Everyone has a dragon. Some people have more than one. I have three. They sleep some, but not always, and when they’re awake, the flames and the clawing will drive you to the end of you: your blistering fears, your furious insecurities — that you’re worthless (Cook); that you’ll never belong (Thomas); that you’re not enough (Katie); that you can’t survive alone (Effy); that you’ll never be known (Panda). Mostly we pretend our dragons don’t exist. Sometimes we try to run. Some people, brave people, find the courage to enter their caves and look their dragon in the eye, to face the truth of their desperate desires. But even they gird themselves with impenetrable armor.
And then there is Naomi.
She said one thing so loud and so long that she convinced everyone around her it was true, except the person she wanted to believe it most. Naomi pretended, back then, that Emily was saying, “I want you, I want you,” but what she was saying was, “I see you.” The wanting: yes, of course — but that was the effect. Naomi didn’t lack the desire; she lacked the courage.
And now we know why.
I always thought Emily was the bravest person on Skins because she faced her dragon, saw everything she had to lose, and said out loud anyway, “I’m gay.”
This scene is one of my favorite moments ever on TV because, yeah, it’s viscerally gutting, her lying there covered in nothing but the last shirt Emily ever wore to sleep beside her, but the real thing is: Naomi just got naked with her dragon.
No one does that. No one does that.
If it breaks her, she’ll be broken forever. If it strikes her, her wounds will never heal. But she takes off her clothes, enters its cave; she looks into its eyes — past Mandy in her bed with Emily, past that girl Sophia and that day on the train; she reaches out to touch Emily’s hair, pulls her hand away; she abandons her on a blanket by the lake; “Go on: disappoint me,” she says; she begs Emily to leave her alone; “Why does your sister think I’m gay?” she asks; she reaches for Emily’s hand through the cat flap; slams her up against the lockers — and she remembers the truth, that day she was twelve. She surrenders to it. She picks up her sword.
And Naomi Campbell slays her f-cking dragon.