Dear All of You,
So, you want to hear about how I (20 years old) handled stress at my age?
Honestly, I don’t think you want to hear my answer. But you asked for it, so here it is:
I would drink until blackout, go out to clubs and frat parties, dance like crazy while super drunk (the only way I’ve ever been able to dance in public), hook up with random guys (from said places), binge on tons of food from the cafeteria (it’s all you can eat) and then throw up… and that’s all I can think of for now.
I don’t know how this information is going to help you with your quest to become a better person.
I guess you’ve made a point that this writing project isn’t really a self-improvement project, but rather an attempt to reconcile with your younger self/ves.
Self-improvement would be nice benefit, but it’s not the sole objective. I guess me just being brutally honest and ugly will somehow help you make sense of things. I’ll leave all that to you.
So, what else is there to all this besides just the exterior shell of euphoria and despair?
I remember discovering the whole clubbing scene, thanks to some crazy European roommates I had the summer before I turned 21, and feeling like I had stumbled upon paradise.
I could transform into an entirely different person, and that was pure magic.
I could look completely different by straightening my hair, caking on tons of makeup, and wearing some sort of super tight/microscopic skirt with a flowy top.
The most incredible thing was how alcohol (and later abusing prescription drugs when that wasn’t enough) could make me put aside the uptight, neurotic, and awkward person that I normally was.
People liked me when I was drunk – they thought I was really fun to have around. They found the transformation and my lack of inhibition hilarious.
I liked myself when I was drunk.
I loved the fun. It was like being a kid in a candy store with a hundred dollars. I could finally be like everyone else and enjoy life – no more looking longingly through the window, I was in the thick of things. I could be silly and childish and it was intoxicating.
But it wasn’t sustainable. Add bulimia and crippling academic pressure to the mix and a mental breakdown is guaranteed.
I miss “drunk me” sometimes.
She was amazing – funny, playful, sexy, clueless, ditsy, charming, forward, unpredictable, fearless, confident, thrill-seeking, mischievous, and fun-loving – and that’s just the beginning.
But then I jarringly realize that “drunk me” is basically who was in charge when I was manic and psychotic. My whole life was hijacked by “drunk me” and she burned everything to the ground.
All of the sudden, I don’t miss her – I’m terrified that she’ll come back.
I think we should give her (Twenty-Two Point Five – 22.5 years old) her own voice. She seriously creeps me out to no end. I’ll write something like this and my skin will start crawling and I’ll start looking around the room expecting to see her coming towards me, a maniacal grin on her face, matted hair straggling around her face, thin and bony fingers stretching out to grab my throat.
I really REALLY wish it was not 3AM right now. I still need to take a shower. Showers are a million times more terrifying when it’s after midnight.
Ugh, I’m so creeped out right now.
Something happy: Work was absolutely horrible today, further cementing my resolution to take the new job.
Kids normally will trip over themselves to behave if you giveth and taketh away little stars next to their name. Until they don’t care about the stars anymore. That’s when you lose all your leverage and anarchy begins. It’s a ripple effect. One kid doesn’t care about the stars, and suddenly they lose their value and no one cares about them anymore. And then you realize that there are twenty of them and only one of you.
Yeah, I don’t want to do that for a year.
I have no idea how people do that job – they are truly superhuman. Only three days and I want to go take a coma nap.
Except it’s 3am and I’m afraid to take a shower.
Seriously, we need to look into that.
I’ve been afraid of showers for a really long time.
When I was in the hospital, I was terrified of them for some reason. I think it was maybe the loud noise the crashing water made (especially when it hit my head), being in a state of vulnerability, and having wet stuff all over me.
If I could just get myself in there, I would be fine. There is nothing more blissful than the cascade of hot water over my shoulders, the frothy foam of soap and shampoo, the squeaky clean feel of rinsed skin and hair. Why can’t it be 10pm right now?
OK, so I’m done with this letter.
I hope it provided some insight, even though it seems a bit useless to me.
Twenty (20 years old)
I talk about drunk me “highjacking” my life, but sometimes I feel like this is her life and I’m actually the one who’s taken it from her.
She wants to have fun and live, but I lock her up because I’m afraid of the world and don’t want her embarrassing me.
If “drunk me” reads this (I am seriously so terrified writing this because I swear she will pop out of the floor and grab me – or out from the wall behind me – if I acknowledge her), I just want to say that I’m sorry for not seeing things from your perspective.
I’ve been where you are. A short while ago, everyone else here was blaming me for our downfall. Now it’s your turn to take one for the team.
I wish we could all stop pointing fingers and shaming and demanding apologies.
It is so pointless and stupid and tiring. We will never find the culprit who “ruined” our life. There is no culprit. Everything in our life is because of us. We can’t control what happens sometimes, but we can always control how we react to it.
We are all the same person. If I hate myself at age 22.5 or 11, I am still hating myself now.
Even though this body is now 25 years old, I (age 20) am still here and so is everyone else. There’s no way around it.
So back off you guys.