Written by: Malik Pollard
On March 22nd, Director Jordan Peele releases his highly anticipated movie “US” starring Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson and Winston Duke as her husband Gabe Wilson. This movie has everyone buzzing. The movie is more than just an horror flick. It is entrenched in multiple layers that you would have to see the movie at least 3 times to be able to absorb its’ brilliance. For some, the movie will simply scare you in its’ shock value or pulsing musical riffs as things jump out at you. For others it is Jordan’s mastery storytelling reminiscent classic horror films. However, “US” horrified me in probably a different way that it did someone else, and I wanted to write about how it effected me. First I have a question for you:
1) How Many of “US” are honest enough to admit our faults and imperfections? Are you willing and able to be transparent with your partner and yourself about your flaws or inner demons?
2) Do you have the courage to face your inner demons? Do you believe that your inner demons can (or inevitably will) come back to haunt you and those closest to you?
I’ll Go first! After my father died, there was a point in my life where I felt I was spiraling out of control. I actually could see my doppelganger acting recklessly out of anger, and pain. Honestly, I felt that God abandoned me and owed me something; first for taking my mother away from me when I was 11, and then taking my dad away from me almost 11 years later. I was mad. I was hurt, and I was shutdown and shut out those close to me. I realized that rather than allow people to get close to me, it was easier to push them away. See, I got used to dealing with LIFE on my own. I developed a sense that the only person I could rely on IS ME. So when I was in this spiral motion, It had been 15 years since I would step foot at my moms grave. If not for a conversation with my Uncle by pure happenstance, I might not have went. My Uncle said, “your mom would be so proud of you.” Problem is, I was not proud of me in that moment. It was that something that made me go, and seeing my mom name and feeling her presence, stopped me from falling deeper. That visit saved me, or so I thought.
I spent the next 15 years of my life alone. I developed a position about God and Religion, relationships, and interactions with others. Through those 15 years, I walked away from a great person and friend that I had dated in College. I distanced myself from my brother and good friends, I retreated from my family and had a failed marriage with another woman that came into my life at my low point. Yet, I walked around everyday with a smile, and everyone assumed that I was alright. How could I not be? As a Black Man, to show weakness IS NOT AN OPTION!!! So, I pushed through because that is what I always did.
AIso in those 15 years, I lost my Grandmother, my Grandfather 2 years later, and still had not talked to my brother in 11 years. Ironically, that college friend visited D.C. and asked to see me. When I showed up, my brother was there. He had a son, and I had son, and they never met (and we lived in the same Metropolitan). It took her travelling 1000s of miles, when we lived less than 50 miles apart. Unfortunately, I had gotten so used to pushing people away that it felt almost uncomfortable (probably for him too). My ease of saying a quick goodbye, and looking for the quick exit still had no end. That was until one day. One day, I got on my knees and prayed. You would think a boy that grew up Catholic; baptized, and confirmed would know how to pray. I didnt! It was as unfamiliar as Chinese Arithmetic. It had been that long. I prayed for an intervention. I prayed for a change in me. See, at my best, I am Loyal, and Loving, and Giving. At my worst, “oh boy,” at my worst I am vindictive, and resentful, and believe “in not getting mad, but getting even.” I also prayed that God bring me someone. My heart always longed for and wanted a person and famly to spend an infinity with. Well, as soon as I said Amen, He did. “Now,” I thought, “He Saved Me.” So I thought.
There is no growth without change, and no change without change! I prayed for change, but I never took enough necessary steps to change. I watched my doppelganger become vindictive, and resentful as issues with my family and now second wife began to rear its ugly head…And what did it do? You guessed it…In the words of Ludacris, “Move get out the way!” I shutdown and shut her out. Old demons returned that I wanted to address, I should have addressed, but did not address. Just as Adelaide had to face her monster head on to defeat (overcome) it, so do I.
Im pleased to say that this story of “ME” will have a happy ending. I decided to goto counseling to meet (and defeat) the beast head on. How I got there was not on my own vilition, but I got there. I learned alot about myself and I am facing the monster within myself. I am facing my fears and dealing with wounds created by death and pushing those close to me away.
In talking about “US”, Lupita Nyong’o explains that too often we think the Monster is outside of us. That it is outside our borders or outside of our homes, but in this story, the Monster is within and you must recognize that. This point in the movie “US” is being made about Adelaide facing her inner demons, we all must learn that if we do not face our inner demons and fears no matter how big or small, they all can come back to disturb US and worst, disturb and effect those closest to US as well.