she felt the compulsion to do something a bit more hands-on. Obviously, these were the sorts of things that she kept hidden from those of her pantheon, let alone the other pantheons, lest they destroy the reputation she'd spent so long building.
Which was why, early that day, she'd cleared her morning schedule and slipped away from Olympus to go to a soup kitchen on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. There were any number to choose from, not just in New York City, or America, but worldwide. Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen was one of her favorites, however, simply because of the upbeat attitude that was instilled, reinforced and passed on by the organizers and volunteers. Hera had been here before, she would be back again, and she knew the routine. She filled out the forms they required with the usual primarily false information, got her little paper hat and plastic apron and gloves, then set to work. Today she wasn't serving or taking the meal tickets, which were her favored jobs. Today she was clearing tables, and that was alright too, because it gave her a chance to pass on a smile and words of encouragement just as easily as the other duties did.
She really should have known better, but in this setting, away from the usual pressures of her family and her pantheon, Hera let her guard down. She acted far more herself than she would normally allow. She laughed and joked, she sympathized and comforted. So when she saw the familiar divinity looking at her, the shock was as harsh as a bucket of ice cold water dashed in her face. For less than a second, she froze in place. But then she pulled her wits about her and gave Iris a small nod. Turning, she made her way back to the kitchen, though her bus bucket was only half full of dishes. Whatever the messenger was doing there, now, Hera was not about to have the conversation in front of the mortals that were getting the only bit of comfort they might have that day.