It is one thing to face the world when you are full of confidence, in perfect health, and you have no real troubles – everything is going your way, you feel you can not not fail no matter what, you could even say its easy to live life and face challenges when you are in that state.
But when you are down and out, when you feel depressed, when you’ve lost your job or a relationship, when nothing seems to be going your way, when you’re sick or injured, its another thing entirely just to get through the day, let alone dare greatly or accomplish anything.
One of the things I love about Batman is that he puts up with a lot of physical and emotional trauma, and he just keeps going. At any time when Batman is apprehending super-villains or whoever, you know that like a pro fighter or footy player – he has minor and major injuries.
Batman is rarely injury free, happily content or at his peak on a daily basis. It’s more than likely he’s sore, very tired, had a string of horrible things happen in any given month and he has every reason to say “Fuck it, tonight I’ll stay home and go to bed feeling sorry for myself”. None of us are at our best in that state, but we function and go on, doing the best we can.
But the strength of Batman’s character is that he does not have time to feel sorry for himself, his constant injuries and scars, illness or depression – he accepts as the toll of his never ending mission. His compromised social status and lack of societal norms are part of the cost of being Batman. He is forever an outsider, even at times to his own Bat-Family of Alfred, Robin, Batgirl etc.
Batman’s relationships are rocky territory, they never end well. His night time job is being Batman, and his day time job is being Bruce Wayne, while he works no traditional job, he does accomplishes more in any 24 hour period than most of us do in a day. If you think Jack Bauer does a hardcore job as a counter terrorist agent, well at least Jack Bauer gets holidays.
Batman is Batman 24/7 – 365 days a year. He doesn’t get breaks, he doesn’t get a lunch hour to piss and moan about how inadequate his life is, every hour of being Batman is overtime, but he only pays himself, nobody ever advertised the job of “Being Batman” in the classifieds, but Bruce Wayne turned up anyway. Not just anybody can be Batman, it takes a certain kind of individual to step up to a role that he had to invent himself, and nobody could ever realistically ask anyone to perform the role of “Being Batman”.
Bruce Wayne constantly reinvents himself, as Bruce, as Batman. He’s rarely at his best. He’s usually the underdog and battling the odds, he’s not invincible like some fans (and the odd writer) seem to think. He’s human and fallible. He makes mistakes. He’s often NOT at his best in any given scenario. But that is part of what being Batman is, and what he represents.
Batman is the guy who is down in the real shit of life and he makes the best of it. He goes to places most of would never dare to go and says “This is my home, this is what I do, I am Batman, don’t ask me to change”.
For Bruce Wayne, being Batman is his mission in life – for better or worse. It’s painful being Batman, it’s hard work, there are no thank yous, no rewards, just the satisfaction Bruce Wayne has knowing that one more potential victim of violent crime was prevented from his efforts, or that one more kid gets to keep his parents and live a normal life – rather than see them shot down in cold blood in a dark alley – that is the drive and determination that keeps Batman going – however crazy and unrealistic it is, it doesn’t matter. Whatever excuse Bruce tells himself continue being Batman is not important, it only matters that he does what he does with total conviction. And while he is rarely at his best, even Batman at his worst is still damn good at what he does.
I think that’s the kind of person we can all aspire to be. If you can honestly say “Even at my worst, I’m fucking good at what I do” – well you can’t buy that kind of satisfaction. It’s honest, it’s real, it’s something you can look in the mirror and say out loud, without a hint of shame or irony.
Batman is totally committed to being the best Batman he can be, no matter the circumstance, or how bad it gets. That’s the guy I cheer for.
Not the all time winner who has everything go his way, one effortless victory after another. But the guy who just walks through ten tons of shit on a daily basis and when he gets to the end of the day collapses, then gets up the next day eager to do it all again.
That’s the Batman I love.
Like Sisyphus who faced an eternal torment of a boulder that must be rolled or carried up a steep hill, only to have it roll down and be forced to endlessly repeat this task.
The difference is in perception, for Batman, carrying or pushing that heavy boulder up a hill is not a pointless task, but an ESSENTIAL task.
He gets the job done and says “Is that all you got, I’m not done, I’m just getting warmed up!”
One man grows weak endlessly doing a pointless hard grueling task, while another man grows strong repeatedly enduring the unendurable. In life we can piss and moan about the hard times, or we can use them to grow stronger, like a sword tempered and forged in the harshest of conditions, our iron will, our strength of character is forged in the every day furnace of real life. What’s left after facing such trials is the essential, everything that holds us back gets burned up along the way.
I complain and whine about little things as much as anyone, probably more so, but I keep coming back to that annoying #hashtag…
The one that says wake up and be grateful for the life you have, the one that says grab life by the balls and don’t let go, the one that says we can and should live life on our own terms…
Some call it How To Be Like Batman #HTBLB
Or just plain old #Batitude.
It’s on the door to my mancave, it infuses my daily life, BATITUDE is a constant reminder to be the best I can be in any situation, and when I fall down, when I fail, when everything turns to shit, well plant some flowers, embrace it, do whatever I have to do to get through. In good times, in hard times, things constantly change, but BATITUDE remains.