Damon Lindelof posited in this piece that Bruce Wayne was always Batman even before his parents died and that Walter White was always Heisenberg before he found out he had cancer. These characters in their real identities encountered triggers that allowed their true selves come out.
As Lindelof puts it:
“The conventional thinking is that Bruce Wayne became Batman on the day that his parents were murdered. This is his origin story. We all know it. We all accept it. We all love it. Because it makes sense. Your parents are gunned down in front of you, so of course you vow an unending vendetta against crime and then dress up like a winged mammal to exact it.”
“We know all this because Walt tells us so. The ticking time bomb that is the cancer becomes his rationale for everything that comes next; the lying, the lawbreaking, the child-poisoning.”
The interesting thing is Walter’s cancer went away and yet he was still Heisenberg. If Bruce’s parents turned out to still be alive, he would still be Batman. Even if they stopped putting on their “costumes”, they’d still be those men. They might have to hide them again. They’d still be on the inside fighting to get out. Then again, I’m not sure either genie would fit back in their bottle.
I think he is onto something. I think we all have someone else inside of us. Some of use multiple someones. We keep those other selves locked away for whatever reason. Maybe we are scared society will laugh at us. Or maybe for some, that someone isn’t socially acceptable.
Who would you be if you had nothing to lose?
I’m not talking about the masks we wear. We wear masks all of the time.
I’m not my online persona. I’m not the person who speaks in front of people. Both of those people are self confident and funny intentionally.
The guy I was when my father was dying of cancer who focuses his entire energy on making sure everything is right for that person isn’t the real me.
I’m talking about your true self.
I’m talking about who you are when you’re alone and when other people aren’t around. I’m talking about the person who sees the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the refrigerator at work and no one else is around.
The real me.
Yeah. Right. Like I’m going to tell you that.