The first time I fell for a girl, it was my best friend in college. I’m not sure if I fell for her because we were so close, or if I had gotten close to her in the first place because I knew, albeit subconsciously, that I “liked” her. Probably a combination. By the time I realized I had feelings for her, we were already BFFs. We hung out every day, she was the person I turned to for advice, we ate pizza together, I prank called her all the time—you know, best friend stuff.
Falling for someone who is already a huge part of your life is excruciating. You obsess over whether or not to tell her, and what might happen to your friendship if you do. Then you finally do tell her, and she has nothing to say back. And that’s how you know that the worst has happened—she doesn’t feel the same way. It’s much worse than being rejected by a stranger at a bar, or by an acquaintance you met through a friend. When you tell your best friend you love her and she doesn’t love you back, it feels like you ruined your own life from the inside out.
After I told my best friend that I loved her in 2007 and found out it was not reciprocated, I thought I’d never get over it. It was like our friendship had evaporated over night. We couldn’t hang out anymore; there were too many feelings involved (at least on my end). For a year, I wallowed in ultimate sadness and tried to be my own best friend—I gave myself advice, ate pizza alone, and even prank called myself. But mostly, I cried.
Eventually, college ended and I stopped living next door to the person who was tormenting my soul. I stopped seeing her everyday, I stopped obsessing over her and I stopped having class with her. We moved to different states. We drifted apart. There was really nothing to say to each other anymore. It was such a relief to move away from her, and it was horrible at the same time. Because as painful as it was to live next door to her, my crazy love-stricken brain still preferred being near to her, rather than moving on and being happy.
It’s been eight years since I fell for my college pal, and guess what? I totally survived. Over time, I learned that, although she is a great person, she is not the only person. Oh, and I also got a life, which always helps.
Even though I moved on, I’m beginning to realize that maybe I’ll never fully get over that experience. I’m beginning to realize that maybe it changed the way I view female friendship, and my evidence of that is a web series I co-wrote called #Hashtag.
Two years ago, my friend Laura Zak and I started working on #Hashtag, a story about two best friends Liv (played by Laura) and Skylar (played by me). We were inspired by real life events that were happening to Laura. She met an older woman on Instagram, was seduced by her (or they seduced each other), and was catapulted into a crazy series of events that you can watch unfold in our first two seasons.
When Laura told me about this Instagram seduction in real life, my feelings about it were really complicated. I was jealous. I was a little shocked. I was just filled with a general “weirdness” that I couldn’t explain. We tried to write the weird feelings that I had about her increasingly dramatic life events into our show.
Our web series became bigger than the dramatic things that happened to Laura.
Because inside of the friendship between Liv and Skylar is every other female friendship we’ve ever had. My character is the sensitive, pining one. Skylar cares much more about what Liv is doing than the other way around. She is jealous, needy, and almost obsessed with her “best pal.” And in a weird way, Skylar’s feelings about Liv really remind me of how I felt about my best friend in college.
I’m not saying that I’m in love with every best friend I’ve ever had. I’m just saying, that falling in love with ANY best friend changes you. Skylar’s feelings of longing are drawn from that time in my life when I loved the person who lived next door to me more—and in a different way—than she would ever love me. Although I’m not currently in love with any of my best friends, the truth is that I’ve had a weird, distrustful, and scared feeling about all of them. Because I’ll always have that experience from college as part of who I am.
I hate having a best friend just as much as I love it. Having a best friend involves so many expectations, many of which are delusional or unfounded. You expect her to invite you to everything. You expect her to remember your birthday. You aren’t dating, but sometimes it feels like you are. You get weirdly possessive or jealous of her. I can’t speak for straight women, but I do wonder if these tensions are heightened when two queer ladies are pals.
What I realize is that, at least in Season 1, Skylar is essentially tormented by her best friendship. If she is constantly jealous of Liv, why doesn’t she just move away, or move on, or get a different friend? Well, if college had never ended, I’d still be living next door to a girl who doesn’t love me back.
#Hashtag tries to get at the truth of female friendship: no matter how much pain there may be, we would always rather stay connected.