WORDS AND SHIT
by Malini Mohana
I don’t clearly remember the day it started. I filled in a lot of the blanks, much of the colour. Rachel’s version was more gaudy, but that was understandable. That was Rachel’s specialty. I just filled in a bit of pastel where there was lead, though I don’t entirely know why. The whole situation was astoundingly overblown as is, but I suppose we’d all become that way. Well, I had. I watched hour after hour of my E True Hollywood Story. We were never Hollywood, but E made an exception for us. Because that’s what people wanted to see, and we had become a commodity. It’s kind of like looking back at highschool dance photos and cringing. Except the cringe doesn’t quite originate from the ridiculous way you wore your hair, or that piece of overpriced crap you passed off for an outfit. It comes from seeing your 17 year old self, smiling back at you in disarming delusion – believing in wholehearted completion that she looks fucking fabulous wearing a long bedazzled sock on a night that would supposedly be worth the bedazzled sock’s overpricedness. Stupid girl. That very same self-delusion was in every single interview - smug validation dressed in the monotone plumage of faux innocence. You know, that celebrity thing you often pick up on interview after interview with actors mainly. That thinly veiled self-importance, with just a hint of sincere uncertainty. It’s not to say that they think they’re really important. But they do believe that their one movie - where they cried believably and received a trophy - is reason enough to have thousands of people want to know what they ate for breakfast. We pretended like we didn’t care (“oh the interviews airing, wow it’s actually pretty embarrassing! This whole thing is just so ridiculous”) but we caught every single one. Probably watched them more than once. I can remember my Ellen interview in full HD glory. I remember soaring as I walked out in a pale blue, flowy number - her Prozac-happy crowd cheering me as I shimmied toward the couch like an underdog emmy award winner. Happiness, like cringing, has levels. Her crowd - they were Prozac-happy. It’s pretty high on the scale, right after codeine, free lunch and my-dickish-boyfriend-just-took-me-back. The talk went like the rest – Ellen was her effortless self, and me. Much like the rest of her guests, I didn’t have to do much. By virtue, I was important. Celebrity status. After that tag, acting like a halfway decent human being just meant that Huffpost and Jezebel would write about how down-to-earth I was. How I love fast food when I’m drunk, or how I like to read things, or how I think gay people should have rights. All the aforementioned do apply to me, but somehow when you’re famous, people begin to somehow think that those are particularly virtuous qualities. They’re not. People start to forget what you’re famous for. You begin to forget what you’re famous for; and most of the time, it’s not proportional to what you’ve achieved in this world. But for us, for the first time, we had earned our stripes. And they destroyed us for it.
I met Rachel on the second day. She was the kind of person many people dislike initially. Not because she was particularly goodlooking, or talented. But because she acted as though she was. She had the audacity to express a complete trust in her own adequacy as a human being, and that’s just too much for the rest of us to bear really. I was immediately unsettled by her – because a part of me wished I was like that. It was the first day of getting to The School and she had on a floral top and shorts, hair tied back in a messy bun. You know, that bun that says “look at the fucking effortless way my hair cascades”. That kind of bun.