There are two things I remember –
the smell and the weight.
Afterward, came the fear.
So many fears that began with the dark and being alone.
I remember standing outside the locked doors of family bedrooms pounding to be let in only to return to my bed and cry myself to sleep.
Then, Batman was born.
Batman:It’s okay. You can do this alone. You don’t need them. You don’t need anyone except me.
There was the fear of not being good enough that manifested its self in so many ways. Stupidity came with the knowledge that everyone could see my idiocrasy. There was no hiding it. Soon I knew, beyond a doubt, I was going to Hell and there was no place for me in heaven. Like a train roaring over a cliff in an abyss of smoke and smiles one thought led to others as I continued to try and prove to myself that I wasn’t worthless.
Batman:You are worthless, but I can teach you to hide it.
Batman saved me.
Random Citizen: Hey Kenny, what classes are you taking this semester? Honors? You’re too smart for me.
Batman: Except for basic algebra you fucking idiot! Why can’t you be as smart as your friends?
Random Citizen: Congratulations Kenny, you made it to state in speech and debate!
Batman: You didn’t win every tournament! Why didn’t you win every tournament! What are you doing wrong? Fix it!
Random Citizen:Student council, speech, cross country, track, drama, AP English, AP Calculus, band, Key Club, Foreign Language Honors Society, afterschool job, before school paper route. What extracurricular aren’t you involved in? What don’t you do?
Batman: Wake the fuck up! You don’t have to sleep. You have a test tomorrow in biology and lines to memorize for the school play. I’m not even going to mention the C you got in AP Calculus last quarter. If you want to be more than another stupid nigger then you will get up, deliver those newspapers, and reread the chapter before going to school.
Random Citizen: Full ride to Bowling Green! Wow! Congrats! You are most definitely most likely to succeed!
Batman: This is your only way out! You have to do better! You have to do more! Unless you want to stay homeless in Peoria for the rest of your life. Get your shit together because no one else is going to do it for you! The race isn’t over! It’s just started!
Random Citizen: How many books publish and a master’s from JHU? Wow! That’s impressive!
Batman: Not enough! More!
Random Citizen: You’re a great teacher Mr. Rogers!
Batman: You’re terrified of them? For what? They’re only children!
Me: They remind me of…me…and the time…
Batman: Stop whining you pussy! They need you more than you and your irrational fear! Get over it!
Random Citizen: You’re going to make a great father!
Batman: Careful. One wrong move and they’ll end up just as damaged and worthless as you.
Random Citizen: Career, family, house, you’ve made it Kenny!
Me: I can’t feel anything.
Batman: Good! Now you’re learning!
Somehow, in my mind, I always came up short. The world seemed to always be on my back and the weight continued to grow.
Each time Batman would save me. Teaching me that the inability to reach perfection needed to be punished until…
Not So Random Citizen: Kenny…Kenny…it’s okay. You’re allowed to cry in therapy.
Me: I’m afraid.
Batman: You’re not allowed to be afraid.
Me: I don’t want to do this anymore.
Batman: Fight the fear and it will go away.
Me: No, it won’t.
Batman: I can save you!
Me: No, you can’t. You have to die.
Batman: Good luck! You’re not the first to try and you won’t be the last to fail.
Not So Random Citizen: Let’s get started.