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The Journey of Outgrowing Your Childhood Heroes

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

No one talks about what happens when you get older and realize your childhood heroes are not your heroes, rather they are the people we try not to be.

We spend much of our youth telling ourselves who we want to be. We dream of being 16 years old and driving because the babysitter does it, or 18 and moving out because our best friend’s older sibling just did. The people in our lives allowed us to envision our futures and who we aspired to be. Now we sit here, some of us in university, working or trying to make it by, and reflecting on our nine-year-old selves who saw life so differently than we do now. 

I started thinking about this two weeks ago when talking to Rayne Weadick, a third-year creative industries student at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). She and I were talking about how Taylor Swift was her childhood hero and how that feeling shifted as she grew. 

“I don’t know a time where I didn’t know Taylor Swift, which I think is why I still go back to her all the time,” Weadick said. “But it’s almost like, when you grow up and your parents start saying things where you [think], I used to admire you so much and think you were like a superhero, and now I’m realizing that you are not as much of this light in my life that I thought you were.”

She said she has been listening to Taylor Swift since 2006 when she watched the “Love Story” music video for the first time on MTV. As a little girl, Weadick would pick up her guitar and play Swift’s songs. She had a poster over her bed of her and would carry around her Taylor Swift doll. 

Flash forward 18 years, and she is talking to me about how her image of Swift has become tainted as she has gotten older. She discusses how Swift’s character and morals are ones to bring into question, as she is now contradicting herself from her previously stated beliefs.

“It’s almost as if she’s teaching a generation of girls, primarily white girls, how to deflect any criticism into ‘It’s because I’m a girl. If I was a dude, this is what I would be,‘” Weadick said. “But then she goes and she’s with Travis Kelce, and [he] is quite literally the man from her, “The Man” music video in the tennis player scene that she’s saying she didn’t like.”

As we grow up and create our own personalized thoughts and feelings, much of what we loved when we were little will not be the same. This is what has happened with Weadick and Swift. Outgrowing things is always sad, but it doesn’t have to be. If anything, Weadick’s stances and opinions are what make her the woman she is today, and that is more important than continuing to agree with someone whose views don’t align with yours. 

I also talked to another young woman, Harpreet Khaira, a first-year creative industries student at TMU. Khaira’s story of outgrowing her heroes concerns her parents, who undoubtedly remain the two most important people in her life but have also taught her what she doesn’t want to be.

Growing up in an immigrant household and being a first-generation Canadian, Khaira says her Indian culture and heritage influenced a lot of her youth. Despite this bringing so much goodness into her life, as she got older she started to realize how some of these teachings are things that should be left behind. 

“I think I only realized coming into the later years of high school or even now where certain things that I thought were good or helpful in raising your kid or disciplining your kid, I’m like, those aren’t good things, and I don’t blame my parents because again, that’s all they know,” Khaira said.

Though her parents have their flaws, Khaira said they are still, undoubtedly, the two most heroic people she knows. She said she has watched them sacrifice so much for not only her and her sisters but also friends and, at times, complete strangers.

“It’s hard for me not to be able to love every part of my parents… I’m proud of [my mom],” Khaira said. “I’m proud of both my parents because they have come a very long way in the way they say things or who they’re saying it to.”

Outgrowing your childhood heroes doesn’t have to be a bad thing. People change, and opinions shift. Our beliefs will continue to evolve until that one day when everything stops, but for right now I think it’s a beautiful thing that we don’t have the same heroes as we did when we were little.

I love growing up. I love getting older and experiencing, learning, and trying new things. I’m grateful for all the things my childhood heroes have taught me, and I’ll remember them as I continue to have new heroes and people to look up to.

Olivia Harbin

Toronto MU '25

Olivia Harbin is a third-year Journalism student at TMU and is excited to be working with such an amazing group of writer’s at TMU's Her Campus. She was born and raised in North Carolina and moved to Toronto during her first year at TMU. After instantly falling in love with the city, she is planning to stay here after graduation and work within news broadcasting. When she is not busy writing, you can find her playing guitar or cuddling with her cat! Her Instagram is @oliviaharbinnn