What is connection? What does it mean to truly connect with another human? Personally, I had never seen a show that tackled these questions the way Sense8 did.

The creators of Sense8, the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, created a show that showcased the best parts of humanity: how we connect when we do not use our own perceptions of people but rather seek to understand them.

Sense8 follows eight individuals who find themselves uniquely connected. They are able to talk, see and touch each other yet they are all in different countries. They have never met each other before, but find themselves with a shared ability to connect to each other’s thoughts and actions. As they try to pursue answers, an organization run by a man called Whispers tries to hunt them down.

One of the main protagonists, Nomi, a transgender hacktivist in the series once said: “labels are the opposite of understanding.” When we try to understand people in a way that makes sense to us we are prescribing our own ideas on them and not seeing them for who they truly are. Rather, we paint an idea of who we think they are. However, love is seeing someone. Not just the image they present to the world, or the front they put on, but truly understanding them and seeing them as they are. Sense8 taught me you can’t establish real relationships with people if we are limited to our own perceptions of them.

Sense8 uses the different locations and personalities of the characters to highlight that you don’t have to be the same as someone to understand or love them. Wolfgang is a German gangster and Kala an Indian pharmacist, yet they fall in love. Their differences make them stronger, as the mental connection they share allows them to see each other in 20/20.

The violence that is unforgivable is the violence we do to ourselves.

Although in reality, we don’t have the connection the characters in this series have, they give us a glimpse of what it means to be truly connected. Sense8 also highlights the relationship each character has outside of the cluster, showing that you don’t have to have superpowers to empathize and love someone. You simply must be willing to hear and understand them.

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Moreover, Sense8 presented the idea that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself. This may be a cliché, yet it’s such a powerful and important message. We often treat people badly because we treat ourselves badly. Hurt people hurt people.

Nomi even said, “The violence that is unforgivable is the violence we do to ourselves. When we are too afraid to be who we really are.”

If we constantly deny ourselves what we truly want, how can we gain the intimacy we desire? How can we share our life with someone if we don’t live to the width and breadth of our truest form? They would be loving a shadow of who we truly are.

This is not a way to build authentic relationships. Intimacy and human connection are impossible without vulnerability.

Leave yourself open to love always.

Sense8 is a show that celebrated the brightest moments in life, the boldest and the saddest. It was an emotional journey that proved you neither need to have the same nationality, ethnicity, or language to connect with someone. Even when the characters first realized they weren’t alone, no one freaked out. They welcomed strangers into their lives.

Humans are social creatures and without love and affection, we can die. This swift acceptance of their first interactions with one another is simply another statement. Leave yourself open to love always. You must have a heart ready to provide understanding and empathy, that is the key to love.

I miss the raw vulnerability Sense8 brought into my life and I still can’t get over the fact Netflix canceled such an authentic show.  Fingers crossed it gets a reboot. For now, we can binge it again and again and hope Netflix notices.

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  • Danai Nesta Kupemba

    Danai Nesta Kupemba by nature is a storyteller and a by product of this is her pursuing a Journalism and Media Studies degree Rhodes University. She's published a piece about war and family in Al-Jazeera, and hopes to be an advocate for Africa, by telling African stories. When Nesta isn't satisfying her wanderlust by stalking travel blogs, she's probably watching period drama's or reading Americanah for the thousandth time over.


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