Up until now, pretty much anything I’ve posted with regards to Guiding Light has been pretty superficial, and more light-hearted. The fact that the story is being portrayed by two beautiful, and very talented women (Crystal Chappell & Jessica Leccia) is a bonus.
Until now. I’ve started and stopped writing this post a few times now, because it’s something that’s become a whole lot more personal. Never before has a storyline on ANY television show or film had so much that I’ve identified with on such a personal level. I joined the Big Purple Dreams fan forum back the early part of February. It’s been such an amazing board with such a wide diversity of backgrounds yet overall focused on the same goal: to see the relationship of Olivia Spencer and Natalia Rivera come to fruition. It’s been a long time coming.
For those who have never watched a soap opera, or this one in particular, this storyline is groundbreaking on many levels.
Now, I’ve been an out lesbian for about 12-13 years. Quite a few folks in my family (incl. extended family), friends, and majority of my co-workers know this about me. I don’t hide it, but I don’t broadcast it either. I’ve had a couple girlfriends in the past, but in general have been single for quite a while.
I didn’t figure out (or at least identify to myself) that I was gay until I was 23. Though I knew things were different as I hit puberty and had no interest in the boys at school, but rather had developed crushes on some of the girls. Crushes that I had no idea what to do with. I had no frame of reference. I grew up going through a Catholic school system, which did not exactly lend itself to being particularly diverse, even if at at the time I would have been open to that. Even in my first few years at university, when I started to get some more exposure to other than ‘norm’ (acquaintances at the university newspaper were gay guys). I started to question things about myself. Things started to ‘click’ as it were. I spent the next few years going through this process. And at the same time, questioning the religious aspect of things. As I did, I realised that I’m more of a spiritual person, not so much religious. Questioning dogma of the Church, and how that related to me, and who I loved (though at the time I wasn’t involved with anyone). I find peace in the natural environment, particularly around water and fire. An odd counterbalance, but both with a pull on my heart and on balancing my inner self.
In the character of Natalia, who has been shown to be quite religious and finding a lot of solace in her belief in God, to now finding herself attracted to Olivia, I can relate to. And I don’t think she’s as naive as she sometimes seems. I think she’s much more aware of what’s going on around her, but she’s not completely sure how to deal with those developments. In one scene, she’s looking through her Bible trying to find answers to questions about how she’s feeling, and when Josh comes back into the room, she says she just keeps coming up with more questions. Why does she feel the way she does (about Olivia).
With Olivia, I think her moment of realisation of ‘something more’ came immediately following her daughter’s ‘My Two Mommies’ school presentation. Not so much in the initial discussion post, but once she kissed Natalia to prove a point (of what the other parents thought of them), and Natalia’s response – ‘Why did you kiss me like that?’. I think if Natalia had left it with ‘Why did you kiss me?’ it might have resulted in a different toned response from Olivia, but the ‘like that’, reeled Olivia. Part of it was to prove a point (that the other parents presumed Olivia and Natalia to already BE a couple), but there was definitely something of a passionate spark to that brief kiss that ‘woke’ something for Olivia. She started to examine their friendship in a new light. She’s also known that in the time that they’ve been together as friends, moved in the farmhouse to help each other out, and raise Emma (Olivia’s eight year old daughter), that they balance each other. Olivia encourages Natalia to be more outgoing, focus on her strengths and build on them, particularly in the business part of their partnership, while Natalia often serves as an emotional balance for Olivia. She can calm Olivia down when she’s upset, and bring her back to a level of rational thinking (especially if her daughter is even potentially threatened). Olivia has been seen to have realised her feelings for Natalia much sooner than we’ve seen in the reverse, and we’ve seen the heartache of her assumed unrequited love. With painfully angsty moments. This I understand ALL too well. Butterflies and everything.
I’ve had my moments when I’ve fallen in love with close friends. And I’ve known it’s been one-sided. I’ve been there. More than once. Sometimes I still am, so those feelings that are being shown by Olivia are so real they’re painful at times to watch. Because I know those feelings. I have those feelings. Sometimes another’s physical presence is downright overwhelming but you need it all the same. You need the hugs, you need the comfort, even if you can’t verbalise what it is you’re feeling, and you don’t know what or how much the other person feels. It’s tangible. And scary as hell. Terrifying at times. Afraid of overstepping boundaries. Stepping out into an abyss. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of screwing up friendships, with someone who means the world to you. To see those emotions and that story being played out on television with the integrity, honesty and courage that has been displayed thus far, means so much to me. I can’t say enough positive things about the actresses portraying this storyline and the powers that be for developing it. That they’ve supported it and embraced it is very meaningful. If by the time you’ve finished this post, and feel compelled to watch the series, and want to find some video background on their storyline, the BPD board has a link to the background on YouTube. There is also the Otaliafan Channel at YouTube.
There’s a wonderful banner created by one of the members of the Big Purple Dreams fan forum, ces1982, that beautifully captures the feelings and the emotions shared by the characters, myself, and many others on that board. To explore those feelings on the forum has been a godsend at times, even if for the most time it’s just reading through other people’s [real life] stories. Cathartic and supportive at the same time.
I debated posting this here in my LiveJournal, simply because it’s more ‘public’ than the BPD forum – though I suspect that with more than 1600 members on the board, there’s more people that might read my posts there than here, ‘public’ is a relative term. The point of the matter in posting it to LJ as opposed to the board is that it is more exposed to the general public. And whether I decide to ultimately keep the post as ‘friends only’ or leave it public, is something I’ll figure out as I go.
And now I’m imbibing the last of a bottle of mead (it’s taken me a while to drink it [i.e. over months, not hours]). The bottle’s held out this long because I can no longer get it here. I have to wait to see if I can find some more when I go home to Newfoundland in May.
To love in all its forms, terrifying and wonderful.