I was watching Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” yesterday when I discovered an interesting insight into the character of the Batman. Moreover, I began to lose myself in the thoughts of how the Batman is a metaphor for how we deal with trauma and loss in our lives.
Bruce Wayne witnessed a personal tragedy at an age when he wasn’t fully cognizant of the dynamics of the event itself. He watched his parents callously gunned down in an alley. (and yes, I’m also in the camp of those who are pleased Matt Reeves chose not to display that backstory trope in his film – we’ve seen it numerous times)
Bruce witnessed firsthand brutal violence and malicious cruelty. (In this film, though, the murder had deeper meaning than just a random act of robbery. I won’t spoil it)
Bruce could have succumbed to this tragedy. He could have lived his life waiving the flag of victimhood. He could have used this for every shortcoming in his life, yelling at the top of his lungs that he is allowed to be weak and broken and useless. “My parents were killed, so I can’t do anything from this point forward.” He could have used this event for attention. He could even have curled up like a sleeping cat and ignored the world.
Bruce, however, spent years training and learning. He learned fighting. He built cars and weapons and tools. In the Chris Nolan films, we see Bruce in a Chinese prison, after embarking on a journey across the world. He learned to fight, learned how to live without, learned how to find strength within. He learned how to stand on his own.
When we see Matt Reeves’ The Batman, he calls himself Vengeance. He has no pretense about protecting the weak or serving the public. His only goal is to punish those who hurt others. He does this by focused brutal violence. He not only emerges from the shadows, he is the shadows. He inspires fear in everyone, even those he inadvertently saves from harm. He embodies hate and rage and a burning desire to get even with the world. But he is saddened by his lack of success. The city is becoming more violent.
Over the course of the film he learns that he must be more. He must outgrow his image and his purpose. He can no longer be self-serving. He must wear the cloak of duty, honor, and a moral code fueled by conviction and purpose. He must inspire hope. He must act as protector as opposed to executioner. He learns that serving others is greater than serving himself.
Now he fights for those who can’t fight for themselves. Those with no voice, no hope, no strength.
What does this have to do with my normal blog topic?
I’m so glad you asked, dear reader.
Each of us has suffered. Each of us has experienced trauma and hurt in some way or another. Sure, we didn’t all watch some random rogue gun our parents down in an alley. Thankfully.
But we have had our hearts broken, been ridiculed, picked on, had failed parents, suffered violence, been fired, been rejected, been betrayed, suffered loss, witnessed loved ones dying, and even more.
We want to be the Batman. We want to lash out. We want revenge on everything around us. We want retribution. We want others to know our suffering. Some would rather curl up like a sleeping cat.
Then we discover that nearly everyone has had experiences similar to ours. We are not alone. We develop a tendency to wave our victim flag higher and higher. We brag more loudly that we’ve had it worse than others. When challenged, we join in the emotional debate of who has had it worse, who has suffered more.
But this is like the Olympic athlete who carries all his hurdles to the finish line and shows them off to the judge. “See how many hurdles I’ve jumped? Look at them. My hurdles were tougher than the runner in the lane next to me.”
We must, like Bruce Wayne, learn to channel that tragedy to something bigger than ourselves. We must serve others because of our tragedy.
Nearly every greatness started from loss. Look at how many self help books are out there. So many authors. So many topics.
I had cancer, let me show you how I dealt with it.
I was raped, here’s how I grew.
I failed for years, let me show you how I finally succeeded.
I watched my parents die, here’s my secret to learning to heal.
The list goes on.
We can use our adversity to become more.
This is what I do at Tri State Holistic Wellness. I try to help others discover their strength amid their tragedies. I help them grow and learn and move forward.
Stress affects the body in real, physical ways. I help people deal with the stress often caused by the way people look at the world after trauma and tragedy. Once they learn to deal effectively with stress, they can deal with future adversity in their lives. They can become empowered.
We can learn and grow. We can rise above victimhood and climb the summit of empowerment. It’s possible.
And we don’t even have to beat up criminals in the middle of the night first.
Due to Thanksgiving all Tai Chi classes are canceled this week. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. I’ve discussed this with all my students this week and they are aware. If you are thinking of joining a Tai Chi class, we look forward to meeting you the week after Thanksgiving.
As always, I’m available for sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness. Massage, Acupressure, Reiki, sound/vibration tools, herbs, dietary changes. I address holistic health from the outside in and from the inside out. Contact me to start your journey to health and happiness.
See you after Thanksgiving