Ignorance on Fire

I love movies. Movies are the best. Movies speak to our lives. Or at least, they speak to my life, to each his own. Batman is a classic one. Batman Begins specifically, but all the new batman movies are pretty quality films. (Especially Dark Knight Rises because I was in it, I know you were wondering. I was one of the 18,000 blurs in the football stadium during the badass explosions. Sooooo… I’m basically famous.)

So, on to the important part where I say how movies speak to my life. In Batman Begins, Bruce is playing in his backyard and falls into a hidden cave/underground hole place that has been boarded up  (why the hell he has a boarded up cave in his backyard I will never know). He hits the rocks below hard, breaks his arm, and is stuck in this terrifying situation, by himself, in the dark, with thousands of bats flying around him. Hugely terrifying situation for a 10ish year old. Eventually his father comes down, lifts him up, carries him inside, and says, “Why do we fall Bruce?”

Why do we fall? Why do we climb these stairs and make these friends and work these jobs and live the way we think is going to lead us somewhere just to slip back down again? Why do we make goals, plan our weeks, and fall into routines, just to fail? For plans to change, for schedules to be dismantled. How do we ever play in that backyard again when we know our greatest fear lies directly underneath our feet, only one slip away?

Why do we plan our lives, when life seems like it’s so unwilling to be planned? When no matter how hard we try to shove everything into this box that is just the size and shape we want it to be, it pops out again before we can close the lid? I am spending all my time trying to push my life into my own box of a particular size and shape. I’m trying to talk myself into the things I already have so that I can try to make everything fit. If I don’t change my shape, don’t add any weight, then maybe this time I’ll be able to close the lid and fit into that regimented space.

But here’s the thing- I am failing. No matter how hard I try to avoid it, things are spilling out. I am trying to force myself to be smaller than I am meant to be, and I am failing. Why am I trying to keep myself in this cramped box full of a range of usual to unhappy days with the occasional amazing? Funnily enough those occasional amazing days seem to be the tricksters. They reset my tolerance and make me think that things might change; that this could be the way things might be always, if I just try hard enough. I’m not dreaming because I keep saying “I could never do that anyway,” or “Maybe that’s just not meant for me.” If another person were saying these things to me or were trying to keep me so small, others would probably consider it emotionally abusive. So why do I think it is okay to say them to myself?

I am the only one forcing myself into this space that even I know is too small to contain what I am capable of. But for some reason I am trying to build walls to keep myself in; trying to fortify my space and tell myself that it’s tall and strong, and that it’s what I am meant for, so that I don’t have to fall out onto the lawn. Because if I do, then there’s a chance that I will take a bad step and fall into that cave; forced to face my fears. (Which by the way are not bats. I love bats, they’re awesome. Whole other story.)

But why? I can’t count the number of times I have misstepped and fallen. Or the number of times that I have had to claw my way back up from those falls. In Batman, Bruce’s father says that we fall, “so that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” We fall. So that we can learn how to recover. How to bounce back, and stand again.

There’s this radio show I listen to, and this fantastic woman on it who just gets me, ya know? She uses the phrase “ignorance on fire.” She said that she was woefully unprepared for moving to New York City and being on this radio show, but she did it anyway. She jumped out of that box and did it, terror aside. She had no idea how truly big this thing was, but she knew it was bigger than that space she was in, and that it was calling her. So she stopped letting a box confine her. She jumped. And she said it was the best decision she has ever made.

I want to live my life this way.

I want to feel ignorance on fire.

I want to fall.

So that I can learn to pick myself back up again.


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