Neil Hilborn is a poet, and a passionate one at that. And he wrote and performed a particularly touching poem about love and losing it. And then proceeded to take over the internet, with his viral performance. So what made him so different?
Neil has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or simply, OCD. And the poem was about him dealing with OCD and a full-blown relationship at the same time. You think that’s easy? Just wait till you hear him.
After struggling with a severe case of the affliction, he used just that to declare his story of falling in love. The poem may have lasted for a mere two minutes, but left an audience dumbstruck.
So what is OCD? Firstly, it’s not a kink. It’s a certified affliction that can greatly affect the mind and subsequently the body. It is characterized by various tics and twitches, something that Neil included in his performance conscientiously.
Neil wrote the poem four years ago, in 2011. It was the bittersweet experience of being in love while at the same time being afflicted with OCD. The name of the poem was just that – OCD. He then performed the piece during the final round of a poetry competition.
At the end of the poem, he concludes with the words, “I want her back so badly, I leave the door unlocked. I leave the lights on”, before leaving the stage to a thunderous applause from a wowed audience.
The little ‘tics’, which means the act of repeating oneself, in the poem were inserted there intentionally. This means that Neil did not actually perform them that way because of his OCD, but because they were written in that manner. However, he was quick to add that while performing, the tics would suddenly become genuine. With that being said, the main reason for including these, would be to educate an audience on the symptoms of OCD.
There was an unprecedented reaction to Neil’s poem – an outburst of people who were all brimming with emotion. Social networking sites were filled with comments from those who said that they could relate to his story, to those who were empathetic, or simply in awe of his talent and rawness. Besides sweeping over the internet, Neil’s story has inspired countless others to share their own experiences of dealing with their limitations.
In the meanwhile, Neil is overwhelmed and grateful for these reactions. He was also asked if he had found love since writing the heartbreaking poem, and Neil answered in the positive. He added, “… yes, I have! And the relationships didn’t even suck!” He also said that the girl he mentioned in the poem was still friends with him, unlike what the poem suggested.
Neil has sure come a long way – after graduating from college, he joined many poetry teams, and currently holds workshops for college and high school students.
While this poem can be seen as being about love and its fragility, it is also about OCD being a grave affliction, and how it can affect other aspects of a human’s life. Neil also talks of how he was so particular about being clean, but when it came to the one he loved he did not mind – showing how powerful feelings can be.
But what makes this an absolutely brilliant poem is not because of its tragic ending which would give most listeners a lump in their throat. It is fantastic because of the way Neil executes it. As someone actually affected by OCD, his delivery is spot-on. Every single aspect of his relationship was described in term of his disorder.
As soon as a video of his performance was uploaded, it went viral. Watch the emotional video below: