In my teenage years, I had a tough time articulating to my friends and family when I didn't feel OK emotionally. Many times, my feelings were a product of my insecurities due to the bullying about my looks that I faced, both outside of home and from my own family. Often, the only method I found of escaping the depths of how I felt inside was by writing poetry, journaling, or watching movies — especially the latter. Many movies have helped me deal with depression, and provided serious support in times of need.
Frequently while watching these films, I would imagine myself as one of the characters, and because of this, I could use the movies as a way of escaping my own insecurities and depression. I used film as an outlet to help me with these issues going into my college years and adulthood, and found that watching them allowed for a release from my actual reality. Watching movies became therapeutic for me, as, even now, after a viewing, my emotions will either subside or I will have clearer thoughts about what my reality truly is.
Dealing with insecurities and depression can be painful and, sometimes, unavoidable. But for me, watching movies has helped me better express and understand how I feel, and not seem so isolated in my experiences. Here are the 12 movies that've helped me most with this process, getting me through plenty of insecurities, depressive states, and times of doubt.
B.A.P.S. (Black American Princesses) is one of those old school comedy films that I will always hold on to. Seeing Halle Berry, who plays Nisi, and Natalie Desselle, who plays Mickey, in the early stages of their careers in this movie always uplifts me. The actors star as waitresses from Georgia who have big dreams of becoming business owners, and audition for a music video in Los Angeles to raise money. Yes, the characters are outrageous, but I find the humor a place of comfort for me.
2. White Chicks
Yes, this movie is on the list. Often, we wish to be other people because we believe the grass is greener on the other side, but this movie reminds me that isn't always true. I may want to live someone else's life, but it may not lead me to the happiness that I want to believe I can get that way.
3. Miss Congeniality
Like Legally Blonde, this movie proves to me that the most unlikely people can find success. Seeing Sandra Bullock's character become a beauty queen and still be herself reminds me that a physical change to yourself doesn't have to change who you are inside.
4. Bring It On
There's nothing like some outrageous teenage cheerleader antics to lift your spirit when you want to be happier. Bring It On reminds me of the times I would be in my room acting like a cheerleader in elementary school, and childhood memories like that keep me grounded.
5. Meet The Fockers
Barbra Streisand represents all kinds of comfort for me, and that's why for me, Meet The Fockers is a reminder of the backbone I have through family support. Both Streisand and Dustin Hoffman's representations of overly protective parents really tug at my heart, and makes me think of how gracious and supportive my parents are towards me no matter what my choices have been.
6. Ms. Doubtfire
The major reason why I love Mrs. Doubtfire so much is because it reminds me of being a kid, and whenever I get depressed, I need constant reminders of how much my earthly and heavenly father loves me. This movie does exactly that, and Robin Williams' talent has always brought a smile to my face.
I pretty much love any Disney animated movie (Lion King & Aladdin are amongst my faves), but Mulan changes my mood because of the songs and storyline. It's about the fight to get up and get back in action no matter what, and tells me why I should never underestimate myself, no matter the circumstance.
8. Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde got me through a couple rough patches of not feeling like I fit in during middle and high school. During these years, I changed districts, which meant I had to start over with new friendships and a new school. Seeing Elle spend most of the movie not fitting in at Harvard University, but then ending up on top, gave me hope back then that I could get through my own transitional loneliness. And whenever I make big steps now, I still think about Elle.
9. Coming To America
Coming to America is a hilarious depiction of what African immigrant culture when you first come to the U.S. can be like, and it assures me that struggles don't last forever. As a product of Nigerian immigrants, I saw firsthand the challenges my parents went through adjusting to American culture and gaining societal acceptance. This film reminds me that even the toughest obstacles are conquerable, and makes me appreciate my parents' hard work.
I went to a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) for undergrad, and this movie reminds me of many parts of that experience. During my college life, I learned a lot about my independence and gain lifelong friendships that made me feel so fulfilled. Drumline brings me back to all the football games my friends and I tailgated at with our HBCU pride.
11. A Walk To Remember
A Walk To Remember tells me me that all the circumstances we go through, good and bad, shape our strength and vision for our lives. And if love is at the basis of my understanding of self-worth, I can work through anything.
12. The Best Man
Ride-or-die friendship is what The Best Man is about. The movie proves that even if you make mistakes, your friends will see past that if they truly love you. It helps me realize that when I do something totally stupid to myself or someone else, forgiveness can still come.
I hope that this list helps uplift you during your darkest days. Whether it's through movies alone or time spent with friends, family, or a therapist, remember that you can make it through the storm.