I haven’t watched the episode yet, and frankly, am a bit upset that tumblr ruined an obvious punchline to last night’s Scandal episode. Then again, nobody told me to be looking online when Scandal is on TV, spoilers are bound to happen, and I know I don’t have cable. From what I can tell from the memes, and the GIFS, and the rampant quotations is this: Olivia told Fitz that she is worth of being the only one, the real one, not some get-away-from-reality fuck-buddy, not a the-world-is-hard-on-me-right-now let me forget my sorrows in your thighs buddy, she has to be it. Now, after all the shit he has done to her, after all that she has laid on the line for him, after watching him turn his back on her for giving him her all, she’s had it. What Olivia Pope says with a few words is not revolutionary, what it is, is for me thought provoking and sad. She says to the man she loves, to the man who has mutilated her heart and her soul, to the man who has made her do and become someone she didn’t think she was capable of becoming, or doing, that he now has to earn her. She tells this man that her time, her love, her everything comes at a price since the pure love she offered was not enough.
Why is this so revolutionary ladies? It is revolutionary because every time we are in a similar situation, when we have given what we believe is our all, and we are wedged between the love in our hearts, and the logic in our minds, we know we are worthy, we should be their all, we should be the one, but we are afraid to say those very words to the men in our lives. We are afraid that unlike Fitz, the response won’t be “watch me” the response will be fuck you, I don’t have to do shit, you’re not worth it. The fear is that person we love, who we have spent so much time loving, and caring for, actually doesn’t value us, that we are once more a martyr to love and will see no redemption. Ms. Rimes used her ability as a writer to paint one of the most dramatic exchanges a woman can have with her lover. She did the same with Meredith and Sheppard, but Scandal is different. As a Black woman we are expected to take so much pain, and agony, silently support and nurture, but we are not expected to demand a love even remotely similar back. So when Olivia says that to her love, we hold our breath because we can’t believe what she just did. In that scene, Ms. Rimes has given every black woman who has ever loved an empty love, or a desperate love, or any complicated kind of love, a response to a demand we never dared utter.
We are all beautiful, uniquely talented, people more than worthy of love and our worst fear is that those who we bless with ourselves do not believe we are to be earned, instead they think they are entitled, and no one is entitled to your love, everyone must earn it. What those requirements are, are up to you. Trust, honesty, openness, humor, friendship, what is means to earn someone’s love will be as multi-varied as the people themselves. Even a love given selflessly deserves love in return.