“This is me doing what I do best. I’m handling this. I’m fixing this. I have been over every option. I have looked at it from every angle, and I have hoped and prayed that I was wrong. I have tried to pretend that I didn’t know what the answer is, but I do, so now it’s time for me to stand in my truth: It’s me. I’m the thing that needs to be fixed. I’m the thing that needs to be handled. I’m the scandal. And the best way to deal with a scandal is to shut it down.” – Olivia Pope
There is something about Shonda Rhimes’ TV shows that makes it so easy to relate to any one character. From the moment I started watching Grey’s Anatomy a decade ago, Cristina Yang became my favorite, the one I was most like. I envied her for her talent, admired her for her relentless drive to be better than everyone, and I was proud of her for standing by her beliefs when everyone else tried to convince her otherwise.
Then along came Scandal, and I immediately latched on to Olivia Pope, for the same reasons I favored Cristina Yang. I had no idea that eventually, I would turn out to relate to Olivia in one more way: we both fell in love with married men. From then on, it felt as though Olivia’s every line had been taken out of my own mouth, her every emotion drawn from my own heart, and her every facial expression mirroring my own face.
The only difference is that Shonda Rhimes gave Olivia the discipline to walk away whenever she has to, the resolution to put aside her emotional trauma to focus on her job, and the metabolism to process the only things she ever seems to consume: red wine and popcorn.
Now here I am, an Olivia Pope of sorts for all the wrong reasons, and still struggling to be the best parts of her. While it seems like silly character worship, it also seems to be driven by the fact that everything I’ve done in the last two years has rendered me so lost, so disoriented, and so far away from what I perceived myself to be, that I can’t even trust myself to be the best parts of myself anymore.
So while I try to hang on to everything that has been my life and the center of my universe for the past one year and four months, I also know that I have no choice but to let it all go now. It feels as though I’ve lost a part of myself that I will never be able to regain, but if no one else has the strength or the courage to fight for me, then I must be able to fight for my own sanity.
And then maybe, just maybe, like Olivia, I will be able to stand in the sun again. But until then, I love you to the moon and back.