...and smart and tough, but he's going to make the wrong decisions and trust the wrong people. And he has no out -- he can't put on a cape and fly off."
This is how Ben McKenzie describes his character -- Detective Jim Gordon -- of the upcoming TV show "Gotham" in an interview for "Entertainment Weekly".
Years ago, when I was a young woman, this statement wouldn't have struck me as anything particularly insightful or terribly brilliant. But now that I am older -- a 51-year-old mom with three young adult kids -- it strikes me as both insightful and brilliant. And it is also strangely comforting to my menopausal heart.
Because, when I was a young woman, I liked to think of myself as strong and smart and tough. Lots of people told me I was those things. I was a little bit proud of it, I guess, when I think about it now. And maybe I was those things, to some degree, anyway. And when I started having kids, at the ripe old age of 25, I wanted to be all of those things for them. I wanted to be the best mom. And I had this idea that because I was strong and smart and tough that I somehow wouldn't blow it, at all. I remember sitting in my hospital bed, with my first little baby in my arms, and not wanting any harm to ever touch her. I was afraid. I was afraid of all the crap in the world. And I resolved -- as I sat there looking at her little face and feeling the weight of her against me -- that I would use all of my strength and smarts and toughness to somehow get her to adulthood unscathed.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
As a mom, I have made many wrong decisions and trusted many of the wrong people. And I have really beaten myself up for these mistakes, especially when I see how they have hurt my kids. I have been tempted to cynicism. I have been tempted to trust no more. There have been times when I have been plagued by self-doubt when there is an important decision I have to make.
And when I read the statement that Ben McKenzie made, regarding Jim Gordon, that he is a "simple, flawed human being," while at the same time being "strong and smart and tough," I realized what I have been missing. I have failed to authentically accept my human weakness -- especially in regards to my role as a mother. Maybe I am -- and maybe I am not -- strong and smart and tough. I don't know, really. But, even if I am, my human frailty is going to enter into the equation. And I will inevitably make decisions that are wrong and trust people I shouldn't.
So, as I sat in that hospital bed with that new baby all those years ago, I grasped onto a completely erroneous notion -- a notion that I have never fully relinquished. Maybe it's finally time to get real. Maybe it's time to finally make peace with myself about this, because I want to live my life with confidence and joy, even with the knowledge that I am going to screw certain things up. I'm going to make the wrong calls, and not have the option of putting on a cape and flying off. And maybe this is really okay.
So, I would like to thank you, Ben, for the advice that you probably didn't even know you were giving.
Can't wait for "Gotham"!!!
P.S. -- The "EW" interview also states that the first scene Ben shot for "Gotham" involves him driving a 1970's-era Chrysler. This is a very cool thing for me, as my family owned a 1970's-era Chrysler. It had this BIG OLE' HONKIN' engine, and was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME for peeling out from stop signs in my hometown. A teenage girl's dream car, if you will. I wonder if Detective Gordon gets to peel out from stop signs in his Chrysler. It would be a shame if he doesn't. ;-)