It’s hard to believe that nearly five years ago I came upon the most influential television character in my life. Brooke Davis has been so many things to me: a teacher, a friend, a shoulder to cry on. Whenever life just isn’t working out I can count on a classic B. Davis episode to put things into perspective and in a mere four months, she’ll be gone forever.
Brooke came into my life at a time when I really needed someone. When I was 16, my group of mostly male friends found out I was gay and while lying and racism were qualities they accepted in a friend, loving another man was something they just couldn’t get passed. Losing a friend, no matter how flawed, is always difficult but losing all of them at once was absolutely traumatizing. Being still in the closet with no one to talk to I decided to turn to the one thing that never failed to pick me up, television.
Yes it’s a silly thing to care so much about but the TV addict in me couldn’t help it, spring break was coming up and I needed something to numb the seven days of isolation. I chose to pick up a new series, One Tree Hill. I went through the majority of season one simply enjoying the dynamic relationships and fun situations but even early on, Brooke was my clear favourite. She’s beautiful, fun and didn’t take people’s crap, basically she was who I wished I was but then something happened, a new side to her emerged, a side I knew all too well.
In the 18th episode of season one, To Wish Impossible Things, Brooke wins Mouth in a date auction. After a night of partying and drinks she breaks down in their limo, still hurt from her break-up with Lucas. “Remember when I told you what girls want?” she says to Mouth. “Girls just want someone to want them back, at least I do.” That line stung deep. Even after everything that happened, all I really wanted was my friends back. All I really wanted was to be wanted.
It was so strange connecting with this character. Brooke was fundamentally my exact opposite, she was beautiful, popular, confident and had a legion of friends yet somehow she felt like my TV persona. We’d both been deeply hurt by the people we trusted the most and struggled to repair that bond. We both loved our friends so deep yet found it hard to truly trust people. We were both secretly insecure and yearned for the approval of others. For the first time since losing my friends, I felt like I had found someone I understood. Watching Brooke navigate through her issues was almost therapeutic as if all my problems could be answered by Brooke Davis simply getting her happy ending. I mean if she could find happiness, was all hope really lost for me?
Half a decade later and I truly feel like me and Brooke have grown up together. Both of us have straightened out our lives and gone on to bigger and better things (she is admittedly way more successful than I am but give me time, she’s got six years on me). My social life no longer consists of TV marathons and crying, I have friends who not only embrace who I am but are excited by it and our journey together has inspired me to become a television writer so I can create a character for other people to connect to. Who knows where I’ll go from here, Brooke may already have her happily ever after but the future is still limitless for me and for the first time, that excites me.