I recently listened to a Year End Review episode from years past and heard something pretty shocking, coming from myself.
I’ve vaguely remembered it: a defense of my not watching Orange is the New Black amounting to ‘I don’t need the education.’ But it was so much darker than that, and I can’t believe I mansplained something in my recent days. The co-host was enthusiastic about the Netflix show, and asked why I hadn’t kept up with it (to date, I’ve only seen half the first episode). My sentiment was basically that I didn’t need to learn the lesson of the show, assuming it was a single lesson, and just that ‘women are diverse.’
True enough that I wouldn’t argue people need to see Better Luck Tomorrow, because it doesn’t offer anything more than ‘Asian men are diverse,’ and it’s only an okay movie, which was my worry with Orange, that I wouldn’t enjoy it because I don’t like prison shows and I didn’t like Weeds. But Cassandra was so passionate about it, and my dismissal was not only poorly communicated and largely nonsensical, but so weirdly aggressive.
I always worry about my ego and the space my voice allows other people’s. Am I a good listener? Because fuck, if not — hypocrite. Always on about communication. This worry doubles down in anticipation of a podcast done with a full time co-host; Donovan’s a good guy, and he’s got an important voice. Will I respect it? (I also then listened to our Year End Review shows, and was slapping my forehead).
Because here’s the thing. I’ve spent a lot of my days alone. Less by simple choice and more by design; it’s not unusual that the sun sets, and I think, “I haven’t exercised my vocal cords today.” (Somewhat untrue — I jabber like a maniac, but it’s mostly just profaning myself). And when you’re alone, there’s some sadness there, but mostly a lot of reflection. That’s all I really have, is time to think, and so I come upon revelations I don’t see anywhere else and I’m proud of myself for them. So when other people come at me with conflicting ideas, I don’t know that I always respect them as I should, because I feel in my heart that they weren’t as hard-won as mine.
So I’ll dismiss Orange is the New Black with logic that totally makes sense to me. And I think, oh of course I’ve thought about this. I paid the price to come to these conclusions. Have you?
This isn’t a game. There’s no scoreboard, no St. Peter’s Gate at the end. Who cares how far I think I’ve come, I’m only one opinion on the matter. From here, I can only hope that this egotism isn’t in the blood.