Life Threw Me A Shitty Lemon, But I Learned How to Make It Into Sweet Lemonade
The moment I thought my story died was actually the moment it was born.
Growing up, I viewed people in their early 20’s as people who had everything figured out; they were mature, knew what they wanted to do after school, didn’t have any problems, and naturally floated through the motions of life. 22 years old seemed washed up to my 10 year old brain; I envisioned that by the time you graduated college, you had been through everything there is to go through. I admit that that was naive to ponder, but I was a prepubescent girl with a protruding stomach, bright red cheeks, and a unibrow, so, not much was expected from me anyway.
Similar to how I had imagined it, I gracefully moved through the motions of life. I attended a Jewish private school for 9 years, a public high school for 4 , and then The Pennsylvania State University for another 4. Before college, I rarely drank, never did drugs, and reluctantly emptied the dishwasher 20 minutes after I was asked to.
I turned 22 a few days ago and graduation is in a week. Contrary to my belief, my story is no where near the end; in fact, my story only just began…
The introduction is kind of a long one; it takes place over the last year and a half and involves me getting thrown into a pool in which I did not know how to swim. It took months to learn what was necessary to stay afloat, but eventually I was able to keep my head above the water, thanks to the help from my inflatable floaties- strength courage and independence.
16 Months Ago, My Dad Went To Prison
I drove back to school for the Spring 2016 semester 3 days after he left, so I barely had time to process what I had just gone through — hugging and seeing my dad for the last time before he became an inmate. I’m not sure if returning so soon was a blessing or a curse, so I turned it into a blessing for my own sake. Not to toot my own horn, but toot-fucking-toot…I truly peaked that semester. My hair was a fiery violet, I found my true best friends and disregarded fake ones, and I got drunk and made some of the best memories of my college career.
I thought I adjusted to my temporary loss just fine until one drunken night in April. Subconsciously, I used alcohol to hide the fact that I felt sad, angry, confused, and shocked; when I drank, I felt light, loose, and liberated from all of my stresses. On this monumental night that I will never forget because I will never fully remember it, my frenemy named Alcohol took advantage of me, and all of my buried emotions surfaced.
All it took was one Bruce Springsteen song to completely break me down
I was not as composed as I had convinced myself. The man who engrained in my head to always do the right thing even if its the hard thing, to think about the consequences of my actions, and to have a positive attitude towards everything I do, made 1 mistake 10 years ago and ended up in fucking prison. Sorry, but no I was not just rolling with the punches and no I was not doing fine, but ya, I was in fact drowning in my mixed emotions.
As I stood in an over-crowded steamy frat house hallway, filled with drunk boys falling over broken tables and canoodling girls who lack self-respect, my throat started to close up, my average sized chest shook from heavy gasps and overflowing tears, and my smokey-eye makeup became drunk-girl-got-too-drunk makeup. In this moment is when I had the first of many realizations- I had been kidding myself; I was not as strong as I fooled myself to be.
While I peaked externally, I plateaued internally. I intricately covered up my vulnerabilities with Instagram pictures, Snapchat videos, and Facebook posts; I deceived myself along with my 900+ Instagram followers and Facebook friends. I mean, that’s what social media is for, right? To put on a facade so no one truly sees the obstacles life throws at you? Instead of acknowledging that I actually had no idea how I felt, that I didn’t recognize myself anymore, and that my entire family foundation was shook, I used love, sex, and pizza to blur out my shitty reality. I was embarrassed and wanted to hide as much as possible; it turns out I didn’t have any courage at all.
In The Summer, My Story Morphed Into A Romance
I spotted the luckiest of lad’s the second I strutted into the local bar; his sculpted body and pale English skin stuck out like a beautiful sore thumb. Initially, I was skeptical because I am not a relationship type of girl; I’ve never had a legitimate boyfriend and I most certainly was not looking for one at that point in my life. My dad was in jail, I was just starting to feel less ashamed of everything, and I was unable of keeping my own emotions steady, so how could I ever begin to care for someone else? Nuh uh, no thank you. This chick was about to be the most selfish bitch in the game. Or at least I thought.
I don’t know if it was the thrill of the chase, he just wanted to get in my pants, or he fell in love ~at first sight~ ; any which way, though, the dude did not give up. Eventually I thought to myself, you know what Car…why not? Why not just fucking do it. Show the guy around town, make out a lil, and then come home. So I did just that and lemme tell ya, it was the most explosive first make-out session I’d ever had.
Me and my summer man were an item, but not a mushy-gushy-other-people-couldn’t-stand-us item. You know in How I Met Your Mother when Ted describes Marshall and Lilly as a “we” couple? For those of you peasants who have yet to view the masterpiece, he explained that whenever he asked Marshall to go somewhere or how he was doing, Marshall replied with “yeah we’d love to go” or “we are doing great!”
I hate those people. You know…the ones who have been together for so long that they l i t e r a l l y mesh into 1 entity. Like girl, stop being sensitive and go be a queen.
Boy and I were not like that. When we weren’t touching each other’s butts, kissing at every red light, popping each other’s pimples, surprising each other with food, sharing secrets, frolicking on the beach in the middle of night, and/or falling in love, we exercised separately and rarely ate dinner together.
Boy scratched my back and rubbed my feet; he also made solid conversation with my mom. He walked my dog, too. He also told me if there was anything in my teeth before I asked him. Boy liked my double chin and probably is the reason it became a triple chin. He also didn’t feel the need to cuddle every second of our sleepovers which honestly is probably part of the reason I gave him my heart. Like, he was down with not sweating on each other in our sleep; how fucking chill is that? He provided me with security and laughter, welcomed my tears, and led me to discover the bajillion reasons why I did have enough strength to bust out of the juicy pickle I was in.
English men, ladies. Do em’.
I sincerely believe that loving and being loved enhanced my bravery and strength. I found out that sometimes, opening up to someone else actually helps you learn more about yourself. You learn what you like and what you don’t like, you hear other people’s perspectives, and if you’re lucky, you combine little pieces of you and tidbits of them to form 1 mega super-soul.
I took a leap of faith and unveiled myself to someone after only knowing them for 3 weeks — courage. I admitted to dark feelings I had and owned them — strength.
I was feelin’ myself after the summer.
What goes up, must come down, right? Even one’s emotional stability?
I was diagnosed with Situational Depression
Don’t furrow your brows and say “aw, that’s okay, you’ll get through it,” because I know damn well it’s okay and I was well fucking aware I would get through it; I don’t need 1 ounce of your unsolicited motivational words, thankyouverymuch.
In the Fall I went through some shit. I adjusted to leaving my mom after a summer of *attempting* to fix broken doors, I moved myself into a single apartment, I said goodbye to the first boy I might have truly loved that wasn’t a dog, and I transitioned into school mode for the last time. Holy overwhelming!
I went home 2 weeks into the school year for Labor Day. The morning after another drunken night of real-vomiting into the toilet and then word-vomiting on my mom at 3AM, I cured my hangover with a Jersey Bagel, scrambled eggs, and a glass of OJ, and decided that I needed — and genuinely wanted — help.
Therapy was the best action I’ve ever taken, besides eating 6 mozzarella sticks once a week in order to keep my mind sane and my stomach plump (PSA: TGIFridays has the stringiest mozz). I attend sessions on a weekly basis and I tear it UP on that couch; thoughts, feelings and revelations spew out of my mouth at a mighty speed. To be honest, I sweat a little bit at each session because I get so hyped up when I realize shit.
*steps onto high horse* I am fulfilling Kylie Jenner’s iconic New Year’s resolution. *doesn’t step down*
I live alone at school, so independence knocked on my door like a clingy girlfriend banging on her boyfriend’s door when he doesn’t text back in 43 seconds.
Independence handed me a grocery list, a folder of bills to pay, and a check book. I learned how to gage how much food to buy to last me 1–2 weeks so I didn’t over spend; I trained my brain to remember the monthly internet, electric, and rent bills that I helped to pay for; and I also learned how to balance a check book. THAT took such an emotional toll on me — that shit is stressful and hard and math fucking sucks.
Now My Story Is Playing Out In Real Time
Most recently, my dad was released and I am 1 week away from graduating college. I am graduating college because I utilized my new strength, courage, and independence to keep moving forward whenever I felt as though I was being pushed backwards. I fought, did what needed to be done, and ran shit.
I have attained a surplus of insight as to who I am as a person and who I want to be in the future; I am itching to move on to the next part of my life — to the next part of my story — and to implement the traits I achieved. Stay tuned, because I sure as hell am gonna tell you about it.
I gotta go wash my dishes now; I don’t have a dishwasher. They asked me if I wanted one before I moved in but I said no because I am an independent bitch who doesn’t need a damn machine to do her dirty work.
I also would like to re-emphasize that I continue to keep an updated, organized, and balanced check book. Like, hello adulthood, I am here.