death

ending / closure / transformation //

to start: yesterday i rewatched all of russian doll (don’t worry, i did also Go Outside), so you may want to turn around now if you don’t want to read any spoilers.

*

there is a moment in the sixth episode of russian doll - itself titled “reflection” - where nadia has brought alan to ruth to try and uncover the truth about alan’s first death. ruth tells them about a time when nadia’s mother shattered all the mirrors in the house. “why mirrors?” alan asks. ruth responds: “reflection. proof of existence. another pair of eyes. see, that’s why therapists are important. without them, we are very unreliable narrators of our own stories.”

it’s one of my favorite lines in the show, even though my own experiences in therapy have been something of a mixed bag, because i have felt like an unreliable narrator in my own life.

over the years, i’ve substituted many things for therapy: my incessant diary-keeping, my close friends, media in which i can see myself reflected.

perhaps it goes without saying at this point, but: of course i see myself reflected in nadia. we have different traumas, of course, and i learned to lean on my community sooner than she did, but still, it’s there. (though i will say that she pulls off curly bangs better than i ever did.)

at the end of the seventh episode, called “the way out”, nadia starts coughing up blood and pulls a shard of mirror out of her mouth as her ex’s daughter says, “she’s still inside you.” we then see nadia’s mother smashing the mirrors, stopped only by the sight of her daughter. when we switch back to the present, to nadia’s dying body, her child self asks her: “are you ready to let her die?”

each of nadia’s deaths has brought her closer to closure, but she must - to use the words of the rabbi from earlier in the show - face the abyss of her trauma in order to move on with her life.

she must die in order to be reborn.

i’ve written about death twice before, and each time i have mentioned the violence and difficulty of transformation. russian doll simply makes the metaphor of the card literal: something must die in order for growth to occur. this week, darlings, let’s consider what we need to confront and then let go.

*

this week’s deck: the wooden tarot
this week’s crystal: smoky quartz
this week’s flowers: as i’ve said before, i have an embarrassing number of dead roses decorating my apartment