Saturday, June 14, 2014

"...a simple, flawed human being. He's strong...

...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. ;-)