I peeped the movie Wakanda Forever and walked away with the aha moment that I need to let go of the identity I’ve held on past its prime.
While others take away from this film the lessons of ancestry and survival, I realized that I am a storyteller and love escapism too much to stay stuck trying to make a thriving career as a brand strategist.
I appreciate immersive storytelling. Everything about that movie reminded me why I wanted a career in the entertainment space. Somewhere in my early 30s, I diverted and allowed myself to get distracted by the illusion of a “steady” career in design and marketing.
I can look back and confidently say I hated the job I created for myself. Designing for others, helping others to pursue their dreams – the “supporting actor” role I created for myself cultivated a deep rot of resentment and anger, which I projected onto others, consciously and not.
I’ve been in an eternal identity crisis mode, and my unwillingness to confront the issue head-on had me changing website designs, rewriting my copy, shifting my expertise and business model, and becoming a recluse to not only the detriment of my social life but my professional life as well.
I didn’t have the “perfect” vision and didn’t feel I could show up online or in the world. And the irony of these insights after I quit therapy is not lost on me. I can’t give my therapist too much credit. We barely met for three months, and she didn’t suggest Wakanda Forever.
But she did remind me that I was holding onto identities that were not serving me and that while I had more than enough self-awareness, I was still not taking action to live a different life.
I used to love movies and still do, but I don’t “have the time” because I create busy work to distract me from thriving in a tangible world, one that is not constructed by the fantasy of my thoughts.
In many ways, I understood the underwater world more than the surface world because the fog of the last 15 years clouded my judgment so much that any reality checks I was forced to deal with plunged me deeper into a make-believe world where I was successful in all areas of my life. Reconciling that illusion with reality would feel like I was suffocating.
And while I don’t have the lack of impulse control with alcohol as I did in my 20s, my numbing drug of choice now is sleeping aids and, when I am not being too careful…painkillers.
Giving myself permission to sit through a 2+ hour film took a lot. I checked my phone a few times in case I got a text that required immediate attention. They’re never an emergency, though. I’m not a brain surgeon. Work can wait. If I am willing to make my personal life wait 15 years before I feel allowed to live it, what’re another 3 hours for work?
So yea, this movie has a special place in my heart. I’m a sucker for good escapism, and maybe now I’ll use all the skills I’ve acquired over the last 20+ years to good use.
Shed the identities that aren’t mine to own. Wakanda Forever was a story about grief, legacy, and the choices we make today that help create the life we want to have tomorrow.
So consider this my resignation letter with how I’ve been professionally showing up. Maybe all of the dark nights of the soul can be put to good use now.