I was just fourteen when Twin Peaks premiered on ABC, but I see that show – my exposure to it and my eventual obsession with it – as defining. It was prime-time event television so profoundly scarring that it beckoned me to forevermore embark on journeys down symbolic narrow hallways that were too long and lined with too many doorways and crowded by the thickest of shadows that could still barely hide my increasing fondness for the wicked.
The earliest commercials for the show seemed longer than what was typical for TV back then, and I thought about that a bunch of years later when I heard Paramount was allowing Forrest Gump commercials to stretch for more seconds than was customary in order for the scope of the film to be properly communicated. Had ABC given that same approval for Twin Peaks, a show so surreal that selling it as a straight murder mystery could almost be considered an act of fraud? I have no idea, but what I do know is how strongly those initial images hooked me in, how I became a fan before even a second of the actual show flickered into the darkness of my bedroom. I became someone willing to accept stories about characters who wandered around town holding logs like babies, characters who danced away their sanities in a Red Room with moves so fitful and jerky, it was as though the show had veered briefly into the world of German Expressionism but nobody even thought of whispering this news to the viewer.
I come from a generation of girls who wanted Jordan Catalano for a boyfriend even though he couldn’t read.
I knew the names of the biggest models in the world and I slept in a bedroom with their faces plastered across the wall, aspirational black and white imagery that would become both inspiring and crippling when the day finally arrived and I realized I’d never clear 5’4” without heels and I’d never be able to describe my body as lanky. But sometimes when I couldn’t sleep, I would look up at those pictures and try to figure out what it was precisely about Christy Turlington’s mouth that made it so unique. I thought it might have something to do with the way her lips turned up even when she wasn’t smiling and I practiced smiling that way in the mirror, but my smile was always too wide and I could never pull it off. It was Linda Evangelista who was my favorite, though. In spite of all the rumors that she was the biggest monster around, I found the sharp angles of her face almost otherworldly and arranged the way they were somehow made her almost magically beautiful and besides, there were more than a few days when her haughty bitchiness was what I aspired to the most.
In an adolescence where Google searches didn’t yet exist, the only porn I ever saw was through static. I often wondered if I was the only person in the world who sometimes turned to that snowy channel in the dead of night. Since I was certain I must be, I never discussed it with anybody else.
It used to be talent that garnered someone fame.
I think back to the walls of my bedroom back when I was in high school. I didn't have a mother who refused to let me tape things to the paint, something I appreciated like crazy, so my room was plastered with images. There was a huge staggered collage of photos of my friends. It was back before cell phones, when you couldn't flip through a photo gallery with a distracted thumb. Photos back then were kept in frames or placed neatly into albums, protected by a plastic cover that made a Velcro sound when it was pulled back. I had albums too, but I liked to see my pictures constantly so I kept them on my wall.