JUNK FOOD: Fury Road, or There and Back Again

January 2022

Every New Year’s Day we are encouraged to reassess our goals and priorities for the year to come. We are given the opportunity to pivot and reorient through our tabula rasa resolutions to perhaps, this time, resolve to become the people we’ve always wanted to be.

I saw Mad Max: Fury Road the night it came out in 2015. I was rapt throughout, but then bad-mouthed the movie all the way home. “It’s a two-hour car chase that ends where it started!” I shouted to my people, smug that I had stripped George Miller’s masterpiece to its core with one pithy dig.

woman with black makeup in cab of truck; Charlize Theron as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road

To sum up the plot of Fury Road: It’s a two-hour car chase that ends where it started. Imperator Furiosa begrudgingly teams up with Max Rockatansky in search of a mythical ‘Green Place’ in their scorched, post-apocalyptic world. SPOILER ALERT: The Green Place no longer exists. So upon reaching their intended destination and finding it wanting they grieve, and then pivot, and then return whence they came to re/claim the space; the only way forward is back.

woman with black makeup and prosthetic arm; Charlize Theron as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road

What seemed to me (at the time) to be a lazy, hemmed-in plot, has become one of my all-time favorite story arcs. A fierce woman tries to change her situation, encounters crushing disappointment, then reevaluates; she stops running and resolves to take up space where she is – to be at home in her home.

You’ll have surmised by now, dear readers, that I spend a lot of time ruminating and analyzing my thoughts and feelings. And historically I have, more often than not, used this analysis to impose distance between who I am, and who I want to be. It felt easier to wish that my brain worked differently and then beat myself up about it, than to embrace the chemistry I was born with. I’ve spent a lot of years looking for something outside myself to make me feel at home.

woman with goggle on her head stands in front of group of women in desert; Charlize Theron as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road

About five years ago, though, I made a shift. A pivot. I resolved to stop spending my time working against my momentum, and instead embrace my noggin for all its glorious imperfections. I stopped trying to run from myself. SPOILER ALERT: I made this commitment to myself while sipping Furiosa Mimosas and watching Fury Road on New Year’s Eve. And on January 1st I woke up resolved to stop looking outside myself for the Green Place.