I was a big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan as a kid (still am). If you ask my parents how many times I saw the part one live-action movie, “Cuarenta mil veces,” my dad will probably respond. English translation — forty millions times. That’s an exaggerated way of saying a lot. Like a lot a lot.
I once told my mom, “From now on, I want you to call me Donatello.” I remember that day perfectly. It struck me hard because I wanted to identify with something that symbolized power, karate, brotherhood, different, and cool. This was pop culture for me. It moved me when I declared it. So much that I don’t remember what happened before or after that moment. I must of been 10 or something. I only remember that bit and her reaction. She said, “ok,” and walked away.
What struck me so much about that film? I don’t know. Because it wasn’t until I got a lot older where I finally understood the plot, the funny gags, and other movie stuff. You know what I’m talking about. A big factor too could be that it was one of the few movies I ever owned. My parents didn’t play that I’m going to buy you a bunch movies game. Nope. Not in my house.
My mom never called me Donatello. In fact, I forgot about the whole thing. I was probably caught up in some imaginary world moment — fighting imaginary bad guys with my toy swords — when I told her.
It’s funny now because the tables have turned. And by that, I mean, my daughter is identifying with heroic characters. Not my mom wanting to be Donatello. That will just be awkward.
As an adult, it’s no different today. We all want to scream to the world of who we want to be. We all keep “growing up” and admiring mythical characters and real people. And that’s a good thing. Because wouldn’t it just suck if you had nothing or no one to look up to?
Yeah, there’s been some dark moments in my life where I’ve lost that. That “I wanna be this…” It comes and goes. Even when it’s written on paper. But, we must understand, that it’s part of human nature and the process. We have to keep pushing, grinding, and telling people (don’t be afraid to tell) who will hold you accountable for it.
We can’t stop imagining. We can’t.
Look back, the way I did just now. And you’ll laugh at the clues you left behind. The short and sporadic life moments that will redirect you back to the path. Try it.
Of course, I can’t be Donatello or a ninja. It was something beyond that. And what ever it is, that’s thing I want. I want to be it.