The Time I Was Batman for an Afternoon

A while back  I wrote about how decided to focus on writing and directing fantasy films.  I started with decisions I made after I entered film school.  But my road to fantasy started much earlier than that.

I am the youngest of three girls.  My older sisters would always say because I’m the baby, that I was spoiled and got away with doing a lot more than they did.  I say, it’s not my fault they were born at the wrong time.  For instance, church attendance was pretty much mandatory in my family.  Not only did we have to go, we had to participate.  I, as a rambunctious toddler, got out of church a couple of times with a well timed tantrum.  Now before you go saying – ‘oh you’re so spoiled you used tantrums to get your way’ – as I got older I heard stories of when my middle sister was a toddler and she used tantrums to get her way also.  But they would have you believe I was the only one.

One of those fine Sundays when I got to stay home with my dad, we watched Batman reruns.  It was while watching Batman I got this brilliant idea.  I turned to my father and demanded that he make me a Batman costume.  I was three years old at the time and pretty much thought if I wanted it, it could happen.  My dad in turn actually went about making a makeshift Batman costume with stuff he found around the house.  He took a couple of small paper bags and fashioned them into boots.  He took a larger one and turned it into the Batman mask complete with eyeholes and pointy bat ears.  He took another large paper bag and turned it into Batman’s utility belt.  I vaguely remember him making gloves for me, but I could be mistaken.  Finally, he took one of my baby blankets and tied it around my neck for a cape.

I was Batman.  One of the pinnacle moments in my toddlerhood.  Naturally I couldn’t wait for my mother and my sisters to get home from church so I could show them I was a superhero.  When they walked through the door, I jumped out at them and growled.  Because, I guess, that’s what Batman does.  They laughed and went on like it was nothing.  Refusing to acknowledge the fact they were indeed related to a world renowned superhero. Because of the disposability of my costume, my tenure as Batman lasted only that one afternoon.  But, as you can see, I never forgot it.

When I think back on that afternoon, one thing pops into my mind.  My father never said, you can’t be Batman, you’re a girl.  My parents never told me I couldn’t be anything I wanted to be.  If I wanted to do something, they did what they could to help me.  Even if it was to ruin a bunch of lunch bags to make me a superhero for an afternoon.  I think that laid the groundwork for my love of fantasy.  In fantasy there are no boundaries, whatever you think can be.

Addendum:  I talked with my oldest sister and she was able to clear up a few things about that day that was fuzzy in my memory.  My father didn’t make a pair of gloves for me, but after he finished making everything else, I asked for them.  My sister said when they came home he told them “I’m glad you’re here because she asked me for gloves and I didn’t know how I was gonna make them!”  Also when they arrived home my mother was through the door first.  After I jumped out and growled at her, she fell to the floor laughing so hard my sisters couldn’t enter the house.  They were stuck behind her wondering what was so funny.

What laid the groundwork for your dreams?  Let me know in the comments below!