Netflix

Netflix dramedy and the smash hit "Orange is the New Black" follows the convicts of Litchfield Correctional Facility in Connecticut. The story is based around Piper Chapman, who was a public relations executive until her past caught up with her and she was sentenced to spend time in a minimum-security women's prison for being a drug runner. The real story isn't Piper's straight-edged persona, either. She is surrounded by a cast of characters who are pretty surreal. There is Nicky Nichols, a  former drug addict who got clean thanks to Galina "Red" Reznikov" (head of the prison kitchen). Nicky schools Piper on how to survive during her sentence and what the unwritten rules are. We can't forget the one known for her hideous teeth and religious rampages. You know, Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett? Then there is Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren, so many others, who also help make the show disturbing and yet, so addicting! Here are 5 lessons from the zany and often crazy ladies of Litchfield.

Be Yourself

Suzanne has emotional problems and yes, she talks to a mop, but she also talks to her fellow inmates. She fell for Piper and called her a dandelion. "I used to think you were a yellow dandelion, but you are all dried up with the puff blown off. But that’s all right. You are who you are like I am who I am." Crazy Eyes knows that she is different. Yet, she doesn't change who she is and through this, she found a talent for writing prolific fantasy books. She then became more accepted by others when she remained true to herself while finding a new love outside of Piper, which was writing.

Set Boundaries

Piper was not interested in Suzanne and kept setting boundaries with her. Of course, Suzanne didn't listen but Piper was afraid to freak her admirer out to avoid having blood spilled so she remained quiet. Then Piper just had to give it to Suzanne straight and told her that she was not interested. "I know! Because the answer is, you're not a nice person. You're a mean person. And I used to think you were a yellow dandelion, but puff...you're all dried up with the puff blown off. And it's not your fault," Suzanne returned. Many of us are uncomfortable with creating boundaries because we worry that doing so is selfish or rude. Sometimes, you just have to say "No" to keep your own sanity.

Be a Leader

Piper is a leader and has a great deal of persuasion. She developed a side business on selling unmentionables. She used her power of operation to motivate others to join her in the business and to lead the charge towards independence. She held a meeting by standing on a picnic table to encourage the women to take hold of their destinies. Leadership is an incredible tool to have in life and in your career. This goes beyond taking charge, themuse.com insisted because you need influence. "Whether you’re trying to enlist the help of a colleague or attempting to sell something—including something difficult, like why you would be a top candidate for a slightly out of reach role, the ability to influence others to give you what you need." Use the power of influence to encourage and inspire the people that you meet in life. You don't need to have a title or money to make a difference.

Don't Always Follow the Experts

Nicky wanted to know her future career prospects after her sentence was over. She took a career test and the results were staggering. "According to this aptitude test, uh, I should be a professional athlete, a park ranger or a correctional officer…you are aware that you just told an inmate in a prison that she should become a corrections office," she laughed. How many times do people take career assessments, only to find out that the tests were misleading? Don't allow a test to dictate your destiny. Look at your values and what matters the most. What are your talents and dreams? Make your own list of where your strengths are and go from there. You don't need an assessment to reveal that.

Don't Mess With Family

Red lost her kitchen and her power. But the women in the prison where her family and if you crossed her or a member--you better watch your back. "I have to make sure that if they're killing us now, they don't kill one of mine," she said. Red took in Nicky who returned to using drugs again. In a fit of rage, Red searched the dealers out. "I don't know what poison you and your hillbilly friends are peddling, but if you sell any of it to Nicky, you will never know what's really in your food, and I assure you, I can slip in untold horrors." The family is not given much of a priority anymore. It helps to build strong bonds like having dinner, watching movies or spending time without electronics. Don’t miss an opportunity to be affectionate with your spouse and kids. Maybe we need to start protecting our family life like Red.

"Orange is the New Black" is funny, outrageous and unforgettable. Through it, you can peel back the humor and view the lessons that the ladies hold for us. If not, at the very least--we will never view prison the same again.
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