On a cold winter’s evening on the eighth night of December, in the last year of the decade, “The L Word” reboot (otherwise known as “The L Word: Generation Q”) finally premiered at the witching hour of 10 p.m. on the ever-enchanting Showtime network.
I have been looking forward to “The L Word” reboot since the rumors first started swirling and twirling around the internet two summers ago. I, like most dykes reared in the early aughts, had her life drastically changed forever by the original “The L Word.” It was through watching “The L Word” that I learned about the nuances of lesbian sex, the perils of dyke drama, and the fiery intensity of girl-on-girl love. I even became fluent in lesbian lingo, learning the elusive meanings behind the terms “U-Haul” and “Goldstar” while watching “The L Word.” (I even bought “The L Word fragrance,” but let’s keep that one between you, me, and the family).
Even though there are few things I enjoy more than slugging back booze with an army of lesbians, I didn’t go to any of the glittery “The L Word” premiere parties last night. Instead, I tossed my favorite polar-bear printed PJs over my limbs, ate my body’s weight in salt-laden takeout, sipped Sauvignon Blanc right out of the bottle and let the ~feelings~ wash over me. I needed solitude in order to absorb the magnitude of this major evening in Sapphic culture. I know I sound v dramatic, but hey, I am a lesbian, babe. I was born feeling melodramatic feelings. It’s in my genetic makeup as a dyke to make a big ordeal about everything.
And chances are, if you clicked into an article about feelings and “The L Word,” you land somewhere on the melodramatic dyke spectrum yourself. This is why I’m sharing the unexpected emotions that erupted in my belly and out of my eyeballs whilst watching the premiere. I just want you to know that you’re not alone, you cute, melodramatic baby dyke reading this piece. Because I’m that selfless.
1. I felt a deep overwhelming sadness.
About thirty minutes before “The L Word” reboot aired, I began to feel sad. Naturally, my first instinct was to anesthetize those pesky feelings of sadness with booze or a good ole’ fashioned soul-numbing scroll through social media , but then my higher-self showed up.
“Zara, you need to feel this shit,” my higher-self said, lighting up a cigarette, staring down at me with her glasses resting right at the tip of her nose.
“Why?” I whined. I am terrified of feelings. I am secretly convinced that feelings are monsters that will kill me if I let them inside my protective orbit.
“Because there is a reason you’re feeling sad. An interesting reason. Examine it,” Sharon, my higher-self, insisted. Her blonde bob gleamed in the moonlight.
Sharon put her hands on her hips. “Zara, what did I tell you about feelings? They won’t kill you. They are not monsters.”
I sighed. I surrendered. I let the sadness wash over me. And as the gentle waves of melancholy sweetly crashed against my skin, clarity began to make its way between the clouds and shine its warm rays on me.
I realized I felt sad because I was reminded of the girl I had been when “The L Word” first came out. A closeted, self-destructive teenager who felt stuck in the mud. I would feverishly watch “The L Word” and pretend the show was my life. The only moments that I felt I was ever being true to myself was when I was lost in the fictional lives of the fictional characters of “The L Word.”
Now my life is entirely different. I’m *so* goddamn out of the closet, I might as well smoke rainbow cigarettes and bleed The Indigo Girl’s “Closer To Fine” on vinyl. I feel zero shame about my dykeness. I don’t need to live my life vicariously through fictional characters anymore, because I have real friends and a real life.
My life isn’t perfect, but it’s authentic. I have come so far! But I still feel so hyper-connected to the 16-year-old girl I was when “The L Word” first came hurdling through my life.
I am sad for her, and I hope I never stop being sad for her. I hope I never forget where I came from so that way I can feel close to all young girls who feel now like I did then. So that way I can take the pain of the past and channel it into creating things that help to reduce the shame that trickles down the spines of all people who are closeted.
2. I felt like I had been reunited with my camp friends.
While watching “The L Word” reboot, something hit me during that scene where Alice, Bette, and Shane meet up for breakfast at a very “Planet” looking type of place. In fact, to get super specific, something hit me when Bette, all twinkly-eyed and power-suited-up tells Shane how much she missed her. And Shane tells her that she missed her more.
All of a sudden, I felt this familiar feeling of connectedness, like I was suddenly back at sleep away camp and nothing bad could happen. Like I was sitting around the campfire with all of my camp-friends who knew me on a deeper level than any of my school friends did, because there weren’t boys at camp, nor was there access to designer clothes and all the rest of the shit that tarnishes adolescent friendships.
I felt like I was around friends that I shared a pure, honest, loyal friendship with. The kind that even when years and years and years go by, you know that the second you see these precious gems of friends again you’ll feel like no time has passed.
3. I felt heartbroken.
Something about “The L Word” has always made me feel like my heart is being smashed by a hammer. Maybe it’s because I truly love all of the characters so much, and I just, I don’t know, want them to be happy (I know I’m a PMS ridden sap)? I felt heartbroken about Bette’s connection with the opioid crisis. I felt heartbroken that Shane clearly has a wife somewhere who she is disconnected from. I felt heartbroken that those goddamn bratty kids aren’t accepting Alice as a parental figure. I even felt for all of the new characters!
Because, babe, they too are family. I am hard-wired to care about anyone who lives beneath “The L Word” umbrella, because I live under it too.
4. I felt PROUD.
During “The L Word reboot” premiere, it first happened during that initial sex scene with my beloved Shane McCutcheon where she is getting down and dirty in the kitchen with a gorgeous brunette.
The sex was so unbelievably steamy that even my very heterosexual mother proclaimed it “hot.” Watching the two women have insane sex made me instantly feel the sweeping sensation of pride right in the loins. I felt proud to be part of a community that has such amazing, mind-blowing, orgasm-inducing sex. And then I felt proud to be part of a community that has fierce, powerful women like Bette who don’t get shamed into silence or sellout for anyone. And then I felt proud of Alice for being a goddamn star in her own right.
And lastly, I felt proud to be alive for the legacy of this incredible TV show. I still feel proud. And as a formerly shamed gay, feeling PROUD is the most empowering sensation in the world.
5. I felt like a warm puff coat was wrapped over my insides.
From the start to the end of “The L Word” reboot premiere, I began to feel warm. Like I was sitting by a log fire in a cozy cabin deep in the woods. Like I was being hugged by one million Italian grandmothers who smelled like the most incredible vodka sauce in the world. Like there was one of those super-warm, comforter-like puff coats wrapped over my insides.
I felt warm because I felt like I had come home, and nothing is warm like home. Back when I was sixteen, I felt homesick all the time, even though I lived with my parents. I missed the part of myself that I hadn’t met yet. I knew she existed, but I hadn’t found her yet. When I watched “The L Word,” I saw her for the first time. And the homesickness lifted.