Saturday, June 20, 2009

Kyria Abrahams' "I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed"

Kyria Abrahams was a regular columnist for Jest Magazine for several years, where she was featured alongside performers and writers from The Daily Show and Chappelle’s Show. As a standup comic, Comedy Central twice selected her as one of ten semi-finalists for the Boston Laugh Riots Competition.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her memoir I'm Perfect, You're Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah's Witness Upbringing, and reported the following:
This chapter is about my OCD, which was something I strongly considered not putting in the book. OCD is the kind of thing people write whole books about, and it was hard enough to write a whole book about the Jehovah’s Witnesses, let alone have a random foray into my chemical imbalances. Later, though, I realized that it was integral to the book.

I did not try to gloss over my personal failings in this memoir. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but I also had a pretty debilitating anxiety disorder, not to mention the fact that I was an obnoxious, selfish teenager who wished I had money so I could spend it all on black lipstick. I wanted the reader to be able to see the whole picture of my childhood and decide for themselves where religion fits into the bedlam that my life became.

I think that OCD and fundamentalism are very similar, as both utilize ritual as a way to control the world around you and feel safe. I’d like to say that being Jehovah’s Witness and constantly fearing the apocalypse contributed to my need to manipulate my immediate surroundings, but I don’t think that’s how OCD works. I can’t claim that the Jehovah’s Witnesses affected my body’s ability to produce serotonin. They don’t have the power to do that. Satan the Devil, however, did give me acute mold allergies. And for that, I will never forgive him.
Read an excerpt from I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed, and learn more about the book and author at Kyria Abrahams' website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue