9 apr 2021

okay this one was kinda funny so i'm gonna include it to cut through some of the heaviness of the other entries. for context, throughout my childhood i was a member of a methodist church (methodism is basically a protestant christian denomination where they only sing traditional hymns and drink grape juice at communion instead of wine, and also it's splitting into two denominations because half of them are homophobic and the other half pretend to like the gays). picture a huge room with about fifty stiff wooden pews, various cheesy banners with quotes like "be still and know" lining the wall, a large stained glass window over the altar depicting jesus at the final communion, and a sickening yellow light over everything that makes you fall asleep - that's my church.

during services, i always sat in the third row on the right; i was sitting here at the dream's start, listening to various members of the congregation discuss homosexuality. various old motherfuckers insisted that they should not be allowed in the church (while i recited to myself don't say anything don't say anything don't say anything), and a couple of the younger members responded with a sort of back-handed and masturbatory sympathy for the gays. my cousin, who sat a couple rows behind me, stood up (very pompously) and recited the most godawful speech i've ever heard in my life: "i just care about the lgbt's so much," she choked in between fake ass tears, "and i just think they really need to come back to god..." it's moments like these where i have to focus every molecule of my energy toward keeping a straight face.

after she was done licking the pastor's shoes, we moved on to announcements. "it's that time of year everyone - " the pastor motioned for the junior congregation members to gather around him at the pulpit - "the junior rating contest is upon us!" i immediately understood what this was: every year, the younger members of the church participate in a contest where they anonymously rate each other on a scale of 1 to 5, and the person with the highest cumulative rating gets recognition and probably a gift card or something. but that's not all - on the day that the winner is announced, each contestant has the option to reveal why they gave someone a certain rating - and while this rule was originally written so they could publicly praise each other's good qualities, it actually became a contest to see how subtly you could shit on someone to the entire church. it was the most dreaded event of the year.

the pastor gave each of us - my cousin, my friend leah, a couple of my old childhood friends whom i will call laura and taylor, and i - an official rating sheet which we must fill out and keep absolutely secret until the end of the week. in retrospect, if i was lucid i would have told the pastor "hell no" and opted out. but in this instance i was both nervous to be the shittee and excited to be the shitter.

and so the service ended and we regrouped back at our house because apparently we all live together, which sounds horrible - and the tension was already settling in. my cousin sat in the living room and refused to speak to anyone, and i went to my bedroom to be alone with my rating sheet. the following are the ratings i gave everyone:

as soon as i finished writing down my ratings, leah walked in. she was a petite girl with freckles and billowy hair and i distinctly remember her being a pisces; under normal circumstances i would have loved to see her, but i was on high alert. so i initiated a very strained chit-chat, and she responded with a warm charisma that reassured me a little bit. i turned my head for a moment, at which point she began hurriedly sifting through my basket of dirty laundry. i shot up from the bed and ran over - "noooo nononono you are not showing my dirty laundry to the entire church."
"i would never!" she said while very obviously holding something behind her back. i struggled awkwardly to grab it from her, but she only dodged me. so i had to come up with a different strategy.

"leah, listen. you really don't have to worry about the whole rating thing. you probably have a really high rating. i mean look at you! you're funny, you're kind, everyone loves being around you..." i tried my best to reassure her that i was not a threat to her. but she was still hesitant, so i had to go in deeper. i had to volunteer a piece of evidence against me that wasn't dirty laundry.

"look - i literally dropped acid at church," i pulled the baggie of tabs from my pocket to show her, "so i'm just a dumbass." at that, she laughed a little. we continued talking about the rating contest, and she revealed that she kind of hated it and dreaded it every year.
"i feel the same way!" we laughed together, finally relaxed in each other's presence. "haha, wouldn't it be funny if you told the entire church that i'm gay?"
"that would be fucking hilarious!" she wheezed.
by the time she decided to leave, i had at least 70% confidence she wouldn't shit on me to the church.

but she still never gave back my dirty laundry.