celesbian - noun
a portmanteau of “celebrity” and lesbian”; a woman famous specifically within the lesbian community
In 2016, I’ve decided to become a "celesbian.” Why? How? Wait...what?
Well, allow me to explain.
First, a little backstory.
I used to really want to be famous - ever since I was eleven years old, and I started a Backstreet Boys cover-band called “BSG” (an acronym for “Backstreet Girls” - so clever, I know) with four of my 6th grade classmates. Keep in mind, I didn’t even have enough vocal talent to be chosen for the middle school choir, but I knew every nuance of the Millennium album, so I figured it was good enough.
High school for me was characterized by doing spontaneous dance performances on lunch tables for tips and cheers, getting requests from strangers to perform my funny “Black Redneck” rap, and being called out by teachers in class for my antics and jokes which all culminated in me landing a “Class Clown” superlative upon graduation. I have always been a performer, always trying to get the laugh, always felt in my best element when the attention was on me.
I moved to New York City for college, and when I was eighteen years old, I finagled my way onto TRL.
For those younger than me, TRL used to be a pop culture staple on MTV where they’d spend two hours every afternoon, counting down the most popular music videos at the time, in a pre-VEVO era.
The show’s popularity had significantly dwindled by 2007, which was probably why they featured the cast of Degrassi, a Canadian teen melodrama, probably best known for giving us Aubrey Graham a.k.a. Drake.
Brandishing a sign that said “I’d Do Whatever It Takes To Meet The Cast of Degrassi” (clever, because that directly referenced its theme song), I stood on the streets of Time Square outside of the MTV building for a few hours before I caught the attention of the producers, who brought me up so I could be on the show and meet the cast.
October 2, 2007 will forever be known as the day that Drake kissed my cheek.
This is also the day I (foolishly) decided to make fame into a career path.
The reception and response to my appearance on TRL was admittedly addicting. People came out of the woodworks to reach out to me, saying they had seen me on national TV. It was a hot story in my small hometown for a few weeks, and I loved every second of it.
See, I’m a Leo, and I know it’s the most obnoxious thing in the world to attribute my personal character traits to where the sun was positioned amongst the stars on the day I was born, but it truly is uncanny how I fit the bill for Leo so well. I’m fiercely loyal, am certainly not lacking in pride, but perhaps most notably - especially in my younger years - I love being the center of attention, and so I often find myself thrust into that position. People watch me, and I love being watched.
That sounds awful out of context. Please don’t stalk me.
So my stint on TRL and the very brief taste of fame that it allotted me launched me on a quest for fame that at times seemed like it would actually be successful (such as when me and my best friend - also a Leo - made a comedic rap called “Nick Jonas” that got several thousand views in a couple of days), but ultimately left me frustrated.
It took a couple of years, but I eventually realized that seeking fame is not only a fruitless pursuit in most cases, but also a pointlessly shallow one. Now don’t get me wrong - my pursuit of fame was as genuine as it possibly could be. Yes, I loved attention, but ultimately, I just loved being able to make people laugh, to leave them feeling good, and I did sincerely want to use a platform of fame to positively reach as many people as possible. I honestly wanted to do good with it.
Still, I found the raw pursuit of fame to ultimately be misguided and grossly self-centered. Being motivated in my work by the idea of millions of people seeing and validating me did nothing but demean my comedy and art, so by the time I was 21 years old, my mindset had totally changed. I no longer cared about being famous - I just wanted to positively impact the world and affect people with whatever it was that I did, with absolutely no care of if I ever got personal credit or recognition for it or not.
That was a much better place to be.
So let’s fast-forward five years - I am now 26 years old.
Over the past few months, my friends and I have started to become involved in the lesbian community in Los Angeles.
And when I say that, I mean we occasionally attend the few monthly events that exist for lesbians in Los Angeles. Though fun, most of them are in tight venues filled to the brim, with EDM pumping awfully in our ears as we take a long sip of our drinks every time a Draco Malfoy lookalike walks by as a coping mechanism.
These forays introduced us to the idea of a “celesbian” - these dapper, untouchable women who were behind these events, dripping with instagram followers liking all of their perfectly filtered selfies. They’re the Rat Pack of lesbians, the queens of the scene, basking in the limelight as us peasant lesbians (lezzants, if you will. Pesbians?) watched with googly eyes from the sidelines.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, because I was ultimately unfazed by this mostly whitewashed lesbian elitism, but I couldn’t help but ironically esteem the idea of being a celesbian, because that word and its concept are just so funny, but oddly apt.
Disillusioned by these very few lesbian events that all seemed to be the same (not very diverse, mostly in overwhelming nightclubs settings, devoid of any hip hop music - what is up with the lesbian fascination with EDM?!), my friends and I began to brainstorm creating our own alternative - the ideal lesbian gathering by our definitions.
This snowballed into jokes about intertwining this with a quest of becoming “celesbians” ourselves - something we’d say with total self-awareness and a lot of tongue-in-cheek, but the ultimate idea behind it had merit: we wanted to host a space for queer women that provided something different to the current climate.
And honestly, deep down, the ideal of accidentally becoming “celesbians” was a little appealing, if not in a humorous way. If anything, it gave us an excuse to update our wardrobe.
But that’s the thing! All of these instagram famous lesbians are so stylish, and I, first off, just don’t have that money, and secondly, wouldn’t be able to justify such purchases even if I did. It feels incredibly trite - for me personally - to spend excess money on clothes when I have all the clothes I need, and there are so many people out there who don't.
Of course that means my wardrobe is always usually about 3-5 years behind in fashion, which does suck a little bit. because I truly love the style that has become popular right now - especially queer, androgynous urban style.
So jokingly, I decided that one of my 2016 New Year’s resolutions would be to become a celesbian, solely so that clothing companies would give me free clothes to wear and feature on my Instagram.
I just literally never want to pay for a snapback or a pair of joggers with my own money ever again.
It’s funny how you can spend three years legitimately trying to become famous and fail, but when you jokingly make it a goal, it starts to happen within two months.
Along with my friends, I have suddenly and surprisingly found myself climbing up the lesbian ladder, well on my way to this pipe dream of celesbianism, which has been absolutely insane. February hasn’t already ended, and we’re already being sent free clothes by companies. Like...what?
I literally have no actual interest being famous, but I’m taking this as a sign from God and just going with it, because why not and also, free clothes.
Also, though I have no interest in fame, I do honestly have a lot of interest in being influential. I want to create important art constantly. I want to reach out and connect to people through my art. More than anything, I want to see this world changed for the better, for the sake of humanity, and I want to be apart of that process as much as I can.
And so celesbianism just may be my gateway to that.
And also, free clothes.
Okay, but for real, though. At the beginning of the year, my friends and I very briefly dabbled on this app called “Periscope”, where people essentially watch you livestream. We turned our channel into a lesbian-centric stream, letting people watch us chill on my couch as we talked about gay stuff - both the trite (games of FKM) and the meaningful (what it was like coming out). To our pleasant surprise, a lot of people loved it.
I love attention, and even though I don’t actively seek it out as much, the fact that I love it will probably never change. So admittedly, I got a thrill of fifty people wanting to watch me entertain them.
But that wasn’t the ultimate value at all of my Periscope experience. It was the fact that several people thanked us, because they were queer in a small town with no other queer people around them, and it was refreshing for them to see us, interact with us, and not feel so disconnected and isolated.
It’s the thought that I come back to as I work on “Calling All Lesbians.” There is a girl out there, probably in the South or the Midwest, who has no semblance of queer community whatsoever around her, and she’s struggling to feel validated and affirmed and understood in this vacuum where no one is like her.
That girl needs presences and media featuring faces and voices and identities like hers - the sort of thing I wish I had more of when I was younger that would’ve helped me come to grips with who I was much sooner and much easier than I did.
More than anything, I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re alone. I don’t want them to feel ostracized and outcast and like they aren’t valuable because they don’t fit into whatever bullshit standards that society tends to esteem.
Crazily enough, in these first two of months of the year, I’ve found myself serendipitously and so gratefully involved in something that has helped to give a source of encouragement and validation to girls and women in situations like that.
Through “Calling All Lesbians”, we’ve gotten similar messages and sentiments to those we received on Periscope. One in particular put this project into the best perspective for me, from a fourteen year old girl in the UK who had found us on Instagram and told us she finds it hard to be herself, but that what we were doing was helping her feel more like herself than she was able to in real life.
I saw that and thought to myself, “I only ever want to make art as important as this.”
So that’s what celesbian status is to me - constantly creating something that will positively reach and affect people. My name, my image, my own personal validation means nothing here. I just so badly want to be apart of a movement that takes away burdens, helps heal pain, and allows us all to live happy, equal, freeing lives.
The free clothes aren’t too bad, either.
And so I start this blog to record the journey of my facetious New Year resolution turned legitimate venture, but really it’s a blog from a queer woman, hoping to reach out not only to other queer women, but anyone really, because we’re all in this together, right? That wasn’t meant to be a High School Musical reference, but I’m definitely fine if you take it as one.
So I present to you...My Path to Celesbianism. If this goes well, maybe I’ll make a smartphone app a la Demi Lovato’s “Path to Fame.”