Growing up in a small Australian town wasn't always the easiest. I was skinny, unathletic, academic, into geeky stuff and afflicted with ADHD. That made me different, which meant I was a target. Things were rough more often than they were easy and more a nightmare than a dream.
So I clung to my heroes. Spider-Man, Optimus Prime and Hulk Hogan taught me that you get back up, no matter how often you're knocked down. That you don't take the easy way out and compromise your principles. That you look after others even if they don't do the same for you. That doing good is its own reward. Their trials and tribulations, their losses and victories, taught me how to navigate my own. And their inspirations made me the person I am today.
I wish I could go back in time and tell the kid I was that, one day, you're going to get to meet the men behind those characters. That you'll get to tell them how they helped, what they did for you. And that all three of them are going to be touched, and honoured, and impressed, and grateful to have influenced you. I wish I could, because that would have made some of the tough times easier... but I wouldn't need to. Because the kid I was would have kept walking the same path regardless, thanks to the example of his heroes.