As a self-professed Marvel fanatic, when I had the opportunity to watch Captain Marvel, the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I was immediately excited to see a female superhero take the screen, save the universe and defeat the patriarchy, one 1990s hit song at a time.
Perhaps one of the most compelling scenes in the film was the activation of Captain Marvel’s powers, where she took everything that was used against her to become her greatest strength and the source of her power. I began to get emotional thinking about how girls will have an inspiring role model to look up to, and pursue their dreams higher, faster, and stronger. Walking out of the theater, I felt empowered to take on my ambitions with full-force, and with the confidence of Captain Marvel.
And then Monday morning rolled around.
Half-asleep, I rolled out of bed and hopped into the shower to get ready for a busy day of work and school. I still caught myself shrinking back for the convenience of others. I found myself looking in the mirror, wishing my hair was longer or my teeth was whiter or my makeup would look as flawless as the people I follow on Instagram. I was house-shopping for another life, wishing I had the power of Captain Marvel to help me defeat my own inner battles with being myself and feeling confident in who I am. Immediately I began to feel a sense of shame.
How could I go from feeling so empowered after watching this incredible film only a day prior to feeling defeated and weak the next day? If you’re like me and facing the feeling of not being “super” enough, remember these powerful truths:
Your struggle is valid. The biggest enemy we face is not from alien threats or a purple titan seizing Infinity Stones, it comes from being secure in our own identity and confident in who we are. Sometimes the biggest mountain we climb is the bed you have to climb out of each day to show up as the best version of yourself. Your feelings are valid, and you are worth infinitely more than the circumstances you are facing.
You are supported. One of my favorite parts of Captain Marvel was seeing her strong relationship with her best friend, Maria Rambeau and her daughter, Monica. There are people out there that support your ambitions and give life to your dreams. Invest in quality relationships with the people who build you up, not tear you down. Even superheroes need community. You are not alone.
It takes time. When you break a bone, you wouldn’t expect for it to be better the next day. Healing takes time, and is not a linear process. Be patient with yourself — you are doing the best you can. Captain Marvel did not get her powers in one single day, it was matched with a lifelong battle for her true identity and the search for answers. As you continue down the road of understanding who you were meant to be, tap into the dreams and aspirations you had at an earlier age, before they were forgotten in the sea of student loans, bills, and homework. You might be surprised on what you find.
There’s nobody like you. One of the things I was most insecure about myself was my quiet speaking voice. I don’t like to shout, and I’ve always preferred to keep to myself. It was something people always commented on, making me feel even more insecure than ever before. However, nobody else has the same voice that I do, so to try to imitate another person’s voice to fit in would actually be a greater inconvenience. By trying to be someone else, I’m erasing the unique personality and traits that I have.
You are unique and embedded with complexity, wonder and imagination. Let the world see the incredible person you are. No one is you — and that is your power.