The Not-Review of "Nanette"
As I write this, I have no idea where it will go. Or what it will become. But I just need to write it.
After reading all over Facebook, “You must watch Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette”, I finally did. And…
Holy fuck shit all-the-curse-words-in-the-world balls.
I don’t usually watch stand-up specials, especially when people tell me that I will love it. First, I hate that pressure… what if I don’t love it? I also tend to stay away from anything/anyone in which I can and will compare myself to. I don’t need to feel like a failure because I’m getting my start too late and will probably die a nobody. Who cares if these people have paid their dues and have poured their blood, sweat and tears into this career? Have I lived a life of tragedy for nothing? I digress. Anyway, I ended up watching Nanette for the same reason I got into Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and purchased hundreds of pogs back in the 90s – I don’t want to not be in the know. By the way, I still don’t know what the fuck you do with pogs.
Hannah Gadsby is truly a masterful storyteller. She is ridiculously vulnerable on stage, and gives two flying fucks about how the rest of us feel. It’s like she’s fucking Brene Brown’s vulnerability protégé.
After I finished, I laid in bed numb, naturally questioning everything. Have I ever liked Picasso? Am I “good” ally? Why can’t I open myself up? Why are some handpicked to eat plates of shit repeatedly? Why do I care how everyone else feels all the time? Why? Why? Why?
I’m probably like 1.5 on the Kinsey scale, but unlike Hannah, never dealt with the prejudice, ignorance, and hatred that comes with being a member of the LGBTQ community. The bus stop incident she described, coming out to her mother and her –a lesbian - being an outlaw in her own state are totally foreign to me. I grew up with two loving parents as a cisgender, straight, white female.
But like Hannah, and so many women, I have endured my own set of nightmares. For whatever reason. I am not sure if I have the right to say that because it feels weird. From a neighbor boy who curiously touched me to a high school theology teacher who had an inappropriate relationship with me to the man who raped and sodomized me in college to the man who raped and impregnated me in NYC to the roommate who emotionally, mentally and sexually abused me for a year and who nearly took my life to the Lyft driver who raped me to the dozen of stories in between… Why?
I don’t know how to tell these stories because I like to make people laugh. And these stories… they are fucking hard to make funny. I feel permanently damaged. And I’m ashamed. My brothers, former colleagues, friends, parents of friends may read this and it makes me ill. And I’m sobbing. And I hate myself for writing this and posting it.
But we need to share them. Outloud. Because, in the words of Hannah, “To feel less alone, to feel connected."
I don’t know what the point of any of this rambling is. But it felt necessary. I will no longer be silent.
Thank you, Hannah. You are the heroine and pioneer that so many of us needed.