Netflix Binging is the New Black: What the Ladies of Litchfield Taught me about Community

Somebody once told me two important truths: Everybody has been hurt. Everybody wants to be loved.

We all want to belong or be loved. Unfortunately, some even chase those who will lie, hurt or manipulate to offer a false sense of acceptance. No matter where you go in the world, people want to belong — even those who claim they prefer to reject everyone. People who reject community have often times been hurt by it in some way.

I actually have no problem being alone. I enjoy it most of the time even though a lot of people do not understand it. That is just part of my personality but the joy I get from doing things solo is satisfying because I know I am part of something bigger. I have a community to go to at any time to recharge that energy I need too.

For those who have decided to opt-out or have yet to opt-in to the cult Netflix following of Orange Is The New Black, here is a quick – no justice given – summary:

The OITNB story all started with Piper Chapman, an upper middle-class female who self-surrendered after being named 2 years short on a statute of limitations for trafficking cash one time for an international drug ring. She was sentenced to 15 months. Chapman leaves her cushy life for an orange jumpsuit, bad food, no privacy and a wild & crazy community of women starting and finishing their own prison sentences in Litchfield.

Season 3 was just released late Thursday as a surprise for OITNB fans who had already planned to binge watch over the weekend when the series dropped on its planned Friday release.

There is a great combo of things that keep this show interesting. There are race issues and life issues and times where the ladies of Litchfield must ALL work together for common goals like the privilege of having a Mother’s Day prison celebration to kick off season 3.

Don’t get me wrong, every season of this show is definitely Rated R but if you can handle it, grab your snacks and go for it. Despite the crude language and scenes of sex and/or violence, it represents a lot of real life emotion.

The ladies look out for each other. They treat each other like family. They also have times where someone in their circle makes them angry enough to seek revenge or ignore them altogether.

We see the complicated and complex situations inside and outside the prison lives that these women deal with. Being ignored, abandoned, abused, used by their parents or lovers or themselves which contributed to their lives falling apart.

We also see those who were loved and supported by those on the outside but led to a life behind bars anyhow. We see how everyone seeks to belong even inside prison which offers them a warped version of community but a way to belong nonetheless.

Without giving anything away, this season dives deeper than ever into the emotional side of these women’s lives. We learn more about the characters former lives and how it impacts their current lives. We start seeing them even more as humans instead of criminals and I appreciate that. On this side of the prison wall, most of us are generally not shanking people or wishing to beat someone with a sock full of quarters like is occasionally a threat on the show. But if we are honest, we have our own ways of either accepting or isolating those around us.

Community is necessary and amazing but it can be messy at times. I am part of a community at work, in my family, with my friends, by living in my city. OITNB shows there is beauty and ugly in community. Characters who would have never spoken are working together and communicating. You may feel it is tough to trust people in this world. I have felt that way at times but am so grateful I have met people I can trust.  Community is everywhere and it cannot be escaped. It will never be perfect but we need community for support, love and accountability. We need people who have our backs and we also need those people to call us out when we lose sight of ourselves.

Would you agree community is important? What have you learned from some of the work, friend, family, life communities that you are part of?


Published by

Life Untangled

I am a Chicago business professional with a passionate love for writing and living life out loud. I created this lifestyle blog to motivate and inspire aspirational individuals who want to live their best version of life without fear. My goal is to empower people all over the world to create lives of joy, success and freedom through personal and professional development. Life moves far too quickly for us not to enjoy the journey. This is to untangling life, love, liberty and the pursuit of peace and happiness. There are many lessons I have learned to embrace when it comes to life, love and work in our culturally rich world. I want to share what I have learned so it can encourage you to live your best version of life. Plus, I'm a social introvert so I am always thinking about things like how to destroy negative stereotypes around being courageous and brave enough to live life to the fullest, sometimes on your own. There is no need for you to wait on someone else in order to live YOUR life! It is exciting and thrilling. You have that level of brave in you no matter your personality type and I dare you to live it out loud! Are you ready to learn how?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s