‘member like in 2012/2013 when there was a huge gatsby resurgence and everyone (the popular kids) was throwing gatsby or like roaring 20s inspired parties i don’t even think i ever went to one because i never got invited but i remember seeing lots of ‘em on instagram (back when it only did heavily filtered pics and you couldn’t even tag in photos just in captions) and being like wow they all look so grown up which is kinda also what i thought when everyone went to prom and i stalked their pics while i was at home pretending i didn’t care and really i felt icky like a voyeur and nick carraway never really talks about being a creep but he was a wallflower so i guess maybe my entire teenagehood was gatsby themed even with all the filthy rich friends with addiction issues and the car related deaths/freak accidents and girls who just wanted to be good moms instead of complicit in their own isolation so wow i guess who ever thought of bringing that theme to high school parties was a soothsayer or got a 5 on their AP Lit exam
and ‘member when my best friends tried to out me, for like the fourth or fifth time in high school, and it wasn’t the time in the car where they accidentally group texted with me in the group chat to see if i was “drunk enough” on a cruel new years eve to “ask if i was a lesbian,” but it was the time in the bathroom where the blonde told me the brunette (a new friend who pledged her loyalty to the blonde by joining in the witch hunt and straightening her hair before school each morning) thought i was in love with the blonde and all i could think was how nice her tits looked and how she smelled so good even when she was yelling at me
or what about the halloween party where the blonde was wearing a black victoria’s secret bra and silk robe and so when i hugged her i felt her soft porcelain skin against mine and i was wearing a yellow hazmat suit i had found online and tried to make sexy so i could be Jesse Pinkman and in hindsight how was i not hate crimed more at that party but the girl who’s party it was told me to leave before i even came inside from where everyone was drinking in the grass where the cars were parked and so i just sat outside on the pavement of the driveway listening to my friends have fun and wondering if my whole life would feel like being called a loser in a newly paved cul de sac
or there was the time i got dropped off at a frat party to make out with some guy i’d met at a bar where i’d been pretending to be three years older and he’d been pretending he believed i was old enough to fuck him and it was a neon party and i think i walked home with the relief that i wasn’t a fag like everyone said because i was throwing my pussy at every man i saw just like mommy Lana taught me to and it never felt as good as her lyrics did or as good as i imagined being wanted the way i saw all the boys i knew want Lana was – like they were boys but they even got posters of her to hang up because she was so hot that’s how much they liked her because they weren’t scared liking her would make them seem gay – and i bet she never had to sneak out and stalk a boy’s house every night just to make sure she was really “straight”
and even when boys finally wanted me back like the crush i stalked who snuck into my house and did things to me while i was blackout like the other boys i used as a rosary at the altar of hiding from my sexuality or the guys on facebook who messaged me asking if i was “really a dyke” i can still picture their messages in my chat or that kid in my theater class who knew i wanted him to want me but he mostly just made jokes about how big my tits were and then pined after The Beautiful Girl in class who couldn’t act and he went on to be a dj at the hookah lounge and then tried to add me on linkedin when i’d moved away from the town that smelled like death and not in the sexy tv teen drama kinda way
shit after high school gets dark in a bad way because college was just high school with a better budget and not more drugs but just less parents and shit before high school is dark in a sad way because i always had ocd but i didn’t know why my brain overheated like an old macbook pro downloading a limewire mixtape for one more of my best friends who i was Definitely Not In Love With but it’s hard to separate when hatred became an ocd ritual for me because i learned the technique on tumblr, from my mom and her Weight Watchers, from my best friends and the way they let their screaming at me in the car/street/bedroom suffocate my sense of self they gifted me big rocks for my ocd to bludgeon my brain with till i bled hard enough to feel alive
and the funny thing is i grew up watching psych and monk and all those dram-com procedurals on usa network (i also grew up watching 1000 ways to die and manswers and sex sent me to the ER on spike late at night because i hoped it would teach me how to get guys to like me but it was probably just another excuse to have gender envy, just like how watching rock of love seasons 1 2 and 3 weren’t about learning to be a girl, they were about letting myself fall in love with girls quietly, between the hours of 1 and 3am, the only time i could be myself while living at the intersection of the bible belt, tornado alley, and the opioid epidemic)
and you know what tony schalhoub got absolutely zero bitches and i’m sick of the whole hand sanitizer geek iconography of ocd because yeah my roommate’s a sexy hoarder and a complete germaphobe and afraid of contamination but i’ve never obsessed over washing my hands that much, just about whether i was good enough to keep living or hot enough to go viral
and yeah i keep myself up at night thinking i’m gonna die in my sleep and used to scream when my parents tried to leave me home alone because i thought someone would come kill or kidnap or rape me and i used to sleep with a baseball bat and my other friend with ocd (all my hot friends have ocd and our collective body count is through the roof) still sleeps with a steak knife under his pillow and you know what we are never that far off because i’ve had my room broken into before by a man i had never met, everyone i know has been assaulted since i was old enough to be called jailbait (fourteen), and i’ve gotten carbon monoxide poisoning twice
so if stepping over cracks and counting our steps and checking the light switches, gas stove knobs, alarm clocks, and locks one two three four five six seven, skip the numbers that feel like bad luck because ocd is a religion where we make our own rules to heal the grief our bodies hoard, if searching for order and symmetry in everything we see and touch makes us control freaks that’s fine, we may be crazy but we fuck and representation matters so don’t you forget it.
Elizabeth Burch-Hudson is an LA f*g, screenwriter, and poet who begs the question, “are they hot enough to be this crazy?” Their work has been published with Transformations, HAD, the Gay and Lesbian Review, and she has an autofiction piece coming out with Forever Mag.
image: Taylor Solomon. Find her on Instagram @thefusemuse