Spoilers follow. This is not a break down of the plot or a review of Avengers:
You have been warned.
If you have not seen Endgame and don’t want to know certain things like who may or may not die, turn back now.
Okay, you’re still here. Let’s go.
I unashamedly love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, tears were shed during Endgame. I recently watched it again and, yes, cried again. I cried the first time when I thought my favorite character, Captain America, was not going to get back up from Thanos’ beating. I cried when I watched it again when Tony was the one not getting back up.
My favorite takeaway from Avengers: Endgame is Thor’s moment with his mother, Frigga. Thor talks about how he killed Thanos too little too late and was left standing there as “an idiot with an ax.”
diot? No. A failure? Absolutely.
Thor: That’s a little bit harsh.
Frigga: And you know what that makes you? Just like everyone else.
Thor: I’m not supposed to be like everyone else, am I?
Frigga: Everyone fails at who they are supposed to be, Thor. The measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.
Often, when I am down on myself, thinking I’m an idiot or a loser or an asshole, it is because I am judging myself against what I think I am supposed to be. And that image of what I am supposed to be is constructed in large part by what I think others think I am supposed to be. And this will always be an impossible standard because I have no clue what anyone else thinks about me. I don’t know what kind of son my parents think I should be, what kind of father my kids think I am supposed to be, or what kind of husband my wife thinks I am supposed to be.
While not knowing what they think, I create an image in my head of who I think I am supposed to be. I flog myself for every failure, for every time I fall short at not being that kind of son, or this kind of father, or a different kind of husband … or writer, or artist, or developer, or whatever the hell it is I think I am supposed to be doing at the time. And I will continue to fail because those images in my head are not who I am.
Okay then. Who am I? What am I? I don’t know. And I don’t know why those are such difficult questions to answer. But they are. Maybe it is so easy to paint images of ourselves based on what others may or may not think because it is much, much harder to figure out who we really are.
But after watching Avengers: Endgame I am beginning to realize that this core question of who I am, this problem of trying to succeed at what I am supposed to be rather than succeeding at being the best whatever I am, lies at the heart of all the angst, anxiety, and worry I have been feeling lately. Feelings that I have blamed on a mid-life crisis that I keep telling myself will simply pass on its own.
Well, it isn’t passing.
So, what do I do? I have to forget what I think I am supposed to be and find out what I am so I can be the best … well, the best whatever that is.