I just wanted to go more into detail about the text post I did a few days ago….
I don’t know how to begin this letter or article whatever you want to call it so I’m just going to type whatever comes to mind. I absolutely love, and I mean LOVE Orange is the New Black. I don’t really watch much television anymore because I’m either not at home or because there is really nothing on that I find appealing, well until now. I recently gave in and decided to get Netflix, it happened to be around the time that the second season of OITNB was released. Everyone kept posting on Facebook about this show and for some reason I thought I wouldn’t like it. Here’s the thing, usually when people rave about a movie or TV show I end up not liking it, and the ones that most people don’t like I end up liking, that’s just how it works. I decided one night to give it a watch and I am so glad I did. I probably finished both seasons with in less than a week. I couldn’t stop watching it, I will admit I may or may not have missed a 6am work meeting because I was so distracted by the show, I was up at the time but meetings were the farthest thing from my mind, hellloooo Nichols. ::wink wink::
I knew I was attracted to girls since I was probably about 5 years old, back when I was growing up we didn’t have any LGBT characters on TV or in movies, and the ones that we did have were usually written as jokes, we didn’t really have any serious ones in the media, at least not that I was aware of. I didn’t see a lesbian on TV until 1997 on MTV’s The Real World (season 6 Boston) and then Ellen DeGeneres came out that same year. For me this was a huge deal because this was the first time that I realized that there are other people out there like me. Then of course in 2004 we had The L Word, don’t get me wrong I love that show but it is not realistic. A bunch of attractive lesbians hanging out together, nope sorry, where are the butch girls at? Most or pretty much all lesbian characters in the media are “hot” you don’t really see any butch women unless of course they are there as a joke. So for there to finally be a butch character, Big Boo, is really freaking amazing, yes I myself am one.
I absolutely love watching things that I feel I can relate to, and this show is one of those things. No I have never been to prison, I did get arrested once about 10 years ago, I was young and stupid what can I say? People make mistakes. I didn’t spend enough time in jail to actually experience it, I was in what they refer to as “the pit” which is basically a room with a bunch of chairs and 3 televisions where you sit and wait to talk to a judge on a webcam sort of thing.
I think that everyone that watches the show can relate to at least one character, for me there are a few for one reason or another. First let’s talk about Red, she punched a woman in the boob because she was basically bullied. I have never popped anyone’s boobs but I feel like I can relate to her because of this. As a kid I was picked on in school, most of the time it was for being fat and for liking girls. The other character I feel I relate to is Poussey, and I bet quite a few other lesbians can relate here. Poussey obviously has feelings for Taystee, whom of course is straight. It happens to us at least once in our lives, we fall for the straight girl.
Here is where it is going to get really hard for me to type, I feel like I can also relate to this show because of some of the things that go on in the prison are very much like things I experienced while I was in a psych ward. I suffer from anxiety and depression, I have for pretty much all of my life and sometimes it gets really bad like it did earlier this year. I attempted suicide and ended up turning myself into the hospital to get help, before it got worse. You see all these shows and movies about these places but I can tell you first hand that it’s nothing like that, it is actually kind of like the prison but maybe not, just in some ways. You are strip searched when you arrive and they take note of all your scars and tattoos, you are given blankets, a pair of scrubs, nonslip socks and assigned a room with a roommate. You are constantly being checked on, and they do random room checks to make sure you don’t have contraband. Food is forbidden in the rooms because it will attract ants (which I guess is better than rats). During my time there at least one person was able to get their hands on contraband, nope no screwdrivers here he actually got a hold of a paper clip which is forbidden. Like Taystee, there was a woman that was released and ended up coming back a few days later. During the scenes in season one where Mercy and Taystee get released I actually cried because of how much it reminded me of my time in the hospital, you meet people that you become friends with while you are locked up, you may never see them again but you will never forget them.
I know that the characters are fictional but it shows that everyone struggles and goes through some sort of messed up thing at least once in their life, some more than others.
I am so glad I survived; I have not injured myself or thought about suicide since getting out, especially now that I have discovered Orange is the New Black. I had gained so much weight over the past year recently I have started making healthy choices (no more junk or alcohol) so I can live long enough to enjoy more seasons of OITNB. It seems weird to some people but hey.
I don’t know if any of the cast or crew will ever see this but…I just want to say thank you so much to Jenji for finally bringing a butch character to mainstream media, for inspiring me to want to finish college and continue writing (if I go back I am about 5 classes away from getting my certificate in Digital Film Arts) and for creating this amazing show which I guess I could say saved my life.