I don’t remember it raining this time last year but it should have. This hour, last year I was sitting in my bathroom staring at my phone in what can only be described as crippling helplessness. A friend of mine, living in Canada had sent me a message with four simple words and a bear sprawled across the floor in a flood of his own tears. ” Sid, Sense8 is Cancelled”. There was nothing else, no angry rant or explanation or points for discussion, which I understood as soon those words translated into meaning in my mind. There was no room or clarity of thoughts for that.
I was at the end of a long line of straws in my personal life when June 8th rolled around. I literally had nothing left to lose. In the months preceding it, I had lost all sense of control, joy or ownership of my own existence. I had to struggle to get through every hour of the day where an overwhelming responsibility and an ever increasing list of things I had to do and a heartbreaking predicament I was faced with taunted me in my sleep. But there was Sense8. The new season had come out after 2 years and it was like a light at the end of the tunnel I ran towards whenever I had the chance. All was not lost. There was something to hold on to, to live for, to look forward to in a life bereft of any of that. And then this happened. I don’t remember being angry or frustrated. I felt like I was hooked up to life support and someone carelessly turned off the switch. There was no time to yell or scream..just enough presence of mind to take a few last deep breaths before all hope of ever coming out of this alive dwindled.
There’s something very dangerous about pushing someone who has been pushed all their life to a corner they can’t escape from. In finally reaching a place where you can’t cover and hide and hope life leaves you alone for two seconds so you can stand back up just to get shoved again. I was used to loss, I was used to being on the receiving end of what my life, the people around me and the circumstances that seemed too vast and complicated for me to figure out and overcome would hurl my way. I was used to crying all the time and a learned helplessness that stretched so far back in my childhood that I couldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t teetering on the edge, wishing I could disappear.
Most people don’t’ expect a tv show or film to save their life. I was the exception. I always expected them to save my life. And they always came through. I actively sought out shows and films that could help me get through the day until the next challenge. I always thought I had an active imagination because I live mostly in my head and not outside in the real world. I now know this is called dissociation. Everyone plays with their imaginary friends and spends time in a reality different to their own. The only time I didn’t do this was when I had to participate in real life, like when I had to perform a task or was in trouble. Even when someone was talking to me as a child, I wasn’t there. I was always somewhere else. Imagining my way out of my own life, even as a child. This is a coping mechanism, one that’s devised to distract you from the daily pushes and shoves that come your way and gives you a sense of power and control in a reality you built because you don’t have what it takes to experience it in real time.
I did this for 34 years. I was used to it. I had this whole other life, friends, experiences, joy, outside the realm of reality and it was enough to keep me going. I was used to it and I was used to giving up. Its what I always did when faced with reality. Give up and go somewhere else. But not this time.
I can’t put my finger on why. But it felt like someone pushed me maliciously to my knees and struck a fatal blow. I couldn’t imagine my way out anymore. Instead, for the first time in my life, I said That’s IT! I wanted to strangle someone and I wasn’t afraid anymore. There’s something powerful about having nothing to lose. Of bottoming out. To quote one of my favourite movies at the time (Fight Club), It’s only after we‘ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” As the narrator says ““I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.”
Freedom to do what it takes, to fight for what I believed it and wanted, to risk it all for something more than yourself. Sense8 was and is that cause for me. Because in a span of two seasons and a two-hour special it had taught me more about existence than being born and raised a Buddhist had ever done. I went online and googled “how to renew a tv show after cancellation” and read article after article of fans sending peanuts to networks and other half-successful attempts at resurrecting a show. There had been instances where networks were swayed, even mildly, but there were maybe three cases in all of tv history and none in Netflix’s own record. But that was enough.
I had a twitter account with 5 followers, most of whom were my friends who moved abroad. I never used it. I got it because they made me but they were no longer active either. I saw a petition and signed it and shared it on my Facebook. There was a small community of fans on twitter who were talking about the cancellation, I didn’t understand most of what they were saying because I didn’t know how to use hashtags or tweet but I found my tribe here.
Scott Gatty is the first sense8 fan I ever replied to and who answered back. He liked a picture I posted. This one
We got updates on what was happening and what we had to from the IamWe Campaign and The Global Cluster. Once in a while, this latin american looking girl with really long hair and big eyes named Margaret would tell us where we were at, what not to do and to stay strong. The rest of it all seems like a blur, a half real dream where I was always tired and emotional. Until we got Lana’s letter. That’s when I wrote my first blog post on Sense8 here. It was called ” Becasue I am We and We are Legion”. I have always wanted to be a writer but my sensitivity and self-limiting beliefs always kept those doors closed. I started this blog to write movie reviews and I had 2 up and one like when I posted this article. I write hotel descriptions and tips on how to shop in countries I can’t afford to travel to, to earn my living. I still do that but I don’t recognize who I was a year ago. I have nearly 300 followers on Twitter and I am team member of the IAWC and Sense8United’s Social Media Cluster. I wrote an article with that same girl Margaret a few weeks ago and we discuss and figure out campaign ideas together. I have had exchanges with my favourite author David Mitchell, who is also a writer on the show and Brian.J. Smith “loved” one of my articles and shared it.
I have more friends who truly understand who I am and cry as easily as I do all around the world. We work in this office on Twitter where we talk every day to come up with ideas and come through for one another with amazing consistency. I still write Sense8 articles, but for a website which not only offered to pay me but asked me “what other tv shows do you want to write about?”. I’ve waited to hear those words my whole life!
But the answer is and always will be Sense8. Because a year later, I am no longer hopeless, I no longer doubt my capacity to change anything or the power I have to alter my reality. Giving up is not part of my vocabulary and I don’t spend as much time inside my head but out here in the world where somehow Sense8 has helped me find a place better than I could have ever imagine. A community, a tribe. A Home.
To every member of my global family on this wild ride with me… I love you! And I will end this with the same words I ended my first ever article on Sense8, because although has everything has changed, somethings remain the same.
” Our victories are no small ones because, we got here together, as Sensates do.
But we’re hardly done, this is where the plot thickens… Season 3, We’re coming for you!”
Artwork Credits –
Sun Bak By Scott Gatty @thegattymuseum
Wolfgang Bogdanow by @blackeyedmarti