Updated: Feb 26, 2020
A new year brings new beginnings, and as we reflect on our first week of the year here in the Wardrobe, I thought it important to define our work, what inspires us, and the direction we will be taking during this coming year.
My sister and I are almost ten years apart in age. When she was born, both children and adults alike warned me that I wouldn’t enjoy having a sibling because the age difference would cause us to have nothing in common. Although I heard their words, I never let them sink in. Somewhere deep down, I knew that I would find a way to connect with my baby sister.
Over the years, I watched that little baby grow into a superhero-loving, comic book-reading, Krav Maga ninja, and while it’s true that our interests can be very different, they also flawlessly overlap in the greatest of ways.
We both share a love for the arts. Although I prefer classic literature to comic books, we would often times swap reads, with her giving me her latest graphic novel, and me suggesting a book of poetry. I would binge watch The Dark Knight Trilogy with her, and she would watch a Bollywood film with me. I would obsess over Karl Lagerfeld designs and the stylistic choices of Patricia Fields, and she would fawn over the meticulous nature of hand-designed film sets. Over the years, we discovered a common ground. We created a connection through art.
I grew up in an era where the appreciation for the arts seemed a bit lost. It felt as if being a good writer wasn’t as valued as being great at math. It felt as if having the gift of recreating an image by hand wasn’t as celebrated as being able to shoot a ball through a hoop. It felt as if the only way to make a good living was to disregard and throw away any artistic inclinations, and while I wholeheartedly believe in the undeniable importance and value that STEM brings to a society, and the talent that it takes to be a great athlete, I also believe that the arts are a critical component to a well-rounded, healthy, and vibrant culture.
Many people turn to the arts to escape their sadness, or to distract themselves from the troubles of the world, but the arts do more than just provide amusement. They can teach us lessons about life in a way that will linger in our minds and resonate through our hearts for years to come.
This week, we have focused a great deal on new beginnings. With the turn of the decade, we have felt inspired by the idea of turning the page on a new chapter. In yesterday’s article, “Batman #86 Brings on Another Rebirth”, Maite analyzed the highly anticipated new release, a comic that signifies a new era for The Caped Crusader, as it marks the beginning of a new creative team taking over the Batman storyline.
She discusses the challenges that Bruce faces as he moves past the death of his faithful friend, Alfred, and she reminds us of a poignant message that resonates throughout the entire Batman story. She writes:
“This image alone emphasizes Batman’s resilient nature
following his traumatic battles against Bane.
Despite the numerous defeats he faced,
he is still capable of standing up to killers
of Deathstroke’s caliber and taking them down.”
This paragraph reminds me of the first movie in The Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman Begins. There is a scene where a young Bruce falls into a cave full of bats. His father comes to his rescue, and when he sees how frightened his son is, he asks him, “Bruce, why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.”
Throughout the following two films in the series, Bruce’s second father-figure, Alfred, reminds him of this lesson, and in a poignant moment in the final film, The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce tries to climb out of a pit that he was sent to after Bane broke his back. Up until that moment, only one person had ever been able to successfully make the climb. During his time in the pit, Bruce tried to make the climb several times, but he failed each time. Every time he made the leap, he fell.
In the pivotal moment where he decides to attempt the climb one last time, the other prisoners begin chanting in unison. When Bruce asks what the chant means, another prisoner tells him, “Rise.” It is in this scene where a powerful score begins to play in the background. The title of this song, which was composed by the prolific Hans Zimmer, is “Why Do We Fall”. By the song’s end, Bruce takes the dangerous leap and successfully makes the climb out of the pit of despair.
Batman is a superhero, but Bruce Wayne is the man, the human behind the mask, and in the final film of the trilogy, we are reminded that even the greatest of heroes can fall, but it is not the failures that defines us. It is what we do with them, how we learn from them, how we move past them, how we use them to fuel us; it is in picking ourselves back up that our character is truly defined.
A few years ago, my husband and I traveled to Las Vegas to see Hans Zimmer perform live. “Why Do We Fall” was one of my favorite moments in the show, and to this day, when I hear this score, I think of Bruce’s climb, and I remember that nothing is impossible.
As many of you know, my beloved dad was battling a nameless, faceless villain over the past five years. His bones were fracturing at an exponential rate and it was growing more and more impossible for them to heal. With all the medical tests and doctors’ visits, we still couldn’t identify the face behind the mask. We couldn’t get an answer as to what was causing him to break and wither away. Through it all, dad never backed down. He never gave up. At one point, my mom told him how much it hurt her to see him like this, and he told her, “Whatever it is, I’ll take this standing.” Resilience is in our human nature.
After 4.5 years of torment, my dad was finally diagnosed with a rare tumor, a tumor that had caused him to lose 50% of his bone density. Yes, you read that correctly. Half of his bone density was gone.
We are now eight months past his surgery where they removed the tumor that sent him to the pit of despair. While he has appeared to make an incredible recovery, walking without pain, lifting, climbing ladders, and even doing the moonwalk on the dance floor, there was a part of me that wasn’t going to feel completely at peace until he went in for his one-year post-op follow-up.
Yesterday morning, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. I felt nervous and anxious all day. Yesterday was the day my dad went in for his follow-up. While my mind told me he was doing better, my fear made me doubt it. It was only a few months ago that I had felt death knocking on the door. I could feel it all around us, its’ dark cloud looming over our home, its whispers creeping into my sleep night after night. It was only eight months ago that everything felt hopeless, that all had seemed lost. It was only eight months ago that I feared that dad’s recovery was an impossibility. So, even though dad has been looking a lot better, the trauma of his illness has left a wound that is still healing, a wound that is still susceptible to the fear that creeps in. This is the point where I ask you, why do we fall?
Last night, on the night of the first full moon of 2020, my dad called me with news. He asked me to put him on speaker so that my husband could hear the good news, as well. After only eight months, my dad’s bone density has been restored to 100%. Yes, you read that correctly. My dad is healed.
The doctors are in awe. Even with the removal of this rare tumor, they weren’t expecting a full recovery for at least 18 months, and even then, they were still expecting there to be lingering injuries from his five-year ordeal. A full recovery in eight months is nothing short of a miracle. The doctor told him, “You are cured. Now go and enjoy your life again.”
Again, I ask you, why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.
I’ve always referred to my dad as Rocky Balboa. Not only because he looked like him, worked out like him, and was a huge fan of his when I was a kid, but because my dad has always been a fighter. There’s a famous line in the film Rocky Balboa where Rocky says:
“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit
As hard as life. But it ain’t about
How hard you hit. It’s about
How hard you can get hit and keep
Moving forward. How much
You can take and keep moving forward.”
You see, the fine arts don’t simply serve as the finer enjoyments of life, they serve to teach us life in ways that are palatable, relatable, and aspirational. They provide us with a sense of introspection, and they remind us of the kind of people we want to be, the kind of impact we want to have, and the kind of legacy we wish to leave.
It is in its timeless nature that brings my sister and I to love the artistic pursuit. That love is at the heart of our connection and at the soul of this labor of love that we call Lost in the Wardrobe. This year, this new decade is a new chapter in our lives, but also in our business. We will be taking a bit of a different and interesting direction with our site, one that we hope will inspire you and fill you with joy and positivity as you go about your daily life. We have so much new and exciting content and projects coming your way, and we are incredibly thankful to have you all join us as we explore inside the wardrobe.
Before we begin our long-awaited weekend, I would like to apply this message of resilience on a grander scale. While this week has brought me great news, it has also seen great devastation. We have been inundated with pictures and stories of innocent animals in Australia losing their homes and suffering horrible injuries. We have also been experiencing the heartbreak of the devastating earthquakes that have ravaged Puerto Rico, the island of my birth, and the home to many of my loved ones. Hearing these stories can bring us a great sense of fear and anxiety, which often times brings about a sense of hopelessness. When this happens, remember to ask yourselves, why do we fall?
Resilience is in our human nature. For every sad story I read, I read an uplifting story about teenagers driving around, filling their car with koalas, and bringing them to safety. I read a story about an empty-nester opening her home to little joeys and nursing them back to health. For every fearful thought that I have, I hear the positive words of my dear cousin, Marivette, who is living in a constant state of tremors as she fights to survive yet another natural disaster on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. She tells me, “I don’t get anxious. I stay positive. I have too. This, too, shall pass.” I relay this message to my loved ones in PR, and to all of those whom are suffering.
You get hit. You fall. You pick yourself back up. Never lose faith in yourself, never lose faith in the impossible, and never, ever give up. You got this!