#RileyParra Episode 2, an open letter to Marem Hassler

I could make this blog post a blow by blow account of this week’s AMAZING episode. I could tell you all how Riley and Gillian (Hassler and Vassey) had me making heart eyes at my screen, or how Sweet Kara makes me feel more validated as a non-binary person. I could even mention that I about squeed the place down on seeing Maeve Quinlan and Connor Trineer on my screen. But this post is more than that. This post comes down to one small moment in a scene that brought tears to my eyes and made me so amazingly grateful that Marem was cast as Riley. I’m putting the rest of the post under a cut because spoilers, and triggers.

Dear Marem,

I tweeted you briefly about that moment in the diner scene tonight, during the tweet fest. But a tweet can never explain in 140 characters what seeing your reaction as Riley did for me. You know by now I’ve read the books, you also know that Geonn and I are close, but in reading the Riley Parra series I’ve never allowed myself to fully connect with Riley until today. I’ve always chosen to connect more with Gillian.

Today I sat in front of my laptop with my sister and I felt a lump in my throat when you grabbed him. I felt my heart beating to escape as the abuse was mentioned. And suddenly, oh so suddenly, the look in your eyes told me something that one of my dearest female friends has made me realise in the past few years “you’re not alone, Nat.”

Over the past couple of years I’ve slowly been reliving different parts of the childhood abuse I suffered. Slowly been opening up to the reality of what that meant. Things I locked away in my brain are coming to the forefront and I’m working to deal with them with some amazing help. Help I never expected. But tonight your performance showed me a part of myself that no one else has really helped me to explain. The fight or flight response that occurs with the flashbacks and the memories. It may have been 30 seconds of screentime, but it was an epiphany for me.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for enabling me to make that connection, and to bring me a step closer to where I want to be. I have an amazing support system, of which Geonn is a huge part, but tonight you helped me put my C-PTSD monster a little more in its place. You have given me extra ammunition a bloody awful mental health war.

Much love,

Nat

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