I’ve been thinking about Bambi a lot recently. It has recently replaced Winnie the Pooh as Blu-Ray Grand Champion in our home. I know what you’re thinking: “It’s so sadddddd!!!” Never fear! My toddler only has a 30-minute attention span for movies, so Bambi actually remains a fairly pleasant film.
I’ve been thinking about the scene where Bambi and his mother first visit the meadow. They stand on the edge of the forest, protected and watchful. Just a half-reel before, Bambi gets his first view of the meadow through the trees ahead and shouts, “The meadow!!” before prancing toward the clearing. At this point, Bambi’s mom uses her scary-mom-voice to stop him, explaining that they have to leave the protection of the forest slowly and carefully, and only when they’re sure they won’t get shot.
They stand at the edge with wide-eyes, taking in a small flock of birds that scatter across the grasses. Bambi’s mother takes a few hesitant steps, nods to her son, and they both frolick happily around the field to the sound of flutes.
I’m a Bambi, for the most part. I see new opportunities in the distance and take off, full-speed. Then, right as I’m about to enter the arena to get my slice of the fun, my protective mechanism kicks in. It introduces fear, hesitation, the notion that if this doesn’t work out I might die (of embarrassment or something.) My rational mind speaks soothingly to the Bambi-mom in my mind, saying things like, “The worst that can happen isn’t really so bad, and the best that can happen is glorious.” My protective mechanism backs down a bit, ready to take a few tentative steps forward. That’s lovely, but that no longer matters. Bambi-brain is scared for good. Bambi-brain is like, “Heyyyy, so the forest isn’t that bad. So, I can’t frolick at full-speed. I’ve got Thumper. I’m cool here.”
I faced a lot of (what felt like) failure in my professional career. I see now that it was actually just things working out differently than I expected them to, but the gut-reaction is the same when you’re young and fresh. And even though I don’t feel like the very-best-mom every day, staying at home has been a refuge for me. I’m not quite sure I’m ready to put myself out there into the world. The opportunity looks great, but there’s a good chance I’m setting myself up for rejection.
Writing this kicks my cornerman into gear. (Are you impressed I knew that term? I actually just googled “guy in corner for boxer” – thanks, Google.) So, my inner-corner man is like, “You gonna let these Bambis push you around out there?” (he has a Jersey accent, obv). “C’mon. You’re made of stronger stuff than that. You were born for the arena. Get out there and show ’em what you can do!”
And to the sound of “Eye of the Tiger”, I’m back in the ring again. Or, maybe just taking hesitant steps into the meadow. Either way, I’m determined to move forward. If I fall flat on my face, I’ll survive.