I work for a children’s science entertainment company. I do a lot of the administrative work and also teach in after-school programs all across the city. The kids call me Lab Rat Kat, and I feel like a celebrity when I walk into schools. I’m wearing a lab coat, I’m getting high fives, and people are cheering my name. Okay, only two of those three things are true… And that’s because I don’t put my lab coat on until class starts! I love my job. Pre-coronavirus, we had an office where we also hosted birthday parties, and in the office we had a pet. His name is Smaug, and he is a bearded dragon. He lives in a 40-gallon tank, eats mostly leaves, and I love him dearly. Some people have work wives; I had a work dragon.
I have a bad habit. I keep doing this thing over and over and over again even though I know it will hurt me. You see, I tend to fall for romantically unavailable people whom I am also best friends with and thus am forced to be around and can never get over. The first time I thought I might be queer was in eighth grade when I developed a crush on one of my best friends. She was more popular than me and prettier than me, and even though we were best friends, I perceived her as out of my league and never told her. I then proceeded to block out the whole bi thing and forget it existed for fourteen more years because this was Alabama, and that’s what we do there. But that’s not the point of this story. The point of the story is that I keep chasing people who don’t want me.
I always hated it when my mom left home. I am, and always was, incredibly close to her and felt sad and nervous when she wasn’t around. Because of this, it was a big production for me every time she left me at home because I was, and am, a crybaby. At first I would stand by the back door, located in the kitchen, and wave as she backed her car out of the driveway. Then, I would act as though I were a race announcer and yell, “On your mark, get set, go cat go,” before she was allowed to drive away. It eventually evolved to include a hand routine with it where I wrote the words in the air with my finger. Seeing as I was a small child, you can imagine how long this took, and if she dared to move before I was done, we had to start over. Maybe I should have known then that I had OCD?