Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Queen Sugar: Nova and Charley

One part in my letter to my brother and sisters was specifically about preparing for life. The neurologist, while acknowledging that diet and exercise can be helpful for our mother now, stressed that your level of cardiovascular fitness during middle age is more important. I shared that with them, and at least two are taking it to heart.

In a way, all of it is preparing for life; we will need to deal with these things because we will continue living. Our flaws will get in the way, and some of our strengths will help, though conflicting strengths could get in the way too. People can be so complicated.

That's why I want to talk about Charley and Nova, as portrayed by Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Rutina Wesley.

I have great compassion for Charley, but it is kind of an older, backward-looking compassion. It was painful watching her freak out when the machinery jammed, falling apart as she tried to clear it manually. It was a testament to how tightly wound she is too. Many people have acknowledged her need for perfection, thus her need for control, but it being on the table did not fix it right then.

The things I have liked about her the least have always been about her trying to stay in control of situations, but I also can't blame her. When you believe that everything has to be perfect and look perfect and that it's on you, how can you believe the people telling you that the jam is normal and temporary and not a big deal? Everything is a big deal!

It warmed my heart to see her wearing her hair a little more naturally in the most recent episode. That is a believable touch; not a huge change, pretty much an experiment, but still a slight letting go. I care about her character for all of that.

I am also past it. There are so many things that I have already let go in the name of openness, and I don't miss any appearances. She will still be strong and smart even when she no longer worries about perfection. She could even be more effective. She will certainly be happier. I want that for her, but I probably have more to learn from Nova.

I have been amazed at Nova's ability to help others. That has included her facility with the cards when Ernest was in the hospital and couldn't speak. She helped him communicate, and she sprung into it seamlessly. She is there for teenager prisoners and old ladies with health problems but no cars and new mothers and nephews. She is so good at it.

She also is kind of bad at relationships, and pulled $10,000 from the farm's account without giving anyone a heads up.

I understood her desperation to get Too Sweet out, and I have at times done something without asking because the answer was likely to be "no", but I could not have done that.

I've wondered if she could have asked Charley for the money. When Charley found out, Nova said she would get it back, and that should be true with a bail bond. Charley might have agreed, but it is hard to imagine Nova asking, thus allowing the possibility of "no". Is Charley the only control freak? Or is it not exactly that with Nova?

At first I thought maybe Nova's sense of responsibility to a greater cause made her not good at a personal life. Things I have heard about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and Cesar Chavez made that seem like a real possibility.

If that were true, Chantal could have been a good match. They are both totally committed to causes, and initially it was fun. However, even at the very start when they were only agreeing to a phone call, my instinct was that it could never work, because Chantal was so pushy. It imposes a level of constriction that was never going to work.

Maybe Nova is better off being unattached, but Robert keeps popping back up. Is there room in her life for a relationship? If she would have to give up some of her pursuits for a relationship, would the relationship be worth it? And certainly giving up who she is as a person wouldn't be worth it, though giving up some of her service might be, except how much of her identity is made up of her service? I think she was more passionate with Gavin, but there were many more obstacles; can Robert be enough?

I relate to those questions. There are some that I haven't really had to answer before, and I probably can't answer now, but I still need the answers. I need to know myself well enough to answer honestly.

So while I in no way have the physical confidence of Nova (or those biceps!), she is the one I relate to best. She may be the one who can teach me the most.

Last week I wrote about how art helps (and hurts), and that's really what this week has been about too. I have been studying and learning and growing, but sometimes I need a new perspective, and that can come through art. Stopping and processing it every now and then is necessary.

I think I have written enough about Queen Sugar now. There are still many scenes and moments that have mattered. They may come out at other times, but I don't know. Many things come in, and not everything automatically goes out. Next week I may be back to writing about my insides, or the outside world might intrude. Things happen.

Two band reviews, one travel post, and one provident living post before I find out.

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