Silver Spoon. Weak and Powerless. A God Among Men. Bruce Wayne.

AmpersandQuest

I am not necessarily the biggest comic book fan in the world but there are few characters who I would look up to if indeed they existed in real life.  Tony Stark aka Iron Man, Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow, and Logan aka Wolverine. However there is one character that in my opinion stands head and shoulders above all others and it’s not because he’s the most powerful. It is precisely because he lacks that power that I admire him so much. It is indeed his bravery, cunning, and sense of responsibility that has me clamoring for him.  I am yet another among a million who grew up with a single mother and like many others I collected father figures through out my life. There is no exception here.

I admire the comic book character Batman aka Bruce Wayne so much because despite being born a billionaire he suffers one of the worst tragedies imaginable. Watching his parents be murdered right in front of him. All the money in the world didn’t help Bruce get over this heinous act of violence. Instead, he spiraled into his own pit of despair and self loathing. Just as any child who suddenly finds themselves alone in the world.

Eventually the pain became too much so it came down to a choice between living in self-pity for the rest of his life or leaving his life behind in order to improve himself. To me it is a sign of high moral standards for a man to be willing to drop everything at a moments notice in order to improve his own life and to help others around him.  At times this will mean leaving your comfort zone while other times it means escaping pain and suffering. The over all point is that clinging on to what was for overtly selfish reasons is more detrimental to your life than it is to move on and attempt something new.

Doing so is what becoming a free man is all about. This was never going to be easy for Bruce Wayne or any man. This usually means years of wandering aimlessly through the worst the world has to offer. The young man struggled on, not as a trust fund baby, but as any other man would. He may have been aimless at times but still searching for what every man looks for at some point in their life. A sense of pride, dignity, and to become the alpha of his own life. He sought to become the master of his own mind, body, and spirit of which he could then use to fulfill his fathers wishes. His fathers wish was that Bruce would grow up to help others around him. To protect the innocent and drive away mindless thugs and criminal masterminds alike.

However, Bruce was not his father by any means. He desired more than invention, successful businesses, and being a good Samaritan. Bruce desired more agency in his life and once he learned this about himself he began to train his mind, body, and soul to deal with the difficulties that would inevitably arise from such desires. Still, not in full form, Bruce pressed on still wandering but with aim and direction. I think most people reach this point in their lives where they have the ambition and drive to succeed in life yet still do not know exactly what it is they need to do in order to get there.

Once this level of determination is established often we find like-minded people who influence us to move in one direction or another. For Bruce Wayne this was The League of Shadows. Lead by a man named Ras Al Guul this group was a formidable and ancient order of ninjas who religiously sought to wipe out criminality, bad behavior, and immorality all throughout history and into the future.  Under the tutelage of Ras, Bruce was able to finally face his deepest fears, train his body, and prepare his soul for what was to come. A challenge with even more severe consequences, choices, and experiences the likes of which would make any normal man falter and succumb to brainwashing and peer pressure.

Once it became obvious to Bruce that The League of Shadows was nothing more than a glorified terrorist group who had no dilemma in killing the innocent in order to wipe out the guilty he had to make a life changing decision. Would he too kill the innocent in order to get to the criminals he sought after. He thought of his mother and fathers killer, his fathers dying wishes, and his own morality and knew what he had to do. He betrayed Ras Al Guul and escaped the League of Shadows.

This must have been a difficult decision, after all, it was The League of Shadows and Ras Al Guul who saved Bruce from his own downward spiral into obscurity and perhaps meaningless death. The League brought Bruce a sense of agency and purpose that he had so long been looking for and Ras was the strong father figure that Bruce really needed when he was at his weakest to teach him how to be truly strong and to be a real man. This dilemma is something we all face in life. We all have a group that we were once a part of or are currently a part of that eventually challenges us to rethink our position within that community. The moral question is pressing and it is thus posed unto all of us at some point. Do you stay with those who’ve helped you grow? Do you bite the hand that feeds you when you realize they do not ultimately stand for what you believe is just, moral, and correct in life? I believe Bruce’s decision was the correct one to make. As a man you must stand on your own two feet and separate from the herd, even if it means complete obscurity, loneliness, or even death.

At this moment, Batman is born and Bruce is a complete man. He has transcended the vision others set forth for him and found what he originally set out to find. Who he is and what his purpose in life is. Eventually Bruce finds his way back home and thus begins the plot so many have come to know and love. As Batman, Bruce is finally able to avenge his parents wrongful murder and live up to his fathers dying wishes. But not at all like his father envisioned which is another dilemma Bruce continuously faces as he presses forward as the Caped Crusader, Batman.

No matter what your position in life is it is you who ultimately makes the decisions that lead you to your ultimate destiny. I believe this is the most important element when it comes to the my hos of the Batman/Bruce Wayne character. That even though he had billions of dollars, a trust fund, and could have simply lived life as a pampered and infantile piece of garbage, he chose to seek something higher than himself. I can’t think of any other character in all of fiction who so deeply fulfills all the important aspects of what it means to be an actual human being and for that I dedicate this entire article for all the men in the world who could have taken the easy route but chose not to.

It is deeply inspiring to me when I see every day people struggling to improve themselves and going out on a limb not to impress others but because they feel something within themselves that life isn’t about finding the easy ways around everything but indeed it is about mastering the correct ways to do things.

Advertisements

Finding The Path

Ampersand Daily2

In this modern era of single parent families, overt sensitivity training, constant language policing, and continuous shaming masculinity it is rather difficult to even realize you are not even close to a man. For most of my life I forbade myself to even think like a man, act like a man, and embrace my masculinity in favor of pleasing everyone else. In doing so it never occurred to me that not only was I hurting myself by behaving this way but the many others in life who I could have served a lot better by simply being who and what I am. In place of this I behaved as an emasculated servant to those around me constantly struggling to meet the impossible standards set forth by society. No matter how good my intentions were they would never be enough to fit the vision others set forth for me in place of my ignorant and immature way of thinking. I now see things a lot differently and I owe it not only to myself for paying close attention to the world but also to a few very insightful human beings who sought to help others improve themselves by making them realize there is nothing wrong with being a man.

 

It sounds so simple doesn’t it? Until you realize that which is often most difficult to see and understand lays right in front of you hidden in plain sight. Made even more difficult by a whole swarm of societies most aggravating political correctness nazis, hipster puritans, and ignorant misandrist who take pleasure in creating a hostile environment for men and boys. There is a lot to be said that often goes unsaid when it comes to the topic of misandry. However it occurs to me that this is merely an excuse to continue failing at being who and what you are. While it is important to recognize any threats to your masculinity it is even more important to simply embrace being the man you want to be. Failing to do so and continuing to blame others for your problems lends a lot of credence to the misandrist arguments against men. So where does one go from this understanding? Are you willing to let go of grudges in favor of celebrating the fact that you are a man? As an individual you have much more power to change your own life in spite of what others tell you. That is if you are willing and able to face those challenges one by one, day by day, and once and for all finding out who you really are and what you’re really made of.

 

For me, it came down to one simple fact of life. No one but you can do you like you do. Do not falter and allow others to dictate your reality to you. At the same time do not become a dictator like those who seek to control your thoughts, dreams, and direction in life. This does not mean turn your ears off and never listen to others for healthy criticisms and advice. Sometimes tough love is exactly what you need to hear in life which is exactly what got me to start thinking differently about the direction I was heading.  The fact that someone paid a little bit of attention to where I was coming from and where I was heading and had some realistic solutions to present to me meant too much for me to ignore. These people were not trying to control me, they are not a part of my every day life, and only wanted to present an opportunity to grow and expand my horizons. I took it with a grain of salt, at first that is.

 

It has been a while now since I made up my mind to make these changes in my life. It’s lead me to realize that it’s not about one moment where you realize you are a man and suddenly everything becomes easier. Instead, it’s about knowing that 99% of life is really god damn hard to deal with but knowing that you must embrace it and stop giving a damn about every little mistake you make along the way. Letting those air headed moments in your life get to you in such a way that you are unable to move on and fix them is exactly what emasculation does to a man. It renders him completely unable to tend to himself and those he loves with the kind of care and precision life often demands of us. Seeing life in this manner has resulted in a new-found enthusiasm for taking care of my body, mind, finances, and loved ones in a way I never even thought about. I don’t wake up anymore wishing I could just sleep forever. Now days when I wake up I can say that I am actually awake and see things now for what they really are. I am more enthusiastic about facing each day, seeing my friends, spending time with my family, and going to work with a positive mind-set that allows me to not just survive but flourish even in a hostile environment.

 

I am not tooting my own horn even though it may sound like it. I still recognize a lot of areas in my life that require just as much attention and enthusiasm as the items I mentioned before. The important issue to me is that once you start tending to your own life and become the alpha of your destiny you realize the problems you once had are now routinely dealt with. You begin to look at new possibilities and ways to take care of things. You become more creative and actually want to embrace new challenges. For me right now, it’s all about my loved ones, finances, and my over all health. In the future I feel a strong desire to become a more social man. Someone who others want to be around because I bring a unique and desired quality to the scene.

 

I strongly believe that until you know yourself you will be unable to relate to others in any meaningful way. I have already noticed a small improvement in my ability to converse with acquaintances and even strangers. To others this all may seem trite and trivial but that’s because you have already mastered things that I am just now starting to realize. For that I applaud you and hope that you see my genuine determination to acquire the same level of skill you have in these areas of life and hope you treat others with the same level of recognition you would give me for actually giving enough of a damn to do something to turn their lives around.

 

Lastly, for anyone who would attempt to rain on this parade of mine believe me when I say that I genuinely realize that I am not a special snow flake who deserves accolades and encouragement from others. I fully recognize the need for me to not become complacent with these small improvements I’ve made for myself and continue to grow and move along this path of self-improvement. It has become clear to me that I have no excuses in this short life to live as if I had all the time in the world so I will stand until I fall on my own two feet. That does not mean encouragement is not welcome. It does however mean that anyone trying to knock me off my horse needs to realize I will just get back on it again. That is what being a man is really all about to me. It has encouraged me to become more than the sum of my parts and improve the areas of my life which brought me nothing but grief and self-pity and I jealously guard my new disposition. I do not take this for granted nor will I ever allow someone to take it away from me. It has become more valuable than gold or riches to me and I only hope others who may read this some day come to realize the same things I have.

 

Scott D. Vogler