Remember in high school when you would break up with someone and still have to see them every day? same class, same parties, work together on projects?. Crying in the playground about a relationship that will never be. Remember in the beginning how dreadful that was? … well, that’s me at 35 years old. It’s all the same, just now I get paid to go to school. My current “high school” specializes in Film/Episodic. I’m at one of the few prestigious schools in the district. It was a long road to get to where I am and the position I’m in.
Life has been crazy for the last few years. Directors, Sundance, movie screenings, parties, Independent awards, Oscar Nominations. A life I never imagined. I started a big job 3 years ago, my friend was running a company and hired me on. The summer of 2014, I was in a relationship that was doomed and ending and talking to an agency in LA that was willing to relocate me. But it just didn’t feel right. So I took a job with my old friend who had made a name for himself in the industry. Smart kid, good-looking, cool. 7 person young crew, making movies, having fabulous boozed infused lunches. If you couldn’t drink and work you couldn’t hang. I learned so much in a matter of months. My work life was satisfying. My personal life took a big hit when the boy I was with for 3 years ended it (why did it even last that long?). Now I guess a breakup is a breakup even if you later realize why the fuck was you so sad. But we are humans, we don’t like to be rejected.
During this time our owner of the company told us we were being absorbed (bought out) by another company. It became a weird time. The company acquiring us was a company I worked for in the past. The one that raised me. I wasn’t ready to go back, it was about moving forward not backward. I had a reputation for never staying at a job longer than a year, never for bad reasons; you learn and then you move on. My Rolodex of contacts in other areas of the field kept growing. My boss was shopping the company around seeing which established facilities would house us and I became apart of the push to keep us going.
Dam the man! Maybe this is where our boss/friendship changed. Two people fighting for what they believed in, it was about survival.
Internally. in our little company, shit was wild. The unspoken pact to stay together.
The big man won, January was our set transition date. Before the end there was the new company Christmas party, the Outsiders entered the new social event after a couple of hours of their own little party. Music, food, drinks, beer pong, we exited with a graceful.. throwing a drink on the floor. The Outsiders ended up at the first bar they started. As the night got old, 3 stood. Our night editor was responsible to go back to work. Two stood.. and they stood outside nice and lit. One ready to move to Colorado (that was my escape route) to start a new life and the other broken about the future he had set up for himself. We kissed. And kissed for 16 blocks. I decided to go home. Why? Well because he just has gotten married 3 months ago.
Should I recite my catholic school girl upbringing? or do we all know the verses by heart now? Yes, I know what the world is thinking, but you ain’t in it till you are in it. Reality became a lot different from reciting lines you have been forced to remember. Let’s go back for a second.
I knew this boss/friend when we both worked at the company that was acquiring us. He left, I left. But there was this one day in 09’ that we ran into each other and talked shit in the streets: where are you? what software are they using?… blah blah. And then before leaving, he said: “I want to kiss you right now”. We smiled and left each other, of course, I had a smile on my face. The most sought-after editor (equivalent to a high school quarterback), hit on me. Schoolgirl moment! We would occasionally see each other at random events. But it was always there. I know everyone knows what that means, the thing you can’t explain. Well, the world went around, and 6 years later we ended up having that kiss. I wish I could say it stopped there and we realized it wasn’t right. But… There’s always a but.
Compartmentalize. I learned this phrase and how to use it in the last 3 years.
How do you try to push away someone that you also look up to? Having a very smart individual in your life who you can be honest with? There’s work and there’s play. Which by the way went from play to emotional. The play was great, the intense passion of it all was freeing. Moments of waking up looking out of a floor to ceiling window with the sun shining and a beautiful city that you know will hold all your secrets, was gratifying. Lots of conversations, lots of crying, lots of wrong choices. We were always together, working long hours going for drinks after work. It wasn’t emotional for me. I was in my Gemini adventure mode. It was fun. He wanted to always talk, I mean he was the one in a marriage with someone he loved, lost his company and is having an affair? I guess, I still never call it that. Maybe that is something that you grow up with; that is a bad word, so it’s best not to say it. Either way, I was just lying to myself. I pushed away from the thought of feelings forever. Until I started doing a series of things that weren’t like me. Acting out, not giving a shit and just living. I’m old, there’s no just living anymore. I was in it, shit… I was in love and trying to deny it was far better than accepting it.
The wife. She is nice, silent, smart, good family. Everything one fucked up person hopes to be with. We are cordial but could never be friends, even though he hopes so. Yes, its the weirdest thing, he would ask if we could be friends. I always tell him a girl knows, we all know! Whether we want to ignore it or not, that’s our own personal shit. And she knew, we never talked at parties or when we were around each other. It was awkward. I know she asked him about us before and he denied it. I think we both just used the excuse that we just don’t like each other. Three years later, we still don’t really talk.
From the beginning, I’ve always said I wouldn’t want to be friends with her. That’s some shady shit, I’m sleeping with your husband and want to be best friends? No way! Hate me! You should. Think it’s all me but we both know the truth. Our friends stopped inviting us to mutual events. It got awkward for them.
It’s a weird time in the Industry. The show of face as I call it. I grew up in a time where to be hit on was just how it was. Right? That’s just like how it is…
I remember before I started working in the industry someone told me to become an editor. “You’ll get hired because a guy rather sits with a girl for hours then another guy”. Well yeah, that makes sense. In these years I went from a smaller position to a Senior position making pretty decent money. Yes, sometimes I ask the question if it had anything to do with keeping my mouth shut. Fuck. You. All. I have worked, worked my ass off. I am an intelligent woman, not scared of the world coming at me, I am outspoken, hear me ROAR! My choices are my own. I deserve all of it and more.
How to keep a personal relationship and work relationship has been difficult. We talk, at least we try to be honest with each other. We have had conversations about what is happening in the industry right now. It’s something that has been going on for centuries and not only in the entertainment industry. It’s everywhere. I am #metoo. But not in this situation. This is a story about two people who were going through tough situations and leaned on each other. Whether it was right or wrong, it was mutual. We cut everything off about 6 months ago. And it’s been a difficult transition. Hate and love. Love and hate. Sometimes I’m scared that I listen to him too much about how to decide my future. Sometimes I’m scared it comes from a selfish place and he wants me to stay for his own comfort. So many thoughts of the unknown. But it is a way of life I created for myself. Only you can break the cycle. The world is round and I traveled and have seen it. Do I have any regrets? Yes. I should have listened to my high-school self, some friends should just remain friends.
Going outside the friend zone changes things.Unfortunately, sometimes things you can’t rebuild.
Poison Ivy (PN), is a producer in the Entertainment industry.